Caramel Apple Pie

Continuing with Christmas Eve dinner, the next item on the menu was Brussels Sprouts with Apples & Almonds.  This side dish was really good, but I am going to skip it for now and try to perfect the recipe to better fit my taste.  So I will definitely post the recipe eventually.  Until then, I’ll still post a dish with apples – Caramel Apple Pie.

Christmas Eve 13 Menu

Similar to last year when I made a lighter, healthier dessert one night – Apple Crisp, and a richer dessert the second night – Chocolate Avocado Pudding.  This year I made a Caramel Apple Pie and a Buckeye Pie.  Since these were both pies for only 4 people, I knew there would be leftovers.  Having a healthier pie and a richer pie would allow for a great choice as leftovers.  In the mood for a healthier pie?  I could choose the Caramel Apple Pie.  Sweet tooth is really kicking in?  I could choose the Buckeye Pie.

Today I am posting the Caramel Apple Pie.  I have tried to make a vegan and gluten-free apple pie before and it did not work.  Thankfully this one came out and was very tasty!

Caramel Apple Pie 3

This recipe was adapted from here:

Ingredients:

  • 2 pie crusts  (I recommend my Pecan Date Pie Crust)
  • 3 large Granny Smith apples
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp caramel sauce (I used store bought)

Directions:

  1. To prepare the pie crusts I baked one in the pie pan at 375F for 10 minutes covered with foil.  The other pie crust I rolled out on wax paper and cut into strips and did not prebake.  Set aside for later.
  2. Preheat oven to 425F.
  3. Thinly slice apples. (You can peel them first if you want, I didn’t).
  4. Toss the apples in a large bowl.
  5. Add all other ingredients and gently stir to evenly coat everything.  (If the ingredients are not spreading evenly, you can heat the whole bowl of apples in the microwave for 30 seconds, then gently stir.)
  6. Pour apple mixture into the prepared pie crust.  Gently lay the other prepared pie strips in a lattice pattern on top of the pie filling. (Alternatively, you can skip cutting the 2nd pie crust into strips and just lay the 2nd pie crust on top of the pie filling .  Just make sure to add a hole in the center to allow the pie to vent.)
  7. Cover with aluminum foil (to prevent the crust from burning) and bake for 15 minutes.
  8. Reduce temperature to 350F and bake for 20-25 minutes, still covered with foil. (Make sure to check around 20 minutes to make sure the pie crust is not burning).
  9. Allow pie to cool for at least an hour before serving.

I served my pie with drizzled caramel on top!

Caramel Apple Pie 5Before baking the pie:

Caramel Apple Pie

After baking the pie:

Caramel Apple Pie 2

Once the pie crusts were made, the actual pie filling was very easy to make!  The hardest part was slicing all the apples.  It was also easier just to buy caramel sauce then make my own, though I’m sure it would be tasty.  Store any leftover pie in the fridge.

Caramel Apple Pie 4

Christmas Eve 2013 Dishes:

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Rainbow Greens

To continue with the dishes I made on Christmas Eve, today I am going to post one of the veggie side dishes I made.

Christmas Eve 13 Menu

I loved how colorful this dish was and it was super tasty!  It was a perfect dish to make when preparing so much other food because it was super simple to make.

Rainbow Greens

The recipe is from Everyday Happy Herbivore:

The recipe is simple, delicious, colorful, and  healthy!  What a great holiday side dish or side dish for any time!

Rainbow Greens 2

Christmas Eve 2013 Dishes:

Veggie Loaf Bites

Last year, I posted all the recipes I made for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  This year when I was planning on what to make, it was great to look back as inspiration for this year and just to see what I had enjoyed the year before.  I’m going to do this again this year.  So we will start with Christmas Eve!

Christmas Eve 13 Menu

The main entree this year was these Veggie Loaf Bites.  Since some of the other dishes I made for Christmas Eve were more time consuming, this meal was a pleasure to make.  It was quick and easy!

Veggie Loaf Bites 2

You can find the recipe from Happy Herbivore – Light and Lean and it’s definitely worth purchasing.

Veggie Loaf Bites

I was able to make 10 veggie bites!  For the mixed vegetables, I used a cup from a large bag I bought at Costco.  I think next time I’m going to try a different mixture of vegetables.  I wasn’t thrilled with the look of these, but they still tasted great!

I served these with Mushroom Gravy (which I also made for some dishes over Thanksgiving)  The gravy recipe is in Everyday Happy Herbivore another book worth purchasing.  These bites can also be served with ketchup.  I’m sure these would also taste great made into patties and eaten on a bun; the baking time would probably need to be adjusted though.

Christmas Eve 2013 Dishes:

Smoky Split Pea Soup

I have been loving soups, stews, and chilis again this winter!  In celebration of the first day of winter (even though it was 60 degrees!) I made this delicious soup!

