Author Archives: Stef

About Stef

Family: Husband (Tom) and little man Lincoln James. Dwelling: A 1967 Ranch home that changes every day. Homemaker tip: Don’t be afraid to fail. A bad meal can always be fixed with a frozen pizza, a dead plant can be replaced and paint can cure a room. I consider my style: Contemporary with a vintage flair. I love a sleek piece of furniture with the contrast of an old vase or a stack of old used books. I cannot live without eating: Italian Beef sandwiches. I am Chicago-bred and love a good beef with sweet peppers. Pizza is a close second. Three foods you will always find in my pantry: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Crushed Tomatoes and Chicken Broth. My cooking mantra: Even foods that were destined to be bad for you can be recreated in a healthy way.

Balsamic Strawberry Mascarpone Crepes

Le Creuset Crepe PanMy husband and I recently celebrated our sixth “iron” anniversary and he surprised me with a beautiful Le Creuset crepe pan. I’ve always wanted to delve into the art of crepe making and now I have my chance. I have yet to sink in to the savory – which I do plan to do and share! – but my first test run with making a sweet breakfast or dessert crepe was extraordinary.

Crepes are a really simple batter and easy to make as long as you have a good pan, good utensils and a  good eye for flipping. These are best made to order or keep the crepes warm in an oven warmer while you make the rest.

This mixture of the balsamic vinegar and strawberries is one of my favorites and paired with the creamy sweetness of the mascarpone and whipped cream filling, it tasted just like a small gift from heaven. This will be a great recipe in a few weeks after we pick strawberries!

Balsamic Strawberry Mascarpone Crepes

Balsamic Strawberry Mascarpone Crepes
Makes 5-6 large crepes, or 8-10 small crepes

Batter
1 C milk
1 C AP Flour
2 eggs
6 TBSP water
3 TBSP butter melted, cooled
1/2 tsp salt
butter for crepe pan

Filling
1 C heavy whipping cream
1 C mascarpone cheese, softened
1/4 C powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 C sliced strawberries
1/3 C balsamic vinegar

For crepe:
Preheat crepe pan on medium high heat.

Add all ingredients and beat with electric mixer or hand blender for 4-5 minutes until smooth.

Add small pat of butter to pan and melt. Pour batter into center of pan, making a circle about half the size of the pan. Using crepe utensil, spread batter in a circular motion and allow to fill toward the edges. Cook crepe for about 2-3 minutes (depends on temperature of pan) and flip when edges become firm. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until golden brown.

For filling:
In a cold bowl, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

With a paddle attachment, beat mascarpone, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Gently fold in whipped cream and set aside.

For strawberries:
In a heated saute pan, add strawberries and balsamic vinegar. Cook until vinegar reduces to a syrup consistency and strawberries soften. About 10-15 minutes.

Assemble:
Spoon mascarpone mixture down center of crepe and add strawberries. Roll to fold and add more strawberries and balsamic syrup to the top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

stef

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Happy Pi Day!

Happy Pi Day from Haute Apple Pie

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Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Another St. Patty’s day is almost upon us. This is the time of year I attempt Irish cuisine for a meal or two. Then I remember that I’ve been to Ireland, and while I had a few good meals, I feel like the Irish are better suited to beer and whiskey.  I do, however, love one-dish meals and the idea of shepherd’s pie. I prepared a healthy version of the Irish favorite, using sweet potatoes on top instead of your standard mash.

Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
Serves 4-6

1 lb lean ground beef (you could also use turkey or lamb)
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 C chopped carrots
1/2 C chopped celery
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp chopped garlic
1/3 C marsala wine
6 oz tomato paste
1/4 C worchestershire sauce
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In medium saucepan, boil sweet potatoes until soft, approximately 15 minutes. Drain, mash, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In large skillet, brown ground beef. Add onions, carrots, celery and garlic and sauté until vegetables are softened, approximately 10-12 minutes. Add marsala, tomato paste and worchestershire and simmer until sauce thickens. Add pepper and remove from heat.

