Apple Broccoli Salad

Hello friends–  Here’s the old favorite, Broccoli Salad, with a bit of a fresher taste.  Sweet apples and carrots add crunch and flavor.  And a bit of red onion sharpens up the taste.

We had it at a salad pot luck here a couple weeks ago and there were just a few shreds left at the bottom of the bowl by the time we all served ourselves up!  I think you’d like it too.


1/2 cup unflavored yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tab. sugar
1  1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt

4 cups chopped broccoli
1 apple, cored and cut to small bits
2 carrots, peeled and cut to match sticks
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup red onion chopped

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar and salt to make the dressing.

Add the chopped broccoli, bits of apple, cut carrots, walnuts and chopped red onion to the dressing and mix well to coat all the veggies.   Chill about 30 minutes before serving.  Delish!


Apple Cranberry Slab Pie

Hello there–  This is one of those recipes where the effort to result ratio is happily very low.  Aside from peeling and chunking apples, you could do it in a few minutes!

Took the idea from the new Magnolia magazine. You know.  Joanna Gaines from “Fixer Upper” fame?!  That show is on regular rotation at our house.

Also, it is such a homey pretty dessert– and sitting warm on a plate with a scoop of ice cream is darn irresistible– i.e.  I served it to friends on Wednesday night and leftovers for breakfast Thursday morning.  I think you might really like it!

2 large apples
1/3 cup dried cranberries (snipped to bits)
1/3 cup sugar
2 tab. flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 sheet puff pastry (half of a 17 oz. box)
milk or half & half for brushing
coarse sugar for sprinkling*
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
dash salt
2 or 3 tsp. milk

Peel and core the apples.  Cut them into thin slices.  Chop the cranberries to bits.  Then in a bowl mix together the apples, cranberries, sugar, flour and cinnamon.  Set aside.

On a floured surface, roll out the puff pastry with a rolling pin– to a 10″ x 15″ rectangle.  Cut it in half.  Put one of the halves on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray– or use a piece of parchment paper under the pastry.

Stack the apple mixture on the half of the pastry on the baking sheet, leaving about an inch uncovered around the edges.  Place the remaining half of the pastry on top and crimp the edges with a fork.  Brush the top with milk and sprinkle it with coarse sugar.

Pop the slab pie into a 375 degree over for 35 to 40 minutes, until it has browned nicely and the filling is bubbly.  (If it starts to overbrown before the time is up, cover the pie loosely with foil the last few minutes.)

For serving, mix together the powdered sugar, vanilla and salt.  Add 2 tsp. of milk and stir.  If it seems too thick to drizzle over the pie, stir in another teaspoon of milk and drizzle away!  Very best eaten hot from the oven!

Caramel Apple Bundt Cake


Hello all– Spent last weekend up in the mountains at Big Bear, 18 of us from the young adult group (We’re the old folks involved!), –for a couple days of talking, laughing, planning and praying.  The weather was glorious, snowy and crisp and the cabin was cozy.  A few of us were the cooks, mixing salads and turning breakfast bacon for a crowd.   And this was dessert on Saturday night…

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped to small bits
2 cups sugar
1  1/2 cup canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
3 cups flour
1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup walnuts chopped
garnish: caramel sauce* & chopped walnuts



Prepare the apples bits and set aside.

With an electric mixer beat together the sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs for 2 or 3 minutes until they are creamy and fluffy.  Then beat in the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

With a spoon mix in the chopped apple and cup of walnuts.  The batter will be stiff so mix them in well.

Spoon the batter into a bundt pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray and set it into a 350 degree oven for 75 to 80 minutes, until a small knife inserted comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan and then remove it to a platter.  When you are ready to eat it, drizzle on the caramel and then sprinkle on the chopped pecans or walnuts.  Pretty and ready to serve!

*You can make your own caramel sauce, but I just picked up Smuckers salted caramel sauce at the market with the ice cream toppings.

Down on Boulder Bay by the lake–sunshine and snow…


Family Cranberry Sauce


Hi all– I don’t know about you, but for me a plate of turkey dinner isn’t complete without cranberries.  I grew up on the kind of sauce that pops out of a can, but when I met Larry, his dad was the master cranberry sauce maker in the family and this is his recipe.

It’s so simple– just 4 ingredients and a food processor and your set.  Over the years with friends, I’ve had fancier cranberry sauces– spiced with ginger or mixed with figs or slightly alcoholic.  But for me this fresh simple sauce is just the best!

