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Mom’s Apple Cake

This is a SUPER easy cake to make. You do not need to know how to bake to make this delicious creation. It’s light, has very little sugar and is one layer.

What you need:

  • 2 eggs, plus 1 yolk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 sunflower oil
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp Autumn Harvest Blend, or cinnamon
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 3 cups very ripe apples
  • Butter & flour to coat baking pan
  • Mixer – hand held or standing
  • 9 inch round cake pan

Preheat oven to 350° F

Grease the baking pan with butter and a light dusting of flour. This will help to keep the cake from sticking to the pan.

Beat the eggs and sugar until foamy with a hand mixer or a standing mixer with a paddle attachment. Add all remaining ingredients, except the apples, and mix until combined. With a spoon, mix in the apples until they are incorporated. 

Pour the batter in the pan and bake for 1 hour. If you’d like a crunchier top texture, sprinkle a bit sugar on top before baking. The cake is done when you pierce with a knife and it comes out clean.

Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Smashed Sunchokes

Sunchokes are the tuber cousin of the sunflower. They have a lower glycemic index than potatoes, and can be cooked in the same way as potatoes. Sunchokes are particularly good browned and crispy! This is such an easy recipe, give it a try! ( You can eat the skins.)

What you need:

  • Sunchokes, scrubbed (if large, cut into 2 inch sized chunks)
  • Oil (Sunflower if you got it!)
  • Seasoning – Garden Citrus Blend
  • Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 425° F.

Note: Definitely eat the sunchoke skins. Not only do the skins have nutrients, they would be a pain to peel. Simply scrub well and remove any dirt.

Place the sunchokes in a pot and cover with an inch of water. Once the water comes to the boil, cook about 10 minutes, until they slide off a knife when poked. Then drain and place on baking sheet. Smash each choke with the bottom of a glass. They will crack and that’s a good thing. Coat with a generous glug of oil and seasoning. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, flipping once halfway through the bake.

When the sunchokes are crispy, let them sit for 5 minutes and then serve warm atop a salad or as a side dish.

Maple Roasted Beets & Carrots

Add some spice to this dish with harissa, paprika and cumin. This is not an overly sweet carrot dish so don’t be afraid!

What you need:

  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 1 pound beets, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 1/4 c oil
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1 tsp harissa spices blend, or paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin seed or 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, made into paste
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 450° F.

Whisk oil, maple syrup, harissa, cumin, garlic, lemon and salt & pepper together. Toss the carrot and beets in the mixture to coat. Lay on baking sheet in one layer. Bake for about 25 – 30 minutes until tender. Flip carrots and beets halfway through cooking.

Mushroom Farrotto with Roasted Squash

A unique twist on risotto using farro instead of rice. If you don’t have farro you can use brown rice or long-grained rice, just adjust the liquid…but we love the nuttiness that the farro adds to this dish.

What you need:

  • 2 cups of farro
  • 1 small onion
  • Oil, I prefer Sunflower
  • 1 qt of stock, I’m using chicken
  • 2 – 3 cups of white wine or other liquid
  • 8 oz of shredded hard cheese, I’m using Lanchego
  • 2 tbs of butter
  • Seasoning, I’m using Garden Citrus
  • 1/2 of Robin’s Koginut squash*
  • Handful of mushrooms
  • Optional, 2 gloves of garlic

Preheat oven to 425° F

Dice onion. Then in a large heavy Dutch oven or pot, put a glug of oil and over medium heat cook onion until translucent, about 3 mins. Add in farro and toast for a couple of minutes. Start adding in your stock, one cup at a time. Stir occasionally. Once liquid is absorbed, add next cup.

Meanwhile, cut your squash in to bite-sized pieces and slice your mushrooms (clean any dirt away on your mushrooms with damp cloth). Put squash and mushrooms on a sheet pan and coat lightly with oil, salt & pepper. Roast in oven for about 10 minutes or golden and take out when done. Set to side.

When you’ve used up all your stock, switch to adding your wine (or other liquid) to farro mix, again one cup at a time, waiting for liquid to absorb each time. It usually takes 35 – 40 minutes to cook farro to an al dente soft but not soggy texture. I like a slight chew to my farro.

Add the butter and 2/3 of cheese and stir to a creamy texture. Spoon farro in to serving bowls and spoon mix of squash & mushrooms over the top. Garnish using the remaining shredded cheese.

* You can puree squash and add to farro at the end if you want to have a more squash flavor to the farro.

Radish Top Pesto

Radishes are part of the cabbage family, and are closely related to arugula. Look at the leaves, don’t they remind you of arugula greens? The best way to store a bunch of radishes is to cut off the leaves and store them separately. You can add the tops to spice up your salads, or my favorite, make a spicy pesto!

