It was raining this morning and I’d been gone all weekend. I needed to bake something. I have these frozen apples in a bag my friend gave me for making apple pies, but I’m not so good at pies. Have I mentioned my fear of crusts? I am not good with pie crust … and besides pie crust has so much fat in it! And I don’t need any of that … so how about a crisp? Crisps are easy, relatively healthy and yummy. Especially if you can cut out some of the fat and sugar in the topping. You can really make this crisp with any kind of fruit you like … I’m thinking peach crisp will most likely be next …
Lowfat Apple Berry Granola Crisp
Adapted from Food.com
- 6 cups mixed apples (peeled and sliced) and berries (use any proportions you like … I used mostly apples, and just a few raspberries because that’s what I had on hand)
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon quick-cooking tapioca (not whole pearl)
- 1 ½ cups rolled oats
- ¼ cup unbleached white whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 3/4 cup lowfat granola (I used Melissa’s Maple Cranberry Pecan Granola)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 inch square baking dish (or 10-inch pie pan) with cooking spray.
- In a bowl, mix together the fruit layer ingredients. Spread the fruit evenly in your baking dish and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg white, oil, vanilla, and fruit juice and then stir into the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined. Stir in the granola.
- Sprinkle the oat-sy granola topping over the fruit.
- Cover and bake for 20 minutes, then uncover and continue to bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the fruit is soft and bubbly and the topping is crisp and golden.
- Serve warm. Top with lowfat ice cream or frozen yogurt if you like … or even a bit of greek yogurt. That would be yummy too.
My friend had an antelope roast to cook, and I suggested we make a cranberry roast, remembering one my sister made years ago for a Christmas dinner, but of course I didn’t have the recipe she used. So I googled it, found one I thought would be good, and emailed it to her. She cooked the roast for dinner on Friday night–we were invited to join them.
I noticed at the end of the recipe I had sent her, it said “serve with cranberry chutney” … hmm, cranberry chutney. And I happen to have some habanero jelly my other friend gave me … hmm … this sounds good.
This chutney was just perfect with the cranberry roast. I think it would also go well with beef, venison or pork. It’s also yummy spread on hot, fresh bread.
Cranberry Habanero Chutney
Adapted from Closet Cooking
- 1 onion (peeled and chopped)
- 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/4 cup candied ginger
- 1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries
- 1 apple (peeled, cored and diced)
- 1/4 cup habanero jelly (or other pepper jelly)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 jalapeno pepper (finely diced–optional. Depends on how hot you like it! You may want to see how hot it is with the pepper jelly first, than add jalapeno to taste.)
- 1/2 cup cranberry-raspberry vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
- Put onion, garlic, and candied ginger in a handi chopper or food processor and chop into tiny bits.
- Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan, add remaining ingredients and cook on medium high heat for about 20 – 30 minutes or until thickened.
- Store in the refrigerator.
These pretty wreaths of bread were haunting me last night … I just had to make bread wreaths for our lunch today.
Sweet and Savory Stuffed Holiday Wreaths
Dough recipe from Simply Gourmet Photography who found it on allrecipes.com (submitted by Linda Wilson)
Wreath-shaping instructions from Discovering Sourdough
- 1 cup milk
- 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
Put all dough ingredients in a bread machine and set on the dough cycle. (If you don’t have a bread machine, Simply Gourmet Photography has instructions for making them by hand.) When the dough is done, cut it in half. Roll each half into a large circle.
Slide the dough circle onto a large baking sheet or pizza pan sprayed with cooking spray. Mark a circle in the center of the circle with a small bowl, but do not cut through the dough.
Cut the star-shape in the center of the dough circle like this:
Now, put your stuffing in a ring around the dough. For this one, I used a bunch of chopped cooked ham and shredded sharp cheddar and mozzarella cheese. I was trying to make a simple filling that my kids would eat … I would have liked to add onion and chopped bell pepper and perhaps even a nice spicy mustard sauce under the ham, but I kept it simple for the kids.
