My favorite season of the year is almost here; no not the season with a bearded fat man in a red suit. The season right before that; where leaves turn vibrant shades of oranges, reds and yellow, before they detach from the trees and begin to litter the ground. Fall! That’s the best season of the year (to me anyway).
That being said, it’s also the time some of my favorite dishes are made. Ok, who am I kidding, I make fall food year round, but for most people, they tend to stick to seasonality when cooking.
Last night, I made a Fall staple that you must have in order to make caramel apples: Caramel. I like to make it in the crock pot, simply because it allows me not to stand at the stove and there literally is no clean-up.
All you need is a crock pot, a can of sweetened condensed milk, three 4-oz mason jars and that’s it!
Simply open the can and pour equally into the three 4-oz mason jars. Set the mason jars into the crock pot, uncovered.
Carefully, add enough water to cover the jars to where the milk stops. This is how the milk will cook evenly; surrounded in water. Add the lid to the crock pot and set the cooking temperature to low and eight hours.
I like to do this overnight or when I’m gone all day at work. Then it’s ready when I wake up or come home and I am not hovering over it hoping it miraculously finishes quicker. Carefully, remove the jars and place on a heat-protected surface to cool.
In addition to being able to use this caramel to cover apples for Halloween, you can use it as a great school or work snack. Pour a bit of caramel into a container, pack some apple slices and a snack is ready to go. You can use it to drizzle over baking creations or simply eat it with a spoon, if that’s your prerogative.
If it’s summer, that means there’s watermelon. It’s one of the few foods that I have to consume as soon as the seedless melon hits the shelves. Yes, I do the seedless, it’s worth the extra ten cents per pound. Keep reading and you’ll understand the necessity as well as the preference.
In my quest to eat healthier, I prefer homemade popsicles to store bought. Each year, I experiment more with flavor combinations. It would appear I have started a collection of popsicle molds; I’m up to four now. So far this year, it’s been relatively simple creations. I’ve taken frozen mixed berries, blended them smooth. Sometimes, I will add a bit of pomegranate juice to thin out the berries for pouring. The mixed berries offer a nice, sweet flavor and tend to be a bit more cost efficient than buying several quantities of blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries all at the same time.
I have also blended up watermelon and added bits of fresh strawberries to the mold. So a nice refreshing taste with a hint of strawberry here and there. It’s a great way to use up some of that large watermelon you had every intention of eating, but half of it is still in the fridge.
This past weekend, I stopped by my local produce stand and they had yellow watermelon. How I have not heard of this previously, is beyond me. However, I had to try it. It looks just like regular watermelon, only yellow. I personally think, it’s a bit sweeter than its red counterpart.
Last night, I chose to make my first layered popsicle. The bottom of the mold was mixed berries and the top was yellow watermelon. When unmolding, the watermelon would become the bottom and the berries would be the top. I need to play around with this more, but they turned out really well and were super yummy.On the days it’s too hot to cook and you can’t imagine eating, I have no issues with eating a few popsicles to hold me over until it cools off a bit to think about making food. After all, it’s 100% fruit and it’s good for you! I am still thinking up new creations to add to my popsicle recipe list. I’m working on how to incorporate yogurt for an ever more satisfying, and filling popsicle.
Do you make homemade popsicles? What are some of the ingredients you like to use?