Blackberry Crumble

Blackberry Crumble

Quick post alert! And sorry for the photo quality. It’s the only way to get a post done around here these days…

I made this Blackberry Crumble at my son’s request a few weeks ago, and it’s been on my mind ever since. It is literally the EASIEST recipe, using ingredients most of us already have on hand. I made it again tonight but halved the recipe, so we’d have just enough for dessert.

I mean, it’s so easy…you could even make a single batch in a mug. Just sayin’. Now I’m wishing I had thought of that earlier. Sigh. There’s always tomorrow.

Anyway, here you go. Enjoy!

BLACKBERRY CRUMBLE: serves 6 (unless you live with me, and then it serves 4)

You need:

  • 1 quart fresh blackberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter (and I’m not gonna lie, I add a little extra)

Mix the blackberries with the sugar and set aside for a few minutes. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter until crumbly.

Pour the blackberries in a buttered baking dish (9×9) and top with the crumble mixture. And if you want to make it extra savory, top it off with a little extra butter.

Then bake at 350 ’til brown and bubbly! (Steel Magnolias, anyone?). It’s really about 30 minutes.

Seriously. So good. So goo-ey. So easy. And mmmmm…blackberries.

Happy February!

Crock Pot Applesauce (No Peeling, No Sugar)

 

Anyone who’s spent time with Isaiah knows that he’s obsessed with apples. He eats them whole…core and all.

Actually, remember this article that came out recently? It was no surprise to us, because Isaiah had already figured it out.

Add Isaiah’s love for all things ‘apple’ to Samuel’s current stage in baby food, and I figured it was about time for me to make my own applesauce. That, plus, we’re single handidly keeping the squeezable applesauce company in business. So the savings would be nice.

I’d been seeing a lot of “crock pot applesauce” recipes floating around, so I decided to give it a whirl. Believe it or not, I actually flew blind on this one–so I wasn’t quite sure how it would turn out (the only thing I looked up was how long to cook the apples).

I knew a few things going in: a)I wanted to use the peels (because I’m lazy AND that’s where most of the fiber comes from) and b) I wanted little no sugar. So with those two things in mind, I got to work.

And guess what? It turned out AMAZING.

Here’s what I did:

Start with 10 washed apples (and of course, you can double the recipe). Chop them up into 1 inch (ish) pieces, peel and all. Throw them in the crock pot with 1 cup of water, 3 tbsp of lemon juice, 2 tsp cinnamon, and 2 tbsp REAL maple syrup. 


Then cook on low for 4 hours.

After 4 hours, mash the apples with a potato masher until you reach your desired consistency. Note: you can also pour into a food processor if you really want to grind up the peels as much as possible. Personally, I like the chunkier texture. 

I also think the word “chunky” should be removed from the English language. Just sayin’.

That’s it. It’s really that simple. You can serve it cold, or warm. And it would be SO GOOD over vanilla bean ice cream.

Or…buy these re-usable squeeze containers and take it with you as a snack.

It’s official. I’m never buying applesauce again.

Baked Blueberry French Toast

I’ve always been intimidated by French Toast recipes. Probably because of the amount of time they take (soaking overnight, etc.). Life with two little ones doesn’t really work like that. Breakfast is fast and furious.

Enter: Baked Blueberry French Toast

I found this recipe on Pinterest (it’s on my “must make” board…you can follow me by clicking the link at the top of this blog), and since half the recipes from Pinterest are usually a bust…I feel it’s my RESPONSIBILITY to pass on a great one.

We’ve made this French toast for the last two weekends in a row. It’s THAT good.

The best part is…it’s quick. No soaking overnight. Twenty minutes in the oven. (Perfect amount of time to get the little ones dressed)

A few notes about the recipe.

  • Use 100% REAL maple syrup. It makes all the difference.
  • I use fresh baked French Brioche bread (picked up at Whole Foods).
  • I also dust with powdered sugar, instead of adding more maple syrup after baking.

Try it. You wont be sorry!

Thanks, Meredith, wherever you are. Your recipe is a true winner!

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Fall Month: Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

 
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I’m normally not a fan of pumpkin seeds. But Michael loves them, so we make them every year.

This year I set out to try a new recipe, and LAWDY these are good.

The trick? Boiling the seeds in salt water before you bake them. It makes the outer shell ultra cripsy and keeps the inside soft and chewy.

This is such an easy recipe, it’s perfect to make with kids. Isaiah loved helping. 

Enjoy.

Best Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

1. Wash and clean pumpkin seeds (meticulously!)
2. In a medium saucepan, boil water with salt to taste. Add seeds and boil for 10 minutes.
3. Drain seeds and pat dry
4. In a small metal bowl, mix seeds with 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and sea salt to taste.
5. Spread onto baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes.
6. Remove, stir, and bake for 5 more minutes.
7. Let cool, and enjoy!

