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A Guide to the Best Baking Apples

It’s that time of year again — apple picking and fall baking! With so many apple varieties to choose from, it can be hard to decide which apple is the best to use when baking. The best baking apples offer a balance of sweet and tart flavors as well as firm flesh that doesn’t break down in the oven while baking.

Sweet juicy baking apples

Here is a list to help when deciding what apples to use in your fall baking.

8 “go-to” apples for the perfect Fall apple dish:

Jonathans

A classic American variety, and widely regarded as one of the best flavored with a good sweet/sharp balance. You’ll recognize Jonathans apples by their deep red-stripe skin and classic apple shape. Grown in many Midwest states, Jonathans are a great apple for pies, juice and cider.

Honeycrisp

The name says it all! Honeycrisp apples are one of the sweetest apples around. They are distinctively crisp and firm, holding their shape while baking. Mix Honeycrisp apples with a tart apple like Granny Smith for a stellar pie packed full of flavor!

Granny Smith

These pretty green apples are tangy and tart with a firm flesh. One of the most popular apples for pie making, pair them with your favorite sweet apple for the perfect flavor combination.

Braeburn

This deep red beauty is spicy and sweet. It’s stores well with it’s firm texture and holds it’s shape well while baking. A great apple to eat raw. It makes the perfect portable snack!

Golden Delicious

This golden beauty is sweet with a thin skin. Golden Delicious apples require less sugar in recipes due to it’s innate sweet nature and breakdown quicker in the baking process. These are the perfect apple if you like your apple pie to have a softer texture. Great sliced in salads and to make apple butter.

Cortland

The cousin to the very popular Macintosh, Cortland’s are sweet with a tart aftertaste for a little kick. This  red, plump apple has a snow white flesh that is slow to brown after slicing.

Gala

This crisp apple has a sweet, mellow flavor. A beautifully marbled apple is ideal for applesauce and is the perfect apple to eat raw.

Macintosh

Sweet and juicy, Macintosh apples have a thick red skin with a soft, meaty flesh. Macintosh apples flesh is softer in consistency and will breakdown quickly while baking. Pair Macintosh apples with a firm, crisp apple like Granny Smith for the ultimate pie combo.

Ok, now that you are educated on all the apple facts, it’s time to make something yummy and I have just the recipe, Apple Crisp with Oatmeal Crumble.
Enjoy ~M

Homemade Apple Crisp

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Refreshing Your Home on a Budget

Our homes get a lot of use. Especially if you’ve got kids and pets. We spend a lot of time in our houses, and now a lot more of us are even working out of them. Your home is where you relax after a hard day. It’s where you are free to be yourself, to relax with your family, and to entertain your friends. It’s your own private space in the big wide world. It makes sense that we’d want our homes to look and function at their best. To keep us safe, to give us what we need to create sumptuous meals, to get a good night’s sleep and to unwind when we are stressed out.

But, with so much use, it’s no surprise that our homes can quickly start to look worn and tired. Things break, our décor becomes dated, and we can easily fall out of love with our homes. Unfortunately, while we’d love to always live in the home of our dreams, refurbishment and decoration can be very expensive, and not many of us can afford to undertake a full home makeover as often as we like.

Luckily, however, there are plenty of ways to refresh your home even on a tight budget. Ways to make small changes that can help you to fall in love with your home again. Easy things that you can do, to refresh your home without spending the world.

Refurbish Your Kitchen Cabinets

 

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A whole new kitchen can cost a fortune. You’ll often find that the cost of installation is at least as much as the kitchen itself, and you can face weeks without a kitchen while the work is being done. But, your kitchen is an important part of your home. For many people, it’s the heart of the house, and many modern families spend most of their quality time together in the kitchen, cooking, eating, doing homework and having fun together.

Fortunately, getting a brand-new kitchen isn’t the only way to refresh the room and give it a new lease of life. Check out https://kitchensacramento.com/kitchen-cabinets/ for remodelling and refurbishment options. Including refacing your cupboards which could only cost a fraction of the price.

Let More Light In

If your home has started to look dull and dark, the easiest way to brighten it up is literally brightening it up. Getting plenty of natural light doesn’t just brighten up your décor. It can also improve your mood, help you to get more vitamin D and help you to sleep better.

There are many great ways to increase the natural light in your home. You can switch to lighter curtains, paint your window frames a lighter color so that they reflect more light inside, add mirrors to the walls in smaller, darker spaces, trim back anything in your garden that might be blocking light and simply clean your windows.

Paint the Walls

Redecorating is very expensive. But, just painting the walls can be significantly cheaper. Even if you paint them the same color, a few shades lighter can brighten things up and make things look cleaner and fresher. Try to stick to neutral colors, so that you can change your accessories when you get bored without having to worry about clashing colors and schemes.

Hang Some Art

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Original artwork can be very expensive. So can prints if they are from a known artist or limited editions. But, there are so many other options. Frame wallpaper samples or bits of gift wrap that you love. Frame pieces from magazines or even your children’s artwork. Everything looks cool in a frame and hanging large pieces can add color and life to your home. Check out this cool free printable

Move Things Around

You don’t need to spend a penny to make your home look completely different. Just move things around. We get used to our furniture being in the same place, so moving it around can make your rooms look entirely different. Change the layout so that the seating faces each other instead of the TV and you’ll suddenly have a more sociable room with a new focus.

