Vegetarian Mincemeat with Apples, Green Tomatoes & Butter

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In days gone by I used a mock mincemeat recipe from a really old version of The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, but sadly this book has gone missing from my bookshelf. I have a newer edition of the book but I think the recipe in this one has been altered from the original.

So, here’s my current version of Vegetarian Mincemeat. It combines what I can remember from that original recipe with the spices I have available in my pantry. Plus, I have also factored in the amount of green tomatoes and apples I have on hand. The butter in this recipe replaces the suet used in traditional mincemeat.

Once again I have to give kudos to my good friend Pat who allowed me to pick green tomatoes from her garden. She also supplied lovely Gravenstein apples from the Annapolis valley. I used quite a few of the green cherry tomatoes that don’t have a hope of turning red before the killing frosts set in. I found these little green orbs to contain more moisture than their larger cousins so I strained them (once chopped) before adding them to the big pot.

The end result: just under 5 pints of really tasty mock mincemeat.

Ingredients

  • 6 C green tomatoes, very small dice
  • 6 C tart apples, very small dice
  • 3 C raisins
  • 2 C apple cider vinegar
  • 4 C dark brown sugar
  • 2 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp finely grated whole nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 ½ tsp allspice
  • ¼ – ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp kosher salt flakes
  • 2/3 C butter

Preparation

  1. Prepare the green tomatoes and apples. It takes quite a while to dice these ingredients by hand so feel free to use a food processor. Just make sure to work in small batches and use the pulse action. The apples and tomatoes can easily go from being pulsed into an ideal small dice to unusable mush in the blink of an eye. Drain the tomatoes after they have been diced if necessary.
  2. Put everything except the butter into a large pot and bring to the boiling point slowly, stirring occasionally. Note: I’ve used the smaller amount of ground cloves as I find it can be a strong and overpowering spice. Let your taste buds be your guide!
  3. Adjust the heat so the mixture continues to simmer. Continue to stir now and then over the course of approximately 3 hours. The apples take a while to cook. The mincemeat is done when the apples are no longer white. The mixture will be slightly chunky and a dark golden brown when ready to come off the heat (see picture above).
  4. If you need to keep the mincemeat until Christmas have your pint jars and lids sterilized and ready for canning. Process the filled jars according to your canners instructions.

 

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How to Make Apple Rosehip Jelly

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Last year there was a bountiful harvest from the wild apple trees surrounding our home but this year there aren’t as many apples for easy picking. However, it seems the rose bushes are yielding plenty of ripe red rosehips so I’ve paired these tart little wonders with the apples I can easily reach for a small batch of vitamin c rich jelly.

I used approximately 5 cups of apple chunks (stems removed but skin and cores with seeds included) and 3 ½ cups of rosehips (stems removed and bottom parts cut off). You can vary the amounts of chopped apple and rosehip for this first part of the recipe. Just make sure to use more apples than rosehips as the pectin from the chopped apples is what actually causes the jelly to set up. You won’t be adding any extra pectin to this recipe for jelly.

I like to start the jelly making process in the early evening. This allows the juice used for the jelly time to drip out of the prepared fruit overnight.

Preparation Part One

  1. The rosehips take longer to break down so start the jelly making process by placing them in a stainless steel or enameled pot and add enough water to just cover the fruit. Bring to a boil and adjust the heat so the mixture stays at a slow boil for about 30 minutes or until the rosehips become soft and their skins break open. You may have to add extra boiling water from the kettle during this process.
  2. Add the apple chunks and more boiling water to just cover the fruit and continue to boil for 20 more minutes. Remove from the heat and lightly mash up the soft apple chunks and rosehips.
  3. Pour into a sterilized muslin jelly bag and suspend over a glass or stainless steel bowl. Refrain from squeezing the bag if you want your jelly to be clear and not cloudy. Allow the juices to drip out slowly overnight. Alternatively, you can also line a large enameled colander with several layers of clean cheesecloth and place the boiled and mashed fruit inside. The colander can then be placed over a stainless steel or glass bowl and left overnight so the juices can drain out slowly.

