Is she not the cutest baby ever?! I kinda want to sneak into her room and kiss those little chubby hands right now… (Gym Buddy Allison took this pic!)
Jelly Bean is of the opinion that if she can’t see vegetables then I can’t make her eat them. Little does she know that even though I nicknamed her after a candy, I’ve been sneaking in the good stuff to her since the day I first decided that eating an entire watermelon with a huge baby doing jumping jacks on my bladder was a good idea. And really I can’t complain – she may regurgitate even the tiniest piece of onion into my hand but she ate a whole bowl of spinach with miso dressing at dinner tonight.
The miso dressing was just one of many new recipes I’ve been trying out lately. Something about fall always makes me want to cook more and so I’ve been stocking our freezer full of beef and barley stew, chili, 15 bean soup and enough whole wheat zucchini bread to make Bunnicula cool again. But nothing says fall to me like homemade applesauce! The warm cinnamon-y smell, the fresh taste, the little bits of chewy peel stuck between my teeth… Yeah, I health up my applesauce just like I do everything else. In the past leaving all the nutritious peels on has made my applesauce the leper of the lunchbox but this year I was determined it was going to be different!
First stop, the local, organic apple farm down the road! Fresh air, fresh fruit, fresh kids – what could go wrong?
They were out of apples. Yes, the apple farm was out of apples. Trees were picked bare; saw it with my own eyes! But all was not lost – the farm had porcupines and a pot-bellied pig to entertain the children (nothing says fun like a barbed quill in your eye!) plus a free hayride.
The hayride took us to their new corn maze! Which was super fun as long as I didn’t consider how much money we’d just paid to wander around a dessicated field for an hour. Here we are at the entrance to the maze.
And here we are at the exit! The boys were feeling pretty proud of themselves for making it out alive. I told Gym Hubby we officially have children of the corn. He said he could have told me that years ago.
On the walk back to the farm house (where they conveniently had bags of expensive apples for sale) Jelly Bean discovered that while the trees no longer had fruit, the ground sure did! And yes I let her eat those. The fun of being the 4th kid!
Being a cheapskate I refused to pay for the overpriced apples at the farm so we stopped and got some cheap apples at Target – which I suppose you could say I “picked” myself, har, har.
After cutting them quickly into large chunks, I stuck them peel and all (what? I didn’t want to waste all the good store-boughten vitamins!) into my beloved Vitamix and pureed the living crap out of those things. Thanks to the magic of Google, I discovered this is the secret to making homemade peel-on applesauce. Puree then cook.
I added the pureed apples to my supa-fly 80′s crockpot (it works, don’t judge) along with some cinnamon and a small bag of frozen raspberries that someone had left out on the counter earlier in the day causing them to become unfrozen. (Which is why it has the color and texture of bloody entrails.) That’s it! No sugar, no gelatin, nothing else! (Although I found out later I was supposed to add a smidge of lemon juice. I don’t know why but I skipped that and it tastes fine anyhow.) After letting it cook on low overnight, we had it for breakfast the next morning with whole yogurt and the kids couldn’t get enough! Easiest recipe ever.
We will now take a small break from our cooking show to bring you the newest member of the Andersen family: Bubbles the Beta fish! I finally caved this week and let my kids get their first pet. Heck yes Bubbles gets Brita-filtered water!
Applesauce may be my favorite fall recipe but baking is one of my favorite fall activities. Over the past week the New York Times health blog has been featuring healthy cookie recipes and I have made them all. Yes, you read that right. And I’m not sorry – whether we shared them with friends (like the cookie bowls filled with flavored whole cream above) or kept them for ourselves, every single one has turned out fab*. Plus they’re already healthy-ish so I don’t have to monkey with them too much!
I left out the sugar in these Whole Wheat Seeded Scones and they were fab with some butter and a drizzle of local honey.
I halved the sugar in these Sesame Coconut Bars and added a couple scoops of unflavored protein powder and served them for breakfast. They were the hit of the week.
These Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies were a delicious after-school treat that we shared with the neighbors.
After subbing coconut oil and adding some protein powder, these Coconut Granola Bars were my kids’ most requested “dessert” for their lunches. I love that they don’t have any flours or refined sugars.
Chocolate Pecan Bars are definitely a dessert, whole wheat flour or no, but these were so tasty I didn’t feel like I was having healthified treats.
And for all of you just-learning cooks out there like me, Reader Jasmine sent me the coolest article: The Most Common Cooking Mistakes from Cooking Light magazine. Must read!
Have you tried any new recipes lately? What is your favorite fall food?
*Except those pink blob-y cookie cups – I didn’t add any sugar to the raspberry cream filling and they were tart. I didn’t realize how bad they were until after all our guests had left and everyone’s plates still had piles of pink filling left on them. Whoops!