Homemade Slow Cooker Apple Cider

Those of you who have been faithful followers of my blog (and how I love each and every one of you!!) can probably already guess that my favorite season is autumn. I love everything about it from pumpkins, bonfires, and the beautiful changing of leaves to the slightly cooler temps, crisp air, and all the festivities that take place during this wonderous time of the year. And we certainly can’t forget that this fall I have something special to look forward to and that’s the arrival of my third little lady or that it will be mine and my husband’s fourth year of marriage and my (soon-to-be) middle daughter’s third birthday. So many good things happen in my favorite season. Who couldn’t love it?

It’s not quite autumn, yet, but as soon as we enter the month of August, my fall-senses kick in and I automatically welcome the idea of bringing back comfort foods that make your insides all warm and fuzzy. Since the month began, I’ve already made big, steaming pots of white chicken chili, Chicken Noodle soup, beef stew, and (my husband’s personal fave) Broccoli Cheese Soup (I know, I know. Recipes will follow when I get my measurements¬†down ūüėČ ) . I don’t even care that we’ve been in a heat wave for the past week. Pssh. 95 degrees? Who cares? You can always make time for some good ol’fashioned comfort food.

Want to know one thing that can’t be beaten in the cooler months to come? The sweet, spicy aroma of Fresh Homemade Apple Cider permeating throughout your home. There’s nothing better than being able to leave your house for a few hours with the cider simmering in the crock pot and returning to a house that smells like it skipped summer and went straight to fall. In less than half a day you can enjoy a fresh, warm glass of homemade cider that beats store bought, any day. What I love best about making my own is it calls for very minimal effort, it’s pretty much a Fix it & Forget it drink, and if made right, it doubles as a homemade apple sauce.

IMG_0232 copy

Here’s how I make it. Enjoy!

Homemade Apple Cider

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5-6 Red delicious Apples (or your favorite sweet, red apple)
  • 5-6 ¬†Granny Smith apples
  • 1-2 Oranges (I used two because the oranges I had were somewhat small)
  • 1/2 cup Brown sugar
  • 4¬†sticks of cinnamon
  • 1 tbs. whole cloves
  • 6 whole allspice
  • 1 tsp. Cardamom
  • 1 tsp. Nutmeg (optional)
  • 10-12 cups of water (enough to cover an inch above apples when pushed down with spoon)


DIRECTIONS:

  1. (See notes below on how to double recipe as apple sauce before beginning) Leaving skins and stems on, quarter apples and oranges; put in the slow cooker.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker as well. Give apples a quick stir. Turn cooker on low and let simmer for about 3-4 hours.
  3. After cooking time has passed, mash apples as much as possible using a potato masher. Cook for another 1-3 hours until the desired flavor is reached.
  4. Strain apples and liquid in a fine mesh strainer and cheesecloth to remove any fine apple pieces.
  5.  Serve immediately if you like your cider warm or allow to chill for a few hours if you like it cool.
  6. Pour cider into an airtight container and store in the fridge for 1 week or in the freezer for later use.
  7. Enjoy this sweet, flavor punch to mouth! ūüėČ

Notes

  • If you want to double this recipe as cider and applesauce, be sure to remove stems, cores, and seeds as well as peeling the apples. I would also suggest putting your whole spices and cinnamon sticks in a cheesecloth in the form of a sachet so that when you mash the apples, these can be easily removed without having to dig through. Before mashing apples, remove orange slices then mash away. Strain cider and put mashed apples in another container. At this point the cider and applesauce are ready, however, if you want to add the spice sachet back to the cider to simmer for more flavor, you can. Just be sure to remove it before serving.

You can guarantee I’ll be making this all season long and plan to serve it at my baby shower and my daughter’s Fall Festival themed birthday where I am sure it will be a hit. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did making it. Please don’t be intimidated to try this super simple recipe. It’s one I’m sure you will be glad you tried.

What’s your favorite thing about Autumn? Let me know in the comments.

