food

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Apple Pie

Published February 15, 2013 by Ashley Townsend

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Filling:

6-7 Granny Smith apples

¼ honey

¼ sugar

1 T allspice

1 tsp cinnamon

1 T flour

 

Crust:

1 ½ C flour

¼ tsp salt

½ butter, cold and cubed

4-5 T water

 

Crumble Topping:

1 C flour

½ brown sugar

½ butter, cubed

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice (unpeeled) apples into ½ inch wedges. Stir apples and honey together until evenly coated. Stir together sugar, spices, and flour; sprinkle over apples and stir to coat. Set aside.

For the crust, stir flour and salt together with a fork. Crumble butter in with the fork or your fingers, but when using fingers, make sure not to melt the butter too much. Stir in enough water so that you can form a ball dough. Cover a flat cookie sheet with wax paper or saran wrap; drop dough in the center and gently lay a large piece of saran over the top. Use a rolling pin to roll crust into a ¼ inch thick round. Remove top layer of saran, lay an upside down 9-inch glass pie plate in the center of the dough. Carefully flip the pie plate and cookie sheet upside down; remove cookie sheet and saran wrap from the top of the crust (pie shell should be right-side up now). Tuck in any extra dough that laps over the edges, using your fingertips to gently work and spread out the extra dough on the edges so that it’s even. I like to make a design on the lip of the crust by pressing my index finger on the inside of the crust’s tip at the same time that I push my thumb (on the outside and just to the side of my pointer finger) gently towards the inside of the crust. It just forms a very nice little bevel around the edges that make it look complete.

In another bowl (save dishes and use the same one that you made the crust in!), mix together flour and brown sugar for topping. Fork in butter to get a nice crumble.

Pour apples into pie shell—don’t worry if there’s some juice—and arrange them fairly evenly in the crust. Then cover with crumble, making sure it falls into the cracks and gets to the edges. Place glass pie dish on a baking sheet—for spills!—and bake uncovered for 40 minutes. If topping starts to look too brown, cover it with foil, tucking it over the edges of the crust as well. Bake for another 25-30 minutes, or until apples are tender, not mushy. Let cool for 15 minutes. Serve slices topped with whipped cream or ice cream.

Amazing Frozen Banana Ice Cream

Published January 16, 2013 by Ashley Townsend

I found this recipe on Pinterest and gave it a try this afternoon. Let me tell you, I have never been so excited over a new recipe! I had my sisters sample several different flavors and versions, and all were hits! I am not a vegan in any way–bring on the meat!–but this is insanely delicious and great for you. I tried it with 1tsp cocoa powder, and it was good. But then we tried adding 1 tsp of coffee granules (we might add more next time) to this basic recipe with the peanut butter and chocolate chips, and that was incredible! Give this a try, and here’s the website that I stumbled upon: http://www.neverhomemaker.com/ And also check out my Yumminess board on Pinterest to see what else we’re cooking up!

The Ultimate Vegan Ice Cream

I’m thrilled that so many of you LOVE the frozen banana bites recipe I came up with out of pure craving a couple weeks ago. What I couldn’t get over is how much frozen bananas mimic ice cream — both in texture and flavor. A long while back, I remember reading about (and drooling over) 1 ingredient ice cream. That’s right. It’s made with frozen bananas. Simply food process the heck out of it and you’ve got yourself a tasty vegan treat.
The photos on The Kitchn made it look so good, I just had to try. And though our food processor and I are fighting, we made up long enough to declare this recipe a success.
What I love most is how versatile this ice cream can be. We flavored ours with a scoop of peanut butter and some chocolate chips. I considered putting some chocolate almond spread in there. Maybe even some other frozen fruits. Coconut. Some mint extract and chocolate chips. The possibilities are endless.BANANA — AKA 1 INGREDIENT — ICE CREAM (OK. It’s one ingredient plus some flavors.)
What you’ll need . . .

  • 2 ripe bananas, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • Handful chocolate chips
  • (But really ANYTHING GOES!)

Method . . .

  1. Chop bananas into smallish chunks (original post called them coins) and freeze overnight on a plate. I just put ours in a plastic bag.
  2. Then transfer to a food processor (I think a smaller one works better) and process until bananas are in little bits (like in the photo above).
  3. Then add your flavors. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. No right or wrong measurements. Continue blending until smooth. You’ll know it’s ready to eat when it looks like this . . .

Stephen and I have a difference of opinion on how “good” this stuff is. I think it tastes uh-mazing. I love the thick texture. I think the flavors blend well together. Stephen thinks it’s alright. But he thinks it’s too banana-y and that it isn’t sweet enough when it hits the tip of his tongue. You should decide for yourself. Because with how inexpensive bananas are (and we always have several ripe ones around the house), there’s no reason not to give this recipe a try!

Coconut Orange Cake

Published December 31, 2012 by Ashley Townsend

This is honestly the best cake you can possibly imagine for us coconut lovers. I found the recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens last year, and it’s quickly become a crowd favorite. The best part is that the longer you let it sit, the better flavor it has. It also freezes amzingly well. Enjoy! And don’t be afraid of a little effort!

