Cranberry Apple Pie

Hello, and welcome to the Christmas season! I can’t believe that it has been a month since I wrote my last blog post! These last few weeks have just flown by, and now Christmas is just a week away.

This post is #400! It has taken almost 6 years to get this far, but I have persevered and have  had 22,760 views to the blog in that time. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get to 23,000 by the end of 2016!

I love Christmas, but I am also often a sentimental puddle of mush during the season. My fondest memories of my dad are from Christmas. I miss him the most during this season. Actually, I miss my mom, dad, and brother the most during Christmas.

Christmas will be a little strange since there will be only 3 of us together. Our family of 10 going on 11 will be spread out from Chicago to Philadelphia to Orlando this year. However, I am very thankful that I had 9 of our 10-almost-11 here at Thanksgiving! This is what life is all about! We spend years training our kids to become independent adults, capable of surviving life without us! It is such a blessing to see our kids marry and become parents and begin new traditions with their own little families! I have two favorite passages of Scripture concerning children. One has also been my mother-in-law’s favorite…Isaiah 54:13–“All thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children.”  The other is verse 4 of the little 3rd epistle of John–“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”  If these are true of my children, then I feel that I was a successful mom, for this is what matters most!

Here are a few pictures that we had taken at Thanksgiving.

Now to this amazing pie recipe! Tomorrow evening we are having our special Lessons and Carols service at church. We always have a fellowship time after this service, and this year we are all supposed to bring side dishes and desserts. I had an extra bag of fresh cranberries that I needed to use, so I did a little searching for a cranberry pie. I found one on the Food Network web page that sounded really good! As usual, I made some changes by adding apples and using pecans instead of walnuts.  It is not THM-friendly, but could easily be adapted. Delicious!!

  • 2 c. fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used 1/3 cup Truvia baking blend)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Topping:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. almond extract

Spray a 10-inch pie pan to prevent sticking. Spread the cranberries in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with chopped pecans and sugar. Let sit while mixing the topping.

Cream the butter with the eggs and sugar. Add the flour and almond extract to the mixture until blended. This mixture will be thick. Spread the topping over the cranberries and nuts. Be sure to seal the edges. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Serve warm with whipped topping or ice cream!

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New Recipe Coming Soon!

A friend reminded me the other day that it’s been a while since I shared a new recipe here. I guess time has gotten away from me! I promise I do have a new recipe to share. I’ll give you a hint…if you like chocolate-peanut butter cups, you will like the new recipe!!

In the mean time, enjoy this recipe for pumpkin snicker doodles!  We all love pumpkin at this time of year!

Coconut Fudge Brownies

Here we are at the end of June! We are half-way through 2016 already!! I can’t believe that we are heading towards another 4th of July. I am pretty excited about this coming weekend because, if all goes as planned, I will have ALL four of my kiddlets under my roof once again…for about 48 hours! Hey, I’ll take what I can get! I have no idea when we will all be together again because one of my blue stars will be leaving in early July for the other side of the world. This makes me sad! I’ve never been so far away from any of my kiddos as I will be for the next 3-4 months. And before he returns, one of my other blue stars will be leaving as well. While my momma heart will worry about them, I  understand fully that this is what they are called to do at this time. I will pray for their safety while they are gone and for their safe return.

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Now to the recipe. I took a recipe featured in the new THM cookbook and made some changes ( read “experimented”) and came up with this pretty amazing recipe. Keeping it in the fridge helps keep it fudgy until it is all eaten…which won’t be long, I can assure you! I have made these brownies several times and none of the guys in my family know that there is okra in them! And as a bonus…they are low-carb!

BROWNIES::

1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 c. peanut butter powder

3/4 c. coconut oil

3/4 c. butter

1-1/2 c. sweetener (I use Pyure)

2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 – 1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. oat flour

1 c. unsweetened dried coconut

1-1/2 c. okra (I use frozen. Let it thaw slightly before using).

6 eggs

ICING:

2 oz. cream cheese

2 tbsp. butter, softened, but not melted

1/4-1/3 c. heavy cream

4 tbsp. sweetener

1/2 tsp. vanilla

For the brownies: melt the coconut oil and butter in a small saucepan. Add the cocoa powder and peanut butter powder. Stir well.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Set aside.  In your blender, combine the okra, eggs and vanilla. Blend completely so there are no particles of okra seen. Pour the cocoa mixture and the okra mixture into the dry ingredients and stir well.

Pour the batter into a lightly oiled 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. Let cool.

Combine the icing ingredients in your blender or food processor. Give it a taste and add more sweetener if needed. Spread on cooled brownies. For a garnish, grate an 85% chocolate bar over the icing.  Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Peppernuts and Christmas Memories

As many people do, I become very nostalgic during the Christmas season. It is the time of year that I miss my parents, especially my dad, more than any other time of the year. My dad absolutely loved Christmas! He loved having all the family together around the table, the food, the fellowship, and the giving of gifts. My dad was a giver. He loved giving to others without ever expecting anything in return. He was a great example to me of giving!

When we lived in New Jersey, we always had Dad’s two oldest daughters and their families over to our house for every holiday. When all of us got together it was fun…noisy, but fun! After dinner, we kids would all go up stairs and play tag, freeze tag or upset the fruit basket. We didn’t rely on the adults to entertain us!

