Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Hi There! Thanks for stopping by. Please go to AppleCrumbles.com, click on the FEED and follow me!  Make sure to leave a comment.


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The new site is up and running and I am blogging from there now. No redirect so please click on the link.  Check it out at www.applecrumbles.com.  Did Jen do a GREAT job or what?!  Contact her at www.idesignblogs.com

I was so excited about the look of my new site that I ran 7 1/2 miles.  Shane was a bit too lazy for a Monday so he went for 3 1/2 and I managed a grueling 4 on the treadmill with an aching shoulder and all. But I was SO excited!

A few things going on:

1. The birds are STILL MIA

Why have our birds gone away?  We didn't change the food?

Why have our birds gone away? We didn't change the food?




2.  Our clock decided to quit in the kitchen and I didn’t realize it until too late. Obviously no photo … I was dashing out the door when I realized this minor fact.

3.  The new look on my computer….

My new computer wall paper

My new computer wall paper







4.  The new Apple Crumbles site…


I will stop posting from this site but it will stay up.. just no new posts will generate.  So all recipes and past info can still be found. Please go to www.applecrumbles.com for updates and make sure to use the feed so you don’t miss an exciting thing!   Also… if you come across something that isn’t right …not working…etc., please let me know.  All feedback and comments are welcome.  Tips and tricks also encouraged.  

HAVE A GREAT DAY! … and make sure to let Jen know how much you like her work at idesignblogs.com

We are all just SO happy…


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This recipe is easy. No deep fryer needed.  No special equipment.  Just slice, mix, cook on the stove top and enjoy with your favorite marinara sauce.  Found on page 13 of A Taste of Utica.  DSC_0355


The recipe was graciously offered by Rainie Piccione and offers a clarification of Buffalo Mozzarella:  “Mozzarella de Bufala Campania”  is made only from Campania’s buffalo milk.  This satisfying cheese appetizer with its crunchy texture outside and melted inside, topped with your favorite marinara sauce and sprinkled with oregano will only want you longing for the Mediterranean. “

For about 18 sticks,  you will need…

  1. 12 oz fresh mozzarella
  2. 2 eggs, beaten
  3. ½ cup EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive oil)…or canola oil for frying
  4. 2 cups Bread Crumbs – seasoned
  5. 1 cup flour
  6. 1 tsp dried oregano
  7. 1 tsp garlic powder
  8. 2 tsp fresh parsley
  9. fresh basil leaves – to garnish
  10. 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  11. salt to taste

 Slice the cheese into ½” sticks.  In a small bowl, beat the eggs.  Mix salt and pepper in with the flour to season.  Mix in the garlic powder and parsley with the bread crumbs. 


Heat oil in a large frying pan.  Coat each cheese slice with the flour mix.   Dip it in the egg.  Dip it once again into the bread crumbs. 

Fry the cheese, about 2 minutes per side.  Place on paper towels to drain.  Serve hot with your favorite sauce.  Sprinkle some dried oregano on top and garnish with fresh basil.




Rainie adds that her kids love these mozzarella sticks.  I know plenty of adults who love them as well   😉

 Next week , due to time constraints, we will make the Humus/Hummus recipe on pages 14 and 15.   The Appetizer Rolls, page 14 will be made on Sunday Sept. 27th.  The stuffed olives still have to be made and I am STILL waiting their arrival.  All in due time.

If you’ve ever made Mozzie sticks…tell me about your recipe and the results.

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It has been a confusing couple of days.   I’ve been trying to switch the blog to a hosted site where I have a bit more flexibility.  I didn’t realize you have to know more code than the pundits advertise.   Please be patient with me and don’t get too confused.  I’ll have to hire a professional to straighten things out. 

Sure signs of fall…


Doesn’t that get you so excited! Halloween! Trick or Treat!  Send something good to eat!   This photo was taken on Old Herkimer Road on my way to work.  I was avoiding road construction in Frankfort  last week and found this beautiful scene.


 When you see that many pumpkins, well!  You just HAVE to make PUMPKIN MUFFINS! 

  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup 100% pureed pumpkin – canned
  • ½ cup Vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 375F.  Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.


  In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, pumpkin, oil, egg and vanilla and beat well.  


Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour and JUST STIR UNTIL COMBINED.  Don’t over mix. 

Add enough to fill the muffin cups that you have lined the muffin tins with.  You will need 18 muffin cups. 


Bake for 20 minutes.  You WILL enjoy these wonderful, moist, flavorful treats.  Have one for breakfast!












 Guess what we received Friday?   Harry & David Nectarines and Peaches ! 


Can’t wait to bite into those babies!










As for the weekend, we went to the Quarter Century Club clam bake put on by Ted’s company.  It was Ted’s first year as a QC.    



The Park



The Clams



Ted wanted more…









As for today, we went 4.5 miles around the Proctor parks.  I also ran downstairs to get in 20 minutes of weight lifting so tomorrow can be simply an aerobic day.  Yesterday, Shane and I ran 6.5 around the parks.  Not a bad, busy weekend, except for ….DUN…DA..DUN..DUNT…the website crapola!  We’ll get it right.  Stick with me guys and have a great day!

