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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Apple Dumplings and More

**Rewind Time**

Back to Saturday night we go... Miss Aleix Noelle had a couple of friends over, one of which has a very severe allergy to nuts. Saturday also started the very cool Fall weather for the season, I'd say our crazy long Indian summer is now a thing of the past... looking ahead, there is *~*~Snow~*~* in our forecast! Of course, I'm headlong into my list of pumpkin "to-do's" for the season, but as soon as that weather turns, I begin to crave all the warm desserts and hearty meals Fall and Winter often bring with it. One of my very favorite down-home, cool weather meals is Chicken and Amish noodles with mashed potatoes, corn, biscuits and followed up with hot apple dumplings and vanilla ice cream! I'm drooling just reminiscing of Saturday's meal. I really think I could live on such things!

As I mentioned yesterday, I actually made two trips to Meijer this week, working off of two different ads, and as I was there Saturday afternoon, gathering the things I need, cart half full of groceries, my brain was reprocessing the fact that I was working around a peanut allergy. This is not something I am used to, as we have no known allergies in my family, and I had, in fact, planned this meal based on that allergy, knowing it should be a "safe" meal. The point is, I had forgotten to check the labels of everything I would be using. Common sense would say there are no peanuts in there, but common sense doesn't have to worry about a deadly allergy! So there I stood, in the middle of Meijer, reading all of the ingredients on every item in my cart! Whew! I was safe!

The girls hung out with me in the kitchen, and I was privy to some top secret high school chatter. ;) As I was cooking, we discussed boys, our upcoming Halloween party (which is going to be a lot bigger than I expected, Halloween costumes, and hair dye.... it kept me thoroughly entertained for the hour and a half it took to boil and shred my chicken, cook noodles, and mash potatoes.  If you've never listened to three teen girls chitter chatter over their latest crushes, you are surely missing out on some wonderful comic relief! On a serious note, I very much enjoyed that hour and a half with three wonderful young ladies, and I'm glad we all had that time together.

Over dinner, it was decided that once The Hubby got home from hunting, we would make a quick trip into town to buy some hair dye for Miss Aleix. This was a tough one for me, not being the "hair dye type", and always going au natural with my hair, I struggled to let my baby girl jump head first into that new adventure, knowing full well the maintenance and upkeep it would require. But alas, it is her hair, not mine, and she definitely has a sense of style that I envy, so I agreed we could give it a try. I had offered to do it myself (trying to save money), but all she said was, "Mom, I don't want purple hair." All I could do was laugh, because I can't guarantee that would not have been the outcome. Of course, she allowed her friend to do it, but her friend has some hair dye experience, so I guess I got trumped. I must say, I was more than impressed with the outcome, I promise to post a picture in a moment, but first, back to Apple Dumplings....

With apples being on sale for $.69/lb right now, I feel compelled to use them in as many desserts and meals that I can! You just can't go wrong at that price...


          




 If you've ever made apple dumplings, you know they can be quite time consuming, and they have a fairly long bake time. It worked out perfectly though, because I had the prep work done, and ready to pop into the oven when The Hubby came walking in. Into the oven went the dumplings and off to the store went the ladies and I in search of the perfect hair dye for my little lady. 

If you are interested in the recipe I used, it was fairly simple for being apple dumplings, and a lot less time consuming than some of the other recipes I've used in the past. I found it on this blog, and though I haven't had many spare moments to browse through, it looks as though she has a wonderful little blog there that you may want to check out!
http://www.bloglovin.com/frame?post=1659430661&group=0&frame_type=a&blog=4772947&link=aHR0cDovL3d3dy5oeW1uc2FuZHZlcnNlcy5jb20vMjAxMy8wOS9lYXN5LWFwcGxlLWR1bXBsaW5ncy5odG1s&frame=1&click=0&user=0


And now for Miss Aleix's beautiful hair... She went from a dirty blonde color to a beautiful red, with blonde peekaboo highlights underneath. I was blown away by how professional it looked, having been dyed by a 15 year old girl! It looks great with her complexion and for sure fits her spunky personality!



Nothing too time complicated for Sunday night, The Hubby indulged us with his delicious venison backstraps, a rare treat we only have a few times a year, and with a tired Tiny Tornado hanging onto my legs and fighting his sleep, I cut up some potatoes, seasoned them with mesquite seasoning (McCormick), onion powder, garlic powder and a bit of Lawry's seasoning. Used the deep fryer and they came out perfectly. Believe it or not, it was actually my first time ever making my own cut french fries! 
Annnnd.... We arrive back at Monday. 

