Long awaited post!

I know it’s been awhile since I have been on here; but there has been a major change and excitement in my personal life.  WE BOUGHT A HOUSE… with LAND!

Moving is hard. Especially when you don’t label your boxes as clearly as you wish you would have done as you are looking for a specific baking dish. Purple glass 9×11… I WILL FIND YOU. We also wanted to do a few improvements before bringing everything up from the basement.  So we’ve been busy doing that, unpacking, and trying to get everything in the right place.

Trust me when I say that moving in the winter is a bad idea. But if you find the right house (with land), you do what you must.  We were lucky to have some good days without snow, but when that wind hits… by golly.

With the new house, comes new beginnings. Good things come to those who wait. Having this little break has given me a chance think of multiple ideas and research of all things MICHIGAN.  I even have tried a…. wait for it…  pasty… and will be trying to create an amazing from scratch version that you can make in your home and stock your freezer. But I have heard the debate of rutabagas and have been going back and forth in my head if I will include them or not.

Gardening….

We are going to be planting some blueberry bushes, raspberry plants and possibly a vegetable garden. It’s all a matter of finding the right spot in the yard that doesn’t get flooded out and/or where future construction may be. More on that when Michigan decides what season it is going to be for awhile.

So in the next couple of weeks, I will be firing this bad boy back up and will be helping you feed your family with meals from scratch… Michigan style! <3

 

Apple Cinnamon Walnut Cookies

Apple Cinnamon Walnut Cookies

I seriously love these cookies! This recipe is a crazy modification of my White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies. It was something that I just whipped up one day and my husband was quite pleased. It has oats, apples, and walnuts. This makes it a health food. True story.

This cookie hits all the Fall points: apples, warm cinnamon, walnuts…. YUM!

Apple Cinnamon Walnut Cookies

Michigan Ingredients: sugar, cinnamon, Meijer egg, Meijer butter, and Granny Smith Apple.

Apples are in full swing right now. Everywhere you turn, apples are on sale. Stores are advertising “local produce” left and right and who is in the spot light right now? APPLES!

Apples are the perfect snack and can be used in virtually any meal. You want to make a apple gravy, apple cheddar muffins, or put some apples in a crock pot with a pork loin.

Apple Cinnamon Walnut Cookies

Michigan Ingredients (part 2): Meijer walnuts, Meijer brown sugar

I love it when this happens…. too many Michigan ingredients to put in one picture 🙂

Apple Cinnamon Walnut Cookies

Combine your flour, baking soda, and baking powder. I don’t measure the cinnamon. I just sprinkle a little here, a little there. If you have to measure it, use at least 1/2 teaspoon. But this way you can have a little bit of freedom in how cinnamon-y your cookies will be.

Apple Cinnamon Walnut Cookies

Take a cup of walnuts and chop away to desired size. I don’t like too big of pieces due to having a little one… BUT if you want giant pieces, you can try that…. but trust me when I say, it is better to try to make the nut that you are using in your cookies match the size of the chips.

Apple Cinnamon Walnut Cookies

Like so. Look at how beautiful of friends these two ingredients are.

Let’s take a side trip… the cinnamon chips are a Hersey product. It is kind of hard to find, but so worth stocking up on. If need be, you can always order them online from Amazon or the Hersey website.

Apple Cinnamon Walnut Cookies

Whip up your softened butter and then add your sugars. Apple Cinnamon Walnut Cookies

With it being October, I got to bust out my Halloween utensils. Scrap the bowl to help assist in your creamed mixture to be extra creamy.

Apple Cinnamon Walnut Cookies

Add your egg and vanilla and beat the mixture until fluffy-ish.

Apple Cinnamon Walnut Cookies

Add your dry mixture and beat until well combined. Forget to take a picture…

Apple Cinnamon Walnut Cookies

What you didn’t see me do here is combine the walnuts, cinnamon chips and oats into a bowl. BUT you can see them being added to the dough.

Apple Cinnamon Walnut Cookies

Peel your apple and start dicing.

Apple Cinnamon Walnut Cookies

You will want to have your apple pieces be on the smaller side so as to not overcome/sogg-ify your cookie.  Depending on how big your apple is ( I usually use a medium sized apple), cut the quarters in half, then cut into thin strips.

Apple Cinnamon Walnut Cookies

Look at how small these pieces are; yet, big enough that you will taste them in the cookie. Whenever we make apple pancakes, we always cut the apples this size.

Apple Cinnamon Walnut Cookies

Sprinkle some more cinnamon. Apparently in my mind, there wasn’t enough. BUT adding a coating around your fruit is always a good idea. Why, I don’t exactly know; however, it is something that my family always does in recipes with fruit. Think of the blueberry muffins for example.

Apple Cinnamon Walnut Cookies

Fold your apples into (or on low…)  the dough.  Take a little nibble… such a warm and inviting cookie dough. And it only gets better when it’s baked.

Drop “whatever size you want” of dough onto a baking sheet and bake these beauties at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Apple Cinnamon Walnut CookiesApple Cinnamon Walnut Cookies

Soft, pillow-y cookies that I am sure will be your go-to Fall cookie. Hurry and make a batch today and share with loved ones. I promise they (and you) will be thankful.

