Homemade Unsweetened Applesauce

Unsweetened ApplesauceThis could not be any easier, folks. There are some super tempting, most definitely delicious applesauce recipes out there that have all sorts of ingredients in them, including loads of sugar. Nothing against those applesauce recipes, but a couple of things to remember about unsweetened applesauce:

  1. It’s Fall, so the apples are fresh and naturally sweet and AMAZING! Let the apple flavor be the star ingredient, not added sugar!
  2. When you cook the apples low and slow, they literally melt apart and form into the most magical applesauce ever.
  3. I have a 1-year-old and sometimes the simple, no sugar added option is the best for little bodies (and for big bodies too, really).
  4. I can’t even concentrate anymore because my house smells like I live in a ginormous apple pie…I’m seriously having a brain fart here.

Unsweetened ApplesauceI used McIntosh apples because they’re so naturally sweet. If you use another variety of apples (such as Jonathan or Braeburn), or if the apples aren’t at all sweet for some reason, there’s a chance you MIGHT need a touch of sugar. However, I beg you to try it without the sugar first! You might just be surprised. I mean, I have a SUPER sweet tooth and 9 out of 10 times I don’t need to add sugar. If it needs a little something, try cinnamon first. Sometimes that gives it just the boost it needs to be perfect! Then, if it really does need the sugar, so be it. You can call me liar forever. I accept this possibility as long as you give it a try.

Fun fact about McIntosh apples that I learned from my sister — I guess McIntosh apples make an applesauce with a slightly pinkish tint to it. It makes sense since they turn a little pink once you peel and dice them. So interesting, though! Yeah, I know. I’m a nerd for being fascinated by simple food facts like that.Unsweetened ApplesauceP.S. I heated some of the applesauce up until it was warm and just starting to bubble. I sprinkled some granola on it and ended up with a healthy little dessert. It was so, so satisfying!


P.P.S. Extra credit if you noticed that the apples in the final pictures are Gala, not McIntosh apples, like I used for the applesauce. I got so carried away, I used all the McIntosh apples I had for the applesauce and left none for the pictures. Oops!

Homemade Unsweetened Applesauce
The simplest unsweetened applesauce possible!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 pounds McIntosh apples
  2. splash of water (enough to barely cover the bottom of the pot)
  3. cinnamon, optional, to taste
Instructions
  1. Peel and dice apples into 1/2" pieces.
  2. Put a splash of water in the bottom of a large pot (enough to barely cover the bottom) along with the apples. Cook on the stovetop over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes. The applesauce should be slightly chunky but tender.
  3. Add cinnamon, if desired, to taste.
  4. Serve warm or chilled.
  5. Makes about 3 cups of applesauce
Notes
  1. You can use other kinds of apples to make applesauce, such as Braeburn, Cortland, Jonathan, etc. However, I love how naturally sweet the McIntosh apples are. If you use a variety that is more tart, you may have to add a pinch of sugar.
  2. If you want completely smooth applesauce, use an immersion blender or blender to blend until smooth. Make sure the applesauce is cooled before transferring to a normal blender.
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Lemon Shortbread Cookies

lemon shortbread cookiesThese lemon shortbread cookies…oh my. They are SCRUMPTIOUS! They literally melt. in. your. mouth. They just might be my new favorite cookie. Since the recipe is just a combination of household pantry/fridge staples, I find it real hard not to make these cookies every day of my life. I kind of want to go make them now. But I won’t. Self-control…

lemon shortbread cookiesI made these little delicacies for a bridal shower for one of my bestest friends. Everyone loved them! I did something you’re never supposed to do though. I made these for the FIRST time for the shower. That’s risky business because you never know if they’ll turn out. I had faith though, and was well rewarded for my trust in these cookies. Whew! 

lemon shortbread cookiesI do have to be honest about these. They started out as a vanilla bean shortbread cookie that I had saved from another blog and I now I can’t find the blog! The link is broken or it doesn’t exist anymore or something. So whoever you are that inspired these cookies, THANK YOU! If you’re out there reading this, you changed my life for the better. 


lemon shortbread cookiesRandom note that you might find helpful is that when you start mixing the dough together it will look like a crumbly mess. You might curse my name or start panicking. Take a deep breath. And another. And maybe by that time you will realize that the dough just needed to be mixed a little longer. It should become a nice smooth dough to roll out and everything will be well again. You might need to slightly press it into a ball to roll out, but it shouldn’t take too much effort.

I keep these pretty small because they’re so rich. Also a good excuse to eat a couple. Definitely not like 10 though. That’s *way* too many…cough, cough. 

