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Bella Eats

Southern from Scratch

Introducing a new book featuring Southern essentials & downhome recipes.

A holistic nutritionist and homesteader, Ashley English was raised in the hills of Southern Appalachia with a strong legacy of female cooks crafting memorable meals. Southern from Scratch combines the foods she grew up eating and the information she learned while pursuing her nutrition degree. The 150 recipes inside all honor the classics of the southern kitchen, but with an emphasis on local, seasonal produce and slow scratch cooking. Ashley shows you how to build your own Southern pantry with 50 key essentials from pickles and relishes to jams and spreads, sauces and vinegars, and more. From there, she shares 100 dishes that incorporate those base recipes. Create your own down-home Southern kitchen with recipes ranging from grits and buttermilk biscuits to BBQ sauce and pickled deviled eggs. Visit her blog at www.smallmeasure.com

Earth Girl Wellness – What’s a GMO?

What’s a GMO?

Written by Tina Hatcher, Earth Girl Wellness

Food manufacturers praise their products as Non-GMO. A television commercial portrays Triscuits as “Nongenemodiscuit.” So what’s with the Non-GMO trend? Is it worth our interest since most food marketing departments have long tried to lure us in with fancy wording to entice us to buy their product? Especially since many of these marketing ploys are only vain attempts to make a product inaccurately sound healthier? Earth Girl thinks the Non-GMO marketing trend is worth the added effort.

GMOs are “Genetically Modified Organisms.” Essentially natural food items (fruits and vegetables) have their genetic material altered to create a newer, “healthier” version of the food. Take corn for example. One species of corn has a piece of its genetic material taken and inserted into another species of corn to make it more resistant to drought, torrential rain, bugs, or undernourished soil. The new version of corn is then easier to grow in harsh conditions, creating higher crop production and lowering cost. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Cross-breeding of crops has been done for centuries to create similar results. So what’s so bad about that? Cross-breeding is a naturally occurring event. A farmer can put two similar breeds of corn together to make a new breed. Genetically modifying the corn is a scientific process occurring in a laboratory; two unrelated species are forced to combine. Think of it like this: You can create a new breed of dog by allowing natural puppy love to occur or you can create a “Frankenpup” by taking an eye from one and a leg from another.

As a point of debate, most of these new species are created to help bolster food supplies in challenging environments. Unfortunately, food executives have also used the technology to make a maximum amount of profit from their products. Most of the products containing GMO ingredients are of such poor quality, we shouldn’t eat them. But let’s push the point a little bit. What other ramifications can come from GMO products? Not a single GMO product can be labeled as organic and can’t really attest to the health of the nutrition or the potential harshness of the product to the land. There is not a single long term study which can validate the safety of these products. GMOs may not have dramatic effects on the current generation but can side effects show up in our children or our children’s children? Additionally, GMOs can ultimately eradicate normally occurring species of many fruits or vegetables. Cross pollination can occur across GMO farm and organic farms that are literally miles apart.

So how can you know if your food is safely free from GMOs? The most commonly genetically modified crops today are corn and soy. These are found in virtually every packaged product on the supermarket shelf! Earth Girl highly recommends putting any GMO product back on the shelf. Look for the Non-GMO Verified Green Seal of Approval and buy organic when possible. For more information on GMOs, go to The Non-GMO Project at www.nongmoproject.org.

For more info about Earth Girl Wellness, visit here.

Simple Sheet Pan Suppers

At times, spending hours in the kitchen can be a relaxing, enjoyable experience. However, even for avid home cooks, a busy weeknight isn’t one of those times. Fortunately, solutions like sheet pan suppers make it easy to create dishes with exceptional flavor depth that come together quickly and clean up just as fast.

Keeping a variety of vegetables on hand makes it simple to pull together a family meal. Onions, for example, are versatile, flavorful, easy to store, have a long shelf-life and are available year-round from U.S. growers. An added benefit when cooking with onions is that you’re serving up a good source of fiber.

For more tasty recipes to make supper a cinch, visit onions-usa.org and usaonions.com.

