Hearty Apple and Oatmeal Pancakes

  
One of our daughters took the train home from college this weekend. She said she was missing mom’s home cooking and the quiet of the country. We are always thrilled to have her home and I was up to the task as I whipped up some of her favorite foods.  

Her request for oatmeal pancakes had me thinking of a new combination of flavors that I knew she would love. I had just made a batch of homemade applesauce and my husband had several jars of pure maple syrup that he had processed after tapping our maple trees this spring. I quickly mixed up the batter for the pancakes and as they cooked on the griddle, I carefully added some of the cinnamon applesauce.

 A quick flip of the pancake to finish the underside, and they were done. I made several batches so that she could bring a few back to school when she returned on Sunday. 

   

 I received a lovely text when she arrived back in Evanston. A big thank you with lots of “heart” emojies covered my screen. She said that she was having the pancakes for dinner. Somehow, I think she’ll be having them for nearly every meal until she finishes them up. Then she’ll be back to eating the ole’ college favorites of pb&j, canned soup, and boxed macaroni and cheese.

Hearty Oatmeal Pancakes

1 cup old fashioned oats

1 cup flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups milk

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup canola oil

Combine oats, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, milk, oil, and extracts. Stir into dry ingredients; just until moistened. Pour batter onto lightly greased, hot griddle. Flip pancakes when bubbles form on top of pancakes. Continue to cook until underside is golden brown. 
 Chunky Homemade Applesauce
8 cups apples, peeled, cored, and chopped

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a large pot, combine apples, sugars and cinnamon. Cook over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes; while stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Mash apples to desired consistency. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Saturday Morning Apple Crumble

This is one of my most favorite times of the year.  The morning temperatures are a bit brisk but not too overwhelming and the afternoon sun shines across the fields of trees bearing copper, red, and gold leaves.  As I sip on my first cup of morning coffee, I enjoy nature’s beauty and feel blessed to live on a hilly country road away from the hustle and bustle of city life.  The comforting quiet of the weekend morning is something I will never take for granted as I plan my day and bake/cook for the upcoming week.

Yesterday, my daughter headed to a local orchard to pick up some piping hot apple donuts and a variety of crisp, ripe apples for a weeks worth of lunches.  I slipped a few of the apples out of the bag to assemble this tasty, crisp dessert. If I’m in a hurry, I often use homemade apple sauce as the base for this recipe but it’s quite quick to pull together which ever way you choose to make it.  Serve with a cup of coffee or a scoop of vanilla ice cream… It doesn’t get any better than this.

 

Saturday Morning Apple Crumble

10 cups apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup old fashioned oats

1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 13X9″ pan by spraying with a non-stick baking spray. Place apples in a large bowl, mix sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, and ground cinnamon together, and sprinkle over apples. Let stand so the mixture becomes juicy as water is released from the fruit.

Meanwhile, combine oats, remaining flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda.  Mix in the egg; stir until combined.  Evenly pour apple mixture into baking dish.  Crumble oat and flour mixture evenly over the apples.  Pour melted butter evenly over the top of the assembled dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

 

Preserved Apple Slices

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This week I had the opportunity to attend a series of Master Home Food Preservation classes in central Indiana. I can’t even express my excitement over the valuable information that was shared during the week long certification class. We learned of techniques for freezing, water bath canning, drying, pickling, and pressure canning through PowerPoint slides and hands-on lab time.
It was a long, sometimes exhausting, week where I spent time with other classmates testing various techniques for preserving the best of the season. One important point that I would like to make about home food preservation is one that focuses on food safety…Never use a recipe that has not been tested by a reputable entity such as the USDA or Ball Canning. Use recipes that have been developed no earlier than 1995 as food science and technology specialists have shared new information that focuses on current food safety practices. The USDA is one of the only sources I use for my canning recipes. Here is the link for the National Center for Home Food Preservation/USDA canning recipe book.
You can download the whole book for free. The recipe for apple slices is on page 7. I can’t stress how important it is to use a laboratory tested recipe. It’s a matter of life and death! Botulism is no laughing matter so it’s important that you follow tested recipes exactly as they are written. Do not alter ingredients or quantities. Process as directed. I recommend using recipes as advised and then after you have opened a jar to serve the contents, make your adjustments to spice things up to favor your preference. Then, refrigerate and use up the quantity as directed.
For more information about home food preservation, visit the National Center’s website at http://nchfp.uga.edu.

