Michelob Ultra Light Cider

Admittedly I have never been a big fan of beer.  I find the taste to be rather unpleasant and the smell most foul; however back in my gluten laden days I did enjoy a cider from time to time.  I do cook with beer so I thought I would give this new naturally gluten-free light cider a taste.  I was stuck by the light apple taste and the amount of fizz you find in this drink.  This cider is 4% alcohol and is best when served ice cold so don’t let it warm up on you.  I’ve already seen lots of mixed drink recipes utilizing this product so feel free to check it out and let us know your thoughts!

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Cranberry Sauce….NOT from a can!

All this week I’m going to share the recipes that I will be making my family for Thanksgiving this year.  First up is my made-from-scratch cranberry sauce.  I know some of you (we won’t name names) are satisfied with taking a can of either the jelly or whole berry variety and opening it up via can opener on Thanksgiving day, but I ask where is the fun in that?  There is nothing like the taste of freshly made cranberry sauce to ring in Thanksgiving and it is so easy to make.  I make mine a day or two ahead of turkey day and it is great!

Ingredients:

12 oz fresh cranberries
1 cup water
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 granny smith apple (peeled, cored and chopped)
1/4 cup orange juice
grated zest of one orange and one lemon
 
In a pot on the stove cook the cranberries, sugar and water over medium low heat for about 5 minutes or until the cranberry skins begin to pop.  Add the apple, zests and juice and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Refrigerate for at least 24 hrs (sauce will thicken).

Put the can openers away and try this version this year and let me know your thoughts!

My Caramel Calamity

I don’t know about you, but I seem to always try to do too much during the holidays when it comes to food.  I want to make everything from scratch, try things I’ve never done before and drive my family crazy in the process.  I decided to tackle making homemade caramel this weekend to do create amazing caramel apples.  I had this vision in my head of these perfect apples wearing a thick coating of my delicious homemade caramel and then I would drizzle them with milk chocolate and coat the bottom in some chopped nuts.  Wrong!  Not only did I create some of the ugliest caramel apples you’ve ever seen I gave up on the chocolate and nuts after making three different batches of caramel and each one was an epic failure.

I didn’t do any research on making caramel specifically for apples so my first batch of caramel was a caramel sauce I’ve made several times before which consists of just granulated sugar, butter and heavy cream.  My sauce was beautiful and delicious and I felt I was well on my way to perfection.

I let the sauce cool a bit (maybe this was mistake number one) and then I applied it to the apples.  The sauce did not adhere and began sliding off making a large caramel puddle.  I began my second batch of caramel without the cream thinking this was causing the issue.  My result was a caramel rock candy (mistake number two).

This is when the cursing began #$%&@!

I calmed myself and went to my computer to retrieve a recipe specifically for caramel apples which called for brown sugar, condensed milk, butter, etc.  It was supposed to cook for 30 minutes, but my batch started to slightly burn (mistake number three) so I stopped this process short and tried again to coat my apples.  I then burned my right index finger in the coating process (mistake number four).  It was at this point that I vowed never to attempt this project again, but I will probably forget about that promise next year.

In the interest of full disclosure let me introduce you to my fugly apples:

Pretty darn hideous, huh?  Has anyone had success at making homemade caramel apples or should I just be satisfied with unwrapping 50 pieces of caramel like we used to do when I was a kid?