Apple Cranberry Walnut Pie…Sweet, Juicy, and Delicious!

By Jodee Weiland

Last Thanksgiving I needed another pie for dessert fast, so I went over to the store to see what was available. I saw an apple cranberry walnut pie for sale and thought what a great idea, so I bought one.

http://learnfromyesterday.comIt was delicious, but I couldn’t help but think how much better it would be if it was homemade. So this year I decided to make my own apple pie recipe, but I would add fresh cranberries and walnuts. That’s how I created my own version of Apple Cranberry Walnut Pie…Sweet, Juicy, and Delicious!

I started out with my own recipe for Sweet Juicy Delicious Apple Pie using Granny Smith Apples, adding one cup of fresh cranberries, and about 3/4 cups of chopped walnuts. I especially liked the idea of sweet but tart Granny Smith Apples with fresh cranberries and the additional crunch of walnuts all together. I added one additional tablespoon of flour to my filling, a tad more butter, and less apples because of the cranberries and walnuts. Once in the oven, I knew this recipe was going to be great! The house smelled so good while this pie was cooking, I couldn’t wait to try the finished product, but wait I did. Why? Because this pie was for Jerilyn!

When I first decided to make this pie, I chose apple for my sister, Jerilyn, who loves apple pie. I was bringing her to my home for dinner to celebrate Thanksgiving and her birthday. Jerilyn is mentally challenged. Although she is nine years older than me, she has the mentality of a six year old. She is in a special program and lives very close to me and another one of my sisters. We pick her up often and take her to lunch. When needed, we take her for a haircut or sometimes to shop for things she may need. On holidays, each of us, myself and my other two sisters, will rotate bringing Jerilyn home to celebrate. I usually have Thanksgiving and her birthday, so when I plan the menu, I try to keep in mind her favorites. Jerilyn loves the holidays and especially, celebrating her birthday, so it has to be right! With that in mind, apple pie is the number one choice for dessert!

http://learnfromyesterday.comApple Cranberry Walnut Pie…Sweet, Juicy, and Delicious!

For the flaky pie crust: (this recipe is enough for the top and bottom crusts)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted whipped butter
6 to 7 tablespoons ice cold water

In a food processor combine the flour, sugar, and salt.  Add the butter and pulse until the texture is crumbly with the butter in small pieces.  Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time, pulsing the mixture as you go.  You may use only six tablespoons of water, but if needed, use more.  Add water until the mixture looks crumbly, but can be formed into 2 balls in your hands.  Refrigerate one ball, while you roll out the other to fit your pie dish on a lightly floured surface.  When rolled to the right size, fold it in half to move to your pie dish.  I use a pastry sheet with printed circles of various sizes to roll out my dough in order to get it the right size and shape.  My pie dish is a 9 inch dish.  The other ball will be rolled out later to create the top crust for your pie.  Refrigerate the pie dish with the bottom crust.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees while finishing your pie filling.

http://learnfromyesterday.comApple pie filling:

5 cups of thinly sliced, peeled cooking apples (I use Granny Smith Apples)
1 cup fresh cranberries (frozen may be substituted)
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 to 2 tablespoons butter

Combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Gently stir this mixture into your apples, cranberries, and walnuts. Spoon the apple mixture into the pie dish with the bottom pie crust. I like to stack it up high, but only high enough so I can still cover it with the top crust.  Cut up the 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter and spread it over the top of the apples before putting on the top crust.  Roll out the top crust to fit over the top of your apples and then press the edges together all the way around the pie dish sealing the pie crust edges.  Now cut several small slits in the top pie crust with a sharp knife, so the steam can escape while cooking.  I usually cut eight one inch slits like a starburst at the top.

http://learnfromyesterday.comPlace the pie dish on a cookie sheet, either with a non-stick coating or covered in parchment paper, to catch any juices from the pie and for an easier clean up afterwards.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes until the crust turns a golden brown.  Once done, sprinkle a little sugar across the top if you would like, then set the pie on a cooling rack for at least one hour before cutting.

http://learnfromyesterday.comMy Apple Cranberry Walnut Pie is definitely sweet, juicy, and delicious! In fact, it was beyond delicious! Jerilyn loved this pie because as she said, apple pie is her favorite. Every time my sister and I pick her up from the sheltered workshop to take her to lunch, she orders apple pie for dessert! Since this is usually every other week or sooner, you would think she would get tired of it, but she never does. The restaurant where we usually take her has a list of homemade baked goods, and they are definitely good, but Jerilyn always chooses the apple pie. That’s why I knew she would love this pie! That said, if you try this pie, I feel certain you will not be disappointed. So try it soon and enjoy!