Don‚Äôt forget to give my blog a quick follow for new recipes and¬†updates in my crazy life. ¬†‚̧

 

 

Advertisements

Creamy Peach Cobbler Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a staple in my house. My kids go crazy over those little individual packets of their favorite flavored instant oats. Almost every morning, before my husband and I even have the chance to open our eyes, starts with the request for “Oats!”.

IMG_0205a

It’s rare that I ever have the energy to get up early and put together a warm breakfast that takes a bit more effort than just ripping off the top of the little, brown, paper packet, dumping the oats in a bowl and finally stirring in the piping, hot water. Hey! I said it’s rare, not impossible. It does happen… sometimes. ūüėČ ¬†Like the other day when I didn’t have anything to fix and the girls had finished up their supply of cereal, eggs, and instant oatmeal.

IMG_0222

Normally, when this happens, I like to fix a quick Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Oatmeal. Talk about a flavor punch to the tastebuds! (This recipe will come later ūüėČ )

IMG_0213 copy

¬†Having a few peaches in my fridge that needed to be used before they outgrow their use, I thought it would be fun to come up with my own version of the Peaches & Cream Flavored Instant Oatmeal. With the addition of brown sugar and spices, my version had more of a Peach Cobbler taste rather than Peaches and Cream. I added some chopped pecans and cream cheese to give this recipe it’s velvety texture and a little crunch in each bite.

IMG_0228 copy

It was so super easy, more filling than the store-bought oats, and it really hit the spot in the tiny tummies of my littles. My husband loved this version so much that he actually had to get seconds (another rarity in this house)! Best part of this whole recipe? It’s a scrumptious breakfast that can be made in 15 minutes or less. No more of those impatient toddler demands!

Creamy Peach Cobbler Oatmeal

IMG_0204 copy

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (or milk)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 2 large peaches, chopped with skin on
  • 3-4 tbs. brown sugar
  • 3 tbs. Granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 6 oz cream cheese, cubed

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large saucepan, bring  water, milk, and salt to a boil.
  2. While water is coming to a boil, in a large mixing bowl, add in chopped peaches, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and the sugars. Stir to cover peaches.
  3. When water comes to a boil, add in oats. Cook about 3-4 minutes or until the oatmeal starts to thicken. Add in peach mixture and cook for an additional minute.
  4. Stir in cream cheese just until melted and combined. Stir in pecans.
  5. Serve immediately! Dig in and enjoy ūüôā

NOTES:

  • My husband likes his on the thicker side but I like mine a little thinner. If this is your preference as well, you can do like me and add a splash of cold milk to yours!
  • When using the cream cheese in this recipe, I found that it adds a nice tanginess to the oats while also adding a little more of a creamy texture. The amount of creaminess is totally up to you. I had some chunks of cream cheese that hadn’t completely melted to mix in but it I actually liked getting a few bites of it. If you don’t like this you can certainly mix it a little more.
  • I went a step further than just serving our oats. I simply spooned the oats into individual ramekins and sprinkled them with more brown sugar and chopped pecans. I then placed them in a 350¬į oven and let them bake until the sugar had caramelized a little and the pecans toasted. This created a nice sugary crust on the top!

IMG_0207 copy

I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as I enjoyed making it. I’m sure there are other versions of this recipe out there but I was really happy with the turnout of mine! It quickly became a recipe that my whole family adores!

If you need another fruity breakfast idea that also doubles as dessert, try my Blueberry Lemon Bread Pudding.

Don‚Äôt forget to give my blog a quick follow for new recipes and¬†updates in my crazy life. ¬†‚̧

 

Blueberry Lemon Bread Pudding

Hello, Foodies!

I have never had bread pudding until working in the commercial kitchen at my culinary school. I’ve always heard of bread pudding and it seemed to be something chefs on food network loved to make. And Oh how they made it look so dang delish! I knew it was something I wanted to taste but never had the opportunity and¬†my fear of making custards scared me out of trying to make it all together. Something about bread and pudding threw me off a little, too. So you could imagine why I was too intimidated to make it. I’d rather taste it first so I knew what I was working with.

