The Handiest Apple Gadget Around

Getting ready to slice, but not peel.

In our house, we love apples. We love dehydrated apples, applesauce, just plain apples (and I love ’em with peanut butter, as a mid-afternoon snack). But the biggest pain about apples is the peeling and slicing, especially when you’re working with a bunch of ’em.

Enter the peeler/slicer/corer. We bought ours for $20 at Shafer’s Ace in Eureka. They have another one for $27 that has a suction cup instead of a clamp, but I prefer the clamp (just my own preference, plus reviews I’ve read online and heard from friends).

The gadget basically has two settings: Slice/core only (see above) and peel/slice/core. Why wouldn’t you want to peel? I prefer to leave the peels on when I dehydrate apples… the advantage is more fiber and vitamins.

Cored and sliced! Ready for the dehydrator.

The gadget is relatively cheap, completely kinetic (human power win!) and pretty simple to operate. As a general rule, aim for the apples that are straight, as the peeler and slicer can get a little wonky if the core is crooked. That aside, I figure it’s easy enough to cut the core pieces off of the sliced apple, when things go a little awry.

Peeled and sliced. Ready for applesauce.

The cores and peels are perfect chicken snacks or fodder for your compost pile. They might also be well used in a juicer… I’ll let y’all know when we get our hands on one.

Posted in Breakfast, Cooking, Crock Pot, In the Oven, On the Stove, Smoothies | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Still Kickin’ the Sick Orange Smoothie

imageIt’s more than a little bit sucky how long it takes to get mold out of your respiratory system. ‘Round these parts I’ve been fighting junk in my lungs, a plugged up head and sore throat for about a week, today, and there’s no question it’s got a lot to do with the place we just moved out of, and all of the stuff we moved last weekend.

I can’t take any more time off work, though, so now I’m just obsessing over eating right, in hopes that I can move this crud along.

This morning’s smoothie is full of all sorts of vitamins!

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 orange (Vitamins B1, B9 and C)
  • Mango cubes (Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, C, E and K)
  • Frozen peach (Vitamins B3 and E)
  • Fresh spinach (Vitamins A, B9 and K)
  • Almond butter (Vitamins B2 and E)
  • Carrot juice (Vitamins A and K)
  • Pinch of cayenne (I’ll scare it away!)
  • Shake of cinnamon
  • Squeeze of local honey

Verdict: It’s thick, but not too thick, and just sweet enough. And holy cow, look at all of those vitamins! Between my smoothies and the prenatal vitamin I take every day, I will kick the crud’s butt. It must happen.

 

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Moving On Up — A St. Patrick’s Day Moving Adventure

The Pressure Crew loves Irish car bombs. Yum!

We moved into our new place this weekend! While I’m bummed that we no longer have the super adorable red countertops in the kitchen, I’m not terribly heartbroken to be given up the mold issue we discovered a bit over a month ago in our old place. Boy, did that explain our regular respiratory illnesses.

Moving day was St. Patrick’s Day, which we didn’t initially think about when we set the date… we were aiming for mid-month, on a weekend not otherwise jam-packed with other events (oops), so we could get out of Moldy House and into House With Huge Yard (and dishwasher! And garbage disposal!). The plan mostly worked. But most importantly, when we did discover the St. Patrick’s Day correlation, we realized that pizza and beer for the movers wasn’t going to cut it. Irish car bombs (Guinness, Jameson Irish whiskey, and Bailey’s Irish Cream) and corned beef and cabbage? That’s more like it.

Enter: The Crock Pot! Mmmm… mama’s little kitchen fairy. Friday night, Gabe and I loaded all of the kitchen boxes into the back of the station wagon. Saturday, our moving volunteers showed up at the old place, where Gabe organized the inside of the house to go into the U-Haul truck. My friend Jesseca and I went to the new place and set upon unpacking boxes and organizing.

Jess says Yay! to moving day. We say Yay! to all of her hard work.

She’s a life-saver, that Jess, willing to stand on a chair and make helpful organizing suggestions, while the pregnant lady kept two feet on the ground and moved things around.

After the mover’s showed up and set boxes down in their respective rooms, I through together a batch of trail mix (high energy snack!) and a pitcher of peach black iced tea, to keep them busy until the crock pot had finished their dinner.

As far as ingredients, we had nearly everything in the house, save for the corned beef brisket, which was really cheap at Costco ( hear Winco also had them cheap), and came with its own spice packet. I loaded it all into the Crock Pot just before 10am and set it to cook on high for 6 hours (because I didn’t have time to cook on low for 10 hours). Here’s the recipe I used, from AllRecipes.com.

Verdict: Easy enough a monkey did it! And it got rave reviews from all of our helpers (and Gabe and I, too). Delicious. I think my Crock Pot is my favorite appliance, with the lovely and handy Magic Bullet coming in a close second, only because the first cooks dinner while I’m at work all day. 🙂

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St. Patrick’s Preparation Green Smoothie

Look at the color of that smoothie! I mean really look at it. Do you know how it got to be that color? It wasn’t food coloring, and it sure isn’t from no kiwis or grapes. That beautiful shade of creamy green surprised me yesterday when I intended to make a simple sweet afternoon smoothie with bananas, peaches, cinnamon, soy milk, almond butter, and vanilla extract. I was going for the sweet tooth effect and thought, damn, I should probably put something green in there. I grabbed a handfull of kale and bam! After blending, everything was green. How fitting, being the month of March and St. Patrick’s Day being right around the corner.

