Good-Luck Black-Eyed Peas

january 4 supper

Image by jodigreen via Flickr

In the American South, people serve black-eyed peas and corn bread to bring good luck. Here is a recipe from the children’s cookbook, Cooking Around the Calendar with Kids: Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun by Amy Houts that will get your New Year started right.

Amy suggests you soak the peas the night before.

Black-Eyed Peas

1 pound package dried black-eyed peas
1 ham hock

Children can place peas in a 4-quart pot; cover peas with water. Let set overnight. Drain water and cover with fresh water. Add the ham hock and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and let simmer, covered, for two to three hours, until peas are tender. Check occasionally and add additional water if necessary.

Adult will need to remove ham hock from pot. Separate the ham from the bones and fat. Put the ham back in the pot and discard the bones and fat. Serve in soup on the side.

Yield: 8 servings

Tomorrow I’ll send you Amy’s best Crusty Corn Bread.

Best to you,

Lee Jackson

P.S. For more information about Amy’s children’s book, go to http://www.imagesunlimitedpub.com

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Cyber Monday Deal: Autographed Children’s Books

Four children reading the book How the Grinch ...

Image via Wikipedia

All of our children’s books purchased between now and December 10 can be autographed upon request. Authors will be happy to sign their books. Children love to “get to know” the author. This includes the following books:

The Littlest Christmas Kitten
Cooking Around the Country With Kids: USA Regional Recipes and Fun Activities
Cooking Around the Calendar With Kids: Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun
Listening to the Mukies and Their Character Building Adventures

See more info about them at http://www.imagesunlimitedpub.com

Thinking Christmas!

Lee Jackson
Images Unlimited Books
Books for children, families and parenting professionals
http://www.imagesunlimitedpub.com

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What’s an Easy Breakfast Apple Recipe?

Peeling apples
Image by bkajino via Flickr

For those mornings when you have just a bit more time (that does happen sometimes?) get your kids to help you make this coffee cake together. It uses prepared biscuits so it’s a snap to make.

Peeling the apples may take the longest, but this recipe only requires 2 apples. Can you peel the whole apple in one long piece?

As one “long-ago apple saying” goes: If you close your eyes and toss the long peel to the floor, whatever alphabet shape it most represents is the  first initial of the person you will marry!

Apple Biscuit Coffee Cake

2 cooking apples, peeled and sliced
(this can be Granny Smith, Jonathan, Winesap,
Rome Beauty, Gala, or other firm, tart apple)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup raisins
1 can refrigerated ready-to-bake biscuits

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 egg
1/4 cup walnuts
1 tablespoon butter

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in 9-inch round cake pan. After it is melted,
pour off 1 tablespoon butter to be used for the topping.
Arrange sliced apples over butter. Sprinkle raisins over
apples. Cut each of the 10 biscuits into fourths and place over apples.

Mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, corn syrup and egg until
well blended and sugar is dissolved. Pour over biscuits.
Sprinkle walnuts over top. Dot with 1 tablespoon melted butter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. After coffee cake is
baked, an adult can invert it on serving plate. This is done by placing
the plate over the hot, steaming cake and, using good potholders, quickly turn
pan over unto serving plate, so juices run over coffee cake. This is a little tricky but do it quickly and the cake will fall onto the serving plate, catching the juices.

Then, sit and enjoy. Your kids will love it, too.

Lee Jackson
author From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers
Apples, Apples Everywhere – Favorite Recipes From America’s Orchards
and The Littlest Christmas Kitten
http://www.imagesunlimitedpub.com
.

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What’s an Apple Betty?

Apple Crisp
Image by DavidErickson via Flickr

I call this recipe an Apple Betty. But the earlier versions use browned bread cubes and brown sugar layered with apples. I’m guessing someone named Betty had some leftover bread and combined it with apples. Voila, Apple Betty!

I love this recipe for two reasons:
1) it tastes absolutely delicious and
2) you don’t have to grease the pan! I don’t know why, but that is a real plus for me.

