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Apple crisp

I don't ONLY make salads and vegetables in my kitchen. I promise! I do my best to keep versatility at the forefront of my brain when deciding what to make next. And even though my blogger friend Jeff has never technically been in my kitchen, he apparently sees the versatility in my cooking/baking/salad-ing through my blog. I happen to love Jeff's blog, so I was honored that he sent this blogger award my way! Thank you, Jeff!

The first part of receiving this award is that I am supposed to share a few unique facts about myself. Let's see what I can come up with:

1. I have two different-colored eyes.

2. My husband (and a handful of others) thinks I'm completely crazy because of this, but I LOVE SCARY MOVIES. The original Halloween movie is my all-time favorite. It's almost like I get high on fear, which I understand sounds totally insane.

3. I take a relaxing bubble bath almost every night. 

4. In the past year I have become obsessed with photography. I cannot wait to be able to call myself a professional photographer.

5. I cannot WAIT for November 18th! Seriously...antsy...can't wait....

6. I have an enormous sweet tooth. Bring on the sugar!

Now for the part where I pass The Versatile Blogger award onto some other bloggers! 

1. One of my favorite food bloggers Parsley Sage has such versatility on her blog. I love her restaurant reviews and the food she and her husband make and her humor. I also love that she lives in the Cayman Islands. :)

2. Kate at Diethood is another favorite. Her amazing photography makes me swoon and she is so good at creating and sharing many different types food with her readers.

3. I absolutely cannot give these awards out without giving one to Katrina at In Katrina's Kitchen. Every time I open up her blog in my browser, I say, "Whoa! Cool!" She has such amazing creativity, which makes her quite versatile. I adore her blog.

4. Raven from Ravienomnoms is about as versatile as they come. I love her reviews of events and I of course all of the things that come from her own kitchen. 

5. Carina from Kitchen Groovy also must have a spot on here. Her food makes my mouth water!

Go check these blogs out!!

And now for apples! A pretty standard ingredient for a versatility post. :)

I promised another apple post, so here we go. This, friends, is a recipe that has stood the test of time. It is a recipe that is really difficult to mess up. It is a recipe that screams comfort and fall. And it is a recipe that lasts less than a day in our house!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Place 10 cups of tart or all-purpose apples (peeled, cored and sliced) in a 9x13 baking dish.

In a medium bowl, mix together:

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the apple slices. Pour 1/2 cup of water over top of that.

In a medium bowl, combine:

1 cup quick-cooking oats

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup butter, melted

Crumble evenly over the apple mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.

Click here for a printable recipe!


Lemony waldorf salad

This is Week #44 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

Yes, it is November and I am still making salads. If you haven't learned by now, salads are timeless in my world. They are not just a summer-time food! So, in between my very fall-appropriate apple and baking recipes, I will share this salad with you. It is a savory waldorf salad with a bit of a lemony twist. I loved it. Of course I did!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spread 1/2 cup walnut halves (2 ounces) in a pie plate and toast for about 8 minutes, until golden and fragrant. Let the nuts cool and break into pieces.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine:

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Whisk in:

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons walnut oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and pepper

Add to the bowl:

2 cups shredded romain lettuce

4 large radishes, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (1 cup)

1 cup thinly sliced celery hearts plus 1/4 cup chopped celery leaves

1 small head of frisee, chopped

1/4 cup raisins

1 Fuji apple, peeled, quartered, cored and thinly sliced crosswise

Toss well and serve! 

Click here for a printable recipe!


Caramel apple tart

We had a bag, er, peck, of apples sitting in our kitchen, staring me down, for over a week. Every time I walked by them, I felt terrible guilt about the possibility of them going to waste. Our efforts at the orchard would be all for nothing! Well, besides the fun of going to the orchard with two energetic little boys. Thankfully, though, they were still far from being a bag of rotten apples. I found the motivation and the time and energy this weekend to put them to good use!

Here's my cute taste-tester with the killer lashes. 

I had two apple recipes I wanted to bake with. One tried and tested and one new. This caramel apple tart was my new recipe (source:, and I love how it turned out. I was even able to make it while watching my boys, which is always my true test of recipe ease.

If you, too, have a bag of apples staring you down, give this one a try! I should mention that it is a teeny little tart. It serves about 4 people. So, make a few tarts if you need to serve more.

In a large bowl, combine:

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

Cut in 1/4 cup cold butter (cubed) until crumbly.

Gradually add:

6 1/2 teaspoons cold water

1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Toss with a fork until the dough forms a ball. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 10-inch circle. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. 

Combine the following ingredients in a medium bowl:

1 1/2 cups chopped, peeled tart apples

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Spoon the filling over the pastry to within 2 inches of edges. Fold up the edges of the pastry over the filling, leaving the center uncovered. 

Combine in a small bowl:

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Sprinkle over the filling. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly. Using parchment paper, slide tart onto a wire rack.

Drizzle with 2 tablespoons caramel ice cream topping (warmed) and serve warm.

Click here for a printable recipe!


Smoky Glazed Asparagus

This is Week #43 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

My sleeping/non-sleeping continues this week, if that makes any sense. One of these days I will get ahead. I have two more weekends sans-husband and after that the little boys and I get six months worth of weekends with him and his beard! Have I mentioned my husband's beard? The beard that has its own Facebook page (not kidding)? Every other year, he grows a beard from October to December that makes all men jealous. We are currently in the middle of Beard 2011. Most people find it impressive. I find it...well, let's just say I can't wait to see his face again! 

Enough about beards, let's get to this delicious asparagus recipe! I made it during our Crazy Hour the other night and didn't lose my mind, so that is saying a lot. It was super simple and I loved the flavor, as well. If you love asparagus, you absolutely have to give this a try.

Light a grill.

In a shallow dish, whisk together the following ingredients:

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

Add 1 pound of trimmed thick asparagus. Toss and let stand for 30 minutes.

Grill the asparagus over moderately high heat, turning, until tender and blistered in spots, about 6 minutes.

Serve immediately! Yum!

Click here for a printable recipe!


Candy corn brownies

Alternate titles:

Halloween brownies

Baby Ruth brownies

Cheater brownies

If you are looking for an easy, delicious dessert to bring to a Halloween party, look no further! Nothing could be easier than these brownies. In fact, they are so easy to make that I almost feel like a cheater posting about them.

Have you ever noticed that eating peanuts and candy corn together tastes exactly like the ooey gooey inside of a Baby Ruth candy bar? Add some chocolate fudge brownies to the equation and you basically have a Baby Ruth candy bar with a Halloween twist.

All you will need to do is prepare a 19.5-oz. package of chocolate fudge brownie mix according to the package directions, using an 8x8 square pan (the thicker the brownie, the better).

Within a few minutes of removing the brownies from the oven, pour a handful of candy corn and lightly salted peanuts over the top. Gently push the candies and peanuts into the soft, warm, gooey brownies.

Allow them to cool and cut into squares!

Click here for a printable recipe!