An eventful uneventful weekend

Annnnd another weekend is done, folks. And as usual, it went by waaayyyy too fast.

It was an eventful uneventful weekend – does that make sense? B and I didn’t have much planned, because I leave for a week of work travel today and needed some time to pack and catch up on work. That being said, it was semi-eventful. We spent some time in urgent care (spoiler: I’m okay) and also finding ourselves locked up in a Mormon church (semi-long story). But fall is here! And it’s beautiful.

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The weekend started with a Friday evening trip to urgent care. Don’t worry – I’m okay. I had been running Friday morning with Mary and accidentally tripped over a sign post that was on the sidewalk. I flew in the air and ended up seriously bruising my thigh and since it was pretty painful, hot and swollen, I decided to get checked out before flying for work. Good news – it’s just a muscle contusion and I should be back running again after a few days of ice and rest. And I’m clear to fly 🙂

After finding that out, since B and I were already on the west side, we decided to try a new place for dinner that has sen on my list – Forage. It was really good! We started with drinks and oysters at the bar and then got seated for our food. I’d definitely go back – we both loved our food and it was a neat, large place with lots of seating.

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Saturday morning, B and I decided to go apple picking. It’s amazing how much time we have when I’m not running 🙂 I love apple picking and it was the first time we’d gotten to go this season. We came home with some apples, cider and an apple fritter.

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The apple fritter was seriously the size of my face.

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It was just about 11 a.m. when we were through apple picking, so we decided to explore the area. Turns out the first Mormon church happened to be just a few miles away. We stopped in and a tour was just starting. We were told the tour would be about 40 minutes, but we could leave early if we needed to. We had to be back in Cleveland by 12:30, so we decided to at least take part of the tour and see the church before heading out. Let’s just say the tour lasted about 1 hour and 15 minutes and we were not able to just leave the church at any time – we tried to leave the church but the door wouldn’t open so we had to wait until after the tour.

the first Mormon church

the first Mormon church

After we left the church, we booked it to the baby shower. It was a co-ed shower, so B was invited too! It involved bowling, food,  some spiked apple cider AND homemade apple butter and jam for favors. Not a bad way to spend a fall Saturday 🙂

Mom- and dad-to-be giving a speech at the shower - bowling in the background!

Mom- and dad-to-be giving a speech at the shower – bowling in the background!

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The weekend also included some other fall stapes – baking and the Browns.

apple bread

apple bread

I baked some apple bread with the apples we bought AND since it made two loaves, we brought one over to Dave and Anson and saw baby Celia again. She (and B) were ready for the Browns game!

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The Browns ended up losing in overtime (ughhhh) but Sunday evening also included dinner with B’s family. It was the perfect fall meal – London Broil AND apple cake for dessert.

Linking up with Katie and Erin today!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like apple picking? Have you gone this fall? um, of course!
  • What’s your favorite apple recipe?
  • Coed baby showers – yay or nay?  I say yay! The one we went to  was so much fine

Pumpkin Bread

As you may realize, I haven’t had enough time this fall to get in all the pumpkin baking I typically do. Right now, all I’ve done is make pumpkin snickerdoodles – they were the bomb by the way if you haven’t made them, it isn’t too late! But knowing that the unofficial end of pumpkin season is coming to an end soon, I knew I had to have one last pumpkin baking hurrah.

It was a cold evening so I was in the mood for some baking (who am I kidding .. it could’ve been 90 degrees and I’d be in the mood for baking…). I opened my refrigerator and my freezer – and I had only 1/2 stick of butter left for baking. Half of a stick! That narrowed down my baking choices. Thankfully, I remembered I had torn out a few (and pinned of course) pumpkin bread recipes that called for little-to-no butter. And that’s what I decided to make.

