Halloween time

Happy Halloween yโ€™all!

My son and I made these yummy Halloween cupcakes today! Hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween! ๐ŸŽƒ

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Whole Grain Apple Filled Bars

My daughter loves those boxed cereal bars. You know the ones; apple, strawberry, blueberry multi grain bars. Sheโ€™ll gobble up a whole box if I let her! But, Iโ€™ve been on a mission to simplify the foods my family and I consume. Which means, not so many multi grain bars for Miss Liz, much to her disappointment.

Yesterday I set out to make my own multi grain bars for her. I searched the internet high and low for a recipe, something similar to what I could buy in the store. But nothing caught my eye. I consider myself a fairly good baker so I decided to make my own recipe. They turned out better than I ever could have hoped! Completely different than what I was going for though. But thatโ€™s okay. I made a healthy treat for my daughter to enjoy.

I may never buy boxes bars again!

Whole Grain Apple Filled Bars

These homemade bars take about an hour start to finish and yield roughly 16 scrumptious bars!

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups oats (quick or old fashioned oats)

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 tablespoons cold water

Filling:

3 large apples (I used Macintosh apples)

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

A Pinch of nutmeg

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, and salt. Pulse for 20-30 seconds.

3. Add the butter and then slowly add the cold water. Pulse until the dough holds together when pressed.

*Alternatively, if you donโ€™t own a good processor, step 2 can be completed in a blender and step 3 can be done with a stand or hand mixer.

4. In a separate bowl, mix the apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg together until the apples are well coated.

5. Line a 9ร—13-inch baking dish with parchment paper.

6. Divide the dough mixture in half and press half into the baking dish. Lightly grease your palms, and press the mix down evenly.

7. Spread the apples evenly on top of the mix in the dish. Sprinkle the remaining mix evenly on top of the preserves and gently press the mix down.

8. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

9. Let cool for about an hour. Then cut into 1 1/2 x 4-inch bars.

These bars can be stored at room temperature up to 3 days or refrigerated for up to a week.

Apple pie time!

It’s my favorite time of year; fall! There’s nothing quite like cool nights, changing leaves, apple picking, and pumpkins. ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ I love it!

Earlier this week, my husband and I took the kiddos apple picking – our three children, and my two nephews. It was a challenge to say the least. It can be difficult to manage five children under six, but we did it. One kid was running this way, the other that way, one in a tree, one stomping apples… boy, they are a task! But seeing them all try to reach the apple way high and the tree was such a joy. There’re so sweet and innocent.

Naturally, when we got home, we made some apple pie! We love apple pie! And not to toot my own horn, but I can make a pretty great pie. ๐Ÿ’ž

As of this morning, there’s only a sliver left. The mix of apples, crumb top, and crust is simply heavenly.

Thank heavens for apples! ๐ŸŽ

Pasta E Fagioli

Do you ever make something so good, you can’t help but feel proud of yourself? I did last night.

I tried to make Pasta E Fagioli soup once before, a few years ago. It was a disaster! It came out tasting more like tomato soup with hamburger tossed in. Needless to say, I didn’t eat it. And I haven’t made it since then.

So, yesterday, I had no plans for dinner. With baby #3 on the way, I’ve been pretty tired and haven’t put much effort into cooking. I was out with my husband helping to bring in some wood for our wood stove and I told him I really wanted soup! We had none but man, I sure was craving it! I was going to make my favorite potato soup, but we didn’t have any bacon Gouda cheese, my special ingredient. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I decided to once again, try to make Pasta E Fagioli soup. I was nervous, but I’ve really come pretty far in my cooking so I thought I could do it. It turned out amazing! If I could give y’all a taste, I would! It’s really the best soup I’ve ever made. I felt so darn proud that I accomplished something that seemed so impossible to me. ๐Ÿ˜„

Recipe as follows: (I uses sausage and hamburger, and used elbow macaroni) Viaย Cooking Classy

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground beef or mild Italian sausage
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots (about 2 medium)
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 3 stalks)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbsp)
  • 3 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans low sodium chicken broth or beef broth
  • 1/2 cup water, then more as desired
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 scant cup dry ditalini pasta
  • 1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • Finely shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions

  • Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick saucepan over medium high heat, crumble in ground beef or sausage and cook, stirring occasionally until cooked through. Drain fat from beef then transfer beef to a plate, set aside. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil in same large saucepan, onions, carrots, and celery over medium-high heat until tender about 6 minutes, add garlic and saute 1 minute longer. Reduce heat to a low, add tomato sauce, beef broth, water, canned tomatoes, sugar, basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram and cooked beef then season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with lid and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until veggies are soft, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile prepare ditalini pasta according to directions on package, cooking to al dente.
  • Add cooked and drained pasta to soup* along with kidney beans and great northern beans. Thin with a little more water if desired. Allow to cook 2 minutes longer. Serve warm with grated Romano or Parmesan cheese.
  • *If you don’t plan on eating all of the soup right away I recommend adding the pasta to individual servings. Then whatever is left over you can add the pasta to that the next day. Otherwise the pasta get’s really soggy and soup doesn’t have enough liquid.
  • Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

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Apple pie

I am in love with this time of year! The leaves are falling, the weather is cooling down, and apples and pumpkins are everywhere! It’s perfect!

This time of year is apple pie time around my house. We eat a ton of apple pies! It’s our comfort food for sure.

My recipe is simple, passed down from my mother in law. Apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, & butter. Adjusted to your taste. The crust is simple, 2 cups flour, 2 sticks butter, 1/4 cup water. Cut the butter with the flour & mix the water in to combine. I’ve made a few pies in my day, but nothing is a tasty as this recipe.

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