Reasons We Love Our VitaMix #11,067: Homemade Applesauce

Homemade Applesauce

No one really needs a $500+ blender.  I thought about putting a “but” in that first sentence but after a quick gut-check I opted for a full stop.  Because it’s true.  “My blender’s output isn’t measured in horsepower,” is the epitome of a “first-world problem.”  A VitaMix is, however, a really, really nice-to-have.

Danielle and I decided before Mary Stewart was born that we would make all of our childrens’ baby food at home from fresh, organic ingredients.  This is really a lot easier and less time consuming than it sounds… especially with a VitaMix.  Having the right tools for the job always makes the work go more quickly and smoothly.  In this pursuit, having a VitaMix made our weekly baby food prep sessions not only quick and easy but fun, too.

Charlie, our second of two, is now eating table food so, for now, the baby food factory is closed.  One food, however, that we still make on a regular basis, even for the adults, is applesauce.  If you have never had homemade applesauce, you have never had applesauce!  It could not be any easier to make, it BLOWS AWAY the store-bought kind, and you feel good knowing everything that’s in it.

Now that autumn is here, apples are abundant, cheap (even organic ones), and more often than not, local.  Recently, a friend of ours brought us back a bushel of apples from a local orchard that she visited.  While our heads are spinning thinking of all the ways to use the apples, one thing we know for sure is that we want an ample supply of apple sauce….

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Reasons We Love Our VitaMix #10,429: Confectioner’s Sugar

Confectioner's Sugar

It’s the sort of thing that has happened to all of us.  In this particular case, Danielle and I were hosting a dinner party for about 16 people.  I cooked the main meal and a good friend of ours was kind enough to bring some of her delicious desserts; real banana pudding and chocolate pie, in this case.  All she asked of me, since she was going to be late in arriving to the party, was that I make some whipped cream for the chocolate pie.  “No trouble,” I thought, “my stand mixer will make short work of that.”  And with that, the whipped cream became an afterthought….

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Bourbon Carrot Cake

Bourbon Carrot Cake

We’re not crazy people, I swear, but for both of our children we have made all of their baby food up until they were consistently eating regular table food.  This is actually a lot easier than it may sound and is just one small thing we can do to give our kids a healthier start in life.  We hope that this early experience with wholesome foods, prepared with love, will plant the seed of appreciation for real food and because we are not limited to the menu in the grocery store’s baby food isle, we can introduce them to endless flavor combinations.  As a parent, the aspect of making our children’s food from scratch that I appreciate the most is the control we have over what we put into our children; we actually know all the ingredients in their food and can pronounce everything on the ingredient list.  What a novelty!

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Real Caramelized Onions

Caramelized Onions

What do you think of when you read the term “caramelized onions” on a menu?  If you’re like me, this can be a source of much disappointment.  I am a big fan of onions in all forms, but to me the term “caramelized onions” means something special; something much different than onions that have simply been briefly sautéed in a hot pan or on a griddle.  To me, real caramelized onions are a labor of love that results in something more akin to an onion jam and is perhaps one of the most delicious and versatile condiments ever created.

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Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

This is a delicious recipe.  It is also a utilitarian recipe.  By utilitarian I mean, we love this preparation, so we typically make it in bulk and just happen to have a few portobello mushrooms laying around, marinating in the fridge, waiting for culinary creativity to happen.  We are continually surprised by how much they contribute to some of the most random and unusual combinations, as they’re called up from the reserves to active duty.  Think of this recipe as good on its own, but perhaps better used as a tool – a “ringer,” of sorts – used to tie flavors or ingredients together as a small part of a larger dish, like we did here and  here.

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On Pink Slime: Our Local Butcher – Part 2

After reading “The Surprising Reason ‘Pink Slime’ Meat Is Back,” I emailed it to Danielle with a message that said something to the effect of, “We no longer buy our ground meat from any place that does not grind it onsite from actual larger cuts of that meat.”  (Read here for Pink Slime: Part 1) Thankfully, we have several establishments nearby that do just that and our discussion about the article prompted a Saturday morning trip to the establishment among these that is locally owned and operated….

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On Pink Slime: In Light of Recent News – Part 1

Pink slime!

I recently came across this article from Time.com, “The Surprising Reason ‘Pink Slime’ Meat Is Back” and it renewed my horror and disgust at the current state of our food supply.  If you don’t want to take the short time to read the article, which I think is important to do, here is the gist:  The article cites drought in much of the country as the reason for decreased beef production and goes on to say…

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Cold Asparagus Salad with Mustard and Bacon

Cold Asparagus Salad with Mustard and Bacon

When I was a boy, maybe 9 or 10 years old, my mother took me to the King of Prussia Mall in Philadelphia to do some shopping of some sort.  The strangest and most wonderful thing happened on that trip.  As we were leaving, exiting through Macy’s, we turned a corner in the housewares department and my mother suddenly hesitated and inhaled sharply.  She leaned in close and said, “Christopher, do you know who that is,” with obvious excitement in her voice.

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The Farmer Roll

The Farmer RollDanielle and I were grocery shopping the other day at about 3:00 in the afternoon.  We were having a very nice time, the kids were behaving, and we weren’t broke yet.  And then it started to happen… it crept in with small innocent questions like, “what would you like for dinner?”  To which I’m sure I responded with something like, “I don’t know.  I’ll think about it.  Is there anything you wanted?”  Seems innocent enough, right?  But then, a few minutes later, she asks again, “what are we making for dinner?”  I’m beginning to see what’s going on here…

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