Apple Walnut Bread…For Apple Picking Time or Just Any Time

By Jodee Weiland

Apple picking in the fall is something we love to do! There are so many great ways to use apples!

Years ago before I ever had children of my own, I came across what I thought was the best apple bread recipe ever! An elderly woman I knew back then had this recipe, and I loved it once I tried it.  Over the years, I have made adjustments to the recipe here and there for one reason or another, and I think my adapted recipe is even better yet!  For one thing, I added chopped walnuts, but walnuts are always optional.  My family loves this recipe, and once I had children, it became a traditional recipe to make at apple picking time.





In the fall each year, we would take the kids out to the apple orchards to pick apples.  We would climb the ladders supplied by the orchard owners and pick our own apples, filling one bushel basket at least to purchase and take home.  It was fun picking our apples as a family, and we all looked forward to the recipes we would make with the apples when we got home.






Of course, there was fresh apple pie to be made, but I think that secretly we all looked forward to the apple bread we would make.  We always made a double batch at least because we would wrap the extras in aluminum foil and freeze it for later.  The frozen cakes, thawed and heated later, were as good as when freshly baked.  We just took them out, put them in the microwave long enough to heat them up, and they were ready to eat tasting as fresh as the day they were baked.  My kids loved to eat their slice of apple bread cake with butter melted on it, but with or without, it was always a delicious treat!





Apple Walnut Bread…For Apple Picking Time or Just Any Time

3 cups sugar
1 and 1/2 cups softened light butter with canola oil
4 eggs beaten
3 teaspoons vanilla
4 and 1/2 cups flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups chopped apple (peeled and cored)
3/4 cups chopped walnuts (optional)






In a large bowl cream together the sugar and softened light butter with canola oil with hand mixer until light and fluffy.  Then add beaten eggs and vanilla to this.  Mix well.  Mix the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg) together in another bowl.  Add this to the eggs, sugar, light butter, and vanilla mixture.  Now, using a durable spoon, mix in the chopped apples followed by the chopped walnuts.  The batter will be stiff and lumpy, so carefully fold in the apples and walnuts until mixed well.

Generously grease and flour two loaf pans.  I use butter spray and flour.  Fill the loaf pans half full or just a bit more.  The cake will rise during baking.  Bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 90 minutes.  The time varies with different  ovens.  Do not over bake.  Use the toothpick test to tell when the apple bread is baked.  Put a toothpick in the center and remove.  The apple bread is done when the toothpick comes out clean.  My apple bread took one hour and 15 minutes.  As soon as they are baked, remove from the oven and cool.

http://learnfromyesterday.comDon’t cool it too long because this recipe is out of this world served warm!  My family loved it as is and with butter.  The kids really loved adding the butter, but either way it was great!  This recipe is a definite crowd pleaser.  But the best thing about this recipe is the fact that you can freeze it and pull it out when unexpected guests show up.  Make a pot of fresh brewed coffee, warm up the apple walnut bread in the microwave, and serve.  It is wonderful no matter what.  Add vanilla ice cream to it, and it’s like adding it to apple pie, only better.  Try it!  You will love it, and when sharing it with those you love, enjoy!


Wake Up Wednesdays

Grilled Zucchini and Roma Tomato Salad…A Great Side Dish for Any Meal

By Jodee Weiland

We love grilled zucchini in our home any time of the year!

At our house in the summer months, it is not unusual for us to grill our meals.   As I have mentioned before, we actually grill all year long, even when it’s snowing out, so in the summer, we grill even more.  Grilling meats, fish, and vegetables on our gas grill is a healthy alternative as well.  Sometimes though, we will grill more than we need, especially with grilled zucchini.  We love it, so when we pick out zucchini to grill, we tend to buy more than we need.  The question then is what to do with the leftover grilled zucchini without turning it into mush.  I have a great recipe for that!

http://learnfromyesterday.comI got the idea to put our leftover grilled zucchini together with tomatoes for a salad when I had an abundance of Roma tomatoes from my garden that needed to be used.  I love both, so I thought why not combine these two foods with a little red onion and toss it together with some Balsamic vinaigrette for a salad.  Tomatoes and zucchini have always gone together well, so this was an easy way to use up two items in my kitchen that I did not want to see go to waste.  Besides that, I knew it would taste great, be easy to put together, and be healthy as well.  I was right and now it has become a new favorite for me and my family!

http://learnfromyesterday.comGrilled Zucchini and Roma Tomato Salad…A Great Side Dish for Any Meal 

8 to 12 fresh Roma tomatoes quartered
1 to 2 grilled zucchinis cut lengthwise into quarters and then cubed
1 slice of a large red onion or more diced
Balsamic vinaigrette to taste

Wash and quarter the Roma tomatoes.  Take the cold grilled zucchini and cut into bite size cubes and add this to the quartered tomatoes.  Cut one slice of a large red onion up into diced pieces.  Add this to the tomatoes and grilled zucchini.  Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette to taste and serve.

