Friday, September 24, 2010

Homemade Applesauce

The Fall is my favorite time of year. Even though it's actually quite the opposite by definition, it always makes me feel alive and full of energy--I think the new school year, starting-fresh feeling of the Fall has stuck with me into adulthood.

Along with cooler weather (a refreshing break from getting sweaty just getting the kids out the door), the Fall season brings many of my favorite foods, and apples are at the top of the list. I am still in awe every year at how incredibly delicious apples are when they are in season and fresh-picked. We've been getting them in the fruit share of our CSA, and have made several batches of applesauce already this year. It's SO easy, and VERY kid-friendly. I think this was the most involved Lainey has been in a cooking activity in a long time.

First off, wash and peel the apples. Really, if you're making a good-sized batch of applesauce, you've gotta have one of these:
It peels, cores, and slices up your apples in seconds. And, supervised, it's kiddo-friendly and really fun!
Get rid of all those peels and cores, and throw your apple slices in a large saucepan. Cover the bottom with just a drizzle of water...I usually use enough to cover the bottom of my pan about a half inch or so...again, I don't measure it, so just eyeball and add more if you need to! (another very kid-friendly step: no measuring required, no hot stove!)
Now just put it on the stove, covered, and medium-low heat, and let it simmer away. In about 30-45 minutes, shake in your cinnamon and nutmeg (amounts are up to you--to your taste), give it a little mash up with a fork or a pastry cutter, and you'll have this:
You do NOT need to add sugar to this applesauce! If you are using fresh apples in season, they are delicious enough. No sugar needed. :)

Happy Fall!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Getting Back in the Groove

Okay, okay, I'm back. It has been record time since I've last posted, but for good reason. It hit me a few weeks ago that summer is very quickly coming to an end, and so we have been very busy soaking in our last bit of summer activities...playgrounds, walks, gardening, playing outside in the sandbox...and a few other fun things along the way, almost all not related to food...

Some garden time...Lainey apparently inherited my love of creepy crawlies-played with this guy for almost an hour.

A fantastic camping trip at Woodstock KOA with two of our favorite people, Pop and Gramma, and Lainey's first ever roasted marshmallow!

About to (very excitedly) walk in the door at Lainey's first day of preschool...sigh.

My kitchen has been quite neglected. I'm starting to get back in the groove, though, and now I'll share with you the perfect, don't-want-to-cook-dinner dinner. :) I realllly wanted eggplant parm a few weeks ago, but I'm way too lazy to deal with all the breading, egging, frying, and layering. I lost the original website and I cannot find it again, so I cannot credit the amazing mama who came up with this recipe, but this one's a keeper. (I don't usually measure stuff like this, just eyeball it, so my apologies for the non-recipe!)

Lazy Mama's Eggplant Parmesan:

Dice eggplant into bite sized pieces. Cook over medium heat in a couple tablespoons of olive oil until tender.
Transfer into a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle top with a good layer of breadcrumbs (I used seasoned), top with a layer of tomato sauce, then a layer of mozzarella cheese (I thinly sliced a log of fresh), sprinkle with grated paremsan, and bake at 350° until golden and bubbly. Serve with a side of whole wheat pasta.