Cranberry Apple Bread

Good Mornin’ Folks! In case you missed it, I recently shared my recipe for Cranberry Apple Bread over on Heather’s blog. She’s doing an amazing set of posts for “Handmade Christmas,” which also included a little kitchen action. 😉

If you want to see my original guest post, then simply click here.

But in case you’re pressed for time, here’s just the recipe deets for ya!

First things first, you want to get your apples cored, peeled, and chopped. I really do not know any better way to do this than with an apple peeler/corer.

I got one for Christmas one year, and my life was immediately changed for the better. This thing cuts some serious time out of your baking prep…and who doesn’t love that?

Once your apples are all set and lookin’ pretty, it’s time to get crackin’ on the rest of your ingredients.

First, you want to mix together all of your dry ingredients and get them nice and acquainted.

Then, in another bowl, go ahead and whisk together your eggs, oil, and milk.

Then you want to add your wet ingredients in with your dry.

Next up? The star ingredients of this recipe!

Add your cranberries & chopped apples to the batter,

and mix until just incorporated. You don’t want to work out your batter too much!

Now it’s time to get cookin’! Spread your batter evenly into a 9×5 or 8×4 inch loaf pan sprayed thoroughly with non-stick cooking spray.

If you have lots of apples on hand like I often do, go ahead and make a double batch. It can’t hurt!

Before you know it, you’ll end up with the amazing aroma of fresh baked bread roaming through your kitchen, thanks to these fresh baked goodies.

Cranberry Apple Bread

(Makes one loaf, but can easily be doubled)

(Original recipe can be found here)

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 cup milk (cow or almond milk will work fine)
  • 2 cups chopped peeled tart apples
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.

In a small bowl, whisk eggs,oil, and milk. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened (batter will be very thick).

Fold in apples, cranberries and walnuts, if using them. Transfer to an 8×4, 9×5, or mini loaf pan(s) coated with non-stick cooking spray.

Bake at 350° for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. ENJOY! 🙂

Question for the Day:

Do you like to give away handmade, baked gifts at the holidays? If so, what are your specialties (and how can I get MY hands on ‘em!) 😉

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Guest Post: What’s In Your Cupcake?

Hi I’m Cynthia from It All Changes and I love treats!

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On sick days, or heck any day, I am probably tuned into Food Network or Bravo or TLC.  Know what all three of these channels have in common?….Cupcake shows.  How perfect for a guest post on Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life?  The uniting thread on all cupcake shows is the unique fillings for each itty-bitty cake.  Anything from a typical sweet syrup to the down right weird like curry apple marmalade.

My favorite cupcake filling has to be citrus.  There’s something about the tang of citrus against the sweet of cake and an awesome butter cream icing.  It might have something to do with my childhood in Europe full of citrus treats or all the cake testing I did for my wedding.

Since I love citrus so much I decided to make lemon curd for my next canning experiment.  I have a special jar set aside for Courtney and some possible future cupcakes. 😀

(**Edited with a note from Courtney…WOOOO HOOOO!!!! 😀 )

Tradition lemon curd combines simple ingredients in a super easy process to make pure perfection!  You probably already have the ingredients at home…Lemon, butter, sugar and eggs. Sometimes decadent treats don’t need substitutions…this is one of them.  Besides a little goes a long way unless you are slathering it across scones…but that’s another post. 🙂

Traditional Lemon Curd

  • Juice of 4 large lemons
  • 2.5 cups of sugar
  • 3/4 cup sweet unsalted butter, melted
  • 7 eggs, beaten and strained.  (Straining is important to remove any solids)


Ready for the simple steps…Here we go!

1.  Set up double boiler.  (No need to buy a fancy one from the store.  All you need is a sauce pan with 2 inches of water and a heat proof bowl to set on top.)

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2. Add in all ingredients and stir to combine.

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3.  Stir constantly over medium heat.  Curd will reduce and become thick, but not as thick as you are expecting.  Stop when it is more like syrup in order to avoid burning.

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Now is the time to determine how you want to store it.  Canning is perfect for long term storage, freezing works just as well (if your freezer isn’t full of other baked goods fun), or you can use it immediately in cupcakes. 😀

Canning is my new obsession and the jars make the perfect for giving as gifts.

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You can follow basic instructions for canning on Savvy Eats or in any canning book.  The lemon curd needs 1/4 inch head space and boiling water canning for 20 minutes.

