This 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:
It’s Fall, so the apples are fresh and naturally sweet and AMAZING! Let the apple flavor be the star ingredient, not added sugar!
When you cook the apples low and slow, they literally melt apart and form into the most magical applesauce ever.
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).
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.
I 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.P.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!
splash of water (enough to barely cover the bottom of the pot)
cinnamon, optional, to taste
Peel and dice apples into 1/2" pieces.
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.
Add cinnamon, if desired, to taste.
Serve warm or chilled.
Makes about 3 cups of applesauce
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.
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/
Having a newborn has completely changed my view of food. My food thoughts these days consist of things such as: “How can a little baby pack away that much food? He must be a magician,” and “I’m SOO hungry…I will eat anything. Seriously. Anything.” (Breastfeeding moms, are you with me there? I can eat all day and still be hungry). Oh, and my favorite recently pondered question is whether or not I have somehow turned from human to milk-making machine. Because sometimes I feel like that’s my new job. Actually, that is my new job along with professional cuddler, diaper changer and swaddler. I’m learning on the job. I think my client is happy but he doesn’t talk yet.
Along with these very deep and profound thoughts (hey, they’re profound if you’ve been sleep deprived), there’s just no more TIME! I was always the person that used cooking and baking as my calming factor after a busy day. Kind of like yoga for someone who can’t balance on one foot. No joke, I made a hot dog the other day on an indoor electric grill and was proud of myself for the amazing feat I accomplished…I don’t even like hot dogs! Well, except for at a good summer cookout. But that was one good hot dog because I made it myself! One step at a time…I’ll get back to making full meals I’m sure!
So I guess where I’m going with all this rambling is that despite the fact that the next several recipes I’ll post, including this kohlrabi and potato recipe, are fairly simple and 100% delicious, I was smart enough to stock up on recipes and photos prior to baby’s arrival. I don’t feel like you all would be impressed with a recipe on how to make a hot dog. Just a hunch.
Back to the reason you’re here…I’m pretty sure everyone has heard of potatoes so let’s jump right to the kohlrabi. Kohlrabi is a mystery ingredient for many. I must admit I had no clue what it was or how to use it prior to acquiring this fine specimen from VanScoy Farms awhile back (again, I made this before the little guy arrived). After some research, I found a simple recipe and was on my way. I personally think kohlrabi kind of tastes like brussels sprouts a little. You can disagree though. I won’t take it personally.
To prep the kohlrabi, remove any stem or leaves. Slice it into quarters and cut the core out. Peel the kohlrabi through the outer fibrous layers (if you have a bigger kohlrabi like I did, make sure to get through all the outer layers to the completely white part or you’ll end up with tough sections. I learned from experience). After that, you’re ready to dice and use!
There’s nothing more summer-like than fresh green beans. So green and fresh and crisp. YUM! We’re growing green beans in our backyard…the rabbit that keeps popping up around our yard appears to enjoy them. There are lots of blooms on our green bean plants. The baby green beans look like they have great potential. Usually the day after I notice a couple green beans that are close to full grown we find some nice stems that were eaten clean by that very sneaky bunny.
However, I have to say that I did save 1 green bean from said rabbit and it can be seen here in these pictures! Yes, one single green bean. A little sad, but still, I’m like a proud parent. I have no idea which lonely green bean is ours unfortunately, but it’s in there! The rest came from my mother-in-law, who brought them from VanScoy Farms, so I could still be assured that they would be fresh and delicious.
This recipe is little different from other green bean recipes with its slightly Asian inspired ingredients. I guess you could say I’m embracing the spirit of the Olympics and thinking more global. Plus they’re delicious. Let’s be honest, delicious is my main concern here. Also, slightly spicy, which adds a new and interesting flavor to the green beans. I’m so used to the typical salt and pepper take on fresh green beans, which is also delicious, I may add. This just seems like a great way to “spice” up your green bean eating experience…no pun intended. Ok, pun intended.
Speaking of the Olympics, have any of you been sucked into the games like I have? I’ll start by saying that I don’t know much about sports. The only sport I ever participated in was cross country. If anyone knows the rules to cross country you know there aren’t any really. Pretty much just stay on the path and run the fastest. However, I somehow legitimately feel like I’m a sports expert all of a sudden for every summer sport ever. Travis and I have no problem doling out scores on gymnastics and diving, talking about who has the best chance for swimming or cycling based on their turns and form, and watching beach volleyball like our lives depend on it. I’m pretty sure the irony only grows when you think about the fact that I’m almost 9 months pregnant, sitting on the couch, and eating ice cream while this occurs. Maybe I’m living vicariously through the athletes, remembering what it was like to touch my toes…
Bring large pot of water to a boil. While it is coming to a boil, prepare an ice bath by adding ice to a large bowl of water.
Add the beans to the boiling water for approximately 4 minutes (a little less if they are small or more if they are large). Remove beans from the water with tongs and place directly in the ice bath. This will help stop the cooking and keep the beans bright green. Let them sit about 5 minutes in the ice water.
Drain the beans and pat dry with a towel. You can refrigerate them at this point to finish later, if desired.
Mix the honey, vegetable oil, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, and Sriracha in a bowl.
Pour sauce mixture into a large saute pan over medium heat. Stir continuously until the sauce becomes bubbly (about 2 minutes).
Add in green beans. Heat until warm. Add in peas and salt and pepper, to taste. Saute until peas are heated through. Top with sesame seeds.
