Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Review of Grainberry Bran Flakes...

Okay, I don't consider myself much of an organic shopper (although in my wildest financial dreams I often am!), but I tried a cereal from the organic section lately.  I have to say, a lot of the 'natural' cereals taste something like tree bark, but I was really impressed with this one.  It was the Grainberry Bran Flakes.

The cereal box is full of how much antioxidant power the flakes contain...supposedly much more than other bran flakes.  It was all really impressive, but that doesn't hold much water if it tastes terrible.  However, I'm pleased to say that the kids and I (my hubby is an anti-bran man!) really enjoyed it.  In fact, it was so good that we didn't feel the need to add any fruit to sweeten it up.  It just tasted really yummy!The flakes were crisp and tasted almost like they had molasses in them.  They were also light, which is kind of a rarity with the healthy bran flakes.

Here's the kicker...there was a $1.00 off coupon in the newspaper recently, so along with the sale Meijer was running, I got the box for $1.50.  That's a pretty great price for a healthy cereal.  It also has $4.00 worth of coupons inside the box for other miscellaneous Grainberry products, which I will definitely be trying.  I bought the Apple Cinnamon cereal last week at the store, so I'll keep you updated!

By the way...no one paid me for this endorsement!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Last Call...

This is the last call for any apple ideas or recipes!  If you have any, send them on to me at crazycreativemag@gmail.com.  I'm also interested in any other suggestions you have that you'd like me to cover on frugal living in general...send them all on!

This will be my last post here until after the holidays, but feel free to visit over at my writing blog where I'll still post occasionally through the new year.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cranberry-Apple Butter

A slow cooker is the perfect way to make your own apple butter, or in this case, cranberry-apple butter.  Personally, I'm a little too lazy to do any canning, so we just eat it in a marathon of bread and rolls, and give away any surplus to a friend or neighbor.  This actually cooks down quite a bit, so it's not as much as it seems!   Try it out!

Cranberry-Apple Butter

6 large cooking apples, cored, peeled, and thinly sliced
1 cup apple juice
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1 large strip lemon zest
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.  Mix thoroughly.  Cover; cook on low 8-10 hours or on high 4-5 hours.  Stir every 2 hours.  Remove cover after 3 hours to allow fruit juices to cook down.  Spoon into sterilized jars and process with standard canning methods.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Other Apple Uses...

I know you all probably have your own stock of apple recipes...especially apple desserts, but here at my house, we have several non-recipe-requiring uses for apples.

Obviously, we do a lot of apple eating.  My 4- and 6- year old are pretty good at getting to the core.  We also love to chop peeled apple and add it into our morning oatmeal.  Simple baked apples with a cinnamon stick inside are wonderful, too, and it really warms up your house on a nippy day.

Once your apples are starting to get bruised up or grainy, we love to make applesauce or apple butter out of them.  I'm going to post a great cranberry apple butter recipe some time soon, too.

How about you?  Do you have any other uses for your apples that we haven't covered?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Double Apple Crumble

Here's one of my go-to recipes that I've had since I got married.  I love to pitch in a few plumped up raisins with the apples, and if I happen to have a few walnuts or pecans on hand, I love to chop them finely and add them into the topping.  This is a good flexible recipe...hope you like it!

Double Apple Crumble

3 medium Gala, Regent, or Braeburn apples, peeled and sliced
3 medium Rome or Granny Smith apples, peeled, and thinly sliced
2 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger or nutmeg

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger or nutmeg
2 Tbs. margarine or butter

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray square baking dish with cooking spray, or grease with margarine.  In large bowl, combine fruit mix; toss to coat.  Spoon evenly into sprayed baking dish, pressing gently.  In medium bowl, combine all topping ingredients except margarine; mix well.  Cut in margarine.  Sprinkle topping over fruit.  Bake at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Candy Apple Walnut Pie

Here's another of Mommy-in-law's specialties.  It's got the yummy flavor and color of a candy apple without the sticky, icky mess.  It's really easy to make...and polish off.  Try this out for your Christmas dessert!

