eat & drink : homemade applesauce

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A few weekends ago, Roland & I went apple-picking in Sebastapol! It was a lot of fun, but after making an apple crisp, I still had a ton of fruit leftover, so I decided to make some applesauce.

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I did NOT expect the applesauce to be THIS amazing. Seriously, you have to try this! It’s so easy, and it tastes like apple pie!!!

I used this Ina Garten recipe, but I have no idea what kind of apples I used… I just threw a bunch in!

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What makes this recipe so divine (besides the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon) is the citrus zest – don’t skimp!

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Peeling the apples is the hardest part – once you have all the ingredients ready to go, you just bake it!

Ingredients
2 large navel oranges, zested and juiced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 6 to 8 apples)
3 pounds sweet red apples, such as Macoun, McIntosh, or Winesap (about 6 to 8 apples)
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the zest and juice of the oranges and lemon in a large bowl. Peel, quarter, and core the apples (reserving the peel of 2 of the red apples) and toss them in the juice. Pour the apples, reserved apple peel, and juice into a nonreactive Dutch oven or enameled iron pot. Add the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and allspice and cover the pot. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until all the apples are soft. Remove and discard the red apple peel. Mix with a whisk until smooth, and serve warm or at room temperature.

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Yum!

xo, S.

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eat & drink : easy end of summer dinner

It’s so nice to be back in the blogging world again! As Rachel mentioned, our family had a lot of things going on over these last few months, but things are slightly more normal once again.

Today, I just want to share a quick recipe with you – it’s the perfect end of summer dish!

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Gnocchi with Summer Squash, Basil and Feta

I made this delicious dish last night, and it was summery & filling. I threw in some cherry tomatoes from my balcony garden and used goat cheese instead of feta for more of a creamy tang.

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It was delicious, quick to whip up and a great last taste of summer’s bounty.

Hope you had a great end of summer!

xo, S.

eat & drink : jicama, avacado, radish & orange salad with cilantro

I love summer because it’s when we grow our vegetable garden.  This year Sarah helped me start my plants from seeds, as opposed to just buying plants, and it was so fun!  Some of the things I planted include golden beets, french beans, baby carrots, butternut squash, pumpkins, peppers, sugar snaps, & much more.  I also sowed radish seeds right in the ground and they were the first to produce!  They have the most delicious sweet and spicy flavor.

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We’ve probably already picked more than thirty and still have lots of little ones waiting to mature.  My friend suggested cutting them into thin slices and sautéeing them in butter as a yummy snack.  I also made this delicious salad I wanted to share with you today.  It’s so fresh, absolutely delicious and the best part?  Healthy!

IMG_7680I halved this recipe, except for the avocado (because who doesn’t love extra avocado?).   I also couldn’t find whole cumin seeds at my grocery store so I used 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin seed and 1/2 teaspoon ground garlic powder to make the vinaigrette.  I seriously could eat this salad all the time.. it’s that good!  I hope you try it for yourself! Happy cooking!

xo, R.

eat & drink : dad’s jambalaya

Ever since Sarah & I were little we can remember my dad making his delicious jambalaya.  It seemed like the pot was endless and so many gathered around the table to partake!  This recipe is not your typical jambalaya, but you can easily add in your favorite traditional jambalaya ingredients if you like!

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1/2 cup vegetable oil – 3 large onions, chopped – 1 red pepper, chopped – 1 green pepper, chopped – 4 cloves of garlic, minced – 4 carrots, sliced – 4 celery stalks, sliced – 2 cans of diced tomatoes – 3 teaspoons salt – 1 tablespoon cajun spice or 1 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper – 3 bay leaves – 3 cups rice – 1 lbs. andouille sausage, split lengthwise and cut into 1/4″ slices – 2 lbs. chicken breast – 2 cups chicken stock – 4 cups water

(Note : This recipe can easily be halved.)

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In a large pot, heat the water and chicken stock to a boil.  Add the cajun spice and chicken breasts.  Cover and cook at a gentle boil for about 15 minutes.  Remove the chicken and let it cool.

Meanwhile, in a large pan heat the oil and add the garlic.  Saute for 1 minute.  Add the onions and peppers and cook for about 15 minutes until they are soft and begin to caramelize.  Remove to a bowl.  Add the sausage and cook until lightly browned.  Stir frequently to loosen the browned vegetables.  Transfer the sausage-vegetable mixture to the pot and deglaze the pan with some of the stock.  Transfer the stock back to the pot.

