Apple Oatmeal Bars

There is the slightest bit of coolness most mornings now which we call cold in California! Apple season is upon us with a huge variety starting to grace the shelves of our grocery stores. Combine apples with cooler weather and upcoming holidays means cookies! And adding oatmeal can only give you claim to them being healthy so you can permit yourself to down several along with hot tea or a cold glass of milk.

Apple Oatmeal Bars

When Fall approaches, apples are in abundance. Nothing like a spicy apple and cinnamon concoction to put the sent of holidays into the air just a bit! This is a cookie-type bar cookie with a lot of taste and goes well as a snack or dressed up for dessert.

½ cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup rolled oats
2-3 green or tart apples, peeled and diced (about 2 cups total)
Juice and zest of one, small lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking pan (approximately 12x9x2-inches) with parchment paper or use vegetable oil spray.

Cream together the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a small bowl, mix together the lemon juice, zest, vanilla extract, and the apples. Now stir in the rolled oats, apple mixture and nuts into the flour/butter mixture. Spread the batter in the prepared baking pan.

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a cooling rack. Cut into desired-sized bars and either sprinkle with powdered sugar or drizzle with a lemon glaze. Goes well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a generous portion of freshly-whipped cream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick and Easy Candy Treats

Here is a fast and easy way to have some almost-instant treats on hand for unexpected guests who have just called and will be there within the hour! This happens a lot during the holidays so let’s put the ingredients on our shopping list and be prepared to amaze!

Quick and Easy Candy Treats

1 pounds Almond bark (You can find this in the baking section of most grocery stores in white or chocolate flavors.)
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
2 cups miniature marshmallows. (If you can find the multicolored ones, think how pretty that would be!
2 cups crisped rice cereal
1 ½ cups of roughly crushed pretzels

Carefully melt the almond bark either in a glass bowl in your microwave or over a pot of simmering water on the stove. This stuff can burn easily so be prepared! Don’t get any liquid in the mix or it will seize up and it won’t be pretty or usable! Don’t ask me how I know that!

Remove from heat and gently stir in everything but the marshmallows. Carefully fold the marshmallows in last so they don’t over melt and you can still see them in the finished product. Drop by generous teaspoons full onto either parchment paper or waxed paper and let set completely. In a hurry, the refrigerator will hurry up that process.

Ideas:
If you can corral a helper aka one of your wandering children who have been whining about there being nothing to do, he/she can be offered the job of sprinkling the candy with colorful decorations before they set.

You aren’t limited to peanuts!

If you like a really sweet concoction, browse the cereal aisle for an alternative to the crisped rice cereal.

If you do chocolate candies, melt down a bit of white almond bark and drizzle it over the set candy. Switch around the concept if you used white almond bark for the candy.

Want to go for a slightly healthier approach, pumpkin and sun flower seeds can work in your creation.

Quick Almond Toffee Bites

Sharing with you my quick and easy recipe for coming up with a last-minute gift or a hostess gift to bring to a holiday party . . . or to make for yourself and indulge.

Quick Almond Toffee Bites

1 ½ sticks butter, no substitutes
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup toasted and coarsely chopped almonds

Melt the butter and sugars together in a pot and bring to a rolling boil. Maintain the rolling boil for five minutes, stirring constantly. Add the nuts, bring to a rolling boil and continue for another five minutes, stirring to prevent burning.

Spread the mixture on a sheet of greased foil (heavily use Pam or any other vegetable spray.). Sprinkle with chocolate chips and spread out as they melt. Put in the refrigerator until set. Break into pieces and store in a closed container in a cool place.

The Gag Test – How Fresh is Your Food?

The Gag Test
Anything that make you gag is spoiled, except for leftovers from what you cooked for yourself last night.

eggs
When something starts pecking its way out of the shell, the egg is probably past its prime.

Dairy products
Milk is spoiled when it starts to look like yogurt. Yogurt is spoiled when it starts to look like cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is spoiled when it starts to look like regular cheese. Regular cheese is nothing but spoiled milk anyway and can’t get any more spoiled that it is already . . . unless it’s getting blue and furry, then you’d better back off.

Mayonnaise
If it makes you violently ill after you eat it, the mayonnaise is spoiled.

Frozen foods
Frozen foods that have become an integral part of the defrosting problem in your freezer compartment will probably be spoiled by the time you pry them out with a kitchen knife.

Meat
If opening the refrigerator door causes stray animals from a three-block radius to congregate outside your house, the meat is spoiled.

Potatoes
Fresh potatoes do not have roots, branches, or dense, leafy undergrowth.

Empty containers
Putting empty containers back into the refrigerator is an old trick, but it only works if you have a wife or a maid.

General Rule of Thumb
Most food cannot be kept longer than the average life span of a hamster. Keep a hamster in your refrigerator to gauge this.

Pancakes – Pure and Simple!

When the weather starts cooling down and you wake up to a brisk morning, it seems to demand that the scent of pancakes should be permeating your home. A side of bacon and eggs wouldn’t go amiss, either. Colder weather demands a heartier breakfast. It is also time to start thinking about holiday breakfasts and company being in the house. I like my pancakes simple: maple syrup and butter.

Easy Pancakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 (perhaps a bit more) cup whole milk
1 large egg
4 tablespoons melted butter

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add the rest of the listed ingredients and mix until smooth. If the batter is too thick, thin it with a little milk.

Heat the frying pan, add a bit of butter or favorite oil, and pour in 1/4 cups of batter for each pancake. When the surface bubbles, it is time to turn it over. Cook to desired golden brown and serve immediately.

Ideas:
My husband likes to add 1/4 cup of cooked rice to the batter.

Make the batter a bit thinner and then you can roll the pancakes up around stewed apples, chunky jam, cinnamon,brown sugar, and butter.

Adding bacon crumbles to the pancake and serving with warm maple syrup is good, too.P1000267