Featured on 50+ HOLIDAY TREATS at the blog, Yummy Healthy Easy, written by Jen.

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies with Lemon Sugar Icing

By Jodee Weiland

The other day, I had a taste for a light cookie with a lemony icing. That’s when I decided to make my Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies with Lemon Sugar Icing.

These cookies are light and chewy, rather than being hard like some thin cookies. They aren’t terribly thick, but they definitely are good!

Since Halloween was over, and it was still too early for Thanksgiving, I decided to go with a simple design with plain white lemon sugar icing. I wasn’t looking for fancy. I was looking for something tasty and sweet, but not heavy. This recipe fills that order and more. A versatile recipe, it can be used with any cookie cutter shapes or just a simple design. You can decorate or ice it anyway you like. It’s completely up to you!

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies with Lemon Sugar Icing

For cookies:

1 cup butter softened
1/2 cup cream cheese softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 and 1/4 to 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

For icing:

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon or more lemon juice (more or less depending on desired consistency)

For the cookies, blend and cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugar in bowl with a mixer. Next, blend in the vanilla extract and egg. In another bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Then gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture while mixing together.

Once done, cover the cookie dough and refrigerate for about three hours or until easy to handle. When ready, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8 inch thickness. Cut about a two inch shape with a cookie cutter. Place about one inch apart on a cookie sheet covered with cooking parchment . Do not grease your cookie sheet if not using parchment paper. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes until the edges begin to brown lightly. Cool for a few minutes before putting the cookies on a cooling rack.

Once cool, ice the cookies with the lemon sugar icing.  Be sure to mix the icing well, blending it thoroughly so there are no lumps or patchy looking areas in your icing. You may add food coloring, if you would like as well.

http://learnfromyesterday.comThese Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies with Lemon Sugar Icing are delicious. The lemon sugar icing adds a fresh lemony taste to this cookie.  You may use sprinkles and other cookie decorating items instead for this cookie recipe. If you do, some will need to be applied prior to baking. It’s your choice, so enjoy!

Featured on 50+ HOLIDAY TREATS at the blog, Yummy Healthy Easy, written by Jen.

Old Fashioned Banana Blueberry Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup

By Jodee Weiland

When my children were little, I used to make old fashioned pancakes made from scratch.  I would mix up my pancake batter and cook it in my Farberware Stainless Steel Electric Skillet. It’s the one that came with the dome lid.

I loved cooking in that skillet because it made it so much easier. I guess one might say it was the equivalent of a crock pot today for young housewives back then in the seventies. I especially liked it for cooking Old Fashioned Banana Blueberry Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup because you set the temperature and cooked them with little fuss.

Well, old habits die hard, my friends, because I still have my Farberware Stainless Steel Electric Skillet, and perhaps more surprising, I still use it. I guess I will until it dies, or I do, whichever comes first. Keep in mind, I don’t use it as much as I did when I was younger, but I do use it for pancakes still. For other dishes, I regret to say it has been pretty much replaced, but not when it comes to pancakes and only a few other things. By the way, they call my skillet vintage now. I just call it well taken care of and loved. Hey folks, there’s nothing wrong with vintage. I’m vintage and so are some of my best friends!

Old Fashioned Banana Blueberry Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup

2 cups all-purpose flour (whole grain flours may be substituted)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg beaten
1 and 1/2 cups milk (room temperature)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 to 1/3 cup fresh blueberries (optional)
1 fresh banana sliced (optional)

All natural blueberry syrup

Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. In another bowl, beat the egg, and then add the milk, vanilla, and vegetable oil. Gradually add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients while blending together with a mixer or in a blender.  When blended well, add the blueberries and sliced banana, stirring in carefully.

Heat the electric skillet or griddle at 350 to 375 or the manufacturer’s designated temperature.  For a stove top skillet, set the heat to medium heat. Once the skillet is heated, spoon out pancake batter into the skillet to about 4 to 4 and 1/2 inch width and cook.  When the batter bubbles over top surface of the pancakes, and the underside is the preferred brown color, it is time to flip your pancakes and cook the reverse side. This recipe will make 10 to 12 pancakes of this size.

Any leftover pancakes can be cooled and put in the freezer in plastic freezer bags for later use. When used later, simply put the pancakes in the microwave to reheat.

