Category Archives: THS Recipes

Cinnamon Apple Cheesecake Trifle

trifles 

6 Reasons I love this Cinnamon Apple Cheesecake Trifle recipe:

  1. It is SUPER EASY. Like super easy. As in, even if you make all the ingredients from scratch, all the ingredients are so EASY themselves, so the trifle is still EASY.
  2. The finish product makes the recipe seem way more difficult than it actually is, and therefore FANCY.
  3. Utilization of my current favorite Fall recipe: Slow Cooker Cinnamon Sugar Apples!
  4. You can make a larger, for scoop-able sharing, beautifully layered trifle to bring to the table at Friendsgiving, OR you can make individual desserts for everyone in the small dessert glassware you have gathering dust in the cabinet.  Or if you are like me, you sloppily spoon it into Ball Jars because chucky stripes were always my preference to pin stripes.


  5. Speaking for Friendsgiving, the entire time I worked on this deliciousness, I thought about one of the BEST episode of Friends ever, The One Where Ross Got High.  This is one of my most favorite episodes of the show, definitely Canon Worthy in my opinion, which is why this is considered a “reason” on this list of reasons why I love this recipe. 

    By the way, in case you want to make a copy of Rachel Green’s infamous “Traditional English Trifle” for your own Turkey Day table, the internet has got you covered: How to Make Rachel’s Thanksgiving Trifle and How to Survive Serving It and It was Gross, then Good, then Really Gross

  6. This recipe is easily customizable, which makes the individual serving idea an extra fun one! This would be a great dessert for everyone to prep together, layering their ingredients of choice into their Ball jar before screwing on a lid [I love this type for reusability which I’ve seen at Target, Wal-mart and on Amazon, too] and storing in the fridge for when dessert came around. [Don’t forget to label them!]

    It’s like an at-home take on the Fro-Yo craze, right?   Each human determining their own right amount of crunch to soft ratio.  Each mouth prepared for the flavor dynamics of repetitive layers. The ability to add peanuts or nut butter without sending anyone to the hospital. Everyone wins!

  7. It fits into this week’s Recipe Wednesday Link-Up Theme over at HealthyLivingBlogs.com: Thanksgiving Desserts!
    Fellow bloggers; you can link-up your own dessert recipes in the link-up, too! If you add a recipe that fits the weekly theme, we share your recipe on social media.  It’s a great way to support the HLB community and promote your blog, too.  Add your recipes here: Recipe Wednesday: #TurkeyDayYums Dessert Time

readytrifle

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Here’s how I layered my ingredients in these individual Jar Cinnamon Apple Cheesecake Trifles:

Super Simple Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Cinnamon Apples
small cubes of Vanilla Cinnamon Sugar Swirl Bread
extra syrup from the apples
Cheesecake flavored pudding [I made mine from a JELL-O mix]
Toasted Maple Cinnamon Oats [recipe below]
more apples
more bread
more oats
more syrup from the apples
more pudding

HOLY DELICIOUSNESS, BATMAN.  Get a spoon. Next time I’m tossing some toasted pecans into the mix!

JARS!!

Toasted Maple Cinnamon Oats

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup (packed) brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted [salted is a-okay in this one!]

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees, placing a rack in the middle of the oven.
  • Combine ingredients in a bowl, folding and stirring until well coated.
  • Spread evenly on a baking sheet.
  • Bake 10-30 minutes, depending on your desired crunch level. The longer you let it bake, the closer an eye you should keep on it. It can burn quickly if you aren’t paying attention.
  • Cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to storage dish to finish cooling. 
  • Once cool enough to touch, crumble any large pieces and set aside for use in Cinnamon Apple Cheesecake Trifle.

My Fall Favorites and a Recipe for Vanilla Cinnamon Sugar Swirl Bread

This post is sponsored by Stonyfield as part of my participation in the Stonyfield Clean Plate Club.

fallfavs Collage

A Few of My Favorite Things About Fall

Football!  It sure is a lot of fun being a Wisconsin Badger fan this year! At the start of the season they were not ranked and over the past several weeks they’ve climbed up the list.  They are currently a two loss team, and every game has been exciting to watch. 

I also share an apartment with a Giants fan, which means we’ve got some NFL viewing going on these days, too.