Now, fold in the outer edge over the filling:
and then take the points of the “star” and pull them to the edge. Tuck the ends underneath the edge to hold them in place.
My daughter helped with this part:
The other one we stuffed with apple cranberry stuffing and toasted walnuts. I think it would be better with a little caramel sauce under the apple cranberry stuffing.
Let the loaves rise in a warm place for about an hour or until they are good and puffy, then bake at 400F for 20 minutes covered with a piece of aluminum foil. Take the foil off after 20 minutes and then bake another 5 – 10 minutes.
Sweet Apple Cranberry Stuffing
- 1/2 cup chopped dates
- About 2 cups of peeled chopped apples
- 1 Tablespoon mixed berry jam
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1/2 cup cranberries, halved
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Put all ingredients in a saucepan and cook for 5 – 10 minutes over medium high heat until the apples are crisp-tender.
We had the ham-and-cheese stuffed wreath for lunch, with the apple-cranberry one for dessert.
This is warm, comforting, and filling. It’s almost like eating a baked apple. A perfect breakfast for a chilly fall morning. My daughter loves this oatmeal. She is always cold in the morning and it helps warm her up.
It’s simple, it’s fast, it’s the perfect comfort food for breakfast before heading off to school or work.
Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
- 1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
- 1/4 c. quick-cooking oats
- 1/4 c. water
- 1/4 c. lowfat milk
- 1 – 2 T. brown sugar
- A splash of vanilla
- Sprinkle of cinnamon
- Sprinkle of nutmeg
- Sprinkle of salt
- Peel, core and chop the apple and put it in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and stir.
- Cook in the microwave on high for 2 minutes, then take it out and stir it. Cook for 1 minute longer or until the oatmeal is cooked through.
I was up at my parents’ place this weekend, and there must have been apples in my dreams because I woke up in the morning with caramel apple rolls on my mind. These are the perfect leisurely Sunday brunch type of food, for the kind of mornings when you have plenty of time and you aren’t going anywhere. They take a little bit of work, but they are SO worth it.
I started making them with apples that my dad had sitting on the table, but he said those weren’t crunchy and I should go get some off the tree. So I got to start my Sunday morning with a visit to the apple tree. We don’t know what kind of apples these are because the tree was just there when my parents bought the land, but the tree always produces tons of apples. They were all over the ground and still tons of them on the tree. It didn’t take me long to fill my basket. And then I was set.
First I mixed up the dough and got that going in the bread machine.
Caramel Apple Sweet Roll Dough
- 1 1/3 cups cold water
- 4 t. yeast (or about 2 packets)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 T. canola oil
- 1 egg
- 2 cups bread flour
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 t. cinnamon
- 1 t. vanilla
Put all the ingredients in the bread machine and start it up on the dough setting. Now get to work on the apples.
Peel, core and chop 6 small apples into small pieces.
Prepare the caramel.
Caramel Sauce for the Sweet Rolls
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 6 T. butter
- 1 t. cinnamon
- 1-2 T. water
- 1 t. vanilla
Put the brown sugar, cinnamon and butter into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on 50% power until the butter is melted. Stir together to mix, then add 1 T. water and vanilla. If the caramel sauce looks too thick, add a bit more water.
When the dough is ready, dust a large clean surface with flour and roll it out into a long rectangular shape. The dough will resist getting any bigger after a while and will want to spring back into a smaller shape. (I was lucky to have some little hands to help me! This is a really fun project for kids.)
Now spray the dough with cooking spray, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar so you get it all covered with the cinnamon sugary goodness.
I also sprinkled it with nutmeg because nutmeg is my girl’s favorite spice. Then sprinkle on some of the chopped apples so there are apples all across it.