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Spicy Sheet Pan Roasted Jambalaya

Recipe courtesy of the National Onion Association and Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee

Servings: 4-6

1          large yellow onion, diced
1/2       large green bell pepper, diced
1/2       large yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2       large red bell pepper, diced
3          stalks celery, sliced or diced
2          garlic cloves, minced
1-2       jalapeños, seeded and diced
1          pint cherry tomatoes
3          tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2       teaspoon salt
1/2       teaspoon black pepper
1          link (13.5 ounces) Andouille sausage, sliced
1          pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1          tablespoon Cajun seasoning blend
linguine noodles, cooked according to package directions
1-2       lemons, sliced in thin wedges
2          green onions, sliced
fresh chopped parsley

Heat oven to 400 F.
Line 13-by-18-inch sheet pan with parchment paper.
In large bowl, combine onion, bell peppers, celery, garlic, jalapeños, tomatoes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper until evenly combined. Spread out evenly on pan in single layer. Add slices of Andouille sausage. Roast 15-20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and start to brown.
Toss shrimp with Cajun seasoning and prepare linguine noodles.
When ready, remove baking sheet from oven. Place shrimp on top of vegetable and sausage mixture in single layer. Top with half the lemon wedges. Return to oven and cook about 5-8 minutes, or until shrimp is no longer pink.
Serve over linguine garnished with green onions and parsley with remaining fresh lemon wedges on side.

 

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Easy Drumstick-Quinoa Sheet Pan Supper

Recipe courtesy of the National Onion Association and Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee

Servings: 4-6

8-10     chicken legs
1          fennel bulb
1          large yellow onion, sliced
1          large red onion, sliced
2          garlic cloves, sliced
3          medium-sized potatoes, cubed
1          orange (1/4 cup juice and zest)
1/4       teaspoon thyme, dried
2          tablespoons olive oil
1          teaspoon sea salt
1/2       teaspoon black pepper
2          tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
orange rind curls
brown rice, cooked according to package directions
quinoa, cooked according to package directions

Heat oven to 400 F.
Line 13-by-18-inch sheet pan with parchment paper.
Place chicken legs on pan. Spread fennel, yellow onion, red onion, garlic and potatoes around and in between legs.
In small bowl, whisk together orange juice and zest, thyme and olive oil. Pour mixture over chicken and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper.
Roast 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender. Cook rice and quinoa.
Garnish chicken with parsley and orange curls. Serve over brown rice and quinoa.

 

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Sheet Pan-Style Buddha Bowls

Recipe courtesy of the National Onion Association and Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee

Servings: 4-6

2          yellow onions, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1/2       head of red or purple cabbage, cut into wedges
2          red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1          small butternut squash, peeled and 1/2-inch diced
1          pound Brussels sprouts, halved
extra-virgin olive oil
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
1 1/2    cups quinoa, cooked according to package directions

Tahini sauce:

1          tablespoon tahini
1/2       lemon, juiced
1          teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2-1    teaspoon maple syrup
2          avocados, peeled and sliced
fresh parsley

 

Heat oven to 400 F.
Line 13-by-18-inch sheet pan with parchment paper.
Place onion, cabbage, potatoes, squash and Brussels sprouts in single layer on pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables 40 minutes, or until tender. Add more salt and pepper if needed.

While vegetables roast, cook quinoa.
To make tahini sauce: In small bowl, whisk tahini, lemon juice, mustard and syrup until smooth.
To assemble Buddha bowls: Spoon quinoa into bowls. Add roasted veggies and garnish with avocado and parsley. Drizzle tahini sauce over each bowl and serve.

 

All About Onions

Knowing how to buy and store onions can make them true superstars in your kitchen. Growers and shippers of the National Onion Association and Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee offer these tips:

Buying
When shopping, buy onions with dry outer skins, free of spots or blemishes. The onion should be firm and have no scent. Avoid bulbs that have begun to sprout.

Yellow, red and white onions are available year-round from producers in the United States.

Seasonal differences like flavor and texture are noticeable and highlighted during these time frames:

Fall and winter onions (available August-April ) have multiple layers of thick, paper-like layers of skin. Known for their mild to pungent flavor profile, these varieties can be eaten raw, and are ideal for roasting, caramelizing, grilling and frying because they have less water content.

