Caramel Apple Cheesecake Fluff with Pretzel Brittle

Dear Sis,

Tonight our neighbors joined us for dinner. We made Chili and Sweet Spoon Cornbread. For desert, we tried something new that went with our fall comfort food nicely.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Fluff with Pretzel Brittle
Serves 4
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Pretzel Brittle
  1. 1/3 c coarsely crushed pretzels
  2. 1/4 c crushed pecans
  3. 1/4 c unsalted butter, melted
  4. 1/4 c dark brown sugar
Apple Fluff
  1. 2 c diced apples
  2. 1/2 (8 oz) tub whipped topping
  3. 4 oz soft cream cheese
  4. 2 T refrigerated caramel sauce
Pretzel Brittle
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Combine brittle ingredients and spread over a jellyroll pan.
  3. Bake 5-7 minutes. Watch closely to avoid burning!
  4. Cool. Break into pieces.
Apple Fluff
  1. Beat together whipped topping, cream cheese, and caramel sauce.
  2. Fold in apples. Spoon into serving dishes. Top with brittle, apple slices, and heated caramel sauce.
Notes
  1. * Nut Free - replace pecans with additional pretzels
Adapted from The Gunny Sack
Adapted from The Gunny Sack
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/
Love,

b

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Working with Dry Beans

Dear Sis,

I was frustrated to discover that both the “quick-cook” and “traditional cooking methods the kidney bean bag were deficient. Here is what I learned:

Cooking Dry Beans

  • Bag instructions say: cook “soaked” beans, but does not specify how long or in what quantity of water.
    • Beans should be soaked at least overnight, and may be soaked as long as two days before cooking.
    • Start with double the volume of water, as bean volume. Add more if it is all absorbed.
  • “Quick-cook” method is a laugh! 
    • There is nothing quick about preparing dry beans. If you want quick, buy a can!!!
  • “Traditional” method implies that 2-3 hours should do that trick, but instructions do not allow for variables that effect doneness. 
    • The variety and size of bean you are working, is also a unstated factor to consider.
    • Cook time fluctuates depending on, how much water was absorbed during soaking.
    • Cook time is also affected by cooking temperature.  
      • For example, 1/2 a pound of beans soaked overnight, simmered on the stovetop at medium low heat took double the suggested cooking time.
      • 1/2 pound of beans in a slow cooker set on high took triple the suggested cooking time. Making chili? Beans cook down in chili in about 9 hours on high.
      • Although, I haven’t tried it… because I do not own a pressure cooker. I think a pressure cooker would be the only way to cook the beans faster, without making a mess on the stovetop, as the pot boils over. 

To sum things up: Soak them as long as you please and cook them until they are soft:)

Storing Cooked Beans

1 lb. dry kidney beans expanded to about 9 cups cooked which is just over the volume of 5 (15 oz cans) of kidney beans, each containing about 1 3/4 cups beans. 

  1. Place 1 3/4 cup cooked beans in a labeled sandwich bag and seal as airtight as possible. (equal to 1 (15 oz can) when used for cooking)
  2. Place up to four bags of beans in a gallon size freezer bag to further protect from freezer burn. Use within 6 months.

Love,

b

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Why Wires Makes Me Crazy!

Dear Sis,

All the wires under my desk make me crazy! They have always been a tangled eyesore and now they are a baby disaster waiting to happen. Thats why I decided to try to manage them a bit. A spray painted shoe box with some notches cut into it, has helped a bit. 

It is easier for Mr. Baby to understand that he is not allowed to mess with the box than it was to try to teach him to leave a mess of wires alone. He views them as one now… instead of individual things he can’t have.

Love,

b

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Adding a Drawstring to Baby Pants

Dear Sis,

Mr. Baby is long and thin. Last well check he was in the 13th percentile for his weight and the 97th for his height. The result… loosy-goosey pants that are too short before they fit in the waist!!! Carter’s is the best fit for our long tall baby and they do make some adjustable waist separates, but I find myself buying sets to save money. In past months, I was taking his pants in, but I thought, “There must be an easier way!” 

So, How did I do it, with no seam ripping, trimming, and sewing?

I used, a really BIG needle, some 1/4 – 3/8 inch ribbon, scissors, and a lighter!

Insert needle on the left side of the center of the waistband, in the space between fabric and elastic, to the center back. 

Thread needle with ribbon. Pull through. Reinsert needle in the same hole, again traveling between fabric and elastic, to right side of the center of the waistband. Retread needle and pull ribbon through. 

Holding the ends of the ribbon to assure that they don’t slip back into the waistband. Flex the waistband, and center ribbon. Trim ribbon tails a few inches beyond the crotch of the pants. Prevent fraying, but singeing ribbon ends.

Love,

b

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Cinnamon Chip Cookie Mix

Dear Sis,

The holidays are quickly approaching! Over the past few years, I’ve learned that most cookies don’t ship well. This year I thought I’d send mix instead, so the cookies will be fresh instead of broken, stale, and flavor warped by neighboring cookie flavors.