Place meat mixture in a square or round 8 inch baking dish. Press mashed sweet potatoes over the top of the mixture. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, or until potato top becomes a bit crusted.

Spoon and serve.

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie dish

If you want to Irish it up a bit more, swap the marsala for some Guinness. Or just drink one while you cook.

Check out these other comforting potato dishes from our friends around the web!

The Heritage Cook: Potato, Bacon, Green Chiles and Cheese Casserole 
Feed Me Phoebe: Bangers and Spinach Mash with Cider Onions
Dishin & Dishes: Sweet and Savory Potato Stacks
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Potato-Chickpea Masala with Cilantro Chutney
Weelicious: Potato Fans
Taste With The Eyes: Truffled Poached Egg, Asparagus and Truffle Vinaigrette, Black Truffle and Potato Stack
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Warm Pan Fried Potatoes and Greens Salad
Red or Green: Smashed Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Crispy Oven Fries
The Sensitive Epicure: Healthier Twice Baked Potato Skins
Elephants and the Coconut Tress: Indian Spiced Potatoes
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Healthy Bacon Egg Potato Breakfast Casserole  ‎
Virtually Homemade: 
Bacon Parmesan Hasselback Potatoes
Devour: 
Mashed Potatoes, Reinvented
FN Dish: 
10 Potato Picks (Recipes)

Slainte!

stef

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Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Congrats to commenter @ajgreer for winning the Hanna Martine Long Shot giveaway! We hope you are all enjoying your Valentine’s Day. Here is a snapshot of what my little guy gave to all of his Packer loving friends at school today.

Bears ValentineLove to all!

stef

 

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Valentine Cake Balls

I’ve been Valentine’s nostalgic this year after signing up to bring the sweet treat for my little guy’s Valentine’s Day party at school. Nothing says Valentine’s Day more than Conversation Hearts. While these little heart-shaped sugar messages have evolved over the years – TXT ME, TWEET ME – the taste still brings back memories of stuffing little homemade mailboxes full of loving messages and treats.

valentinecakeballs

I knew these three and four-year-olds would be hopped up on lots of sugary treats, so I wanted to make a bite sized treat to share. I put together these funfetti conversation heart cake balls that are as tasty as they are cute!

Valentine Cake Balls
Yields approx. 30
1 box Funfetti cake mix (w ingredients included on box directions)
6 oz whipped vanilla frosting (1/2 can)
2 12 oz. packages pink candy melts
1 small box conversation hearts

Bake cake mix according to directions on box. Allow to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, crumble cake. Add frosting and mush cake and frosting together with hands, working frosting through cake to mold together. Using a tablespoon or cookie dough scoop, scoop out 1-2 inch balls of dough and roll. Place onto foil lined baking sheet. Continue until all dough is used up. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

In microwave, melt candy melts according to directions. Using a teaspoon, drop balls, one at a time into candy melt mix. Full coat and slowly drop balls back onto foil lined sheet. Place one conversation heart on the top of each ball, pressing in. Put in a cool place to dry, at least one hour. Cover for up to one week or freeze for three months.

Valentine's Cake Balls

Looking for another comforting Valentine dessert? Try any of these from our friend’s around the web!

Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Quinoa Fudge Brownies
Feed Me Phoebe: Salted Caramel Budino with Whipped Cream
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Milk Chocolate Brownies
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: A Chocolate Fondue Party
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Blood Orange Bars
Dishing with Divya: Carrot Halwa
Virtually Homemade: Raspberry Grand Marnier Mascarpone Hand Pies 
Devour: 5 Bread Pudding Recipes for Valentine’s Day
Weelicious: Puff Pastry Berry Hearts
Red or Green: Hot Chocolate, New Mexican Style
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Chocolate Cake Brownies (Refined Sugar-Free)
The Sensitive Epicure: Nutella Panna Cotta
Food for 7 Stages of Life: S’mores on a Stick
Tasting With The Eyes: Puff au Chocolat avec Fraises, Basilic, Fleur de Sel
FN Dish: DIY Chocolate Desserts for Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!