Apple Cinnamon Walnut Cookies
 
Author:
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 24 cookies
 
The perfect Fall cookie
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 stick or ½ cup Butter (softened)
  • ½ cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 cup Cinnamon Chips
  • 1 Cup Walnuts, chopped small
  • 1½ cups Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1 medium sized Granny Smith Apple
  • Lots of Sprinkling of Cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Combine your flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl. Sprinkle some cinnamon. You can add as little or as much cinnamon as you like. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of your mixture (or separate bowl), whip up your softened butter. Add your sugars and beat until combined. I would recommend scraping the bowl at least once before the next step.
  3. Add your egg and vanilla to your creamed mixture and beat until fluffy.
  4. Add your dry ingredients that you set aside and mix until combined.
  5. Combine your chopped walnuts (which you can do by hand or buy them pre-chopped/small), cinnamon chips, and oats in a bowl. Add to the dough mixture.
  6. Peel and dice your apple into tiny pieces. Sprinkle cinnamon over the apples and give a little stir. Fold (or on the lowest setting) the apples into the cookie dough until just combined.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes

Homemade Fresh Pumpkin

Fresh Pumpkin

Seriously…. FALL

This is my jam… the reason for the season… I wait all year for fall and when it gets here, it comes and goes too quickly. Let’s just slow down… take a brisk walk in the Michigan crisp air.

Lately, my daughter and I have been talking walks and looking for the “crunchy” leaves. It’s such a great sound to hear under your feet. Music to my ears. The sound, the smell of leaves is seriously the best.

Back in the day, I use to buy canned pumpkin until I learned how EASY it is to make your own pumpkin puree. You have to use the smaller pumpkins because… obviously, small and sweet.

Fresh Pumpkin

Michigan Ingredient: Pumpkin

Seriously look at that beauty. The color… it just.. pops! There was a sticker that said Michigan on it, but my sweet little girl took it and was running around with it on her chest like a name tag.

Fresh Pumpkin

I would recommend using a saw to cut your pumpkin in half. This is one of the many knifes that we use when we carve pumpkins.  You can use a normal knife if you would like, but it will not be as fun as using a saw (and obviously more difficult).

Fresh Pumpkin

Cut the top off, but cut off as little as possible so that you have as much pumpkin to “roast” as possible.

Fresh Pumpkin

Cut the pumpkin in half and look at the glory of …. the guts.. there’s no other words I can think of then “guts” so… start to scoop those out and try to make it so there is not many strings left. If you want, you can save the seeds and give yourself a preview of carving big pumpkins with the kiddies (or you know when you carve pumpkins).

Fresh PumpkinFresh Pumpkin

I like to sprinkle cinnamon on my pumpkin. You can make it all natur’elle. But come on, you’re just going to add cinnamon to whatever recipe you are going to use the pumpkin in… well maybe not soup… I’ve never made soup. Maybe something to try?

fresh pumpkin

Place the pumpkin flesh side down on a tin foil lined pan (sprayed with non-stick of course).

I used my toaster oven to roast the pumpkin. I had the heat set to 350 degrees.  I love using my toaster oven if I am able to when it takes more than a half hour to cook something. Save that propane people! And when you have an Indian summer, you still have the mentality of  not heating up your kitchen!

Obviously, sizes of pumpkins vary, so times will vary. I would recommend starting at 45 minutes. To test if the pumpkin is done, take a fork and see if you can pierce the flesh; if it pierces easy, it’s done. If not, try again in 10 minutes.

fresh pumpkinfresh pumpkin

Let the pumpkin cool a little bit so you don’t completely burn your fingers. Use a spoon and scoop the flesh of the pumpkin out. Scrap every little bit you can so that you can get as much flesh to puree.

fresh pumpkinfresh pumpkin

You can either mash the pumpkin by hand in a bowl, or you can use your food processor to make it extra smooth; you know, lady’s (or dude’s) choice.  Either way, there is no need to add liquid. Why water down a good thing?

Fresh Pumpkin

Oh my yum!! Use the puree in your favorite pumpkin recipe (which one will be here tomorrow).

Fresh Pumpkin

Once you start making your pumpkin from scratch, you will never want to use canned pumpkin again. So simple… ANNNNND you know it’s actual pumpkin. I just read that canned pumpkin isn’t even really pumpkin…. HEELLLLOOOO!! Really!? They use squash, which is a great substitute. But why call it pumpkin, when it is either butternut squash, acorn squash, etc. False advertisement and lies ladies and gentleman.

Which brings me to the best point… making things from scratch, you know what is in the food you are making. Love and (in this case) pumpkin!

Homemade Fresh Pumpkin
 
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Easy homemade fresh pumpkin
Ingredients
  • Small Pie Pumpkin
  • Cinnamon (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cut the top of the pumpkin, making sure to cut as little off the top as possible.
  2. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop the "guts" out until there are no strings.
  3. If you want, you can sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon on your pumpkin.
  4. Place the pumpkin flesh side down on a tin foil lined pan (sprayed with non-stick spray) and roast in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.
  5. To test if the pumpkin is done, take a fork a try to pierce the flesh. If it pierces easily, it's done. If not, check on the pumpkin again in 10 minutes.
  6. Let the pumpkin cool so you don't burn your fingers. Once it's cooled enough to handle, use a spoon to scoop out the flesh.
  7. You can either mash the pumpkin by hand or place the pumpkin in a food processor to get a smoother consistency.
  8. Use the pumpkin puree in your favorite pumpkin recipe in place of "canned pumpkin". Store any unused pumpkin until ready to use.