Tag Archives: granny smith apples

Menu Plan {25.05.2013}

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It is Memorial Day weekend, and boy I was hanging out for this 3 day weekend. We just finished the first day at the beach with friends. The weather is perfect, the boys had so much fun, and I got to spend some time on making hexagons out of a bag of scraps (since my sewing machine is at home….we are only away for two days).

Here is our meal plan for the rest of the week:

DAY BREAKFAST DINNER
Saturday Fruit salad + scrambled egg + english muffin Grilled fish + Grilled Vegetables (BBQ)
Sunday Rhubarb+Apples Compote + Granola+yoghurt Grill meat + Spinach Salad
Monday English Muffin + Banana + Almond Butter Meatball + Spinach Pasta Bake
Tuesday Rhubarb+Apples Compote + Granola+yoghurt Omelet
Wednesday Bircher Muesli zPizza
Thursday Bircher Muesli Mexican Chicken Stack
Friday Berry + Banana + Spirulina Smoothie Sandwiches

We are usually spending ~$70 a week for our meals. Here is this weeks shopping list:

GROCERY LIST (NEW STOCK) IN THE CUPBOARD/FRIDGE
  • Watermelon (TJ)
  • Bell Pepper (TJ)
  • Tomatoes (TJ)
  • Chili Beans (TT)
  • Frozen Corn (TJ)
  • Grated Cheese (TT)
  • Spinach (from the garden)
  • Broccoli (from the garden)
  • Ground Beef (TJ)
  • Onions (TJ)
  • Eggs (TJ)
  • Gluten Free Pasta (TT)
  • Oats (BJ)
  • Sultanas (TT)
  • Rhubarb (LF)
  • Granny Smith Apples (LF)
  • Mushrooms (TJ)
  • English Muffins (LF)
  • Soy Milk (TJ)
  • Cereal (BJ)
  • Chicken (BJ)
  • GF Lasagna sheets (WF)
  • Canned tomatoes (BJ)

NOTE: We shop majority at Trader Joe’s (TJ), Target (TT) with an occasional visit to Whole foods (WF), BJ’s , Harris Teeters (HT), Lowes Food (LF) and Fresh Market (FM).
NOTE: We do not typically use coupons mainly due to time.

Pumpkin Soup

One of my son’s favorite book series is the “Pumpkin Soup”, “Delicious” and “A Pipkin of Pepper” by Helen Cooper. (images taken from google images – amazon.com)

  

These beautiful books and the time of year inspired us to make a couple of pumpkin soups. I usually make a base (pumpkin puree) that we can store by freezing it, and then we make soup from that base. This time I made the base in the slow cooker so I didn’t have to check on it all the time and it worked out great. The two soups we made were a Pumpkin Cream Soup and a Curried Pumpkin Soup.

Ingredients for Pumpkin puree (cooked in the slow cooker)

1/2 large pumpkin (chopped in ~2 inch pieces)
2 Granny Smith apples (grated ~1 cup)
1 cup carrot (grated)
1 onion (grated)
1 32 oz box of low-sodium vegetable stock

  

Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. Use a hand blender to blend the softened vegetables (be careful of hot splashes). Use immediately or place into freezer suitable containers.

  

Pumpkin Cream Soup (Kid-friendly recipe)

Ingredients 

3 cups Pumpkin Puree (from the slow cooker)
1 cup of heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a sauce pan, heat. I use a whisk to stir in the pumpkin puree and the cream. Serve immediately, with a  dollop of sour cream and pinch of nutmeg.

Curried Pumpkin Soup (adult version of pumpkin soup)

Ingredients

3 cups of pumpkin puree (from above)
1/2 can of coconut milk (I use a light coconut milk)
2 tsp red curry paste
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 inch fresh ginger (finely grated)

Add all the ingredients into a sauce pan, stir using a whisk and heat through. Serve immediately. You can add a dollop of plain greek yoghurt, topped with fresh chopped coriander.

A few of my favorite things: A Sweet Breakfast

Breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day. Over the last year I have actually been making time for it – normally I am just a weekend brunch person.

I have a few favorite places we go in the weekend, Guglhupf (a german bakery – an amazing cafe with a great outdoor atmosphere), La Farm Bakery (a French Bakery), then of course an easy, hassle-free family option – iHop (I know, I know, started off well 🙂 but I do like the breakfast sampler).

I also have a few favorite recipes –  a couple of savory ones which I will post next, you are in luck though if you have a sweet tooth. Let’s start with the sweet – you’ll see the european influence.

Strawberry and Banana Crepes
My husband and 5-year-old love these crepes. They take very little time and we actually have enough left over to have them again a couple of days later.

Ingredients (makes 4 crepes; with mixture leftovers – 4 more crepes):
1/2 cup All purpose flour
1/2 cup White whole wheat
3/4 cup egg whites (5 egg whites)
Pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup non-fat milk (skim milk; if your mixture is too thick add more milk)
1 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 Punnet Strawberries, sliced (1/2 pound)
1 banana, sliced (optional)
3 Tbsp Nutella (optional)
3 Tbsp Whipped Cream (optional)
Icing sugar

Add the first 6  ingredients in a bowl and whisk it until mixed, set aside. Heat a non-stick fry pan on medium heat. Make sure you have the strawberries, banana and Nutella close to the element, you will need to move fast.

