Healthy Mini Muffins for Kids (or Anyone!)

Back in the fall when I was looking for more ways to use up the overload of squash from my CSA, I started baking with it. Using an old recipe of my mom’s for Pumpkin Apple Streusel muffins as a base, I thought I would swap the pumpkin for squash. But why stop there? So I started subbing ingredients to see how I could sneak in more veggies and make the muffins healthier. Some carrots here, some flax seeds there, some raisins for even more texture.

mini-muffins2
Every time I made them my 2 1/2 year old, who can be hit-or-miss on squash and carrots, gobbled them up. This weekend, he told me he wanted to make muffins so I took on the final frontier – reducing the amount of refined sugar. In my first attempt at messing with a staple baking ingredient, I cut the original amount of sugar in half and replaced the other cup with unsweetened applesauce and added an extra 1/2 C of flour to balance out the extra moisture.

Results? Success. The texture was exactly the same as the original version and although the muffins themselves are less sweet, I actually prefer it that way. Plus, it still passed the toddler test of requesting seconds.
mini-muffins3

Fruit & Veggie Packed Mini Muffins
makes 4 1/2 dozen mini muffins
2 eggs
1 C sugar
1/2 C vegetable oil
1 C applesauce (unsweetened/no sugar added kind)
1 C steamed and pureed winter squash (butternut or acorn work well)
3 C flour
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp ground flax seeds
1 C shredded carrots
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and shredded
2/3 C raisins

Preheat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl, beat together oil, eggs and pureed squash until combined. Beat in sugar and applesauce. Beat in pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, salt and flax seeds. Add flour, one cup at a time, mixing well for even texture. Fold in carrots, apples and raisins.

Lightly spray mini muffin baking tin with cooking spray. Spoon batter into baking tin so that each cup is 3/4 or slightly more full of batter. Bake for 12 minutes or until toothpick comes clean.

mini-muffins
katie

5 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Healthy, Kid Friendly

Happy Pi Day!

Happy Pi Day from Haute Apple Pie

20140314-084347.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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

4 Comments

Filed under Cook, Healthy, Main Dish

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

 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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

7 Comments

Filed under Cook, Kid Friendly, Treats, Valentine's Day

{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!

9 Comments

Filed under Giveaway

Slow Cooked French Dips with Stout Au Jus

A few years ago, the hubs pulled a black bear tag and, lo and behold, came back from his hunt with well over 100 pounds of bear meat. This was the year we were getting married and had just bought a house and funds weren’t exactly free-flowing so I took it as my mission to take his “gift” and make the most of it in free meals (this is what love looks like, people). Some of the things we tried left a bit to be desired (ahem, bear ribs) but others, like this recipe below were pretty fantastic.

This year, another bear ‘showed up’ in my freezer and I was actually quite excited to bust back out the slow cooker and make this version of a hearty French Dip Sandwich. Of course, most people don’t just have bear at their disposal but this would be just as wonderful with a beef roast.
frenchdip2
french dip3
Slow Cooked French Dip Sandwiches with Stout Au Jus
4 lb beef or wild game roast cut
1 can beef consomme
1 can french onion soup
1 bottle stout beer
dash Worcestershire
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 small bunch fresh thyme
cracked black pepper
sliced swiss cheese
French rolls

Place roast in a slow cooker. Pour beef consomme, french onion soup and beer over meat. Add Worcestershire, garlic and cracked pepper. Toss in bay leaf, rosemary and thyme. Slow cook on low for 8-9 hours or on high for 4-5 hours until meat is very tender.

Remove meat from slow cooker and shred or slice thinly, depending on meet you’ve chosen. Place meat on sliced French rolls and top with a slice of swiss cheese. Microwave for about 30 seconds to just melt cheese. Ladle jus from the slow cooker into a small bowl for dipping to serve.
frenchdip1
katie

3 Comments

Filed under Make Ahead Meal, Quick & Easy, sandwich