IMG_0117 copy

Little did I know that making a bread pudding is probably one of the easiest things in the world to put together, well so are custards for that matter!

IMG_0138 copy

Still being summer, I wanted to incorporate some flavors of the season and utilize what I already had in my refrigerator from my last shopping trip. I narrowed it down to blueberries, lemons, and peaches- all fruits that pair magically together!¬†I’ve only ever had bread pudding in school and we typically made it with more of a brown sugary, rum, and caramelly¬†flavor. Chef Rob really knew how to make a good one. It was one of my favorite desserts that we served.

IMG_0123 copy

Bread pudding is pretty much a play on french toast. You can add almost anything to it for flavor and deliciousness and it can be served for breakfast, brunch, and dessert. The first time I tried making it at home, I had planned on using a loaf of french bread I had originally bought for spaghetti but of course, my luck would have it that it would go bad the day I was to use it. My mind was in a frenzy at that point because I had already made up the custard and my girls had their little hearts set on it. All I had left was a partially squished loaf of wheat bread (thanks, girls). Yea-um-no! This did not work as I had planned. The wheat bread was too tough and savory for my liking and didn’t really go well with lemon. Oddly enough, my girls loved and devoured it. I was not so impressed.

IMG_0146 copy

Time for round two with a fresher french bread and a little more sugar and eggs added to the custard mix. I let it hang out longer in my fridge (yanno, so all the blueberries and lemons can get to know each other) and everything worked out perfect! I loved the tanginess of this dish and the way the warm blueberries burst in your mouth. That’s why I am uber excited to share this recipe with all of you. I hope that you don’t make the same mistake as I did and get discouraged from making it at home.

Blueberry Lemon Bread Pudding

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Loaf of french bread, cut into 1″ cubesIMG_0100 copy
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice from half of a lemon
  • 1 pint of blueberries

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add bread cubes and blueberries to a large bowl.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups of cream, the milk, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add the cream mixture to the bread cubes and stir to combine.
  3. Wrap with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator 1- 24 hours. (The longer it sits, the better).
  4. Preheat oven to 350¬į F.
  5. Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish or ramekins. Drizzle with remaining 1/2 cup of cream and sprinkle with sugar.
  6. Bake until the center is set- about 1 hour.
  7. Let cool for about 10 minutes and dust with powdered sugar.
  8. Dig in and Enjoy!

 

I hope you liked my recipe for bread pudding. It didn’t take much to win the hearts of the picky eaters I have running rabid in my home and it will be a recipe I make over and over!

Got a different variation of bread pudding that you like best? Share it with me. I would love to give it a try!

Don’t forget to give my blog a quick follow for new recipes and¬†updates in my crazy life. ¬†‚̧

 

Angry Orchard Cupcakes

Hello Foodies! I am so excited to tell you about these awesome cupcakes! If you like apples and you like hard cider you will love these Angry Orchard Cupcakes!

AngryOrchardCupcakes3
Angry orchard Cupcakes with my Fireball Caramel Sauce

My husband and I don’t drink often, but when we do our go-to drink (next to my Moscato) is an¬†ice, cold hard cider. We’ve tried a handful of ciders and we’ve narrowed our favorites down to Strongbow and Angry Orchard.

I made these cupcakes a little over a year ago for my classmates. They were a hit. I actually adapted the recipe from the blog, Brown Sugar but I wanted to see if I could come up with a recipe of my own.

To get these deliciously moist cupcakes, I simply found a basic cake recipe, combined Angry Orchard Hard Cider (Crisp Apple), Green Apples, and a few spices to top off this apple perfection. I find the hard cider enhances¬†flavor of the apples so it’s imperative you do not leave the cider out. If you don’t like the idea of adding alcohol to your cupcakes, no worries, the alcohol actually cooks out leaving behind its crisp flavor!_MG_0543 copy

Top these bad boys off with a Caramel Buttercream frosting and a drizzle of my Fireball Caramel Sauce and they are sure to please!

