Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Apple Bread

There are so many yummy things to do with apples.  This is a favorite recipe when you have a few apples that need to be used up.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups chopped peeled tart apples 
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup cold butter


In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In another bowl,  whisk the eggs, applesauce, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in apples. Transfer to two 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans coated with cooking spray, or about 5-6 mini loaf pans coated with spray.

For topping, combine the flour, sugar and walnuts; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter. This bread is really good without the topping as well.  So, if you are trying to save a few calories, leave it off :)

Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dehydrating Apples

If you are lucky enough to have an apple tree, or access to some yummy apples, you may want to try this!  Dehydrating apples is fantastic.  The apples will last a long time if stored properly in your food storage, or they make great snacks.  I will be putting some recipes up on some great ways to use dried apples. 

1.  Choose apples that are firm and ripe.
2.  Wash apples. 
3.  Using an apple peeler/slicer/corer, remove skins and core.  Although you can dehydrate apples with the skins on, they (the skins) tend to be tough when dried.  If you choose to leave the skins on, you may want to use a corer tool, then a meat slicer to slice.  See corer below.
4. Put a clean spray bottle top into a bottle of lemon juice.  This will be used to spray the apples.

5. All apples need to be pretreated before drying.  This can be done by soaking apples in a citric acid solution (Fruit Fresh), or simply spraying with lemon juice.  Soaking the apples tends to make them more mushy.  I prefer to just spray with bottled lemon juice.  After the apple is cored, peeled, and sliced, cut in half.  Fan the pieces as shown, and squirt with the lemon juice.
6. Spread apple slices in a single layer on the dehydrator tray.  Spray again with lemon juice.  Dehydrate for about 16 hours, at between 125-130 degrees.  Any hotter than that you may get "case hardening" where the outside is dry, but the inside is still moist.  This will cause quick spoilage.  Note: if you are going to use these slices for snacking, you can sprinkle a bit of sugar and cinnamon on them prior to drying.  However, for long term storage, don't add the sugar and cinnamon.
7.  When apples are done and cool, remove and put in a ziplok bag. Wait a few hours before vacuum sealing them with an oxygen packet.  If any moisture condenses on the ziplok, the apples are not fully dehydrated and will need to go back in the dehydrator for a couple of hours.

Corer tool.  I bought this at Williams-Sonoma for about $10.  They can also be purchased on

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Homemade Granola

Once you try this recipe, you will be done buying granola from the store.  It is that good.  Really!  Even my kids who have always turned their noses up at granola LOVE it.  We can't keep enough of it made!  The nice thing about this recipe, is that it is a "skeleton" recipe.  You can add different grains, fruits, etc. You can also switch whatever nuts you prefer.   Use whatever you have on hand.  I will list some combo's at the end that seem to be really yummy.
Homemade Granola
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup ground flax seed (optional)
1 cup chopped or slivered almonds
1 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup shredded sweet coconut
1/3 cup (heaping) packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 TB maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut and brown sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the syrup, oil, cinnamon and salt.  Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans.  Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color. 
  4. Remove from oven and transfer to a large bowl. Add raisins and mix until evenly distributed.  
  • My absolute favorite combo is omit the raisins and add chopped dates.  It is fabulous!  I DO add the flax.  You can also add wheat bran or other grains (sunflower seeds etc).  Use your creativity!  I have yet to make a batch that isn't heavenly.
  • You can substitute honey for the maple syrup for a different flavor. 
  • I use pure maple syrup, but the bottled stuff works too. I have even used the "lite" pancake syrup.  It was good, but not as good as the real stuff.
  • I have also added dried apricots, dried pineapple, and dried apples.
  • Try substituting cashews for the almonds, or mix and match all the nuts.
  • If you have any flavored packets of oatmeal that are close to expiring, use them!  This adds a whole new dimension of flavor as well (thanks for that tip, Lori!)
  • This granola is not super clumpy.  It is also wonderful added to yogurt.

Wet Ingredients

Dry Ingredients
Spread on sheets... Bake!
Finished Product!  SUPER YUMMY!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Gas, Water, and Power Shut Offs

At our last emergency preparedness meeting, our hostess, Jenni, gave an assignment to a) find our shut offs and b) learn how and when to shut them off.  She also showed us her emergency binder which had the instructions for each.  In the event of an emergency, each of us should have the knowledge how to find and turn off our meters if necessary.  Below is the assignment that I completed for my  house.  This will now be placed inside my emergency binder.  Now, the assignment is yours.....