Tag Archives: apple

Beyond the Detox… and Apple Mango Spinach Smoothies

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Last week, I shared a little bit about my “detox” diet experience a few weeks ago. I went 10 days without any gluten, dairy, sugar, or caffeine. And, I even lived to tell about it!

Sure, I joke about how tough it was, and I had my days, but it really wasn’t all that bad. In fact, I’d even recommend giving it a try! (Of course, you should talk to your doctor and all that stuff. I’m not a medical professional!)

I had my ups and downs over the 10 days. I cut sugar out a few days before officially getting started. I knew sugar was going to be tough for me, and I didn’t want to have to tackle everything else while dealing with sugar cravings (and some pretty bad headaches). Around day 3 or 4, I felt great… I’m not sure if it was a mental thing (knowing that I hadn’t had sugar in a whole week!) or not. I was optimistic, had more energy than I usually did, and just felt pretty good.  A few days later, after a busy weekend, I started to feel less than stellar. I wasn’t sick, but I also just didn’t feel like myself and had very little energy. For most of the 10 days, I fluctuated between feeling fantastic and having no energy at all.

The surprising thing to me was that, while I didn’t always have energy, I also didn’t have a lot of cravings for sugar. I honestly think that is what kept me going. Knowing that I was overcoming my sugar cravings was a huge for me.

My 10 Days Are Up… Now What??Continue Reading

Blueberry Apple Crumble (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free)

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If you follow me on Instagram, or if we’re friends on Facebook, you’ve probably noticed something different about me.  I’ve gone gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free! It’s (probably) not a permanent change, but I do plan to permanently change the way I eat. It’s kind of a long story, but stick with me on this one…

Along with a group of friends from church, I’ve set out to try to clean up my act when it comes to food… We’re following a book called The Daniel Plan (which covers much more than food, but I’ll talk about the food part here) that emphasizes eating whole foods, especially lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and cutting back on the not-so-good stuff like wheat, sugar, and all forms of processed foods. It seems rather simple. And, frankly, it is.

Honestly, nothing about the food portion of The Daniel Plan was news to me. I read a lot about food, we belong to a CSA, I cook from scratch, and we generally eat healthy meals. But, I also love to bake. And, as a result, we have been eating a lot of sweets.

It hasn’t always been that way, though.  I think the sweets have crept up on me over the years. When I started writing my blog over 5 years ago, I was writing about the food that we were eating. Gradually, as I tried to constantly share new recipes and worked my way into the baking scene, we started eating whatever I was writing about. I distinctly remember one night when I made avocado-stuffed, bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers for a blog post, and we ended up just eating them for dinner because I didn’t have time to make anything else. They were from scratch, made with unprocessed ingredients. But, I think we can all agree that bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers aren’t exactly a balanced dinner. And, when I was baking batch upon batch of sticky buns or cookies, trying to come up with a perfect recipe, we would end up eating a lot of those, too.Continue Reading

Cranberry Salsa

I’m not going to be making Thanksgiving dinner this year. I thought about attempting it, but my mother offered to cook and I decided to take her up on it. I’m not so sure that everything would have gotten done in between snuggle time with the baby.  She likes to snuggle.  She also likes to scream when she is not snuggling.

Of course, the fact that I won’t be hosting Thanksgiving dinner didn’t stop me from stockpiling bags of cranberries on one of my trips to the grocery store. I adore cranberries, and I always stock up the freezer this time of year so that I have them all year round… Or, until about April, which is usually when I run out.

I couldn’t resist throwing together a few Thanksgiving-inspired dishes this week, though, and yesterday I decided to put a few of the cranberries to good use.  I had a bag of chocolate tortilla chips from Food Should Taste Good (from a 2012 Holidays’ Simple Survival Kit that was sent to me!) that were just begging to be eaten. Of course, regular salsa just wouldn’t do. The idea of a cranberry salsa had been marinating in my mind for a few days, so I decided to give it a shot.

The salsa turned out even better than I had expected.  It was so good that I sent my husband (who was working in his office upstairs) a message on Skype (yes, I regularly IM my husband when he is upstairs) to tell him to come down and taste the salsa. We both agreed that it was a winner. It’s nice and fresh with a hint of sweetness (from just a bit of honey) and a little bit of a kick. It would be great with regular tortilla chips, but if you can find chocolate tortilla chips, pick up a bag.  The pairing is just perfect.  I think the salsa would be pretty fabulous with the sweet potato tortilla chips, as well.

So, if you need a simple last minute snack for Thanksgiving (whether you are hosting hungry guests or want to have something to take along with you for your family and friends), I’d recommend picking up a bag of tortilla chips and whipping up a batch of this salsa. It’s a fun twist on the usual cranberry relish that is sure to please.  And, did I mention you can make it in about 5 minutes?Continue Reading

Amaretto Apple Preserves

I’ve been up to my ears in apples this fall. We signed up for a new fruit CSA this year in addition to our usual apple CSA.  When I signed up, I was thinking of all of the berries and peaches that we’d enjoy over the summer.  I didn’t give much thought to the fact that, come fall, we’d be getting twice the apples.

We’ve certainly been eating our share of apples, but with just two of us, it’s hard to keep up.  I’ve made quite a bit of apple butter and applesauce, too.  But, one only needs so many jars of apple butter and apple sauce.  So, when Tracy over at Sugarcrafter posted this recipe for Brandied Apple Preserves, I knew I had to give it a try. It’s perfect for getting using up a few extra apples, plus I think it will make great holiday gifts in the coming months.

I didn’t have any brandy in the house when I wanted to give the recipe a try.  I did, however, have a big bottle of amaretto liqueur that has been neglected for a while, so I decided to use that in the preserves. I like the way the sweet almond flavor paired with the apple pie-like preserves… It’s a subtle flavor (so, if you’re not big on almond liqueur, don’t write this one off just yet!), but I think it is absolutely fabulous. I had a few extra spoonfuls left over after I filled my jars, and I just couldn’t leave them alone.

These preserves are fabulous as they are… I’d definitely recommend making a batch (or two!) since you will find the recipe perfect for biscuits, toast, or even crackers.  I am happy for just about any excuse to eat a spoonful or two.  But, I think the recipe will also lend well to some new recipes in the coming months. Save a jar or two for the holidays… I have a few recipes in mind that I think you will enjoy!Continue Reading

Apple Crumble Pie

Fall is officially here! I hope you are as excited as I am about that. But, even if you aren’t, I think this apple crumble pie will help to get you in the mood.

Lately I can’t get enough pie… I’m not talking about just eating pie (though, I have enjoyed a slice or two).  I love the whole process of baking pies.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. There’s just something about pie. I enjoy rolling out the crust, preparing the filling, and I love the way a pie fills the kitchen with such a fabulous aroma as it bakes.

So, as soon as we started receiving apples in our CSA shares, I knew that I had to bake some apple pies. Instead of a traditional double crusted apple pies, I decided to do something a bit different and bake an apple pie with a crumble topping reminiscent of an apple crisp, one of my other favorite fall desserts.

I loved the way the pies turned out (I made two pies – one for us, and one for friends)… They may not be the prettiest apple pies you will ever see, but I think they are some of the tastiest. The pie filling has all of the flavors that you would expect from a traditional apple pie.  And then there’s that bonus sweet crunch from the crumble layer on top…  I happen to think that the crumble topping was the right way to go. I may never make a traditional apple pie again.  Well, I probably will… But, I can guarantee I’ll be making my share of apple crumble pies, as well.Continue Reading