12 oz. bag cranberries
2 oranges, include the peel
2 apples, include the skin, remove stem and seeds
1  1/2 cup sugar

With a food processor coarsely grind up the cranberries, then the oranges, then the apples. Mix them all together in a large bowl with the sugar and let the flavors meld in the fridge until you’re ready to eat!




Here’s Grandpa Stu, the original cranberry sauce maker, along with Grandma Honey and one of their grand grand-kids, a future cranberry sauce maker

Apple Cinnamon Walnut Pancakes

Hello there– Do you ever get a certain food on your mind and can’t stop thinking about it until you sit down to a plateful? Seems like I was thinking about pancakes all last week and finally when Sunday lunch hit, I made up a big pile of there sweet things.  Actually they’re not too sweet– just the sweetness from the apple and a bit of brown sugar.  With a couple strips of bacon and a mug of tea, they’re my kind of Sunday afternoon indulgence.  Hope you like them too…

1 large apple (used Granny Smith)
1 cup flour
2 tab. brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup milk
1 egg
2 tab. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Peel and core the apple.  Grate it into coarse shreds.  Set aside

Mix together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Then stir in the milk egg, oil and vanilla.  Finally fold in the grated apple and walnuts.

Pour the batter, with a 1/3 cup measuring cup, onto a hot griddle that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cook on medium heat flipping to brown both sides.  Makes about 10 medium size pancakes.

Of course, there’s the part about adding butter and maple syrup as soon as they hit the plate.  Enjoy!



Apple Bran Muffins

IMG_2892Hi all– We had these tender little muffins for a post Christmas breakfast last week.  Mixed them up with 4 year old Jobay.  She got an egg cracking lesson.  I think she’ll need a little more practice!  Hot from the oven with a couple eggs scrambled up, they make a fine start to the day.

1 cup flour
3/4 cup wheat bran
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup buttermilk*
1 egg
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped fine
1 medium apple

Peel, core and grate the apple.  Set aside

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, bran, salt, brown sugar and baking powder.  Then mix in the buttermilk, egg and oil.  Finally fold in the grated apple and walnuts.

Spoon the batter into muffin papers lining a 12 cup muffin pan.  And bake them up at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.  So good warm with a slather of butter.

*These are just everyday muffins, so I don’t usually have buttermilk waiting in the fridge– To make your own just add a tablespoon of cider vinegar to regular milk and let it sit for a few minutes to thicken.

Caramel Apple Pecan Rolls

IMG_2330Hi all– I’m up.  Early. It’s a Saturday morning and I rolled out of bed while it’s still dark to make these apple pecan rolls.  I guess getting up early on a Saturday is not the best way to convince you to make them!!– But these little roll are super simple using frozen bread dough.  You just need to have some time for that yeasty dough rise in the middle of the process.  They have a yummy maple glaze and sit in a puddle of caramel at the bottom of the pan– and all those sweet apple and bits of pecan!!  OK, that should lure you.

I’m whisking them off to breakfast with a big bunch of friends on Glenda’s back patio in a bit.  They send a scrumptious cinnamon-y smell out of your oven as they bake and I know will be a hit at our little breakfast potluck.  Totally worth the early morning get up!

1 loaf frozen bread dough,* thawed
a sprinkle of flour
2 tab. butter melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced fine
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tab. milk
1 3.5 oz. box vanilla pudding mix (not instant!)**
6 tab. butter (3/4 of a stick of butter)

1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tab. maple syrup

IMG_2317Thaw the frozen bread dough– let it sit out in a warm place a couple hours. or thaw in the fridge overnight.

Roll the dough on a flat surface sprinkled with a couple spoons of flour until it is a 12″ by 16″ rectangle.  Spread on the 2 tsp. melted butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, apples and pecans.

Starting at the longer side, roll the up the dough, jelly roll style.  Use a serrated knife to cut the dough into 12 equal slices

Set the slices cut side up into a 9″x13″ baking dish or 10 to 12″ round cake pan that has been liberally sprayed with cooking spray.  Set them into a warm place and let them sit and rise for  1  1/2 to 2*** hours until they are about double in size.

Meanwhile, to make the topping, stir together the 3/4 cup brown sugar, milk, pudding mix, and 6 tab. melted butter in a bowl.  Set aside.