Smoked Split Pea Soup 2

This recipe was adapted from Appetite For Reduction:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • several pinches ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups diced carrots
  • 1 1/4 cups split peas
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Directions:

  1. In a large pot saute onion in the olive oil until translucent for about 4 minutes over medium-high heat.
  2. Add garlic, pepper, and salt and saute for another minute.
  3. Add paprika and thyme and stir continuously to toast the spices.
  4. Add the carrots, split peas, and broth.
  5. Cover the pot and bring to a boil.
  6. Once it’s boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes, until the peas are creamy, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add the lemon juice and taste.  Add extra lemon juice, salt, or pepper if needed.

Smoked Split Pea Soup

The longer this soup sits, the more flavorful the soup will taste.  If possible, try making at least a few hours before serving!

Next time I make this soup, I’m doubling the recipe.  I bet eating the leftovers the next day would be delicious and lunch would already be ready!

Smoked Split Pea Soup 3

Cocoa Chili

Anything with the word cocoa in it sounds delicious and needs to be made immediately!  Cocoa Chili may sound unusual, but it is tasty in a surprising way.  With this cold, snowy weather, I figured this would be a great time to post this chili recipe!

Cocoa Chili

Whenever I make chili, I like to add in TVP for a “meatier” texture.  Plus it’s very high in protein!  This recipe was adapted from here:

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp chipotle sauce*
  • 1.5 tbsp raw sugar
  • 2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup veggie broth**
  • 1 can mild green chilies
  • 3 cans of beans, drained and rinsed (I used black beans, kidney beans, and cannellini beans)
  • 1 cup TVP

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Saute onion and pepper until soft, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add garlic and stir again, cooking for about 1 minute.
  4. Add cocoa powder, oregano, cumin, salt, and cinnamon and stir for about 1 minute.
  5. Add in tomatoes (with the liquid), veggie broth, green chilis, and chipotle sauce and stir to combine.
  6. Bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce to a simmer.  Add beans and sugar.
  7. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
  8. Allow to cook for about 20 minutes.  Stir in TVP.
  9. Continue to cook for another 10-25 minutes, until desired consistency is reached.  The longer it cooks, the more it will thicken.
  10. Adjust spices to taste and serve!

* If you don’t have chipotle sauce, you can just use any hot sauce.  Maybe add in about 1 tsp of chili powder as well?

** I used 1 cup of veggie broth, but you can add up to 2 cups if you like your chili less thick.

For an even quicker meal, I’m sure this can even be prepared in a crockpot.  Just put everything in the crockpot, stir, and allow to cook on low 7-8 hours or on high 4-5 hours.  If you use the crockpot, you won’t have sauted veggies unless you do that step before adding everything to the crockpot, but I’m sure it still tastes great!

Based on 8 servings, this recipe yields approximately 245 calories and 16g protein.

Pecan Date Pie Crust

I recently posted a recipe for my “favorite” pie crust, Oatmeal Cookie Pie Crust.  Over the Thanksgiving Holiday I decided to make this crust with the Chocolate Tofu Pie again, but for some reason the crust really rose this time.  The pie pan was like all cookie; there was no room to fit the actual pie because the “crust” turned more into a cookie cake!  Thankfully, the taste was still great (like an oatmeal cookie) so I literally ate the “crust” as a cookie!  However, this left me with no pie crust for my favorite chocolate pie.  Fortunately, I had just made a pumpkin pie which came with a pie crust recipe and it turned out very well.  I had a feeling this pie crust would pair well with the chocolate pie filling and I was right!  So again I am going to change my favorite pie crust recipe to this new one here!

Pecan Date Crust 2

This recipe was adapted from here:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup GF rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons almond milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F and spray a pie pan with non-stick spray.
  2. Place oats, pecans, and cinnamon in a blender and blend until a ground.
  3. Add dates and blend until the mixture starts to slightly clump.
  4. Add the almond milk and blend for a few seconds until a dough forms.
  5. Take a piece of wax paper and lay your dough (should be in a ball) on top.  With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a large flat circle (slightly bigger than your pie pan.
  6. Gently peel the crust off the wax paper and place it in your pie pan and gently press it into place.
  7. Trim off extra edges of the crust.
  8. Loosely cover the pie crust with aluminum foil and bake for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool before filling.*

*If you fill this pie with a filling that needs to be baked, place foil around the edges of the crust before baking the entire pie.  At the last 10 minutes, remove the foil around the crust.

If you fill this pie with a no-bake filling, before you fill the pie, bake the pie crust an additional 5-10 minutes without the foil.  Just be sure to watch it closely at the end so it doesn’t burn.

Here’s a picture of the crust before baking:

Pecan Date Crust

If you cut this pie into 8 slices, this recipe (for just the crust) yields approximately 145 calories and 2.5g protein.