Spring and summer onions (available March-August) have thin, often transparent skins and are typically sweeter and milder than fall and winter varieties. Due to their high water content and mild flavor, they are best used for raw, pickled, lightly cooked or grilled dishes.

 

Storing
Store onions in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place, not the refrigerator. Do not store whole, unpeeled onions in plastic bags. Lack of air movement reduces storage life. Peeled or cut onions may be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Source: National Onion Association and Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee

 

Bella Sips: Sloshies

The temperatures are climbing, and we find ourselves longing for a nice cold drink under an umbrella by the water. If it’s your day to relax, or you’d like to try a new drink by the lake with your friends, Sloshies: 102 Boozy Cocktails Straight from the Freezer has you covered! With everything from tart drinks like Whiskey Smashed, to spiced drinks like High on the Hog, your experience is destined to be unforgettable!

Whiskey Smashed
Give your party an extra kick with this smashing combination of small-batch Kentucky bourbon on top of a citrus blend and minty frozen love.

ABV: 9.77%
Glass: Up & Down
Garnish: mint leaf, lemon wheel, and a floppy hat (for you to wear)

2 3/4 ounces water
9 ounces Simple Syrup
7 1/4 ounces Mint Simple Syrup
6 ounces lemon juice
6 3/4 ounces lime juice
8 3/4 ounces Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Combine
Place the ingredients in a medium-size metal bowl and stir.

Freeze
Pour the liquid into a large freezer bag and place it in the freezer until frozen, approximately 4 hours. Alternatively, pour the liquid into an ice cream maker and proceed per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Serve
When you’re ready to drink, massage the freezer bag by hand until it’s a wet, slushy consistency. If it’s not breaking up, run the bag quickly under hot water and massage some more.

High on the Hog
Bacon is the candy of meats. It’s so delicious, we decided just to build a drink around it. Ginger, maple, and bourbon roll on your tongue while you fight the urge to just eat the bacon garnish first.

ABV: 12.78%
Glass: Up & Down
Garnish: strip of crispy bacon

27 ounces ginger ale
2 ounces Dolin Dry Vermouth de Chambéry
2  3/4 ounces Cabin Fever Maple Flavored Whisky
8  1/4 ounces Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Combine
Place the ingredients in a medium-size metal bowl and stir.

Freeze
Pour the liquid into a large freezer bag and place it in the freezer until frozen, approximately 4 hours. Alternatively, pour the liquid into an ice cream maker and proceed per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Serve
When you’re ready to drink, massage the freezer bag by hand until it’s a wet, slushy consistency. If it’s not breaking up, run the bag quickly under hot water and massage some more.

Makes at least 4 drinks.

Visit our Facebook page for details on how to win a copy of this book!

A Thanksgiving to Remember

Our office is an even split between people who plan their Thanksgiving menu weeks in advance and those who are now realizing that (oh my!) Thanksgiving is THIS THURSDAY.

If you’re like the latter half of us, don’t panic (like we MAY have this morning). We’ve found some great recipes that will make this Thanksgiving one to remember for years to come!

tgiving1
Photo from How Sweet It Is.

First, a Bacon Butternut Squash Risotto. How Sweet It Is, you had us at bacon! We may even skip mashed potatoes this year and serve this instead. (Just kidding!) But seriously, this dish is the perfect combination of all things delicious and all things autumn, and we can’t wait to try it!

 

tgvng
Photo from I Am A Food Blog.

Next, no table is complete without a Pumpkin Loaf. Give in to the pumpkin craze that always peaks during this time of year (don’t worry, this is a much better alternative to SOME pumpkin flavored dishes). Try this yummy recipe from I Am A Food Blog.

 

tgiving2
Photo from A Pinch of Yum.

A few of us have family staying in our homes from out of town this Thanksgiving weekend. Breakfast is often forgotten in the craziness of planning the evening meal, but our guests won’t be disappointed with that we have waiting in the kitchen on Thursday morning! Check out these Strawberry Oat Crumble Bars from a Pinch of Yum!

tgiving3
Photo from How Sweet It Is.

