Betty’s Apple Crisp
October 28, 2009, 7:45 pm
Filed under: Desserts

A few nights ago I decided to try out the tried-and-true Betty Crocker recipe for apple crisp and was so surprised to realize how unbelievably simple it is!

I made a little more involved apple crisp about a month ago, but really, how “involved” can apple crisp really get?  Isn’t it all about the simplicity of ingredients and the flavors of the apples shining through?  Regardless, I can’t find the first recipe, which I actually liked better, though D.Jones preferred Betty’s.  It did turn out well, but a tad sweet for my taste, which may, in part, have been because I used Honeycrisps, which are pretty sweet themselves.  Anyhoo…here it is.

Betty Crocker’s Apple Crisp

4 medium tart cooking apples, sliced (4 cups)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  Cream or Ice cream, if desired

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter 8-inch square pan.  Spread apples in pan.   In separate mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except cream.  Sprinkle over apples.  Bake 30 minutes or until topping is browned and apples are tender.  Top with ice cream or cream if desired.

See.  Super simple!


I do my apple crisp “straight-up” as pictured, but my husband topped his with Ben & Jerry’s Cake Batter ice cream, which I must admit, was pretty darn fabulous~



Witches Fingers
October 25, 2009, 1:57 pm
Filed under: Desserts

Every year, all of my siblings, our spouses, and kids all gather at my parent’s house for an annual pumpkin carving.  Most years, everyone brings an appetizer, and my mom makes some central dish.

This year my contribution was dessert in the form of severed witches fingers.  I found the recipe here and made a few very small tweaks, so mine turned out like this:


The only real differences to the recipe listed at the link is that I subbed all almond instead of the almond/vanilla mix, and used 1 1/2 tsp. almond, mostly because my mom loves almond in her cookies.  I whipped up some vanilla frosting that I colored red, and dipped the “stump” ends in to make them look a little bloody, and I painted the fingernails with green food coloring, which turned out looking greenish-blackish, and was perfect for witchy fingers.

My nieces and nephews alternated between giggling about how gross they were, and gobbling them up.  They were also a more dainty, crisp cookie than I thought they would be, and the adults loved them as well.

The pumpkin carving was also a success, and as usual, my more patient and artsy relatives turned out some pieces of art…


Happy Halloween, everybody!

Apple Oatmeal Cookies
October 19, 2009, 7:32 pm
Filed under: Desserts

Still enjoying the heck out of the season’s Honeycrisp harvest, and not wanting to leave my house after a hectic, short trip to southeastern Wisconsin to visit family for the weekend, I told the boy that he could help me make cookies.  I tried to make them as healthy as I could, and still delicious, so this is what we came up with….

Apple Oatmeal Cookies

3/4 c. butter

1 1/4 c. brown sugar

1 egg

1/4 c. milk

3 c. old fashioned oatmeal

1 c.  flour

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 T. vanilla

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 large peeled and diced Honeycrisp (or any apple of your choice)  If small, use 2.

1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly spray or grease baking sheet.  Cream butter, brown sugar, egg, milk and vanilla until smooth.  In separate bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.  Stir to combine and then add in oats, stirring again.  Add to creamed mixture a little at a time, beating on low.  When combined, stir in apples and walnuts.  If batter seems too liquid at this point,  add in a slight bit more flour.  I probably added in about 2 to 2 1/2 more tablespoons because mine seemed loose.

Drop by rounded tablespoon onto cookie sheet and bake approximately 12 minutes or so, until beginning to brown on the bottom. 

The result is a moist, almost cake-like cookie that captures the taste (and smell) of autumn. 

3 of them with a nice cup of coffee ended up being my lunch…


Chili Weather
October 13, 2009, 11:41 pm
Filed under: Main Dishes

The temps are unseasonably cold here in Minneapolis for this time of year, which reminded me of how much I like some fantastically spicy chili on a brisk day to warm me up a bit.