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The morning weight work out, as intended, was “Day 3” of the new program posted at the bottom of last nights blog HERE.  It took me 30 minutes and was preceeded by a 3 mile run on the treadmill. After the weight workout, Shane I jogged a little but walked most of the way 44 minutes.  Not bad – beautiful morning to be outside.  It was 59 degrees and clear.

Tomorrow is an aerobic day and I’m not sure what I’ll do yet.  We’ll see what the morning brings.  As for tomorrow night, it’s the first class of Digital Photography so make sure to tune in Friday or Saturday and I’ll let you know what we learned.  I’m SO EXCITED!!!!  😀   Don’t you just love to learn new stuff?!

Now for Good Eats…


A tortilla meaning “round cake” or an omelet?  This was easy to prepare.  I was able to get everything chopped and ready because Ted had gone to exchange some undies.  A woman cannot buy undies for her man …apparently.  The sporty, boxer type, brand name Nike or Reebok just don’t cut it (and NO SAM! He wasn’t exchanging silky thongs!).  Fruit of the Loom… are you still there?  


  • 2 TBS EVOO
  • 1 Shallots, fine chop
  • 3 TBS chopped sun dried tomato (use oil packed or if you dehydrated some of your own from the summer’s bounty, crumble those up for 3 TBS.)  DSC_0939
  • 6 oz mushrooms, peeled, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 Eggplant, peeled and chopped into about 1 ” cubes
  • 1 TBS toasted slivered almonds or toasted pine nuts
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 cup EggBeaters * or just use 6 whole eggs
  • 2 TBS chopped parsley
  • 2 TBS water
  • 4 oz Grated Cheese (I used Asiago – Oh WOW that was good!)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in skillet. Add the shallots and tomato over low heat and cook 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms  and eggplant, increase heat to medium and cook 5 minutes.  Add spinach and cook until it wilts, about 3- 4 minutes. 

Reduce the heat, add salt and pepper and nuts. Beat the eggs, beaters, water, parsley, salt and pepper.  Add to the skillet and let cook for about 6 – 8 minutes. You want the bottom to cook so lift the edges now and then to let all eggs cooks.  

Preheat the boiler to high.  Sprinkle the cheese on the omelet and place under the broiler for about 3 minutes until cheese melts.


And of course…Enjoy!



Just lately I’ve found a new tasty snack:  FORZE

forze-gps-chocolate-peanut-It boasts a blend of natural fats, protein and calcium that activates the “body’s natural appetite control signal… so you can achieve your perfomance goals.”

 I have both the bars and the drink.  Both are pretty good and satisfying as a light snack.   Check it out.

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Sunday’s are our usual days for a group walk. By group, that would be Ted, Shane and myself.  It is typically a walk of 4 or more miles which will take us to the more scenic areas of Utica, whether we go right or left or straight from our home.  One of our favorite walks is around Valley View Golf Course.  Once there, we have the option of extending the distance and going through the Switchbacks (a very wooded area made walker/rider friendly by stone-dirt roads) or going up to the Eagle (the upper most point over looking Greater Utica). 

On this particular Sunday, Ted wouldn’t go through the Switchbacks even though it wasn’t muggy so there would be no horse fly attacks (they get pretty bad in there sometimes 😦  ), but he did want to walk up to the Eagle.  It was a beautiful morning for it as well.  I always think that I should bring my yoga mat because it is so peaceful and beautiful, I couldn’t think of a more relaxing place to practice some Asanas.

As we set out this particular morning, Shane needed something in his mouth..typical Shane…


It was cold..51 deg. so I wore my spring mittens

It was cold..51 deg. so I wore my spring mittens


The best part about my Spring Mitts is that they turn into a more "Airy" glove when you warm up.

The best part about my Spring Mitts is that they turn into a more "Airy" glove when you warm up.

Can you see the deer at the top of the hill? There were 4 of them.

Can you see the deer at the top of the hill? There were 4 of them. Guess I need a telephoto lens.

Once at the Eagle, we always read the inscriptions even though we have read it umpteen times before.

Once at the Eagle, we always read the inscriptions even though we have read them umpteen times before.

The Boilermaker 4 mile marker... what is it? ... just over 5 miles to go?

The Boilermaker 4 mile marker... what is it? ... just over 5 miles to go?


Some wild flora

Some wild flora


A view coming down the hill .. the golf course

A view coming down the hill .. the golf course


It's a tough haul up that hill... these two opted to walk their bikes and I don't blame them.

It's a tough haul up that hill... these two opted to walk their bikes and I don't blame them.

Coming out of Valley View we saw this... the leaves already beginning to change. Fall is just around that corner.

Coming out of Valley View we saw this... the leaves already beginning to change. Fall is just around that corner.

Movie review:


State of Play with Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck…a really good movie. Not your typical story line. Both actors were spectacular.   Worth the watching.