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However I’m not always so normal and traditional.  If you stop by It All Changes you’ll see that I have a lot of food issues.  My body has decided things like butter and sugar do not make it happy.  I’m really excited to give lemon curd to friends for gifts but I wanted some sort of citrus curd of my own.  After scouring the internet for Vegan Lemon Curd recipes I decided to combine two and make…

Vegan Lime Curd

(adapted from Vegansauras! and That’s One Tough Cookie)

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**Confession: I made lime because I used all the lemon for the traditional version.  Really you can use any citrus fruit.**

  • 1.5 cups lime juice
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1.5 cups beet sugar (can substitute white sugar if desired)
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 1/8 cup plain non-dairy creamer (I used soy)

1.  Pour lime juice, water, sugar, corn starch and salt in to sauce pan.  If using fresh limes add zest to this mixture.

2.  On medium heat, whisk quickly until mixture comes to full boil. Stop stirring and allow to boil for one minute.  Meanwhile clean up corn starch snow over other ingredients.

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3.  Remove thickened mixture from heat and add Earth Balance, almond milk, and creamer.  Stir until fully combined.

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4.  Add to storage containers.  Mason jars are great for the fridge where it will keep for up to 2 weeks.  Use plastic when freezing which makes it last longer.

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**Just a small note:  Citrus curds do not keep as long as other canned items.  If canning, use within 3 months.  If refrigerating, use within 2 weeks.  If freezing, use within 9 months.  Or you could be like me and eat it in a week.  They taste great in yogurt or cupcakes.  :-D**

What’s your favorite cupcake filling?

Guest Post: Crunch-Time Cookie Cups

Hey there Sweet Tooth readers! My name is Liz and I write a recipe blog over at Little Bitty Bakes. Courtney may be away this weekend, but we aren’t going to let that stop us from baking up something yummy, are we?!

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I have to be honest. This began as simple chocolate chip cookie dough. Then a whooole buncha stuff happened. I’d blame my marathon-training appetite, but honestly, that’s just how I roll. 😉

Have you ever added cocoa to chocolate chip cookie dough? No? Well, the time has come. Do it! And muffin pans aren’t just for muffins and cupcakes, kiddos.

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Once these come out of the oven, pretzels and caramel sauce go right into the middle of the cookie cup. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? If so, then the answer is yes. Yes you can eat a spoonful of caramel sauce once you’re done assembling your cookie cups.

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Can you handle one more ingredient? Good, good. Before you bite into your heavenly cookie cup – because the pretzel just didn’t quite meet my salt/crunch quota – sprinkle a bunch of peanuts on top.

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These are a perfect balance of salt and sweet. And the crunch factor puts them over the top. Are you a fan of sweet ‘n salty treats? I know I am. I’m pretty sure Courtney is, too. 🙂

Crunch-Time Cookie Cups

Makes about 24 cookie cups

1 cup butter

¾ cup white sugar

¾ cup light brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup unsweetened cocoa

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

24 bite-size pretzels (recommended: waffle shape)

1 12.5 oz. jar Smuckers caramel topping

1 ½ cups peanuts

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray two 12-cup muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.

In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars until mixed. Add vanilla and eggs, beating until well mixed.

In large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Mix until combined. Gradually add flour mixture into wet ingredients, mixing until blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spoon cookie dough evenly into 24 muffin cups. Bake about 12 to 15 minutes, until inserted toothpick comes out nearly clean. Do not over-bake! Treat ‘em like brownies!

Allow cookie cups to cool about 2 to three minutes. Press one pretzel into each cookie cup, creating a well. Allow to cool, then remove cookie cups from muffin tin. Spoon about one tablespoon of caramel sauce into each cup. Top with peanuts.

Guest Post: Jen’s Green Challenge

Hey everyone! My name is Jen and blog over at Jen is Green, and I’m so happy that Courtney asked me to write a guest post while she is away this weekend! I blog about health, food and fitness and some of you may be wondering why my blog is called “Jen is Green”. Well, a while ago I started a blog about “going green” which never really amounted to anything; I just kept the name for my current blog. Just recently I’ve tried to live up to my blog name. What does this have to do with health and fitness? Well, I consider trying to live sustainably a big part of healthy living, since we have to try to keep our Earth healthy too. 🙂

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I currently have a challenge going on at my blog called “Jen’s Green Challenge”. The concept is pretty simple, actually. Every month I’m going to post a green challenge that I’m going to have to stick to for one entire year, in order to influence other people to do the same. The challenge must be something I have to sacrifice in order to live more sustainably, in hope that one small change will influence others to do the same. One person won’t have much of an impact on our planet, but lots of small changes will hopefully produce change in the end!