Prepare your pan(s). I had to use two pans to hold all the rolls: one was a glass baking dish that I think was about 12 x 8 inches and the other was a square-shaped 9×9 inch baking dish. Spray them with cooking spray, then pour in the caramel sauce and sprinkle with apples. I sprinkled some pecans on one, and left the other one without nuts (my girl doesn’t like pecans).
Now take the dough and roll it into a long log-shape. You can pinch the edges to “seal” if you like, but I usually don’t bother.
Get some dental floss and pull out a long string. This is what you’re going to use to cut the dough.
About 1 1/2 inches from the end of the roll, wrap the floss around the roll so it crosses on top, then pull on the strings to cut the dough. My daughter did the cutting of the rolls.
Take the roll and place it in the pan with the loose edge up against the side of the pan. Then cut the rest of the log into rolls about 1 1/2 inches long and place them in the prepared pan(s) leaving a bit of space between them to allow them space to rise. Try to place the loose edges of each roll either up against the edge of the pan or next to another roll. We got 14 rolls from this log. You will see 9 in this pan. I actually took one of the little ones and moved it to the other pan to space them out a little better.
Now spray the tops of the dough with cooking spray and set them somewhere to rise. Cover them with a towel and put them somewhere warm. If you have an over-the-oven microwave, you can put them the microwave with the stove light on. The stove light just under the microwave makes it a nice place for the dough to rise. (You don’t need to cover them if you rise them in the microwave.)
Another great place for rising dough is in the oven. Preheat the oven to the lowest setting (usually 170 degrees F.) and then turn the oven off. Place the rolls in the warm oven covered with a towel.
It takes a while for the dough to rise. At least an hour, sometimes two. Once the rolls are big and poofy and they have filled up all the empty spaces in the pan, they are ready to bake.
Put them in an oven at 325 degrees F. for about 40- 50 minutes. I like to cover them with aluminum foil for about the first 20 minutes to keep them from getting too brown. You want the dough to be cooked through and the tops to be a lovely golden brown.
Immediately place another pan or serving tray on top and turn them upside down to invert them. It’s important to invert them right away to allow the caramel sauce to drip down over the rolls and to keep them from getting stuck in the pan you baked them in.
NOW it’s time to enjoy! Some people think you should let them cool a little … I think they are best when they are piping hot, right from the oven.
I have a love/hate relationship with refrigerated biscuit dough. You know, that stuff that comes in a can at the grocery store? On one hand, my heart tells me that I could easily whip up my own biscuit dough. It’s not that hard! But on the other hand, it makes that satisfying popping noise when you open it. Plus it’s something that’s so quick to pull out of the fridge, pop open, and bake up just when you have no energy to cook.
My kids love the ease of them. It’s something they know they will have no trouble cooking. So they ask me to buy the things, and against my better judgement, sometimes I give in and buy them. I worry about what “extra” nasty preservatives and things the food companies are throwing in along with the flour and baking powder, so last time I bought these natural biscuits. Alas, perhaps because they were “natural”, they sat in the fridge for an overly long time. I was worried they wouldn’t be any good any more … so I had to use them up somehow.
And I have these lovely ripe peaches and apples laying about … and some caramel sauce in a jar that a friend gave me ages ago.
So I put them all together in a muffin tin and came up with these pretty little “pies”.
All I did was this:
- Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.
- Pop open the can of biscuits, take each biscuit, roll it with a rolling pin to make it a bit bigger, and carefully mold it to form a cup shape in the muffin pan.
- Fill each biscuit cup with chopped peach or apple, top with a spoonful of caramel and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and nutmeg.
- Bake them at 350 degrees F for about 12 – 15 minutes or until they are golden brown and the biscuits look done.
They turned out lovely. The kids were fighting over the apple ones (the apple ones? really? hey, but then I get the peach ones to myself! HA!
Honestly, I didn’t try the apple ones, but my kids loved them! (This is my daughter’s photo by the way … she styled it and took the picture herself.)