Spinach Apple Salad with Maple Syrup Vinaigrette

I made this salad yesterday for a teacher’s dinner put on by the PTA at our school. I started out following the recipe on Southern Living but ended up putting my own special twists on it.

I am in love with this Maple Syrup Vinaigrette! It might sound odd, but seriously guys, it is what makes the salad! And the Sugared Curry Pecans are out of this world!

Spinach Salad

My husband loved this salad, I of course am a pretty big fan as well! I can’t tell you what my kids thought about the salad because Dave and I ate it before they had a chance to taste it.

You can also top this salad with some grilled chicken for a main dish. Oh, baby doesn’t that sound amazing?

Thanks for stopping by today, I hope your weekend is filled with lots of fun Fall activities and of course a helping of Spinach Apple Salad with Maple Syrup Vinaigrette.

With love from my kitchen to yours,

Carrie

 

Spinach Apple Salad with Maple Syrup Vinaigrette

Spinach-Apple Salad With Maple Syrup Vinaigarette

Salad

1 (10 oz.) bag of spinach leaves, washed and dried

2 small gala apples, sliced thin

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 (4 oz.) container of feta cheese

Sugared Curry Pecans

1 (6oz.) bag of pecan halves

2 tbsp. of butter, melted

3 tbsp. of granulated sugar

1/4 tsp. of ground ginger

1/4 tsp. curry powder

1/8 tsp. smoked paprika

Maple Syrup Vinaigrette

1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar

2/3 cup of maple syrup

1 tbsp. of soy sauce

1/2 tsp. of curry powder

1/8 tsp. of smoked paprika

1 tsp. of salt

1/3 cup of olive oil

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

1. Toss the pecans in the melted butter. Mix  the sugar and the 3 spices together. Add the buttered pecans and toss to coat. Spread the coated pecans in a single layer over the baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes of until the pecans are lightly brown and toasted. Separate the pecans with a fork and cool completely.

2. For the vinaigrette: Whisk together the first 6 ingredients until well combined. Gradually whisk in oil until well blended.

3. To assemble the salad: In a bowl toss, the 4 salad ingredients. Drizzle the desired amount of Maple Syrup vinaigrette on top and sprinkle the Sugared Curry Pecans on top. Serve immediatly with the remaining vinaigrette on the side.

* The Sugared Curry Pecans can be made in advance for up to a week before and stored in a air tight container. The Maple Syrup Vinaigrette can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and covered and chilled until ready to use.

Inspired by the Spinach-Apple Salad With Maple Cider Vinaigrette from Southern Living.

 

 

 

 

 

Spell and Potion Books

Spell and Potion Books

Last year I saw these spell and potion books on Pinterest. I found the tutorial on betterafter.net. I was so excited to make them  that I invited my neighbors over to make some with me.

Deadly Spell Book

Don’t let the look of books intimidate you. They are so easy make!

This year I had a craft class at my house and one of the projects that we made were these books. Below I have listed a few tricks that I have learned after making so many of these books.

With love from my kitchen to yours,

Carrie

Potions Book

Tricks and Tips

1. I use a wodded up paper towel to put under the cover of the spell books while it is drying. That way it doesn’t stick to the other pages.

2. I used a exacto knife to shave the sides of the pages. This gives it a old worn look.

3. I also like to dye the page ends (book closed) with brown paint to make them look old. I used 3 tbsp. of water and 1 tsp. of brown acrylic paint. I brushed it on with a sponge brush.

4. After I distressed the book with the metallic paint, I went back over the words and the skeleton/spider web again with the metallic paint to make it darker so that the details really pop.

You can find the tutorial for the spell books on betterafter.net.

Barbecue Baby Back Ribs

When I was younger, I didn’t think that I liked baby back ribs or BBQ ribs in general. However, not liking ribs changed when I got married and wanted to impress my husband. I started looking around for a good recipe and stumbled across the Top Secret Restaurant Recipes Cookbook by Todd Wilbur. In the cookbook there were a few different recipes for Tony Roma’s Baby Back Ribs.

BBQ R

I combined a few recipes and tweaked this and that. The result was a very happy husband and a recipe that I have used over and over again. I became a rib lover.

