fruit

Oven-Baked Apple Chips

Apple ChipsI hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Ours was filled with family, laughter, and LOTS of food (of course!). I pretty much ate my weight in potatoes, rolls, turkey, and pie last week. I don’t regret it…but I think I do need a little time to let the food settle.

Apple ChipsI’m sure many of you have some extra apples lying around this time of year. No matter how wonderful that Thanksgiving apple pie was, the thought of any more pie at this moment does NOT sound appetizing to me. Ask me in like a week and my tune might change…but for now, let’s talk apple chips! A little lighter apple snack is worth a shot and these are SO DELICIOUS!

Apple ChipsThese oven-baked apple chips are super easy to make. Good food that requires little work = happy Steph. I’m sure this resonates with more people than just me. Especially after the busy Thanksgiving baking/cooking rush. You do need some patience, but you don’t need to fuss with the recipe for sure. It’s a breeze!

Apple ChipsMy little guy devoured these apple chips. As you can see, he even helped put them on the tray. Well…he did if “helped” means “took each of them off the tray and made me chase him so he didn’t drop them all over the floor.” I try to give him some credit at least for being interested in cooking. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with ways to have our little ones help in the kitchen. This could have potentially been a great activity if he didn’t love dropping things on the floor and eating apples…Maybe you’ll have better luck with your little ones. Let me know how it works out for you! (p.s. the picture shows an unlined baking sheet. I tried it lined and unlined. They both work but lined is much easier!)

Apple Chips*Note: Please don’t let your kids use a mandolin if they help. They can certainly help mix and put the slices on the trays though!

Oven-Baked Apple Chips
Simple, crispy, slightly sweet apple chips
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 5 apples (I used Granny Smith and Fuji, but you can use whatever you'd like)
  2. 2 tablespoons sugar
  3. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Use a mandolin on the thinnest setting to slice the apples*. Remove the seeds as you go.
  3. Toss the apple slices with the sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
  4. Place the apple slices on parchment-lined baking sheets (or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheets) in a single layer. It's okay if they slightly overlap, but you want most of them in a single layer.
  5. Bake for 1 hour, flip the apple slices over, and bake for an additional half hour to 1 hour. The amount of time needed will depend on the the thickness of the apples. The apples will not be completely crisp until they cool, but you want them to feel mostly dry to the touch.
  6. Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container.
Notes
  1. *You can either core the apples prior to cutting, or leave the core in and remove the seeds as they are sliced. I did not core my apples and it worked great.
  2. If the apple chips begin to get soggy, throw them back in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for a few minutes until they crisp up again.
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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. Store in refrigerator.
  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.
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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
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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.
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Fruit Pizza Cookies

Fruit Pizza CookiesThese fruit pizza cookies have been a long time coming. And when I say a “long time,” I mean a LONG time. I actually made these beauties LAST summer and they have been waiting to be posted ever since. Mostly because by the time I got around to posting them last year I realized it was practically fall and *way* too late to post a recipe featuring fruit and berries. I’m cutting it close this time but I’m going to declare that it’s still summer and I’m not late this time! I did just make them again recently, which helped prompt me to post them. Plus, I certainly cannot let another year go by without posting these because that would be depriving you of fruit pizza goodness. And I’m not a mean person like that.

Fruit Pizza CookiesWhat is a fruit pizza cookie? Simple…you take a fruit pizza (you all know what that is, I hope) and shrink it into a cookie size. Did I seriously have to explain that? Probably not, but I like to make myself clear. Best part is that you feel like you get to eat your own entire fruit pizza without having to share. WIN! You might even feel obligated to eat a couple, or few “pizzas” once you take into account that the fruit practically makes up for the heaps of butter, making them basically healthy…in a way. I would NEVER eat more than one though. Nope. Never…The baby wanted one too though so I may have eaten one for him. It totally counts.

Fruit Pizza CookiesThese are great for parties because they can be easily picked up on the go! No cutting required! Even better, leave the cookies, frosting, and fruit out for a decoration station AT the party. First, you have less work to do to frost and decorate them and second, you just became every child’s best friend. Or mine, if I’m at the party. If you do make them ahead, I would suggest that you frost and put the fruit on not much more than a couple of hours before you serve them or else they will get a little limp. I found that they mostly will get a little soft when they have strawberries on them, which makes sense since strawberries have a lot of water in them. Also, make sure you get the fruit as dry as you can prior to decorating for this exact reason.

Fruit Pizza CookiesOnce the fruit pizza cookies are frosted and decorated, I keep them refrigerated until serving to keep the fruit pretty and the cream cheese frosting chilled. I found that if I put parchment paper between the layers of cookies, it helps keep everything from becoming a sloppy mess. If it did become a sloppy mess though I’m sure someone would still be willing to eat them. If you can’t find anyone, you can always call me and I’ll find someone to take care of eating them…yeah.

