Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Couple Easy Fall Recipes

Ohmigosh.  I am in heaven. It's finally fall (well the weather is the appropriate temperature), the windows are open and a cool breeze is blowing through my house.  I have my Pumpkin Patch candle lit.  I have some Eric Church singing to me in the background.  I just ate a yummy baked apple (more on that later).  Life is good. 

The past week, I had the bubonic plague.  Life sucked.  That's why I temporarily disappeared.  I literally did not get out of bed for more than an hour total for about 4 days.  I read lots of books and slept (when I could breathe).  I am still having some trouble breathing and a lingering cough, but I feel 95% better.  I should be back to 100% in a couple of days.  About time. 

I do have a couple of recipes to share, but first I have to tell you about my Little Sister, K-.  I applied to be a Big Sis back in April with Big Brothers Big Sisters.  It took a few months, but they called me about a month ago and told me they found a Little Sis for me.  I couldn't wait to meet her!  She is 9 years old.  It turns out she has a 12 year old (real) sister who also got matched with a Big Sis, so we had a double meeting on Friday.  It was our first time all meeting.  When I pulled up to the house, I saw a little girl in a sparkly dress sitting on the front porch, and when I walked up, she said "Are you for me or for my sister?"  I said, "are you K-?"  And she squealed with delight, jumped up and down, and gave me the biggest hug ever.  She instantly melted my heart.  We sat outside and talked for a few minutes, when her 12 year old sister came outside to see what the ruckus was.  Such sweet girls.  Once the other Big Sis and the BBBS lady got there, we went inside and met mom, signed some paperwork, went over rules and guidelines, etc.  K-'s mom told me that she had been sitting on the front porch waiting for me for 4 hours.  After the meeting, K- and I went back out onto the front porch to start talking about what kinds of things we would like to do when we hang out.  Our first hang-out is going to be Tuesday.  We decided that I would pick her up from school and we would go to the park and just talk and get to know each other.  Then we started a list of things we like to do, and things we would like to do together. 

K: Do you like to sing?
Me:  Yep!  (In my car by myself or with Ali and
K: I do too, but my sister says I'm a bad singer.
Me:  Well we can be bad singers together.  (I wrote "sing" on my list)
K:  Put down dancing too.
(I wrote "dance" on my list).
K:  Have you ever been fishing? 
Me:  Yep!  Have you?
K:  No.  Can we go fishing? 
Me:  Erm...sure!  (Gonna have to borrow some fishing poles, lol).

This went on for a bit, while we added activities.  Then I asked her what kind of food she does and doesn't like to eat.  Luckily, she likes most food.  And she likes to cook and bake.
K:  I had the best food one time! 
Me:  What was it?
K:  A Cuban sandwich.  And I had coffee too!  It made me hyper, but I liked it!
Me:  We're going to get along just fine....

This girl just puts a huge smile on my face.  I can't wait to get to know her better and hopefully have a positive impact on her life.  And I just KNOW she's going to have a positive impact on mine.  She is just full of cheer and curiosity and questions and giggles and hugs and excitement for life.  Something most of us grown-ups all need a little more of.

Well, the weather in Florida decided to finally be fall-appropriate yesterday.  Maybe it was waiting for October 1.  To celebrate, I went to Starbucks first thing in the morning (and I mean first thing- 6am on my way to work) and got a Pumpkin Spice Latte.  Oh I was a happy girl.  Weather has been in the upper 70's-low 80's during the day and got down in the 60's last night.  My phone tells me it should get in the high 50's tonight, but I don't know if I believe it.  We'll see. 

Last night, when I got home from the work, I cranked open the windows (all 3 of them in my old house that will open...gotta talk to the landlord about that) and got to work on dinner.  I've been eating very healthfully the past few days and had a lot of veggies begging to be roasted.  Sweet potatoes, baby carrots, and onions sounded perfectly fall-ish.  Here's my recipe:  (P.S. I measure when I bake, but not so much when I cook...sorry!)

Roasted Fall Vegetables
makes 2 servings

2 sweet potatoes, cut into cubes
1 small onion, roughly chopped
a few hand fulls of baby carrots
2 cloves of garlic
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
dried rosemary, dried basil, dried oregano, dried thyme (to taste- I used about a Tbsp of each, I guess)
salt and pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 425.  Cover a baking sheet with foil (makes cleanup easy!) and spray with cooking spray.
2.  Dump veggies into a large Ziploc bag.  Use a garlic press to smoosh the garlic and throw in the bag with veggies. 
3.  Add olive oil, spices, salt and pepper.  Zip up the bag (make sure it's closed tightly!) and squish around until all the veggies are coated with olive oil and seasonings. 
4.  Dump veggies onto cookie sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, until roasted and brown.
I'm a doofus and didn't take any pictures.  I was too busy eating.  But they were yummy.  Perfect recipe to start off October. 

Tonight, I discovered my new love.  Honeycrisp apples.  Oh.  Em.  Gee.  First, let me tell you I'm not a HUGE apple fan.  I love Granny Smiths.  But otherwise, I can take or leave apples.  I love them in baked dishes, but I hate biting into them, and I can't STAND when an apple is grainy (hence: my aversion to pears).  Lately, I've been craving baked apples.  It's fall fever, I tell you.  My friend G- lives in Rhode Island and recently blogged about picking Honeycrisps.  (Look at her pictures, much better than mine!) Just the name honeycrisp sounds appetizing.  I've heard from lots of people that they're amazing, but I had to find out for myself.  I had no idea what I was missing.  I picked up a couple at the store the other day.  And they're HUGE.  Like the size of softballs. 

I was DYING for a baked apple tonight when I got home from work.  I've kind of been avoiding baking lately because I am trying to eat healthy, but I figured this wouldn't be such a bad dessert.  Wow.  It was amazing.  The apple was so big that I "baked" half of it and just ate the other half.  And then I texted G- (who is an apple-lover).
Me: OMG.  Just tried my first honeycrisp apple.  I'm in love and I'm not an apple fan.
G:  You can't not be an apple fan.  You just haven't found your apple.  Other recs: opal and jazz- similarly delicious. A bit more tart but still great: macoun. 

So I guess I will have to try those out too.  I didn't know an apple could have such flavor.  It tastes just like it sounds.  Honeycrisp.  Go try one.  And do yourself a favor and make a baked apple. 
Baked Honeycrisp Apple
makes 1

1 honeycrisp apple
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp cold butter
1 Tbsp instant oats
a few drops of vanilla

1.  Preheat toaster oven to 350.  Line a small pan with foil.
2.  Core the apple.
3.  Mash together brown sugar, butter, oats, and vanilla.
4.  Stuff inside the apple and bake for 20 minutes.

Okay.  I have a confession here.  I am the worst apple-corer in the world.  I don't have a handy little tool to help because I don't eat apples that much.  So i tried with a knife. 
Yikes.  I guess it doesn't look so bad here, but it was awful.  And the apple was splittig dow the sides.  And I almost chopped off 3.5 fingers.  So after all that, I just cut the apple into big hefty slices and dumped them in the pan.  Oh, and I totally baked this in the toaster oven. 

Delicious.  I'm in love with fall, and I'm in love with these apples. 

I got my first Daring Bakers challenge yesterday!!!  It definitely  I have to keep it a secret until the 27th, so check back then to read all about it!  It's probably going to take me until then to read the 10 pages of directions....

1 comment:

  1. Both of these recipes sound delicious! I am so happy it's fall too!

    Oh, and I'm so glad you got your Little Sis. She sounds adorable. I know you two will have great times together! Love you!