Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Golden Baked Apple Pudding

I had some apples that were fading fast in my refrigerator and I knew that I needed to do something with them.  It's starting to feel like fall around here and I decided I was going to try for some sort of "comfort food" apple dessert.  I stumbled across this "Golden Baked Apple Pudding" recipe in "The Cook's Companion" cook book. The picture instantly drew me in.  The results was just as amazing as the picture looked!

1 lb cooking apples
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp golden raisins
4 oz whole wheat bread
generous 1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese
4 tbsp brown sugar
generous 1 cup lowfat milk

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Peel and core the apples and chop the flesh into 1/2 inch pieces.  Place in a bowl and toss with the cinnamon and golden raisins.

This is probably more than a pound, but I love apples!
2. Remove the crusts and cut the bread into 1/2 inch cubes.  Add to the apples with the cottage cheese and 3 tablespoons of the brown sugar and mix together.  Stir in the milk.

3. Turn the mixture into an ovenproof dish and sprinke with the remaining sugar.  Bake inthe preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.  Serve hot.

Yum!  It was a hit!

Shepherd's Pie

I'm not going to lie, I always thought this dish was called Shepard's Pie, but apparently I'm completely wrong.  I got this recipe out of a great cookbook called "The Cook's Companion" and with a few changes I made, what I, and many of my neighbors, thought was a pretty good dish!

The cookbook says that Shepherd's Pie is an old English dish that was originally created to us up leftovers from the traditional Sunday roast.  This is exactly why I made it.  I cooked a roast on Sunday, then we were invited to a BBQ, so I decided to just save the leftovers and fix something great this week.

Here is the recipe that I used...

1 lb fresh lean ground lamb or beef
2 onions, chopped
8 oz carrots, diced
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
scant 1 cup beef stock
7 oz canned chopped tomatoes
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp chopped fresh sage or oregano or 1/2 tsp dried sage or oregano
2 lb potatoes
2 tbsp margerine
3-4 tbsp skin milk
4 1/2 white mushroom slices (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Place meat in a large, heavy bottom pan with no extra fat and cook gently until the meat begins to brown.

(I chopped my roast into bite size pieces, and heated it in a large skillet and it worked just fine!)

My Leftover Roast
2. Add the onions, carrots and garlic and continue to cook for 10 more minutes.  Stir in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, then gradually stir in the stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil.

(I actually used the juices from the bottom of my crockpot on Sunday (which in a way is stock) and added a bit of red wine.  It was delicious)


3. Add the Worcestershire sauce, seasoning, and herbs, cover and let simmer gently for 25 minutes, giving an occasional stir.

4. Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, then drain thoroughly and mash, beating in the margarine, seasoning, and enough milk to give a piping consistency.  Place in a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (or large ziplock back with a corner cut off, like I did).

5. Stir the mushrooms (if using, I didn't) into the meat and taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.  Turn into a shallow oven proof dish.

6. Pipe the potatoes evenly over the mean.  Cook in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until piping hot and the potatoes are golden brown.

Looks Delicious!
I have to say, I loved this dish!  It was actually pretty easy, and since I was using beef that had already been cooked, I was able to shorten some of the cooking times on the stove.  My husband has yet to try this dish, but there are some leftovers sitting in the refrigerator for when he gets home.  I have no doubt that he will love it as much as I did!

Monday, September 12, 2011


My brother got married on Labor Day weekend!  Him and his new wife got engaged the Wednesday after my wedding.  He proposed to her on the steps of the house that they met in at college.  They have been planning this wedding for the last year, and from day one, we knew that they were planning on getting married in Kennebunkport, Maine.  She grew up in Texas, but spent summers with extended family in Kennebunkport.  Her parents moved her and her sister to Michigan in high school (she actually went to high school with my brother and I), she went to college in Michigan where she and my brother officially "met" and started dating.  Her parents have since moved to Colorado.  My brother and I grew up in Michigan and our parents still live here.  Because of the spread of family, they realized that pretty much everyone was going to have to travel and they might as well have the wedding somewhere fun!  Somewhere like Kennebunkport.

Since Landonand I have never been to Maine, we decided to make a vacation out of it!  We planned a great trip!  We started at Niagra Falls.  I have never been there before and I was very excited to see the falls!

