Apple Cider Donuts

For a couple of years now, it’s been a tradition to go to Beardsley Cider Mill and get their hot-out-of-the-oven, mouth-watering, earth-shattering apple cider donuts. But I couldn’t stand the thought of eating them only once a year.  I need them in my life like I need another pair of shoes – and I always need another pair of shoes. So I bought a donut pan (shout out to HomeGoods – $9.99!) and tried to recreate them myself. I’m now sharing them with you because trust me, you need them your life too.

And I’m sure Santa wouldn’t mind these with milk instead of cookies this year either.

Donut batter

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp apple pie spice

Sugar coating

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease your donut pan. Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, apple pie spice, and salt. Once blended mix in the apple cider, eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and butter. Fill each cup 3/4 full and bake them for roughly 15 minutes or until golden brown. Just like a cake or cupcakes, when they feel spongy, they’re done.

While the donuts are baking, mix together the brown sugar, white sugar, and cinnamon for the coating. Once the donuts are done and have had a chance to cool, very lightly brush on the butter and toss the donut in the coating. (Warning: do not use a ton of butter for the coating. It will make the donuts soggy.)

Apple cider donuts

Happy Eating, XO.

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Firehouse Chili

Football season is in full swing. However, as much as I love me some pizza and wings during NFL Sundays, I am trying to conserve some money. I figured chili is just the way to cook at home, eat yummy Fall food, and still have enough leftovers for the Monday night game. So fire up the crockpot when you wake up next Sunday and have a delish serve your self “buffet” set up for all day game watching. Your wallet will thank you and you can always check out the cute delivery guy next Sunday.

  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons of minced garlic (fresh not powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds Hot  (or Mild) Italian Johnsonville Sausage crumbled (and then 1 pound ground beef, or turkey or even all 3 lbs. sausage, you pick!)
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes with green chilies (I used Rotel)
  • 2 packages McCormick Chili Seasoning Mix (any flavor)
  • 2 –  15 oz. cans Bush’s dark or light red kidney beans
  • 2 green bell peppers chopped small
  • 2 cans yellow corn
  • Pinch of cumin & red pepper flakes to taste (I ended up just throwing in a jalapeno instead of red pep flakes)
  • chicken broth, as desired for thinner consistency chili. It can also be stirred in at end.

Dump all ingredients in the order listed above and cook for 6-8 hrs. in crockpot. (I stirred half way through to make sure the meat was cooking evenly). I served with a platter of “garnishes” such as: shredded cheese, sour cream, pea shoots (or shredded lettuce), diced green onion, chopped avocado with a side warm baked corn bread. (don’t hate, but I cheated and used the store bought mixes vs. making from scratch). You can even skip the cornbread and crush up some tortilla chips as a topping as well. That’s why I love chili, its so versatile. Spicy, mild, whatever meat, veggies, and toppings galore, just eat and enjoy how you like it best!

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Happy Eating, XO.

Fall Stew

Guys, I miss football. I miss Fall. I mean if its going to be this cold I’d rather us be back in Fall than pretend to be in Spring. There aren’t any flowers, the showers are more like snow, and there just isn’t great spring food. I mean there is good Spring food, but not mouth watering great. Although I will say to stay tuned for an Easter Sunday themed blog post with yummy tea party sandwiches and snacks. (shameless blog plug) Anyway, point being I am going to eat like its still Fall and still can before summer comes around and I need sultry salads, fruits, and iced tea. Ok so back to this divine stew. I can’t even tell you how flipping good it is. There is this amaze balls Italian market near my work and not only do I get lunch from there AT LEAST 2x a week, but I always pick up tasty imported items from Italia whenever I can (aka last time I was there I picked up truffle butter AGAIN, whatever, Jess said we don’t judge here). Anyway, Tredici is the bomb.com for all the delish food they have on their regular menu, but they also have daily specials. This puppy was debuted in September and it made its way back once a month throughout the fall and I miss it so. I decided I must re-create it and have it available all year round. (or I’ll die, because I love it THAT much).  Ok melodramatics aside, I don’t think I can say I replicated the magical stew 100%, but this is pretty darn close, say 99.9% for all you math nerds. Anyway, it satiated my hankering for this delish stew and I hope it does the same for you! (ha “stew”, “you”, rhyming, happy camper, belly full).