Candy Apple Walnut Pie

6 cups thinly sliced cooking apples
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup cinnamon candies
1/3 cup and 2 Tbs. sugar
1/3 cup flour
2 deep dish frozen pie crusts (keep 1 frozen)

In large bowl, toss all but 2 Tbs. sugar and pour into pie crust.  Crumble second crust into small pieces (thawed one) and add 2 Tbs. sugar.  Toss together.  Sprinkle on top of apples.  Bake at 375 degrees 55-60 minutes.  Note:  Pie shell will be really full, but it cooks down, so don't worry!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gotta Favorite?

There are so many different varieties of apples to choose from, and it seems like there are getting to be more and more available all the time.  We all have our favorites, though.

Look at the lovely color on this Honeycrisp!

 We love the sweet, crispy apples with a bit of tang to use for eating and baking...call it a multi-purpose apple!  Our favorites are fuji, honeycrisp, and pink lady apples.  What are your favorites?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fresh Apple Cake

Here is the first recipe by a dear friend and brand new contributor, Claudia.  She probably has forgotten all about giving this recipe to me, but that didn't stop me from passing it along.  This cake is good on day one and great on day two and up.  I love to use it as a coffee cake, too.  For dessert, add a dab of Cinnamon Whipped Cream.  Welcome Claudia!

Fresh Apple Cake

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
4 cups chopped, peeled apples
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup raisins or dates
2 cups chopped nuts

Cream together sugar and shortening.  Add eggs, mix well.  Add finely chopped apples.  Mix.  Gradually stir in dry ingredients that have been mixed together.  Add nuts and fruit.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes in greased and floured 9 x 13" pan.  Serves 12-16.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Apple Enchilada Dessert

Here is an interesting apple variation from Susan.  She writes:

It's great to serve on a night that you fix Mexican food....and you can also serve peach or cherry pie filling.  I can my own apple pie filling, so I use my own instead of the canned pie filling from the store.

Here's a picture of turkey enchiladas on the left, then cherry enchiladas on the right!  Looks yummy, huh?

Apple Enchilada Dessert

1 (21 oz) can apple pie filling
6 (8 in) flour tortillas
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter (I prefer the real thing)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spoon fruit evenly onto all tortillas, sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll up tortillas and place seam side down in a lightly sprayed 8x8 baking dish. Bring butter, sugars, and water to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly for 3 mins. Pour sauce evenly over tortillas; sprinkle with extra cinnamon on top if desired. Bake in preheated oven for 20 mins. You can also use larger tortillas which may be cut in half to make 12 servings. You also save money if you make your own tortillas.♥

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cranberry-Apple Pork Chops

Here's the first of our apple recipes!  If you have any you'd like to contribute, send them to me at crazycreativemag@gmail.com.

I was tinkering around the other night trying to add a little pizzazz to our dinner when I came up with this variation for the pork chops I had out on my counter.  It ended up being perfectly wonderful.

Just a note, I kind of like a little pop of cranberry tartness, but if you'd prefer yours a little sweeter, add more honey, or use dried cranberries, which are already sweetened.  This would be a great way to use up a little leftover cranberry relish or sauce from Thanksgiving!

Cranberry-Apple Pork Chops

6 boneless pork loin chops
salt and pepper
3 sweet apples, such as Gala or Fuji
1/2 cup fresh whole cranberries
1/2 cup, 1 Tbs. dark honey, divided
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
5 Tbs. butter or margarine, divided
1 Tbs. blackberry preserves
1/2 cup apple juice or cider
additional 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Peel and slice apples and spread out in a baking dish.  Sprinkle cranberries over apples.  Drizzle 1 Tbs. honey over fruit, followed by 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.  Cut 2 Tbs. butter into small cubes, and add evenly over fruit.  Bake 40-50 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, melt together 1/2 cup honey, remaining 3 Tbs. butter, preserves, juice, and additional cinnamon.   Heat to boiling, then simmer without a lid until sauce begins to thicken slightly.

While sauce is simmering, salt and pepper pork chops and heat griddle to 325 degrees.  Cook pork chops, a few minutes per side, being careful not to overcook.  For more detailed instructions, see my recipe here.  Rest  pork chops, covered 5 minutes.

To serve, place pork chops on a platter.  Top with fruit and drizzle with some sauce.  Keep additional sauce handy for those with a sweet tooth!