Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Slowcooker Baked Apples

This is one of my favorite weeknight desserts. It can be super healthy, or slightly indulgent, as you prefer.  I love how quick and easy it is, and it will be hot and ready after dinner with no need to remember to start dessert during dinner prep or juggle oven availability.

This can be done with any size slow cooker, and as few or many apples as desired.  They make a great breakfast too.  Here's my method:

Wash the apples well, and core them. Try to leave a little bit of bottom in the hole, but it doesn't matter a ton if you go all the way through.

Sprinkle on cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, etc, as desired. Fill the core holes about 2/3 full with a couple of tablespoons of oats. I use old fashioned.

Add a teaspoon or so of brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, or any sweetener of your choice to the top of the oats.  You can leave this out as well, if desired.

Dust with spices again, and top with a 1/4 tbl of butter.  The butter isn't absolutely necessary either, so depending on what calorie count you're going for, it can be left out if desired.

I do all of this right in the slow cooker, so I don't have to worry about any clean up when oats or spices miss the mark.

Add a tablespoon or so of water to the bottom, and cook on low for 5-8 hours.  The cooking time will vary depending on the size and kind of apple.  Serve warm, and spoon the juice on the bottom of the slow cooker over the apples.

So yummy!

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cinder Block Raised Bed Herb Garden

My cinder block beds are looking so much nicer and more finished this year! Our friend Ken came over and helped Ben haul and spread mulch over a very big part of the deck area. I love having nice paths around these beds instead of huge weeds I can't get the mower to.

These beds are for permenant perenial herbs. Starting in the back left corner and going clockwise are: peppermint (1 yr old), lavender (new planting), chamomile (new planting, I started the seedlings inside this spring), and comfrey (1 year old).

I chopped down the comfrey this past week to rot in a bucket of water to make some fertilizer. I've not done this before, but it is why I planted the comfrey (as well as for the occasional poultice), so I hope it works well. I left some behind so I'll have some leaves to pick and bury with the tomatoes when I finally get them planted.

Some of the cinder block holes are planted with nasturtiums, but most are growing weeds. I was pulling them, but sticking my hands into holes with giant striped spiders seems foolhardy, so the next task for this area is to fill in all the holes and plant them with something pretty. I think creeping thyme alternated with some sort of flower would be good. That'll probably wait till next year though, since the cost of the mulch is still sticker shocking me whenever I walk out there!

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Wednesday, June 08, 2011


I've been harvesting from the raised beds little by little, and I've been loving grabbing a snack fresh from the dirt.

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Thursday, June 02, 2011

Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes are the flower stalk of the garlic plant, and they're trimmed off when they appear in order to keep the garlic's growing energy focused on the bulb.

They're edible as well, and can be stir fried and such. Mine are probably pretty tough, since they've been growing long enough to curl back on themselves a couple of times.  I've read that they're tenderest before they start curling.

I think I'll use these to flavor my bean soup today, and then I can fish them out if they don't get soft enough to eat while they cook.

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