BBQ Ribs

 

The tricks to making mouth watering ribs is to make the homemade BBQ sauce, marinate the ribs in the homemade BBQ sauce for 24 hours, and cooking it low and slow.

With love from my kitchen to yours,

Carrie

Barbecue Baby Back Ribs

Barbecue Baby Back Ribs

4 lbs of baby back ribs

Homemade Barbecue sauce (recipe below)

Heavy duty aluminum foil

Instructions

1. Cut 2 pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil that are 6 inches longer than the ribs for each rack of ribs. Coat the baby back ribs front and back with the homemade barbecue sauce.

2. Lay the 2 strips of aluminum foil over lapping by 3 inches. Place the rack of ribs on top of the foil. Carefully wrap the foil around the ribs making sure that the foil is completely covered. Place the ribs on a baking sheet and place them in the refrigerator and marinate for 24 hours.

3. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the baking sheet with the foil wrapped ribs in the oven and bake for 2  1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat starts to shrink back from the cut end of the bones by a 1/2 inch.

4. Remove the ribs from the oven and smother one side of the ribs with barbecue sauce. Be sure to save some of the barbecue sauce for later. Place smothered side of the ribs face down on a hot grill. Grill for 2 to 4 minutes or until you start to see charred spots on the ribs. Be careful not to burn them!

5. Smother the side facing you with more barbecue sauce. Flip the cooked side of the ribs over and grill for an other 3 to 4 minutes.

6. Remove the ribs from the grill and serve them hot with a side of the barbecue sauce.

 

Barbecue Sauce

1 cup of ketchup

1  1/2 cups of red wine vinegar

1 cup of Molasses

1/2 cup of honey

1  1/2 tsp. of liquid smoke

1/3 cup of brown sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. of garlic powder

1/4 tsp. of onion powder

Instructions

1. Combine all the ingredients into a sauce pan over high heat. Whisk the ingredients until smooth.

2. Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes or until the barbecue sauce thickens. Let barbecue sauce cool completely.

*If the barbecue sauce gets too thick, you can thin it down with vinegar.

This recipe is inspired by the Top Secret Restaurant Recipes Cookbook.

 

 

Caramel Apple Flavor Combinations

Some people prefer just a regular caramel apple without all of the toppings. My husband is one of these people. His way of thinking is, If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Other people like their caramel apples dipped, rolled, and drizzled with pure happiness. Personally I could go both ways. I have always appreciated a good caramel apple (hence the 7 batches I slaved over). I also think that with the right combination, you can take your caramel apple to whole new  level!

14 mouth watering caramel apple combinations

That being said, I have compiled a list of 14 pretty dang amazing caramel apple combinations if I do say so myself. Try them out and decide if you are a combination kind of guy/lady or are you a regular kind of guy/lady.

You can find The Best Homemade Caramel Apple recipe here.

Be sure to read over the Tips and Tricks for The Perfect Homemade Caramel Apple here.

With love from my kitchen to yours,

Carrie

Smores Caramel Apple

Smores- caramel apple dipped in milk chocolate and rolled in graham cracker crumbs and then rolled in marshmallow Bits.

Apple Pie- caramel apple dipped in white chocolate and rolled in cinnamon sugar

Almond Joycaramel apple dipped in milk chocolate and rolled in coconut and almonds

Pay Day Caramel Apple

Pay Daycaramel apple rolled in salted peanuts and drizzled with milk chocolate

Pecan Piecaramel apple dipped in white chocolate and rolled in pecans and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar

Candy Corncaramel apple dipped in white chocolate and rolled in candy corns

Cookies and Cream Caramel Apple

Cookies and Creamcaramel apple dipped in crushed Oreo’s and drizzled with white chocolate

Peanut Butter Lovercaramel apple dipped in milk chocolate and rolled in crushed Butterfingers and mini Reese Pieces and then milk chocolate drizzled on top.

M&Mcaramel apple dipped in milk chocolate then rolled in mini M&Ms.