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Jen’s Challenge for the month of October

For one year, only purchase only wine or beer from whatever state I am in. In other words, since I live in New York State, the only beer or wine I purchase will be produced here. But, if I’m in another state on vacation or visiting, I will be allowed to buy that state’s beer or wine.  I have a few bottles of wine that I’ve bought already that aren’t local–but I can still drink them since I’ve purchased them before starting this challenge. The beer or wine I buy from now on will have to be made in New York State.

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So, what are the benefits of buying local? According to sustainabletable.org, “local foods are produced as close to home as possible. Buying local supports a more sustainable food system because true sustainability goes beyond the methods used in food production to include every step that brings food from farm to plate.” For more information on reasons why to eat local, visit this website. You can also find a place near you to find local food on the Eat Well Guide.

In addition to this challenge, I’ve also been taking numerous small steps to reduce my impact on the planet.

Other things we can do:

· Purchase food in bulk with reusable containers to reduce on packaging and ultimately reduce waste

· Bring reusable shopping bags to the grocery store rather than using plastic bags

· Drink from a reusable coffee mug when buying coffee (or reusable tea mug, in my case!) to cut back on waste

· Compost food scraps at home

· Recycle plastic, glass, and paper instead of throwing them in the trash

· Always use a reusable water bottle instead purchasing bottled water

· Buy local produce, meat, and dairy products when possible and when in season

There are tons and tons of things we can do to live more sustainably, but these are just a few basic steps we can take in order to live more “green” lives! Help me by taking part in my Green Challenge!

Guest Post: Katie’s Fall Wardrobe Essentials

Hello Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life readers!  My name is Katie and I blog over at Legally Fit, where I write about engaging in my new(ish) love of yoga and running while maintaining an active social life and productive career.  A healthy balance, if you will 😉

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I am honored to be posting on Courtney’s blog- she is such a sweet girl (no pun intended 😉 ) and I consider her my “go-to” person for delicious dessert recipes.  In fact, I’ve made variations of her chocolate butterscotch cheesecake cookies so many times that I have my whole family addicted.  I’ve even sent a batch over to my husband in Afghanistan, and he reported that they were still fresh and delicious more than a week later.  🙂

One of my favorite features of Courtney’s blog is her “Fashion Friday” posts. I always find new ideas and inspirations to add to my wardrobe.  Courtney recently posted some of her fall wardrobe essentials.  Here in upstate New York, fall is definitely in the air.  The leaves are changing, the air is getting crisper, it won’t stop raining we are getting some much-needed rain and pumpkin spice lattes are back (can I get a heck yes! 😀 ) With that, certain items in my wardrobe are being brought back into the rotation that haven’t seen the light of day since, well, last fall :p  Here are some of my fall wardrobe essentials:

Tights

I hate stockings.  I refuse to wear them, which can be problematic in my field but what can I say- I’m a rebel 😉  However, show me a pair of tights and I’ll swoon.  I love them!  They add so much dimension and texture to an outfit and can take it from so-so to super stylish.  Can you believe that I had never owned a pair of tights (well, excluding the white ones with red hearts from ballet when I was five) until last year!  I was seriously in the fashion dark.

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Reasons why I love tights:

1.  They do not rip easily, unlike my nemesis the stocking.  Seriously.  I purchased two pairs last year from Kohl’s (FYI- check Kohl’s out for super-affordable and cute tights) and neither pair has even a snag.  I know this because I wore both pairs this week (addicted much?).  Try wearing a pair of stockings more than twice.  Maybe I have bad luck or am super clumsy but in the past, wearing stocking for me = keeping a bottle of clear nail polish in my hands to stop the runs that I knew were sure to happen.

2.  They have personality.  When I wear say, a black pencil skirt without tights, I feel fashionable (LOVE pencil skirts) but boring.  Add a pair of textured tights and it takes to outfit from ho-hum to wow!

