It’s sweet potato season here at Seven Oaks Farm, my small farm here in Virginia. And that means enjoying sweet potatoes in all their glory – including as pie.
Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite vegetables to grow in Virginia. The first year I had a garden, I planted them. They seem to flourish in our warm climate and although I always harvest them late in the season, they are quite forgiving. They don’t seem to mind a late harvest and provide me with plenty of sweet potatoes for the pantry.
This spring, I started sweet potato slips, or small, slender roots saved from last year, in water, and then transplanted the newly rooted slips into the garden. Eight slips were started; six survived. Five of the six survived the transplanting process. The results: approximately 25 pounds of sweet potatoes. I’d say that’s a success.
Right now, my harvest awaits in the garage, but next weekend, I hope to can my sweet potatoes. Canned sweet potatoes can be used to make mashed sweet potatoes or for the filling of a sweet potato pie.
Sweet potato pie tastes much like pumpkin pie. Perhaps it’s the spices, but the color and consistency are similar, too. It lacks the certain ‘zing’ of pumpkin but contains a little less sugar. I like to think I’m getting my vitamin A from my sweet potato pie. Yes, that’s what I tell myself…
This recipes for sweet potato pie comes out slightly firmer and with a taste closer to pumpkin pie. I made it this weekend to use up last year’s canned sweet potatoes; if you have some in your pantry, it’s perfect for pie filling. If you only have fresh sweet potatoes, they must be peeled, cooked, and mashed before using as your pie filling.
The pie is done when the center is set or firm.
Sweet Potato Pie Recipe
For one 9″, deep dish piecrust, you will need:
Great Value (Walmart brand) premade, frozen pie crust.
1 quart of canned sweet potatoes (about 2 cups), drained
1/2 cup of sugar
2/3 stick of butter or margarine
1 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place one frozen pie shell on a baking sheet. Prick the bottom of the pastry shell with a fork several times. Bake for 10 minutes, then allow to cool while you prepare the pie filling.
In an electric mixer, beat together the sugar and butter or margarine; add evaporated milk, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in the canned sweet potatoes. Keep on medium speed, mixing in cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Mix for one to two minutes. Pour into prepared pastry shell. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, then lower temperature to 350. Bake for 40-50 minutes at 350 or until the center of the pie is firm. We “jiggle” the pie gently; if the middle swooshes or wiggles too much, it isn’t set yet. Let cool, enjoy, and place leftovers in the fridge.
Do you have a juicer? You can make these carrot muffins from the pulp leftover from your juicing adventures. But be warned – these muffins are both filling and addictive.
Carrot Muffin Recipe from Juicer Pulp
I came up with this carrot muffin recipe from juicer pulp after seeing an elaborate, so-called ‘health food’ recipe in the booklet that came with our juicer. It called for egg whites, whole wheat flour – basically foods we don’t eat. I created this carrot muffin recipe based on others I found online, adapting them to the juicer pulp left in our Jack Lalanne juicer after making a glass of carrot juice. It’s a great recipe for those times when you make carrot juice and you have a lot of pulp leftover.
If you grow your own carrots, you’ll have plenty to make this recipe and more. My own garden carrots work well, but I also picked up some organic carrots from the grocery store marked down on sale. Anytime you can find fresh carrots, juicing them or shredding and making muffins is a great way to use up the excess. Be sure to scrub the exterior of your carrots thoroughly, cut off the tips, and use only organic carrots if you plan to use the pulp in your carrot muffin recipe.
Carrot Muffin Recipe
This recipe takes about 30 minutes to make. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease 24 muffin tins.
You will need:
3 1/2 cups of carrot pulp from the juicer. If you don’t have a juicer, substitute 3 cups of finely shredded carrots.
2 cups of white flour
3/4 cup of dark brown sugar
1 cup of vegetable oil (reduce to 3/4 if using optional carrot juice, below)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup raisins (optional)
1/4 cup of carrot juice (optional)
Preheat the oven. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside. In another bowl, mix the eggs, oil and sugar. Fold in the flour mixture. Fold in the shredded carrots and raisins. Pour 2/3 full into greased muffin tins and baked for 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes, then remove from muffin tins and cool on a plate. The extras freeze well. Makes 24.
So this is what happens when Hubby brings home a quart of the most amazing, delicious blueberries ever: blueberry muffin time!
Hubby drove to North Carolina to visit his sister and her family last week while I remained at home and kept the pets company. I didn’t know that North Carolina is home to some fine blueberry farms, especially the area near Morganton where his sister lives. This organic blueberry farm is just a few minutes from her home. Lucky girl!
Hubby presented me with a quart of the sweetest blueberries ever. “Can you make something with these so they don’t spoil?” Why yes sir, I can. I came up with the best-ever blueberry muffin recipe. Light, fluffy, sweet without being cloying, this recipe will please your palate and offer you a treat for breakfast. You can freeze leftover muffins after letting them cool.
If it’s blueberry season where you live, and you have plenty of blueberries, it’s time to make the best-ever blueberry muffin recipe!
This recipe makes 12 large muffins. You’ll need a metal 12-cup muffin pan and a big bowl.
2 cups of white flour
1 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup of melted butter
1 cup low fat milk
1 cup fresh blueberries
Shortening to grease the muffin tins
Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt and baking powder until well-blended. Make a little well in the center of the batter and add the melted butter, egg and milk. Stir until just blended. Gently stir in the blueberries. Spoon into the greased muffin tins and bake for 25 minutes.
If you don’t want the blueberries to melt into the batter as mine did, reserve a 1/4 cup of flour from the batter. Sprinkle it all over the blueberries before mixing them into the batter, coating them well. Then fold blueberries into the batter. The flour keeps them from being runny.
