Birthdays Galore!

Yesterday started my birthday week. By that, I don’t mean it’s the week of my birthday, but rather: starting yesterday, I have at least one birthday a day until the end of the month (and yes, I know it’s technically 8 days, but channel your inner Beatles and work with me here people!). The only day in this week missing a birthday is the 29th. Anyone out there with a birthday on the 29th? My OCD is wanting the day to be allotted to a birthday! Of course, I have 2 birthdays the day before and 2 birthdays the day after, so I don’t reeeeeeeeally neeeed another birthday…

What birthday week has reminded me is that I’ve been slacking in the post dept! Remember last year’s birthday week? It was a bit crazy–fun, mind you–but crazy. Here they are again, if you wanna relive the magic! Hopefully they are properly linked to magically take you to the original post when you click on it. If not, yell at the technician (that’s me, btw, but alas I’m currently not taking complaints!).

Come To The Dark Side…
The Ruff Life of a Beach Dog
A Toast to Vegemite
Serefe, Coffee
The National Beer of Texas
Yo Quiero Tequila
Wicked Fun
An Apple a Day
Lions and Bears and Hiking...

I think birthdays are special–they are the one day a year that’s all about celebrating you. Unless, of course, you are Desire’, who also celebrates her half birthday. Her birthday is in February. February, in case you are unaware, is NOT conducive to sitting outside in NYC, drinking margaritas, eating Mexican food, and not getting frostbite–so we celebrate her birthday in August, when we can do all those things sans the frostbite!

Regardless of when you celebrate, do it in style: like we’ve done in the pic below! It is the pie we ordered for my boss’s birthday: sour cream and apple–The Little Pie Company’s best seller! And for good reason: while it sounds slightly weird, the flavors all meld beautifully together for a heavenly slice of pie…especially when enjoyed a la mode ūüôā

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What A Crock!

First, let me apologize and TOTALLY blame George R. R. Martin for lack of posts this week. ¬†Since both my most and least favorite characters are seemingly dead, it’s back to work!

In addition to Lucille, I got another really cool birthday kitchen gadget: a crockpot. ¬†Two actually, in a set, a big one and a tiny baby one. ¬†I’ve always thought crockpots were fun, but now that I have one I realize they are da’bomb!!!

For those of you without an Addy in your lives, crockpots are great for throwing stuff in it in the morning, turning it on, leaving for work and viola! dinner when you get home. ¬†However, since my darling pupcicle would see this as an open invitation to help herself and can reach all countertops in the house, for me, crockpots are great for throwing stuff in it at night and waking up in the morning with breakfast! ¬†Or lunch or to put in the fridge for dinner. ¬†Point being, I can’t leave my¬†pupcicle & my crockpot unsupervised otherwise it will not fair well for the crockpot or my¬†pupcicle when I got home.

But I digress. ¬†What should I make? ¬†Immediately, I went to searching on Pinterest, looking for a recipe that would be easy and preferably something I could make without going to the store. ¬†Looking, looking, looking….and I FOUND IT!

Applesauce. photo 1

Applesauce, you say? ¬†Yes, applesauce! ¬†Having a new found love for apples and easy access to delicious orchard apples thanks to Wilklow Orchards, who sells delicious produce in the ferry terminal, I always have apples in the house.¬†¬†I found this recipe by Fantastic Mom, which looked easy enough. ¬†Since I’m not a big fan of sweetened applesauce nor one to leave well enough alone, I left out the sugar and added cloves, for a more “grown-up” taste (that’s in quotes because maybe kidlets like cloves and more intense/less sweet flavor).

So I chopped, chopped, chopped my way through a lot of apples, diligently peeling and coring. And ta-da–as promised a few hours later¬†I had yummy applesauce. ¬†Personally, I prefer really smooth applesauce, so at the end I put it through the potato ricer to give that extra smoothness that I love!¬† Nor did I wait for it to cool.¬† I discovered that I rather like warm applesauce…

HOWEVER…before I give you the recipe and having you drifting off to la-la-appleland, I have a contest for you (yes–YOU and YOU and YOU!!). ¬†I name all of my appliances and gadgets, because, well, it’s what I do. ¬†And my new crockpots need names, so I need your help! ¬†There’s usually a reason for everything that has a name. ¬†For example, my phone’s name is Alfred because, like Alfred Pennyworth, he does everything for me. ¬†As you met Lucille last week, hopefully you got the I Love Lucy / Lucille Ball connection. ¬†So, in that spirit my new little babies need names. ¬†Winners get a prize, probably not from the crockpots because that’s rather hard to mail, but something else fun! ¬†Ready, set…go!

