Stovetop Apple Butter…

Try this easy stovetop version of rich, velvety, homemade apple butter as a spread for toast and muffins, or enjoy it all by itself!

Stovetop Apple Butter

October had just begun, there was a slight chill in the air, and I wanted apple butter. I headed to the grocery store to find my favorite jarred variety. Not only did they not have my preferred brand, but the one kind they did have was insanely expensive. I stood there in the jams and jellies aisle shaking my fist at the apple butter people (whoever they were) and then realized, “apples are on sale! I’ll just…..MAKE MY OWN!” [cue hallelujah chorus]

Stovetop Apple Butter 2

I really didn’t want to wait all day for the slow cooker versions (which is basically all I could find online), so I decided to try it on the stovetop and see what happened. Turns out, it works really well on the stovetop! And super tasty- I think the butter really gives it an extra richness that’s unbeatable!

Spreadable, velvety, rich apple butter…perfection on a piece of toast or even just by itself!

Stovetop Apple Butter

5 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks (I used Pink Lady, but Honeycrisp or Gala would work too)
2/3 cup brown sugar
squirt fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
pinch salt
1/2 stick butter (4 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients except vanilla in a large pot and cook, covered, on low for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Apples will be extremely soft. Stir in vanilla.

Using an immersion blender, puree the apples until completely smooth. You could also use a food processor, working in batches. I stopped the cooking process here because I was (very) satisfied with the taste and texture of the apple butter, but you could continue cooking it uncovered on low for another hour or so, if you desire a thicker, darker consistency. Let cool completely. Store in the refrigerator. Makes approximately enough for 3 pint-sized jars.

Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original

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Breakfast Banana Splits…

Breakfast Banana Split

Since Cassidy came along, I’ve done a few kid-friendly posts here and there and even some homemade baby food, but I still get lots of requests for more kid recipes. Honestly, since she’s still so young, I haven’t done all that many recipes just for kids; mainly because Cassidy just eats whatever we eat. If I cook kale, butternut squash, and quinoa soup for dinner, that’s what Cassidy eats. However, since my little bitty baby is quickly growing into a spunky, energetic, opinionated LITTLE GIRL (for heaven’s sake, I’m going to burst into tears just typing that!), I’ve been making more kid-friendly, fun meals for her.

This week, I’ll share two such recipes with you. Starting with this breakfast banana split. How cute is that?! Last Christmas, my uncle and aunt sent Cassidy and me a cute little cookbook just for kids, which is adorable. Cassidy loves to flip through the pages and look at each picture and recipe and say, “mmm!!” as she takes a pretend bite with her chubby little fingers. I seriously adore this kid.

Breakfast Banana Split 2

Anyway, it’s sort of easy for me to get into a breakfast rut with Cassidy. And when the same old things start getting old, recipes like this are a welcome, adorable change of pace! Just layer sliced bananas with your favorite yogurt, then top with blueberries and a bit of granola. You can use any fruits you like and as many toppings as you want! The sky’s the limit!

Let your kiddo choose what toppings she wants, then let her enjoy her own special creation for breakfast! Such fun!!

Breakfast Banana Splits

half a banana, sliced in half length-wise
1 4 or 6-oz. individual-size cup yogurt (we like strawberry greek yogurt)
blueberries
granola

Lay the sliced banana in a small bowl and top with yogurt, blueberries, and granola. Let your kids help you put it all together and create their own masterpiece! Serves 1.

Recipe source: adapted from Gooseberry Patch Kids in the Kitchen

 

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Fried Cinnamon-Sugar Biscuits…

Fried Cinnamon Sugar Biscuits 2

Happy Friday!! To celebrate the coming weekend (woo!), I’m sharing a yuuuuummmmm-EEEE breakfast treat with you! These little gems are a family favorite that my sister and I enjoyed a lot growing up. There are a few steps involved, but really, they couldn’t be easier! All you need is a can of biscuit dough, oil for frying, and cinnamon-sugar. Easy.