  

My pan does not need any butter, but if yours does, add some before adding the mixture to ensure an easy flip. Use a 1/4  cup soup ladle and spoon the crepe mixture into the fry pan, move the fry pan in circular motion to spread and thin the crepe mixture. Once it starts to bubble all over, flip the crepe (I use another crate and barrel tool – spatula). Quickly spread a tablespoon of Nutella on 1/2 the crepe, add 1/4 of the strawberries, 1/4 of the banana) – I leave the crepe ~1-2 minutes just to turn a slight golden color on the bottom.

  

Platter the crepe and fold over the top, using a sift sprinkle icing sugar over top and a dollop of whip cream. Serve immediately. Repeat for other crepes.

NOTE: For me, I prefer a lighter version and I omit the Nutella and cream – you won’t believe the strawberry taste you get :-).
NOTE: We have also tried these with caramelized apples (apples cooked in butter and brown sugar) – very good as well.

Bircher Muesli
This recipe works great for the working week. It stores well in the fridge for 5 days – due to the apple juice.

Ingredients (serving size 1/2 cup):
2 cups rolled oats (not the instant kind)
3 cups apple juice
1 grated granny smith apple
1 container plain greek yoghurt (~6oz)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup of dried fruit (e.g.. sultana’s, apricots, dates)

The night before, add the rolled oats and apple juice together in a medium-sized bowl. Place in the fridge until morning.

In the morning, added freshly grated granny smith apple, greek yoghurt – stir. Add other ingredients, mix again. I tend to use sultana’s (golden raisins) as my dried fruit.

NOTE: You will find that the mixture will thicken slightly by day 2. If you want it thinner add milk; if you want it thicker add less apple juice.

A few of my favorite things: Rhubarb and Apples

When thinking about my food creations and how to discuss them, nothing better described it than Sound of Music’s “A few of my favorite things” (I know, I know – I blame the Christmas TV special tradition for that reference 🙂 ).

One of my favorite things growing up was rhubarb and apple crumble, which to this day I enjoy. However, if I am feeling a little more creative and have time on my hands, I take it a step further making individual rhubarb and apple pies.

The individual pies came about while “window shopping” in one of my favorite stores, Crate and Barrel. I discovered a pie tray to make individual pies which I purchased there on the spot…..I love this equipment – http://www.crateandbarrel.com/individual-mini-pie-pan-set/s550322.

So once purchased, I had to prove to the hubby the value of the purchase – so why not make some pies. Here’s how….

Rhubarb and Apple Compote:
10-15 sticks of Rhubarb (cut into ~2 in. pieces ~2 cups)
2-3 x Granny Smith Apples (Peeled, Cored and Sliced ~2 cups)
1/4 cup of white sugar (add to taste)
1/4 cup of water

Add all ingredients into a sauce pan, medium heat. Heat the ingredients, making sure you stir frequently. You don’t want the fruit or sugar to burn on the bottom of the pot. Once fruit starts to soften I turn the heat down to low-medium heat. Continue checking and stirring the ingredients as the rhubarb and apples become soft. This process takes ~15-20 minutes.

Take compote of the stove top and allow to cool.

Some pointers:

  1. I like my stewed fruit a little tart and also somewhat think – so add the initial the water and sugar but you should add to it to get your desired result. Just remember the Rhubarb and Apples will produce their own juices as well.
  2. I use a fork to help my pulp along – I use the folk to “mash” bigger pieces. Again this is a personal preference, I like my compote to be a little chunky.
  3. I usually have enough compote to split into containers and I store extras in the freezer. Make sure it is cold when placing in the freezer and in a airtight container.

Pastry (note for individual pies I double (x2) this recipe):
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1/4 cup of icing sugar (in the US this is confectionary sugar)
90g (3/4 of a stick of butter in the US) butter cut into pieces
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten (don’t throw away the egg white)
1 Tbsp of iced water (I use water straight from my fridge dispenser)
Egg white
4 tbsp of white sugar

Sift flour and sugar into a large bowl, add butter. Rub the butter into the flour mix until it looks like crumbs. Make a well in the center, add yolks and mix flour mixture and eggs with a fork. Add water to the mixture with your fork. In the bowl, you should now be able to form a ball of all the dough. Place the ball of dough into plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 415 degrees F (or 210 degrees C). Brush rim of pie dishes with melted butter.

Once 20 minutes has past, I take additional plastic wrap and place two pieces down on my countertop, place the dough on this “sheet” and flatten slightly. I add two additional strips of plastic warp on top. Roll out your dough (you want it to be less than 1/4 of an in. thick but not to thin). Cut the circle for the individual pies and press each pastry piece in place.

Putting the pies together:
Measure out ~1/4 cup of rhubarb and apple compote and place into the pastry. For each pie, cut strips from the left over pastry – I use 7-8 strips about 1/3 in. (1/2 cm) wide. You may need to recall pastry and re-roll several times. On a board, you want to lay down 4 of the pieces parallel to each other with a gap in between each strip, then with the other 4 pieces lay them on top perpendicular. Now interlace the pastry strips creating a lattice.  (This can be a little tedious).

Lift the lattice and place over pie. I use a fork to push edges of the lattice pastry together with the bottom. Trim the edges. To finish brush top of lattice with egg white and sprinkle with 1 tbsp of sugar.

Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Take out of oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Remove from pan.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or cream. Each individual pie can be split into two and shared, if you want that is.

Modification + Rhubarb and Apple Crumble recipe:
If the lattice pastry topping is too much, you could top with crumble instead. If this is the case, cut back to only making a single portion of the pastry. I use my Edmonds Cookbook for crumble recipe – specifically the rolled oats crumble http://www.firstsearch.co.nz/fruit-crumble.html. Now with this link you have a Rhubarb and Apple Crumble recipe, as well.