Autumn Squash and Apple Bake

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This picture doesn’t do justice to the sweet, flavorful taste of this side dish. Cubed butternut squash and apples with a sprinkling of dried cranberries make this perfect for any fall feast.
Yesterday, I drove to a local orchard to pick up some fruits and vegetables for the week. As I got closer to the orchard, the traffic got heavy and came to a stand still. I thought that there might have been an accident but as my car crawled closer to my destination, I realized the back up was due to the amount of visitors headed to the orchard. As much as I would have liked to go in and get my produce, I had to drive on by because there wasn’t a parking space to be had in both of their spacious parking lots. While I was sad to have missed a visit, I was really happy for the orchard owners to have such a booming business! I think I will try to make my way back during the week when traffic is a little less hectic.
Meanwhile, I drove further down the road to pick up some butternut squash and apples to make a great new side dish that I recently discovered. This is sweet, tender, and nutritious. I added a few pecans for a bit of added crunch.

Autumn Squash and Apple Bake

1/4 cup margarine, melted
1 package butternut squash, cubed. (found in the produce section)
1 medium apple, cubed
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Spray a 11×13″ baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Combine margarine with all ingredients and pour into prepared baking dish. Season with salt, if desired. Cover and bake 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until squash is tender.

Apple and Spice Muffins

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It’s Sunday and time to bake for the coming school week. Muffins seem to pack perfectly into lunch boxes along with fresh fruit, carrots, yogurt, a sandwich and some trail mix. It really saves time in the morning when things are prepared ahead and packable lunch items are set out on the counter so the kids can choose their favorites. The swim season will begin next week and more food will be needed to fuel their young bodies through a day of school and endless yards of swimming.
This muffin recipe is a new one. I looked through a few of the local community cookbooks yesterday and this recipe looked easy enough to combine and pop in the oven. I added some apples to add depth and flavor. I will slather icing on a few of the muffins for an after dinner dessert and pile the remaining (un-iced) muffins into a Tupperware container for lunches.
An afternoon of baking has produced, 18 muffins, a tray of chewy granola bars, and 24 vanilla cupcakes. I have one more tray of cupcakes in the oven as M’s friend is celebrating a birthday tomorrow and she wanted to bring a birthday treat to school to share with friends at the lunch table. I have made a batch of cream cheese frosting and will finish icing the birthday cupcakes after dinner. A will sprinkle some colorful rainbow nonpareils over the frosting to make them look festive.
On the dinner menu…Teriyaki Chicken and Sweet Potato Fries…Another productive Sunday!

Apple and Spice Muffins

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup margarine, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 apples – peeled, cored and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, spices, and salt. Set aside. Cream together margarine and sugar. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Stir together soda and 1 tablespoon warm water, and mix into the sugar mixture. Stir into flour mixture. Add apples and mix until well blended. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake 17-25 minutes. Cool completely before frosting or sprinkle with powdered sugar.
( I use cream cheese frosting, homemade or store bought, depending on time)

Rise and Shine Morning Muffins

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Rise and Shine Morning Muffins

Well, I have the last of this week’s school lunches packed and heading out the door with my children. It’s Friday and as we head into the weekend, I will have to plan my selection of items that I will bake for next week’s menu.
This is one of my favorite lunchbox recipes to send to school. These little gems are filled with whole grains,apples, nuts, pineapple and raisins. Plenty of goodies to keep a hungry tummy satisfied. I bake a large batch and store them in an air-tight container in the fridge for a week’s worth of lunches.

Rise and Shine Morning Muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all- purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup peeled and finely chopped apple
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; line muffin pan cups with paper liners. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; set aside. In another mixing bowl, stir together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in carrot, apple, coconut, pecans, pineapple and raisins. Add flour mixture and stir just until blended.
Spoon batter into prepared cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Let muffins cool in pan for 5 minutes. Transfer muffins to cooling racks to cool completely. Store muffins in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.