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Cut the chicken into bite-sized cubes and add to the pot.  Add the carrots, celery, salt, bay leaves, diced tomatoes (with juice) and rice to the pot.  Stir to combine the ingredients.  Cover and cook over medium heat at a low boil for 30 to 35 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.

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Yum!  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we have over the years!  It’s truly delicious!

XO,

R.

eat & drink : lemony chicken and orzo soup

Recently, I bought a copy of Bon Appetit at the grocery store; even though I check their website almost daily, it’s so much more inspiring to flip through a magazine hunting for a recipe!

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This soup was deeee-lish, and pretty easy, too!

I’m not known for being a precise cook, but since there are only 2 of us, I often find my self halving recipes. In these cases, a digital kitchen scale is a must. Using the scale used to intimidate me, especially finding the tare weight of the container I was measuring in. But it’s really so simple.

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All you have to do is turn the scale on, let it set to zero…

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Add whatever you’re using to contain the food…

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On this digital scale, you just have to press the button on the left, and the scale with deduct the weight of the container, so you know exactly how much food to use!

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And voila! here is the finished soup (with barley instead of orzo)! The bright lemon & dill made it wonderful for a spring evening meal.

xo, S.

eat & drink : perfect pasta

I love pasta.  It’s so easy to make and there are so many different combinations you can use!

ImageThis is one of my favorites!  Penne with sausage, fennel and pecorino.  Click here for the recipe!

ImageThis time I used Aidell’s Italian sausage and cut it into small bite-sized pieces, rather than buying Italian sausage in casings.  It has great flavor!

ImageImageI’m telling you . . . everything about this dish is delicious!  From the sausage and fennel soaked with chicken broth to the sage and pecorino that perfectly finish this pasta!  It’s really a great “fall” pasta, but I like it any time of year!

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xo, R.

eat & drink : pear pastry purses

A while ago, I got together with my dear friend, Cortney, of Petal and Posie Cakes to do a baking project! She’s a real whiz with baked goods, and it was super fun to learn about making pastries as well as learning some SLR basics.

One thing we learned is that you should read the WHOLE recipe before starting. We didn’t realize that we had to cook the pears, make the filling, and make the dough separately AND that there would be so many hours of chilling.

The whole project took us two days, but it was so worth it!

They were delicious.

xo, S.

eat & drink : baked apples

Baked apples rule.

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They are so easy to make and AB-SO-LUTELY delicious! Here is a step-by-step from me to you, so that you can make them and see for yourselves why I’m a believer.

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step one : Preheat your oven.

375.

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step two : Choose your apple.

I prefer honeycrisp for all my apple-cooking needs, but there are so many delicious choices out there from Braeburn to Gala to good ol’ fashioned Granny-Smith.

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step three : Prep the apples.

Use an apple corer to remove the core from the center of the apple (or just use a paring knife if, like me, you don’t own one). Use a peeler to go just around the middle portion of the apple (this prevents the apples from splitting while baking).

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step four : Fill your apples with yummy goodness.

Place your apples in an ungreased baking dish. To fill your apples, you can use 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar (depending on your sweet tooth) per apple + 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Mix it in a small bowl and then fill each apple with that ratio. Top each apple with 1 tablespoon of butter and fill the baking dish with 1/4″ of water.

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step five : Baking time!

Bake your apples in your preheated oven for 30-40 minutes. You’ll know they are done when they are tender when pierced with a fork. They will also look something like this . .

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Serve á la mode & enjoy!

xo, R.

eat & drink : easy summer salsa

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We have an Anaheim chili plant that is happily producing in our backyard and I’ve been meaning to find a yummy recipe that incorporates them.  My friend suggested that I make a salsa and told me what her mom typically includes in hers.

Disclosure : This is dangerously yummy!

4 anaheim chili peppers and 2 yellow chili peppers, roasted and semi-blackened in the broiler or on the stovetop (I did mine in the broiler . . I first de-seeded them and cut them into smaller pieces to broil, then diced them afterwards)

1/4 cup sweet onion, diced

2 roma tomatoes, diced

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

salt & pepper, to taste

1/2 small can of tomato sauce

All you need to enjoy this salsa is a bag of chips and a friend! Enjoy!

xo, R.