stef

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{Valentine’s GIVEAWAY} Hanna Martine’s Long Shot

It’s cold outside but the temperatures are rising over here at Haute Apple Pie for Valentine’s week! We are happy to bring you a Valentine’s giveaway from romance author and fellow foodie, Hanna Martine. Hanna is the author of the paranormal romance Elementals series, including Liquid Lies, Taste of Ice and Drowning in Fire (coming this April) as well as the contemporary romance Highland Games series. To add a little extra spice to your life, this week we will be giving away a copy of Long Shot.

Hanna Martine Long Shot

Here is what Long Shot is all about:

Jen Haverhurst is on the verge of becoming a partner in New York City’s top event planning company when her sister calls begging for help. The New Hampshire town of Gleann—where they spent many happy childhood summers—is in danger of losing its main attraction, the Highland Games. Jen reluctantly agrees to take over running the Games as well as helping with their aunt’s failing B&B. But she didn’t count on Leith MacDougall.

Before she left town ten years ago, Leith was a summer friend who grew into something much more. Since then, he’s become a legend of the Highland Games, winning three years in a row. Now retired, he’s just about ready to skip town to chase his own dreams of success.

But when Jen tries to convince Leith to stick around and help revive the Games, their youthful romance is revived into a very grown-up Highland affair…

We talked with Hanna to get a little insight on her life as an author as well as some of our favorite topics – food and parties!

hanna-sweater-pressGive us your one minute bio:

I write contemporary and paranormal romance novels, which means there’s always a happy ending for the couple in question. Sometimes there’s magic (paranormal), sometimes there isn’t (contemporary), but both kinds of books take place in the modern day. I left a decade of office work in order to show my daughter what it means to go after your dream. The only thing I’ve ever wanted to be is a novelist. I used to think I was going to be the next J.R.R. Tolkien or George R.R. Martin and write epic fantasy (and use lots of initials), but the fact I used to steal my mom’s romance novels in high school should have tipped me off that hot love stories were in my future. I live outside Chicago, but my heart resides in Australia.

Where did you get your inspiration for Long Shot? 

I got married in Scotland (in a 700-year-old castle haunted by a ghost named Sebastian, but that’s a whole other story), and while we were there we stumbled across a local Highland games, which we LOVED. We spent a day in the sun drinking beer, watching men in kilts throw huge, heavy implements around a field for sport, and listening to Scottish folk music. When we returned to the States, we discovered that there’s an annual Highland games ten minutes from our house. We’ve become reliable attendees. In 2012, I was sitting there watching these incredible male athletes strut around the field in sexy kilts and I was like, hmmmm….romance novel hero???? Up until then I’d only written paranormal romance, but I concocted two contemporary stories centered around the concept of the Highland games in America, and I sold them to my editor at Berkley Sensation/Penguin Random House. I used some of my previous experience planning events in my old job to create the character of Jen, who returns to the town of her heart to revive its spirit and its local Highland games.

If you were to pair this book with a meal and beverage, what would it be?

Food and drink, say no more! This book is casual and fun, yet sexy and mature, so it must be beer. A hearty glass, not a light lager (ew, light beer!). An ale of some sort, red or cream. Paired with a crinkly paper pocket full of fish and chips. Not the flimsy, watery kind, but the dark brown, thickly battered, crunchy/crispy slabs of flaky fish that put you in heaven. Pair that with hot, firm chips (potato skin still on, preferably), and you’re good to go.

Just like Jen from Long Shot – we love to plan. What would be your ideal party or event to plan?

