Apple Chips

We were fortunate enough this year to go apple picking at one of our favorite orchards. Not sure if we love apple picking as much as we love their apple pie from the Elegant Farmer.  Regardless, apple picking was something we always loved to do when the kids were growing up. Something about watching them eat a bunch of apples while climbing trees is a quick pleasure. This year we probably bought way too many apples, and as I would walk past the half bushel, I decided that I would come up with something and see if the family would try out the apple chips.

Dehydrated Apple Chips Recipe
Dehydrated Apple Chips Recipe

My wife was gratuitous enough to get me a food dehydrator some time ago.  I’ve done everything from making beef jerky to vegetable chips in the dehydrator and I’ll admit that I love it. So when the apples were in my zone, I decided on batching out some apples and making apple chips. So easy, so good, and a great way to use up some apples.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 of your favorite apples, cored, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • food dehydrator

Yep, that’s it. If you want to jazz them up, you could put some cinnamon and sugar mix onto them once they were cut up, but I went simple and simple was good.

Take your sliced apples and place them onto your dehydrator trays, leaving about 1/2 inch between each one. The goal is to not let them overlap or touch one another.

Apple Picking
Apple Picking – The Squinters

Once you have filled the trays, turn on your dehydrator and let them dry out for about 4-6 hours. It’s ok to feel them, and take them out when they meet your desired crispness.

Dehydrated Apples
Dehydrated Apples

You can store these in a airtight container to keep their crispness, but in our house, they were gone that afternoon. I was a bit startled to say the least to see them go so quickly, but I was actually really glad because I knew that everyone had a great nutritious snack that day. So if you are looking for something delicious and easy, and a great snack to boot, give these dehydrated apple chips a try (and yes you can do these in the oven as well).

Tenzo Tea Matcha Smoothie

Tenzo Tea reached out a while back asking if I would be interested in trying their brand of matcha tea. To be honest, I’m not an avid tea drinker only having a mug or two a week but I was willing to try their blends of matcha tea. I was excited to say the least. My wife, who is an avid tea drinker, was also excited as matcha was not one of our go to tea choices. Tenzo Tea had sent over a variety of matcha teas to try including blueberry, raspberry, and traditional green. We tried all three and really fell in love with the raspberry and blueberry blends. I mean really fell in love with them and it was probably the best cup of tea I’ve had in some time, plus it has all of the benefits of matcha. When trying the green blend, I knew that one needed a bit of help, and so I decided to come up with a recipe using Tenzo Tea and decided a great fruit smoothie would be a nice way to incorporate the matcha tea.

Tenzo Tea Smoothie
Tenzo Tea Smoothie

Tenzo tea has all of the benefits of match which includes focused energy, an antioxidant powerhouse, a way to a healthier heart, and a boost in metabolism. What’s not to love about that, and what a better way to start your morning!

Let’s get started.

Ingredients (makes 1 smoothie):

  • 2 tsp matcha tea
  • 4 oz hot water
  • 1 1/2 cups of frozen blueberries
  • 4 frozen strawberries
  • 1 banana, cut up
  • 1 whole kale leaf, torn, optional
  • 1/4 cup of your favorite yogurt, optional

Add the matcha tea to the hot water and stir well. Once it cools down, prepare your smoothie.

My favorite smoothie is pretty much everything listed above, however make this to your liking, just don’t forget to use the Tenzo Tea!

Add all of the ingredients to your blender, or smoothie cup, and blend until smooth.

Tenzo Tea Smoothie Ingredients
Tenzo Tea Smoothie Ingredients

Pour and serve.

The result is not only a great smoothie, but one with the additional benefits of matcha tea! The tea itself does have a bit of a jolt as well which is even a better start to the morning, and yes beats that cup of coffee.

If you are looking for some really great matcha tea, and a great product from California, look up Tenzo Tea and give them your support. It’s awesome. Hope you enjoy!

Homemade Baklava using D’Vash

I find it interesting that over the last few months there are a couple of boxes of fillo dough and puff pastry in my freezer. I’m almost certain I had a couple of ideas bouncing around in my head during those purchases, but it was not until team members from D’Vash Organics contacted me once again to partner with them in creating yet another great recipe using their amazing D’Vash Date Nectar.  That’s when I knew exactly what I was going to make. A traditional baklava, in some ways, but using D’Vash date nectar in replace of honey. The result was mind blowing to say the least.

Homemade Baklava using D'Vash
Homemade Baklava using D’Vash

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 rolls or 1 box of fillo dough, thawed
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups of shelled pistachios
  • 2 cups of walnuts
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of D’Vash date nectar
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Start by making your sweet sauce that will be used after the baklava has baked. You will want to do this ahead so that it has time to cool.

