Baked Caramel Apple Cups

Hi. My name is Hallie, and I am addicted to Pinterest. Phew, that felt good to get off my chest. Seriously, with wedding planning, my love for crafting, and my Paleo cooking projects, I just cannot get enough of that site. It is sort of like a sickness, but it feeds my creative soul, so that makes it okay. Right? Now, I am a trial and error kind of person. I like to do something first and then problem solve and fix it afterwards. Shep has seen this first-hand with almost all of my crafting ideas. It is just how I roll. But because of that, I also have quite the fondness for PInterest Fails. Seriously…so hilarious.

So a recipe for these baked apples has been floating around Pinterest for the last week or so. Apples are in season now and the pictures are pretty, so it isn’t hard to figure out why this is such a popular pin. However, every one that I found linked to a recipe that A) would not come out looking like the picture, and B) was chock full of sugar and dairy. So I decided to play around with it and make it Paleo. Thankfully, I actually nailed it the first time around (huh, that never happens…) by keeping it as simple as humanly possible. Since so many people have responded to my posted picture, I decided to share it with the masses!

Baked Apple Cups

Baked Apples

Ingredients

2 apples of your choosing

1 Tbl Raw Honey

Cinnamon (to taste)

Vanilla almond milk ice cream* (Recipe below)

Caramel Sauce**(Recipe below)

Directions

To make apple:

1.       Preheat oven to 400.

2.      Use a knife to cut the top off of the apple, and put it to the side. Make sure to remove the stem if it doesn’t just fall out.

3.       Use a spoon and hollow out the core of the apple. Leave about a ½ inch rim of apple around the outside by the skin.  Make sure not to poke a hole in the bottom of the apple! If you do not like the skin of your apple, go ahead and peel it off at this point. I left mine on because I happen to like the skin, but to each his own!

4.       Melt your raw honey over a stove top. Pour half of the honey into each apple. Use the backside of your spoon to push the honey up the sides. Sprinkle cinnamon on top of the honey. Also spread a little honey/cinnamon onto the apple top that you have cut off.

5.      Put the top back on the apple, and wrap fully in aluminum foil.

6.       Once the oven is ready, shake the apple a little bit (to make sure the honey/cinnamon are spread throughout) and put in the oven.

7.       Cooking Times: For a cooked, but not mushy apple, I cooked mine for 15 minutes, making sure to take them out at 5 minute intervals to turn them. If you want a more fully cooked apple texture (melt in your mouth mushy…), leave them in for 20-25 minutes, turning them ever so often.

To make almond milk ice cream:

Combine 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 Tbl melted raw honey, and 1 tsp vanilla in a bowl.l Cover well and put into the refrigerator until you are ready to make ice cream. Put into an ice cream maker for 10-20 minutes until it is the consistency of ice cream. Want to get a little crazy? Add some cinnamon to the mixture as well to really tie in well with the apples. Mind. Blown.

To make caramel sauce:

I used a recipe from the site Living Healthy with Chocolate. It is amazing!! Just be careful and keep stirring it constantly so that it does not burn! Go ahead and make your own: Paleo Caramel Sauce. 

Put it together:

Once apple is done, use the spoon to spread out any honey that settled in the bottom without burning yourselves on the hot apple. Put ice cream in the middle, top with caramel and enjoy!!

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Ham Salsa Breakfast Casserole

YO!

So it is a rainy Monday here in RVA, and I am making the best of it by sharing a fantastic and oh so very simple recipe for a delicious breakfast. I am physically drained after doing a Triathlon yesterday, so the likelihood that I am as witty, clever, and charming as usual is highly unlikely. This is, of course, assuming that at my best I am witty, clever, and charming. I’m just going to safely assume that I am and just go from there!

I did my Tri yesterday, and I have to be honest…I was a bit frustrated with myself. I had a time goal in mind, and my goal was not reached. Granted, I had minor technically difficulties that were out of my control, but it is still frustrating to work so hard for months only to come up shy of your goals. I keep thinking that I could have made up the time had I just pushed myself, but I am just spinning my wheels with that kind of thinking. Hey, at least I beat my time from my first one! That is definitely something to be proud of!!! (See…positive thinking…much more my speed…) Regardless, it was fun and I am sure I will find myself back in training for another one next season. In the meantime, it looks like Shep and I are going to be training for a half…so there’s that. Looks like a new pair of running shoes will be in my future 🙂

So what I wanted to share with you is our simple and easy recipe for a breakfast casserole. We have also made these as grab-and-go egg muffins, so there are plenty of options to play around with to create your masterpiece. The salsa in the mixture really keep your eggs from drying out and add an extra delicious taste. Needless to say, I am kind of addicted to these. But the big reason I am sharing this right now is simplicity. I am tired, and yet I still need to eat. I don’t want to rely on going out, so I want something that I am able to make without having to expel the few brain cells that I have firing.