Here’s how I make them:

Angry Orchard Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 green apples, cored and peeledAngryOrchardCupcakes2
  • 2 Sticks of butter,¬†softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temp.
  • 2 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup Angry Orchard Hard Cider, Crisp Apple+ 1/4 cup, set aside

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350¬ļF. Prepare cupcake pan by lining them with your choice of paper cupcake liners.
  2. Start by cutting your peeled apples into small dices. Add them to a bowl and pour in 1/4 Cup of the hard cider. Set aside until the end of the mixing process.
  3. In a stand mixer, beat together softened butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar; until light and fluffy. Scrap bowl down.
  4. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl. Working in thirds, add to butter mix. The mix may look separated but that’s ok.
  5. In a separate bowl mix in flour, baking powder, salt and spices until evenly distributed.
  6. With mixer on low, slowly add in dry ingredients. Careful not to over mix.
  7. When dry ingredients are incorporated, add vanilla; Add in the remaining Angry Orchard while still mixing.
  8. Remove mixing bowl from stand mixer. Fold in diced apples and the cider it has been marinating in.
  9. Using a portion (ice-cream) scoop,  fill the cupcake liners up about almost to the top (this is an airy batter so it will not do a lot of rising)
  10. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
  11. Top with my Buttercream frosting and drizzle with my Fireball Caramel Sauce. Enjoy the awesomeness!
AngryOrchardCupcakes
Fireball Caramel sauce drizzled over my Angry orchard Cupcakes

I hope you enjoyed this recipe as much as I enjoyed creating it! If you like a super moist cake, these cupcakes are for you! I find that the more tart the apple, the better the bite!

Got a recipe you wanna share? Send them to me in the comments. I am always on the look out for new things to try.

Wanna be Blogger-Buddies? Contact me¬†and let‚Äôs chat! ūüôā

Don’t forget to Follow me!

 

 

aoc

Melt-In-Ya-Mouth Cinnamon Rolls

Ah…¬†snow days. With each falling snowflake, I feel all motivation to do anything productive slipping from my body.¬†I was supposed to have class today but thanks to the 3 or more inches of snow coming to Eastern Kentucky and Rasputia- my ’93 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo (What? Don’t tell my you’ve never named your vehicle), I’m taking it easy at home with my ladyloves. On my way to school yesterday, she decided she was going to break down on me. As old as my jeep is, she’s been faithful to me for going on 5 years, so I can’t be too upset. Just glad I hadn’t made it too far into my destination. That could have been bad!¬†

What does a student and momma of two do on a snow day? Catch up on homework while my girls flip back and forth between these crazy Baby Alive and Suprise Egg youtube videos! How the crap my kids found these videos and why they’ve taken such a strong interest in them is beyond me, but they drive me CRAZY.¬†

I feel I must confess… I’m not really¬†doing my homework. I’m supposed to be and I do have everything pulled up for Interpersonal Communications, but I just can’t bring myself to focus on anything other than Cinnamon rolls. Yea, I said it. I’m thinking of a piping hot, big, ol’fat, Melt-In-Ya-Mouth Cinnamon roll just¬†oozing with a sticky glaze!¬†_MG_0450 copy

I got that lazy girl status going on today and the only thing I want to do is whip up a batch of homemade cinnamon rolls, cuddle up with my ladies underneath no less than¬†3 layers of blankets and binge watch Harry Potter movies in honor of Professor Snape (so sad to learn on Alan Rickman’s passing). ¬†Is that too much for a girl to ask?¬†

¬†It’s no secret, I’ve got a sweet tooth. What better way to calm it down than to make cinnamon rolls?¬†When I was younger I wasn’t brave enough to try making them homemade. Anything with yeast intimidated me. ¬†That all changed when I took an interest in bread making and our class went over the Yeast Bread section in our On Cooking textbook. The recipe we used was so simple with perfect results. Since then, I keep a jar of yeast on hand at all times and I try to bake bread any chance I get.¬†_MG_0464 copy