Once the rolls have risen, pour the brown sugar-pudding mix topping over the rolls and bake them in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the rolls are browned and set.

Then whisk together the 1/2 cup powdered sugar and maple syrup and drizzle it over the rolls with a fork.  Delicious served warm from the oven…

* I used Bridgeford frozen bread dough.  It comes in a package with 3 one pound loaves, so I have another 2 in the freezer to use later.
**My market didn’t have the 3.5 oz. package of vanilla pudding mix–the cook & serve (not instant) kind.  So I used butterscotch (which they did have!).
***I set the oven for 350 and let it heat for just 3 minutes when I first walk in the kitchen and then turn it off.  This makes it just warm enough to raise the dough.  These rolls rose quickly and were huge in a little less than 1 1/2 hour.

P.S. I’m back from the breakfast and the rolls were as good as I’d hoped!


Kale & Apple Salad with Pecans and Maple Dressing

IMG_7415Hello there eating friends– When we rolled back home from a super eating weekend in San Francisco with kids, who know all the best places to dine, it was hard to think of one more big meal.  So dinner that night was salad, pure and simple.  It was hearty enough with some lovely crunch, but light enough to not feel, once again, like we’d happily overeaten.  A perfect post vacay meal.

4 hardy kale leaves
2 slices bacon (optional)
1 Granny Smith apple
1/3 cup pecans

1/4 cup olive oil
3 tab. maple syrup
2 tab. tarragon vinegar
2 shakes salt
2 grinds of fresh pepper

Toast the pecans for just 5 or 6 minutes at 350 degrees (watch they don’t overcook!)  Chop the bacon to small pieces and cook til done just right.  Remove the bits from the pan and drain them on a paper towel.  Cut the stems from the kale leaves and toss them out.  Then chop the leaves into tidy bite size bits.  Remove the core and dice the apple to small pieces.
Then layer the kale, bacon, apple and pecans all on a nice plate.

In a small container with a tight lid, shake together the oil, syrup, vinegar, salt and pepper until they are complete emulsified.  Pour over the salad when you’re ready to eat.  Enjoy!

Apple Pecan Tart

IMG_7838Hi there–  I have to admit I’ve made some terrible pie crusts over the last few years.  I grew up eating tender, flakey crusts laced with Crisco.  So trying to be a bit more healthy, making a crust that is Crisco-less, using butter, things ended up pretty thick and tough and tasteless.  Until now…

Over Thanksgiving week in SF, we popped into Chef Aaron’s pie making demonstration at the William-Sonoma store on Union Square.  He is enormously entertaining and a darn clever cook.  He passed out loads of good pie tips as he put together pies and popped them in the oven so we could sample hot and delicious.  I used his crust recipe for this apple pecan tart last week and it was just lovely.  I think you should try it…

1 1/4 cup flour
1 tab. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick cold butter, but in smaller chunks
4 or 5 tab. ice water

Mix the flour, sugar and salt.  With a pastry blender or food processor cut in the butter until all the buttery pieces are the size of little peas.  Then stir in the icy cold water. It will seem like the dough is still a bit crumbly. You will want to keep adding water, but stop! If you add more water to make it solid, the crust will be tough.  Turn the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and wrap it up–and refrigerate it for at least one hour (up to overnight).  The idea is that the butter should stay cold so that it doesn’t melt into the flour, but stays in tiny bits for a flaky crust.

After it’s chilled, roll out the dough on a floured piece of waxed paper.  When it is the size of your tart pan (pie pan) lift it carefully into the pan and trim off all the extra around the edges of the pan.

Apple Filling:
5 or 6 apples
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
dash salt

Peel and core the apples, cut them into slices until you have about 6 cups of apples.  Then stir in the sugar flour, spice and salt.  Turn it all into the prepared crust.

1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup chopped pecans

Mix the flour and brown sugar.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or food processor until the butter is in tiny bits.  Then stir in the pecans.  Spoon this all over the apples in the pie crust.

Bake it all up at 375 degrees or 35- 40 minutes, until the crumbly top is browned and the apples feel tender it you poke it with a fork.

18211_10151151631294135_1804687795_nI don’t think I have to tell you it’s best served with ice cream and caramel sauce while it’s warm from the oven.  Crumbly, nutty, apple-y. It’s the most comforting comfort food around.

P.S. – The photo is Aaron the most inspirational cooking teacher around, with a young apprentice.