Add 3/4 cup of sugar, water, lemon juice, and D’Vash date nectar to a small pot. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat, then once boiling reduce the heat and cook for about 5 more minutes. Stir along the way. After 5 minutes, remove from the heat and let it cool.

Now the backbreaking work. Just kidding. This is the only time consuming part, and if you are having your kids help, this can take a bit of patience as unlayering each piece of fragile fillo can be a bit nerve wracking. Just make sure your fillo dough is completely thawed. I set mine out the day before and place it in the refrigerator overnight for a day or two to ensure it is completely thawed.

Get a baking sheet out, or if your are super detailed get a baking dish out that will fit your sheet of fillo dough. I go with my baking sheet and make sure that when I layer each fillo that it matches up with the previous fillo dough.

Make the sugar and nut mixture. To a food processor, or use a knife if you desire, pulse the nuts into a fine chop. Add the nuts to a bowl along with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and cinnamon and give that a good mix.

Get your bowl of melted butter ready along with a pastry brush. Unroll a roll of fillo and get ready to baklava!

Place 10 fillo sheets onto the baking sheet one at a time, and brush each sheet with butter once it’s in the pan before adding the next sheet of fillo.  After the 10th sheet, spread about 1/5 of nut mixture over the fillo dough.

Do the same process, but this time layer only 5 sheets, buttering each sheet, then on the 5th sheet, top with the nut and sugar mixture.

Do this about 4 more times with the 5 sheet layer process, then on the final top, go back to the 10 stack of fillo, ensuring that all nut mixture is used up before layering the top 10 sheets of fillo.

Butter the top of the 10th sheet, then gently push down and form the baklava.

Homemade Baklava Ingredients using D'Vash
Homemade Baklava Ingredients using D’Vash

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Now let’s cut the baklava. Cut the fillo into about 2 inch strips, lengthwise, then make diagonal cuts to make somewhat of a diamond shape. If you want to keep things simple, just cut into rectangles, it’s up to you.

Place the baking sheet into the oven and cook for about 1 hour, up to 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Once the baklava is a great golden brown, remove from the oven, and immediately ladle over the cooled syrup you made earlier, ensuring that you get into all of those crevices.

Now the hard part… waiting.

The goal is to not only let the baklava cool, but you want that syrup to penetrate all of that great fillo that you took your time stacking. After about 4 hours, go ahead and try the baklava, but trust me the longer you wait, the better it gets. Kids approved, neighbors and friends approved, and chef approved.

If you are looking for a great treat that will be sure to please everyone (with the exception of those with nut allergies), then give this baklava a try. The replacement of D’Vash really made this baklava stand out. It had this subtle tartness that really made this delicious baklava pop.

If you are wanting to try D’Vash Organics Date Nectar (and I highly recommend it), then head over to their store and pick some up. My lucky readers can use the coupon code DVASHSIMPLECOMFORTFOOD upon check out! Hope you enjoy D’Vash as much as we do!

Dill Pickle Peanuts

In the past month we have been harvesting tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh herbs from the garden. Typically my wife snags a cucumber and handful of tomatoes for lunch, which is a great thing. Me on the other hand, well, think about ways I can make meals using whatever produce we can harvest. As I was walking along the garden, I realized I had a bunch of dill to use. As I typically love buying fresh dill, the reality is it doesn’t last but a day, if that, before it gets limp and unusable. That is if you don’t freeze it, which I recently found out!

So while looking at the dill, that’s when it popped into my head, why not try making some dill flavored peanuts. I’ve been tinkering with mixed nuts this summer, I love dill, my kids love snacking on nuts, and let’s just see what happens. What happened was pretty darn delicious as a snack.

This recipe is super simple.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of Spanish Peanuts
  • 1 tbsp your favorite seasoning blend (make sure it has some dill in it)
  • 1 tbsp dried onion
  • 2 tbsp canola or olive oil
  • 1 cup of fresh dill fronds, lightly chopped, packed
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • baking sheet lined with parchment paper

Begin by preheating your oven to 325.

To a mixing bowl, add everything but the baking sheet and parchment paper, and give a good toss, incorporating all of the seasoning and oil onto the peanuts.

Dill Pickle Peanuts Recipe
Dill Pickle Peanuts Recipe

Spread the mixture onto the lined baking sheet and place into the preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the peanuts while they are baking and feel free to give them a gentle stir halfway through.

Ingredients for Dill Pickle Peanuts
Ingredients for Dill Pickle Peanuts

Once cooked, remove them from the oven and place them into a serving bowl. Let them cool down before digging in. These are a perfect game day snack, balanced with hints of dill and a seasoning blend. Give these a try if you are looking to use up some dill in the near future! Hope you enjoy!