easy slow cooker applesauce

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this is an easy and healthy snack or dessert that’s great for adults and kids. i used granny smith apples because their tartness balances out the sweet. it’s great on yogurt with a sprinkle of granola or nuts, warm oatmeal, or ice cream. enjoy!

6-8 granny smith apples, cored & cut into quarters

1/2 cup apple juice or cider

3 Tablespoons sugar or honey (i used coconut sugar but any sugar will do)

sprinkle of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

pinch of ground cardamom (optional)

add all of the ingredients in a slow cooker and mix together. put on high and check after 2 hours and mash with potato masher or inversion blender into big chunks. Cook for another 1 to 2 hours checking after each hour and mashing to your desired smoothness. Add a little additional liquid if needed each time you check on it.

ratatouille & goat cheese dip

this is a delicious and healthy appetizer originally from food and wine magazine. the leftovers are great over toast or pasta. trying to squeeze in as many veg as i can this holiday season. enjoy!

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from food & wine

ratatouille and goat cheese dip

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 medium onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice

  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced

  • Kosher salt

  • One 1 3/4-pound eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch dice

  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme

  • 2 large red bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch dice

  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice

  • 1 medium yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice

  • 1 pound medium tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice

  • 1/4 cup chopped basil, plus more for garnish

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 3/4 pound fresh goat cheese

  • Assorted chips and crackers, for serving

How to Make It

Step 1    

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onions, garlic and a generous pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until just softened and starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Scrape the onions and garlic into a large bowl.

Step 2    

Wipe out the skillet and heat 1/4 cup of the oil in it. Add the eggplant and thyme and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is tender and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Scrape the eggplant into the bowl with the onions. Repeat with the red pepper, zucchini, yellow squash and tomatoes, cooking each vegetable separately in 1 tablespoon of oil with a generous pinch of salt until just tender and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes per vegetable. As they are cooked, add the vegetables to the bowl of onions and eggplant. Stir in the chopped basil and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Step 3    

Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the goat cheese in the bottoms of 2 small baking dishes (about 1 quart each). Spoon the ratatouille on top, cover with foil and bake for about 25 minutes, until hot. Top with more basil. Serve warm with chips and crackers.

Make Ahead - The ratatouille can be refrigerated for up to 3 days before making the dip.

~kai

november garden notes

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“Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes.” – Unknown

ahhh the garden in october. the veg beds are slowly coming in. i tried zucchini again this year but had to pull them because they were overly infested with aphids. i think i’ll have to give up on zucchini and cucumber, between the powdery mildew and aphids it just doesn’t work in my humid climate. the chard and tomatoes are doing well along with the various herbs.

the rainbow ti plants just ended their gorgeous bloom which attracts tons of nice buzzy bees, so it’s about time they get a trim. the agapanthus and hilo beauty plumeria tree are ready to lie low for the winter. the plumeria flower is a deep dark maroon color and is in front of the house. over the years i’ve had several people who were driving by stop and ask if they can have a cutting because the color is so stunning. i’m also thrilled to see the two strawberry guava plants that i started from seeds a few years ago have a few fruit flowers starting! each fall i put an inch layer of compost throughout the entire garden and over the grass and it slowly absorbs into the earth, so by the time spring arrives the plants are ready to burst into summer. it really helps my heavily clay soil.

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the papaya tree has a handful of fruit starting and the lilikoi (passion fruit) has made a comeback after it’s near death and has a couple of fruit starting. lastly the little potted lemon verbena keeps on chugging. i snip off the leaves and brew tea with a little added honey which is wonderfully soothing. between the tea and the chirping of the birds, all is well in my little garden.

kale quinoa bites

 recipe from  101 cookbooks

recipe from 101 cookbooks

another delicious and healthy recipe from heidi swanson at 101 cookbooks. these dense little nuggets are great for breakfast, lunch, or snack and are highly flexible. they are almost like a frittata but with the quinoa it makes it a whole little portable meal. i made them as the recipe called for but also made them with leftover roasted squash and queso fresco. this is a great way to use the bits and bobs in the fridge. one more thing, i didn’t add the breadcrumbs and it turned out great without it. thanks heidi for another fabulous recipe!

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let’s eat ;)

edamame (soybean) hummus

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this is a riff off of chickpea hummus. it’s a beautiful vibrant green and the flavor is lighter and fresher. it’s a great snack or appetizer, also delicious smeared on toast or in a sandwich. aside from this hummus, soybeans in the pod are also a favorite snack in hawaii with a glass of wine or beer. it’s sort of the local version of boiled peanuts. for the hummus you’ll want to start with the shelled version.

edamame (soybean) hummus

2 cups shelled soybeans, cooked

1 clove of garlic, chopped

1/4 cup warm water

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon tahini

1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice

salt

pinch of cayenne pepper

put the soybeans, garlic, warm water, olive oil, tahini, pinch of salt, & cayenne into a food processor and blend for a good 3 or 4 minutes. add the mayonnaise and lemon juice and blend for another minute. you want it to be nice and fluffy. taste and add more salt if needed. serve with raw vegetables, crackers, pita bread, sweet potato chips. enjoy!