Monday, September 15, 2008

Healthy Comfort Food

Marlo woke up with a head cold this morning. Of course, I thought, "I need to make soup." So, before I even jumped in the shower, I threw my hair in a ponytail and ran up to the grocery store to buy some dry Great Northern Beans. I threw them in my slow cooker with 8 cups of water, a diced medium onion, diced carrot and diced celery. I then minced two cloves of garlic and added two ham hocks that Jamie left in the freezer when she moved.

I then went about my day and when I came home this afternoon, the bean soup was cooked and ready. In fact, when my dad and I pulled into the driveway at the same time, so when Dad came in, he sat down and had a bowl of soup. Again, like yesterday and the Italian sandwich, that says a lot because he normally doesn't eat lunch.

The bean soup was really good, but needed salt and pepper of course. I also threw in a few sprigs of thyme for flavor. Marlo said that when I make it next, it'd be nice to have carrot slices cooked with the beans so that you're eating more than just beans and ham. I'll try that on the next batch.

Because the bean soup is healthy, I decided we had room for a little dessert, but still wanted to stay fairly healthy. Therefore, while I was at the grocery store I picked up the fixings for apple crisp. The store had these new Gingergold apples, which are a cross between Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples. I cut up the apples, peeled and cored them. Then, I mixed them with a little sugar and pumpkin pie spice (I was going to use cinnamon and nutmeg, but couldn't find my little grater for the nutmeg due to the move). I mixed one cup of rolled oats with one cup of flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and some cinnamon. I cut in about 4 tablespoons of cold butter and topped the apples with the mixture. It baked at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes. When I checked it, the topping was still very dry and floury. I think that is probably due to the low moisture content of these apples, which held their shape very well. So, I melted a little more butter and drizzled it on top and cooked it for another 15 minutes to brown it.

When I ate the apple crisp, my first thought was, "This needs more sugar." However, as I ate a few more bites the complexity of the flavor really came through and I found that it was sweet enough. I do need to find my nutmeg grinder, though.

On a side note, I sent some of yesterday's Beef Burgundy home with Dad. He called this evening to tell me that he and mom had added another cup of wine, some more carrots and potatoes and then cooked it for another hour until the veggies were done. He said it was very tasty.

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