Academy Award®-winner Russell Crowe leads an all-star cast including Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams & Helen Mirren in the blistering thriller about deception, manipulation & corruption. When D.C. Reporter Cal McCaffrey (Crowe) is assigned to investigate the murder of an assistant to an up-and-coming politician (Affleck), he uncovers a conspiracy that threatens to bring down the nation’s power structures. In a town of spin-doctors and wealthy power brokers, he will discover one truth: when fortunes are at stake, no one’s integrity, love or life is safe. From director Kevin Macdonald of The Last King of Scotland, State of Play brings together gripping performances, riveting suspense and is “sophisticated, intelligent and powerful”

That’s all for now… another weight work out tomorrow morning. I’ll be following day 3 of this schedule:

DSCN1890It should take no more than 30 minutes.  We shall see.

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This weeks recipe for Central New York is Stuffed Grape Leaves, page 11 of A Taste of Utica.   I had never heard of these tasty stuffed vegetables.  Most people who have been making these for years will pick the leaves right from their own back yards.  The grape leaves grow abundantly in Upstate New York.  We have so many around our yard however I’m not quite sure the best time to pick them.  If you do pick the leaves, you can keep them in a brine (not sure about freezing…anyone know?) until ready to use.  My leaves for today’s recipe were purchased from Hannafords….

DSC_0891If they come from a jar or have been preserved in a brine, you will need to rinse them well. I emptied the leaves from the jar and soaked them in cold water overnight. The water was changed 4 times to remove the salty taste from the leaves.

NOTE:  You do not have to use grape leaves for this recipe.  You can use Chard leaves.  Just boil for a couple of minutes to soften (after rinsing well to get the grit off them), then roll as the directions below.  Also…how about using the following mixture for Napa Cabbage rolls?  Don’t limit yourself.

There are a lot of different recipes for grape leaves. The one in our Utica book is different than what I have encountered before in that 1. you pre-cook the rice and 2.  you cook the leaves in the oven.  Interesting.  The result was terrific.  Here it is, step by step.  Get your leaves, get your rice, get your spices….off we go.

Stuffed Grape Leaves  (meat) by Amanda  (See below for meatless mixture)


There are no measurements in the book because Amanda does not like “confined” cooking.  I will offer the measurements I used however, please adjust to your liking but make sure the filling is relatively firm otherwise you will have a mushy leaf.

  • 1 onion finely chopped …or use 1/4 cup minced, dried onion
  • 1/2 lb lamb… or use 1/2 lb ground beef *use about 85% fat otherwise the result will be too dry OR…add olive oil to the meat mixture.
  • 3 TBS toasted pine nuts *I added this ingredient
  • 3/4 cup cooked rice – medium or short grain
  • 1 tomato – diced small * This was an ingredient I added and NOT in the original recipe
  • 3 TBS chopped FRESH parsley
  • 1/2 tsp All spice
  • 1 lemon, sliced* I added this
  • 2 cloves garlic, thick sliced *I added this
  • 3 cups lemon juice
  • 32 oz Chicken or Vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Meatless Grape Leaf Mixture *to be assembled the same way however there is no pre cooking of anything but the rice.)


  • 15 oz can Cannellini beans – mashed with fork
  • 2 TBS toasted pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup cooked rice – medium or short grain
  • 1 tomato – diced small
  • 1/3 cup parsley – chopped
  • 1 TBS fresh mint leaves – chopped
  • 1/4 tsp all spice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper and also 1/4 tsp red pepper
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TBS lemon juice

Saute the onions and ground meat until JUST browned and still a little pink. 


Mix the cooked rice with the meat.  Add the herbs and spices, pepper and salt, tomato if using and mix together.


Drain your grape leaves.  Chop the thick stem off the leaf.


Place a layer of grapeleaves along the bottom of your baking pan so the others don’t stick or burn.  Preheat the oven to 375 deg. F. 


Place the leaf shiny side DOWN and put a tsp of filling towards the bottom (stem end) of the leaf.  Fold in the sides and roll up from the bottom.  This is where I always mess up….you need to roll these little cuties up fairly tight…but not TOO tight.  Then place seam side down in your baking dish.  






Amanda’s instructions:  After all leaves are in the dish, cover with the lemon juice and broth – the liquid should be half way up the dish or less. Bake 350/375 for 30 minutes or until wilted a bit – watch to see if more liquid needs to be added so the leaves don’t dry out.



My instructions:  After you have completed the first row, add some slices of lemon, and some slices of garlic on the stuffed leaves.  Add another row of stuffed leaves.  Cover with the lemon juice, broth and water.   Top with more lemon slices and garlic.  Put the lid on your dish and place in the oven for 45 minutes.  Let sit in the oven, after turning it off for another 1/2 hour.   Allow to cool before eating. They will firm up slightly.  The meatless leaves are served cold.


Here is a little pre  prep work for you if you are working along with me from the book. Next week we are suppose to make Italian Homemade Green Olives.  That’s right, we will cure our own olives.  This takes 10 to 12 days because we have to soak the FRESH olives in water and salt to soften.  I’ve never done this before….never even THOUGHT of doing this but hey…I’m up for anything..you?   Here is where I  purchased my olives, GREAT OLIVES because I had no idea where to get them locally. If we can buy them locally, please comment on this blog and let us all know. 

We will be doing the olives in a couple of weeks to allow the softening time.  So next week we are jumping ahead to Mozzarella Sticks on page 13.

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