Apple Pie.

There are a few “basic” recipes every person benefits from having in his/her toolbox. When I say “basic,” I don’t always mean uncomplicated (hello, lasagna), but everyone has a version of these recipes that is theee best. I won’t argue with your chosen recipes! I’m not here to usurp Grandma’s/Granddaddy’s/Aunt Ethel’s authority on the classics because I myself am well-versed at bucking the system and making my own. I know I like semi-cakey, very salty chocolate chip cookies and gluten-free, vegetarian lasagna, so that’s what Imma make and tell you all about. This pie is one of those. I like uncomplicated pie. Dash of this, sprinkle of that. I don’t like anything that makes my sourpuss glands swell from sweetness, and I definitely want the layers of clean flavor to shine. I also want crust. Don’t get me wrong: this pie is all about the apples. However, let’s just say the crust kicks enough ass and is hefty enough to give the apples a run for their money. PLEASE NOTE that you make two totally separate crust batches. Now, about the apples. I prefer to bake apple and peach pies when they’re in season and I get the fruit fresh. They taste best then! My mouth starts itching come September for an apple pie, and I’ll be damned if I don’t get a massive slice by the first of October. It’s still apple season, so get pickin’ and bake this me-oh-my pie!

Crust: Make 2 of the following recipe.

1 c flour

1/2 c butter (1 stick), cold and sliced into 1/4″ slices

~1/4 c ice water + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Dash salt

Filling:

6 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced

1/4 c sugar

Juice of 2 lemons

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Dash nutmeg

Dash salt

2 tbsp butter

Preheat oven and a baking stone at 375 degrees. Start with the apples. In a large bowl, sprinkle sugar, spices, and lemon juice over prepared apples. Toss to combine and allow to sit for 1 hour. Next, work on the crust. Sift together flour and salt. Using food processor or hands, incorporate butter into flour until coarse and sandy. Drizzle vinegary ice water into flour mixture until dough just barely comes together. Pat into a 1″ thick round disc and tightly cover with plastic wrap. Pop into freezer. Repeat with second batch. After 1 hour, place a strainer over a bowl and pour apple mixture into strainer, allowing liquid to drain out for 10 minutes. Return apples to original bowl and pour liquid into a saucepan. Over medium heat, allow apple liquid to come to a boil. Do not stir. Mixture will turn a deeper brown and bubble up completely. Once entire mixture is bubbles, reduce heat to low and stir in 2 tbsp butter until a caramel consistency is reached. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Take out one pie crust and flour a large bench area. Roll out disc to approximately 15″ in diameter. Move dough to a lightly buttered 9″ pie plate and be sure to lightly press into the crease. Pour apples into pie crust and top with caramel. Roll out remaining pie crust to 15″ in diameter again; place over top of apples and tuck behind edges of bottom crust. Gently pinch edges to scalloped shape. In the center, cut 8 slits to allow steam to escape while baking. Sprinkle top with 1 tsp sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-35 minutes on top of a hot baking stone until edges are beautifully golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 1 hour before enjoying.

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Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Made these. Ate 4 of them. Pooped 4 times the next day. The fiber content of coconut flour is real, folks. Beware!

1/3 c coconut flour
1/4 coconut oil, melted
Scant 1/4 c maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs, room temp
1/4 c dairy-free chocolate chips

Whisk together everything but the chocolate chips. Batter will be runny for the first 30 seconds but will dry up as the coconut flour absorbs the liquid. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoons onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and shape into cookies with hands, making sure to flatten them. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until golden around the edges. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 2 minutes before enjoying.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Mug Cake.

I resisted the idea of a mug cake for ages. It was my pure thoughts about cake that made me turn my nose up to it: cake, an oven-born goddess. Cake, rising up and filling with airy fluffiness after 30 minutes in the oven. Cake. Oven. Two inextricably linked entities. Live and let live, right!

Wrong. Sometimes, you need cake, and you’ve exhausted your freezer stash of leftover cupcakes and brownies. Sometimes, you need the fluffy chocolate thing to happen without dirtying 14 dishes at 8:30 p.m. Sometimes, you need to release yourself from certain tried-and-true notions in order to spread your wings.

Sometimes, you just need a chocolate peanut butter cake to destroy while you gorge on Gilmore Girls.

Here’s my version of all the crazy mug cakes you see on Pinterest and beyond. It is super satisfying and not too guilt-inducing (the peanut butter adds protein, after all). I split this recipe with my husband and we girls-night it on the couch getting chocolate all over our faces. It’s precious. Come see us. You’ll cringe.

1/2 c flour
1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c + splash milk
1/4 c peanut butter
1 tbsp oil
1/4 c dark chocolate chips, divided

Grab 2 large, microwave-friendly mugs. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Add milk, peanut butter, and oil. Stir to combine. Divide between the mugs and top with chocolate chips. Cook each mug individually in the microwave on high for 1 minute, 20 seconds. Allow to sit for a full minute before removing from the microwave. Repeat with second mug. Enjoy immediately.

