Tag Archives: vegan mofo 2009

now bite your tongue and say “apple”

30 Oct

Remember doing that as a kid? The stupid things we did to try and get people to curse… so goofy. And it doesn’t even sound right.

I promise this post will be more productive than sad attempts at swearing and the effects better than that of biting your tongue. Ouch.

apples

Apple Pie Butter, baby!

I wanted to make apple butter, but wanted it to be distinctly different than the pumpkin butter. When you start cooking down fruit and throwing around spices it’s all too easy for it to start losing it’s personality. The key to this recipe is one my dearest friends, vanilla. Vanilla really plays up the apples, adds a hint of creaminess and generally just kicks ass.

This recipe yields a lot of butter, so be prepared to eat, make Apple Butter Cookies from 100 BVBR or, reluctantly, share your bounty.

Apple Pie Butter

7 lbs apples, assorted varieties (I used Gala, Pinova, Honeycrisp and Granny Smith)
3 1/2 cups dark sugar
juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 teas. ground ginger

Peel and chop up all of the apples. You could always peel them, cut them and then toss in the food processor to roughly chop. I like the hands on prep, so I peel them, cut them with my apple slicer and then chop the slices. Combine apples in a stock pot along with sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon and mix well. Cook the apple mixture on medium heat until juices are boiling and apples become very soft and begin to break down, stirring often, about 25-30 minutes.

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Process apple mixture in a food mill, processor or blender in batches until it is creamy and smooth.

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Return to pot, lower heat a bit and add vanilla. You may wish to add more sugar (do so 1/4 cup at a time) or more spices, to taste. Be mindful that the spices will intensify after canning. Cook down until the mixture is thick and sticks well to a spatula or spoon.

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Can according to manufacturers directions in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Remove jars and let cool completely. Makes 4 1/2 pints (I ended up with 7 -1/2 pint jars and 1 pint jar)

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I really think that making fruit butter is even easier than making jam, it’s truly so simple. If you are unsure about canning, you can always buy freezer canning jars and make freezer butters- they still make great gifts!

holiday gift ideas

29 Oct

If you’ve been a long time reader of this blog or my previous one, you know how crazy excited I get about the holidays. I LOVE everything about the holiday season, from Thanksgiving stuffing to New Year’s black eyed peas. I like to plan ahead for holiday gift giving as well. The cusp of November isn’t really planning that far ahead, but I wanted to share some unique ideas with you as that time of year is approaching. You could always can something yummy for your loved ones, make a fun cooking zine or bring tins of holiday cookies to share, of course, but in the spirit of consumerism, here are some very thoughtful gift ideas I’ve discovered recently that you might like, too.

My lovely co-worker, Molly, does more than rock the Marketing Department. She is also an awesome green craftster who crochets functional and stylish items from plastic bags. The majority of her products are bag-related (shopping bag, market bag, purse, messenger bag) but she also makes rugs, bowls, coasters and a variety of other neat items that are not only cool, but kind to the Earth. All of her items are made from 100% recycled content, with her supplies coming from plastic shopping bags that would otherwise be thrown out.

molly

Red Spec and Striped Tote

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Tan Striped Market Bag

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Spec and Stripe Plastic Rug

I’m buying some of her market bags to put jars of jam in for the holidays- a fun, functional gift that is sure to be used and remembered. Because her items are handmade, planning ahead for the holidays is important! You can check out her etsy store here.

I have another gift idea that might be a bit emotional, but is truly beautiful. The company Memory Pendants hand makes beautiful, personalized pendants to remember your loved ones by. 2 1/2 years ago my father passed away and this summer I decided I wanted to get some sort of memory pendant to put some of his ashes in. I looked at just about every store online I could find, but nothing really seemed to fit both my taste and my dad’s memory. Then I came across the Huffman’s site.

pendant

They have a variety of pendant options, but the gist of it is that you send a very tiny amount of cremation remains and they hand build a pendant of your choosing around the remains. You can choose the colors, shape, etc, whether you want the remains visible or not and they made it a very sweet and caring process. I chose to have the remains visible in the very center and I selected blues (for my dad) and greens (for me). I absolutely love the pendant and wear it almost daily. The smooth glass front of it acts as a worry stone of sorts, as I find myself constantly rubbing my thumb across it.

If you or someone close to you has lost someone dear, this is a really nice way to keep them close to you. Memory Pendants can include the remains of more than one person and also do pet remains, locks of hair and create several other products as well. Because they are hand made, this is definitely something to order ahead as well, as it’s a little bit of a process (mailing things back and forth), but well worth it.

pumpkin in my pancakes, told a tale on you

28 Oct

I’m kind of classic when it comes to eating fruit butters- slathered on a chunk of bread or warm toast is all I need to feel bliss. But that was a very large amount of pumpkin butter to make, regardless of how much I love Dave’s Killer Bread.

Enter my favorite meal of the day: breakfast. Pumpkin is fabulous with breakfast. A chilly morning, coffee percolating, aromatic spices drifting from the kitchen- perfection.

Pumpkin Butter Pancakes

1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1/2 white whole wheat and 1/2 all-purpose)
1 tbsp. sugar
2 teas. baking powder
1/2 teas. baking soda
1/2 teas. cinnamon
1/4 teas. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teas. salt
1 cup pumpkin butter
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups milk of choice
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp. oil
1/2 teas. vanilla

In a large bowl combine flour through salt. In another bowl combine the pumpkin butter, milk, water, oil and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk to combine. Add more liquid as needed.

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Let batter sit while heating your griddle. Ladle batter onto griddle using a measuring cup to ensure equally sized pancakes.

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Let pancakes cook until edges are set and middle begins to bubble then flip, about 3 minutes. Cook other side for about 1-2 minutes. This will depend on how big your cakes are (we like ’em big!).

Yields 6 good sized pancakes. Serve with a smear of pumpkin butter and some syrup. We’re completely in love the with agave/maple blend from Trader Joe’s right now.

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pump up the jam

27 Oct

After my canning frenzy this summer I took a break, but now I’m back in the swing of it with a fall line up of fruit butters in tow. First up, pumpkin butter.

Sadly, the USDA does not recommend home canning of pumpkin butter. This is because pumpkin is low in acidity and has unpredictable water content, neither of which was optimal when canning. I did can my butter, to sterilize and seal it, but am keeping it in the fridge.

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I started with four medium sugar pie pumpkins. Halved and seeded, I placed them cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment and baked them at 350 for a little over an hour.

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After roasting them in the oven the flesh shrank, making the skin easy to peel.

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So colorful and juicy looking! Once peeled, I chopped the flesh into chunks and put it in my pot. I chose to cook it down a little more before just pureeing it, because some spots were harder than others. In went 2 cups of dark brown sugar, 3 tbsp of molasses, the juice of one lemon, 2 tbsp of pumpkin pie spice and one tbsp of cinnamon.

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Once all of the flesh was uniformly soft, I pureed the batch in my Vita-Mix then poured it back in the pot and adjusted sweetness/spices to taste. My goal was to get pumpkin pie filling flavor, but because the spices will really bloom as the butter sits, I didn’t want to go overboard and end up with spreadable potpourri.

Once the butter was ready, I laddled it into jars and processed it in the hot water bath for 10 minutes. This made 4 pints of pumpkin butter.

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It’s so delicious- spiced, creamy and rich. I love the taste of fall.