Sunday, October 31, 2010

Apple Pie, Apple Crisp, Apple Jacks, Apple Sauce, Apple Muffins, Apple....

If you didn't know already, it is APPLE Season!  Apple picking, bobbing for apples, all kinds of apples on sale.  So if you go apple picking, or win a bushel of apples at a fair, or just can't resist a sale --- what to do with all of those apples {see a pic of our deep deep sink at the end of a day of apple picking below}.
The easiest use for a whole bunch of apples at one time is to make apple sauce.  It's really easy and you don't even need a recipe.  First you peel the apples {or keep the skin on as I like to do so that you get all the fiber along with all of the sugar} then slice them in medium size slices.  Slice around the core, of course, or -- if you are lucky and have one of these apple core gadgets -- first core the apples, then slice them.  Add lots and lots of apple slices to a deep stock pot, then add cinnamon and nutmeg to taste.  You can also add a little sugar if you need it, but most apples are pretty sweet on their own.  Turn the pot on low, cover and let the apples cook on low for a long long long time {that's technical kitchen jargon there} stirring every now and then to keep the apples from sticking.  You'll know they are done basically when the apples start looking like apple sauce!  Don't over cook because I don't know what apples turn into after that :-O

If this doesn't sound easy {or appetizing} to you, try this delicious recipe:

Cinnamon Apple Crisp
Bon Appétit | March 1993
by Fran Love Taylor: Raleigh, North Carolina
Yield: Serves 10

1 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 450°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in large bowl. Add apples and toss to coat. Transfer apple mixture to prepared dish.

Combine flour, 1 cup sugar and butter in medium bowl. Using pastry blender or fingertips, blend ingredients until coarse meal forms. Spread flour mixture evenly over apples.

Bake crisp 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake crisp until apples are tender and topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. © Condé Nast Digital, Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Smart TV

Cable/Satellite TV is sooooo 2000s. Even DVR is becoming a bit irrelevant.  Every show {and movie when I have time} that I watch is available on the network's website, and with limited commercial interruptions.  So tell me again why I am paying Verizon a billion dollars a month for Fios {oh yeah for football/sports that's why...smh}?!?  But seriously, if I could easily get the internet on my TV and watch it with limited connectivity issues, I would totally switch. I don't think we're truly there yet, but we're close.  

Google now offers Google TV {and Apple has been offering Apple TV for some time now, but to little fanfare}.  I love everything Google so I had to check it out.  It seems like all that you need is a Logitech Revue Companion Box or something similar, and an internet connection {and a TV of course} and you're good to go!

Amazon is also offering Amazon Video which allows you to "rent" movies and TV shows on demand.  You can access this using Google TV or even straight from your laptop.

While the price tag is a bit high -- $299 for the Logitech -- think of all the money you'll save not paying for cable every month and it will quickly pay for itself. 

I haven't tried it yet, but I'm itching to. I would LOVE to stop paying Verizon all that money for practically nothing every month.  My only worry is that accessing your TV over a wireless network may get a bit annoying.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Houzz It Look?

Houzz- Kitchen Design, Bathroom Design and More»

I love love LOVE this site!  We are in the process of moving and will hopefully be building a house and this site is the perfect place for me to look for and collect design ideas.  I still enjoy leafing through magazines, but if you're going to do multiple spaces {or a whole house!} the cutting and collecting can be a bit overwhelming and cumbersome.

Houzz has some great design ideas AND you can add your own. Just install the browser plug-in.  So if your browsing the web and come across a picture of a space that looks great, you can add it to the Houzz Community {and your ideabook}. 

The feature I like best is the ability to search by geographical area. I assume what that does is to show you designs for houses in your area of the country.  For instance, while I would love a full outdoor kitchen and an open sunroom off my living room, I don't think that will work in the northeast {do those palm trees come with the stone patio?!?}.  You can also search by style -- traditional, contemporary, eclectic, farm, etc. -- and by the room in your home -- kitchen, bath, bedroom, etc.

Here's a link to my's a work in progress :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

You MADE that?!?

I love to eat and love to cook on special occasions.  But now that I am home with the kids I feel obligated to cook almost every night.  So I'm always on the lookout for delicious easy/quick recipes {i.e., does not require chopping up 10 different ingredients}.  

This recipe fits the bill, it's delicious and it tastes much more fancy than it is.  The feta adds a nice twist and the secret ingredient is the cinnamon.  I had no idea that cinnamon could create this flavor {cinnamon and lamb? trust me you will like it}.  You can add your own twist to it as well.  I prefer rotini pasta to penne and instead of parsnips, I use portabello mushrooms.  Love it.  But anyway you slice it, this is a dish that is sure to impress anyone you make it for.
Greek-Style Penne with Lamb, Parsnips, Tomatoes, and Cinnamon
Bon Appétit | November 2009

by The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen
Pasta in the Greek style, with an added surprise: parsnips.
Yield: Makes 6 servings
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 very large onion, halved through root end, cut lengthwise into 1/3-inch-thick slices (about 4 cups)
12 ounces medium parsnips (about 4), peeled, cut on slight diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick slices
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces ground lamb
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 14 1/2-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice
12 ounces penne
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Crumbled feta cheese

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and parsnips and sauté until slightly softened and deep golden brown around edges, about 9 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Add lamb and sautéuntil no longer pink, breaking up with back of spoon, about 2 minutes. Stir in cinnamon. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes with juice; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until parsnips are tender, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot. Add lamb mixture and enough cooking liquid to moisten; toss. Add parsley. Transfer to plates and sprinkle with feta. © Condé Nast Digital, Inc. All rights reserved.