Monday, 21 October 2013

Fall (tr)eats and a fugly turkey

My first fall-festive post. I used to enjoy Halloween (eight years as a black cat in my youth were not wasted), but as I grew, my appreciation for Christmas, rather than dwindle, far dwarfed any joy I received from Halloween. Now I can't help but be annoyed by it, knowing I can't properly start to celebrate Christmas until Halloween has come and gone.

ya girl.

However. Being that I have my own place to decorate and people to entertain this year, I thought festive-related foods and decor were in order. Plus I was responsible for making the family turkey as my mom was abroad.

First on the agenda: Caramel apples.
- apples, 10 smaller-sized
- a pack of Kraft caramels
- whatever decorative toppings you desire. For me, this was marshmallows, dark chocolate chips, and peanut butter. Because I can't not put peanut butter on things when I have the opportunity.

Wanting to make the most of the experience, I went to the Parkdale Farmer's Market and asked the apple kiosk which type would be best for making caramel apples. She suggested Spartan because they are somewhat bitter with a sweet aftertaste that would compliment the caramel well.

I also picked up a pumpkin FOR THREE DOLLARS.

It's white and precious and no I will absolutely not be carving it. Although I might spray paint it gold.

I searched the grocery store for caramel that I could melt and could only find Kraft's version. Which is fine, but each caramel is wrapped individually in plastic. So you have to unwrap. Each. One. Which gets tedious and is an awful waste. But there are recipes available specifically for this package of caramels which is helpful, and what I used.

You put all the unwrapped caramels into a pot with two tablespoons of water and cook on medium-low heat, "stirring constantly" until smooth.

I mostly stirred constantly, but also prepared everything while the caramels did their thing. Which meant washing the apples and putting coconut oil-greased parchment paper over a plate.

And also getting the toppings ready.

When the caramels were finished melting...

I very carefully maneuvered the apple around the caramel until it was coated, using the spoon if necessary. Because I did not jab wooden sticks into them and decided to use the stem. And though melted caramel smells and tastes divine, if you get it on your fingers it sticks and burns with a f*cking vengeance.


Then I stuck on my toppings.

And put them in the fridge for an hour. Between decorating the first of four (how many would fit on a plate) and the last of the four, the toppings from the first one has started sliding down. So I would suggest keeping the tray in the fridge and putting them on as you go.

They are not terrifyingly hard on your teeth when you bite into them as some candy apples can be, but the caramel is very sticky. Which was worth it because they are delicious. And I LOVED having the peanut butter on them. Also so impressed with how easily they come off parchment paper!? Do not put them directly onto a container or in a plastic baggy (...) because you'll either make them very ugly or the toppings will all come off. 

Second dessert: the best paleo lemond pound cake ever - turned into muffins.

I've made this as a cake before and it IS delicious. But I've halved the recipe a couple times and made six muffins which is excellent as well.

Grease a muffin tin well with coconut oil and preheat the oven to 350. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl:
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 teaspoon seasalt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Then get your wet ingredients ready in another bowl:
- 1/3 cup honey (liquid state)
- 1/3 cup coocnut oil (liquid state)
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup + 1.5 tbsp coconut milk
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp lemon juice

and realize you don't have enough honey...

but keep going anyway and hope for the best

adding vanilla

Make a "well" in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into it.

Mix until even.

Distribute evenly into the muffin tins and bake for 25 minutes - if they are still quite moist, cook for another 5.

The original recipe calls for a glaze that can be made while you are baking the muffins. I've done it before and it's great, but as I said, I was out of honey. So I grabbed two muffins for my dad and I, packed up the last four to put in the freezer,

oh hey
some concentrated coconut cream (self-separated), lemon juice, and peaced out to my parents to make a turkey. That came in the box:
That I still managed to screw up. Although I am METICULOUS when it comes to my own planning and directions, I rush through e-mails at work and skim over recipes (another example being when I made pea soup from scratch, told my parents I'd be serving it to them for dinner, and completely missed the part about it simmering on low for 2 hours) so I neglected to see the part that had me remove the foil covering the turkey for the last half hour it was in the oven. It was the UGLIEST piece of meat I have ever seen and one of the main reasons I am a pescatarian. I wish I'd taken a picture of the actual bird, but I'm worried I wouldn't have any friends left. I was too embarrased to show it to my dad and wanted to throw it out. It was white and bulgy and leaky - just disgusting. But that kind, kind man said he'd eat it anyway, as long as it was cooked all the way through. Which it was. And he said it tasted good. I will never know. I also screwed up the mashed potatoes. They were not mashed. They were lumps that I tried in vain to slice small enough that I could mash them because they were still too firm to be squished down properly.

But I digress - dessert.

While the atrocious turkey-bird was cooking, I made an icing of sorts for the muffin.
- two tablespoons coconut cream
- 1 tbsp honey
- 3/4 tbsp lemon juice

Mix them all together and put back in the fridge until ready to serve. Sorry for this really ugly photo, I had to take it covertly because my dad does not like phones in the vicinity whilst dinner is still underway.

but at least you can see how nicely the icing turned out.

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