And finally, after all of this last minute planning, we could use a glass of this Cranberry Chai Sangria from How Sweet It Is. Don’t forget to start this one before you start cooking everything else. Mostly because it’s nice to have on hand, just in case.
Now, sit back, relax, and get through the short work week. We’ve got this!

Written by Nicole Brobston

Serve It Up Sassy!: Berry Delicious Summer

Summer means flip-flops, fireflies, and fresh ripe berries!  When you pick the first ripe berry and the sweetened juice pops in your mouth, it’s time to make your favorite summer berry delicious desserts. Blueberry Swirl Pound Cake and a Strawberry Tart are two simple desserts to have on hand for all of your summer entertaining. These berry-inspired desserts are bursting with the sun-kissed flavors of the season.

Swing open the French door to your patio and layer your picnic table with vibrant summer colors and delicious berry desserts.  We kept our seasonal table casual with red and white checked napkins, bright yellow sunflowers, and mason jars wrapped with twine.  The desserts and sunflower arrangement take a stand as the table centerpiece. Repeating the checkered napkins and single sunflower stem at each place-setting, as well as the white dinner plate emphasizes the easy-to-create table color scheme and décor.  Two white ruffled cake pedestals display the Blueberry Swirl Pound Cake and the Strawberry Tart.

table to benchEven more fun with function, we turned our seasonal bench into our picnic table. Our outdoor bench turns into a half-sized picnic table when the bench back becomes the table top. Every back yard, park and grill master should own one or more of these benches-to-table.  If two tables are put together it creates one regular sized picnic table.  These tables are build to last and can be used for all of your seasonal entertaining, not just for summer. Where do you get one of these bench-to-tables?  Glad you asked.  Boy scouts from troop #135  Sulphur Springs, Tennessee are building these bench/tables to raise money for a once in a lifetime high adventure camp called Florida Sea Base.  The bench/tables are available for purchase with 100% of the proceeds going to the boys attending the High Adventure Camp.  You can contact Doug Bushong, my husband and scout master* for troop #135 to order your very own bench turned table or any boy scout from the troop will be happy to assist you.

Your guests will enjoy the taste bud-tingling blend of blueberries and cream in the baked blueberry swirl pound cake.  The pound cake features a delectable golden crust with a moist tender center that will make this cake your new- go-to dessert for any season. A lightly sweetened blueberry puree is layered in the cake batter and gently swirled before baking.  This pound cake is perfectly wonderful all on its own, but when topped with a handful of fresh picked-ripe berries it becomes a sensational taste of summer.

The Strawberry Tart is a chilled summer pie with show-stopping presentation.  Fresh whole strawberries are de-stemmed and sit pretty with pointed ends up on top of a lemon and whipped cream filling.  The prebaked sweet pastry crust is made with real butter and confectioner’s sugar making every bite of this tart one to remember.  Both desserts are make-ahead with the Strawberry Tart being refrigerated for a few hours.

blueberry pound cake slice with watermarkBaking with berries can be a bit tricky. Blueberries can make your muffins and cake batter turn purple if you don’t coat them in flour first before baking. Coating in flour will prevent the berry juice from spreading into the batter.  Strawberries are almost 90% water and dark fuller berries have a higher concentration of water inside.   This leads to a sticky unexpected soggy baked dish. To prevent a soggy baked dish select berries that are just slightly under ripe, having passed the stage of development where a white ring appears around the hull.  For more information about strawberries and blueberries, how to grow, where to pick and health benefits, check with your local county extension agent or office.  For more entertaining ideas and recipes go to www.lizbushong.com.