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Lemon Shortbread Cookies
Yields 48
Sweet and tart lemon shortbread cookies that will melt in your mouth
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
11 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
11 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup softened butter
  2. 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 2 cups flour
  5. 1/2 cup cornstarch
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the drizzle
  1. 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  2. 3-4 tablespoons lemon juice (or juice from about 1 large lemon)
  3. lemon zest from 1 lemon
  4. water (to thin, if needed)
Instructions
  1. Cream the butter, 3/4 cup powdered sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, salt) in a medium bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until well-combined but still crumbly, about 1 minute. Turn mixer to medium and mix for an additional 2-3 minutes, until the dough comes together*.
  3. Roll the dough out into a 9"x12" rectangle between 2 pieces of parchment paper. It should end up being about 1/2"-3/8" thick.
  4. Transfer the parchment and dough to a baking sheet and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. After refrigeration, lift the dough from the baking sheet and cut it into 1 1/2" squares.
  7. Place the cold dough on parchment lined baking sheets. You don't need much room between them (about 1") because they don't spread much.
  8. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until pale golden brown on the edges.
  9. Let cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  10. Mix together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest for the drizzle in a small bowl. Add water, if needed, to create a consistency that is loose enough to drizzle. Use a spoon to drizzle the icing over the cooled shortbread cookies. Let the drizzle harden before storing in an airtight container.
Notes
  1. *When you start mixing, the dough will look crumbly. Continue to mix until the dough comes together...it will!
  2. Try not to overwork the dough once you roll it out or to reroll because it will get bumpy. However, if you must, the drizzle will cover some imperfections!
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Almond Orange Biscotti

Almond Orange BiscottiI keep a list of recipes I want to try and potentially post to the blog if they go well. I’ll be the first to admit that they don’t always go well. I burnt soup this weekend. One time I made mini pumpkin pies that turned into mini pumpkin blobs. I’ve made caramel filled rice cereal bars that were so chewy they could probably take out a filling. *Sigh*.

Almond Orange BiscottiAlmond Orange BiscottiI’ll end my pity party there because there are also those recipes that are SPOT ON the moment I try them and it makes my day. Sometimes my week…small victories, people. Small victories. Let’s talk almond orange biscotti. SPOT ON! I didn’t even really know I had any love of biscotti until I made these. Can I just say again how SPOT ON these are?! Okay, I think you all get it.

Almond Orange BiscottiA few of my favorite parts of these cookies are:

  1. They look super fancy and hard to make BUT they’re not. For reals.
  2. I’ve heard rumors that properly stored these guys can last like a few weeks or a month. I may never know if this is true.
  3. The almond orange biscotti are not overly sweet thanks to the nut and citrus flavors.
  4. Chocolate.
  5. Biscotti make it totally appropriate for adults to dunk their cookies. In fact, that’s what they’re made for!

This is a fairly traditional recipe for biscotti but let me tell you, I am psyched to try new combinations of flavors! Granted, most will probably involve dunking them in chocolate. I’m pretty sure most everyone will be okay with that.

Almond Orange BiscottiP.S. I don’t drink coffee because I’m weird like that. I dunked these in milk. YUM. 

Almond Orange Biscotti
Yields 24
A traditional biscotti, or twice baked cookie, that's perfect for dunking!
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 4 eggs + 1 egg for egg wash
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  8. 1 tablespoon orange zest (or zest from about 1 medium orange)
  9. 1 cup whole almonds, toasted*
  10. 1 tablespoon water
  11. chocolate chips, to dip biscotti (1-2 cups depending on how you dip them)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. Beat in 4 eggs, vanilla, and orange zest until it forms a ball. It will start out looking rather crumbly so be patient!
  4. Stir in toasted almonds.
  5. With clean, damp hands form 2 logs on parchment-lined baking sheets. Each log should be about 4 inches wide and 3/4 inch tall.
  6. Whisk together remaining egg and water for egg wash. Brush each log with egg wash.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top, rotating pans at the halfway point.
  8. Transfer logs to a wire rack and let cool for about 20 minutes.
  9. Use a large serrated knife to cut 3/4 inch slices. I cut mine on the bias, or diagonal, but you can also cut straight across.
  10. Place the slices, standing up, on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  11. Bake for another 25 minutes.
  12. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  13. Melt the chocolate chips (I used a double boiler but you could also microwave them, checking and stirring every 30 seconds). Dip* biscotti in chocolate and let cool on parchment paper.
  14. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
  1. *To toast the almonds, I just put the whole almonds in a dry skillet over medium-low heat and toasted them until they started to become fragrant
  2. *I dipped my biscotti in chocolate along the bottom edge but you could also dunk them in the chocolate (like you would dunk it into a drink). I've even seen some with drizzle on them. I like the bottom coated because you get a little chocolate in every bite but it doesn't cover up the cookie so you can still dunk it in your drink!
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Spicy Chicken Southwest Salad

Spicy Chicken Southwest SaladCan I be real for a minute?? I now have a one year old. EEK! I get it now when people say kids grow up fast…where did the time go? When our little man was first born we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into and now we have no idea what it was like before him. The laughs, smiles, and squeals just melt my heart. He plays like it’s his job (busiest boy in the world) and I swear he can run faster than I can. Something I must work on I suppose…Maybe less galette and more salad? Only if it’s this spicy chicken Southwest salad, of course! (Nice transition, right? Totally worked real hard on that one. Also, not giving up the galette. That would be silly.)

Spicy Chicken Southwest SaladThis is a super simple, weeknight, use-all-your-leftover-veggies, I-can’t-even-think-of-making-dinner kind of meal. And it’s AMAZING! Sometimes simple is better than the hard stuff and this is definitely quick and easy. Perfect for someone who wants to be somewhat healthy but also has to chase a one year old that they can’t keep up with (aka…me).