Favorite Apple Betty

4 cups cooking apples, peeled and sliced
1/4  cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4  cup water

Combine apples, sugar, cinnamon, and water. Simmer 5 – 10 minutes just until apples are beginning to get tender. Pour into ungreased 9-inch pie pan. Sprinkle the following crumb topping over the apples:

Topping
1/2  cup brown sugar
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4  teaspoon salt

Blend brown sugar and butter. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Mixture will be crumbly. Sprinkle over apples.

Bake at 350° F for 25-30 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Serves 6

Others might call this an Apple Crisp, although it really doesn’t get crispy on top nor does it have any oatmeal. It is a simple recipe well worth trying.

Best to you,

Lee Jackson
Author of From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers
Apples, Apples Everywhere – Favorite Recipes From America’s Orchards and Littlest Christmas Kitten
http://www.imagesunlimitedpub.com

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Making Apple Roll-Ups

Matt, struggling to open his fruit rollup
Image by massdistraction via Flickr

Kids love fruit roll-ups from the store, but you can make them easily at home. What better time to make apple roll-ups than when this fruit is at its peak?

Apple Roll-Ups

6-8  apples
1/4 – 1/2  cup water
about 2 tablespoons honey

Wash, peel, core and cut-up apples.  Add water to apples in saucepan.

Cook over low heat just as you would for applesauce. Cook until apples are soft and break-up easily. Stir occasionally. Do not let apples scorch!

Put in blender or food processor and blend or process until apples are quite smooth.

Mix in about 1 tablespoon honey per cup of applesauce, depending on tartness of apples.

Add more water if apple mixture is too thick to spread evenly.

Cover bottom of cookie sheet pan with plastic wrap.

Spread apple mixture thinly over plastic wrap in pan. May need to use more than one pan.

Put in 150° F  oven with the door slightly open. Leave in oven for 12 hours, or until apples are almost dry, but still pliable.

When mixture cools enough to handle, roll up, as with a jelly roll, starting from wide end.

Store in plastic wrap until ready to use. Then slice each roll into bite-sized pieces.

Note: can use dehydrator for drying apples. Lightly grease trays and spread puree evenly and thinly onto trays. Set temperature at 130-140° F. Dry until fruit feels dry and pliable with no sticky spots.

Any applesauce that is leftover can be spread out on a cookie sheet and dried in this manner for a taste treat just like the store-bought varieties. Add nuts for a nutty-fruity roll.

Enjoy apples – ‘tis the season!

Lee Jackson
Author of From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers
Apples, Apples Everywhere – Favorite Recipes From America’s Orchards
and Littlest Christmas Kitten
http://www.imagesunlimitedpub.com

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Yummy Baked Apple Recipe

baked apples

Image by elana's pantry via Flickr

With the bountiful apple harvest this year, it’s a rare person who doesn’t end up with a bushel, a peck, or only a pound of apples. But what to do with them?

In my apple cookbook, From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers, I have over 150 ways of preparing apples. In this expanded edition I included recent favorites as well as many “oldies but goodies” that were not in the first edition.

Below is the Baked Apple dish I made last night for supper. It is an easy and tasty apple dessert, low on calories and high on fiber and flavor.

The apples were hand picked and the cider used was pressed a few days ago at an outside cider making session. I like to think this added to the flavor of the dish, as I got to turn the handle on the press a few times.

Baked Apples

4 Granny Smith apples
2 tablespoons dried dates, chopped or
2 tablespoons raisins
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup apple cider

Wash apples. Core out each center, leaving about ½ inch at bottom to provide a base for the rest of ingredients. Peel a section at the top of the apple.

Mix remainder of ingredients except apple cider. Fill each apple with mixture. Place apples in baking dish. Pour apple cider around apples in dish. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 45 minutes. Baste apples with cider every 15 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Makes 4

To your enjoyment of apples,
Lee Jackson
author of From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers
Apples, Apples Everywhere – Favorite Recipes From America’s Orchards
The Littlest Christmas Kitten

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What To Do With All Those Apples?

