It’s apple season, which means we have a bucket full of apples that we picked from a farm last week and we still haven’t done anything with them.
Early this week I made my son a quick oatmeal breakfast with apples and he gobbled it all up. I’ve been making it nearly every day since. I eyeballed all the ingredients, but here’s my closest approximation.
Easy Apple Cinnamon Raisin Maple Oatmeal
1 small apple, cubed
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup quick oats
2/3 cup water
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons raisins
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Place apples, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a pan over medium high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft – about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the oatmeal, water, salt and raisins in a bowl. Place on a plate (in case of spill over) and microwave for 2 minutes and 20 seconds.
When oatmeal is done, add the apple mixture, maple syrup and top with cream.
It’s Saturday morning and I have a bag full of potatoes that are bound to go bad soon (thanks, Costco). I love me some home fries that are soft inside and crispy outside; but really my favorite thing is the crispy bits that develop in the pan as you cook the potatoes.
Here’s a recipe for home fries that will ensure they are cooked through but also perfectly browned.
Perfect Home Fries
5 thin-skinned potatoes, cubed
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Place potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl. Add a couple of tablespoons of water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 4 minutes. Carefully drain and set aside.
Heat the butter and oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high. Add the potatoes and gently stir them in the pan so they are evenly coated with butter and oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook potatoes for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan with the spatula. It’s ok if some of the potatoes stick – that’s where the crispy bits come from!
Add the smoked paprika and onion powder and turn potatoes till thoroughly coated.
Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are a deep brown and are cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. If browning is occurring too quickly, turn down the heat slightly.
Serve with sour cream or ketchup alongside fried eggs and breakfast sausage.
I know it’s a superb fall when I close my eyes at night and all I see behind my eyelids are lowbush cranberries.
Blood-red jewels hug the mossy ground in my secret south Anchorage picking spot. It must have been the warm May weather that caused patches of usually dormant cranberry bushes to produce large, pea-sized berries.
What my family calls lowbush cranberries are, in fact, lingonberries. These short plants can be found in most Anchorage forests. They have round, shiny leaves and if there’s enough sunlight during the summer they bear tart, red berries.
I prefer these to highbush cranberries, which are more watery and have a big, oblong seed in each berry. Lowbush cranberries are opaque and have no seeds. They are also firmer than the highbush variety.
Cranberries are my favorite wild berry to pick because they are durable, highly nutritious and they freeze well. They can also be substituted for any recipe that calls for commercial cranberries.
I once again refer to my mama for this segment of “Harvesting Anchorage.” She’s a pro when it comes to cranberry marmalade. The cranberries have so much natural pectin there is no need to add any of the store-bought kind. This simple marmalade is a perfect addition to any breakfast table.
Cranberry Orange Marmalade
3 oranges (or 2 oranges and 1 lemon)
1/4 tsp. baking soda
8 cups wild lowbush cranberries
4 cups sugar
Remove the skins of the oranges in quarters. Cover rinds with water and boil with baking soda for 15 minutes. Shave off as much of the white pith as you can from the rind and slice rind very thin.
An alternative method is to use a vegetable peeler to peel off the rind and slice it. If you choose this method you won’t need to boil the rinds since they are so thin.
Meanwhile remove the membrane from each orange segment and reserve the pulp in a bowl. Take the membranes in your hands and squeeze the remaining pulp and juice into the bowl. Discard the membranes. If you’re really lazy you could probably use a couple of cans of mandarins, drained and rinsed. I’ve never tried it, but it could work.
Combine pulp, rinds with their water, cranberries and sugar in a saucepan. Boil, stirring often, skimming off any foam.
Let the mixture boil down and thicken, about 15-18 minutes. Take a spoonful of the mixture and pour it back into the pot. If there are lots of frequent droplets, the mixture isn’t ready yet. If the drips are slow and turn into one big droplet, then it’s ready (that’s called “sheeting”). Turn off the heat and place a tablespoon of liquid in a bowl and place it in the freezer for about 3 minutes.
Remove sample from freezer and tip it slightly. The sample should stay put. If the jam slides around the bowl it means it’s not ready yet. Bring the jam back to a boil and continue stirring constantly for another 5 minutes.
Ladle jam into sterilized canning jars with brand-new lids. Fill leaving about 1/4 inch of space at the top. Add the lids and let cool. When you hear little pops that means the lids have sealed. If you’d like more details about canning I recommend this thorough tutorial from The Alaska Urban Soil Project.
This is my favorite time of year in Anchorage. The air is crisp and smells of earth and cranberries. Cranberries are my favorite wild berry to pick because they are durable, high in nutritive value and they freeze well. They can also be substituted for any recipe that calls for commercial cranberries.