3.  They’re warm.  Fall in upstate New York starts out brisk and comfortable and then quickly morphs into freezing.  Tights allow me to extend my skirt wearing days for that much longer before I throw in the towel and wear pants and Uggs to work 😉

Scarves

Another fall essential for me are scarves- the more the better.  You can wear a lightweight scarf to jazz up any outfit.  Wearing a basic white tee by itself- simple.  Wearing a basic white tee with a pretty patterned scarf- fashion genius!

In addition to lightweight scarves, a northeast girl needs a heavier duty scarf in the fall.  My favorite one has both black and tan within it, so I can wear it with the two winter coats that I own (black and tan, respectively).  Plus, when all else fails, you can use the scarf as a makeshift babushka during a sudden hailstorm when sightseeing in a foreign country.

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Skinny Jeans

This is a bit of a cheat since I consider skinny jeans to be a year-round essential.  In fall, however, they become even more fun to wear- with heels, tucked into boots, with a pair of flats- skinny jeans are so versatile!  My favorite pair is one that I purchased from Express back in 2005 (before the skinny jean craze, I think- I just wanted a pair to tuck my uggs into)- they are dark, stretchy and super comfortable! So comfortable that on a typical evening you can find me lounging around the house in them:

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Boots

I know Courtney recently proclaimed her love for Uggs and I have to say girl, I’m right there with ya 😉  You can hate on Uggs all you want (they are kind of fug) but man are they comfortable.  In fact, it is bad for me to wear them to work because I never end up taking them off- my feet are too warm and comfortable (Exhibit A: today.  Uh, Uggs are in compliance with business wardrobe, right? 😉 ) My current favorite pair of Uggs are the Classic Cardys- they are black knit and can be worn slouchy or tall.  I practically live in them in the fall!

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In addition to Ugg boots, the fall season to me means slouchy flat boots to wear with my skinny jeans.  After hunting forever, I found a pair that I love in Kohl’s (while perusing the Sunday ads, no less) for $40!  You can’t beat that with a stick 😉  This fall season I will be on the hunt for a pair of tall riding boots.  I love the look of them but can’t find a style that fits me!  Something like these puppies:

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Classic Trench Coat

If you purchase anything this fall, make it a trench coat!  They are timeless.  I received my current trench coat from Banana Republic as a gift from my stepmom my junior year of college (which was oh, eight years ago).  Side note- time flies!  Anyway.  I have worn my trench every fall/early winter for the past eight years and I still get compliments on it to this day!  If you balk at the idea of Banana’s prices (they can be a bit, um, overpriced) keep in mind that they do last for a loooong time.  With that being said, I know Target offers some cute coats on the cheap!

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You can find the gorgeous jacket pictured above here.

Well friends, those are my fall wardrobe essentials.  Tell me, what do you consider essential for fall?

Wedding Fever

C’monnnnnnn 3:00!!

Today starts the beginning of a super, fun-filled weekend…but first, I just have to make it through that little thing we all like to call work. The positive side to today’s work day: It’s a professional development day, which = no students + a big pot luck lunch. Yummmmm. The negative side to today’s work day: I had to be to work by 7:45am. Ooooof. 🙄

Once I make it through the workday, it’ll be time to rush home, pick up my goods, and get ready to start celebrating!

Tonight is Joelle’s rehearsal + rehearsal dinner, which is sure to be a great time. Heck, how can I not have a great time with these ladies!

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After tonight’s rehearsal, tomorrow will be the BIG DAY for Joelle & Kyle. I’m so excited for them!

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But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just as excited to get my dancin’ shoes on and celebrate!

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I tend to get a little silly. 😛

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And sometimes I show off my singing skills. (If you’re nearby, plug your ears…)

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I’ve even been lucky enough to catch the bouquet & have my future hubby catch the garter! Yup, guess who was next to get married after THIS?? 😉

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And somehow, I almost always end up with somebody’s sunglasses on. Can someone please explain to me how sunglasses always make it onto the dance floor of a wedding?

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What can I say, I’m a huge fan of weddings. 😀

Since I’ll be pretty busy celebrating, eating yummy wedding cake, & groovin’ on the dance floor for the next couple days, I’ve decided to take the weekend off from blogging. I want to devote all of my time to the bride to be and not have to worry about checking back with the computer.

Have no fear though! The blog has some great guests posts headed your way, from some of my favorite blends!

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! I’ll be back with lots of recaps soon. 😀