Cranberry Apple Pie with Leaf Crust

It’s been too long! So much radio silence! Where have I been? What on earth have I been doing? Baking is a safe assumption here, but I’ve been up to something even more exciting (well…you know) than baking and I’ve got some big news to share.

I’m moving! That’s right, it’s time for me to get my very own first big girl apartment. As of Thursday I will officially be a resident of St. Paul, MN. Hello urban wonderland! So stick with me, my posts might be a bit on the sparse side as I navigate moving into a new place, buying everything from furniture to glasses to toilet paper, and getting internet in my apartment.

So, as a peace offering, I present to you the most delicious and decorative pie I could muster! Cranberry is a must-have for me this time of year, so wonderfully tart and perfect to mix with sweeter fruits. I’ll even include a how-to so you can master the leaf crust on your own! Far easier than it seems, it will blow your guests away if you’re looking for a show stopping exclamation point to a family gathering.

Continue reading

Pecan Pie Bars

Martha Stewart, you really worked it. Sometimes I am put off by your recipes, not having white truffle oil, freshly ground nutmeg, or a cornish game hen on hand, but these pecan pie bars are amazing. I’d say hats off to you, but it just snowed here, and I’d really like to keep mine on.

If you’re heading to a Thanksgiving gathering this week and you have no idea what to bring, take these bars. They are wonderfully portable, and taste just like pecan pie! Not only do they taste fantastic, but they’re very easy to make, perfect for when you suddenly realize Thanksgiving is 4 days away and you haven’t done a darn thing to prepare for it yet. (Oops!) Continue reading

Turkey Burgers with Cranberry Sauce and Sweet Potato Fries

I call this my Thanksgiving meal for two! While at my boyfriend’s apartment this weekend, I was feeling particularly festive and decided I wanted to tackle some Thanksgiving recipes. As I sat there pondering what type of stuffing I wanted to make, it dawned on me how many leftovers I always have after Thanksgiving. So how was I going to create a Thanksgiving meal for two? Time to get creative. Continue reading

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is one of my favorite Thanksgiving foods. The tang of the cranberry mixed with the sweetness of stuffing all piled on juicy sliced turkey is what it’s all about. For years I had only ever had cranberry sauce with a can, so imagine how life-chaning it was for me when I had it at a friend’s house made from scratch! I left determined to try it myself, and it was so easy! Ever since then, I have made my cranberry sauce from scratch. Here’s my favorite recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 shallot, finely diced
  • 12 oz. of cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine (I used cabernet)
  • 1/2 tsp. orange zest
1. Dice your shallot and place it in a medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat. Cook for a minute, then add the cranberries and sugar. You’ll hear some popping and sizzling, but don’t worry, that’s meant to happen! As the berries burst the sugar will dissolve. Keep stirring to make sure nothing gets burned.
2. As the sauce simmers, add the orange juice, wine and zest. Keep stirring occasionally until the sauce begins to thicken. Cook to your desired thickness and then remove from the heat.
3. Serve with your favorite Thanksgiving traditions, or add it to a sandwich, burger, or anywhere else you’d like!

Sweet Potato Fries

I love sweet potatoes. For me, sweet potatoes are like the candy of vegetables. I get lots of healthy fiber and vitamin A, and I can put cinnamon and maple syrup on it? Yes please!

So really, it’s no surprise that I love sweet potato fries. It’s a natural extension of my adoration for sweet-meets-salty, and I can pretend they’re healthy because they are, after all, a vegetable.

What is surprising is that I have never attempted to make them on my own. The only fries I’ve ever had at home came from a bag, so I was a little intimidated when I decided to take these on. But once those puppies were fresh out of the oven, I just sat there and munched away, straight from the pan! For anyone toying with the idea of making fries at home, go for it! They’re easy, amazingly delicious and much lower in fat since mine are baked and not fried. Even my sweet potato hating boyfriend (How I ask you, HOW do you hate sweet potatoes?) went back for seconds.

Ingredients: Makes about 3 servings depending on how much you love sweet potato

  • 3 medium sized sweet potatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley – substitute dried if you don’t have fresh on hand
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes in long sticks, about 1/4 inch thick.
2. Lay the fries in a shallow baking dish in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle the garlic and parsley over the top. Mix, making sure all the fries are coated and put in the oven.
3. Bake for approximately 17 minutes, then switch the oven to broil and cook a few minutes longer to get a nice crispy outside.
4. Pull out of the oven and serve up with your favorite burger!

Rustic Apple Tarts

These rustic apple tarts, or Apple Snaps, as some (inexplicably) refer to them, were born on one of those beautiful fall days where the sun is shining, the weather is crisp, and the leaves seem to glow with all their colors.

Combine that with one of the most amazing apple orchards I have ever been to, and how can you not create something so simple, but so delicious?

While visiting my boyfriend in La Crosse, WI, we decided to embark on an apple picking adventure. He had never been, and I have always been fascinated by picking my own food (It’s just SO fresh!). Thus, we started our 40 minute journey to Ecker’s Apple Farm. Everyone should go to this apple orchard. I mean it, if you’re looking for a place to pick apples, this is where you should go. It’s run by the most adorable family you could ask for, they have a John Deere tractor to take you on a tour of the orchard with stops along the way where you are welcome to get off, pick an apple and eat it to make sure it’s just as tasty as it looks before you commit to picking and buying anything. Fabulous!

If the lure of a tractor train ride isn’t enough for you, they also make the best caramel I have ever tasted, which just happens to be delicious drizzled on the apple pie a la mode you can purchase by the slice, or by the entire pie, in the main barn. Trust me on this one, just go there, you cannot be disappointed!

So, as my boyfriend and I set off on our apple picking adventure, I knew I had to do something delicious with these apples.

You can’t spend all afternoon picking apples….or “apple hunting” in my boyfriend’s case….to not bake something delicious with them as soon as you get home.

So, with bag of apples and tub of caramel in hand, we set off down the road with dreams of these incredibly simple, incredibly delicious rustic apple tarts.

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped into quarter-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup of sugar, plus a little extra for sanding
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • Two 9 inch pie crusts, store bought or your favorite recipe. (I used store bought)
  • Caramel for drizzling
1. Preheat your oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then peel and chop your apples.
2. Add the sugar and cinnamon and stir to combine.
3. Roll your pie crusts out on to a pan. Cut them in half and add the apple mixture to the center of each half, leaving an inch or so of crust around the outside.
4. Fold over the edges of the crust any way you’d like (this is the rustic part!), then melt your butter and lightly brush over the edges. Sprinkle the buttered crust with a little extra sugar to get a nice crunch.
5. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of your tarts and the instructions on the package if you’re using store bought crust, or until the crust becomes golden brown.
6. Drizzle with caramel and enjoy!