5

½ C cranberry juice

1 ½ C dried cranberries

1 C walnuts, toasted and chopped

1 C flaked coconut, toasted

2 2/3 C flour

2 ¼ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

¾ C butter, softened

2/3 C sugar

6 egg whites

1 ½ tsp vanilla

½+ tsp orange extract (can substitute for coconut extract)

¾ C buttermilk (or half & half, or even plain yogurt and milk)

Boil juice in a saucepan. Add berries and boil 1 minute more. Let stand while you combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. (You can also toast the coconut and walnuts at this point) Set aside.

Beat butter and sugar together. Add whites, vanilla, and orange extract on low. Beat in flour, alternating with buttermilk. Divide batter evenly among 3 greased (sides too) 9-inch round baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Do not expect cakes to turn golden; they stay fairly pale. Cool for 10 minutes and drain berries.

For Frosting:

Beat 3/8 C softened butter and slowly add 1 pound powdered sugar. Then beat in 1/6 C coconut milk (or a thicker milk product so it doesn’t get too runny). Add 1 ¼+ tsp orange extract for desired flavor.

Place first cake on a plate or platter. Spread with 1/3 of the frosting. Top with ½ of the swollen cranberries and 1/3 of the toasted walnuts. On the underside of the next cake layer, spread a very thin sheet of frosting, just so that the layers don’t separate when you cut it. Top with next layer and spread with 1/3 frosting. Top with remaining berries, 1/3 nuts, and ½ of the coconut. Thin layer of frosting on the underside of top layer before topping. Cover uppermost cake with a liberal layer of frosting on top, making sure the frosting at the edges is slightly higher so the goodies don’t tumble overboard. But DO NOT frost the side of the cake. Top with remaining nuts and toasted coconut.

Serves about 12-16

On the Sixth Day…

Published December 19, 2012 by Ashley Townsend

On the Sixth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

My six favorite Christmas treats!

1

My Chocolate Cranberry Biscotti! I usually make two of these batches in December, and they’re great to share around. The recipe, courtesy of my sister Liz, is up on my Recipes page if you want to share a little Christmas cheer.

2Starbucks’ White Chocolate Peppermint Mocha. The moment it comes out, I’m there to sip away. It’s my favorite holiday drink because it literally tastes like Christmas!

3

Come on. This is your favorite part of Christmas, too. After Jesus, of course.

4

As gross as it sounds, I make Pretzel Jell-O salad (yeah, right; a salad) every year for Christmas dinner. The bottom layer is crispy baked pretzels topped with a whipped cream and cream cheese mixture, and then you pour Jell-O and strawberries over the top. Can you say yummy?

5

Okay, this is honestly the best cake you will ever eat in your life. I got the recipe from my BH&G magazine last year and have gotten my whole family addicted to this cake, picky eaters and all. I’m making it for Christmas Eve, so maybe I’ll get the recipe up here for you all to start your own traditions with this cake. I swapped out the coconut extract in the cake batter for orange, because it added a lot more depth of flavor with the coconut, cranberries, and walnuts in between layers. It is seriously incredible, and it only gets better the longer you let it set. Also freezes wonderfully, if you let it get that far. ~__^  

6Mm mm mmmmm. My mom makes these amazing caramelized cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning since as far back as I can remember. Now that I’m older, I get to help her prep the night before so we can sit back and enjoy Christmas morning and then come away from the fire to the smell of baking cinnamon rolls. *sigh* I just keep telling myself, “Six more days, six more days…”

Wintery Orange Mocha

Published December 5, 2012 by Ashley Townsend

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Happy December! Even though it isn’t nearly as chilly as I would like it to be, I was craving a wintery Orange Mocha and made up a batch last night. As always, I played with this recipe a bit and love the addition of cloves and the cinnamon stick because they add so much extra flavor. I also made my Cranberry Chocolate Biscotti the other day to go with it. I forgot to pick up cranberries and really wanted some extra pizzaz, so I added a ½ tsp of orange zest to go better with the mocha, and boy was that a tasty experiment! So put on your favorite Christmas CD, grab a pair of freaky animal slippers, and snuggle up while you enjoy this tasty spin on your typical hot cocoa. Who knows? Maybe this recipe will turn into a Christmas morning tradition for you.

1 orange, washed

5 C strong coffee, leaded or unleaded (note: you sacrifice flavor if you make it too light!)

7 cloves (the whole thing! They sort of look like tiny wooden screws, if you aren’t sure)

1 whole cinnamon stick

½ C unsweetened cocoa powder

½ C brown sugar (you can substitute ¼ C of it for honey)

½ tsp ground cinnamon (for more flavor, leave the stick in longer, don’t add more pwd!)

½ tsp vanilla

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Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel from the orange in wide strips; it makes it easier to remove them from the pan later on. In a saucepan, combine peels, cloves, cinnamon stick, and coffee; let stand over medium heat for 5 minutes. Discard orange peel, cloves, and cinnamon stick using either a sieve or a slotted spoon.

  

In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together cocoa powder, brown sugar, and ground cinnamon. Whisk into coffee to combine.

 

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Stir in cream and vanilla; the vanilla sometimes gets bitter if added earlier (also, you would add the honey in this step, if using as a substitute). If you have one, you can use an immersion blender to froth the mixture. Ladle into mugs and top with whipped cream, sprinkles, and a curled orange peel. Works best as a hot drink. Serve with my Chocolate Cranberry—and orange!—Biscotti. And best of all, relax.    

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