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Prevention RD’s Lightened-Up Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp

There are a few bloggers I’ve been following since the near beginning of my own blogging path. Prevention RD is one of them.

I’ve watched Nicole’s photography grow into art, her fan following progress, and her pouty dog Lily grow cuter by the minute. Her site has always been fun to follow, and a countless source of inspiration for my own recipe development.

Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of watching Prevention RD turn into a published cookbook author. I can’t describe this as anything other than awesome. I love, love, love seeing fellow food bloggers use their site as a platform to kill it in arenas outside of the blogging world. Congrats girl!

Apple Crisp

Nicole’s style is what I consider comparable to Cooking Light mag.  Many of her recipes involve transforming traditional dishes into lighter and healthier versions, including classic comfort foods too. Sometimes she crafts these recipes herself, like those within her cookbook. Other times she gathers and adapts them from other blogger’s sites. Regardless, Nicole has a knack for choosing recipes that lend themselves well to a wide audience.

I remember when Nicole went through a baked doughnut phase. I don’t even like doughnuts, but I admit she nearly convinced me to go out and purchase a doughnut pan. I mean, wouldn’t you be curious to try ones with a Blueberry Lemon Glaze? Or a Whole Wheat Banana Doughnut with a Banana Chocolate Glaze? Perhaps that’s why I don’t like doughnuts. Because few places sell any variations similar to those.

Anyway, I was thrilled to receive Nicole’s cookbook, and to see her jump into print. There’s nothing like flipping through hands-on pages filled with food photo after food photo.

Currently I’m eyeing her version of Baked Falafel, but the first recipe I decided to whip up was her Lightened-Up Apple Crisp. In my own book, apple crisp is an indispensable part of fall. You simply can’t let the season pass without baking a batch. Or two. Or three. To do so would be a near atrocity.

I didn’t want to waste much time. A week into fall, apple crisp was coming from my oven. This leaves a few months left to continue making more. Thanks for the season’s first recipe, Nicole!

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Blueberry Strawberry Crisp

Blueberry Strawberry Crisp

I said on FoodFitnessFreshAir’s Facebook page that I’m taking a little break from recipe development. When summer’s showering the garden in red, all I want to eat are tomato sandwiches. Nothing fancy. A little mayo, salt and pepper, maybe some lettuce and/or basil. A fresh garden salad thrown on the side, and I’ve found food heaven, within just the 10 minutes it takes to slice, toast and take a first bite.

As Katie from Eclectik Domestic pointed out, this could mean I may never return to developing recipes…Because really, who ever gets sick of tomato sandwiches in the summer? Not this girl. Good thing there are multiple meals in the day. Rest assured, eventually I’ll save the no-cook meals for lunch and start churning out new creations again.

In the meantime, my mom’s holding me over with this killer Blueberry Strawberry Crisp she whipped up for my birthday last week. (Yes, I turned the ripe age of 23! Whatever that means.)

My sister’s been getting into the cake business, making these elaborate trillion-layer cakes at any opportunity she can get. When I turned down her offer to create one for my birthday, she was slightly crushed. It’s not that I don’t love my sister’s dreamy, mousse-filled, icing deco cakes, because I do. But when summer hits, I want seasonal fruit with a chill side of straight up vanilla ice cream. My mom fulfilled that, and then some, with this crisp.

You’ll find that blueberries make up the bulk of the filling, letting just a few, slightly more tart strawberries sweep in to balance out their sweetness. I know strawberries are on their way out, so feel free to use nectarines, peaches or any other suitable, seasonal partner in crime. My mom had some strawberries frozen from an earlier, orchard-picking trip, so that’s what went into this particular pie pan.

Birthday or not, this is a real summer celebration. As are tomato sandwiches. Pair the two together, and you’ll create the picnic party of the year. For real.

Rhubarb Crisp

The CSA where I currently work sent me off with some beautiful, fresh, straight-from-the-garden rhubarb the other day.  In my family’s garden where I’ve worked every summer since I was a kid, we grow pretty much every kind of vegetable you could ever think of, that is, except rhubarb.  So with no previous experience handling rhubarb, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the foreign food that had been laid in my hands.  However, I did happen to know a few things about it:  1)  Rhubarb is technically a vegetable that is most often paired with fruit in the culinary world.  2) Its leaves are poisonous.  3)  It’s really sour on its own.  4)  It’s often combined with strawberries, presumably because they both arrive in season around the same time each year.  5)  It’s typically used in baking, such as pies, crisps, muffins, crumbles, etc.  6)  Enough people enjoy it to keep it around at the farmer’s markets…So I knew it was certainly worth using, and after combining the little that I did know about rhubarb, I decided on making a crisp that would include a pint of strawberries I had just picked up at a local Amish farm on my way home from work.

The result of the crisp:  DELICIOUS.  I will definitely be utilizing rhubarb again.  I can see why it’s so often used in baking.  It’s tart taste paired with the sweetness of a little sugar is absolutely perfect.  Warm rhubarb crisp with a little bit of vanilla ice cream…spring couldn’t get much more delightful.

Rhubarb Crisp

-1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
-1/3 cup oats
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-1/8 tsp. salt
-6 tbsp. butter, melted
-1/2 cup pecans

Mix flour, oats, sugar, and salt.  Stir butter and pecans.  Pinch into crumbly balls and place in freezer while filling is being prepared.

-2 pounds rhubarb, sliced
-1 pint of strawberries, sliced
-1/3 cup cane sugar
-1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp. orange zest
-1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 375F.  Mix all of the above ingredients.  Place in an 8 x 8 inch baking dish.  Spread topping evenly over the top.  Bake in oven for 40 minutes, or until crisp is bubbly and begins to brown.   Let cool for ten minutes.  Serve with vanilla ice cream.