Chef Crombie here helping you answer the question of what to do with all the apples you bought this week-end. The apple harvest is plentiful this year and you must fill your larder with all things apple while they are at their best.

Whether you have a bushel, a peck, or only a pound of apples, this apple cookbook by Lee Jackson will put you on the path of heavenly bliss. From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers has over 150 fabulous apple recipes from which to choose. You will find a vast assortment of pies, cakes, and desserts but also so much more. There are apple salads and relishes and compotes, coolers, fizzies and breads; jams, jellies and butters.

There are even a few ethnic recipes such as Apple Kolache (p. 62-63) and Apple Strudel (p. 116). One of my favorite recipes is the Apple Pandowdy on p. 148.

Wondering what variety of apples to use for your recipe? This apple cookbook helps you decide what variety to use for which recipe. Check it out here and you will know how to prepare all of those apples.

Here’s to enjoying the fruit of the season,

Chef Crombie

P.S. Make sure you join Lee and me by signing up where you see “Invitation to Join Us” under Pages here at the top.  Thanks!

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Healthy Meals – SOS September Challenge

Now with school started and cooler weather upon us, thoughts turn to re-setting goals again. One of our earlier goals, “eating healthy” may have slipped a little with cook outs, reunions, picnics and other activities. Fall also makes us think of different foods to prepare.

Let September be a time to link back to those good resolutions. Are we making sure the family is eating well balanced meals? Are there enough fruits and vegetables in the meals? Planning is the key. When the kids were young I liked to have the week’s menu on the refrigerator so whoever came home first could see what was supposed to be for supper and could get it started.

Yesterday I wrote about apples, one of my favorite foods and a good fall food. Today I want to share with you one of the recipes from the cookbook, Apples, Apples Everywhere – Favorite Recipes From America’s Orchards. This one comes from The Ridge Orchards in Bourbon, Missouri. It is a great way to begin the day – with a healthy and sustaining dish.

Breakfast Apples

8 to 10 tree ripened apples, sliced (not peeled)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup water

1 to 2 cups oatmeal

honey or maple syrup (not necessary as tree ripe fruit is really sweet)

Place apples in frying pan and add one cup water. Cook gently on stove-top until apples are tender. Add cinnamon. Place apples in four bowls and top with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of uncooked oatmeal, either quick or old fashioned, according to your taste.

Makes 4 servings.

You can order this cookbook with over 150 apple recipes here. This recipe comes from the Main Dish section, but there are also recipes for Beverages, Breads, Salads, Cookies, Cakes, Pies, Desserts, Jams, Preserves, etc. and Special Treats.

Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter coming out soon. See who the new cookbook winner will be!

Lee Jackson Books for cooks and apple lovers, kids, families and parenting professionals http://www.imagesunlimitedpub.com

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Helping Kids Make Good Food Choices

Parents should help children make good food choices. Food preferences in children are largely developed by age five. Therefore, it’s important that parents help their children develop a taste for nutritious food early.

Here are ways you can involve your children in making good food choices:

Talk to your children about the categories of foods that are most important. These would include: fruits and vegetables, meat or protein alternatives, breads and cereals, and milk.

Help them cut out pictures of foods from magazines or newspapers. Make sure they have foods from all the groups. When they find pictures of cookies and ice cream, ask whether those have a place in their “good food choice” list? You can tell them they are not “bad” but there are other foods that are better for growing strong bones and muscles.

Have children paste the foods on file cards or construction paper. You can use different colored paper for different food groups: green for the vegetable and fruits, white for the milk group, red for the meat and protein group, and blue for the bread and cereal.

Let children decide which foods from each group they would like to eat. This is a good way for them to see that choosing one food from each group works toward having a balanced meal.

Another card can be made up of “special treat” foods. These are foods eaten only once in a great while. This will probably include pictures of frozen yogurt, cookies, and other sweet and/or high fat foods such as French fries and potato chips.

