Apple Butter

Ingredients:
5 1/2 lbs apples cored and quartered
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:
Place quartered apples in slow cooker. Mix sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a bowl and pour over apples in crock pot. Add 1/4 – 1/2 cup water. Cook on high for 1 hour. Then cook on low for 9-12 hours, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and brown. Uncover and continue cooking on low to allow the mixture thicken. Spoon mixture into sterile containers, cover, and refrigerate/freeze.

The first time I made apple butter was with Molly and Kelly when we lived in North Carolina. It turned out to be a great Christmas gift!

No Bake Granola Bites

Ingredients:
2 cups rolled oats
1 1/4 cups crunchy peanut butter
1 c ground flaxseed
3/4 c honey
1/2 c chocolate chips (mini)
1/4 – 1/2 c chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

optional: dried cranberries, shredded coconut

Directions:
Throw all the ingredients into a bowl and stir until blended. Roll into golf-ball sized balls. Place in a 9×13 pan, cookie sheet, or plate. Store in the fridge. Done.

I tried this recipe because I was looking for a less expensive lunch option than buying boxes upon boxes of granola bars every month. I had tried homemade granola bars in the past and they always fell apart and just weren’t worth the mess and hassle. With this recipe, I took a different approach, and it worked like a charm. Instead of granola bars, I rolled them into balls – granola bites is the term for it now a days (or power bites or something?) A friend told me that these are a GREAT post-partum snack for new moms. They are super easy as they don’t involve any baking or microwaving or heating of any kind. Easier than rice krispie treats in that regard! This is a great no frills recipe. Adapted from Allrecipes.

Baked Oatmeal Squares

Ingredients:
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup chopped nuts
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Pour into a greased 8-in. square baking dish. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Cut into squares.

This recipe is from The Taste of Home website. It is so easy and quick, but very delicious!

English Toffee Recipe

Ingredients:
1/2 C butter
1 C sugar
1 T light Karo syrup
1 1/2 C chopped nuts
6 Hershey chocolate bars

Directions:
Butter a cookie sheet. Boil first three ingredients to hard crack stage — carmel brown. Pour into buttered cookie sheet. Allow to firm — but not COOL. Break chocolate bars over cookie sheet layer. Spread evenly over surface. Sprinkle nuts over the chocolate. Cool completely before breaking into pieces. Store in air-tight container.

This recipe came from Emily George. It has been a hit. Perfect for the holidays or a party favor or just as a special treat.

Egg Drop Soup

Ingredients:
4 cups chicken broth, divided
1/8 t ground ginger
2 T chopped fresh chives
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 T cornstarch
2 eggs
1 egg yolk

Directions:
Reserve 3/4 cup of chicken broth, and pour the rest into a large saucepan. Stir the salt, ginger and chives into the saucepan, and bring to a rolling boil. In a cup or small bowl, stir together the remaining broth and cornstarch until smooth. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolk together using a fork. Drizzle egg a little at a time from the fork into the boiling broth mixture. Egg should cook immediately. Once the eggs have been dropped, stir in the cornstarch mixture gradually until the soup is the desired consistency.

My mom used to make this for us growing up, along with homemade won-tons. One of my favorite meals! This recipe is from <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/restaurant-style-egg-drop-soup/”>Allrecipes.com

Lunch Ideas! (or 10 ways to use an avocado)

I’ve been looking for some creative lunch ideas to spice up my lunch. I do a lot of leftovers typically, but with a husband who can eat an entire box of cereal in one sitting as a “snack,” leftovers are not always a guarantee. After doing some Pinteresting, here are some creative recipes I’m looking forward to trying. Of course afterward I realized they all have avocado — something I obviously love! Not only do they taste delicious, but they have the “good fat” which is not only healthy but keeps you full at lunch without making you sluggish and weighed down with carbs. So stock up on avocados and try some of these recipes with me!

Tuna or Chicken Stuffed Avocados
Avocado & Cucumber Caprese Salad (have also seen varieties of this recipe with corn)
Spinach, Avocado & Goat Cheese Grilled Cheese
Avocado Egg Salad
Avocado Yogurt Dip (to eat with fresh veggies) or Kale Dip

Of course we’ll still have our standard chicken or tuna sandwiches or leftover chili in the mix, but I’m looking forward to adding some of these into the lunch rotation!

Thai Spring Rolls

Ingredients:
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 thumb-size piece galangal OR ginger, grated (or 1 tsp dried ginger)
2 green onions, sliced into matchstick pieces
1 red chili, minced, OR 1/2 to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (omit if you prefer very mild spring rolls)
1/2 cup shredded or finely chopped cabbage
4-6 mushrooms, cut into matchstick pieces
1 c shredded carrots
approx. 2 cups bean sprouts
1/2 cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped (or dried)
1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp. oil, plus more for deep-frying
1 pkg. spring roll wrappers (thawed if frozen)

Directions:
Mix ingredients in bowl, wrap into spring roll wrappers, and fry.

Like the Thai Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Soup recipe, I got this Spring Roll Recipe from Thaifood.about.com – surprisingly good recipes!