Cover Your Furniture

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Sofas and chairs are very expensive, but they don’t last forever. They can also be a large feature that draws focus in your rooms. So, if you are bored or your sofas need a new lease of life, instead of replacing them, cover them. You could recover your seat pads and cushions or simply buy big throws to cover them up when you fancy a change. This is a super simple way to refresh your room.

Throw pillows can also add a much needed pop of color, add texture and dramatically change the look of a room within minutes. Check out my favorite throw pillows this season: House Fenway’s Favorite Autumn Pillows

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Chocolate Stuffed Chip Bars

Confession: I have an extremely large sweet tooth. So when I was tasked with making a dessert for an upcoming housewarming party, you better believe I jumped at the chance. I wanted a dessert that would be loved by the masses, relatively simple to make and easy to transport. Well, you can never go wrong with anything chocolate and bar cookies seem to be a no-brainer.  The answer; Chocolate Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. And yes, chocolate is in the name twice! This cookie bar recipe is as if a chocolate chip cookie hugged a Hershey’s chocolate bar. How sweet is that?

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted Challenge Butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
7 full-sized Hershey bars

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DIRECTIONS

  • Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often until it becomes brown in color. It will foam, reduce, then foam again. Once it’s done cooking the foam is a light brown and it will dissipate after you remove it from the heat. Make sure when it starts to brown to keep stirring so it doesn’t burn. Let sit for 5 minutes to cool.

 

  • Pour the butter mixture into a mixing bowl, while still hot. Add both sugars and mix with an electric beater on low until combined. Let sit to cool for a few minutes.
  • While butter mixture is cooling, combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir to incorporate and set aside.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, to the butter/sugar on a low setting until it’s completely incorporated.  Add in vanilla extract. Incorporate the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in chocolate chips with a spatula.
  • Line a 9×13” baking pan with foil. Spray with cooking spray for easy removal.
  • Press half the cookie dough in the prepared pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk over the top of the bottom layer (be careful to leave about 1/4” edge around the pan so the milk doesn’t touch the foil), Lay the full Hershey chocolate bars over the top, lining them up across the pan. Spread the remaining cookie dough and place on top of milk. Press with your hands to flatten. It will mostly cover but not completely cover the bottom layer.
  • Refrigerate pan for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for about 30-35 minutes until the tops of the bars start to get golden brown. Cool completely before slicing into bars.

 

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More Dessert Recipes

Need more recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth? Check out these sweet treats:

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Double Fudge Brownies >

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Banana Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting >

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A Guide to the Best Baking Apples

It’s that time of year again — apple picking and fall baking! With so many apple varieties to choose from, it can be hard to decide which apple is the best to use when baking. The best baking apples offer a balance of sweet and tart flavors as well as firm flesh that doesn’t break down in the oven while baking.

Unknown

Here is a list to help when deciding what apples to use in your fall baking.

8 “go-to” apples for the perfect Fall apple dish:

Jonathans

A classic American variety, and widely regarded as one of the best flavored with a good sweet/sharp balance. You’ll recognize Jonathans apples by their deep red-stripe skin and classic apple shape. Grown in many Midwest states, Jonathans are a great apple for pies, juice and cider.

Honeycrisp

The name says it all! Honeycrisp apples are one of the sweetest apples around. They are distinctively crisp and firm, holding their shape while baking. Mix Honeycrisp apples with a tart apple like Granny Smith for a stellar pie packed full of flavor!

Granny Smith

These pretty green apples are tangy and tart with a firm flesh. One of the most popular apples for pie making, pair them with your favorite sweet apple for the perfect flavor combination.

Braeburn

This deep red beauty is spicy and sweet. It’s stores well with it’s firm texture and holds it’s shape well while baking. A great apple to eat raw. It makes the perfect portable snack!

Golden Delicious

This golden beauty is sweet with a thin skin. Golden Delicious apples require less sugar in recipes due to it’s innate sweet nature and breakdown quicker in the baking process. These are the perfect apple if you like your apple pie to have a softer texture. Great sliced in salads and to make apple butter.

Cortland

The cousin to the very popular Macintosh, Cortland’s are sweet with a tart aftertaste for a little kick. This  red, plump apple has a snow white flesh that is slow to brown after slicing.

Gala

This crisp apple has a sweet, mellow flavor. A beautifully marbled apple is ideal for applesauce and is the perfect apple to eat raw.

Macintosh

Sweet and juicy, Macintosh apples have a thick red skin with a soft, meaty flesh. Macintosh apples flesh is softer in consistency and will breakdown quickly while baking. Pair Macintosh apples with a firm, crisp apple like Granny Smith for the ultimate pie combo.

Ok, now that you are educated on all the apple facts, it’s time to make something yummy and I have just the recipe, Apple Crisp with Oatmeal Crumble.
Enjoy ~M

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Recipe: Garlic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

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This time of year my vegetable garden is quickly winding down. Most of my veggies are done producing for the season with the exception of that darn cherry tomato bush. This plant just won’t quit! By the end of the season, I’m pulling my hair out trying to come up with creative ways to eat the over abundance of my harvest. Cherry tomatoes being #1 on my list.

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I found this easy and savory recipe to help me use up all those maters. It uses a handful of ingredients (which are usually found in your pantry) and it takes minutes to make. My favorite way to eat this dish is on a nest of fresh pasta. Yum…it makes my mouth water just thinking about it! Add a glass of red wine and enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 (10 oz) containers cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss together tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet and spread into an even layer.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft and tender (but not mushy).
  4. Eat immediately as a savory meal side or top on your favorite pasta, homemade pizza or grilled chicken!

Need a dessert for after dinner?
Check out my recipe for
Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting >>