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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Spiced Apple Cookies

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Apples on tree

So, a few weeks ago, Ernie and I had a free weekend and decided to go apple picking!  This is one of our favorite activities in the fall.  In case you’ve never gone, this involves going to a farm that offers the option to pick your own fruit and picking this fruit.  There are a decent number of farms in the Baltimore region, many within an hour’s drive.  We’ve also gone strawberry picking in the past (may have to resurrect this again!).  This year we decided to try a different farm from one we’ve gone to before.  We went to Lohr’s Orchard in Churchville, Maryland.

Row of trees

It was definitely much smaller than other orchards we’ve visited.  The nice thing was you got to take a hayride out to apple trees or pumpkin patch if you wanted to (or you could walk).  While we were there we could pick golden delicious, stayman, and mutsu.  We ended up picking up two bags of apples, which was over 20 pounds.  We also got something new…  An apple cider slushie!  It was amazing!  For real…  I love regular cider and hot cider for sure.  But as a slushie, it is even better, I promise.


After realizing that 20+ pounds of apples is a large amount, I had to figure out what to do.  The first project was apple sauce and apple butter.  I will post about that later.  After that, I was still eating apples and enjoying them, so I wanted something else as well.  Pinterest was great and showed me a recipe for some cookies!  I found a recipe from The Naptime Chef for some spiced apple cookies.  I kept the recipe pretty much the same, though I did veganize it and make them “healthier” by using half whole wheat flour.  I sent some to my foodie pen pal, so hopefully she enjoys them as well.

“Healthier” Spiced Apple Cookies

  • 1/2 cup vegan shortening (I used Earth Balance)

    Cookie ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg or egg replacer (I used Ener-G)
  • 1/4 cup non dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 to 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup unpeeled apple (I used Mutsu)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Beat together the shortening and sugar.  If you don’t have a hand blender (like me…) you can microwave the shortening until mostly melted and then incorporate the brown sugar.  To make Ener-G egg add 1.5 tsp powder with two tbsp hot water and stir to dissolve.  Add the “egg” and the milk to the shortening mix.  You could sift together all the dry ingredients, but as I’m lazy, I just added the ingredients one at a time to the liquid mixture.  Once the dough has formed incorporate the chopped apples and walnuts by folding them in.  Add the dough to a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a silpat.  Bake for 12 to 14 minutes.  Though if you make them vegan, you could always just eat it raw….


Yes, that is crack….


Our New Addition

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Our New Addition

I have come to realize that I have NOT been great about posting.  I really need to stop beating myself up over this.  I’ve had a lot going on lately.  We have adopted a new cat!  This has not been an easy process.  I think at year anniversary of the passing of Ernie’s cat Ozzy was when a corner was turned.  I think at that point Ernie became more open to adopting a new animal.  I suggested (read: got a little whiny) getting a dog.  But, we decided that getting a dog was what I wanted, not was WE wanted.  So, a cat it was.


I suggested we adopt the new animal from the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter.  Right now they are offering free adoptions through the end of October as part of a contest to win $100K from Rachel Ray.  Plus, I used to volunteer at BARCS, so I thought this would be a good plan.

The Pun!

Our first attempt at getting a cat didn’t go well.  We arrived 10 minutes before they were closing one day.  My bad.  So, we went back the next week, which was an open house/Orioles promo day.  The place was MOBBED.  But we stuck it out and went on a hunt for a new cat.  There are so many.  I feel so much any time I see animals in cages.  It’s SO tough.  But you can get a feel for the temperament of a cat pretty quickly.  If they start reacting to you being there, they are going to pay more attention to you overall.  If you see a cat more distracted by everything else, they may be more likely to be more independent.  So, after seeing a few cats, we went into the Kitty Korner room.  All of a sudden this arm comes reaching out for us.  The cat does these cutie faces and rolls over and meows at us.  We got him out of the cage and he burrowed in Ernie’s arms.  It was love at first paw.  So, after a few minutes we decided that Noodles (their name) would be coming home with us post-surgery (he needed to be neutered).

Noodles at the shelter

So, at the appointed time to be picked up, Ernie went back to BARCS to collect Simon (our name!) and he was not neutered.  He had developed an upper respiratory infection(common for shelter or bordered animals).  The shelter had warned us and we felt that Simon would do better in a home rather than the shelter trying to get better, plus we could bond with him.  So, for almost two weeks we had a sick kitty at home.   The issue was with another cat already in the house, we had to restrict the new cat’s movements.  So, he was confined to the back bedroom the whole time.  He had his own litter box, food, and toys, so it wasn’t completely austere, but still…

Lounging Simon

Finally we brought him back to BARCS for his surgery.  As it turns out his URI isn’t completely gone, but it was enough so that the surgery could happen.  We are now introducing him to more of the house while Punim sleeps during the day.  Our goal is to give Simon another couple of days to recuperate from the surgery before trying to introduce the two cats.  I know there will be some tensions between the two, so I don’t want to get them both riled up and have Simon pull some stitches.  But here’s hoping for them to get along and for Simon to whip Punim into shape.  He is hefty, so we’re hoping that a younger more agile cat will get Punim moving again.


September Foodie Pen Pal

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Another month, another foodie pen pal!  This month, my foodie pen pal was Nicole D. and she is AWESOME.  I got my box right on time and ready for me!  I had a great assortment of items as well.

Pen Pal Box

I got TWO Larabars, dried mango, pink sea salt (OMG!), salsa verde, sea snax, and some dried peanut butter.  Here’s the thing, I’m not a huge fan of peanuts or peanut butter.  I am definitely the strange one in my family as everyone else eats it out of the jar with a spoon.  It’s not a texture thing as I like almond butter, I’m just not a fan of peanuts.  But this powdered stuff?  It’s not bad at all!!!  I like that it’s not SUPER peanutty tasting.  There is a hint of peanut in the taste, but it has been going GREAT in my oatmeal with some almond milk, cinnamon, and raisins.  SO good.

The Lean Green Bean
Here is the info to join:
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.