Oh yeah- this turned out SO good that I made it twice. TWICE. That’s four loaves! Get on it before pumpkin season ends!

pumpkin bread - i crashed the web

Pumpkin Bread 

(Recipe is slightly modified from a few recipes I had on hand)

Here’s what you need:

  • 3 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 c. granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 2/3 c. water

For the glaze:

  • 1 Tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl – flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and sugar. Place a well in the middle, this is where you’ll insert your wet ingredients.
  3. Mix together wet ingredients – 4 eggs, beaten, with canned pumpkin, oil and water. When mixed well, pour into the well of the dry ingredients.
  4. Mix everything together with a spatula or wooden spoon – do not overmix. Mix until all ingredients are just combined and dry ingredients are wet.
  5. Pour into to greased loaf pans – I used two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 sized pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool done loaves from the oven for about 5 minutes. While still warm, pour glaze over top and use a spatula to spread evenly if you want the top to by shiny. To make glaze, whisk together melted butter, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Variations – I made two loaves as normal. With the next batch, I added white chocolate chips (not too many- maybe about 3/4 c) to one loaf and then finely chopped pecans to the other loaf. Yum!

Some questions for you:

  • When do you think pumpkin baking/coffee/spice/etc. season ends? Is it already over for you?
  • What’s your favorite kind of quick bread? This may be a new favorite! Though my mom’s zucchini bread is still on top for year-round goodness.
  • What are you in the mood to bake these days? If you don’t bake – what dessert is on your mind?

pumpkin bread

Pumpkin Chip Snickerdoodles

I love baking with pumpkin. Surprise right? But something happened this year. Perhaps our fall foliage vacation? Perhaps life got busy? Who knows – but this is (gasp) my first pumpkin recipe this fall. Shocking, I know – usually by this time of year I’ve made some pumpkin blondies, pumpkin granola, pumpkin biscotti and/or some sort of pumpkin scone. Oh well. Guess I have some catching up to do!

Even if this is the only pumpkin cookie recipe I make this year – I’d still declare it a good year. These pumpkin cookies are soft (as a pumpkin cookie should be), have the perfect amount of spice (in the batter and also thanks to the cinnamon-sugar coating – they are snickerdoodles after all!) and the pumpkin spice chips are OH so good. I made a batch and they somehow quickly disappeared … guess I know what to do with the remaining can of pumpkin I have!

Pumpkin Chip Snickerdoodles

Pumpkin Chip Snickerdoodles

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 TBS ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup pumpkin spice chips (I found these beauties at Target)
  • For rolling: Approximately 1/2 cup cinnamon-sugar mixture (I keep this on hand but if you don’t have it, mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1 TBS cinnamon)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Melt the butter in the microwave. In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar together until no brown sugar lumps remain. Whisk in the vanilla and pumpkin until smooth. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. Combine melted butter with granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and pumpkin puree. Mix well so that batter is smooth and no lumps from the sugar remain. Slowly pour wet ingredients into the dry flour mixture and mix together by hand with a spatula.
  4. Fold in pumpkin spice morsels.
  5. Cover the dough and chill for at least 20-30 minutes, or overnight. Believe it or not, I made my dough at night and chilled the dough while I slept.
  6. After dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a cookie baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Roll the dough into balls, about 1-2 Tablespoons in size. The dough will be sticky! Roll the dough balls into cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place on baking sheet.
  8. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes. The cookies will look underdone when you take them out of the oven – this is okay! You don’t want a dry pumpkin cookie.
  9. Let cookies cool for at least 15 or so minutes. They taste even better a day  (or two) after baking!  Mine made about 36 cookies.

Pumpkin Chip Snickerdoodles

Dulce De Leche Oatmeal Pear Pie

I hope you enjoyed the pie-turned-bar recipes I shared with you a few weeks ago. The pecan pie bars were my favorite – who knows, maybe I’ll make them again for Christmas?

Anyway – I wanted you to know that I DID make a pie for Thanksgiving. And in case you aren’t too full of desserts, sugar or carbs – here’s just the recipe for you – perhaps for your next holiday get together!

Have you ever had REAL dulce de leche? I’m talking homemade super sweet and creamy dulce de leche. Oh my goodness. My mouth is watering just thinking about it – when I lived in Ecuador, the family I lived with used to make a jar of it nearly every week. I’d eat it with everything, but mostly on their amazing baked goods. Rolls with dulce de leche? Bagel and dulce de leche for a mid-morning snack? Don’t mind if I do!