The Colors! As cliché as it sounds, it really is one of the best parts about living in the Northeast.  This year was especially notable because along with my normal neighborhood leaf changes, I also took a trip to Aspen, Colorado during the end of peak for the Aspen trees.  And in the beginning of October I enjoyed a hike at John Boyd Thacher State Park with Nick and my parents while they were in town visiting us.  I’m in the middle of going through my images and have plans to share a bit more about both trips, but here’s a sneak peak at a few of my favorites snapshots…

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Fall TV.  Fall is generally a time for celebrating television debuts of new-to-us shows we’re excited about, but this season I’m feeling a little “blah” about what’s on. There are two new to TV this fall shows I’m digging well beyond the rest: This Is Us, which you’ve likely already heard all about, Lethal Weapon which was MUCH better than I expected from the jump and I find myself genuinely stoked to watch each new episode of when they appear on our Hulu+ Watchlist [I still want the queue system back, but that’s another story for another day.]

With the exception of these two hour long newbies, I’m spending most of my televisioning rewatching old favorites.  I am still happy to catch new episodes of currently airing favorites like Brooklyn-99, Chicago PD, Greys, and The Goldbergs, but mostly we’re spending time watching shows for what seems like the 100th time.  Shows like The West Wing [I’m currently watching with Nick as he goes from beginning to end for the first time after watching random episodes and strings of episodes with me over the past five years,] Friends, 30 Rock, and Gilmore Girls dominate my viewing and I’m not sad about it. Maybe this is new way to do “fall TV.”

Using the Oven.  Because we don’t have central air, I avoid using the oven all summer long.  This means that by the time the temperature starts to drop, I’ve collected a list of recipe ideas for use in the oven that I want to dig into STAT. 

Up first on the list for this month was a quick bread recipe I’ve been dreaming up, inspired by a craving for cinnamon rolls and this month’s Stonyfield Clean Plate Club partnership with King Arthur Flour. 

partners

King Arthur is a brand I have used in my kitchen since I first moved to New York. I always have King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour on hand and use it in a lot of my baking and pancake making.

Behind the blog note: I love learning about new brands and products through reviews and sponsor partnerships of course, but it’s a different kind of enjoyable when I get to work with a brand I have been relying on for several years like I have with King Arthur. King Arthur Flour has been around for a heck of a long time, too! The company history goes all the way back to 1790.

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We’ve been going through Stonyfield’s Smooth & Creamy Yogurt like it’s going out of style over here at THS HQ. I didn’t realize how much Nick LOVES yogurt because he doesn’t like Greek and that’s typically what I was choosing for cooking and baking the past couple of years.  A few months back I picked up some Smooth & Creamy on a whim and it seemed to almost disappear from the fridge because we were both going for small bowls of yogurt for snacking so often.

My current flavor obsession is the French Vanilla because it can be mixed with any number of toppings or additions. Cherry Preserves is a favorite for a sweet treat after dinner.

I’ve also been known to smear a spoonful of the yogurt on top of this delicious yogurt quick bread sure to make your kitchen smell as delicious as Cinnabon.

_bread photo

Vanilla Cinnamon Sugar Swirl Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup Stonyfield French Vanilla Smooth & Creamy Yogurt

    for swirl:

  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prep a loaf pan [9” X 5”] with cooking spray or parchment paper.
  • Combine flours, sugar and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk syrups, eggs, butter and yogurt.
  • Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
  • In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar and cinnamon.
  • Pour about 1/3 of the batter into the loaf pan; top with about 1/3 of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Repeat with another layer of batter and another layer of cinnamon sugar.  Top with last 1/3 of batter.
  • Now it’s time to make the swirl! Take a butter knife and swirl through the batter, making a vertical zig-zag pattern from one side of the loaf pan to the other.
  • Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture over top of the loaf.
  • Bake for 45-60 minutes at 350 degrees, testing with the toothpick trick for doneness. 
  • Cool in pan for at least 20 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.

_bread cooling

Spoiler Alert: I used this Vanilla Cinnamon Sugar Swirl Bread as well as the Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Cinnamon Apples I shared earlier this week in a trifle recipe that is out of this world! I’ll be sharing the Trifle recipe here on THS next week. 

Finding Our Favorite Apples and Super Simple Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Cinnamon Apples

Am I the only one who loves night time grocery shopping?  I can’t be, right!? The truth is, it’s not uncommon for our Friday evening to consist of list making before a trip to the local super market.

Several weeks ago, Nick and I found ourselves standing in the produce section of our local Hannaford, well after 9:00 PM, unsure of which of the dozen varieties of apples we should bring home with us.  I knew I liked several of them but wasn’t sure which I preferred.  Nick agreed. So one of each of the twelve varieties made the way into our cart and an at-home apple tasting was born.

_list with apples

I took time to label each apple so that we could rank them and make comments along the way.

First I staged the plates and labels before slicing the apples. Then I cut up each apple, one at a time, adding two slices to the plate where the apple formerly sat whole.  The remainder of the slices were collected in a giant bowl.