Berries are beautiful!  Whether you are picnicking at the beach or in your own backyard go out and play; put on your flip-flops, watch the flickering lights of the fireflies and eat all the fresh berries you can.  This is going to be a berry delicious summer!

blueberry swirl pound cake with watermarkBlueberry Swirl Pound Cake

The Swirl:
1-1/2 cups fresh pureed blueberries
2 tablespoons cold water
1-tablespoon arrowroot or cornstarch
3-tablespoons granulated sugar

Cake Batter:
1-cup butter, softened and no substitutions
3-cups granulated sugar
1-(8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
6 large eggs
1-tablespoon vanilla extract
1-tablespoon crème bouquet* extract
1-tablespoon grated orange zest
3 ½- cups all-purpose flour
1-teaspoon baking powder
1-teaspoon salt
1-cup heavy whipping cream

Garnish:
Buttercream Orange Glaze
Fresh strawberries, blueberries, & mint

Preheat oven to 325. Coat 12-15 cup Bundt pan with shortening and coat with flour.
Blueberry Swirl: In small mixing bowl, whisk together cold water and cornstarch until smooth. In small saucepan, stir together blueberry puree, 3 tablespoons sugar and cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil over medium high heat stirring constantly. Boil blueberry mixture until thickened, set aside and let cool.
Cake:  Measure flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer at medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add softened cream cheese and beat until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beat well after each addition. Add extracts and zest, beat to combine. Gradually add flour and cream, alternating with cream, beginning and ending with flour, beat just until combined.
Spoon 1/3 batter into prepared pan, spoon 1/3 blueberry swirl over batter, repeat layers ending with batter. Using a knife, swirl batter, but not too much. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Invert cake on cooling rack cool completely before glazing.
Buttercream Orange Glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1-tablespoon heavy cream, 1 teaspoon orange extract. Drizzle over cake. Garnish with individual blueberries on top of cake. Serve with fresh strawberries, blueberries and mint sprig per serving.
Yield:  8-10 servings.  *Crème bouquet can be found at the Gazebo in Kingsport, TN or online.

Berry Delcious! (1)Strawberry Tart

Crust:
1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
1 ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2-teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, shredded and chilled
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon chilled water
2 tablespoons strawberry jam- melted

Lemon Cream Cheese Filling
1-3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1-tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh grated lemon zest
¾ cup sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream + 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 ½ pounds fresh strawberries, stemmed
¼ cup current jelly
1 tablespoon orange juice

Prepare crust:  Sift flour, confectioner’s sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Grate butter and place on parchment then pop into freezer for 20 minutes. Add chilled butter to flour mixture, combine with hands or forks until crumbs resemble breadcrumbs. Mix egg yolks and water together, sprinkle over flour mixture to make soft dough. Knead a few seconds, flatten dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate 30 minutes.

On floured surface, roll dough to ¼” thickness. Press dough into bottom and sides of an 8-inch tart pan. Line crust with aluminum foil and add pie weights or dried beans to foil. Chill another 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 400. Bake tart shell for 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights and bake additional 5-8 minutes. Remove from oven and brush baked shell with melted strawberry jam. Set aside to cool.  (Crust recipe will make two-8-inch tart shells).

Filling: In food processor, process cream cheese until fluffy. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar. Process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl. In medium bowl, whip cream to soft peaks, add confectioner’s sugar, beat to firm peaks. Fold cream cheese mixture into whipped cream. Spoon filling into one tart shell. (Double filling ingredients recipe if making two tarts.) Cover filling with plastic wrap and chill 3 hours. Just before serving, arrange whole strawberries, pointed ends up, over the entire chilled tart in concentric circles. In microwave proof glass, add currant jelly and heat 12-15 seconds until melted, stir in orange juice. Remove from heat and let cool about 2 minutes. Stir jelly occasionally to prevent film from foaming. Spoon or brush warmed jelly mixture over berries and serve immediately.
Yield:  8-9 servings

Liz Circle 2013 smallHelping you Make a Statement, Make it Sassy and Make it Yours!®
Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. For the past several years Liz been entrusted to decorate the White House for several Holidays. She is a featured monthly guest chef/designer on Daytime Tricities, Daytime Blue Ridge and other television shows. Liz is the author of the Just Desserts and Sweets & Savories cookbook as well as a contributing writer for VIP SEEN and Bella Magazine. For more information about Liz go to www.lizbushong.com/www.serveitupsassy.com.

