Monday, November 30, 2009

More Apple Deliciousness

I mentioned here that we spent some time apple picking this fall. What I didn't mention was that I ended up turning that huge bag of apples into apple deliciousness.

I had to struggle to come up with a few ideas of what to make with our apples. A quick check with Larry revealed that he would not eat apple pie or apple crips (seriously? this kid only likes pepsi and chicken nuggets) and while I am a fan of both, I knew if I made either, I would end up eating all of it myself. So I came up with a few other options that put the apples to good use. For the record, I did end up eating all of it myself still, but at least it was portion controlled and not me sitting and eating an apple pie in one sitting.

Homemade Apple Scones:
recipe courtesy of allrecipes.com

they definitely don't look like what the recipe looks like but still delicious

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, chilled
  • 1 apple - peeled, cored and shredded
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Directions:
  1. Measure flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt into a large bowl. Cut in butter or margarine until crumbly. Add shredded apple and milk. Stir to form a soft dough.
  2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently 8 to 10 times. Pat into two 6-inch circles. Place on greased baking sheet. Brush tops with milk, and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Score each into 6 pie-shaped wedges.
  3. Bake at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for 15 minutes, or until browned and risen. Serve warm with butter.

I'd never really been that into scones before (aside from that Friends episode where Ross takes his agression out on some "stupid british snack foods") but I thought these came out great and I enjoyed a few (they were pretty small after) for breakfast at work that week.

Homemade Apple Sauce:
recipe courtesy of Ina Garten

No picture, because really it looks just like you think it would

Ingredients:

  • 2 large navel oranges, zested and juiced
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 3 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 6 to 8 apples) (I only used 1 and just doubled up on the reds)
  • 3 pounds sweet red apples, such as Macoun, McIntosh, or Winesap (about 6 to 8 apples)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
Directions:
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (or High if you're using the crock pot)
  • Place the zest and juice of the oranges and lemon in a large bowl
  • Peel, quarter, and core the apples (reserving the peel of 2 of the red apples) and toss them in the juice.
  • Pour the apples, reserved apple peel, and juice into a nonreactive Dutch oven or enameled iron pot. Add the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and allspice and cover the pot. Bake for 1 hour, or until all the apples are soft.
  • Remove and discard the red apple peel. Mix with a whisk until smooth, and serve warm or at room temperature.
I used my crock pot for this and let it sit for about 2-3 hours until the apples were really, really soft (and as an added bonus, the house smelled amazing). The recipe says it makes 2.5 qts but I'm not sure if I got that much out of it and I was shocked at how much those apples cooked down. Also, I don't know if this was "apple sauce" as much as it was "hot cinnamon apples" but I took a small container to work every day with the aforementioned scones and thought it was delicious.



Saturday, November 28, 2009

Turkey Day 2K9


For awhile now we've been spending Thanksgiving at my uncle's diner in Middletown which has become a really special tradition for my family (more on that later). It's comfortable, casual and relaxed. My uncle always makes an amazing meal and we get to enjoy in the comfort of our pajama pants. I love it.

Family photo-op


No, we've never actually worked there


We had a delicious meal at my uncle's, vegged on the couch for awhile and then went over to my cousin's to have dessert with my cousin's family and their two little ones and extended family (4 more little ones).

Here is the recipe of the desserts(aka straight sugar) I made:

HOMEMADE OREOS
recipe from Boston.com


COOKIES
· 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
· 3/4 cup sugar
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
· egg
· 1 1/2 cups flour
· 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
· 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
· teaspoon salt
1. In a medium bowl, whisk the butter and the sugar until combined. Whisk in the vanilla and melted chocolate. Add the egg and stir until well blended.
2. In another bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to blend them. Using a wooden spoon, stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. The finished dough should feel like Play-Doh. Cover the dough with plastic, and set aside for 1 hour or until firm.
3. Place the dough on a long sheet of parchment paper. Use your hands to shape it into a rough log, about 10 inches long and 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Place the log at the edge of the parchment. Roll the parchment around the log. With your hands on the paper, roll the dough into a tighter log, keeping the diameter the same.
4. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or until it is firm enough to slice without crumbling.
5. Set the oven at 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
6. Remove the dough from the paper. Cut the log into 32 slices, each a quarter-inch. Set them on the baking sheets 1 inch apart.
7. Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, checking them often after 15 minutes, or until they are firm when touched in the center.
8. Cool completely on the sheets.


FIILLING
· 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 1 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
· tablespoon milk
· Pinch salt
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on low speed for half a minute. Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth.
2. Beat in the milk and salt. The filling will look and feel like spackle.
3. Place 1 tablespoon of filling on the flat side of 16 cookies. Press the remaining 16 cookies on the filling, flat sides against the cream, to evenly distribute the filling.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Derek Jeter, is that you?


I came across this picture and article and all I can say is "wow." I know Derek Jeter has a little downtime now that he's done being badass and winning world championships but I don't really see him as an actor.

And I especially don't see him looking anything like this picture when he's older (aka I've seen the high top under his Yankees cap, he definitely will not have curly stringy hair if he grew it out).

Supposedly, the Yankees captain is playing himself in the upcoming movie "The Other Guys." And according to a synopsis in the New York Post, Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg play police officers who are taken off the streets after Wahlberg's character wrongly shoots Jeter in the leg after seeing him walk around with a bat. I'm a big fan of Mark Wahlberg and WIll Ferrell so I'll definitely be seeing this movie and I just hope Derek knows what he's doing!

