Apple Cider Bread

WIN_20150929_185548We’re using a bread machine today, folks, because November is a BUSY month! Between launching the Global Recipe Project cookbook and keeping up other projects, the convenience of my bread machine is alluring. If you prefer to go old school, this recipe will work just as well if you knead the dough by hand as we’ve done with many other bread recipes.

This bread is earthy and spicy, not too sweet – the perfect accompaniment to a hearty meal of beef stew or perhaps pumpkin soup. Enjoy!

WIN_20150929_151711Ingredients (Makes 1 loaf)

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 1/4 cup lukewarm apple cider

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

3 1/2 cups flour

1/4 ounce packet of active dry yeast

WIN_20150929_184640Directions

This is the marvel of bread machines… simply add the ingredients to a bread machine in the order listed above (wet ingredients in first, yeast in last), and turn on your machine! I used a “sweet bread” setting with “medium crust.” A “white bread” setting would work just as well.

My bread was ready in just over three hours; times will vary depending upon the machine.

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Paleo Apple Fritters

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Traveling to Austria and not indulging in local desserts would be… why, that would be simply unthinkable!  And so, we indulged…

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhile we didn’t find an Austrian dessert we didn’t like (and it wasn’t for lack of sampling!), we were particularly smitten by the apple fritters at a little Salzburg café:

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Apple Fritters in Salzburg

 

The fresh apple rings were decadently battered, deep fried, dusted with confectioner’s sugar, and served with a side of Chantilly crème.  What’s not to love about that?  Well, it turns out that the waistband of my jeans has other thoughts on the matter (sigh).  I can try to blame the ill fit on the dryer, but let’s be honest… the deep fried batter has got to go.

Have no fear!  The jeans-friendly version of apple fritters featured below captures the same wonderful flavors, but lightens things up a bit.  It’s paleo, too!  The combination of salt from the almonds and sweet from the honey is simply divine.  I hope you enjoy this guilt-free pleasure.

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Castle (Salzburg, Austria)

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Horses (Salzburg, Austria)

Ingredients (Serves 4)

4 large, firm apples

1 heaping tablespoon coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon ground mace (or 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg)

1/4 cup coarsely chopped, salted almonds

2 tablespoons honey

WIN_20140905_200538Directions

Step 1) Slice 1/4 inch off of the top and bottom of each apple.  Slice each apple into 4 pieces, crosswise (through the core).

Step 2) Use a tiny cookie cutter or petit fours cutter to punch out the center of each apple slice.

Step 3) Melt half of the coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Add half the apple slices, sprinkle with ground mace, and cook for 3 minutes on each side.

WIN_20140905_200333Step 4) Repeat with remaining coconut oil and apple slices.

Step 5) Arrange cooked apple slices in a ring on a serving platter (alternatively, arrange on 4 individual serving plates).

Step 6) Sprinkle chopped almonds over the apple slices, and drizzle with honey.  Enjoy while warm!

Amazing Oatmeals

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I can’t think of a breakfast more devoted to overall wellness than a bowl of properly dressed oatmeal.  I really can’t.  For only 150 calories, a single cup of oats contains about 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber.  The soluble fiber in oats, called beta-glucan, is special.  This fiber has repeatedly been shown to lower cholesterol levels, which in turn lowers the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.  Still not convinced?  What if I tell you that the beta-glucan in oats has also been linked to more stable blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes?  It’s true.

How much of this special fiber does it take to improve your health, you ask?  Only the amount found in a daily bowl of oatmeal.  So, let’s do ourselves a favor this morning.  Let’s both agree to say “No” to preservative-laden boxed cereals, skip the donuts with our coffee, and instead enjoy properly dressed bowls of oatmeal together.

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Directions

Stir together the ingredients for the blend of your choice, below, in a small mixing bowl.  Pack into a pint size mason jar.  For each serving, scoop out 1/2 cup of mixture from the mason jar and place in a microwave-safe bowl.  Add 1 cup of water and microwave for 2 minutes or until water is absorbed.  Enjoy!

Apple Walnut Blend (makes 4 servings)

1 1/3 cups rolled oats

1 tablespoon flax seed

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/3 cup chopped dried apples

1/3 cup raw walnuts

Blueberry Quinoa Blend (makes 4 servings)

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/4 cup quinoa

1/4 cup dried blueberries

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Cherry Almond Blend (makes 4 servings)

1 1/3 cups rolled oats

1/3 cup raw almonds

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup dried tart cherries

Coconut Almond Blend (makes 4 servings)

1 1/3 cups rolled oats

1/3 cup raw almonds

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/3 cup dried, shaved coconut

I feel better already, don’t you?

Apple Pie Salad

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What can I say?  I had a stubborn sweet tooth just before lunch today.  While the more logical part of my brain knew that something green and leafy was the more sensible option, my sweet tooth had a hankerin’ for a big slice of apple pie complete with a buttery crust and sharp cheddar cheese.  We compromised.  This salad takes only five minutes to prepare, offers buttery apple slices and cinnamon croutons, and won’t send you spiraling down into an afternoon sugar coma.  You’re welcome.

Ingredients (serves 1 sweet tooth and its owner)

1 teaspoon butter

1 slice whole wheat bread, cut into crouton shapes

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 apple slices

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 generous cups baby leaf spinach

picture573Directions

Step 1) Melt butter in a saucepan over low-medium heat.  Add bread pieces and cinnamon.  Saute bread for 2 minutes, flipping pieces after 1 minute, so that both sides are golden brown.  Remove bread croutons from pan and set aside.

picture575Step 2) Add apple slices to the same pan and cook for two minutes, flipping slices after 1 minute, so that both sides are golden brown.  Remove apple slices from pan and set aside.  Turn off burner but do not rinse pan yet!

Step 3) Arrange baby spinach on a serving plate.

picture576Step 4) Add balsamic vinegar to the pan (yes, the same pan, which is now coated in apple-butter-cinnamon deliciousness!).  Turn burner to high for about 3 seconds, just enough to heat the vinegar.  Remove the pan from the heat and gently scrape or “deglaze” the bottom of the pan.  This releases all of the apple-butter-cinnamon deliciousness into the vinegar and makes a fantastic vinaigrette dressing!  If too much vinegar evaporated, simply add another tablespoon of vinegar to the pan.

Step 5) Drizzle vinaigrette over baby spinach.  Sprinkle with shredded sharp cheddar cheese.  Arrange apple slices and croutons on top.  Enjoy!