Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Applesauce Day ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

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Applesauce Day

By Lisa Amstutz

Pictures by Tabitha Shipman

Albert Whitman & Company, 2017

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I love Applesauce Day!

Fall is my favorite time of year, when the apples, pumpkins, squash, and other great produce is harvested. I can’t wait to sink my greedy fingers into a box of apples or a trunk-load of pumpkins.

Applesauce Day takes me right into autumn. I can just imagine the fun and tradition of gathering with family to make large amounts of applesauce. What tastes better than homemade applesauce? Nothing! Ok, maybe homemade pumpkin pie or apple cake or pear tartes or . . .

This lovely picture book tells the tale of a family traveling from the big city to the orchards to pick apples and then to grandma’s house to put those apples to good use. What’s special about Applesauce Day is the family heirloom – the applesauce cooking pot. Family traditions and passed-down items are a passion of mine, so I immediately bonded with this tale.

I found Applesauce Day to be well written and beautifully illustrated. Flashbacks! I don’t know that I’ve seen other picture books with flashbacks, but the ones in this book are adorable.

Even though apple season is at an end, boxes of apples are still available. Go ahead. You know you want to read this book and make applesauce. Just imagine the scent of warm apples and cinnamon wafting through your home. See? I can smell it from here.

KID KANDY

Make Crock-Pot Applesauce

Ingredients:

apples, cinnamon, water

Directions:

1. Wash, peel, and core apples. Slice into wedges.

2. Put apples in Crock-Pot. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon. Add about 1/4 cup water.

3. Cover Crock-Pot with lid. Turn heat to high and let it simmer. Occasionally stir and check apples for tenderness.

4. When apples are soft and mushy, use a potato masher to mash the apples into sauce. I love chunks, so I don’t strain it.

5. Eat warm! Cool and put the rest in the fridge. Or freeze individual containers for later.

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I love making Crock-Pot Applesauce with my students every fall. Everyone brings 2 apples, no matter what variety, and we put them all together to cook. By the end of the day, everyone in the school wants what’s bubbling in our room!

I’d love to hear (and smell and taste) how your applesauce turns out!

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Trader Joe’s Potsticker Kale Soup

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We do love shopping at Trader Joe’s. Alas, the nearest location is over the river(s), through many woods, and on the other side of Snoqualmie Pass in Issaquah. Still, we visit regularly and stock up on favorites each time.

What do you do when hunger strikes, you live in an RV, and you want a quick dinner?

Soups’ on!

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Trader Joe’s Potsticker Kale Soup

Ingredients:

1 T. Butter

1 T. Olive oil

1 small onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 32-oz. Trader Joe’s Miso Ginger Broth

1 16-oz. Trader Joe’s frozen Pork Gyoza Potstickers

Approximately 4 cups chopped kale (see Trader Joe’s produce section)

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 bunch chopped green onions

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Directions:

1. In a large soup pot, sauté onions and garlic in butter and olive oil until carmelized.

2. Add broth. Pour a small amount of water in the carton, swirl to rinse, and add to pot. Stir and bring to a boil.

3. Add frozen potstickers, kale, and peas. Return to boil. Cook 4-5 minutes, gently boiling, until heated through and kale is wilted.

4. Ladle into bowls and top with chopped green onions. Makes 2-4 servings.

 

This was so yummy! Next time, I would add julienned carrots to the onion and garlic mixture. Ohhh, julienned red peppers would be great as well.

Super fast, fantastically delicious. Too bad there are no leftovers.


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Snow Cream

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Today is it, folks. At least for the Yakima Valley. Maybe.

Time to get out there and grab a bowl full of clean fresh snow before the rains hit tomorrow. Let’s make snow cream!

Snow Cream

  1. Fill a cereal bowl with clean snow. If you are doing this with kids, give them each a bowl to fill.
  2. To each bowl add about: 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 1/2 tsp. sugar, and enough 1/2 & 1/2 or milk to desired consistency. Mix with a spoon. This is very light sugar, as I don’t care for syrupy sweet stuff, but you can add more sugar if you want. This would also be great with fresh fruit.
  3. Eat, enjoy, repeat.