How good does that look:

(photo from The Intrepid Explorers)

Anyway, I’m no longer in Ecuador, but was able to find a bottle of real dulce de leche (sorry, I didn’t make it myself) at a local grocery store in the Goya section – which was PERFECT because I have been dying to make this pie recipe from my favorite new cookbook, Recipe Girl’s book! If you aren’t reading Recipe Girl’s blog or getting her blog emailed to you daily (as I am), then I suggest you start right away.

dulce de leche oatmeal pear pie

Dulce De Leche Oatmeal Pear Pie (slightly modified from the Recipe Girl Cookbook)

Here’s what you need:

for the crust

  • 3 1/3 cups oats
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, melted
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla

for the filling

  • 6 cups peeled and sliced ripe green pears – we only needed about 5 large pears
  • 2 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup dulce de leche

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Prepare the crust: Mix together all crust ingredients – oats, melted butter, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Mix well until sticky and well combined. Reserve about a cup of the crust mixture and set aside. Take remaining mixture and spread crust into a 9 1/2 inch round pie dish. Pat down well with your hands so it’s stuck to the bottom of the pie dish. Bake for 10 minutes.
  3. Make the filling: Combine peeled and sliced pears, lemon juice and vanilla. In a small bowl, combine sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg. When these dry ingredients are mixed well, add to pear mixture. Toss until pears are coated well. Add dulce de leche a little bit at a time and try not to drool because the pears covered in dulce de leche are just amazing. Add filling to the cooled crust. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup reserved crust mixture on top of pie.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes and check halfway through – if top browns too soon, place some foil lightly on top of pie. After 30 minutes, check pie. Cook for 10-15 minutes more, or until pear is caramelized, bubbly and top is browned.
  5. Enjoy!
oatmeal cookie crust

oatmeal cookie crust

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You will LOVE this pie. I dare you NOT to. And can I share 2 more things that are pretty great?

1. I made a little extra filling and topping – and made mini pear oatmeal crumbles for a separate dessert!

2. B’s not a fan of pears. He won’t eat pears, doesn’t drink or eat pear flavored things, etc. BUT he loved this dessert anyway — woohoo! If you’re not a pear lover, I dare you to try this. Or at least sub apples for pears, because Recipe Girl says you can.

dulce de leche oatmeal pear pie

leftover filling and topping makes great pear crumble!

Apple Crumb Pie Bars

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m not a big pie lover. That’s why, for this Thanksgiving, B and I decided to make a few pie-themed recipes in a non-pie form. So, desserts that are inspired by pie, but aren’t actually pie. Make sense? (or as my mom would say, Capeesh?) Yesterday I shared some awesome pecan pie bars. And today, it’s apple crumb pie bars!

Apple crumb pie MAY just be my favorite type of pie. Growing up, for Thanksgiving, we’d often pick up pies from a local farm in Upstate New York – and my favorite was always the apple crumb. And this bar recipe definitely reminded me of those pies – but even better, it’s in a cookie bar form! Oh yeah – these cookie bars also have oats and apples, so they have to be healthy, right?

Full disclaimer – these are very easy, just time consuming to make all three parts. It helps if you have someone peel and cut the apples while you prepare everything else. Thank you to B for taking on this oh-so-fun task!

apple crumb pie bars - i crashed the web

Apple Crumb Pie Bars

Here’s what you need:

For the Crust

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For the Pie Filling:

  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 6 medium apples, peeled and sliced thin (I used Granny Smith)
  • 2-3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

For the Crumb Topping:

  • 2 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, sliced and cold from the refrigerator