I only pick low-bush cranberries, also called lingonberries. These short plants can be found in most Anchorage forests. They have round, shiny leaves and if there’s enough sunlight during the summer they bear tart, red berries. High-bush cranberries, which are abundant in Anchorage, have a similar flavor but they have a large seed in each berry, must be strained during processing and aren’t pleasing to eat whole.
One would be inclined to harvest low-bush cranberries when they are at their brightest red color, but it’s best to wait until after the first frost when they’ve turned a deep wine red. I don’t know the science behind it, but the berries become juicier after they’ve endured a frost.
I found buried in my freezer a pint of last year’s cranberries. So to make way for this year’s harvest, I decided on a simple muffin recipe based on this one from Simple Nourished Living.
I’m not much of a bakist, so I was surprised by how thick the batter was. Have no fear, for these muffins were fluffy, tart, sweet and zesty. It’s like a party in my mouth!
Wild Cranberry & Lemon Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
scant 1/3 cup sugar
zest of one lemon
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup melted coconut oil, cooled
1 cup low-bush cranberries, frozen or thawed
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients and the lemon zest.
In another bowl combine the milk, egg and oil.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. The batter should be lumpy and wet, but almost the consistency of dough. If it’s too dry add a little more milk. Fold in the cranberries and divide batter into a muffin tin lined with cupcake liners. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Let cool for a few minutes before removing muffins from tin and placing on a cooling rack.
I had a hankerin’ for a fancy type breakfast this morning. I thought a quiche would be nice, but I didn’t want to make a crust or use a ton of butter. I found this tasty recipe and decided to tweak it slightly. I’ve never made a quiche, but whatever I concocted this morning was cheesy, salty, creamy and darn delicious. It’s also South Beach Diet friendly!
Crustless Breakfast Quiche
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 oz. Neufchâtel cheese, cubed
4 breakfast sausage patties
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
pepper to taste
Grease a small casserole dish liberally with butter. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fry up the breakfast sausage patties. Once browned, cut into bite-sized pieces.
Mix together the milk, eggs and yogurt. Add in the cheeses, sausage and green onions. Add pepper to taste. Pour into casserole and bake for one hour till browned and bubbly on top. Let cool for five minutes before serving.
The best part was the little pockets of cream cheese with every bite.
I’m trying to eat more healthily these days and thanks to Quaker Oatmeal’s relentless heart-healthy advertising campaigns I am pretty sure oatmeal is on the good-foods list.
I tire of oatmeal. It’s texture and flavor rarely vary and since I don’t own a microwave these days (only because mine broke), oatmeal makes for a crusty, annoying pot to clean every morning.
So, I decided to try out the healthy hipster refrigerated oatmeal trend. Look it up on Pinterest and you’ll find endless recipes for this dish, beautifully displayed in glimmering Mason jars. I used a plastic Rubbermaid container, but what I discovered was a simple way to prepare breakfast that was creamy, tasty and healthy. It doesn’t have the same texture as traditional oatmeal, but I was surprised how soft the oats became and how much liquid they ended up absorbing.
Feel free to substitute whatever milkish liquid you prefer, but I went with good ol’ milk.
Overnight Refrigerated Oatmeal
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not the quick-cook kind)
2/3 cup milk
1 single-serving container of Chobani greek yogurt, flavor of your choice.
Agave nectar or honey to taste
In a container combine the oats, milk and yogurt. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, stir in sweetener of your choice and any other toppings you like such as cinnamon, bananas or berries. Healthy yum!
What is your favorite way to prepare oatmeal? Leave me a comment!
I’m sure this isn’t a new idea and that there are hundreds of other blogs out there with similar posts, but it doesn’t mean this isn’t a totally great idea.
What’s that idea? Well, french toast on the waffle iron. It’s faster than cooking it in a pan because both sides cook at the same time and it browns evenly and leaves you with a cool waffle pattern on the bread.
Here’s my waffle iron French toast to contribute to blogland.
Day-old challah or French bread, sliced on the bias 1-inch thick (six slices)
3/4 cups whole milk (I eyeball it)
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. orange zest (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 250. Plug in waffle iron and spray with cooking spray. In a pie pan combine the milk, eggs, honey, zest and vanilla. Place two slices of bread into the pan and let soak for 30 seconds. Flip and soak another 30 seconds. Transfer these slices to a cooling rack so any excess egg mixture will drip away (place a paper towel under the rack). Sprinkle slices with cinnamon. Repeat with remaining bread slices.
Place one to two slices at a time into waffle iron and let cook for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a plate in the oven to keep warm while cooking the other slices.