Fruit Pizza Cookies
Yields 36
Mini fruit pizzas! Delicious sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting, topped with fresh fruit and berries.
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Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
11 min
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
11 min
Ingredients for the cookies
  1. 1 cup butter, room temperature
  2. 1 1/2 cups sugar
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  5. 3 cups flour
  6. 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  7. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
Ingredients for the frosting
  1. 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  2. 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  3. 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  5. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 tablespoon milk
  7. Fruit and berries of your choice (I used kiwi, blueberries, and strawberries)
Directions for the cookies
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cream 1 cup butter and sugar in a large bowl using a mixer. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until well combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine (I used the mixer but you can do this by hand).
  5. Cover and chill the cookie dough in the refrigerator for at least 20-30 minutes.
  6. Once chilled, roll out the dough to 1/4" thickness on a well floured surface and use a cookie cutter (or a mason jar works!) to cut out circles. I made about 36 cookies using a 2.5" diameter cookie cutter and about 28 using a 3" cutter. Keep in mind they will spread, so they will end up slightly bigger than what you cut out.
  7. Place cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet with plenty of space between the cookies (I only put 5 per sheet for the 3" cookies).
  8. Bake for 8-11 minutes (smaller cookies require the low baking time and large require the longer time) or until the edges are just starting to get golden brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool on tray for 1-2 minutes before moving them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Directions for the frosting
  1. To prepare the fruit, cut into desired sizes/shapes and place on a paper towel. Pat dry using paper towels. Let them sit on the paper towel until ready to use to make sure they are very dry.
  2. Combine cream cheese, 1/2 cup butter, confectioners sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon vanilla with a mixer starting on low and moving to medium speed. Once combined, add the milk and mix on medium-high for 1-2 minutes.
To prepare the cookies
  1. Frost the cookies with the cream cheese frosting and decorate with the fruit.
Notes
  1. I use parchment paper between layers when storing the cookies to keep them separated. I would recommend frosting them and adding the fruit not much more than a couple of hours before serving for the best result, as they can become a little soft if they sit for too long.
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Watermelon Lemonade

Watermelon lemonadeWhat better way to cool off in this summer heat than ice cold lemonade? What if you could kick it up a notch and really impress yourself with a simple WATERMELON lemonade?!? I’m talking homemade, let’s have a party since I’m so cool (or maybe just drink it all myself) goodness. If the watermelon and lemons don’t have you excited, add a little mint into the simple syrup and you’re on your way to a beach somewhere to soak up some summer sun. At least you can pretend…

Watermelon lemonadeI love lemonade but unfortunately, if you’re like me, you usually get it out of a can, bottle, or maybe in the form of a strange powder that magically becomes lemonade. Every once in a while (a GREAT while), you go to the local fair or amusement park and can get that good real stuff. You know, the lemonade in the cups with the pictures lemons on the side that they shake up in front of you. You even get the extra kick of sugar at the bottom once it all settles there. Best leftover sweet ice ever! Maybe you don’t know what I’m talking about, in which case, just know that the real stuff is WAY better than the stuff out of a container.

Watermelon lemonadeNow, I’m making mine with a simple syrup, which means you won’t be eating sugar ice since the sugar all dissolves in water prior to being added into the lemonade. But, it’s ok. We all know that I don’t need that extra sugar at the bottom of the cup anyways. Plus, with the watermelon addition, you are already halfway to the perfect sweet and sour drink. 

Watermelon lemonadeThe mint was something I added since I had it in my backyard and I love the flavor of mint and watermelon. It just brightens the flavors up even more and makes summer taste even better. You can make this without the mint if you don’t have any, but definitely give it a shot if you can. Also, it’s not a super strong flavor as written in the recipe so add more mint if you want to punch up the flavor even more! Do it! I dare you! Peer pressure always works. 

As an added bonus to this sweet summer delight, check out this great article, 25 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Watermelon. It will only convince you more that you need to make this lemonade…like now.

Watermelon Lemonade
Serves 8
Lemonade with the kicked up flavor of watermelon and mint. Perfect for summer!
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup sugar
  2. 1 cup water + 4 cups water
  3. 8-10 mint leaves
  4. 6 heaping cups cubed seedless watermelon
  5. 3/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Heat the sugar, 1 cup of water, and mint leaves (roughly torn to help infuse the flavor better) in a small pan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar completely dissolves. This is your simple syrup. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Blend the cubed watermelon and lemon juice in a blender until pureed.
  3. Strain out the mint from the simple syrup and add the syrup to the blender. Pulse the blender to blend everything together. If it tastes too sour at this point, blend in a little more watermelon. If it's too sweet, add in a little more lemon juice (keep in mind the mixture will be diluted with water).
  4. Pour mixture into a pitcher and add in 4 cups of water. Stir.
  5. Refrigerate about 30 minutes, or until chilled.
  6. Serve over ice.
Notes
  1. You can make this without the mint, though I love the additional flavor.
  2. If you want this lemonade completely smooth, you can strain the lemonade mixture prior to adding the 4 cups of water. Otherwise, it will have a slightly "pulpy" texture from the watermelon.
  3. If the flavor is too strong for your taste, add a little more water at the end.
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