Some time after making them in the test kitchens, I lost my recipe. A sad day that was¬†when I finally realized it. ¬†I looked everywhere. Eventually I gave up and tried a handful I found on Pinterest. Some were fails while others were good but they just didn’t hold up to the recipe we used. Sometime later I randomly found the one we used hiding in my old backpack. (Boy was I thrilled). This¬†recipe gives Cinnabun a run for it’s money.¬†

I have no doubt that once you try this recipe you’ll never go back to store bought again. Here is how I make them…

 

Melt-In-Ya-Mouth Cinnamon Rolls

INGREDIENTS:

For the Rolls:_MG_0428 copy

  • 3 1/2 -4 C. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 C. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tsp. salt
  • 4 1/2 Tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 C. milk
  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • 1 egg

For the Filling:

  • 3/4 C. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
  • 5 Tbs. butter melted
  • 1/3 C. finely chopped pecans, optional but encouraged ūüėȬ†

For the Glaze:

  • 1 C. powdered sugar, sifted to remove lumps
  • 2 Tbs. butter, room temperature
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla
  • 1-2 Tbs. milk

DIRECTIONS: 

For the rolls and filling:

  1. In a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, combine 2 cups of the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. 
  2. In a quart sized sauce pan, heat milk over low heat until very warm or a thermometer reads 120-125¬ļF. Add the warm milk, butter and egg to flour mixture.¬†
  3. Beat on low speed for 1 minute, stopping frequently to scrap the sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula. Do this until flour mixture is moistened. 
  4. Crank mixer to medium speed and beat for an additional minute. Lower speed and add in remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time just until dough is soft, pulls away from the bowl and is easy enough to handle. ( You may not use all 4 cups of flour. Do not force it) Once flour is incorporated, crank speed to medium and let mix for 1 minute. 
  5. Lightly flour a clean work surface and turn the dough out. Knead for about 5 minutes until dough is smooth and springy. If dough starts to stick, sprinkle extra flour as needed but be careful not to incorporate too much as the dough will be be tough. 
  6. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, spray a little more cooking spray over top and cover loosely with plastic wrap; let rise in warm, draft free place for 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size. Preheat oven to 350¬ļF.
  7. In a small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon; set aside. Grease ¬†or add parchment paper to a sheet pan. When dough is ready, sprinkle work surface with flour. Punch dough down and turn out onto floured surface. With a rolling pin (or your hands) roll dough to about 15×10 inch rectangle.¬†
  8. Spread melted butter over dough to 1/2 inch from edges. Sprinkle evenly with cinnamon sugar mixture and nuts. 
  9. Beginning at the longest side, roll the dough tightly. Using a sharp/serrated knife, cut into 15- 1 inch slices (or 12- 1 1/2 inch slices for colossal sized rolls). Place slightly apart on prepared sheet pan; cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place and addition 30 minutes or until rolls have doubled in size.
  10. Remove plastic wrap and brush rolls with melted butter. Bake in preheated over for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before adding glaze.

For the Glaze:

  1. In a small bowl, mix in all the glaze ingredients until smooth; adding enough milk so glaze is thing enough to drizzle. 

Notes

  • I know this seems like a lot of steps, but please don’t let that discourage you from trying it out. I promise- It’s worth the extra work!!! You really can’t mess this up unless you kill your yeast.¬†
  • It is very important that you do not scald your milk. Yeast are live organisms. When you add milk that is too hot, it will kill them. You need the yeast to get a good height and texture. I like to use a thermometer so if you do the same, keep the temperature between 110-125. A nice happy medium ūüôā¬†
  • I must mention, the icing on the rolls in my pictures have a cream cheese icing. I like to flip flop between the two but they are equally delicious!

 

_MG_0440 copy 

I really hope you liked this recipe for Melt-In-Ya-Mouth Cinnamon Rolls as much as I do. Be warned that once you make them for friends or family, someone is going to start expecting them at every meeting. Take it from me- I can’t go to my mother in-laws house without bringing her a batch all to herself.¬†

If you give this recipe a try,¬†let me know how it turned out. I’d love to hear all about it!¬†

_MG_0464 CR.jpg