Tag Archives: apples

Butternut Squash and Apple Muffins with Pumpkin Seed Streusel

I have received one butternut squash and one dozen eggs every Tuesday for the last three weeks from my CSA.  Up until yesterday, I had exactly three butternut squashes on my counter and three dozen eggs in my refrigerator.  I always like to kid myself and say things like “When fall gets here and the kids are back in school, I will finally organize their baby books.  Or clean out the storage area.  Or have that yard sale I’ve been meaning to do since June.”  Instead, I am confronted with back to school nights, violin shopping, supply acquisition, homework helping, pick ups and drop offs, driving, soccer, snacks, and maintaining some level of personal hygiene.

(Memo to my kids: I really have tried with your baby books.  Although I am very sentimental and keep things like your baby teeth and dried up belly button stubs, I am very poor at organizing these items into beautiful volumes for you to treasure one day.  I really hope it is OK that everything is crammed into a baby book with a cracked spine, papers falling out, and notes written in any color pen (or pencil) I had handy.  I do love you.  But not enough to scrapbook.)

And this entire month has been consumed by the Bloomsburg Floods.  We have the luxury of not being in the epicenter of the destruction and our busy schedule is pretty trivial compared to what the residents are going through.  But it has meant a lot of back and forth travel — which means bags that don’t have a chance to get unpacked before they are being packed again. Whirlwind is how some describe it, I think.  But as I talk with friends who are having their homes condemned, I am pretty sure a whirlwind would be a welcome feeling.  Never mind the “problem” of having all of your children’s baby book items in a box, rather than in a muddy heap never to be looked at again.

This whirlwind seems to blow cooking and eating rules out the window.  The grown ups have eaten a lot of Thai takeout. The kids have eaten way too many pasta dinners and lots of dessert.  It was the boy’s 5th birthday too, which seemed to provide an endless supply of cookies, rice krispy treats, cakes, and cupcakes.  But no more!

I turned on the oven yesterday (and it still worked!) and I made these muffins in an attempt to make a relatively healthy treat or breakfast that the kids would enjoy.  They are whole grain, quite low in sugar and fat, and filled with both butternut squash and apples.  They were a nice fall treat and used up one whole squash and 4 eggs.

Only two squash and 32 eggs to go.

Butternut Squash and Apple Muffins with Pumpkin Seed Streusel

Makes about 18 full size muffins

Muffins:
1 1/2 cups of cooked butternut squash (I like to halve mine, scoop out seeds, and slow roast for about an hour at 325 degrees Fahrenheit)
4 eggs
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar (can use more — up to 3/4 cup for a sweeter muffin)
1/3 cup applesauce
6 T vegetable oil
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
2 t baking powder
2 t cinnamon
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 medium apple, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped

Streusel:
1/4 cup dark brown sugar (can use more here too if you like)
1 t cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped and toasted pumpkin seeds

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.  In a large bowl, mix wet ingredients by whisking together cooked squash, eggs, dark brown sugar, applesauce, and vegetable oil.

3. In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients by combining salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and whole wheat pastry flour.

4.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and whisk until just combined.  Stir in chopped apples.  Spoon into greased muffin tins about 2/3 of the way full. (You can use cupcake papers if you like.)

5.  Combine streusel ingredients (brown sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin seeds) and sprinkle a nice spoonful over top of each muffin before baking.

6.  Bake muffins for about 15 minutes until just done and a tester comes out basically clean.  Let cool a few minutes in tins and then remove muffins to a cooling rack.  (I had to use a knife to loosen them before removing.)

 

 

 

 

Rhubarb Applesauce

When I picked up our CSA share yesterday, I got another bunch of rhubarb to join two others in my fridge. We like rhubarb, so there is no good reason why we haven’t used it. I guess between weekend travel and having no time to make a dessert (which is how we prefer it, obviously), it has just started to pile up. I wanted to do something slightly more savory, which is tough with rhubarb because it is very tart and needs some sugar. I settled on the idea of something “applesaucey” and it was a hit with our grilled pork. It would be great with some strawberries added in (if you like the strawberry-rhubarb combo and are willing to part with your strawberries — but I’m not there yet.)

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I added fresh ginger because it marries with the rhubarb so nicely, but the kids probably would have enjoyed it more without it. There were yelps from my almost three year old son about it being a little “spicy” — but I have a hard time judging that because he thinks rosemary is spicy. His other beliefs include: 1) Don’t trust anything with a tongue (“lickers” as he calls them) based on a fear of dogs who lick him, 2) The best parts of being a grown up are being able to watch Harry Potter movies and touch the ceiling, and 3) The purest form of evil is the garbage disposal. So, take or leave his cooking advice.

I sweetened this with a bit of honey (not to be confused with a bit o’honey) and it worked well. If you are making this for a more mature audience (one not afraid of lickers), I think it would be wonderful with some freshly chopped chives or rosemary.

Rhubarb Applesauce

Serves 4

4-5 cups of rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces
3-4 cups of apples, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
1/2 cup of honey
1/2 cup of water
1 T freshly chopped ginger
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of cardamom
Freshly chopped herbs (if desired)

Combine all ingredients (except herbs) in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes until completely softened and the rhubarb is falling apart.  If your apples are still too chunky, you can use a potato masher to break them up.  Serve as a side dish or with grilled meat.