This morning I made this beautiful smoothie for the pregnant lady in our house, who I knew would go wild for it, including Peanut. This time I added crushed mint and at this very moment I am naming it the Irish Mint Cream Smoothie. When I perfect the recipe, I’ll post it. For now we’re basking in smoothie heaven that looks and feels like mint chocolate chip, but isn’t, and is way healthier.

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AtV Green Orange Julius

My friend Sarahfae is Addicted to Veggies — that is to say she is a raw food magician. My interest in raw foods is minimal, but when she comes up with a recipe that resembles something I love the “real” version of, my attention is hers.

A few days ago, we had a mutual friend that was home with a sick kid, and the friend was enjoying making healthy smoothies for her little lady. Sarahfae mentioned that she had a recipe for a smoothie that, with the exception of the color, was just like an Orange Julius (like an orange creamsicle, basically). Consider my attention hers.

I attacked the recipe tonight. Rather, I started it last night, but had to soak my cashews for the Raw Vegan Sour Cream overnight, before I could make one of AtV’s staple ingredients. Then it was onto her Green Orange Creamsicle Smoothie.

This recipe is all Sarahfae’s. That I can make it, though, tells you that even a monkey could do this.

Ingredients (for 7 cups):

  • 2 c packed Spinach leaves
  • 4 large Navel Oranges, peeled and chopped //or// 4 cups chopped Oranges
  • 1 Tsp Orange zest
  • 9 Medjool Dates soaked in warm water for 10 minutes, pits removed
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 c Ice cubes
  • 1 c AtV Sour Cream
  • 2 c Water

Directions: Dump into blender. Blend for 30 seconds or until all ingredients are pureed.

Verdict: I’m shocked. I still can’t believe that a cup of spinach leaves and a pile of cashews, mixed with sliced up oranges and a bit of vanilla extract could seriously taste like an Orange Julius. Since my large hand-me-down blender has a somewhat smaller capacity (and just loves to leak its contents out of its bottom gasket), I went with a half-batch, and after initially blending everything together, I poured the contents into to Magic Bullet cups and gave both a whirl on there, further breaking down the spinach pieces.

I put both cups in the freezer (would that make them orange creamsiclecicles?) overnight and will take mine to work with me in the morning. Healthy, delicious, protein from greens and cashews, and relatively easy to make, once you have a batch of AtV sour cream at the ready.

This recipe will definitely be repeated.

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Post-Daylight “Savings” Pick-Me-Up Smoothie

Pardon my office's terrible lighting, combined with my phone's camera. I promise the smoothie tastes better than this photo looks.

When you’re using yogurt as your protein, you have to be careful about the bitterness that comes hand-in-hand with it. It’s wise to find something sweet (but healthy!) that kind of cancels it out.

This morning’s smoothie:

  • Frozen kiwi
  • Frozen strawberry
  • Banana
  • Nancy’s non-fat vanilla yogurt
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon
  • Soy milk (plain)
  • Handful of washed, fresh spinach

This one turned out well, and I’m thankful it worked as an eye-opener. The Daylight Savings change has been particularly brutal, this year (all of my energy at night and dark in the early morning? No thanks!).

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My Mama’s Granola Recipe

image

This recipe is based on the Blair House Granola recipe, with some minor modifications.

Ingredients (5 cups):

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup honey (can’t wait ’til farmer’s market for local honey!)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup whole almonds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried coconut
  • 1/4 cup raisins

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • On the stove, heat oil, honey, brown sugar; add vanilla and salt.
  • Mix remaining ingredients and pour oil mixture over.
  • Mix with hands until evenly mixed.
  • Spread over a large baking sheet and bake at 325 for about 15 minutes (stirring often).
  • When golden brown, remove and cool completely before storing.

Modifications:

  • My mom made the 50/50 oil/honey modification and I liked it, so that’s what’s in the ingredients.
  • My mom also likes to use all one type of nut (ex: almonds) rather than a combination.
  • She suggests swapping out dried cranberries (craisins) for raisins.
  • What I did: Winco was out of pumpkin seeds, so I used roasted, salted peanuts, instead. I also used craisins instead of raisins and doubled the measurement (no such thing as too much fruit). I also added a bit of cinnamon in the original heated oil mixture, which the original recipe didn’t call for.
  • Also, because my roasting pan is relatively small, I let the granola stay in the oven an extra couple of minutes, stirring a lot toward the end, to make sure it was all adequately cooked.

Side note for shopping on a budget: Winco has almost all of the ingredients for this recipe in their bulk section. Yay! Had I just stuck with the few things I needed, but didn’t already have as staples in the house, I could have gotten out of there for next to nothing.

Verdict: Holy cow is that good! And so easy! Glad I added the touch of cinnamon. I just added some soy milk for a late night snack and it’s delicious. I foresee the 5 cups disappearing rather rapidly between breakfasts and school/work snacks over the next couple of days.

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