My mom used to make snow cream for us when I was a kid. I think she used to add eggs. But I’m not a big fan of raw eggs, and I was a kid. I could be way off base. Either way, no eggs.

Brain freeze!

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RV Cooking – Tater Tot Casserole Revisited

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Creamy tater tot casserole (without the tater tots)

Living in the RV, I am constantly challenged to adapt old recipes or create new combinations. With winter upon us, well literally in a few short days, plummeting temperatures – single digits next week! – care must be used when cooking in the electric skillet. As we creatively balance what can be plugged in, turned on, and vice versa in regards to heaters placed below the RV to maintain water flow, let me say the breakers have been tripped on a daily basis.

That being shared…here is a fun new way to make a classic.

RV Electric Skillet Tater Tot Casserole

(1 dish cooking)

Ingredients:

olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

a small scoop of minced garlic

2-3 small potatoes, diced

1 lb. ground turkey

1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 head broccoli, cut into small florets

1/2 cup frozen peas

Mrs. Dash, about 1 T.

black pepper, about 1 tsp.

dried sage, about 1 tsp.

crushed peppers, optional

chicken broth

grated cheese, optional

 

Directions:

1. Add olive oil to electric skillet and heat it to about 250-300 degrees. I constantly adjust my temperature setting depending on speed of cooking, so play with your temps.

2. Add onions, garlic, and carrots. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add turkey and cook until browned.

3. Add potatoes, cream of chicken soup, 1 can of water, and 1 can of chicken broth. Note: I like my casserole creamy as opposed to thick. Add more broth as needed to taste.

4. Add black pepper, crumbled sage, Mrs. Dash, and crushed peppers to taste. We love spice, so I am heavy-handed with the peppers. Stir, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir often.

5. Add broccoli, beans, and peas. Adjust liquid content with broth, again to taste.

6. Cook until all ingredients are heated through and potatoes are soft, perhaps 5-10 minutes more.

7. Serve immediately with grated cheese.

 

There you have it. Tater Tot Casserole without the tater tots!


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Favorite Summer Recipe ~ Stuffed Squash

Crispy stuffed squash, a summer favorite!

by Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

Ahh. The bounty of summer awaits my growling tummy!

Though I am posting this recipe today, I made this dish several weeks ago. Due to the odd weather this year and very early and hot spring temperatures, the produce schedule is very early or entirely off schedule!

I know. But we take what we get and have a fancy meal. I also acknowledge that I post this recipe in some form almost every year. It is that good.

This year, on July 1st (so early), I harvested a zucchini and a yellow squash plus wax and green beans. So delish!

 

Stuffing for the squash

Stuffed Squash

Ingredients:

1 pound ground turkey

washed and chopped green and wax beans

2 squash, washed, cut in half lengthwise, and scooped out

1 can of black beans, rinsed

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 carrot, diced

1 onion, diced

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1-2 cups chicken broth

parsley

black pepper

crushed peppers

salt

Mrs. Dash

onion powder

olive oil

grated cheddar cheese

Prepped squash. I sometimes like to add olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper before I stuff them.

1. Saute onion, garlic, and carrot in olive oil. Add turkey meat to brown it.

2. After turkey is browned, add black beans, beans, tomatoes, and spices (to your taste). Add enough chicken broth to make a thick mixture. Let cook until bubbling and fragrant.

3. Stuff peppers with stuffing. I love them full and overflowing. You will probably have leftovers, which makes a tasty soup or casserole base. Sprinkle with grated cheese.

4. Place on parchment paper covered cookie sheet and bake for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Check often as you near the end of your cooking time to make sure squash ingredients are not overcooking. We like a crispy cheese topping, so we let them cook the full time.

5. Remove and enjoy!

Ready for the oven.

You can add almost anything to this dish. If I have quinoa, it goes in the mix. At times I’ve added broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms – you name it, I’ve probably had it in my stuffed squash.

I just love summer gardens and their tasty treats, don’t you? What’s your favorite summer dish?