Here is a recipe for a “special treat” food, granola, which can be a breakfast food with milk or eaten plain as a snack food. It has many ingredients that are very nutritious.

Granola

4 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if using any salted nuts)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup honey or pure maple syrup

Extra suggestions – may be added when oat mixture has browned:
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup of any dried fruit such as raisins, cranberried, pineapple, cherries, etc.

Preheat over to 350 degree F.

In a large bowl, combine oats, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Melt butter in small saucepan or microwave, add honey or syrup. Pour this mixture over the oatmeal mixture until all is coated.

Spread this on a cookie sheet that has been lined with foil.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, checking and stirring often until flakes are light brown. Watch carefully as they can over-brown easily and the honey will burn and taste bitter. Go light, rather than dark.

When slightly cool, add any of the extras. Mix well. Store in airtight container. I like to use a plastic container with a tight fitting lid. Then I place a scoop inside for easy access. Works well to store in a large glass canister, too. This looks inviting sitting on your cabinet. This granola has much more substance to it than many of the already-prepared products on the market. Enjoy.

Lee Jackson
Home and Family Living

P.S. Another issue of my newsletter is coming soon. Sign up and get entered in the drawing for a free cookbook to be given away.

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How to Use Peaches

Peach Jam

Image by Carmyarmyofme via Flickr

When considering how to use peaches, some people immediately think of peach pie or peach cobbler.

I think of home canned peaches. This is a practice of preserving peaches for the winter months, quite out of style in this day and age.

But I remember when my mother canned peaches.We would buy a crate or a bushel of peaches and spend all day peeling and canning.

I’m hot just thinking about all the additional heat required to blanch the peaches, sterilize the jars in boiling water, and then place the jars of food in a kettle for canning. There they were covered with boiling water and processed, or allowed to boil again, the required number of minutes. This is to prevent the food from spoiling.

Did we remember the time spent in their preparation when we ate them in the winter? Probably not. They were mighty tasty, though, when served as “sauce” or in other dishes. Do you know anyone who continues this practice of home canning peaches?

Other than this quick flash-back to an earlier time, I want to share 2 things today about peaches: how to easily remove the skin from peaches and how to make an easy peach jam.

How to blanch or scald peaches to easily remove their skin.

This should only be done by an adult: With a slotted spoon, lower  peaches into hot, boiling water for approximately 1 minute or until skins begin to loosen. Then cool peaches quickly by plunging them into icy water. The skins should slip off easily.

Here is a recipe for Easy Peach Jam I make every summer in memory of my dear neighbor who gave me the recipe. The recipe can be doubled or even tripled.

2 peaches
1 orange with peeling
1 cup sugar

First prepare the fruit. Adult needs to scald peaches to remove the skins. When making jam with children, they can skin the peaches when cool, cut into quarters and remove pit. Wash the orange and cut into smaller pieces (orange is not peeled). Add fruits to a food processor and chop until of desired consistency.

Measure 1 cup fruit pulp and 1 cup sugar in a saucepan (or equivalent amounts if doubling or tripling). Bring to a boil. Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly to break up fruit and to prevent scorching.

Remove from stove. Cool and refrigerate. The next day, spoon into jars with covers. Freeze. Use within 6 months.

Actually, this should be labeled a peach “marmalade”. Jams, marmalades, conserves and fruit butters are basically alike. Their individual characteristics depend on the kind of fruit, the way it is prepared, and the method of cooking. Jams are made of crushed fruits, mixed with sugar and boiled rapidly until thick. Marmalades are made from  a combination of fruits, including a citrus fruit. (In this recipe, it is the orange). Conserves often include raisins and nut meats with the fruit and sugar. Fruit butters have the fruit pulp pressed through a sieve and slowly cooked with sugar and spices until thick enough to spread. An example of this is apple butter.

No matter what these spreads are called, they are a delectable treat when served on toast in the morning.

Lee Jackson
Home and Family Living Writer

Lee invites you to go here and check out her cookbooks for sale on this site. You will find lots of end-of-summer recipes here.

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