Ham Salsa Breakfast Casserole

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(the egg muffin version is pictured above…)

Ingredients:

Eggs (12 for casserole or 9 for a pan of egg muffins)

Ham Steak (1 full steak…cubed)

1 cup of Pico de Gallo or other fresh Salsa (fresh is preferred, but if you buy the pre-made stuff, make sure it comes from the produce section and you are able to see the chunks of vegetables. The stuff that comes in jars will add too much liquid)

Worcestershire Sauce (Optional: just a dash)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cook ham steak by preferred method. We threw it on the grill, let it cool for about 5 minutes and then cut it into chunks. If you plan on letting this mixture sit for a while, do not put the warm ham into the mixture with the eggs. If you are cooking it immediately, ham can still be warm when you add it to the mixture.

Whisk eggs together in a large bowl, or directly into a 9×13 baking dish to save dishes. Then add the ham, salsa, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Transfer to the baking dish if you didn’t mix it there originally.

Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes. You will know that it is done when the edges of the casserole or muffins are crisp.

Blueberry Macadamia Nut Banana Pancakes

Shep and I are just getting back from an extremely wonderful and relaxing weekend up at the farm in Maryland. For those that are curious, we are ready to announce that we will be getting married up there on June 7, 2014!!! I am seriously beside myself with excitement….while kind of terrified on the inside that I am going to forget some huge detail. The good news is that neither of us has any grandiose expectations of the way the wedding “should” go. Basically as long as we are both there and say “I do,” we will consider the day a win!

In other news, we have found another form of exercise to occupy the rare moments of spare time that we DO have 🙂 Last weekend we went to a new spinning class called Tidal Wheel, and it was fantastic. It basically was a spinning class plus weights and upper body (with a side of dancing!!). The only downside for me was that my vertigo acted up while standing up and doing push-ups while pedaling a bike. Who knew?! Plus, Shep might have been a tiny bit sore in the arms (understatement of the century) after class. So we tried out a regular spinning class, and instantly knew we had to keep going. Those classes are awesome, and how we both lived such an active life for so long without trying one out is beyond me.

Okay, I will stop getting off topic now. I am sharing a recipe today for our hands-down most favorite banana pancakes. Prior to going Paleo, I liked pancakes alright I guess. Once I tried these, I knew instantly that I would be making them too often. They are glorious little circles of perfection that I just for the life of me cannot seem to flip without messing up. Anyway, the first time we made them, we used the recipe from Fast Paleo that worked out very well. I have made several tweeks along the way, and below you will find my version of these little beauties!

Blueberry Macadamia Nut Banana Pancakes

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Ingredients for the pancake base:

Eggs (3)
Bananas (2)
Raw Honey (1 T) (Or you may sub maple syrup)
Ground Cinnamon (1 t)
Pure Vanilla Extract (a dash)
Coconut Flour (2 T)
Coconut Oil (3 T) for the pan
Blueberries (1/2 cup)**
Macadamia Nuts (1/4 cup)**

**You don’t want blueberries and macadamia nuts? No worries!!! Just make the base, or try some of these optional add ins instead:
Strawberries, Pecans, Walnuts, Chocolate Chips (Enjoy LIfe Chocolate Chips if you are Paleo and/or have food allergies), melted Almond Butter, etc. Really whatever you want to try out! I can’t wait to make maple bacon pancakes….just need to convince Shep that they might even be better than these saucy little minxes!

Directions:

1. Mash up your banana. If it is nice and soft, feel free to use a fork, or you may use a food processor. Either way, leave a few chunks because it adds to the flavor.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk 3 eggs.

3. Open the Coconut Flour and take a big whiff. I seriously love the smell of coconut flour! (maybe sneak a smell before you put it away also…)

4. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir (excluding the coconut oil)

5. Let the mixture sit for 5+ minutes so the dough may set.

6. Turn on your skillet to medium to medium/high heat and melt some of the coconut oil in the pan.

7. Pour out a dollop of the mixture to make a pancake.

8. Cook on each side for 3-5 minutes. As they talk about over on the Fast Paleo site, be patient before you flip them! They will bubble a little bit starting about 2 minutes in, but wait until the sides look “pancake-like” before you actually flip them.

9. Repeat until all batter is cooked. This recipe will make 6 pancakes.