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Chicken Apple Pot Pie with Cheddar Whole Grain Crust

A farmer at our local market had “Sunday Dinner Chickens” the other day, so I bought one.  Of course, I fell right in line and cooked it on Sunday — because that’s what the marketing told me to do.  It was delicious and left us with a whole lot of leftover meat (he promised it would feed us all week, and I’m pretty sure he was right).  

It was another cold and rainy day here yesterday (noticing a theme?), so comfort food sounded just about perfect for dinner.  Along with my chicken, I had a whole lot of apples to use up.  Have you ever noticed that one week your kids devour a certain type of fruit (so you stock up) and the next week they don’t eat that at all?    

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So I came up with this pot pie recipe to use what was on hand.  The term “pot pie” is such an ugly one though… it just sounds like something I’d eat in a cafeteria, so feel free to come up with a better name.   I told the kids it was chicken pie and they thought it was pretty cool that we were having pie for dinner.  Feel free to make this in one big dish or in individual oven-proof crocks.  And as usual, substitute with what you have on hand and need to use up.  Vegetables of all kinds are wonderful (root veggies, corn, peas, potatoes) — and this makes a wonderful vegetarian entree with just that. 

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Chicken Apple Pot Pie with Cheddar Whole Grain Crust
Serves 4-6

Crust:
3 oz. cheddar cheese, grated
6 T butter, cut in cubes
1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 t salt
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper 
4-5 T cold water

To prepare crust:

Put cheese, butter cubes, flour, salt, and cayenne in bowl of food processor and pulse until it resembles a coarse meal. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can cut the butter into the flour, salt, and cayenne using a pastry blender until the coarse meal stage and then stir in the cheese.)  Add in cold water a 2 tablespoons at a time and pulse (or mix) until the dough starts to come together into one mass.  I used about 5 T of water, but you might need a little more or less depending on the humidity.  Dump dough out onto a piece of parchment paper and form into a ball.  Flatten it into a disc, wrap it up, and chill for 30 minutes.

Filling:

3 or 4 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
2 T flour
2 cups of water, wine, broth (or combo of all… I used about 3/4 cup of white wine and 1 1/4 cups of water)
2 cups of shredded cooked chicken
Chopped chervil or parsley (or other herbs of your choice)
Salt and Pepper
Milk or Cream to glaze (optional)  

To prepare filling:

While crust dough is chilling, heat a large saute pan over medium heat with 1 T butter and 1 T olive oil.  Add chopped garlic and saute one minute until fragrant.  Add in celery, onion, and apple and saute for about 7 minutes until softened.  Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle on 2 T flour, mix well, and cook for 2 more minutes.  Add in 2 cups of water/broth/wine and stir well to prevent lumps.  Bring to boil and add shredded chicken (mixture will thicken).  Simmer for about 10 minutes to reduce slightly (Preheat oven to 400 F while simmering).  Add in chervil/parsley and season with more salt and pepper if necessary.  

To assemble:

Remove crust from fridge and roll out on parchment paper until about 1/8 inch thick and a 12 inch circle.   Put chicken filling into a deep dish pie pan (or into individual crocks).  Fold crust in half and gently lay atop of filling.  Secure crust to edge of pie pan.  Roll edges of crust under and crimp.  Cut a few steam vents in middle and brush crust with milk/cream (or an egg wash) and sprinkle with a bit of coarse salt.  Bake in preheated 400 F oven for about 25-28 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

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Honey Apple Oatmeal

I feel sort of silly posting a recipe for oatmeal.  But I have only recently discovered how easy it is to make oatmeal from scratch on a weekday morning. I honestly always thought it took like an hour or something and never investigated further — continuing to buy little packages of oatmeal at the store.  But if you think about it, those packets are ridiculously expensive considering they contain some ground up oats, dehydrated apples, sugar (lots of sugar!), and various chemicals…  Now I didn’t do price comparisons today at the store, but a quick online search told me that a 42 oz. container of old fashioned oats was about $4 and a 14 oz. box of instant oatmeals packets (10 pack) was about $3.59.  Even after adding in a few apples and some honey to that 42 oz. container, I still think it’s pretty easy to see which choice is more economical.  And it’s quick.  And it contains nothing that you don’t want to put in it.   And less packaging.

So, give it a try.  I swear it doesn’t take any more time than prepping a packet and throwing it in the microwave for two minutes.   And I think you will instantly notice how awfully much sugar they put in the packaged stuff.  That may take a bit of getting used to, but with fresh fruit and a bit of honey, we are getting over it.  

Honey Apple Oatmeal

1-2 cups old fashioned oatmeal (I usually do about 1 1/2 or 2 cups which makes plenty for three with a bit leftover)
Water (3-4 cups depending on how saucy you like your oatmeal)
Cinnamon
Pinch of Salt 
Honey (or Brown Sugar or Maple Syrup, etc.)
Vanilla Extract
One chopped apple
Milk or Cream 

Put oats in a medium saucepan with a pinch of salt.  Cover with 3-4 cups of cold water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer, stirring a couple of times so they don’t stick.   Add a little more water if necessary.  Cook for about 3-5 minutes depending on how tender you like the oats.   Stir in a bit of honey to taste, a splash of vanilla, and some cinnamon.  Serve in a bowl with chopped apples, a drizzle of honey, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a bit of milk or cream (if you like).

Be creative with the many potential variations — different fresh or dried fruits, spices, nuts or seeds, etc.  

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