As I mentioned, we tried twelve varieties and the unbelievable [and in my opinion awesome!] thing about that is a dozen isn’t even CLOSE to the amount of apple varieties available to us today.  What a privilege!

_tasting set up

Here are some notes about the 12 varieties of apples we tried during our tasting:

  • Braeburn* – suggested for snacking and salads, tangy and crisp while remaining sweet and smooth.
  • Fuji* – the sweetness in this juicy apple means hardly any sugar – if any at all – is needed when using in applesauces and similar dishes.
  • Honeycrisp* – this is a popular favorite, first introduced in one of my favorite states – Minnesota!  You can totally read this book by it’s cover – the Honeycrisp are “honey sweet” and quite crisp.
  • Cortland* – developed at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva in 1898, the Cortland is a popular apple for it’s many uses.  It’s sweet and barely tart, and less crisp than other varieties.  And an important note for food bloggers: Cortlands don’t brown as quickly as other apples do, making them ideal for process shots and food styling garnishes.
  • Golden Delicious* – these apples are naturally sweet, great for freezing for later use, and have a mild flavor.
  • Granny Smith – Did you know Granny Smiths came from Australia originally? ME EITHER! Thanks, Google!

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  • McIntosh* – this is a very juicy apple, making it an ingredient that cooks down quickly.  It’s tangy tartness is great for pies, but make sure to use a thickening agent because the of juiciness factor with these little globes of yum.
  • Red Delicious* – this seems like the “classic apple” in my mind; sweet, juicy and crisp!  They also keep up their outer appearances for a long time, which makes them the best choice for holiday decorating in wreaths and centerpieces that utilize produce.
  • Pink Lady – I remember this was my favorite variety to buy when I first started my #make1healthydecision lifestyle and was on a quest to choose healthier snacks.  I didn’t realize until writing this post that they come from the UK!  According to the Pink Lady website – these apples are very delicate.  They are said to be “the first to blossom and the last to be harvested.  This extra time in the sun gives our apples their special blush, sweet crunch and wonderful fizz.”
  • SweeTango – this is one delicious apple!  The box at Hannaford where these were displayed was labeled “a marriage between the Honeycrisp [which I already knew I loved] and the Zestar,” which, honestly, just sounded really cool. This is another Minnesota apple which helps prove my case that #MidwestIsBest.  What does it taste like? From the website: “SweeTango is crisp and sweet, with a lively touch of citrus, honey and spice.” Yes, this is one fancy apple.
  • Gala* – developed in New Zealand, this mild and sweet apple is often found in the perfect size for snacking.
  • Jazz – a tart and sweet apple with a big crunch, the Jazz is the answer to the question: What do you get when you create a fusion of a Royal Gala and a Braeburn?

*information on these varieties was gathered from NY Apple Country from the New York Apple Association.

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After all the apples were sliced, Nick and I sat together and tasted each variety.  We made notes about our favorites and least preferred and left half eaten slices of the ones we found most undesirable.  After comparing our lists, we decided on our top three shared apples and I stored them on a list in my phone.

These three varieties ranked in both of our top five favorites and will be our go-to choices when we are buying apples from now on:

  1. SweeTango
  2. Cortland
  3. Honeycrisp

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After our taste test, we still had a mound of slices to deal with so I did what any seeker of kitchen simplicity would do; I dumped the bowl of apples in the slow cooker and holy-cow, were the results way better than I was expecting.

It seems way counter-intuitive that a recipe THIS EASY would be so delicious and versatile and worthy of eating and re-eating and eating again but it’s TRUE.  I’m crazy for this recipe and I’ve made it three times in the last 5 weeks, so you know I’m not just saying that.

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This is one of those recipes it’s really hard to mess up.  Have more apples or less apples or want to throw some pears into the mix – DO IT. Try it. A little less of this, a little more of that. I bet you end up with something really yummy!

Oh-So-Easy Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Cinnamon Apples

Ingredients

  • 1 rounded Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 8-10 Apples

Instructions

  • Add cinnamon, brown sugar, and cornstarch to slow cooker and whisk together.
  • Add water and whisk to combine.
  • Core and slice all of the apples. Add the slices to your slow cooker as your are cutting them.
  • Set slow cooker to high for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally for bonus points.

These apples are great as an alternative to apple sauce, served along side pork entrees or enjoyed as a sweet treat after a meal.  I especially loved topping the warm apples with Crumbs Along the Mohawk ice cream from Stewart’s.  The graham cracker ice cream combined with the powerful trio of brown sugar, cinnamon, and apple flavors make each bite savor-worthy.  I think the apples would make a great crumble or pie filling, too!  Or an addition to oatmeal or topped with granola. The possiblities are endless!