  • 2 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 12 oz. hot Italian sausage, cut into small chunks (I just did droppings of the sausage by cutting out the casing, that lets the stew grab on to all the spices of the sausage).
  • 12 cipollini onions peeled (pearl onions can be substituted)
  • 1 ½ cups crushed tomatoes (Cento is my fav canned brand)
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • ½-oz bundle of herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, sage or oregano (there is a trio packet that’s sold at my grocery store, saves time & money so I just used that. It was parsley, thyme, and oregano)
  • 1-  2 ½ pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch chunks (again I buy the pre-prepared stuff from Trader Joe’s)
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces (I hate cooked carrots but I left them in and just fished them out so I could get the flavor but not have to eat them. I know I am a child).
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch long sticks
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut in half
  • 12-15 Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Fall Stew

Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add sausage, stirring until the sausage breaks into small pieces and is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, set aside. Raise heat to medium high, add onions. Then cook, stirring until golden, 5 to 6 minutes. (At this point, I put the sausage and onions in the slow cooker and added the remaining ingredients. Stir to mx.)Add tomatoes, stock, and herbs. Simmer over medium heat until liquid starts to thicken, 20 to 25 minutes. Add sausage back and the squash, carrots, parsnips, and fennel. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.  Add Brussels sprouts now and cook, covered about 5 minutes more. (or cook on high in the slow cooker for 4-5 hours if not doing it stove top). Remove cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid thickens, 10 to 15 minutes more. Adjust seasonings and serve warm. This will serve 4 – 6 people based on if you are making this a meal or a 1st course.

Happy Eating, XO

Fig, Mustard & Pear Champagne Glazed Chicken

An ode to my favorite grocery store under the Sun. Trader Joe’s. Cheap, fresh, organic, tasty, you name it…this place is THE best. Anyway, this blog is primarily easy recipes. Easy sometimes is mistakenly synonymous for quick. And while we appreciate the pace of most of the recipes, some of them such as the Sunday Simmer are best made “low and slow”. This is by far one of the easiest recipes because its mix, pour & roast however the total cooking time is 2 hrs. So if you need a quick week night dinner, keep scrolling. However, if you have some time to get laundry or other cleaning done…this recipe is clutch. Plus all ingredients are from TJ! So here you have it ladies & gents…Fig, Mustard & Pear Champagne Glazed Chicken.

  • 1 TJ’s Whole Organic Chicken (bone chicken = more scrumptious than non bone chicken, you better recognize! check out Mama Z’s whole chicken recipe too).
  • 1 jar TJ’s Fig Butter (I used the little that was remaining as a spread with goat cheese & crackers on wine night so obviously a multi faceted purchase here).
  • 1 jar TJ’s Whole Grain Dijon Mustard (this is used in dressing recipes, the crab cake recipe, etc…aren’t you happy to have to buy one less thing this time around, your welcome).
  • 1 bottle TJ’s Pear Champagne Vinaigrette (keep this around for an endive salad coming to the blog this December. We always want you to be able to use leftovers. Plus, we hope you like the dish enough that you wont have leftovers because you will re-make it at least once more!)

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the fig butter, 1/2 cup of the mustard and 1 cup of the vinaigrette. Rinse and thoroughly pat dry the chicken (moisture on the chicken will prevent the glaze from sticking to it). Place the chicken in a baking dish and spread 2/3 of the glaze mixture generously all over the chicken. (I did so, too generously. What I mean is that there was so much of the glaze that was on the pan surrounding the chicken that it started to burn & made my fire alarm go off. Crisis was averted by opening a window and switching to a clean pan, but it messed up the heating/cooking temp of the chicken & probably could’ve gotten an extra 20 min the oven to make up for the mid cooking swap). They say the rule of thumb is 20 min per lb. (I didn’t put much thought into that and just pulled it out when it looked done). Anyway half way through I basted the chicken with the remaining 1/3 of the glaze mixture, so moist & divine this chicken came out!

This serves 4 people and I served it with the roasted potatoes recipe under sidekicks.

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Happy Eating, XO.

Fall Favorite

Ok so we are OBSESSED with alliteration. Make sure you are sitting down (weird if you are standing at your computer but anyway I digress)….its only TWO ingredients….stop. Seriously. OK go.

Pumpkin Muffins

  • 1 can (15 oz.) of pumpkin (no not a can of pumpkin pie mix, just good old pumpkin).
  • 1 box of spice cake mix (original recipe calls for regular cake mix and then it had a list of ingredients to add such as: cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. and then my laziness prevailed when I saw the pre-made spice cake mix at the grocery store).

Mix, if it is too thick (which it will be pretty dense, but if you need to loosen it up I have added a tbsp. of milk before, but it really isn’t needed). Pour in pre-greased muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.Note an overwhelming amount of guilt pours over me because this recipe is too damn easy, so I have topped the muffins with a sprinkle of brown sugar and sliced almonds for a “fancy pants” feel. Oh and feel free to keep these items on hand since neither is perishable. Anyway, enjoy you underachieving bums!

Happy eating, XO