Smell My Feet

Halloween is coming.

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Your payback for scooping mounds of stringy, wet, goopy mess with nothing but a spoon and your bare hand? Something good to eat.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Preheat oven to 400.

Rinse seeds.

For every 1/2 cup of seeds, mix 2 cups water with 1 Tablespoon salt.

Put the seeds in the salt water and bring to a good boil.

Remove the seeds from the water, spread them on a cookie sheet, and sprinkle with salt, cayenne, cinnamon and sugar, whatever you like.

Bake for 10-20 minutes, til crunchy.

Slice of Life

I picked myself a bouquet today.

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What’s that, you’re more interested in the slice of pie in the background? Can’t blame you. It’s been a pie kind of week around here, for sure.

Pumpkin Pie

Preheat oven to 375.

Combine:

16 oz pumpkin puree

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

Break up 3 eggs, then lightly beat them into the mixture.

Add 1 cup of milk.

Prepare your pie crust and pour in the pumpkin filling. (Need a crust recipe? Try the one I used with the apple pie. You’ll only need half.)

Cover the edges of the pie with tin foil.

Bake 25 minutes.

Remove the tin foil and bake an additional 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Easy as Pie

Is it possible to make a pie without your kitchen ending up looking like a flour bomb went off?

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I think not.

If I’m going to go through all that work, there had best be cheese on my apple pie.

Apple Pie with Cheddar Crust

Preheat oven to 425.

Combine the following ingredients and set aside:

7 cups peeled, chopped apples (7-8 apples)

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

In a small bowl, beat an egg to use later as an egg wash and set that aside as well.

Cut a sharp cheddar cheese into very thin slices, enough to go all the way around the edge of your pie.

Shred a little pile of the cheddar as well – somewhere around a cup.

Now for the crust.

2 1/2 cups flour

2 Tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks butter

6 Tablespoons cold water (approximately)

Combine dry ingredients, then cut the butter into them. You’re going for a cornmeal texture.

Add the water and work with your hands until the dough comes together. If you need more water, add it a very little bit at a time. It’s more likely you need to work it longer than that you need more water.

Roll out half of the dough on a floured surface for your bottom crust and lay it in your pie pan.

Pour the filling on top.

Roll out the second half of the dough on a floured surface for your top crust, and lay it over the filling.

Cut any excess off the edges and press the top and bottom layers of dough together firmly, then work a design around the edge with your fingers or a fork.

Cut vent holes in the top crust and brush with the beaten egg.

Put tin foil over the edges of the pie.

Bake for 15 minutes at 425, then turn heat down to 350 and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Take the pie out of the oven and remove the tin foil. Place your cheese slices around the edge of the pie, just in from the outer crust, and sprinkle the grated cheese in the space that’s left in the middle of the pie.

Return to oven and bake 20 minutes.

Forewarned is Forearmed

The only problem with this recipe is that it smells like you’re baking an apple pie, and then you realize you don’t have an apple pie, so you need to make an apple pie.

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Now you know.

Apple Chips

Apples

Cinnamon

Sugar

Slice the apples as thin as you can get them. They don’t need to be peeled or cored, but do discard any seeds.

Put them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. (I’ve tried other things – parchment is the way to go here.)

Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. You can skip this, but why would you want to?

Bake at 225 for 2-3 hours. To test, take one out of the oven and let it sit for 2 or 3 minutes. At that point it should be crunchy, not chewy.

Store in an airtight container.

Eat Your Veggies

Does zucchini come to mind when you need a dose of chocolate?

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Probably not, but it will after you make this bread.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Preheat oven to 350.

2 cups flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup buttermilk (You can substitute with milk and a splash of vinegar.)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/4 cups shredded zucchini

1 cup chocolate chips

Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar, and salt.

Add wet ingredients, then zucchini and chocolate chips.

Bake 40-45 minutes in a buttered bread pan.

Strength in Numbers

We need a lot of snacks, yes?

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It’s getting cold; it’s important we keep our metabolisms going strong.

Peanut Butter Bars

1 stick butter + 1/2 stick butter

1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted (Sifting’s a pain, but makes a big difference here.)