*Bench/table: Doug Bushong-Scout Master-Troop #135 –Sulphur Springs, Tn.  E-Mail: dbushong17@gmail.com 

Serve It Up Sassy: Caramel Apple– Delicious!

Recipe Development, Food Styling, Photography and Article by Liz Bushong

With a dash of cinnamon or a sprinkle of sugar, the apple is the favored fruit for fall. Would you like to smell the aroma of nutmeg, cinnamon and apples baking in your kitchen? These apple recipes will show you some of the sweetest ways to enjoy the autumn season.

Caramel Apples settingMemories of fall always include caramel and apples.  A big golden delicious apple on a stick covered with sweet chewy caramel and peanuts is just one of three apple-delicious recipes that you can make this season for your family and friends. Have you had problems with caramel staying on the apple after you dipped them? This homemade caramel recipe and ways to prepare your apples will keep your caramel from slipping off. Now you can make gourmet caramel apples with loads of caramel, chocolate, and various toppings without the caramel pooling at the bottom of the pan.

Caramel Apple Walnut Cookies are individual mini pies filled with a layer of caramel and thick homemade apple pie filling. The cookie is topped with a piecrust woven lattice that resembles an apple pie. As you bite into this little bit-of- heaven, the apple filling with its cinnamon and walnut bites ooze from the sides of the cookies. The cookie top is sprinkled with a generous amount of cinnamon and sugar.

Skillet Caramel Apple Pie (2)Another all time favorite is the apple pie, but this time it is baked like grama used to make it, in a cast iron skillet.  What makes this pie special is the caramel layer in the bottom of the skillet before you add the piecrust and filling. The caramel bakes through the two-layer crusts and rises to the top of the pie making this pie, caramel apple-delicious all the way through.

Apple treats are comforting desserts that should make a regular appearance at your fall get-togethers and meals. The sweet scents of apples and cinnamon baking in your oven will make your home cozy, warm and inviting. Decorating with apples is an inexpensive way to create pretty tablescapes and fall décor for your home.

For a dazzling fall table display bring out your favorite autumn accessories, pumpkins, gourds, leaves, and wooden bowls of granny smith or assorted red and yellow apples. Choose flat bottom pumpkins for stacking, mix colors that will make your display more eye appealing. Ornamental kale, mini pumpkins, mums, potted pansies and sunflowers create a simple but beautiful table and porch presence. For more ways to help you serve it up sassy go to www.lizbushong.com. Be sure to get your free downloadable copy of the Top 5 Fall Favorite  recipes when you subscribe to the Serve it up Sassy blog.

October harvest brings bushels of apples and plenty of apple and caramel-infused desserts. Surprise your kiddos with an after school snack and bake a batch of Caramel Apple Walnut Cookies. For the upcoming harvest party, dip and design Caramel Apples.  For supper tonight bake a little bit –of- happiness with the Skillet Caramel Apple Pie.  Don’t skip the vanilla ice cream on the warm pie.  It is truly apple-delicious!

 

Caramel Apple singleCaramel Apples

6 medium Gala apples, wax removed
1 cup butter + 4 tablespoons
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 cup corn syrup
1-14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon maple syrup or vanilla
Chopsticks or craft sticks

Toppings:
Diced peanuts, walnuts, pecans, mini m & m’s, white bark, chocolate morsels

Prepare apple toppings and place in bowls, set aside.
With 4 tablespoons of butter grease parchment paper or wax paper, set aside. Remove wax on apples by placing apples in boiling water for 40 seconds, remove and rinse. Dry apples, remove apple stems and add sticks. Place apples in refrigerator to chill while you make the caramel. (You will thoroughly dry apples with a towel before dipping in caramel.)
In large saucepan on medium heat, melt butter, sugars and corn syrup until smooth, but not boiling. Add condensed milk and stir with wooden spoon until candy thermometer reaches 178 degrees.  Remove from heat and add syrup or vanilla, let caramel cool for 3-4 minutes before dipping apples.
To dip apples; make sure apples are completely dry. Dip apple in caramel and allow caramel to drop off the bottom so it will not pool,  roll apple in desired toppings, place on buttered wax or parchment paper to set. Melt white bark and chocolate chips in separate containers and place in individual disposable piping bags. Pipe  white bark and chocolate around tops of apples in a drizzle design. Keep apples refrigerated.
Yield:  6 caramel apples