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Start by making the crust. Beat butter, vanilla and sugar with an electric mixer. Add in flour and sugar and mix until just combined – don’t overmix.
  3. This will be your crust! Using your hands, place mixture onto the bottom of a 13×9 inch baking dish prepared with parchment paper. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until crust is just starting to brown. Cool crust.
  4. Prepare the pie filling. In a large pan, melt butter and mix in brown sugar. Add sliced/peeled apples and cook on medium to medium-high heat until apples start to turn translucent (about 10-12 minutes). Add cinnamon and nutmeg and cook about 10 more minutes, or until apple liquid has almost nearly disappeared. If it starts to burn/turns too dry before the apples are fully cooked, feel free to add a little water while you cook. Cool.
  5. Make the crumb topping. Combine rolled oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking soda. Cut in the 1 1/2 sticks butter using a knife and combine with a fork (or your hands) until the mixture is in crumbly clumps (again, yes that is the scientific term).
  6. Put it together! Place the apple filling over crust and then sprinkle crumb topping down over the apple layer. Press down lightly over apple layer until it’s thoroughly covered
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the oatmeal crumb topping is lightly browned.

apple crumb pie squares - thanksgiving - i crashed the web

apple crumb pie bars - i crashed the web

Enjoy!

These are inspired by a few recipes, mostly this one from Food + Wine Mag.

Sweet Cornbread (aka the best cornbread you’ll ever eat)

I should start this post with two disclaimers:

One: This is not “southern style” savory cornbread. This is a recipe for  sweet, nearly dessert-like cornbread, that goes well with more sweetness (like a maple butter), chili, soups and even stuffed squash.

Two: If you like sweet, dessert-like breads, you will love this cornbread. You won’t be able to stop eating it. Good luck 🙂

The past few weeks have been perfect for some fall cooking. I’ve made a few chili recipes, soups, and a ton of squash. While these are each good recipes on their own – they are only made better by one thing – the perfect cornbread. So here you go – enjoy!

sweet cornbread - i crashed the web

Sweet Cornbread (The Best Cornbread Ever)

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray, like Pam.
  2. Melt the butter in a microwave-safe large boil. Once melted, add sugar and eggs, well beaten. Add in buttermilk and continue to mix well.
  3. In a small bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Add to wet mixture. Stir in cornmeal and mix well. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until edges start to brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

*Note: I keep powdered buttermilk in the fridge almost all the time – it stays longer than liquid buttermilk and comes in handy for recipes like this. If using powdered buttermilk, follow instructions on the container.

sweet cornbread - i crashed the web

Waiting in the oven. yes I also made two small heart-shaped pans.

sweet cornbread - i crashed the web

All done!

Apple Bars with Maple Brown Butter Glaze

It’s apple season! Which means there are so many fun things that I can be baking with apples. And we have more than enough apples to spare. A few weeks ago,, B and I went apple picking. And then we got a few apples in our CSA. And then we got a few apples at a race we did. Needless to say, I had a few extra apples to spare. I didn’t feel like making a pie. Or a cake. Bars? Perfect! I definitely recommend you try these – with or without the glaze. B loved them without the glaze with his morning coffee. And then I brought them with the glaze to B’s family’s clambake as a sweet treat. They’re easy, and smell amazing in the oven.

apple bars with maple brown butter glaze -- i crashed the web

Apple Bars with Maple Brown Butter Glaze

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • Âľ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cup apple, chopped (I used 2 large apples)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Here’s what you need for the glaze:

  • ÂĽ c (½ stick) butter, browned
  • 1 – 1 ½ c powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tbs pure maple syrup
  • 1-2 Tbs milk, if needed (I used almond milk)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
  2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture until just combined, then stir in the apples. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top of the bars.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes in preheated oven. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

Here what you do to make the brown butter maple glaze:

  1. Heat butter on a saucepan on low to medium-low. Once butter is melted, heat a little longer until butter starts to smell and turn a light brown / caramel color. Stir and keep an eye on butter so as not to burn!
  2. When brown, stir in sifted powdered sugar with a whisk. Stir carefully, removing any clumps.
  3. Add in maple syrup and continue to stir. Depending on consistency, add milk. I only needed 1 Tbs of milk and used what I had on hand – unsweetened almond milk.
  4. Drizzle glaze on top of cooled bars.
  5. Enjoy!

apple bars with brown butter maple glaze - i crashed the web