Monday, November 23, 2009

I love Larry (David)


This morning we mourn the ending Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 7. I have to say that this is one my favorite shows on television and an added bonus is that it's one of the few shows that Larry and I both love. (Because for some reason, Larry does not like Grey's Anatomy :))

Anyway, we're big fans of HBO in our house and this summer when Entourage ended we were left wondering what would occupy our Sunday night TV viewing, until we realized that Curb was coming back. This show is hilarious all because of Larry David. He's brutally honest, ridiculously offensive and often completely inappropriate which makes the show entertaining. I can't even begin to get into the situations he gets himself into but as the caption says above, you really do find yourself relating with that crazy nut.

It's hard to believe that most of this show is based on ad-libbing and that they only follow storylines and make it up as they go. I'll be sad to see it go but may need to Netflix some of the earlier seasons to relive the humor this winter when all the good tv stops. If you don't have HBO, I highly recommend renting the series on DVD, it's that good.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ch Ch Changes...

Larry survived his first week at the new job! Pros of the new job include free breakfast, lunch, unlimited snacks and drinks, and getting to see Jeremy on a daily basis. Cons include long commute, having to wear a blazer to work, and lack of Pepsi products. All in all, a great sucess!


Larry on his first day in his big boy clothes

I'm so proud of you Larry - congrats on having the courage and confidence to make a change. I know you'll be great in this new opportunity!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Happy Anniversary to the Sforza's!!!


Yesterday marked the second wedding anniversary of our very good friends Brooke and Jeremy. Their wedding in 2007 was the first (of many to follow) wedding of close friends of ours. Larry and Jeremy were roommates back in sophomore year at Bentley and have remained friends ever since. I still remember the year after we graduated Larry invited them over for dinner in our Boston apartment and Brooke announcing that she was moving to CT to live near Jeremy. Larry and I had always planned to move back to CT and when we found ourselves doing it just 2 years later, we immediately hooked back up with B & J and have been close friends ever since.


Happy 2 years guys! It was a fantastic day and we were so happy to be a part of it!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's Already Mid-November?

Seriously, already? I swear it was just Halloween! We've been crazy busy over here at the Ciccarelli household for the first half of November, and unfortunatly no signs of slowing down. Here's what we've been up to:

Soccer: Larry's team is playing today in the quarter finals. They've won some huge games and I think Larry is more exited than the boys

Work: I've been extremely busy the last few weeks of work and Larry hasn't been because he's been enjoying a 2 week work hiatus before he starts his new job on Monday. Big changes ahead including a commute and big boy work clothes!

Friends and Family: We spent a long weekend in Boston last weekend visiting many friends and enjoying life. It was a great trip. We also recently celebrated Grandpa's 80's birthday!

OK this might have taken place in October but never made it off my iphone


And last but not least, we watched the Yankees cruise to a 27th World Championship. After many long baseball games (I still don't understand why Fox insisted on only starting the games at 8PM for two east coast teams, meaning I always fell asleep around the 8th inning aka when the games got good), Larry and I found ourselves spending the late hours of Wednesday November 4th in bed celebrating the win togetherI stole this from another website but I thought it was really cool

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Spider Cuppycakes


For the Halloween party we went to last weekend, I decided I needed a week-night project and decided to make something delicious to bring to the party. These litter critters were cute and fairly easy to make.

Here's the recipe:

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 box (18.25 oz.) Devil’s Food cake mix
  • 1 can (16 oz.) dark chocolate frosting
  • 1 can (10.5 oz.) chocolate sprinkles
  • 24 large marshmallows
  • ¼ cup M&M’S® Brand Chocolate Candies
  • 48 red or black licorice laces (I used Cherry Twizzlers Pull n' Peel because do they even still make licorice laces?)
  • 1 toothpick
DIRECTIONS
  1. Prepare the cake mix according to the package instructions.
  2. Line cupcake pans with paper-liners. Fill each cup with 2/3 cup of batter.
  3. Bake in a preheated 350°F for 18-21 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and cool completely.
  4. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the chocolate frosting in a resealable plastic bag.
  5. Spread the tops of the cupcakes with the remaining frosting. Then, coat the tops with the chocolate sprinkles.
  6. Cut the marshmallows in half crosswise (I was able to get 3 or 4 slices per marshmellow but this part was really messy because the marshmellow kept sticking to the knife). Using the reserved frosting, attach two marshmallow pieces to each cupcake as eyes. Stick one M&M to the center of each marshmallow piece for the eye (the recipe said to use frosting to do this but I didn't and they stuck just fine)
  7. Cut each licorice lace into four equal pieces. Press four holes into 2 sides of each cupcake using the toothpick. Insert a licorice piece into each hole for each spider’s legs, 8 pieces per cupcake.

I may be biased, but I think they're adorable!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 2009

We kicked off Halloween weekend 2009 at Dan and Sarah's Halloween party on Friday night. After putting off deciding on costumes until Tuesday of last week, I put Larry in charge. Turns out you can find anything on the internet and within 10 minutes we had ourselves some kick-ass costumes. Seeing that Larry is obsessed with 90's Nickelodeon cartoon shows, I was completely unsurprised to find out that we would be the "green monkeys" from Legends of the Hidden Temple, complete with gold helmets.

Yes, we look very "special" with our helmets

The party was really fun and there were some great costumes (although I forgot to charge the camera and could only rely on the iphone for a few quick pics) and even a Pinata! Minutes after the below picture was taken, I welcomed the opportunity to get out some aggression with a golfclub...


On Halloween Saturday night, per usual we went to Richard's house to help hand out candy. Even though there was less kids as normal, we still got to see some cute kids (and inappropriately dressed teen girls) which is always a good time.