Spicy Chicken Southwest SaladMy absolute favorite part is that I usually have everything I need to make it because the ingredients are staples in my house. And actually I lied because I have another absolute favorite part…there’s not actually a recipe! MIND BLOWN! If you say you can’t cook because you can’t follow a recipe, this is good news for you. All you really need to do is follow a shopping list. Or maybe just go find these things in your fridge or pantry. 


Spicy Chicken Southwest SaladTravis and I probably have this once a week. I’ll have Travis grill up some extra chicken if we’re already grilling, I cut it up, and either freeze or refrigerate it depending on how quickly I plan on using it. Then it’s just a matter of chopping, heating some ingredients up (if you so choose) and eating. Nom, nom!

Spicy Chicken Southwest Salad
Hot and spicy chicken DEFINITELY spices up this Southwest salad!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. Lettuce (Romaine, or your favorite kind), ripped or cut into bite size pieces
  2. Grilled chicken, cubed
  3. Hot sauce
  4. Black Beans, rinsed and drained
  5. Frozen corn
  6. Avocado, sliced or diced
  7. Hard boiled egg, cubed
  8. Cheddar cheese, grated
  9. Tortilla chips, crushed
  10. Ranch dressing
  11. lime, for garnish
Additional Options
  1. Tomato, diced
  2. Bell pepper, diced
  3. Red onion, finely chopped or diced
Instructions
  1. Mix desired amount of hot sauce with the grilled chicken (I like mine hot so I add quite a bit!). I usually heat up the chicken and hot sauce in a saute pan if it's not already warm, but this is optional.
  2. Heat the black beans and frozen corn in a saute pan over medium heat. Again, optional but if you eat it cold, please make sure to use canned or fresh corn so you don't break a tooth!
  3. Layer desired ingredients over lettuce. Top with ranch dressing and crushed tortilla chips. Finish with a squeeze of lime to garnish.
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Peach and Blueberry Galette

Peach Blueberry GaletteOh, hey! I haven’t been around for awhile. Don’t worry, I still love my blog and my food. It’s just that we recently moved (need I continue?). The house is amazing. BUT, it needs lots of paint and love to become our dream home! So foodie Steph has temporarily become cleaning-unpacking-priming-paining-designer-handy woman Steph. And if that isn’t enough to keep me busy, I’m trying to keep my on-the-move son away from new fun things like brick fireplaces and steps to the basement. It’s a fun, crazy life!

The other day among all the house reno work, I told Travis I needed to make cookies. I’m pretty sure he knew I was serious. I needed a break. No joke. Baking and cooking are my go-to rejuvenation activities and luckily I have a husband who would never turn down a cookie. Never ever. So Travis and I spent time together baking, and it was just what I needed. And he got cookies. Win, win. We made chocolate chip cookies and they made everything better.

Peach Blueberry GaletteYou know what else would have made everything better? You guessed it…this peach and blueberry galette. Maybe you don’t know what a galette is and that’s perfectly fine. In fact, if you would have asked me a year ago what a galette is I probably couldn’t have told you. It’s just a super simple open pie. That’s it! You could impress any guest with the seemingly complex dessert that takes about 5 minutes to throw together. It’s such a beautiful dessert even though it looks, for lack of a better term, rustic. The homemade, rustic look is charming in this case…so use it to your advantage if you have difficulty making a typical pie look picture perfect!


Peach Blueberry GalettePeach Blueberry GaletteYou know what takes this dessert to the next level? You guessed it again (you’re on fire today!)…ice cream. You take this gorgeous peach and blueberry galette out of the oven and serve it warm with cold vanilla ice cream piled on top. The fruit is juicy and sweet. The crust is crisp. The ice cream melts into the crevices. Stop. Just stop. I can’t even handle it. 

Peach Blueberry GaletteI just have to say that, like those chocolate chip cookies, this galette is a guaranteed pick-me-up. So take that much-needed break, find some ice cream to top this pile of deliciousness with, and you eat it like you deserve it. Maybe even find someone to share it with. Because, you know what they say…the only thing better than eating a galette is eating a galette with a friend. That’s not a real saying. I really just made that up right now. BUT, so much truth to it. So find a friend and eat a galette!

Peach and Blueberry Galette
Serves 6
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup finely sliced peaches (1-2 peaches)
  2. 1 cup blueberries
  3. 1/4 cup + 1/2 tablespoon sugar (divided)
  4. 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  5. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 9-inch pie crust, unbaked
  8. 1 egg, beaten
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix sliced peaches, blueberries, 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and vanilla in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Place rolled out pie crust on parchment-lined baking sheet (or silicon mat).
  4. Arrange the fruit mixture in the center of the pie crust, leaving about 1 1/2 inches around the outside rim of the crust without fruit.
  5. Fold the extra pie crust towards the center. Don't worry about being too perfect!
  6. Brush the crust with the beaten egg and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tablespoon sugar.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the crust is light golden brown.
  8. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/