My ideal party to plan would be a huge outdoor event with all my friends and family. Like a wedding, but not, haha. Food stations providing a wide variety of upscale picnic food, all sorts of lawn games set up and ready to go, tons of kids screaming around. It would be by a lake or the ocean, so we could play and drink and eat all day, watch the sun go down over the water, and then I’d have the world’s greatest private firework display.

Thanks to Hanna for sharing with us and helping us add a little heat this Valentine’s Day!

{GIVEAWAY}

So now for the details! To win your very own copy of Long Shot, simply leave a comment below and answer: how you are spicing up your Valentine’s Day? 

For bonus entries:
Follow Hanna Martine on Twitter
Like Hanna on Facebook
Like Haute Apple Pie on Facebook

The giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, February 13. The winner will be announced Friday, February 14. You must be 18 or older to enter and live in the Continental U.S. Winner will be chosen at random.

Good luck!

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Easy Pan Cheeseburger Sliders

Unfortunately, polar vortex temperatures are not conducive to outdoor grilling. Unless you are into deep frozen cheeseburgers. I, for one, am not. I recently tried this incredibly easy way to cook up a burger inside with little mess and lots of flavor. By baking the ground beef patty in a rimmed baking pan, you end up spending less time at a grill and more time with your guests.

This is the perfect addition to a Super Bowl spread. I’ve listed the recipe for the most classic of cheeseburgers, but the possibilities with these are endless. Next time I’m thinking BBQ Cheddar or Mushroom Swiss.

Easy Pan Cheeseburger SlidesEasy Pan Cheeseburger Sliders
Makes 10-12 servings

2 lbs ground beef
1/4 C diced yellow onion
2 TBSP worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 cracked black pepper
6 slices, sharp cheddar cheese
small pretzel buns, or other small dinner rolls
Lettuce, ketchup, mustard or other desired condiments

Preheat oven to 400. In a large mixing bowl, mix ground beef, onion, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper together. Press beef mixture evenly into a rimmed 9×13 baking pan. Using the end of a wooden spoon or other similar utensil, press down, making indents randomly across the meat (as shown in the picture).

Pan Burgers

Place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. About halfway through, remove from oven and empty grease. Repeat after 25 minutes. Place cheese slices across the top and place in the oven for 2-3 more minutes to melt cheese.

Using a pizza cutter, cut patty into squares of desired size. Place on buns and serve!

Check out these other Super Bowl friendly sliders!

Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Gluten-Free Maryland Crab Cake Sliders
The Heritage Cook: Italian Sliders with Fried Polenta and Marinara Sauce
Feed Me Phoebe: Thai Chicken Sliders with Sriracha Mayo
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Shredded Beef Sliders
Devour: Pick Your Slider Stuffing for Super Bowl
Dishin & Dishes: Philly Cheesesteak Sliders
Blue Apron Blog: 5 Tricks to a Great Slider
Weelicious: Mexican Chicken Sliders
Taste With The Eyes: Classic Chicago-Style Polish Sausage Sliders
Virtually Homemade: Meatball Sliders
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Buffalo Sliders with Bacon & Cheddar
Red or Green: Buffalo Chicken Sliders with Bacon & Celery
The Sensitive Epicure: Arepas — The Ultimate Gluten-Free Slider with South American Flair
Domesticate Me: Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Meatball Sliders
Daily*Dishin: Italian Roast Beef-Smoked Almond Creamy Cheesy Sliders
FN Dish: Super Sliders

stef

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Wisconsin Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

With the new year comes resolutions and many of those lean toward healthy eating. Now we love a good thick, cheesy, creamy and caloric macaroni and cheese just as much as the next guy, but sometimes, lets face it, we need to lighten it up. So we are kicking off the new year with a guest post from Carrie over at Diet Deep Dish who is bringing us a delicious recipe for Cauliflower Mac & Cheese…Wisconsin Style.

Hello! I’m Carrie from the blog, Diet Deep Dish, and I am so honored to provide a guest post for Haute Apple Pie! I share the HAP ladies’ passion for creating simple, delicious recipes with a Midwestern flair. My goal is to lighten-up your favorite comfort foods, so what better way than to start with Mac and Cheese?

