Weekend Links

Have a wonderful weekend!

Cooking with Kids: Maple Pecan Baked Apples

Now that Noah is in school, Mateo and I have more time to play in the kitchen. We’ve made apple butter, oatmeal cinnamon muffins, homemade meusli, and a slew of other seasonal baking.

A recent apple picking outing provided us with several bushels of fresh apples, and while we’re munching them daily raw (sliced, with aged cheddar, thank you) we’ve discovered that baking them for the evening’s dessert is another delicious way to enjoy them.

Maple Pecan Baked Apples is a perfect recipe for inviting children to pull up a chair and make along with you. They can mix the filling while you core the apples, then let them stuff the apples (and sample a bit of everything), and into the oven they go (the apples, not the kids).

One-on-one time in the kitchen always leads to interesting conversations. This time Mateo (3) initiated:

Mateo: “Mommy, we’re not ever going to sell the baby are we?” (meaning his future sibling I’m currently pregnant with)
Me. “WHAT? NO! (sternly) Mateo, if a stranger offered you candy in exchange for our baby, what would you say?
Mateo: (thinking, then:) “Thank you.

Sigh. Where does he come up with this stuff? Please note that we have since assured him that the baby will never be ‘for sale’. Gracious!

A Snapshot of Apple Varieties and Their Uses

If I had a quarter for every conversation about appropriate apples for the job…well you get my point. Have you ever noticed an apple pie filling resembling applesauce instead of the soft individual apple pieces that it should contain under that flaky crust? That’s a perfect example of having selected the wrong variety of apple for the job.

There are dozens (hundreds, even) of apple varieties and each have their unique job description. Here are just a few of them:

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Butternut Squash and Apple Soup Recipe

Written by Katie of Good Life Eats

I have not always been a fan of winter squash. I never cared for it as a child, but rather ate it because I was told to – so long as it was covered with enough butter and brown sugar. I was never a picky eater, but I always had a couple things that, even after trying, I just didn’t care for, and squash was one of them.

As an adult, however, I’ve found that sometimes liking or not liking certain vegetables or other ingredients depends so much on how that ingredient is prepared. Not to mention that taste buds mature with age.

It’s always good to keep experimenting and trying new things. Sometimes I surprise myself with the way my tastes have changed.

I know now that I don’t like to eat plain, cooked squash straight out of its shell. I like my squash best when it is cooked and used within a recipe, like with this Butternut Squash and Apple Soup. I’ve found that the variety of winter squash that I like the best is probably butternut squash, thanks to its sweet nutty taste.

Although I definitely have a favorite winter squash, I certainly can appreciate all that winter squash has to offer during a time where, in my opinion, produce is often pretty boring (I have always favored the brightly colored spring and summer fruits and vegetables).

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Introduction to October Unprocessed and My Menu Plan

A few weeks ago, bits and pieces about a project called #Unprocessed filtered through my Twitter stream – my main source for all things hot and newsworthy – and seeing that they were mainly initiated by @eatingrules, or Andrew Wilder, I just had to follow up and see what the buzz was about.

I was glad I did. I came across Andrew’s challenge to his readers – to go a whole month without eating processed foods – and I was instantly motivated to take part. After signing my name to the pledge, I started clicking around some of the posts from October Unprocessed 2010 (yes, this is an annual event) and was fascinated by the guest posts, testimonials and stories that arose from the challenge.

I knew I had to share the #Unprocessed challenge with my readers. After all, I can’t have all the fun in October by myself now, can I?

[Read more…]

Weekend Links

Have a wonderful weekend!