Cheesecake Caramel Apple

Cheesecakecaramel apple dipped in white chocolate and rolled graham cracker crumbs and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar

Sweet and Saltycaramel apple dipped in white chocolate then rolled in salted almonds and Craisins and then drizzled with milk chocolate

English Toffee Caramel Apples

English Toffee caramel apple dipped in milk chocolate then rolled in toffee bits and drizzled with white and milk chocolate

Rocky Roadcaramel apple dipped in milk chocolate then rolled in almonds and mini marshmallows

 Nut Lover caramel apple dipped in milk chocolate then rolled in peanuts, cashews, pecans, and almonds

Tips and Tricks for Caramel Apples

As I have mentioned before, I have certain qualities that my caramel apples need to meet. I want the apple to be crisp and fresh and the caramel to be rich and soft. After making this recipe seven different times, I found there were certain things that worked better than others as well as things that were crucial in order to make the perfect caramel apple. Make sure to read over this list before you make your caramel apples.

These apples really are quite easy to make. Don’t let the list overwhelm you. There is no reason to pay the high prices for gourmet caramel apples when you can make the same thing at home for a lot less!

You can find The Best Homemade Caramel Apple recipe here.

Make sure to come back tomorrow, I have compiled a list of some of my favorite caramel apple combinations.

With love from my kitchen to yours,

Carrie

Tips and Tricks For The Perfect Homemade Caramel Apple

Tips and Tricks For The Best Homemade Caramel Apple

1. The most common type of apple that is used for caramel apples is the granny smith. I personally prefer gala apples. I think they are the perfect balance between tart and sweet. However, It is entirely a personal preference.

2. Wash the apples with hot water and dry them completely before dipping them into the caramel (some people recommend dipping the apples in boiling water for 5 to 10 seconds, However, I didn’t find that it made a difference). But, I do think that washing them in hot water keeps them stay fresher longer.

Tips and Tricks for The Perfect Homemade Caramel Apples3

3. I like to follow Alton Brown’s tip on Good Eats and turn the apple upside down and place the popsicle stick or dowel in the bottom of the apple.

4. You need to have all the apples washed and dried and the sticks inserted, ingredients measured, and the parchment paper lined baking sheet chilling in the fridge etc before starting the caramel. Once you start cooking the caramel, you have to work quickly or it will burn.

5. Use a good quality candy thermometer. This is very important! You have a very short window between a soft caramel and hard caramel. I have found that the candy thermometer that clearly marks the soft ball stage next to the temperature gauge works the best.

6525496459_1210e1aaf1_b

6. It is very important that you use a good quality sauce pan with a thick bottom when making the caramel. A pan with a thin bottom will burn the caramel.

7. I found it is easier to use a whisk versus a spoon to stir the caramel. Once the caramel comes to a full rolling boil, you have to whisk it constantly or else it will burn. The whisk does a better job of scraping the bottom of the pan so the caramel didn’t burn .

Tips and Tricks For The Perfect Homemade Caramel Apple5

8. You need to use parchment paper, not wax paper. Wax paper will melt to the bottom of the apple.

9. Place the baking sheet lined with the parchment paper in the freezer while cooking the caramel. This will help the caramel cool quicker and not pool as much.

Tips and Tricks For The Perfect Homemade Caramel Apple4

10. When you are dipping your apple, tilt the pan slightly and slowly turn the apple in the caramel to coat. By turning the apple slowly, it will help prevent bubbles from forming on your caramel. Hold the apple over the caramel and let the excess caramel drip off before placing it on the cold parchment paper lined baking sheet.

11. If you have a group of people dipping apples, once the caramel is finished cooking remove it from the heat and place it in a roasting pan. When the caramel starts to cool down pour boiling water in the roasting pan. This will help heat it up again.

12. Place the melted chocolate in a condiment bottle. This makes it easier to drizzle chocolate over the apples. Keep the bottles of melted chocolate in bowls of hot water so that it doesn’t cool while you are decorating the apples.

condiment bottles

13. If you are dipping the caramel apples in chocolate, let the caramel cool completely before dipping it in chocolate.

14. Remember the caramel is very hot! While the caramel is cooking, be careful to not get burned. Make sure to keep children away from direct contact with the hot caramel. If children are dipping apples in the caramel, they will need to have help from an adult.