This recipe ups the nutrients with whole grains, cauliflower and broccoli, but is just as creamy and satisfying as the original. I brought this to our family Christmas, and adults and kids alike went for second helpings. I hope you enjoy!

Craving more mac and cheese? Check out these past HAP recipes!
Southwestern Pepper Jack Mac
Buffalo Mac ‘n Cheese
Smoky “Wintervera” Mac ‘n Cheese
Rosemary White Cheddar Mac ‘n Cheese

Wisconsin Cauliflower Mac n Cheese

Wisconsin Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
Yields 8 servings

Adapted from Rachel Ray

Ingredients
1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
12 oz whole wheat pasta
2 cups broccoli slaw
2 tbsp butter substitute, like Earth Balance natural buttery spread (or butter)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup skim milk
½ cup vegetable broth
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
2 cups reduced-fat cheddar cheese
4 oz reduced-fat cream cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

For the topping

2 slices whole grain bread, torn into pieces (or 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs)
2 oz goat cheese
½ tbsp. butter

Preparation
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the cauliflower. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
2. Remove the cauliflower with a slotted spoon and add the pasta and broccoli slaw to the same boiling water. Cook until tender. Drain the water and add the cooked cauliflower to the pasta and broccoli slaw and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, melt the butter or butter substitute in a skillet. Whisk in the flour until combined. Slowly whisk in the milk, broth and seasonings and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.
4. Stir in the shredded and cream cheeses. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the pasta mixture and toss to coat. Pour into a greased 9×13 in baking dish.
5. To prepare the topping, place the bread (or bread crumbs) and goat cheese in a food processor and pulse until combined. Melt the butter in a saucepan and cook the bread crumb mixture until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle mixture over the mac and cheese.
6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and bake uncovered for 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese

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From the newest piece of the pie..

This Christmas season has been filled with many great joys. Wishing you the happiest of holidays and blessings in the new year from Stef’s newest piece of the pie…

Xavier Stephen
December 10, 2013
newborn photo

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White Chocolate Peanut Butter Reindeer Fudge

If you are looking for an easy treat to get crafty with this Christmas, try this simple white chocolate peanut butter fudge recipe and wrap it in Rudolph! I have a small obsession for Rudolph crafts and treats as seen in my posts of Christmas’ past: Rudolph the Reindeer Treat Bags and Reindeer Peanut Butter Cookies. This year, we were asked to bring something to a cookie exchange for a kid’s holiday party and I thought these would be the perfect addition. They take about ten minutes of prep and cooking, 2 hours of cooling and a little extra time for decorating (which can be done with or without a little one).

reindeer fudge

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge
2 C sugar
1/2 2% milk
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 C creamy peanut butter
1/2 C white chocolate chips

Line a 9 inch glass pie pan with non-stick foil or wax paper. Spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar and milk. Heat and whisk until dissolved. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 2-3 minutes, or until mixture becomes thickened. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla until incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, spread mixture into pie pan. Sprinkle white chocolate chips generously over the top, patting down with the spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours.

When chilled, remove foil from pie pan and cut into triangles. One pie pan will make approximately 10-12 triangles, depending on the size.

DSC_0011

To decorate, you will need:
Cellophane bags
Brown pipe cleaners
Self-stick google eyes
Red construction paper
Scissors
Glue

Place triangle fudge into bags. Fit bag tightly over fudge and pull together at the top. Secure with pipe cleaner, twisting to create a seal (you could always place a small rubber band to secure the bag first if you’d like). Fashion pipe cleaners into antlers, bending to your liking. Cut small circle with construction paper. Glue at tip of bag. Stick eyes above. Repeat until complete.

You can also use your favorite brownie or blondie recipe with this wrapping to create the same effect.

Happy Holiday baking!

stef

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