Not only does this salad taste good, but it also adds a colorful side dish to your table.  The truth is it is so good, I probably will be making sure I have some leftover grilled zucchini when we have it, so I can make this salad the next day with dinner.  The tastes blend together just right because your zucchini is already seasoned from grilling it.  Then adding the red onion and balsamic vinaigrette adds just the right blend of flavors enhancing both your tomatoes and zucchini.  It’s a great way to use all those summer tomatoes and any leftover grilled zucchini.  You can even add other leftover grilled vegetables and change it up a little.  Be creative and when you eat this salad, enjoy!

Grilled Zucchini…Just Another Easy and Healthy Grilled Vegetable

By Jodee Weiland

Grilled vegetables are just another way to keep your summer barbecues healthy but tasty…corn, zucchini, asparagus, and more!  It is so easy to grill our meats, keeping them healthy, but then adding another easy fix to our menu for summer meals, such as store bought sides like potato salad, cole slaw, etc., can ruin our efforts to stay healthy!

Don’t fall into the trap that the deli sections of the grocery store make so easy for us with the purchase of store bought sides.  Instead, go to the fresh vegetable area, pick out what you need, and bring it home to grill alongside your meat or fish choice for the meal.  And if you’re lucky enough to have some home grown zucchini, that’s even better. The end result will be that you will love it grilled, but more importantly, you will stay healthier.

It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort or work to grill your vegetables, and grilled zucchini is not only one of my favorites, but one of the easiest vegetables to grill.  As I often say, it isn’t rocket science, and the results are well worth what little effort it takes.  I know I have said this before, but we grill all year long, even in the winter when we get snow, so we enjoy grilled zucchini, as well as other grilled vegetables all year long.  Zucchini is always available, and grilled zucchini tastes wonderful.  For one thing, you don’t end up cooking all the nutrients out of it, if you grill it al dente as we do.  Trust me when I say, it’s wonderful! Try it!


Grilled Zucchini…Just Another Easy and Healthy Grilled Vegetable

Fresh zucchini (as many as you need)
Extra virgin olive oil
Garlic salt or garlic powder, sea salt, and parsley to taste



That’s it!  That’s all you need.  Just wash your zucchini, cut off the ends, and cut them in half lengthwise.  Spread olive oil over each piece.  Put on garlic salt to taste.  You really don’t need much for flavoring.  Then grill keeping it al dente, about two to three minutes on each side.  You can grill longer if you prefer it cooked longer, but remember the less you cook zucchini, the more nutrients you get.

http://learnfromyesterday.comWhen your zucchini is grilled, add it to your meal and serve.  The taste is fabulous, and you will have the added bonus of having a healthier meal.  Grilled zucchini goes well with just about any meat or fish choice.  We love it with grilled salmon, chicken, pork, or flank steak.  Whichever you choose to serve it with, you won’t be disappointed when you have grilled zucchini as a side.  Your whole meal will be enhanced by this choice for a side vegetable.  I know that we love it and feel certain that you will as well if you try it.  Enjoy!

Kale Salad…With Goat cheese, Walnuts, Roma Tomato, and Blueberries

By Jodee Weiland

With summer here and the vegetable garden growing, I picked some baby kale leaves from my garden before the weather got too hot.

Kale and high heat do not go well together.  The kale has a tendency to get bitter tasting, so clipping baby kale leaves prior to our higher temperatures made this salad an easy, tasty, and healthy addition to our dinner table.

http://learnfromyesterday.comAfter picking my kale leaves and cleaning them, I put them in the fridge overnight in my crisper.  This preserves the kale, but it also gives it a crispy texture that I enjoy in my salads.  There’s nothing I hate more than a limp salad, what I have been known to refer to as dead lettuce or kale leaf.  Freshness is important when preparing food, so I like to use a crisper with fresh greens.