Fried Cinnamon Sugar Biscuits 3

Obviously, since these are deep fried, I don’t make them too often, but recently, the whole family got together for a birthday brunch celebration for my sister and grandmother, and I wanted to make something special for them. If you can’t eat fried dough on your birthday, then when can you, eh? ;)

Fried Cinnamon Sugar Biscuits

Fried Cinnamon-Sugar Biscuits

1  8-piece can refrigerated biscuit dough
vegetable or canola oil for frying
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon

In a large dutch oven or deep cast iron skillet, heat about 2 inches of oil to around 350 degrees. To know when your oil is hot enough, you can either use a thermometer or put a drop of water into the oil; if the water sputters and pops, it’s ready. I kept my heat set on medium-low after reaching the desired temperature and was able to keep a pretty consistent 350 degrees.

Have a large platter lined with paper towels ready. Mix sugar and cinnamon together in a pie plate or platter; set aside. Cut each biscuit into quarters. Drop 6-8 pieces of dough in the hot oil (carefully) and cook until they begin to brown on one side and float. Turn them over and cook until the other side is lightly browned. Remove from the oil and drop into the cinnamon-sugar; roll to coat and set on the paper towel-lined platter.

Repeat with the remainder of the dough pieces. If your dough seems to be browning too quickly, your oil is too hot. Reduce the heat just a little. Each piece should take about 45 seconds to 1 minute on each side. Serve immediately. Makes 32 pieces.

Recipe source: an old family recipe, not sure of its origin

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Buttermilk Biscuits…

Buttermilk Biscuits 2

Raise your hand if you love breakfast for dinner. Me too. Something about getting to drink coffee at night is strangely fun for me. Speaking of that, isn’t it funny how old people always drink coffee with their dinner? In our little town, you’ll go to a restaurant and see an old couple eating mexican food and drinking coffee. Weird.

Anyway, about these biscuits. Now, normally, I would insist on making my great-grandmother’s biscuits, since that was her thing. Baba was a very gifted cook, but I think she would agree with me when I say biscuits were her specialty (well, it may be a tie with her peach cobbler.). However, I don’t exactly have the recipe. Once I tried making them from the cookbook my mom said Baba always used for her biscuits, but something wasn’t right. Honestly, for whatever reason, I’m too scared to make Baba’s biscuits. Just add it to the list of things I’m too chicken to make (my mom’s fried okra, chicken fried steak, anything involving yeast…the list, unfortunately, goes on).

So this time, I chose Deb of Smitten Kitchen’s recipe. And they were really, really good. So perfect hot from the oven and smeared with butter alongside a cup of coffee. And far too easy to continue making store-bought. Frankly, there’s just no comparison.

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar (to taste; you can use more or less. I don’t like mine to be overly sweet)
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
9 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 °F and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in large, wide bowl. Using fingertips or a pastry blender, work butter into dry ingredients until the mixture resembles a coarse meal, Add buttermilk and stir until large clumps form. Using hands, knead mixture briefly until it just holds together.

Transfer dough to floured counter and pat out until 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick. Using a round cutter (about 2 inches; I always use a small juice glass, like my great-grandmother did), press straight down — twisting produces less layered sides — and transfer rounds to baking sheet, spacing two inches apart.

Bake until biscuits are golden brown on top, about 12 to 15 minutes. Serve warm. Makes approximately 9 biscuits.

Recipe source: barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen

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Classic Blueberry Muffins…

Classic Blueberry Muffins

So…May is here. I don’t know how it happened but suddenly, out of nowhere, it’s almost mid-May. Which means…Mother’s Day is almost here! Yay! This holiday has a whole new life to it now that it applies to me and not just my mom and grandmothers (not that I didn’t love celebrating Mother’s Day before I had Cassidy…it’s just more fun now.) ;) Now that I’m on “Team Mom” (golly, that just sounds lame, doesn’t it?), I realize just how important it is for mothers everywhere to have an entire day dedicated to them. A day to feel special and well-rested, pampered and praised, and tended TO instead of being the one doing all the tending. Moms are the hardest working people on the planet- we get spit-up on, pooped on, poked at, toes stomped on, pinched, bitten, screamed at, sat on, and food thrown on us all before 8 in the morning. I think we deserve a day of recognition for that, don’t you? ;)

Classic Blueberry Muffins 3

And maybe a lovely batch of muffins to wake up to with a hot cup of coffee…sipped in silence and peace. Really, that’s all I could ever ask for for Mother’s Day. A little rest, some peace and quiet, and maybe a muffin or two. Sounds heavenly to me. These muffins are no-frills, quick and easy, and taste absolutely perfect warm out of the oven with a cup of coffee. I’ve tried lots of blueberry muffin recipes, but frankly, these are my favorite. They’re everything a blueberry muffin should be. Tender, slightly sweet, and full of juicy blueberries.