Cinnamon Chip Shortbread Cookie Mix
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Ingredients
  1. 1 qt. mason jar
  2. 1 3/4 c unbleached flour
  3. 1/2 c cornstarch
  4. 1/2 c powdered sugar
  5. 1/4 t salt
  6. 1 c cinnamon chips
Instructions
  1. Whisk together dry ingredients. Pour into clean qt jar. Top with cinnamon chips. Replace lid and band.
  2. Decorate as desired. Printable instructions available.
Notes
  1. Gluten Free Option: Replace unbleached flour with 3/4 c rice flour, 1/2 c potato starch, and 1/2 c tapioca starch.
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/

Printable Cinnamon Chip Shortbread Baking Instructions

Love,

b

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Rosh Hashanah Dinner

Dear Sis,

Our dinner was a success! I think I’ve had enough pomegranate until next year:)

Honey Apple Challah
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 3/4 c warm water
  2. 1 egg + 1 yolk
  3. 6 T honey
  4. 1 T olive oil
  5. 1 t vanilla
  6. 1 t salt
  7. 4 c bread flour
  8. 1 T dry active yeast
Apples Filling
  1. 1 granny smith apple
  2. 1/4 c sugar
  3. 1 t lemon juice
Egg Wash
  1. 1 egg white
  2. 1 T water
Instructions
  1. Place wet and dry ingredients in a bread machine in the order they appear, placing yeast on top. Manually program bread machine: 2 pound loaf, first rise 40 minutes, second rise 30 minutes, no shaping, or baking.
  2. Peel, and finely dice apple. Toss with sugar and lemon juice, set aside.
  3. Divide dough into four equal portions. Shape dough into long ropes. Flatten into strips and place bits of diced apple in the center of each length of dough. Reshape dough into ropes around apples. Braid into a round loaf. Use the link below as a reference if you aren't sure how to go about it. Transfer loaf to a parchment lined baking sheet. Rise 30 minutes.
  4. Whisk together egg and water and brush over loaf. Dust with coarse sugar if desired. Bake at 350. 20 minutes. Brush with another coat of egg wash. Tent with foil, to prevent over browning, and return to oven 20 - 25 minutes.
  5. Tap bottom of loaf to test doneness. Should sound hallow. Cool on wire rack before serving.
Adapted from Tori Avery
Adapted from Tori Avery
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/

How to Braid a Round Challah

Roast Fowl with Apple Stuffing
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. whole chicken or duck
Stuffing
  1. 1 lb. ground turkey
  2. 2 green apples
  3. 1/2 c breadcrumbs
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1/2 t marjoram
  6. salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Peel, core, and chop apples.
  3. Mix apple, crumbs, egg, and marjoram into ground turkey to create stuffing.
  4. Remove neck and giblets from fowl. Place in a roasting pan and pack check cavity with stuffing. Dust skin with salt and pepper.
  5. Cover and Bake 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake 2 hours more. Rest 30 minutes before serving.
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/

New Fruits for the New Year Salad
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 6 c arugula
  2. seeds of 1 pomegranate
  3. 1 apple, diced
  4. 1/2 red onion, minced
  5. 4 dry dates, diced
  6. 1/4 c walnuts, coarsely crushed
Dressing
  1. 1/2 c olive oil
  2. 3 T red wine vinegar
  3. 2 T lemon juice
  4. 1 1/2 T honey
  5. 1 T minced garlic
  6. 1 1/2 t salt
  7. 1/2 t pepper
Instructions
  1. Place arugula in a salad bowl or individual dishes and top with fruit and nuts.
  2. Place dressing ingredients in a pint jar and shake to combine before each use.
Adapted from Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/

After our meal, we greeted the New Year with the tradition of apples dipped in honey and watched a Youtube video featuring shofar blasts🙂

Pomegranate Fudge
Serves 16
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Ingredients
  1. 4 c Quality Chocolate chips of preferred variety (I like 2 1/2 c Milk chocolate, 1/2 c semi-sweet, and 1 c dark)
  2. 1 (14.5 oz) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  3. 1/4 c Pomegranate Molasses
  4. 1 t salt
  5. Pomegranate seeds (opt)
Instructions
  1. Line a square pan with parchment in both directions, so that fudge will lift out easily once set.
  2. Melt together chocolate, milk, molasses, and salt in a double boiler, stirring occasionally until smooth. Pour and spread into prepared pan. Press pomegranate seeds into fudge as desired. Cool at room temperature until set. Cut just before serving.
Notes
  1. Store fudge wrapped in parchment. Fudge lasts until it begins to dry out. However, fruit topped fudge lasts only for the day it is made.
Adapted from Honest & Tasty
Adapted from Honest & Tasty
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/

Pomegranate Molasses Recipe

Rosh Hashanah Party Favors

Love,

b

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