Fruit and Nuts

We have eleven pecan trees, so along with the leaves, pecans cover our yard this time of year. We already had about ten pounds collected just from our front yard, so this weekend we took them to the farmer’s market to have them cracked. Even though we still have to separate the shell from the meat, it’s so much faster than doing it all by hand that it is totally worth it. 

Cracked pecans

While we were there, Thadd discovered a big box full of bruised apples for five dollars, so I bought those, too. Thanks to my apple peeler-slicer-corer contraption, I was able to quickly get them ready to freeze for later. Here’s a similar apple peeler to the one I use:

Johnny Apple Peeler by VICTORIO VKP1010, Cast Iron, Suction Base

Some of the apples went straight to the stove with cinnamon and sugar to have as a sweet side and baked oatmeal topping.

Apples!

I’m looking for more recipes to use the apples and pecans that aren’t overly sugary. So far, I’ve found a recipe for apple cider vinegar that makes use of the saved peels. 

In the meantime, I made my favorite pecan dessert that is the opposite of not sugary: pecan pralines. (That’s puh-cahn prah-leans, y’all.) They are dangerously easy, especially when you have a ton of pecans on hand and the rest of the ingredients are kitchen staples. 

Pecan Pralines
Still too hot…

Here’s the recipe I use:

Pecan Pralines

3/4 cup each of brown sugar and granulated sugar

1/2 cup of milk

1 cup of pecans

1 tablespoon of butter

1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Combine the sugars and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook until it reaches the soft ball stage. (That’s when you can put a drop in cold water and it holds together in a ball shape but flattens on your finger when you take it out of the water.) I stir it pretty constantly and check it when it starts to look a little thicker.

Once it is at the soft ball stage, remove it from the heat and stir in the butter, vanilla and pecans until it’s well mixed. Drop the mixture by the spoonful onto waxed paper. If it gets too hard to spoon out, warm it back up for a bit on the stove. It’s best to have the waxed paper ready and work quickly, though. That way you don’t risk burning it and the resulting sadness.  

Resist the temptation to try the yumminess immediately and let it cool. Seriously, let it cool. Hot melty sugar burns! The pralines will be more frosty opaque than glossy and easy to peel off the waxed paper when they are ready. 

I usually get about sixteen pralines from one batch, but it will vary depending on how big you make them.

Enjoy!

Easy Yumminess

Yesterday Finn, Beckett and I made this totally easy, totally yummy Peanut Butter Cheesecake from Camp Patton. I made the mistake of using a crumbly store bought crust, but, even so, you’d never know that the whole thing only took about five minutes, no baking and was mostly made by my six-year old because Beckett decided not to cooperate in making something he wasn’t going to get to eat anyway.

The next time I make it, I might cut back on the sugar a little bit because it was almost too sweet for me. Almost. I’m also playing around with the idea of using a chocolate crust and adding a chocolate drizzle on top for my Reese’s-loving hubby for his birthday. (I can totally write that here because he never reads my blog. Totally.)

Chillin’

Go, Go, Power Rangers!

Finn has been fighting a cold since Friday night. Luckily he was feeling much better by last night. I planned to be home to pass out candy, but we ended up going to the city’s rec center for their Halloween party. It was way better than last year, and Finn got to hang out with a friend from school, so it worked out well.

Giant bouncy obstacle course at the rec center.

I do, however have a giant bowl of candy that did not get handed out sitting in the pantry. There are also cupcakes. My next Dr.’s appointment is about two weeks away. That’s probably when the GD test will come up. I’m hoping to a. not have gained 10+ pounds by that appointment and b. not do anything to sabotage my GD test. Based on the scale this morning, it’s not looking good. I’m hoping the 2+ gallons of water the baby seems to require me to drink helps to counteract the candy. Maybe. Please.

Red Ranger with Dracula from next door after the rec center.