daddy’s apple dumplings

by jani on October 8, 2012

My grandma died long before I was born. Actually, she died long before my mom and dad were married. Grandma was born in Kentucky at the beginning of the Civil War. I grew up hearing all kinds of fun stories about my dad’s childhood. His  favorite dessert were the apple dumplings  his mom made. The problem was – no one had Grandma Mattie’s recipe. So Mom started her years long search for just the right apple dumplings. She never made them quite like Grandma Mattie – but Daddy decided that the following recipe was the closest. The best part about the search was… we got to eat a lot of old fashioned southern apple dumplings!


  • 6 medium Granny Smith apples
  • 1 – 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 – 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 packages refrigerated pie crust (or make your own)

Roll pastry into rectangle (if making your own) to 1/8 inch thick . Cut into six squares. Peel and core apples.

Bring 1 cup sugar, 2 cups water, 3 Tbls butter and 1/4 tsp cinnamon to boil. Mix remaining sugar and cinnamon, place cored apples on pastry square. Evenly fill apples with cinnamon sugar mixture and dot with remaining butter. Encase each apple in pastry square, moisten with water to seal. Optional: cut out leaf pattern from remaining pastry and use a knife to score a line and cross with horizontal scores to resemble leaves. Place a few inches apart in casserole baking dish. Pour hot syrup around dumplings. Bake at 425 degrees for 40 minutes on middle rack in oven. Mine were completely done after 30 minutes so watch closely.

Serve warm with cream, whipped cream or ice cream. These will be very sweet so be careful not to add too much sugar to your whipped cream.

These are so yummy on a cold fall evening. They were really easy to make and trust me… I’m not a fancy baker but these were a fun treat to make!

With the apple harvest here, there are all kinds of recipes. This just happens to be a childhood favorite of mine! What are some of your special apple treats? I’d love to hear!


grilled peaches with almond yogurt creme

by jani on September 24, 2012

A few weeks ago, I posted a yummy blueberry-peach cobbler with almond whipped cream. It was really good. But in looking for a healthier alternative, we came up with this fun recipe. It seems that we never know what to do with our peaches. Well, of course we can sit by the sink and spend hours preparing canned peaches… I know, I used to do this years ago. But now it’s just eat them fresh or freeze them for later. Our Utah peaches are just so large and juicy this year that grilling is a quintessential solution.

Ingredients for glaze:

  • We used two peaches for our mid-day snack. If you’d like a light dessert, 1/2 peach per person will work perfectly.
  • 1 Tbsp apricot or peach preserves
  • 1/2 Tbsp Nakano rice vinegar

Combine preserves and vinegar to make a glaze. Set aside. Heat grill (to about 350 degrees)

Ingredients for Almond Yogurt Creme: Serves 2-4

  • 8-oz (1 c) Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • approx 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 packets of Truvia sweetener (optional) or to taste

Combine all above ingredients in bowl and mix thoroughly. Chill if desired for later use.

Brush flesh of peach with glaze and place them flesh side down on hot grill. Grill for approximately 10 minutes (criss crossing for grill marks).

Spoon a couple of dollops of Almond Yogurt Creme onto each halved grilled peach.

This is just a delightful dessert and is healthy as well… that makes for a perfect combination! It’s a great time of year to be grilling – not too hot and not too cold. HB will grill all winter long (as long as there’s not a blizzard outside!)

How about you? Are you still enjoying your barbecue? I’d love to hear!


from pots to bruschetta

by jani on September 10, 2012

With the cooler nights and still-warm days, our tomatoes are going wild. So what to do with our tiny grape and cherry tomatoes? Make a delicious tomato basil bruschetta. I like to buy uncut crusty artisan French bread, so that I can get a thicker slice – approximately 3/4 inch thick to counter sogginess. This is a quick and healthy lunch.

tomato basil bruschetta

We picked  tomatoes and sweet basil from our garden.


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tsp minced garlic
  • artisan hard crusted French bread (cut into four 3/4 inch slices)
  • About 3-4 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 12 sweet basil leaves thinly chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Serves two to three.

Brown garlic in olive oil, pour into dish to cool. Add sliced tomatoes and chopped basil.

Mix tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil.

Add olive oil (or butter if desired) to pan, heat. Place sliced bread in pan and brush outside with either olive oil or melted butter. Brown both sides evenly, arrange two slices on plates and scoop tomato mixture onto each slice.

tomato, basil 5

This is so easy and you can still enjoy a bit of summer with this delightfully light open face sandwich. If you didn’t get around to planting grape tomatoes or sweet basil this year, try it next. Both of our plants are in containers… easy!

Hope you enjoy this… “hey mangia, mangia Italiano!”


freezing peaches

by jani on August 31, 2012

Just less than two weeks ago the annual Peach Festival took place in Palisade, Colorado. We discovered the lushness of these peaches a couple years ago while driving home from Denver on Interstate 70. Palisade is located seven miles east of Grand Junction. Each year we look forward to the Palisade peach harvest.

Most of my friends can their peaches, but we prefer freezing them.

The secret to keeping the flesh of your frozen peaches bright and fresh all winter long is orange juice. Just cut your peaches in half, leaving the skin on.  Remove the pit and then dip just the flesh side into the orange juice.

Place the halved peaches on a cookie sheet flesh side up and freeze until hard. Once frozen, place them in a freezer bag (it’s always a good idea to mark the date on the bag).

I usually use a half peach in my daily smoothie. We froze six 18-lb. boxes, which should also yield plenty of peaches for pies and cobblers during the winter. If you place the frozen peach under warm water, the skin will peel easily; they’re now ready to be used in your favorite peach recipe – and most importantly retaining the vibrant fresh peach color!

I hope you’ll try this…  it’s great if you have the freezer space, and so much quicker than canning. Not that I don’t love a good canned peach; I’ve done my share of many a jar in my life!

So, what’s your favorite peach recipe? HB made a great Fresh Peach Crisp with Maple Cream Sauce recipe from The Pioneer Woman that you just have to try! Here’s the link:  Next Wednesday check back for a yummy blueberry peach cobbler!