Crockpot apple butter

This is the perfect time of year to go apple picking, especially in New York. The weather isn’t too cold yet, the trees are finally turning their gorgeous fall colors, and the holidays that require apple and pumpkin-themed desserts are right around the corner.

18 lbs of apples later, and I realized I may have went a bit overboard.

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Oma’s german potato salad

School has totally been kicking my ass. So far this year is great, just the beginning of the school year is always so stressful. Getting settled in, and settling in the students (and getting back into the groove of planning and grading) isn’t easy – it’s a labor of love. And it takes up a LOT of free time.

With that being said, I haven’t had the opportunity to post in a while. Luckily, this past weekend was 4 days due to Rosh Hashana – so here’s my opportunity!

Yesterday my husband asked me to make potato salad for one of his lodge meetings (he is a free mason). Neither of us enjoy mayonnaise, so whenever I make salads, they are always vinegar-based instead. NOBODY makes a better potato salad than Oma, my 90-year-old grandmother from Germany.

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[Dairy free] chocolate banana oat bread

Bananas are something I purchase every week. I wait until they’re very ripe, and I usually freeze them for protein shakes. But this week, I had a real craving for banana bread.

My husband’s aunt makes the most delicious banana bread I have ever tried. Whenever I make banana bread, I use her recipe. It’s the perfect consistency, it isn’t too sweet, and it has just the right amount of banana flavor. So I started to make her recipe, and realized there was one problem: I didn’t have the correct amount of ingredients at home.

I had to switch things up. Since I had to do this anyway… I figured I would turn this into a healthier version of my favorite. The result was awesome.

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3 Ingredient Ribs

Whenever my husband gets the groceries to help me out, he always buys things that were not on the shopping list (usually some random fruit, meat product, or Entenmann’s cake).

Last week, he brought home pork bi country style ribs.

I’m a big fan of ribs – I could eat them every day. But I’ve never made them before.

For my first time, they came out awesome.

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Hasselback antipasto chicken breast parmesan

Lately I’ve been on an Italian food kick.

I keep craving it.

Something I truly love is a good chicken parmesan – fried golden brown cutlets, drowning in marinara sauce, and oozing with mozzarella cheese.

This was something I needed to eat. I didn’t have any chicken cutlets, only chicken breasts – and I did not feel like pounding them out. I had an abundance of fresh basil and fresh tomatoes from my yard that I wanted to use, and I also have a ton of homemade sauce that my husband froze in batches a few weeks ago. Mozzarella cheese? Check. I also noticed that I had some bonus pepperoni in my cold cut drawer. This was gonna be good.

In my efforts to lighten up my food, I decided to revamp the chicken parm we all know and love. I went the low-carb route, and didn’t use breadcrumbs or fry the chicken… and it was still delicious.

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Lemony black bean salad

Cilantro has been growing like a weed lately out in the backyard. Since I don’t use it too often in my cooking, I tried giving some of it away. A friend of mine agreed to take some, but then forgot to grab it on her way out the door. Now I have handfuls of cilantro that I need to use.

The humidity has been so overwhelming. I still don’t want to have to turn on the oven, or stand over a hot stove. So this cilantro needed to find its way into a salad.

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The post-workout “milkshake”

As some of you already know, I have a hard time resisting sweets and I’m constantly craving dessert-like foods. However, I can’t eat foods like this as often as I’d like to.

One dessert I absolutely love is ice cream. I can’t get enough of it – especially if it’s in the form of a frozen, thick shake. As a kid I lived around the corner from a Carvel, and my brother and I would always get large vanilla thick shakes (I was not aware of being lactose-intolerant yet).  I enjoyed this tremendously.

As an adult, I can no longer get these awesome shakes whenever I please… so I have to substitute with something a bit healthier and less sugary (even though its OK to just go out and get the shake sometimes). In the past couple of months, I learned a lot about the importance of increasing my protein intake. Protein helps you build muscle, stay lean, gives you energy, and keeps you feeling full for a longer amount of time. So I decided to improvise, and make a protein-based “milkshake” for when I come home from the gym. The best part is that it’s completely dairy free – so if you are also lactose-intolerant there is no need to take a pill, and if you are vegan you can still enjoy this drink without guilt!

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Zoodle pesto rosso with crumbled sausage and roasted cauliflower

zoodle pesto rosso with sausage and cauliflower
low carb deliciousness

 

Three of my good friends came over last night, and we decided to cook dinner together.

Like me, Andrew has certain dietary restrictions. He too is lactose intolerant. He is also on a health kick, and has lost a significant amount of weight in the last few months by going low-carb, low-sugar, and working out.

We wanted Italian food, but didn’t want the guilt of eating pasta. We went over to the grocery store, loaded up on zucchini and some other items, and headed back. With the help of a spiral cutter, we were going to have zoodles.

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Sweet & sour slow cooker cabbage rolls

sweet & sour slow cooker cabbage rolls
comfort food at its finest!

 

This summer has been unbearably hot and humid as of late. I like the heat, but when coupled with this extreme humidity it has been almost crippling. I also only have air conditioning in two rooms of my house, leaving the other rooms sweltering when I walk through the door. The humidity practically smacks you in the face. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do on such a hot and humid day is keep my oven on.

Enter: the slow cooker.

I am completely obsessed with my crockpot. I received it as a gift for my bridal shower two years ago, and I have probably used it (at least) once a week since then. It is perfect for busy work days, when I just toss some ingredients in and let it work its magic. Boom, a home cooked meal that is ready to be devoured once I get home. Another big perk to using the crockpot is that it doesn’t heat up the house. And that is something I definitely did not want to do.

But what was I going to make?

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Lemon basil gelato with blackberry jam swirl

lemon basil gelato with blackberry jam swirl
Big bowl o’ yum.

 

We don’t have a large backyard, but the space we have is occupied by my husband’s “farm”.

He is a city kid with the soul of a country boy.

When we moved in to our house two years ago, he immediately started making plans with what should be done with the back yard space. He basically wants to grow every type of fruit and vegetable that can survive in the northeast.

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