Preparation Part Two

  1. Measurements must be more exact for this part of the process. Measure the juice that has gathered overnight. Use one cup of sugar for every cup of juice. The amounts of fruit I used garnered 3 cups of juice so I used 3 cups of sugar to make my small batch of jelly.
  2. Place sugar and juice in a stainless steel pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Adjust the heat under the pot to keep the liquid at a rolling boil. This mixture must reach 220 F which is the gelling point. The best way to know when your jelly should come off the heat is to use a thermometer. If you don’t have one you can always use the old fashioned method of placing a small amount of liquid on a cold plate. Place in the refrigerator for a few moments then drag your finger through the liquid. If the trough created holds its shape then it’s time to take the jelly off the heat.

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Note: The amounts of fruit cited above took 20 minutes to reach 220 F. If you are making a larger batch the boiling time will be longer. I ended up with 3 ½ small jars of jelly. Each jar holds about 1 cup of jelly.

  1. Pour jelly liquid into sterilized jars leaving ¼” space at the top of the jars. Screw on the sterilized lids and seal by placing in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (at sea level). Add one minute for every 1000 feet above sea level.

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Quick Banana Bread Loaf

Quick Banana Bread

Don’t send those black bananas to the compost bin! You can whip this recipe up in one bowl. It tastes great, stays fresh for quite awhile and around our home it’s a family favourite.

Ingredients

  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 C melted butter
  • 1 1/2 C unbleached white flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place peeled bananas in a large bowl and, using a fork, mash the bananas into a pulp.
  3. Crack the egg into the bowl and beat it into the banana pulp. Add the vanilla, melted butter and brown sugar. Mix well.
  4. Sprinkle the flour, baking soda and salt into the banana mixture and continue to mix until everything is well incorporated.
  5. Spray a loaf pan with cooking oil and spoon the batter into the pan, spreading it around evenly.
  6. Place the pan on the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean. Let the loaf rest in the pan for 5 minutes before removing and placing on a rack to cool.

 

Banana Bread Loaf

 

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Banana Nut Mug Muffin (gluten-free)

Banana Nut Mug Muffin

Here’s an easy recipe for using up bananas that have become too ripe. I usually have several over-ripe bananas in the freezer ready for banana mug muffins or a breakfast smoothie. Ready in five minutes, this easy version of banana bread serves one. You simply mix the ingredients up in a microwavable mug and pop it into the microwave. As you know, Glenn and I are lowering our carb intake these days. Now I know banana is usually on the hit list for low carb dieters but we still eat a small amount of banana now and then. If you are watching your carb intake, this mug muffin will add 9.9 G of carbohydrates in total to your daily count.

Ingredients

  • ½ ripe banana, mashed
  • 1egg
  • 1 T melted butter
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 T stevia sweetener or sucralose (I use Sugar Twin Stevia Sweetener)
  • 1 T PB2 powder or 1 T peanut butter (see note about PB2 below)
  • 1 T coconut flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of Salt

Directions

  1. Place banana in a microwavable mug and mash into a smooth paste.
  2. Add the egg, melted butter & vanilla and mix all the wet ingredients together with a fork until well blended.
  3. Now add the rest of the ingredients (PB2 powder, coconut flour, baking soda and salt) and using the fork mix everything together right in the mug.
  4. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 – 2 ½ minutes. My microwave is 1000 watts so I use the shorter time.

Yield: 1 serving

For those who prefer to use an oven: Pre-heat oven to 350 F and bake the muffin for 15 minutes.

Note: You may be wondering what PB2 powder is. Well, it’s a mighty fine addition to the pantry for anyone who likes peanut butter but is watching their calorie intake. PB2 powder is made from slow roasted peanuts that have been pressed to remove 85% of the fat and oil. The resulting powder is full of peanut flavour and is great for use in recipes like this Banana Nut Mug Muffin.I purchase PB2 online from: The Low Carb Grocery

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The Best Fudge Ever!

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Caramel Fudge

Glenn and I LOVE fudge, so I rarely make it … too hard to control ourselves. However, with the holiday season ahead I’ve made several batches for friends and family members also afflicted with the sweet tooth syndrome. I always thought the fudge I made was top notch. However, this year I’ve discovered an even better fudge recipe, made using Eagle Brand Dulce de Leche sauce. You can get the recipe for this caramel flavoured Dulce Fudge on the Eagle Brand website. It’s simply the best fudge I’ve ever tasted. If you are a fudge fan then give this recipe a try. You can make it using the microwave and it never disappoints!

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