What you need:

  • One bunch of radishes, tops only
  • Oil – Olive or Sunflower
  • 2 – 4 tbs creamy cheese like ricotta, chevre or cream cheese
  • Herb seasoning, like Garden Citrus Blend
  • Optional, diced garlic
  • Salt & Pepper

In a food processor, combine all ingredients. Pulse until smooth. Add oil until you are satisfied with the consistency. Season to taste. Voila…instant pesto!

Store in an airtight container or add a couple of spoonfuls to this awesome Mashed Potatoes recipe and take it to a whole new level!

Pierogies with Sauerkraut and Sausage

Gabriel asked me to marry him over a plate of pierogies, so they hold a special place in my heart. The ones we have in the marketplace are so deliciously simple to make and all they need is a little enhancement. Choose your favorite sausage or tofu and then add yummy sauerkraut!

What you need:

  • 1 package pierogies, 12 pieces
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  •  4 sausages, or other protein
  • 3/4 cup sauerkraut
  • oil, salt & pepper
  • Applesauce and sour cream/yogurt, for serving

*Swap in sauteed cabbage for the sauerkraut if you prefer. 

We are going to boil and then pan fry the pierogies, you can skip the pan fry if you want a softer feel.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large pan saute the onions and chop the sausage into large pieces. Once the onions become translucent add the sausage to the pan. Cook for about 8-10 minutes over medium heat. 

When the water is boiling, salt and add pierogies. Cook for 3 minutes. You can then serve them just boiled, or pan fry them. Remove the sausage and onions from the pan, set aside. Add some oil to the pan and fry the pierogies 3 minutes each side. They should become golden and crisp. 

Plate pierogies with the sausage and kraut on top. Serve with applesauce or sour cream/yogurt on the side. Enjoy! 

Make your own Sauerkraut, here!

Pickled Turnips

Here’s another one of my Pantry Perks…easy-to-make items that I can add to salads, side dishes, entrees to give a little added burst of flavor or oomph! This one is a great way to use up any leftover turnips before they go bad.

What you need:

  • Large turnip or 2 small ones
  • Apple cider vinegar (or any vinegar)
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Peppercorns
  • Mustard seeds, optional
  • Clean Mason jar with lid and ring

Mix equal part apple cider vinegar and water (a cup of each) in a small pan on medium heat. Stir in a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar, a smattering of peppercorns and mustard seeds. Bring to just under boiling and remove from heat.

Peel turnip and cut into thin slices. Add some additional mustard seeds to jar if you like. Pack the turnip slices into the jar. Leave about 2/3″ space at top of jar.

Pour pickling mix in to the jar and cover the turnip slices completely. Tap jar gently on your work surface to get air pockets removed. Let cool and then put lid on jar and seal with ring.

Keep in refrigerator. Will be perfect to use in 2 weeks. Always keep refrigerated, they are not shelf stable.

Whole Roasted Celery Root

I like whole roasting vegetables so I thought I’d give it a try with celery root. This recipe takes quite a while to cook but it’s soooo worth the wait! This recipe is a perfect add-on to the weekend family dinner.

What you need:

  • 1 celery root
  • 1/4 cup oil, I prefer sunflower
  • Your choice of spice/seasoning, I’m using our Garden Citrus Blend…herb de provence will do, too.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Scrub the celery root well under running water. Leave the skin on. If there are any divots with dirt packed in, just slice that part off. Slice the bottom to create a flat surface. Coat with oil and spice, then place in a baking dish or on a sheet tray and pop in the oven.

Bake for 2 hours until golden on the outside and easily pierced with a knife.

Serve warm with a yogurt dipping sauce! Click HERE for a great recipe.

Sunchoke & Cabbage Pizza

Sometimes you just need pizza! I love dressing up a simple frozen pizza with all sorts of veggies and this is a great winter version for you to try out!

What you need:

  • 1 – 12 inch frozen pizza, just cheese
  • 2 cups cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • Harrisa seasoning or Paprika
  • 1/2 lb of sunchokes
  • Oil, salt & pepper
  • Optional – extra cheese for topping

Preheat oven to 475° F, pizza stone optional.

In a large skillet, add a glug of oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cabbage. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes. In another pan add the sunchokes and saute with oil until golden on all sides. When the cabbage has cooked down and the sunchokes are crisp, you’re ready to dress the pizza with them. Create a layer of the cabbage & onions across the entire pizza. Then dot the pizza with the sunchokes.

Place the pizza directly on a rack in the top third of your oven (or on a pizza stone) and bake for 6 – 8 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is crisp. Take out the pizza when it’s done and add some sparkle with extra cheese on top and voila!