This picture  from the mid-1960s shows my grandmother (my dad’s mom) seated in the middle with her daughter, daughter-in-law (my mom), grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I am assuming my dad was the photographer for this one!

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Here is a picture of my parents in the early 1980s.

 

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As my dad got older, his taste buds changed, and his desire for sweet things increased. Mom and I often speculated that he could taste only sweet things, but we really didn’t know. Anyway, one of the treats he loved most at Christmas were small cookies called Peppernuts. They are actually a German cookie called Pfeffernusse. My oldest sister, Sybel, married a man of German heritage, and his mother had the recipe. My mother would make these for my dad. He would often fill his pockets with them every morning after breakfast and have them to munch on throughout the day! I always thought they were rather hard and loved dipping them in hot tea to soften!

I have searched and search for the original recipe, but I can not find it anywhere! I am so disappointed! However, thanks to the internet, I did find a recipe that is pretty similar. This recipe calls for anise seed, but ours called for anise oil. Mom also made the dough into long ropes and cut them into bite-sized pieces instead of making the dough into balls.

Black Bean Brownies

We made it home last night after a whirl-wind trip down to FL to see our 2Lt. He’s been gone since the end of September,  he won’t be home for Thanksgiving (the first time ever to miss it), and his December schedule will have him home before Christmas, but not on Christmas day. I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to go see him!

I checked the weather before packing and really thought that I had packed the proper clothing. However, the weather forecasts did not tell me that the wind would blow the entire time we were there! That wind made it feel colder than it really was, and I nearly froze on Friday afternoon and evening! We did have a great time, though, getting to see quite a few planes (even go up inside some), spending time in the Navy museum, the lighthouse and museum, the fort, and the beach! Sunset on the beach was breath-taking!

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I have been greatly enjoying the new Trim Healthy Mama cookbook! The recipes are so good, and I am working hard at getting the hubby and me back on track to healthy eating.

The other day I had an opened can of black beans that I needed to use. I remembered a recipe in the new cookbook and thought that maybe I could use the beans instead of the okra that is called for. They turned out great! Even my picky son thought they were pretty good…for diet food! Ha! They tasted even better after being in the fridge overnight.

4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate

3/4 c. butter

3/4 c. low-carb sweetener blend

2 pinches salt

1/2 c. oat flour

1/2 c. ground pecans

1 c. black beans

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

Lightly coat a 9×9 pan with coconut oil. Melt the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan. Combine sweetener, salt, flour, and pecans in a large mixing bowl. Combine the beans, eggs, and vanilla in a blender and puree until smooth. Add the chocolate/butter mix and the puree to the dry ingredients. Stir well by hand. Pour into pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Let cool in pan. Cut into bars and serve, or refrigerate overnight for a fudgier brownie!

 

Figs, Figs, and More Figs!

After going through a dry spell this summer, we started getting some much needed rain in the last two weeks or so. The hubby put up a new rain gauge, and it is finally getting some use! This is what it showed this morning–our rain amount for the last 7 days!

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If you look carefully (I know it isn’t the best picture!) you will see the level up above 4″. Over half of this fell during a 2-hour time span yesterday afternoon!

While we’ve been getting rain, the temperatures have stayed on the high side, so it still feels icky sticky outside once the rain stops. It has been perfect for our figs! This year only one of our fig trees has produced figs, but it has R E A L L Y produced!! We are approaching the 30-pound mark! Yes, you read that right! One tree has given us almost 30 pounds of figs, and it isn’t finished yet.

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We have eaten fresh figs (well, the hubby and Ben have). We have frozen them, dehydrated them, sold some and given some away. Over the weekend I made a Fig-Strawberry butter which was amazing! And today, my kitchen come-on is a wonderful smell of Peach-Fig butter currently in the crock-pot!

A friend shared the recipe for Fig Butter which I also found here. I didn’t have any white grape juice on hand, but I did have regular grape juice. I used a mix of grape juice and water. I also used about 4 cups figs and 2 cups strawberries to make up the 6 cups of figs. It was amazing!

I am using the same recipe today except that I have used half figs and half peaches to equal the 6 cups. I also used half cup lemon juice plus 1/4 c. water in place of the white grape juice.

I hope it tastes as good as it smells!

Fruit Pizza

We had a fun July 4th on Saturday and tried to keep our eating on-plan through out the day. Unfortunately, the church picnic is where we fell off the wagon! It is so hard to eat right at a wonderful church buffet! But we are back on track today and hoping for a good week of proper eating habits! Tim and I can both tell a difference in how we feel when we eat the wrong type of foods!

My sweet Mia Joy is 10 months old now! We enjoyed having her and her mommy join us at the picnic Saturday. We missed her daddy who had to work! She was very interested in eating Mommy’s BBQ sandwich! With only 4 teeth, that’s just not possible yet!

027I discovered this amazing fruit pizza recipe several months ago but never made it until Saturday. It tastes wonderful! As you can see, I switched out the fruits from what is listed on the main recipe. I also used my flour blend of almond meal, oat flour, flax and coconut flour instead of using only almond flour. One other change was to add 1-1/2 tsp of Truvia to the cream cheese mixture to give it a little more sweetness.

You can find the recipe here. I highly recommend it! It is very easy to make and is delicious!

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