I certainly wouldn’t mind if someone were to make these for me on Mother’s Day weekend… (wink, wink!) ;)

Classic Blueberry Muffins 2

Classic Blueberry Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for muffin tops
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and line 8 standard-size muffin cups with paper liners. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to any empty muffin cups (this helps to make sure the muffins bake evenly).

Whisk together the flour, 3/4 cup of the sugar, baking powder and the salt in a large bowl. In a large measuring cup, whisk the vegetable oil, egg, milk, and vanilla extract until combined. Add milk mixture to the bowl with flour and sugar then use a fork to combine. Do not over mix. Batter will be thick. Carefully fold in blueberries with a wooden spoon.

Divide the batter between the 8 muffin cups and sprinkle the tops with the reserved tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Makes 8 muffins.

Recipe source: Inspired Taste

PicMonkey Collage2

Cassidy liked them, too. :)

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Baked Oatmeal…

Baked Oatmeal

I’ve been wanting to make this baked oatmeal for SO long now! Almost every morning, I would pull the recipe up on my iPad and get ready to make it, only to have something interrupt me! Finally, I was able to spend a little uninterrupted time in my kitchen and make this for my family’s breakfast last week. Yay! We all loved it- it’s not too sweet, full of juicy strawberries and blueberries, and the texture is great. I’m dying to make it again this week! Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day, and this recipe will start it off right!

Baked Oatmeal 2

Baked Oatmeal

1 cup steel cut oats (feel free to use old fashioned oats)
¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted, divided
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and cut in quarters, divided
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen), divided

Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish.  In a medium bowl, combine the oats, nuts, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and brown sugar.  Stir with a fork to combine.  In a liquid measuring cup, combine the milk, egg, butter, and vanilla.  Spread half of the strawberries and blueberries in a single layer over the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle the dry oat mixture over the fruit in an even layer.  Pour the liquid ingredients evenly over the oats. Sprinkle the remaining berries over the top.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is browned and the oats have set.  Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Serves 4-5.

Recipe source: adapted from Annie’s Eats

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Perfect Pancakes…

Perfect Pancakes

You know how everyone just LOVES pancakes?? …..yeah, notsomuch me or Joel. We’ve both never really been all that into pancakes. They’re too rich and usually too much “work” for a mediocre result. Give me waffles any day. Cassidy, on the other hand, LOVES pancakes. I make them for her at least 3 times a week.

However, I’ve recently had a craving for hot, fluffy pancakes lately. I have no idea why. Luckily, I happen to find a recipe that wowed both me and Joel and I’ve never looked back. I’m now a big ‘ol pancake lover! I just love how vanilla-y and fluffy these are! If you haven’t gotten on board the from-scratch pancake train, this recipe should change your mind. It doesn’t take long, and the results are far superior to anything you could get from a box! You could add in any kind of fruit you like to customize them to your tastes, too! We love blueberries!

Perfect Pancakes 2

Perfect Pancakes

1 cup buttermilk **
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat a greased griddle to medium-low heat (if you’re using non-stick, there’s no need to grease). Whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla in a small bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the buttermilk mixture, then the melted butter. Batter will be a little lumpy. Let sit for 5 minutes. Scoop out batter 1/3 cup at a time and pour onto the heated griddle. Cook until small bubbles start to form, then flip. Cook for another minute or so, then remove when golden brown. Repeat with the rest of the batter. Serves 2-3.

**If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, no worries- just use regular milk, but add 1 tablespoon white vinegar and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Works like a charm!