We left the falls on Wednesday and started driving towards Maine.  We knew we were not going to make it all of the way in one day, so we decided to stop in Utica, NY for the night.  The next morning we headed towards Kennebunkport!  The first night we had a family dinner with all of the relatives from my mom's side of the family.

The next day we were able to explore the town a bit before the rehersal and rehersal dinner.

The day of the wedding was beautiful!  The sun was out, the water was beautiful.  The bride and groom were excited!  It was a great day with family and friends!

The reception was also a blast!  We had the best table ever!

After the wedding we headed to Acadia National Park!

After Acadia, we finally headed into the middle of Maine!  I was so excited for this part of the trip!  We decided to try white water rafting.  The river I chose was the Kennebec River, which is one of the best rivers in Maine to go white water rafting!  The rapids were mostly class III and class IV's.  Landon and I were both pretty nervous, but were excited to try something new.  We got up to the middle of Maine the evening before we were schedule to white water raft.  One of the women working at the Inn that we stayed at was also a guide and went on and on telling us that we were in for a treat.  Becuase of all the rain that we had gotten in the previous week, the damn that releases water into the river was flowing at double the rate it normally flowed at.  All of the guides were extremely excited.  I was freaking out.  We ended up rafting the next morning and the river was releasing 9000 cubic feet/second of water.  Normally it releases 4500 cf/s.  It ended up being a blast and I tribute most of that to our amazing guide Jeramy.  Not a single person fell out! 

All in all, this trip was an extremely memorable trip!  I am so happy for my brother and his new wife.  I wish them all the happiness in the world.  They make such an amazing couple!  I am also so glad that we were able to turn this wedding into a vacation to remember!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Niagra Falls!!!

We're driving through Canada to head to my brothers wedding this weekend in Maine.  We decided to do a little site seeing!!! I was so excited to finally be able to check out Niagra Falls.  It is beautiful!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Landon and I went canoeing this past weekend as a work trip for his office.  I have had a few conversations with friends who have told me that canoeing trips have almost ended their relationships because of how frustrating it can be.  I wasn't worried though.  Landon is a rock star at canoeing and I knew I just needed to keep up with him.  We did an amazing job.  We actually finished our trip in about 2 hours less than we were expecting too.  We canoed 8 miles in just over two hours!  It was a great trip!
Rock Star!

I did pretty good too!

Our First Anniversary!

Landon and I celebrated our first anniversary a week ago!  We have had quite an adventure in this first year of marriage.  Landon started a new job, he closed out his Snap-On franchise and we bought a house.  I'm finally to the point where I feel like things are calming down. 

To celebrate our first year of marriage we had planned on taking a day trip to Greenfield village, but the weather did not cooperate.  Instead we spent the day at the Eastern Market and then to dinner at a nice restaurant in Brighton.  The icing on the cake was that we got to eat our top layer of wedding cake (and let me tell you, it was still delicious!)

As I think about all of the changes that have happened this year, it gets me more excited to head off to Maine to see my brother get married!  I know that they are going to have as amazing of a first year of marriage as Landon and I did. 

And we are looking forward to the trip!!!  We leave in a week!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Finished Project!!!

I have been working on a quilting project for months now.  I was recruited by my best friend to make a t-shirt quilt for her with all of her old t-shirts from high school and college.  She also asked if I would create a quilt for her roommate.  I worked on my best friend's roommate's quilt first, because her shirts got to me first. 

I spent the entire summer avoiding putting the quilt together.  I love sewing, but it's been so nice out, that I couldn't justify spending the time inside to get the job done.  I had the top of the quilt done a few weeks ago, but I've really needed to actually quilt it and put the binding on.  I finally sat down and finished the quilt!  It feels so good to have this project done and to finally have it sent off to its new owner!

I also learned a few things along the way.  First and foremost, the stuff that you can use to glue the quilt top, the batting, and backing together is the most amazing invention ever.  I also learned that it is important to think about how the back of a quilt will look after it is completely quilted.  Here is what this one looks like!  I think it turned out pretty nice!

And here is a closer look at one of the corners!

I have one more t-shirt quilt to start and finish and then I can focus on other sewing projects!