One of my very favorite things to do this time of year is to bake! The smells of fall and the chill in the air make me go searching for my favorite recipes that include apples or pumpkin. One of my very favorites includes apples and butterscotch. How can you go wrong?
If you go apple-picking this weekend (or to the grocery store), be sure to give this recipe a try!
Butterscotch Apple Squares
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 small apples, pared & chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 (6-oz.) pkg. butterscotch chips
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)
flaked coconut (approx. 1 1/3 cups), as desired
1 cup chopped nuts, as desired
Preheat oven to 350 (325 for glass dish). In a 13×9 dish, melt the margarine in the oven. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over melted margarine and top with the apples.
In a heavy saucepan, over medium heat, melt the chips with the sweetened condensed milk. Pour the butterscotch mixture evenly over the apples. Top with coconut and nuts (as desired); press down firmly.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and chill thoroughly. Refrigerate leftovers.
Serious coffee drinkers will appreciate this. I will admit it; I still have a coffeepot instead of a Keurig (or I did). I killed it. I got up as usual this morning and blindly fumbled my way into the kitchen. I filled it with water, took a nice big sniff of my Dunkin’ Donuts ground coffee as I filled it, and turned it on. Nothing happened. Nothing at all. I unplugged it, plugged it back in and it beeped at me and then just sat there. That woke me up!
Let me explain a little bit. I have a very healthy (from my perspective) relationship with my coffee. Throughout the years, it’s gotten me through a whole lot from babies up all night (where’s my coffee?) to dealing with my chronic illness (need coffee to function) and now, simply, to manage my life. It’s become more than just something to wake me up or make me more alert. Now, as it turns out, it’s more along the lines of a security blanket for me. It’s dependable. It’s there every single morning to cheer me on, to let me know that I can get started and make it through the day. It’s like an old friend that you can count on. I know that sounds crazy to those of you that either don’t drink coffee or view it as a treat or an occasional indulgence. For those of us that depend on it, though, there’s nothing worse than waking up expecting that first cup of coffee and getting nothing…zip…zilch. Continue reading “Me & My Coffeepot”
Who doesn’t love comfort food? Comfort food is simply the food (or foods) that make you feel better when you think about them; it comforts you. They are particularly handy to make when you’re stressed, sad, or anxious because it makes you feel better. If you’re happy, they make you even happier! It makes me nostalgic.
I said something about comfort food one day when my kids were younger and they didn’t believe there was such a thing. They insisted that I made it up. I had to prove that the phrase “comfort food” was a real thing and that other people knew about it too. They’re convinced that we make things up to tell them; I’m not sure why. It’s something to do with me telling them about the eyes in the back of my head when they were little. Continue reading “What IS Comfort Food, Anyway?”
I’m sure that a lot of us have our standby deviled egg recipe. Deviled eggs are always welcomed and perfect for parties, picnics, and buffets as well as an amazing use for our Easter eggs. It seems like every family has their favorite way to make them. Some of you, though, are just starting to make your own “signature” deviled egg recipe. I’m going to give you a basic recipe here and then you can decide how you want to dress it up.
Guess what? I had no idea there was a national homemade soup day, but I’m really happy that there is. Not only is the best comfort food in the world, but there are also proven health benefits to eating it. Personally, I think there are also health benefits to making it! I love the tradition of it, the feeling of comfort that is attached to it, and the memories associated with it.
I love a bowl of chicken soup, whether I’m sick or not. It’s easy to freeze into individual portions; just the right size for a great light lunch or dinner. It’s nutritious and good for you, too! No matter whether or not you believe the old folk remedy of healing a cold with hot chicken soup, there are actually several proven facts to support it. Moms and grandmothers have, for years, touted the health benefits of homemade chicken soup while the medical field took longer to get on board. Now, however, after several studies to test the theory, it’s widely agreed that the benefits are genuine. Studies have shown some of the following benefits: Continue reading “National Homemade Soup Day”
Who doesn’t enjoy a holiday treat like cookies, candy, fudge or cake? Well, those of us with celiac disease typically can’t indulge since it’s rare to find a gluten-free item included. It’s really hard to manage this, as well as other food allergies, during the holidays when all of these goodies show up at work, friends’ homes, and at family dinners.
I think we’re all at least somewhat familiar with celiac disease these days. It’s become much more common than it used to be and is all over the news and social media. We likely know someone with either a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease itself. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation:
“Celiac disease is a serious genetic autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. Two and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications.”
If you or someone you love is affected with celiac disease, this is one of several amazing resources. They offer information, product suggestions, recipes, etc.
Since it’s become more publicized, it’s become both easier and more difficult to manage. You would think that with the additional publicity, resources, and additional gluten-free food offerings, both in the store and at restaurants, it would be easier to eat gluten-free. It is, in a way. However, there are so many foods being offered as gluten-free that truly aren’t, it’s frightening to me as a consumer. At this time, manufacturers are not required to test their product in order to label it as gluten-free; it’s up to the individual manufacturer to ensure that they meet their labeling requirement. In restaurants, you have to be cautious as well. Just because they use a gluten-free crust or gluten-free pasta doesn’t ensure that your pizza or your meal is safe. The preparation, the tools, the surfaces, and the pasta water must all be separate and gluten-free as well. As much as I appreciate the extra effort by companies and restaurants to accommodate our needs (even though we pay much more for the privilege) it’s not fair to me, as a consumer, to be told something is gluten-free when it’s really not. It IS up to me, however, to verify this information to my own satisfaction and to then decide whether I will purchase from them or not and choose whether to eat there or not. Personally, I’m sticking with those brands that are certified or Celiac Support Association-approved (another great resource for lists, resources, and info.) and those restaurants that are diligent in their preparation.
It’s hard enough to manage a gluten-free diet on a regular basis and make these decisions. To do so around the holidays is the worst! We are faced with these temptations daily and, as much as we want to give in, we can’t! It’s not just a matter of gaining a pound or two; it’s a matter of getting sick and setting off an internal process that damages our body and hurts us. In consideration of your gluten-free friends and family that will likely be with you around the holidays, please honor their restrictions without making them feel guilty or embarrassed by it. Please feel free to ask questions and we would be happy to provide information on brands or ingredients, etc. We’re happy to talk about it and share information and awareness. If you would like to provide something for your guests to enjoy (especially kids), there are lots of gluten-free grab-and-go boxed cookies and cakes at the grocery stores. Please remember to store and serve these separately! Fresh fruit or vegetables (with a g-f dip?) are great. There are also so many more things that we can cook and bake such as Chex mixes, candied nuts, fudge, and baked goods with gluten-free flour and ingredients. I use Progresso cream of mushroom soup in my cooking without issue. We have lots of resources and we must rely on the information provided to us. Trust me; we are no happier than you are about this. We need to make sure that, when it says gluten-free, that it actually is. Please help us stay safe throughout this holiday season.