Welcome to Cranky Puppy Farm!

This blog belongs to two Gen X-er's smackdab in downtown Kansas City where we've been renovating and decorating two old Victorians built in the 1890's. Our life is filled with 3 demanding Pomeranians (1 of them cranky, of course), honking cars, noisy neighbors and the hustle and bustle of city life but we dream of the day when we can move to our 40-acre farm and hear nothing but the wind and the cows next door. Until then, we're chronicling our triumphs and mishaps here as we try to garden and preserve on 2 city lots, raise chickens, and learn all those things we should have learned from our grandparents. Welcome to our world - we hope you'll stay awhile!

When Life Gives You Apples..

Sunday, January 12, 2014

J. and I just hit paydirt. Nope, not the lottery kind (although, wouldn't that be nice?) While picking up some groceries at the local Hyvee, I found some seriously awesome coupons for $2.00 off any apple purchase and $2.00 off any meat purchase. Not only were we able to pick up 10 pounds of ground beef for just $49 cents per pound, but we also came home with box full of 30 pounds of apples FOR FREE. Awesome!

So now what to do with them?   I can't decide either, so how about we start with baked apples and apple chips?

Baked Apples
These are so yummy and easy to make and, boy, do they make your house smell great while they're baking.  All you need is a baking dish, some apples and some butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.  You can even get creative and top them with some raisins or pecans also. 
4 large good baking apples, such as Rome Beauty, Golden Delicious, or Jonagold
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup boiling water

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Wash the apples and remove their cores, leaving about 1/2 inch of the bottom of the apples. It helps if you have an apple corer, but if not, you can use a paring knife to cut out first the stem area, and then the core. Use a spoon to dig out the seeds. Make the holes about 3/4-inch to an inch wide.
  3. Place the apples in a baking dish.
  4. Melt the butter in a pan (or in the microwave).  I like to do this in a microwavable measuring cup because it's easier to pour the mixture into the apples.
  5. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon and stir until mixed.  Pour the  mixture into the apples until they are just about to brim over.
  6. Add boiling water to the baking pan.
  7. Bake 30-40 minutes, until tender, but not mushy. Remove from the oven and baste the apples several times with the pan juices.
  8. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream on the side.
Trust me, these are yummy!   But we've still got 29 pounds of apples left and I want to make another favorite snack:  apple chips. 
Apple Chips
J. and I fell in love with apple chips after trying a bag of them at the local theater.  I rushed home after the movie to find out how to make this healthier alternative to potato chips and was pleasantly surprised to find that it's pretty darn easy.  That is, if you have the right tool:  a mandolin slicer.
2 medium sized apples
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 225°F.
  2. Stir together the cinnamon and sugar to combine. Or just use pre-mixed cinnamon-sugar.
  3. Decide whether or not to core your apples.  Just in case you don't know:  apple seeds are poisonous, but you'd have to eat a ton of them before they ever effected you.  Not coring them will give you a star shape in the middle of your chips, so they'll be prettier than if you core them.  J. doesn't like the core, so we cored all of ours.
  4. Slice the apples thinly with a mandolin slicer or a  very sharp knife.  Trust me, you want to use a mandolin slicer because it only takes about 20 seconds to slice the whole apple with one.  You'll be there are all day if you try to use a knife.  I know...I tried it and then ran out to get a mandolin.

  5. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper, and place the apple slices side by side on the parchment, in a single layer. Make sure not to overlap the apple slices or place them on top of each other, otherwise they won't crisp up.

  6. Sprinkle the apple slices with the cinnamon sugar. 
  7. Bake the apple slices for 1 hour, then remove them from the oven and flip them over. The apples will be floppy, but they will crisp up later.

  8. Return the apple slices to the oven for another hour
  9. Turn the oven off, letting the apple chips cool completely in the oven. This is when they will crisp up. Store in an airtight container.

Did I mention that these are fat free? And, if you don't want all that sugar, opt for a sweeter apple like HoneyCrisp or Gala and just dust with a little cinnamon.  I suspect you're going to end up addicted like we are, because these are just plain yummy.  And, again, baking apples or apple chips will make your house smell delish.
By the way, these are great to make when you're done baking something else and the oven is already heated up.  Just turn the heat down to 225, slice some apples up and go!
If you try either of these, let me know how they turn out.  We have Jonagolds, which are a combination between a Jonathan and Golden Delicious.  They're sweet, but not as sweet as Honeycrisps are but they held up well to the baking.  If you use other varieties, I'd love to hear how they turn out if you don't mind leaving a comment.
Hope you enjoy these two recipes!


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