kristen reNae

food

Crock Pot Apple Cider

We are coming up on our second year in New England and the Fall weather is upon us. I have to say that I am a little bit excited to experience the Fall, again. The leaves changing and the events that come along with the season, like apple picking!

It was actually the last weekend for peach picking, and this was super enticing, however, apples just seemed fitting. I had on my cute fall outfit, not a summer, peach picking outfit.

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So we set out for this adventure. One of the members in our monthly meeting mentioned this place, and it was only a 45 minute drive! Not bad! So, we headed to Stowe to an adorable Farm (which included bunnies!).

We settled for a peck (smaller size bag), which ended up giving us a little over 20 apples! When first entering the apple farm, there were Concords to our right and Mcintosh’s to our left. So we opted for both. The greeter informed us that the Concord’s were better for cooking, whereas the Mcintosh’s are sweeter and good for eating.

I looked up several recipes, and the amount that 20 apples provided is insane. So, here is one of four apple recipes I will be sharing! Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

  • 10 apples – I used a mixture between Concord and McIntosh
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Pumpkin Spice
  • Water
  • Strainer

 

Directions:

  1. Place chopped apples and spice in crock pot and pour water to cover apples.
  2. Set crock pot on high for 4 hours.
  3. Strain cider before serving.
  4. Add sugar to taste.

apple cider

Note: Some recipes I viewed said to use Cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg, and whole cloves – I took the easy way out and added the pumpkin spice as it already includes all of this. If you do use the cinnamon sticks, they suggest using a cheese cloth.

Also, if you plan to just make cider, you do not have to peel or core your apple. However, I chose to make apple sauce and would highly recommend peeling and coring the apples.

The Cider should stay good for about a week in an air tight container.

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Cheers!

pear butter

This was our first summer in Boston in our cute house in Watertown. After hibernating through the winter, we were prepared to have a busy summer.

As the days passed by from spring into summer, and the trees started to bloom, the city became a little bit more enjoyable. We started to notice that our one and only tree in our small backyard was growing in full. And by the middle of the summer, we began to see pears starting to grow on the tree.

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I have never owned a fruit tree, but as you know, I am an avid pinterester. So this excited me.

After thinking about it, I don’t think I have ever gone to the store to pick up pears either. I think the last time that I ate them was as a kid, and it was probably out of a can, in a mix of sugar water.

So, I typed into google “how to know when pears are ripe”. This search also helped me to decide when/how to pick them.

The secret: you want to slightly bend the fruit to one side to see if it breaks from the limb. If not, it’s not ready. So I was able to pick about 12 pears. After allowing them to “ripen” a little more over the course of a few days, I decided it was time to try a new recipe.

The most intriguing and fairly simple recipe that came to mind was pear butter. This reminded me of the apple butter they serve at Cracker Barrel with fresh, hot biscuits. Yum.

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. ripe pears, peeled, cored, diced (I used about 12 small pears)
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1-2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice seasoning*
  • ¼ tsp. salt

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*(The recipe called for: 1 tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. ground ginger, Pinch of nutmeg, Pinch of ground cloves – but the spice seasoning had all of this in there)

Directions

Stir all ingredients together in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 50 minutes, covering so that the lid is slightly open, and stirring occasionally. Keep an eye on the mixture so that the bottom does not burn. Once it has reduced and thickened, remove from heat and transfer to a food processor. Pulse until smooth. (Or you can skip this step and keep the pear butter chunky.)

Transfer to canning jars or a heat-proof container, seal, and refrigerate until ready to use. Keep for up to a week.

*If your pear butter is too thin, feel free to run the mixture through a strainer to remove extra liquid. Alternately, let the mixture simmer on the stove longer to reduce more.

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After allowing the pear butter to refrigerate overnight, the next morning I added some to toast. Delicious!

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Hope you enjoy!

Chicken Enchiladas with Sour Cream Sauce

In Oklahoma, I grew up on Tex-mex, and even though I moved to SoCal and fell in love with “real” Mexican food, I still have a soft spot for enchiladas covered in sauce! The first time I made these enchiladas I didn’t take the step-by-step photos, so of course I had to make them again… There were no complaints.

Serves 6

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups shredded and cooked chicken (2 sm. skinless chicken breasts)
  • 10 small soft flour tortillas (corn tortillas optional)
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 oz. can diced green chiles (heat is preference)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and/or desired seasonings and cook for approximately 30 minutes. After chicken is fully cooked and cooled, shred.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the shredded chicken and 1 cup of cheese.
  4. Spoon mixture above into tortillas, roll each one, and then place seam-side down into a greased 9×13 pan.
  5. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  6. Stir flour into butter and whisk for 1 minute over heat.
  7. Add broth and whisk together. Cook over heat until it bubbles up.
  8. Take off heat and add in sour cream and chiles.
  9. Pour mixture over enchiladas and add remaining cheese to top.
  10. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, then broil for 3 minutes to brown the cheese.

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AWESOME SAUCE! ENJOY!