With the weather getting cooler, the holidays inching closer, and my pregnant silhouette getting bigger and bigger by the day, all I really want to do on the weekends now is cancel plans, hibernate by the fireplace, and indulge in some rich, tasty snacks. Those savory appetizers that can almost replace a whole meal have been front of mind for me, and I got an idea for this one after Family Circle Magazine asked me to create a holiday dish that featured California Walnuts. Their nutty flavor paired with crisp diced apples that are cooked down with sugar and spices and drizzled over the warm brie for a sweet and savory appetizer that will impress your guests this holiday season! Check out the write-up in this month’s issue of Family Circle Magazine, and access the recipe below: AppleWalnutBakedBrie1 read more

This post was created in partnership with Keurig Green Mountain®. All opinions, images, and ideas are my own.

Earlier this year I threw a little blogger potluck party with some of my blogging-buddies from Boston Bloggers. We always bump into each other out at events in the city, but rarely get time to really hang out and catch up. With the cool weather creeping in this time of year in New England, I decided to host another potluck get-together – this time with a seasonal theme featuring everyone’s two favorite fall flavors: pumpkin and apple! pumpkinsandapples5 read more

The other day at work the topic of Thanksgiving foods came up, and while it’s not a traditional Thanksgiving food, I mentioned that we always have a mac and cheese at ours because my siblings aren’t big on turkey. One of the best mac and cheese dishes that I’ve ever eaten was on our honeymoon, and the dish came served with a side of homemade applesauce — delicious. My wheels started turning for how I could combine these flavors in a new way, and I came up with this cute little idea for a savory and sweet side dish: mac and cheese baked apples. I love the idea of offering these in small apples as an appetizer, or as a bigger portion for a side dish at dinner — either way, they’re a super tasty treat. Full recipe below!

Mac and cheese baked apple Mac and cheese baked apple1 mac and cheese baked apple2 mac and cheese baked apple3 mac and cheese baked apple4 mac and cheese baked apple5 mac and cheese baked apple6Ingredients:

  • 4-5 large apples (honey crisp apples worked great)
  • 5 cups of cooked pasta (elbows work great!)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese (plus extra for garnish)
  • salt and pepper

Instructions:

Cook pasta as directed, removing from water when still al dente. Clean apples and slice their tops off; using a melon-baller, scoop out the insides of the apple leaving a half-inch rim around the edges. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and begin to whisk in flour until a roux forms, then slowly whisk in the cup of milk and heat until the sauce thickens. Next, mix in the cheeses and combine until the sauce is a consistent texture. Remove from heat fold in pasta until fully coated; salt and pepper to taste. Fill the hollowed-out apples with macaroni and cheese mixture, and top with additional sharp cheddar cheese. Bake in a baking dish in a 400 degree pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes.

 

I have one more recipe to share from our apple-picking porch party that was featured on SMP Living last week — and this one combines my two favorite things, gooey baked cheese and sweet apples. The best part about this recipe? You can make it the night before and freeze it, just pop it in the oven before guests arrive! I’d be lying if I said we didn’t eat the full wheel of brie between the few us gals — it was delectable!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 apples, sliced in thin pieces
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp Royal Rose’s cardamom clove simple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • Wheel of brie (6 to 8 oz)
  •  Frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten for wash
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Combine apple, sugars, simple syrup and spices in saucepan until apples are fully coated and sauté for 4-5 minutes while stirring. When sugars start to bubble up, remove the mixture from the heat and let cool.
  3. On a floured surface, roll out thawed puff pastry dough and cut into a 10″ circle.
  4. Cut the wheel cheese in half horizontally, place bottom half off cheese wheel on the rolled out pastry dough, top with 1/2 of the apple mixture. Place the second half of the cheese wheel on top, and cover the top with the remaining apple mixture.
  5. Working in a circular fashion, begin to wrap and fold the pastry dough around the brie, leaving some room at the top for the apple compote to show.
  6. Brush the dough lightly with one beaten egg, and then bake off in the oven for 35-40 minutes on a baking sheet, or until the crust is a golden brown.  Let it rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting, and serve warm with a crusty baguette or crackers.

All images by Bring To Light Photography

What a wonderful little Friday treat, a shoot I styled with Bring to Light Photography and Little Flower Cottage is up on Style Me Pretty Living today! Click on over to read about our little apple-picking porch party with lots of tasty apple-inspired treats. And be sure to check back next week — I’ll share the details of my recipes for an Autumn Apple punch, a baked brie with apple compote, and other treats like salted caramel apples and mini mason jar apple pies!

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Last week I was run down and had a terrible cold, so I was determined to use the weekend to recharge. To me, there is nothing more relaxing or comforting than being in the kitchen, so that’s where I spent my time. I stayed in Friday night and baked up lots of treats, including mini mason jar apple pies, and sea salt caramel apples — both for a little Saturday project I helped style with two my good friends (more pictures coming soon!). And Sunday I let a hearty kielbasa and white bean soup simmer in the slow cooker all day — which made our apartment smell delightful. It was a delicious and successful attempt at a relaxing weekend.

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This summer when we were on our cross-country honeymoon road trip, we stopped at a restaurant in Cleveland where I promptly demolished my bridal diet by ordering the baked mac and cheese. When the dish came out the waiter stopped to point out some homemade applesauce accompanying the cheesy dish. All he asked was that I give it a try, dip the steaming hot pasta into the cool, sweet applesauce — he assured me it would change my life. And it did. It makes total sense, I’d heard of people eating a slice of sharp cheddar cheese with apple pie, but it just never occurred to me to try this combination before, but it was completely and totally delicious. So this week I made some macaroni and cheese and had to try making some homemade applesauce to go with it.

Processed with VSCOcamLet me tell you a little secret: making homemade applesauce is as easy as pie (you like that apple joke?).  I peeled and cored 10 apples (a friendly farmer at our farmer’s market recommended using gravenstein apples, if you can find them.) and combined them with half a cup of apple cider, half a cup of brown sugar, one tablespoon of granulated sugar, and three cinnamon sticks. I put it in our crock-pot on high for 4 hours, removing the cinnamon sticks after the first hour, and stirring occasionally. And that’s it, simple as that! Make sure to serve the applesauce cold — I’m convinced the difference in temperature is just as important as the balance of the flavors.

 

I have a little Fall-inspired cocktail to share today as we gear up for the weekend: Apple Cider Sangria. I made this last weekend and it delicious — I love creating a pitcher of pre-made drinks when having friends over, it’s nice to have something already prepared so you can dive right into the party! To make the sangria, I chopped up two small apples, a half an orange, a few slices of lemon, and some cinnamon sticks and poured a bottle of red wine over the top. I let the red wine soak in the fruit overnight, and right before it’s ready to be served, I poured in a can and a half of hard apple cider (I used Down East cider — one of my favorites and totally delicious on its own — which is why I finished the other half of the second while making dinner!).  Be sure to scoop out some of the fruit into your glass when you serve it — cheers!

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