They seriously taste just like popcorn!

State Fair Month: Carnival Snack

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In keeping with our “State Fair” theme this month, we decided to splurge and have a carnival snack.

My mom used to make graham cracker and frosting treats for us when we were little, so I thought I’d use the same idea, and mix it up to fit our theme.

And animal crackers were perfect for the occasion.

(P.S. I still think it’s strange that they aren’t called animal cookies. I mean, they are clearly cookies. CLEARLY.)

We made things more festive by dipping them in a vanilla frosting dip (with sprinkles, of course). The recipe for the frosting is below.

Enjoy!

Homemade Vanilla Frosting Dip (snack size)

1 stick of butter
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Using an electric mixer, beat butter on a low speed until creamy

2. Slowly add confectioners’ sugar. Alternate between medium and high speed to aerate the frosting.  Return to low speed and whip for 3 minutes.

3. Add vanilla and beat until frosting is smooth.

State Fair Month: “Corny Dog” Treats!

It’s here! It’s here! It’s September. And that can only mean one thing….

It’s State Fair of Texas month!

We are officially counting down to the opening day of the State Fair. And what better way to celebrate than making “The Fair” our play-theme for the entire month? (Answer: there is no better way.)

If you are just catching up around here, we’re a little Fair-crazy at the Aars household. The Texas State Fair was Michael and I’s first real date, we got engaged there the next Fall (story here, it’s a good one) and we held our wedding reception there the following Spring. So needless to say, we share some pretty good memories at the hallowed fair grounds.

And oh yeah, have you seen our family portraits from the Fair, as well?

(Did I mention we were Fair-crazy?)

We skipped the mystery box this month, and jumped right into our activities. We’ll be taking this month slow, just like we did with space month. But we hope to get around to posting more projects.

Amazing isn’t it? The projects themselves take only minutes to prepare. But posting about them? Sheesh. That’s another story. So, I’m going to stick to my “family comes first” motto, and we will try to post as many as possible. (But I’ll be honest, snuggling a newborn is going to win out over blogging, every time. He’s just too darn cute.)

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To get things started, I made us “corny dog” treats out of…you guessed it…Twinkies.

Mine are store bought, since I am short on time these days. But if you are looking for a healthy alternative, you can find a recipe here.

But really, it could be worse. At least they aren’t fried.

To make, just take your Twinkies and insert confectionery lollipop sticks. Then top with red or yellow icing to the make mustard or ketchup. (Personally, I think ketchup on a corny dog is a crime. But to each their own…)

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And you’re done. It’s the perfect treat to kick off this VERY exciting month. Don’t you agree?

Now, let the countdown commence!

Summer Fun: Peaches and Cream Pudding Pops

I’ve been dying to make Popsicles lately– which I also figured was a very fitting activity for our June Summer Fun theme. And believe it or not, it just started getting hot enough here to enjoy them (counting our blessings).

I saw a recipe for vanilla pudding pops and decided to slightly alter it to make ‘peaches and cream pops’ instead.

The main change was making the pudding from scratch. Here’s what I did…

Ingredients
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 cups cold milk (whole)
1/4 tsp salt
3 large egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla
2-3 chopped fresh peaches (or as few/many as you like)

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1. Chop 2-3 fresh peaches into tiny cubes (more or less to taste) and set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
3. Gradually whisk in the cold milk, and egg yolks.
4. Put mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it comes to a boil.
5. Turn heat to low, and continue to whisk for about 2 minutes.
6. Remove from heat and pour mixture over sieve into a medium bowl.

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7. (Optional) Add peaches into mixture and divide into Popsicle molds. Note: I poured the plain mixture into the molds, and then added peaches at the top (or bottom, whichever way you look at it) which created the ‘peaches and cream’ effect. The more peaches you add into the mixture, the more the Popsicle will taste like peaches, instead of both peaces and cream. But that’s just a matter of taste!
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8. Refrigerate for one hour, then place into the freezer overnight.

9. Run molds under warm water to loosen the Popsicles, and enjoy!

The result is a rich and creamy vanilla peach Popsicle. Think ice cream, but creamier.

You can freeze the remaining pudding mixture for later use. Or, if you are like us (we ate all six Popsicles in two days) just refrigerate and make more when you are ready.

I mixed fresh strawberries straight into the second batch and I swear they tasted just like strawberry shortcake. I’m not sure which was my favorite!

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And…I must be a mean Mamma, because I believe these were Isaiah’s very first Popsicles.

After he finished it he said, “Mmm, baby just LOVES Popsicles.”

I’d say that was a success.