Old Fashioned Banana Blueberry Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup are the best breakfast and so easy to make from scratch. Homemade is always better than store bought frozen pancakes, and the best part is that you can even make these pancakes ahead and freeze them for later. My family loved homemade pancakes, whether they were made with or without fruit. The fruit can always be added after the pancakes are made as a topping.  Whichever way you decide to make your pancakes, they’re always better homemade!  Enjoy!

Strawberry Kale Salad with Sliced Almonds…So Healthy and Good!

By Jodee Weiland

We were getting to ready to have Italian Basil Pesto with pasta, and I decided we needed a salad to go with the pasta. I had some kale in the crisper, so I decided to make it a kale salad.

Using kale in a salad is so much better than using lettuce primarily because of all the health benefits of kale. With this in mind, I put together Strawberry Kale Salad with Sliced Almonds…So Healthy and Good!

This salad was really easy to put together for our meal.  I took the kale from our garden that I had stored in our refrigerator crisper and started to plan how I would put together my salad. I checked to see what I had in the refrigerator. I had fresh strawberries and some green onions from the garden. I, also, had some sliced almonds on hand. As a result, this is what I came up with for my salad.

Strawberry Kale Salad with Sliced Almonds…So Healthy and Good!

3 to 4 cups of fresh kale cut up
2 green onions sliced and chopped
3/4 cups strawberries, sliced and halved
1/8 cup sliced almonds
Newman’s Own Lite Balsamic Vinaigrette or salad dressing of choice

Cut and tear up the kale leaves. Add chopped green onions, sliced strawberries, and sliced almonds. Add in salad dressing, toss, and serve.

This Strawberry Kale Salad with Sliced Almonds is so healthy and good! It goes well with a balsamic dressing or any other salad dressing of your choice. A kale salad makes a delicious and healthy addition to any meal or even just by itself. Serve this salad before a pasta dish or alongside a meal with chicken or beef. We served it with pasta, and it was great.  Whatever you decide to serve it with, you will love it. So enjoy!

Tossed Omelet with Escarole, Ricotta, Mozzarella, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes!

By Jodee Weiland

Have you ever started out your day making an omelet for breakfast and then halfway through, you decide on tossing that same omelet like you would scrambled eggs for one reason or another?

Well, I have, and that’s exactly what happened with this dish. Consequently, we now have what I like to refer to as a tossed omelet. You’re probably asking yourself, why not just leave it an omelet? And yes, I have an answer for you on that one.

When making omelets, it is easier to flip or fold them if the contents of the omelet are not overly weighty.  When I began my omelet or tossed omelet, as it is now, I had some escarole I wanted to use, so I decided to add Italian ricotta, mozzarella, and sun-dried tomatoes to this for an Italian style omelet. I knew this would all blend together well because of a wonderful Italian egg dish that my family does on Easter Sunday that has some of these ingredients.

What I forgot to take into account was the fact that it is also a very heavy egg dish because of these very same ingredients plus others. That said, when I realized this was the case, I simply added the shredded mozzarella to the top and after a few minutes more of cooking, I tossed the omelet in the pan, thus creating my tossed omelet. Tossed or not this omelet is full of rich flavor and tastes absolutely delicious.

Tossed Omelet with Escarole, Ricotta, Mozzarella, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes!

3 cups fresh escarole cut up (spinach or kale may be substituted)
1 garlic clove chopped
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes chopped
4 large eggs
Extra virgin olive oil spray
1/4 cup skim milk
1/2 cup Italian ricotta
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Spray your pan with extra virgin olive oil spray. Saute the the escarole with the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes over a low to medium heat until the escarole wilts. Beat together the eggs, skim, milk, and ricotta in a bowl until well blended and smooth.  Pour this egg mixture evenly over the wilted escarole mixture in your pan. Do not stir.  Just cook this covered over a low to medium heat as you would an omelet.  When it looks ready, add the shredded mozzarella cheese over the top and cook a few minutes longer. Once done, begin to toss the omelet into itself breaking it into a tossed omelet. Then spoon out the servings on to plates.

http://learnfromyesterday.comThis Tossed Omelet with Escarole, Ricotta, Mozzarella, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes is easy to make and delicious!  Serve this meal with a crusty multigrain bread and a side of fresh fruit. It may not look like your typical omelet, but being a tossed omelet is just as good when it tastes so great.  The ricotta adds weight to this omelet, but it also adds a richer taste. Try it for yourself, and enjoy!