Trail Mix Cookies.

This is pretty much just a rendition of this recipe, but it was dang good, and I won’t keep the dang good variations of my recipes to mahself! For the coconut milk, I used part of a can of coconut cream from Trader Joe’s (basically a can of coconut milk). I think it helped bind the batter a little bit and added creamy moisture, but any kind of milk will work. These cookies have a tiny bit of sweetness, a slightly savory quality, and a whole ton of texture. Think cakey granola bar!

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2 c flour

3 c oats

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1/2 c sugar

1 c oil (I used corn; melted coconut oil would make it more wholesome)

1/2 c coconut milk

2 eggs

1/4 c dried cranberries

1/4 c raisins (I used a combination of golden and regular raisins)

1/2 c chopped walnuts

1/4 c sunflower seeds

1/2 c coconut flakes

 

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and sugar. Stir in oil, milk, and eggs until combined; fold in the fruit and nuts. Shape into 1 1/2-2″ balls; bake on parchment-lined baking sheets at 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes or until tops begin to brown very slightly. Allow to rest on the pan for 1 minute; remove to a cooling rack. Enjoy warm.

Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate.

This is a lightly-sweet, very flavorful alternative to those packets of who-knows-what mixed with hot water. The chocolate chips thicken it nicely. You can use any kind of milk or cocoa. This is what we did!

 

4 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1.5 oz (3 tbsp) unsweetened dark cocoa powder

1.5 oz (3 tbsp) agave syrup OR honey

1/2 tsp vanilla

Dash cinnamon

Dash nutmeg

1/4 c dairy-free chocolate chips

 

In a large saucepan, whisk together almond milk, cocoa, agave, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Heat over medium heat until lightly steaming. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate chips until smooth. Serve hot. Makes about 4 servings.

Jamaican Banana Fritters.

I have a problem. A banana problem.

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I buy way toomany bananas at atime. I honestly don’t know what comes over me when I see them at the store. I just keep picking out the ones that look good and putting them into my cart, and before I know it, I’m buying 15 lbs. Not joking. Bulk bananas are handy in recipes when your kid doesn’t eat dairy, buta family of 3+ can’t possibly eat that many bananas and still be regular. So we usually have a bunch of bananas turn brown that my husband sticks in the freezer before they melt into my countertop. Then, without thinking, I buy 15 lbs more. It’s ridiculous. This afternoon, I was staring at the bananas that were getting a tan in my kitchen and started Googling what to do with ripe bananas, just to see what I found, and I found these. A cross between a dessert and a breakfast, they take just a few minutes, make the house smell awesome, and taste amazing. Who can resist crunchy edges?!We’re in love. Eat up!

 

5 ripe bananas

1 tbsp honey

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 c flour

3 tbsp vegetable oil

 

Mash bananas, honey, and spices. Stir in flour until incorporated. Heat oil over medium-high heat until smoking. Scoop by teaspoonfuls into hot oil and cook until edges are lightly browned. Flip and cook until set. Serve warm or hot.

Honey-Flax Pumpkin Bread.

My sister makes some amazing pumpkin bread. I like to eat the one she makes because a) she’s good at baking it, and why mess with that? and b) I “don’t know what’s in it.” What I do know is it’s dairy-free, so we consider it a-ok for my son to partake in the occasional slice at family functions. I won’t, however, bake it at my house, because when there’s a vegetable involved in baking, my brain gives it a gold star. Then I eat way too much under the pretense that it’s healthy. Even though that pumpkin “bread” is a dessert, not a health food, the nom-nom-nom in me goes nuts! Also, my kid would whine about wanting to eat it until it was gone, and all that sugar would undo him.

 

Ahem. So enter this recipe. Not being a particular fall fanatic, I haven’t been consuming every bit of pumpkin spice fill-in-the-blank since September 1, but my craving for a wholesome pumpkin-inspired breakfast has skyrocketed (shocker). I wanted to have a recipe that used honey as the sweetener and coconut oil as the fat, and this recipe fit those parameters. I also wanted something that used a whole can of pumpkin (I am so demanding!) so in comes the tweaking (not to be confused with twerking!). I have 100daysofrealfood.com to thank for the basis of the recipe, as well as a zealous pursuit of more ways to eat baked goods for breakfast.

 

1 1/2 c whole grain white flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 heaping tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp allspice

1 tsp salt

1/2 c ground flax

1 can pumpkin

2 eggs

1/2 c coconut oil, melted

1/2 c honey

1 tsp vanilla

 

In a large bowl, sift together flour, soda, powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt, and flax. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and dump the pumpkin, eggs, coconut oil, and honey. Stir until mostly combine and add vanilla; stir just until no flour remains. Bake in a greased loaf pan at 350 degrees for 40 minutes; turn off oven and leave in hot oven for 10 more minutes. (NOTE: this makes a little more than a regular-sized loaf. You can either risk over-filling one loaf pan or make 2 thin loaves or a loaf + a couple of muffins OR you can use an oversized loaf pan like I did.)