bakedapples.jpgIt’s a dreary, rainy day here.  The sort of cold weather you expect for early November, with a leftover drizzle from last night still falling and making our dachshund miserable on her ever-more-swift visits to the lawn.  (Little Miss Dainty doesn’t like to get her paws wet.)

This is the point in the year when I start feeling the urge to make the usual fall fare:  hot apple cider, a warm pot of soup with some crusty bread, some oven-roasted root veggies and onions, pretty much anything that includes cranberries.  ‘Tis the season, I suppose.

It’s the sort of day today where I hope to make a pot of tea and curl up with a good book.  But most likely I won’t get the chance, given that The Peanut is going through a pretend play phase wherein momma spends a lot of time as the “other princess” sipping tea with her and all the assorted plushies, and talking about the joys of riding horses and sipping more tea. 

You really haven’t blogged until you’ve written a post while wearing a tiara and a feather boa.  It’s “extreme blogging,” and don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Because of the extra demands on my time of late, the crockpot and I have become well acquainted.  And, as election season pushes forward and activists everywhere start finding candidates for whom they can work with a smile on their faces (yes, I do hear there are some out there…), we’re all going to start being more crunched for time as the year progresses.  Honestly, the whole holiday season crazy rush-around-a-thon is exhausting enough as it is, so I wanted to share a few links to some recipe troves that I use.

And to share a favorite recipe for some baked apples that is as easy as all get out, but provides you with two major benefits:  (1) a nummy yet not too unhealthy dessert and/or snack and (2) the most amazing smell in your house that will literally leave people drooling upon entry.  It is that good.

So, what’s going on in your neck of the woods?  How are you sluffing off the ick of the week and taking care of yourself?  Do tell.  Pull up a chair…

(Photo via Mermaniac.)

Crock Pot Recipes:

About.com recipe page
All Recipes
Crockpot.com
FoodNetwork
MyRecipes.com

Baked Apples:

2 Tbsp. raisins or currants
1 Tbsp. chopped walnuts  (optional)
1/4 c. sugar
6 to 8 apples, washed and cored
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. butter

Mix raisins, walnuts and sugar, and fill centers of apples. Sprinkle with cinnamon and dot w/ butter. Put in crockpot and add in either 1/2 c. water or apple cider if you have some handy. Cover, and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt or some vanilla custard sauce. You can make some easy sauce with Bird’s custard powder if you can find some at the grocery store — it’s a British brand and it makes a lovely (and easy!) dessert sauce. Or take some more apple cider and boil it in a saucepan until it is reduced by half and more syrupy in texture, and then pour over the apples and serve.  The recipe is pretty easy to mix-up, too, so use pecans if you don’t have walnuts, or omit the nuts altogether.  It’s great with a little orange zest, or some dried cranberries instead of the raisins.  And trust me when I say the odor of baking apples with cinnamon will make your house smell like heaven (or your granny’s house, which, in my case, is the same thing as heaven anyway).

Or, if you want to get really decadent, Steve Gilliard’s recipe for bread pudding is melt in your mouth amazing.  It also goes quite well with some vanilla custard sauce and, if you want to get really decadent, splash in a little Captain Morgan spiced rum or a bit of brandy for the sauce and pour over your slice of bread pudding.  I miss talking food with Steve this time of year.  *sniffle*