The Best Homemade Caramel Apples

I am very picky when it comes to my caramel apples! I want the caramel to be soft, but not so soft that it slides off the apple and pools at the bottom. I don’t want it so hard that you can’t bite into the apple.

Caramel Apples

I want the flavor to be a deep caramel but not so rich that I get an instant headache after one bite.

I want the apple to be crisp and fresh. Mushy or grainy apples make me cringe (I’m sure all my Cope cousins know what I am talking about).

Caramel Apples2

 

So after 7 batches of caramel, I finally figured out how to make The Best Homemade Caramel Apple! I am so excited to share this recipe with you so that you can enjoy some homemade caramel apples with your family and friends.

You can find my tips and tricks for caramel apples here.

With love from my kitchen to yours,

Carrie

The Best Homemade Caramel Apples

The Best  Homemade Caramel Apples 

12 small granny smith or gala apples or 10 large granny smith or gala apples

1 cup of butter (unsalted)

2 ¼ cup of brown sugar, packed

1 cup of corn syrup

1 can of sweetened condensed milk

¼ tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tbsp. of heavy cream

Supplies:

10 to 12 popsicles sticks or small dowels

Parchment paper

Candy thermometer

Instructions

  1. Wash the apples with hot water and dry completely. Turn the apple upside down and press the popsicle stick or dowel into the apple. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a heavy sauce pan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Whisk in the brown sugar, corn syrup, salt, and sweetened condensed milk.
  3. Once the caramel comes to a full rolling boil, whisk it constantly until it reaches the soft ball stage (234 degrees).
  4. Remove the caramel from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and heavy cream. Place the pan on a hot pad and let it cool down for 3 minutes.
  5. Tip the pan and hold it on an angle. Then dip the apple in the caramel and twist it slowly to coat the apple completely.
  6. Let the excess caramel drip off of the apple. Roll the apple in candy of your choice and place it on the parchment paper for 5 to 10 minutes or until the caramel sets up. The candy is optional.  They are amazing with only the caramel.

 

 

 

Vintage Kitchen Utensils Sign

This sign took very little time to make and I think it was the touch that my kitchen needed. I got lucky and found the kitchen utensils at a local thrift store for seventy five cents each. I had been keeping my eye out for over sized utensils for a long time.  So I was so excited when I found these. I didn’t have to do a thing to them, they were already tarnished and old looking.

DSCN2651

I love it when the projects in my head turn out in real life. This sign required very little supplies and very little cash. I think the whole thing cost me five dollars, maybe less.

I had it sanded and painted within 30 minutes. I only painted two coats because I wanted the distressed look. The part that took the longest was hanging it up on the wall. That is only because I insisted that I could do it on my own with Command It Strips. My husband kept telling me it wasn’t going to hold since it was cedar wood and I should just let him do it the right way. Finally after is fell down for the third time, I realized that once again he was right.

Vintage Kitchen Utensil SIgn

I did however use the Command It strips to attach the utensils to the sign. So far they have held up just fine, dispite what my husband says.

With love from my kitchen to yours,

Carrie

Vintage Kitchen Sign

Vintage Kitchen Utensils Sign

Supplies

Large vintage kitchen utensils

One  5 1/2″ x 6′ cedar fence slat (cut into 2 ft. sections)

white paint (I used regular acrylic paint)

Gold paint marker

staple gun with 5/16″ 8 mm staples

100 grit sandpaper

foam paint brush

2 Command It strip sets

hot glue gun and glue sticks

Instructions

1. Sand the boards down so there are not any splinters. Line the boards up so that they are all even and staple them every 5 to 6 inches. You will need to staple both sides of the board.

Vintage sign

2. Paint the sign and allow to dry completely. Lightly sand the sign to distress. On the bottom board in the right hand corner, write the word Eat with a pencil.

DSCN2652

3. With the gold paint marker, trace the word Eat on the sign.  Cut the 2 Command It strips in half, place a dab of hot glue on the adhesive side of the strips. a put them on back of the utensils (it won’t hold as well with out the glue). Attach the utensils to the boards and pressing firmly to hold it in place.

VIntage Kitchen Utensils

 

Now all you need to do is find the perfect place to display your Vintage Kitchen Sign in your home. My sign is hanging right above my pantry.