1 cup peanut butter

5 graham crackers, smashed finely

1 cup chocolate chips

Line a square pan with parchment paper for easy removal.

Melt 1 stick of butter in a saucepan.

Add the peanut butter and stir til melted.

Remove from heat, add sugar, and stir til combined.

Add graham cracker crumbs and stir til combined.

Press the peanut butter mixture into the lined pan with the back of a spoon.

In the same saucepan, melt the 1/2 stick of butter.

Add the chocolate chips and stir til melted.

Pour the chocolate over the peanut butter and spread to uniform thickness.

Cool in fridge for an hour or two then cut into bars.

Store in fridge.

Good and Ready

Granola bars are a most versatile snack.

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They’re tasty at any time of day, and you can easily switch up the ingredients depending on your mood and what you’ve got in the house.

This is our standby recipe. We individually wrap the bars so they’re ready to go when we are.

Granola Bars

Preheat oven to 325.

3 1/2 cups oats

1 cup rice krispies

1 cup wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup flax seed (optional)

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup honey (approximate)

Combine oats, cereal, flour, baking soda, salt, flax seed, and sugar.

Melt butter and combine with vanilla.

Add butter/vanilla to oat mixture and stir to coat.

Add chocolate chips.

Add 2/3 cup of honey and stir well.You will probably have some dry parts that won’t combine well with the other ingredients. If you do, add more honey, up to 1/3 of a cup, until everything’s sticking together pretty well. It should be pasty, not soupy.

Butter a 9″x13″ baking pan and press the mixture into it firmly using the back of a spatula.

Bake for 19 minutes.

Let cool and then cut into bars. We cut them in thirds the long way and then into the desired width.

These will last at least a couple of weeks in plastic wrap, but you’ll likely eat them sooner.

Sugar and Spice

What happens if you take applesauce and keep cooking it?

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With a few more spices, you’ve got apple butter.

This recipe can be divided or multiplied. I double it for 40 pounds of apples. Well, 40 pounds of apples minus enough to make a pie.

Apple Butter

18 cups unsweetened applesauce

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon allspice

2 cups sugar, divided

Fill a crockpot with applesauce. It might not all fit, but that’s ok, you can add more later. If you’ve got 2 crockpots you could get both going – that’s what I do.

Add spices and 1 cup of the sugar.

Prop the lid on your crockpot with a wooden spoon or chopstick so the steam can escape.

Set the heat on low.

Cook for 6 hours, then add the rest of your sugar and more sauce if you’ve got room.

Continue cooking and adding applesauce as needed until it looks and tastes like apple butter. Mine generally takes a total of about 22 hours. (That includes the 6 hours above.)

Prep 12 half pint jars.

Ladle hot apple butter into jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace.

Process in hot water bath for 5 minutes after water has returned to a boil.

Feeling Saucy

Is there anyone who doesn’t like applesauce?

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Never mind, if there is I don’t want to know.

Applesauce

Apples (As many or as few as you’ve got. Don’t forget to ask your local farmer for seconds -you’ll pay half the price.)

Sugar (optional)

Cut the apples into chunks, peeled or not depending on what you like, and put them in a pot.

Add a small splash of water to keep them from sticking before their juice starts to flow.

Cook on medium-high heat until the apples are soft enough to break with the back of a spoon.

Add sugar to taste.

Puree with an immersion blender for a smooth sauce, or leave as is for chunky.

Ladle into clean jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace.

Process quarts for 20 minutes or pints for 15. If you’d rather not can, just store in the fridge.

Hot Stuff

Apologies if you end up burning your tongue, but I think this jelly delivery system is worth taking the risk.

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Jammy Biscuits

2 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 Tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shortening

3/4 cup milk

Jam or jelly

Preheat oven to 425.

Mix the dry ingredients, then cut in the shortening with a knife.

Add the milk, and knead just until the dough comes together.

Press dough out about 1/2″ thick, and cut circles from it with the rim of a cup.

Make a well in the middle of each biscuit and fill it with jam.

Bake 12 minutes.

Delicious while still hot, or will keep for a few days.