This fresh peach smoothie recipe uses – what else? – fresh peaches in a delicious low-sugar blend of lowfat milk and plain yogurt. If plain yogurt isn’t to your taste, use vanilla yogurt or vanilla almond milk. Whip up a container and enjoy it for a protein, calcium and fiber-packed breakfast.
Fresh Peach Smoothie Recipe
My husband went a little crazy buying peaches this weekend, and I have a bowl full of them on the kitchen table rapidly turning wrinkly. They’re still hard as rocks, mind you, but the skin is taking on that I‘m about to burst into fuzzy mold and you can’t stop me look that peaches in the summer humidity get. I thought to myself, what can I make? Peach pie? Yes, but I’m trying not to eat too many sweets. What about a healthy breakfast smoothie? Bingo!
I have half a container of plain yogurt left thanks to the Chilled Cucumber Soup recipe I shared a week ago. Time to use up before it too joins the peaches on their march towards fuzzy mold heaven.
The smoothie turned out so creamy, so naturally sweet and good, that I immediately wanted to share the recipe. It’s simple, and all you need is a blender. I spent an hour gardening this morning, then made the smoothie and drank it while sitting on my front porch. It was the perfect refreshing summer breakfast.
You can make it with lowfat milk, and if you’d like to increase the protein quotient, add a scoop of your favorite protein powder. Vanilla would probably taste delicious with this.
Ingredients for the Fresh Peach Smoothie
1 cup no fat or low fat milk
1 cup plain low fat or no fat yogurt
2 fresh peaches, pit removed and cut into pieces
Six ice cubes
Place milk, yogurt, and peaches into a blender. Process on High/Smoothie setting for 30 seconds. Add ice cubes, making sure lid is secure, then blend on HIGH/Smoothie setting for 30 to 60 seconds. Unplug the blender and pour into two tall glasses. Makes 2 servings.
Just in time for fall, I’ve collected 25 easy apple recipes. We’re about to harvest our own apples here at Seven Oaks, but if you don’t have fresh apples, pick up your favorites from a farm stand, farmer’s market or local store and get cooking!
25 Easy Apple Recipes for Fall
A lot of people think that fall is “pumpkin spice everything” time, but for me, it’s apples. When I was a kid, my parents would pile us into the car and we’d drive to the Jericho Cider Mill on Long Island. It wasn’t fall without a gallon of their fresh-pressed cider, a candy apple for myself and my sister, and a bag of Macintosh apples, my favorite, to chomp on while we watched football on a Sunday afternoon.
Many things have changed since those days. I still love Macintosh apples and football, but I live in Virginia now and grow most of my own apples. I grow Winesap, Jonathan, and several other apple varieties more suited to baking and cooking than to fresh eating. If our trees every produce an abundance, I will definitely scout out a cider press, though!
In honor of our forthcoming apple harvest and everything fall, I’ve put together this list of 25 easy apple recipes for fall. These aren’t my recipes, but links to terrific, simple and easy apple recipes I’ve found online. They had to meet several criteria to be included:
No crazy ingredients that are hard to find for the average person
A taste that would appeal to everyone in the family, from the youngest to the oldest
As easy as you can make it
Without further ado, here is my pick of the crop, the 25 easy apple recipes to bookmark and take you right through the fall and into Thanksgiving. Happy Harvest!
Easy Apple Recipes: Baked and Candied
These recipes feature apples baked in the oven or dipped in a variety of coatings for a sweet treat.
Baked Apple Recipe from Simply Recipes features apples, spices, and raisins. It’s the traditional fall baked apple recipe.
Candied “Poison” Apples: Use Jolly Ranchers to make blue, pink and other weird colored apples for your Halloween parties.
Dried Apples: Make simple dried apple slices in your oven. No dehydrator or special equipment required.
Video: How to Make Candied Apples
Apple Crisp-Type Recipes
My family loves apple crisps and cobblers. My recipe is included here, which makes a crunchy top if you use real butter. If you use margarine in the topping, it melts into the cobbler, which isn’t bad but won’t give you the same nutty-crunchy taste when you bite into a spoonful.
Bourbon Apple Pandowdy: This recipe is from my good friend and fellow blogger, Marye Audet-White. She blogs at Restless Chipotle and is an amazing chef and food blogger. Although not as simple as the other recipes, if Marye makes it, it’s good, so check it out!
Each fall when I was a teenager, I would bake apple muffins. Diced apples in a moist, light batter made a tender breakfast muffin that was quite a treat. These recipes create similar muffins, tea breads and quick breads.
Apple Muffins: Ellie Krieger from the Food Network’s Apple Muffin recipe.
Photo licensed from (C) fotovinek/DepositPhoto.com.
Apple Pie Recipes
Now we get to the good stuff: apple pie recipes. If you don’t love apple pie, you may want to find another blog. (Just kidding but I do love it!). Apple pie can be serve a la mode, which means with ice cream on top, with Cool Whip or whipped cream, or with a dollop of caramel sauce. However you like your apple pie, make one of these pies, pour a big ice cold glass of milk, and enjoy. Savor every bite.
Red Hots Candy Apple Pie: When my friend Marye at Restless Chipotle published this recipe a few weeks ago, I bookmarked it, printed it, and pinned it. It looks amazing. Red Hots candies give it a unique flavor and bright red color. Healthy? Probably not, but when it tastes this good, who cares?
Easy Apple Pie Recipe: You can make the crust ahead of time or buy a premade crust at the store for this simple apple pie recipe.
Grandma Ople’s Apple Pie Recipe: I don’t know Grandma Ople, but grandmas tend to be good bakers, or at least the old-fashioned kind of grandmas were good bakers. The recipe looks fantastic.