Busy kitchen day for me yesterday, trying to get some things made ahead for lunches and such, and Tiny Tornado taking a shorter nap than usual wasn't very conducive to my original plan. I made do the best I could, though I didn't get everything I wanted done. Looking back over yesterday, and peering into my fridge today, I guess it worked out well that I didn't get it all done, as I am out of storage space in my fridge until we eat up some of our leftovers! (I'm working on that part, much to the chagrin of my hips... I just finished off last nights leftovers... ) 

I was able to get my pickled eggs done, and I believe those to be the most time consuming of all tasks I had on my list, so that was a good one to be able to check off! 14 eggs pickling away in my new pickling jar, as I call it. I was so excited to find this large sized jar (remember, there are 14 eggs in there right now, and it's only half full!). I was planning on buying a large canning jar, but Meijer never disappoints me on their item selection! And for only $6, it was very budget friendly. :) I had several requests via email, Facebook, and message board for the pickling recipe I use. I will just link to the basic recipe, though I do not use cinnamon in mine (now there is a shock!).




And of course, my avocado egg salad, because for now, it's on my list of favorites to eat for lunch. I am sure, after three weeks straight I will begin to get bored with it, but for now, it's hanging in there!

This is also very simple to make. I use 4-5 boiled eggs, 2 avocados, only a tablespoon or maybe two (depending on the avocado consistency) of real mayo, salt and pepper, and a bit of curry powder. I apologize, I don't measure, I do the "sniff test", but if I had to guesstimate, probably about 1/4 to 1/2tsp of curry.






Catching up now! Full steam ahead to last night's dinner! I'm excited about this one! 
Stuffed Hungarian and Jalapeno Peppers
So easy, my friends, and oh so delicious! 
Recipe I worked from can be found at this blogsite

Instead of 10 Hungarian peppers, I used 7, and replaced the other three with Jalapenos (I had to... my son loves anything jalapeno!). 



I happened to have a block of Mozzarella in my fridge from a couple of weeks ago, still unopened, so I used that rather than packaged cheese, and just grated it myself. There is something about freshly grated cheese... I don't know what it is, but I love it!


Generous amounts of grated parmesan on top....


And to go with, we had tri-color rotini, with a bit of Italian dressing and melted Mozzarella mixed in....



So incredibly delicious, by far one of my favorite Pinterest finds as of late! Will be making these again... Soon!


And breakfast this morning was incredibly easy, though it took me a bout 30 minutes total prep time when I add in the fruit salsa I made ahead last night. But the kids loved it, and it was a healthy start to their day, not to mention pretty darn tasty...
Fruit Salsa was very easy to make, it was the first time making it and in fact, my first time tasting it! I now need to find some more creative uses for it, because it was very well received from the kidlets.

Kiwi, Strawberries, and Apples, finely chopped, add in some Strawberry preserves, and throw in the blender until desired consistency.


To go along with the fruit salsa, I also whipped up some vanilla yogurt (just used a touch of sugar, vanilla extract and mixed in with plain Greek yogurt) for added fun dipping!

Peanut butter and banana quesadillas, heated and browned on the griddle, cut into triangles and served with salsa and yogurt.


I kind of got a giggle this morning as I packed The Hubby's dinner for work... as I arranged some leftover peppers and pasta in his typical lunchbox container, I noticed how perfectly coordinated the colors were. How cute. ;) Though you can be sure he won't notice such a detail. Ha!


And here is something I learned on Pinterest, such a great way to save money in the longrun!
If you use buttermilk at all (or even half and half or heavy whipping cream), you know that more often than not, you have to buy up in quantity, far exceeding the amount you actually need for your recipe. I have always found this rather wasteful, especially with buttermilk. Browsing through Pinterest a few weeks ago, I saw an ice cube tray, filled with white cubes. Scrolling down, I saw a genius idea! Freeze the additional buttermilk for future use, in 2 tablespoons per ice cube mold. Noticing that I was only a couple days from my expiration date on it yesterday, I figured I better do it now rather than later, or I will undoubtedly get busy and forget all about, wasting yet another nearly full half gallon of buttermilk. I did just as the pin said, I measured 2 tablespoons for each cube. Then it dawned on me. I have no where in my freezer to put an ice cube tray. **sigh**

I like my idea much better anyway.

My most common measurements with buttermilk recipes are almost always 1/2 cup or 1 cup. So I measured those into their own freezer bags, for easy additions to recipes down the road. Being able to lay flat or molded to whatever shape I need them to fit into (freezer door in my case) was much better than trying to make a safe place for an ice cube tray. So next time you have to buy buttermilk in an amount 12 times greater than what you really need, remember this trick, and you will have buttermilk for months down the road!




And now it's off to play Cinderella... my house is screaming at me for attention.... until next time, friends! :)