Friday, October 9, 2009

Apple Crisp - 1

I love apple crisp, probably more than apple pie which is amazing. I plan on trying several apple crisp recipes in search of my favorite so I have labeled this one as apple crisp 1. This is a classic and super delicious. I cut the original recipe in half because I am the only one with a sweet tooth in this house and I didn't want to be a piggy and eat a huge pan (ok, well I WANTED to but I knew I shouldn't).

Apple Crisp 1
Serves: 6

5 cups all-purpose apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I used Jonamac... select something tart for a good baking apple)
1/2 cup white sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup water

1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degree C).

2. Place the sliced apples in a 9x9 or 8x8 inch pan. Mix the white sugar, 1 tablespoon flour and
ground cinnamon together, and sprinkle over apples. Pour water evenly over all.
3. Combine the oats, 1 cup flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and melted butter together. Crumble evenly over the apple mixture.

4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 45 minutes. Make sure you check it around 35 minutes to make sure the crust isn't burning.
**If you don't have one of those apple peeler/corer/slicer things, you should totally buy one. They work great!! BBB has them for $20 and Meijer has them this time of year for $20.

Crockpot Mac and Cheese

I had a bunch of stuff to make macaroni and cheese but Matt has been pretty annoyed with all the baked mac I have been making. He wanted something a little different so I hopped on and found this one. It was pretty tasty and Matt is really into it. I miss the crunchy crust from the baked mac, but I will be making this one again.

Crockpot Mac and Cheese
Serves: 4 dinner portions

1/2 package spiral pasta (8 oz of whatever shape... I used shells)
1 cup half-and-half cream
1/2 (10.75 ounce) can condensed Cheddar cheese soup
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (I used colby jack, but I don't think it was strong enough so cheddar jack might be tasty)

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. In a 4-qt. slow cooker, combine the cream, soup and butter until smooth; stir in the cheese and pasta. Cover and cook on low for 2-1/2 hours or until cheese is melted.

I added an extra handful of cheese on top to make it all pretty and melty just before serving. I really only cooked it for about and hour and a half and it was ready. This is good for a potluck, just double everything =) I also threw in a teaspoon of black pepper.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

~*Cider Mill Crawl*~

What is a cider mill crawl you ask? Well, have you ever been on a pub crawl? It is kinda like that except you nom massive amounts of donuts and cider in an attempt to decide which mill is king. We got this idea to visit 3 cider mills and do a tasting, oh yeah, and wear plaid =) Why? Because it is super fun! We started the day at noon at my house for a little lunch. We will DEFINITELY be doing this again next year. It was a total blast. However next year we will not eat so much or we will have to schedule a donut coma nap in the middle of the day! This is going to be a long post (which is why I have procrastinated so long), enjoy!!

Stop #1:
Franklin Cider Mill, Franklin, Michigan

PROS: Very authetic old-fashioned cider mill feel, the donuts are amazing right out of the fryer, you get to the see the old cider press super close up, in a super cute little town, relaxing little stream, fantastic if you just want to run in and grab some goodies and go, live musicians performing
CONS: Abundance of bees, very small overall but especially by the main counter, most expensive ($21.50 for 2 dozen donuts and 1/2 gallon of cider), only one flavor of donut, not a lot of activities, donuts do not hold up well (but can be revived by popping them in the toaster)

Authentic Cider Press

Selection of goodies

Did you know you could freeze cider!? We didn't either!

Cool sign made from license plates!

Front counter

One of the outside stands

Group picture by the stream in our fabulous plaid

Stop #2:
Parmenter's Cider Mill, Northville, Michigan
PROS: Lots of activities, clean and easily walkable facility, super soft donuts that hold up well, 2 flavors of donut available, cider is pasteurized, good for kids and dogs, staff made sure we had hot fresh donuts when they heard they were being judged
CONS: More of a modern feel/not very rustic, some bees, mapquest can't give you accurate directions to it, moderate price ($20.50 for 2 dozen donuts and 1/2 gallon of cider)

Carriage rides!

Front counter... apparently all the cool kids drink cider slushes

This mill has a tv... we caught Katie watching the Lions game

Types of apples in that day's cider

Outside stands with crafts and snacks

They also sell wine

Modern cider press... out of the 3 we visited, only here could you get pasteurized cider for all you preggo women

I don't have a group shot at this mill but we each poked our heads into the apple cut outs... Monica was very reluctant so she gets her picture posted =)


Stop #3:
Plymouth Orchards and Cider Mill, Plymouth, Michigan
PROS: Most activities including some barnyard animals and hayrides, large property, inside area for tasting (no bees!), more of an updated farm feel, tastiest donut of the day, lots of sizes of cider jugs, most affordable ($19.50 for 2 dozen donuts and 1/2 gallon of cider)
CONS: Worst donut of the day (powdered sugar), staff was informed of the tasting but did not give us hot fresh donuts, a little stuffy in the dining area, spread out so it is not a quick in and out, on a dirt road
NOTE: This mill is relocating November 1st

More cut outs! Jill, Katie and Stephanie

We saw this cut out from the back and the girls decided to pick a spot without knowing what they were going to be... I was cracking up taking the picture (Stephanie, Molly, Monica, Jill and Katie)

This mill had some barnyard animals and we got to see some one week old goats jumping and playing

Main building

Main counter... the cider press was back there somewhere

Group shot at the inside dining area

Last Stop:
The Tasting at Molly's house

Molly is excited for the car full of cider and donuts

Molly made us a crock pot dinner... tasty!

Martha Stewart... err... Molly's beautiful fall tablescape. We were going to have a 4th mill for tasting but Tricia was super sick (and we missed her terribly!) and she wasn't able to come, and she was going to bring something from a mill by her house.

I made little voting cards to decide the tasting winner

Franklin Cider Mill's platter: cider and plain donuts

Parmenter's Cider Mill's platter: cider and plain and spice donuts

Plymouth Orchard and Cider Mill's platter: cider and plain, powdered sugar, and cinnamon sugar donuts

I made super cute take home bags for everyone to share some yummy donut goodness with our husbands at home

A toast! To next year's cider mill crawl!

Parmenter's Cider, Franklin's Cider, and Plymouth's Cider


70 Possible points per category

1st Place: Parmenter's (59)
2nd Place: Franklin's (55)
3rd Place: Plymouth's (52)

1st Place: Plymouth's (62 for the cinnamon sugar)
2nd Place: Franklin's (53 based on immediate consumption)
3rd Place: Parmenter's (52)

I voted Plymouth's cider and Franklin's donuts (only when eaten immediately so they are still crunchy) as the winners. Apparently I like sweet cider versus everyone else who preferred the tart cider.