Putting this together was simply a matter of choosing the right ingredients to create the flavor I was looking for in a kale salad.  Because kale tends to have a different flavor from various lettuce types, I felt it needed both a touch of some typical salad ingredients and then some sweeter tones by adding fresh blueberries and using a raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing.  I love raspberries and blueberries together, so bringing the two together in this ways seemed a natural to me.  Add in the creamy flavor of crumbled goat cheese and the crunchy touch of walnuts along with a Roma tomato, and you have a delightful tasting kale salad.

http://learnfromyesterday.comKale Salad…With Goat cheese, Walnuts, Roma Tomato, and Blueberries

These ingredients are per salad serving:

1 to 2 cups cleaned baby kale leaves
1/4 cup walnuts
1 slice Roma tomato
1 ounce crumbled goat cheese
I/4 cup fresh blueberries
Raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing

http://learnfromyesterday.comClean your baby kale leaves and place in a crisper overnight.  The next day put the kale leaves in your dish, and then add the walnuts.  Crumble the goat cheese over the top of the salad.  Add your sliced Roma tomato and the blueberries.  Finish this off with a raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing.

Putting this salad together couldn’t be easier, and the taste is absolutely delicious.  All the flavors blend together well, making this salad refreshing and very tasty.  Not only is it tasty, but by using kale, the nutritional value and health benefits are much higher than using regular lettuce.  This salad is a great side to any meal, but it can also be eaten by itself as a meal.  On a hot summer day, this salad, a crusty loaf of fresh bread, and a glass of wine would be an excellent choice for a meal.  The salad by itself is about 363 calories without dressing.  It has about 13 grams of protein and because of the kale is high in natural Vitamin A.  Read up on kale, and you will be amazed at the health benefits, such as lowering cholesterol, helping to prevent cancer, and more.  So if you decide to try this salad, remember it not only tastes good, it’s healthy as well.  Enjoy!

Grilled Balsamic Asparagus…How Easy Can it Get?

By Jodee Weiland

Grilled Balsamic Asparagus…How Easy Can it Get? We love to grill outdoors and not just in the summer. We live in the Midwest, but we still grill outdoors all year round on our gas barbecue grill. We don’t just grill meats either.  We grill all kinds of vegetables right along with our meats and fish.

Why do we grill outdoors even in the snowy weather?  Well, that’s easy to answer.  We like the taste and using our gas grill, makes every meal a little healthier.

Years ago, we did vegetables, other than potatoes and corn inside, but then everyone starting talking about oven roasted vegetables.  We did this as well in our extra virgin olive oil, and it was really good, but put some olive oil on any vegetable, add a little seasoning, and grill it, you will be amazed!  It’s even better!

Today a lot of people talk about doing this, but it never ceases to amaze us that when we invite people over, they love the vegetables this way, but only a few have tried it.  Our guests are usually surprised by the range of vegetables we grill and also, by the many different ways we season or flavor them.

http://learnfromyesterday.comOne of the ways we like best is to marinate our vegetables in extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and seasonings.  It isn’t rocket science, but it sure tastes good!  This is how we like to grill our asparagus and so far, it’s a hit every time.  Here’s what we do, but you can vary your seasonings to your own taste. Grilled Balsamic Asparagus…How Easy Can it Get?

1 pound asparagus spears cleaned and ends cut off
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
Garlic powder and a little sea salt or garlic salt, if you prefer it, to taste
Seasonings can vary according to taste

That’s it!  Place the asparagus in a shallow dish about 20 to 30 minutes prior to grilling, drizzling them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste.  Add in your seasonings making sure to coat each asparagus spear.  Let this sit and marinate for the 20 to 30 minutes.  When done, place the asparagus on the grill in either a grill pan or as we like to do, directly across the grill.  We like to grill it directly on the grill, but either way it tastes delicious.  Grill the spears for 2 to 3  minutes over a medium heat, then turn over and grill for 2 to 3 more minutes or until done.

This recipe is so simple, anyone can do it.  We like to use this same recipe for other vegetables as well.  It really adds a lot of good flavor to your barbecue and on top of that, it’s healthy, if you don’t get carried away with the salt.  We totally enjoy asparagus done this way and grill it with chicken, steak, and even salmon.  It makes a wonderful side to any grilled meal, and it is definitely a crowd pleaser, especially these days with more and more people becoming aware of healthy eating.  Give it a try and enjoy!