Homemade Applesauce

  • 24 apples (I used empire, of course!)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 whole cloves

Soak cinnamon sticks and cloves in water. ¬†Peel, core, and dice the apples.¬†¬†Put EVERYTHING in the crockpot (apples, water, cinnamon sticks, and cloves). ¬†Cook on low for 4-5 hours. ¬†Stirring occasionally helps break up apples. ¬†Let it cool and then refrigerate.¬† Just don’t forget to pull out the cinnamon sticks and cloves before you start eating!!

Okay, I added a bit of ground cinnamon to make my pic look prettier!

Okay, I added a bit of ground cinnamon to make my pic look prettier!

mmm....now I just need porkchops!

mmm….now I just need porkchops!

Happy crockpotting! ¬†And before I forget….

THANKS Sissy & TK!! ¬†ūüôā

An Apple a Day

Anyone in the health industry will tell you that there is a lot of truth in the old adage: an apple a day keeps the doctor away.¬† Apples are high in fiber and antioxidants and something I’ve never been a big fan of until moving to NYC.¬† I mean sure, if you set a slice of apple pie al a mode in front of me I will insure every single crumb is consumed, but to just eat an apple because?¬† Nope.¬† I would eat an apple because they’re relatively inexpensive and good for you, but not because I loooooooved it.¬† Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate apples–I just prefer‚Ķum‚Ķ.almost every other type of fruit, except honeydew melons.¬† Then, it happened.¬† I moved to New York State.¬† THE BEST THING, in my humble opinion, about living in New York State is having an actual season of Autumn (as opposed to Texas where Autumn is classified more as “finally, a break in the heat wave”).¬† What, might you ask, does one do in Autumn? ¬†Thank you for asking: pick apples.¬† But this is not a post about picking apples, because I have yet to actually go to an orchard to pick apples. ¬† What I do is go to the Farmer’s Market and pick apples.

Check out all those apples!

Check out all those apples!

The first thing you need to do is branch out of red delicious and granny smiths.¬† A quick Google search will tell you that that there are over 7,500 varieties of apples world-wide.¬† WHAT THE WHAT?!?!?!?¬† Honestly, I was expecting and hoping for a 100 to wow & amaze you.¬† Guess who’s wowed and amazed now?!?!?!?¬† Before you write in and tell me that there are lots of varieties of apples available in Texas, I’m just going to tell you that fine, there are.¬† But I found my (current) favorite apple that was created here in the Empire State: empire apples:¬† they are crisp, slightly tart, with a sweet, clean, burst of apple finish.¬† more flavorful than red delicious, more tangy than galas, a lot less tart than a granny smith.¬† I also really love honeycrisps, thanks FB post by Carrie, who proclaimed them to be her favorite. I like that they are crisp and tangy with a honey finish (I’m sure lending itself to the name!).¬† My advice on honeycrisps: let them set for a few days–the longer you leave them, the sweeter they become.¬† I was so excited to try a honeycrisp, I had one on the way home and honestly, I was slightly disappointed–as they were by far the most expensive–and to me they tasted a lot like a granny smith (imagine if you drizzled unsweet honey on a granny smith–that’s what it tasted like to me).¬† It took a few days (i.e. I ate the rest of my apples) and difference was completely noticeable, leading to a complete change of heart (thanks Carrie!)!!

I could go on and on about all the apples I’ve tried, thanks to the Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Terminal, but this is a birthday post for Chelle, so I feel that a little splurging is necessary. ¬†I found these tasty little morsels in the latest Food Network magazine.¬† I do have to admit that I haven’t tried them yet.¬† But c’mon, it’s a apple pie bite on a stick–how can you go wrong?!?!?!¬† Of course, I use empire apples–like granny smiths are firm enough to hold up‚Ķunlike, for example red delicious which get schmushy–yeah, it’s a technical cooking term (at least in my house!). ¬†Oh and just in case you’d like to add it to your Food Network recipe box, there’s a link on the title.

Apple-Berry Pie Pops

3 apples (such as Golden Delicious and/or McIntosh), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup raspberries
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 14-ounce packages refrigerated pie dough
1 large egg, beaten
Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Toss the apples, raspberries, granulated sugar and lemon juice in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the fruit mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples aresoft and the raspberries break down, 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour, cinnamon and nutmeg and stir until the juices begin to thicken, about 1 minute; set aside to cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Unroll the pie dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut out 2 1/2-inch rounds with a cookie cutter or glass (you should get about 48 rounds). Arrange half of the rounds on the prepared baking sheets; put a rounded teaspoonful of filling in the center of each. Brush the edges of the dough with water, then top with the remaining dough rounds, crimping the edges together with a fork to seal.

Brush the pies with the beaten egg and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Cut a small X in the center of each to allow steam to escape. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden, 22 to 24 minutes. Let cool slightly on the baking sheets, then insert a lollipop stick into each. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Here’s what they should look like (hahahaha…I mean, I’m just admitting right now, mine won’t!)

My Kinda "Lolli" Pop!

My Kinda “Lolli” Pop!

Easy as, well you know ;- )

Happy Birthday Chelle!