Recipe source: adapted from Coleen’s Recipes

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Fruit Salad with Honey and Lime 2

I hope everyone had a happy Easter! Ours was great- the Easter Bunny came to visit Cassidy, church was great, and my whole family had a wonderful meal at my parents’ house. Of course Cassidy was the life of the party. ;)

One of the best parts about the meal was surprisingly not one of the decadent desserts (one of which was provided by me), but the simple fruit salad my sister brought. Nothing but fresh strawberries, blueberries, and grapes tossed in a honey-lime dressing. It was sooo good! Something about the combination of honey and lime juice is magic! I have a feeling this will be a pool-side favorite this summer!

Fruit Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing

1 pint container fresh strawberries, stems removed and cut into halves
1 pint container fresh blueberries, stems removed
1  bunch (about 1 1/2 pounds) seedless grapes
1/4 cup honey
juice from 2 limes (about 2-3 tablespoons)

Combine fruit in a large bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk the lime juice and honey until combined. Pour over the fruit and toss to coat. Serves a crowd.

Recipe source: my sister, via Oh! You Cook!

Fruit Salad with Honey and Lime

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Ham and Red Pepper Hash…

ham and red pepper hash 2

I’m going to be honest with you- since Cassidy was born, I haven’t spent one single night away from her. In fact, I haven’t spent more than 4 or 5 hours away from her! Joel has, due to various business trips, but not me. Nope. And I’ve been perfectly ok with that. In fact, every time we decide to take a couple of hours for ourselves and leave the baby with a grandparent, as soon as we leave the driveway, I’m flooded with feelings of guilt over leaving my baby. Then I’ll drive Joel nuts by asking if maybe we should’ve just stayed home. Am I alone here?? Surely I’m not the only crazy mom. ;)

But everything changed a couple of days ago when Joel booked us an overnight getaway. That’s right, in a few short days, I’ll be abandoning leaving Cassidy to go enjoy an overnight stay in a plush hotel room. There will be champagne, a couple’s massage, gourmet dining, and best of all- a night of uninterrupted SLEEP. No baby monitor, no early morning wake up call, no nothing. Nothing but sleep. This all sounds great, but truth be told, I’m still unsure how I’ll handle it. Am I really ready for a night away from my baby?? Don’t get me wrong, the room is BOOKED and there’s no going back now, but I really hope I don’t blow the whole thing by whining for my baby the whole time.

Anyway, that story has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with hash…sorry. Onto the recipe. I had some really yummy smoked ham leftover, along with a couple of really beautiful red peppers and a bag of frozen hashbrowns lying around. What else would I do but make ham and red pepper hash?! YUM!

ham and red pepper hash

Ham and Red Pepper Hash

1 16-ounce bag frozen hash browns
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup cooked, diced ham
1/2 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
3 large eggs, poached or fried
salt and pepper
olive oil

Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet, then add the frozen hash browns and red peppers. Cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes or so, until peppers begin to soften. Stir in ham and salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes more. Top with cheese and poached eggs. Serves 3-4.

Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original

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Birthday Funfetti Pancakes…

birthday pancakes

I think we can all agree that birthdays are special. As soon as you wake up the morning of your birthday, you want to feel special! When my sister and I were growing up, on the morning of our birthdays, my mom would make us our very own breakfast in bed. She would wake us up singing and laughing and the whole family greeted us on our special morning. Too bad I don’t get that kind of treatment anymore…(I’m lookin’ at you, Joel!) Hehe, just kidding…. ;)

birthday pancakes3

On Cassidy’s first birthday, Joel and I (like huge dorks) greeted her with lots of loud, happy singing and laughing. Then we all sat down and enjoyed these yummy, festive birthday pancakes. What a great start to a happy, happy day!

cassidy's pancakes

These are really soooooo easy. In fact, I’m not even going to post an actual recipe, because I used boxed pancake mix. I’m not going to spend all morning making pancakes from scratch when I could be snuggling my sweet birthday girl! These are ready in less than 10 minutes! Score!

To make the pancakes: start with your favorite brand of pancake mix and prepare as directed. Stir in 1-2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles (I used rainbow jimmies- they melt a little inside the batter and give that “funfetti” look.). Cook as directed and serve with maple syrup.

birthday pancakes2

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