D.Jones and I both agree that Fitger’s Vegetarian Chili in Duluth is the best vegetarian chili we’ve ever had, and as luck would have it, the recipe has been posted on Mpls-St. Paul Magazine’s website for years.  We’ve made it numerous times, though most often on a weekend when we have a little more time to dedicate to the chopping, which we always seem to do by hand.  It becomes a process, these chili days of ours, and the result is unbelievable and worth every minute of it.  If you’d like to try the best vegetarian chili on earth, here’s the recipe for you, as printed on

Fitgers’ Vegetarian Chili

Duluth’s popular Fitger’s restaurant fires up a cold North Shore afternoon with this meatless chili, featuring green peppers, Tabasco sauce, and red wine for added flavor. With the likes of black beans, mushrooms, carrots, and onions mingling in the spicy sauce, you won’t miss the ground beef.1/3 c. oil
1 pint onion, finely chopped
3/4 c. celery, chopped
1 c. green pepper, chopped
1 tbs. garlic, minced
1 pint mushrooms, chopped
1 tbs. ground cumin
3/4 t. dried basil
2 tbs. chili powder
3/4 t. dried oregano
1 1/8 t. salt
3/4 t. pepper
1 1/2 lbs. tomatoes, canned
1 1/2 lbs. black beans
3/4 t. Tabasco sauce
1 1/2 oz. tomato paste
1/4 c. red wine
1 c. carrots, chopped

Heat oil in a fry pan and add onions, celery, peppers, carrots, garlic, mushrooms and spices. Saute ten minutes, add remaining ingredients, (reserving juice from black beans and tomatoes) and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, adding juice from black beans and tomatoes. Serves 8.

Now tonight I didn’t have quite as much time to prepare, as I have a 3 1/2 year old who loves to do things like scale furniture, terrorize cats, and chase the dogs with baseball bats when I spend too much time in the kitchen.  Instead, I made a speedy version of vegetarian chili, which actually turned out quite nicely.  Not, I will readily admit, as nicely as Fitger’s, but it made for a pretty good dinner without too much prep time.


Fast & Easy Veggie Chili

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 small red onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced or put through press

1 c. frozen or fresh corn

1 28 oz can finely diced tomatoes

1 6 oz can tomato paste

1/2 c. water

1 can black beans

1 can navy beans

2 T. chili powder

2 tsp. ground red pepper (cayenne)

1 tsp. cumin

2 T. olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste


Lightly coat bottom of large sauce pan or stock pot with olive oil.  Over med-low heat, saute diced onion and green pepper until fragrant and beginning to soften.  Add garlic and continue to cook for another minute or two.  Add diced tomatoes and tomato paste, and corn, along with black beans and navy beans, rinsed, and 1/2 c. water.  Stir well to combine, and then add cumin, red pepper, chili powder, salt and pepper.  Stir again to combine and then cover pot, and allow to simmer for 15 minutes to 1/2 hour.

I served ours with a generous amount of shredded Vermont cheddar and some tortilla chips, which together were the perfect complements.


Baked Apple
October 5, 2009, 1:37 am
Filed under: Desserts

Tonight I enjoyed my first attempt at baked apples.  At this moment, as I set down my spoon and reflect on my late night snack,  I can’t think of a tastier evening treat that takes so little time.  Absolutely delicious…and so, so easy.

Since there were only 2 of us still awake to partake, I only made 2, but you can just change out the size of the pan and the number of apples to make any amount.

So, I’m not going to type it out like a recipe because it’s so simple and I measured nothing, so I’ll just tell you what I did, and then let you drool over the photos.

I preheated the oven to 350 degrees.  While it was heating, I placed a small amount of water in a glass loaf pan.  Just enough to cover the bottom.   I then cored 2 nice large Honeycrisp.  You can use any apple that you like, though.   Dig out slightly around where the core would be as well, to make a little room for what you’re going to stuff it with.  Make sure you don’t cut through the bottom of the apple though.

For mine, I first placed a small amount of chopped walnuts, then packed in a little brown sugar. Then a pat of butter…maybe 1/2 T., then filled the remainder of the opening with more packed brown sugar and a small sprinkling of cinnamon and nutmeg.

For my husband’s, I omitted the nuts because he doesn’t like nuts in any of his desserts, but otherwise, pretty much did the same thing.

Place the apples in the loaf pan, and bake for oh, about half and hour.  You want the apple soft, but not smooshy.

Here is mine as it came out of the oven…


And moments later, beautifully oozing with a scoop of Ben and Jerry’s Dublin Mudslide ice cream.  Whoa…  Plain old vanilla would be delicious.  The flavors of Irish cream and a touch of chocolate brought it to new heights. 


I have a miserable cold right now that I can’t take anything for because of the upcoming new Jones family addition, so today, I thought nothing could make me happy, until my first scoop of this, that is.  Mmm…the tastes of autumn.