 

Caramel Apple Walnut CookiesCaramel Apple Lattice Cookies

2 refrigerated pie crust* tested Pillsbury
3 medium granny smith apples
4 tablespoons butter
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon – divided
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg- divided
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup caramel ice cream topping
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts-optional

Peel, core and dice apples, place in saucepan with butter, brown sugar, salt and 1 teaspoon of each spice. On medium heat, cook apples until soft and thickened. Remove from heat and cool. Unroll one crust, using a 2 ½” round cookie cutter, cut out 12 cookie rounds.  Place rounds on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush tops of pie crust cookies with caramel topping. Add a ½ teaspoon apple filling over top of cookie round. Sprinkle with chopped nuts if desired.  Unroll remaining crust and cut long strips of dough ¼ “ wide. Weave dough strips to create a lattice design. Cut cookie lattice with round cookie cutter to create clean edges. Mix ¼ cup sugar and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and nutmeg. Brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture. Bake cookies for 30 minutes at 350. Drizzle cookies with caramel sauce if desired. Best served warm.
Yield:  12-13 cookies

Skillet Caramel Apple PieSkillet Caramel Apple Pie

5 medium gala apples, peeled and sliced ¼” thick
¼ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
1- teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 – unbaked pie crusts* tested Pillsbury Refrigerated Crust
8 tablespoons butter- divided
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed, light or dark
2 teaspoons corn syrup
1 cup chopped walnuts-optional
1 teaspoon sea salt-divided

In 10”cast iron skillet, over medium heat, melt 6 tablespoons butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir caramel mixture together until smooth and bubbly around the edges of the skillet. Add walnuts, stir to combine. Remove from heat and cool 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add apples, flour, sugar, and spices,  mix to coat apples.
Unroll one crust and place on top of caramel –walnut mixture in skillet. Pushing the crust up the sides of the skillet. Add coated apples and 2 tablespoons of butter diced into small pieces. Unroll remaining crust and place over the apple pie filling. Pinch and crimp both crust edges together.
Brush top of crust with egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar.  Bake pie on a parchment lined baking sheet for 55-60 minutes at 350 degrees.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream drizzled with caramel sauce if desired.
Yield:  8 servings

 

Liz Circle 2013 smallHelping you Make a Statement, Make it Sassy and Make it Yours!®

Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. For the past several years Liz been entrusted to decorate the White House for several Holidays. She is a featured monthly guest chef/designer on Daytime Tricities, Daytime Blue Ridge and other television shows. Liz is the author of the Just Desserts and Sweets & Savories cookbook as well as a contributing writer for VIP SEEN and Bella Magazine. For more information about Liz go to www.lizbushong.com/www.serveitupsassy.com

Gluten-Free Vegetarian Family Cookbook

512r7bijk2L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_The Gluten-Free Vegetarian Family Cookbook is a great way to introduce yourself to gluten-free vegetarian meals and stay healthy in the process. It includes 150 healthy recipes for meals, snacks, sides, desserts and more. Within, you’ll find delicious recipes like the following one for a Sloppy June and Sprout Panini:

2 pieces gluten-free bread (there are recipes for different flavors in the book)
sliced avocado
hummus
1/4 c Sloppy June filling (recipe in book)
sprouts
sliced cheese or vegan cheese (optional)
coconut oil spray for the grill

  1. Lay 1 piece of bread on a cutting board. Place a slice or two of avocado on the bread; you may wish to mash it and spread it on the bread. Top with a small amount of hummus (about 1 tablespoon) and spread it out. Add the Sloppy June filling and spread it out, then add the sprouts and cheese. Place the second piece of bread on top.
  2. Lightly spray the top and bottom of panini machine or indoor electric grill with coconut oil. Put the sandwich in the grill and press it together. The machine should tell you when the panini is done, or grill until the bread is browned and the ingredients are heated. Save immediately.

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