Let’s start with the good stuff. I was able to make this delicious rosemary cheddar squash bread recently which was AMAZING! I’m so used to seeing zucchini or squash in sweet cakes or breads. This recipe was quite the welcome change and totally worth it! When my in-laws came to visit recently my mother-in-law brought me some gorgeous squash from VanScoy Farms in Ohio so of course I immediately started thinking of options. After eating some of it plain because, yum, I used about half of a yellow squash to make this bread. Also, yum.
The rosemary adds that lovely earthy flavor that I adore. I am obsessed with the fact that our rosemary is finally growing in our back yard so I was super excited to put it to good use. You can certainly mix up the herbs in this recipe to fit your taste or use dried herbs if you don’t have fresh (but try the fresh if you can!). Chives seem to always be in abundance in our yard and it’s a perfect pair for this savory bread. Also, let’s at least mention how the olive oil is SPOT ON in this recipe and adds more earthy, savory flavor that can’t be replicated without it. Scrumptious!
Now to the not so good stuff of the week…the worst thing that could possibly EVER happen to a food lover happened this week. Yes, my oven broke. Dun dun duuun. I was making Travis his birthday dinner (steak and mac and cheese, of course) when all of a sudden my oven popped and sparked and then it started beeping and beeping more and beeping louder and LOUDER and then the dreaded “error” suddenly appeared on the little screen. *Sigh* Keep in mind, the beeping kept going. And of course this entire time I was panicked from the loud pop and spark and was absolutely CERTAIN the oven was about to explode. I can be a little overdramatic at times. But hey, an oven freak out is not something that happens everyday.
After I got my head a little more together, which was hard with the beeping from the oven that would not go away, I decided the best route of action was to turn off the electrical fuse. Travis was running an errand so I was pretty proud of myself to think of this…even if it’s fairly obvious. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the right fuse so I was becoming more and more panicked as everything else seemed to turn off EXCEPT the oven. And the beeping. just. would. not. go. away!! Luckily as I started to reach maximum panic, Travis showed up and took over the situation. Thank goodness for handy husbands that can read panic on their wives faces.
I am happy to say that dinner was mostly done at this point, so we were still able to eat an unfortunately somewhat average birthday dinner due to all the issues. Nonetheless, it was food and it was cooked. Also, in other good news, my handy husband was able to order a new electronic panel (which apparently is what shorted and popped and sparked) that showed up magically fast and the oven is working very nicely again. No explosions did occur in this situation despite my panic and all is well in my kitchen again. We only ended up with a few days thrown together leftover meals until the oven part came, so I really can’t complain that much. Let’s just say, I love my oven when it works. Especially to make things like this squash bread!
Veggie fried rice has quickly become one of my “go-to” recipes. It’s quick, healthy, and pretty darn delicious. Travis and I started eating it fairly regularly for lunches with some leftover grilled chicken or pork on it. Best. Lunch. EVER! Also, really easy to transport since it’s not liquid-y or anything. That’s a good thing since Travis tends to throw his lunch container in his work bag along with everything else important. Anyways, we also eat it as a side dish, which one may argue is probably it’s main purpose. However we do eat it for dinner…as a main dish. I eat it for 7th meal (pregnancy does that to you). We basically eat it nonstop.
I think the best part of this dish is that it’s so simple and so versatile. The vegetables included in this are vegetables that I almost always have and if I don’t I can leave something out or switch it up with something else. The other ingredients in here are staples in my house so I almost never have to get more than 1 or 2 things total for this recipe. And if I do have to get something, it’s easy because it has become one of those recipes that I pretty much have memorized. That’s something that happens rarely for me so it says a lot.
I’ve also gotten my family addicted to this recipe. I’m not sorry that I’m such a good influence on them all. I made it for my sister and brother-in-law who loved it and then they went back home to Ohio where they promptly made it for my parents. My 15-month old niece is a fan. What can I say? It’s a dish for everyone!! Note that the serving of 6 is more for a light meal or side. I heard rumor that for 4 people and a toddler my family might have doubled the recipe and eaten almost all of it for dinner. Just a rumor. I have not verified this officially.
If we get down to business, there is one thing to point out. The rice needs to be refrigerated before using it in the recipe. This just ensures that the rice doesn’t get all sticky and clump together. You can try the recipe with fresh made rice if you’re short on time or a person who doesn’t read directions well. *hint, hint…read directions well first* I find it’s super easy just to make some rice when making dinner the night before I make this then refrigerate it. Also, another note…if you use vegetable broth in place of the water to cook the rice you have MEGA flavor. It’s worth a shot, but I’ve also used water for my rice many a time and it’s still scrumptious.
Veggie Fried Rice
Fried rice packed with vegetables and everything delcious
1 cup diced bell pepper (I used a combination of orange, red, and yellow)
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or pot. Add the diced carrots, onions, garlic, and ginger. Saute about 3 minutes.
Add the broccoli and bell pepper and saute an additional 3-4 minutes, or until the vegetables start to become tender.
In a small bowl, scramble the eggs. Push the vegetables to 1 side of the pan and pour the eggs in to the pan. Stir the eggs until cooked and scrambled.
Add in peas, corn, soy sauce, sesame oil, and brown rice and stir everything together.
Cook until the rice and frozen vegetables are warmed through.
*To get the right amount of brown rice I used just over 1 1/2 cups of dry brown rice with about 3 cups of water. I have used vegetable broth to replace the water for the rice and it was delicious! It works best if the rice is refrigerated overnight or at least for a couple of hours so it doesn't all stick together.