nourishing & unapologetic
It's HALLOWEEN! Today kicks off the Holiday Season. Hallelujah! (You can probably hear my Grinch hubby groaning audibly about the pending celebrations. Okay, he's a pretty good sport but he certainly doesn't love them like me.)
I have always loved Halloween. I think my fondness for it comes from two influences: 1) being a quasi-only child and my imagination could run wild with costume ideas which my mom would always happily create; 2) I was always sick around this time of year and rarely got to go Trick-or-Treating. (talk about bummer!)
As an adult I feel compelled to celebrate--costumes, house decorations, goodies. You betcha! But sometimes as an adult, despite the best intentions, the holidays can sneak up on you. Halloween 2014, you snuck up on me. I haven't made any creepy, goobly or adorable treats yet. I didn't decide my costume until yesterday (unheard of!). Sheesh. Fortunately, both are under control now.
If you're in the same boat as me, don't worry. I've got two festive and EASY snacks you can make quickly. Plus, they're semi-healthy. Winning on all accounts.
Bag of Bones
Inspired by Cookies and Cups (Makes ~12 bags)
100-120 white chocolate covered pretzels (I cheated for the sake of time and used the premade version, Flipz 3-4 bags)
12 large marshmellows
snack size baggies
1 thin black sharpie
1. Flatten marshmellow and shape to resemble a skull. (You're going to have free form it, but you got this!)
2. Repeat until all are completed.
3.. Let the marshmellows dry a bit.
4. Write "Bag of Bones" on each baggies with a thin sharpie.
5. Group ~10 white chocolate covered pretzels in a baggie and place a marshmellow skull in one corner. Seal bag.
6. Make a skeleton like face on bag over skull.
8-12 string cheese sticks
1 black sharpie
It truly doesn't get more simple. Wipe down plastic wrapper. Make a ghost face on each string cheese stick. Repeat until done. Refrigerate if not eating right away.
I know these are super simple, but they will get the job done and are Boo-tiful to boot. Happy Halloween! May your day be filled with some tricks and lots of treats.
Until next time.
Fall is my favorite season. Except for summer because it's my favorite too. They each offer their own distinct temperatures, festivities, and food... I guess we'll call it a draw between the two. But the one thing fall has over summer is that Nick and I officially met in the fall--October 1st to be exact. Our first months of dating fell during the magical time of the year. And we chose to get married in September so maybe I ought to reconsider their rankings... in the meantime, let's talk about how this header picture came to be.
I'd already decorated our home accordingly and I felt like there was more fall fun to be had. I wanted to go apple picking as I'd never been (and neither had Nick). So, during our Anniversary month, I hopefully sought out a local apple orchard. How lucky was it to actually find one?! We tooled on over near Newton, KS (just about 35 minutes from our westside neighborhood) and visited Entz Orchard.
Talk about a gem! Elaine, the owner and grower, and her family have been growing apples at Entz for about 20 years. The orchard is as easy-going as Elaine. It's a peaceful and fun activity for a couple, family, or group of friends. You can pick at your own pace, sample as you go, and soak up the sun that peaks in through the tree rows. You pay by the weight and prices are good. Entz grows many popular varieties and some relatively unknown too. My new favorite, the Criterion apple, a green to gold apple that's fleshy and sweet, and, from what we've heard, pretty versatile. Nick was partial to the Braeburns which was surprising as he's usually a Pink Lady or Honeycrisp guy.
We picked til our bags were full and walked away with about $30 of apples plus a brand new memory and tradition. (I should have posted this sooner so those in our area could make their way to the orchard for fun of their own. I think there might be a week or so left for picking based on what Elaine said is the usual season. It's worth the quick drive and loads of fun.)
I thought I'd immediately bake apple crisp or a pie, but the apples were sooooo good to eat my hurry dissipated. Now almost a month later, we still have good apples and company coming. So, I seized the opportunity to bake with some of the Entz apples.
Enter Caramel Apple Monkey Bread. This is now a new fall favorite, or as Nick says a "menu item" when he really likes something. It's an excellent combination of carbs, caramel, cinnamon, and of course, apples. This original recipe comes from Mom on Timeout and I didn't tweak it other than the apple type used.
Caramel Apple Monkey Bread
Original Recipe created by Mom on Timeout
Semi-homemade Monkey Bread (Step 1)
2 cans homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (I used Pillsbury Grands)
2 cups apples, chopped into small pieces (~1/2" cubes)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Simple Caramel Sauce (Step 2)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup salted butter
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Sugar Coating (Step 3)
4-5 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
Semi-homemade Monkey Bread
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bundt pan with non-stick spray.
2. Open biscuits and divide each biscuit into quarters (16 biscuits, 64 quarters total)
3. Mix brown sugar, sugar, and cinnamon in a medium to large bowl. Toss the apples in mixture.
4. Separate out 1/2 cup of apples.
5. Smoosh/flatten a biscuit quarter and fold around a piece of apple. Be sure to seal the edges. Repeat until all biscuit quarters have been used. (I had apples left so I used them within the layers, more on that later.)
Simple Caramel Sauce
1. Melt butter, brown sugar, and heavy whipping cream in small sauce pan.
2. Bring to boil.
3. Cook about 3 minutes, stirring often.
4. Pour about 1/3 of the caramel into the greased bundt pan.
Making the Bread
1. Sprinkle half of the reserved apples on the caramel.
2. Roll each biscuit round in melted butter and brown sugar.
3. Put about 20 biscuit rounds in the bundt pan on top of the caramel and apples.
4. Pour another 1/3 of the caramel sauce on the rounds. Sprinkle the remaining apples on this layer.
5. Place remaining biscuit rounds in pan.
6. Pour remaining caramel sauce over rounds.
1. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes. (feel free to put some foil on the rack below your pan to prevent a mess!)
Make sure that the top of your bread doesn't brown too much; tent with foil if needed.
2. Let cool in bundt pan for at least 30 minutes before turning out to a plate. (I let mine sit probably 45 minutes to an hour).
3. Enjoy! *We had ours warm for breakfast with quiche but this totally dessert worthy too.
(Forgive my lack of photos. I got absorbed in the process.)
Okay, I am making a concentrated effort to blog more. So you'll be hearing from me soon. Happy fall to y'all! Until next time.