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6.30.2011

Fourth of July Banana Bread Pancakes

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Who said you couldn't have a festive breakfast? You definitely need to make these this weekend.


I have had 3 ugly bananas staring at me in the fridge and I just did not simply want to freeze them. They asked to be used wisely and in a different way.


One of the blogs I like to frequently visit is Jessica's at How Sweet It Is. She has a great personality and she really presents yummy eats. If you like banana bread but can't wait the 1 hour plus baking time, these pancakes are for you. They are so easy!


Granted, I have yet to perfect my own pancake recipe, but these were delicious. I opted out using the glaze she made for her pancakes and served it with fresh strawberries and blueberries and drizzled it with dark amber agave nectar. If you want to try Jessica's Vanilla Maple Glaze, check out her site. I halved her pancake recipe since it we are only 2 people in the house but the original recipe makes 12 pancakes.


These were SOOOOO good. I am glad I can finally put my non-stick griddle to use that we bought during Black Friday last year. It has come in VERY handy.


After adding the fruit on these pancakes it is like having a fruit salad with your pancakes and your day is complete. Have tons of strawberries and blueberries on hand? Use it for this breakfast. Your company will thank you for it!


Well, I am off with my day. I have a WHOLE meal to cook for company tonight....rhubarb cobbler is in my future. I am also planning for company this weekend.  My mother is coming in for more than 2 weeks! I love having visitors and entertaining.


Have a great day ya'll!

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Fourth of July Banana Bread Pancakes

adapted from How Sweet It Is

makes 6 pancakes -serves 2 (original recipe makes 12)

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 1/2  large ripe bananas, mashed
2 Tablespoons Earth Balance margarine, melted

 Toppings

1/2 cup strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup blueberries

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Measure out the milk and add the vanilla extract to it. Whisk together the dry ingredients and add in milk and vanilla, stirring to combine. The mixture will still be dry. Add in mashed bananas and mix. Add in melted butter and stir until batter is somewhat smooth.

Option: if you want thinner pancakes, add 2 to 4 Tablespoons additional milk.
Heat a skillet or grilled on medium heat.

Using a 1/4 cup measure, spoon batter into rounds and cook until bubbles form on top – about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for a minute or two more. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve hot with margarine and nectar. Serve 3 pancakes per each plate and divide fruit between each plate.

 

Note: if you don’t have/can’t find whole wheat pastry flour, use 1 cup of regular whole wheat and 1 cup of all purpose. Or 2 cups of all purpose.

6.29.2011

Kiki's Fashions Review and Giveaway

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 I bring you a nice surprise today. I know I normally focus on recipes, lifestyle, and music, but since getting pregnant I have come along with new experiences. In addition to new recipes and eating changes while being pregnant I have also needed to modify with my wardrobe and that means nice, affordable, maybe cheap maternity clothes. This is all natural when it comes to getting pregnant.


After I found out at my last appointment that I was right on the dot at healthy weight gain, I thanked God for keeping me at a healthy eating lifestyle while being pregnant. Even though I am still going through some morning sickness, I am eating a lot more vegetables. After coming back from Germany and not getting enough greens, I really have been enjoying salads and asparagus! I simply can't get enough of my asparagus.


Back to clothing. I have not really gone overboard with buying but I have tried to get the essentials. Part of my wardrobe has included some nice skinny pants, a pair of shorts, some skirts, and plenty of tops. Tops seem to be terribly essential since I seem to be spoiling more of them. I have a harder time keeping food away from my shirt.


Is anyone feeling me??? I keep staining my shirts! I have to stay away from buying white shirts too! Ha ha ha.


dress in germany


The most essential clothing item for me lately is having a some dresses. I did take my nice dress to Germany to attend the opera, which still fit! I was so happy!


There is a reason though I am pregnant over the summer. Michigan weather has been lovely lately but it is the perfect season for maxi dresses. What are maxi dresses? These dresses can be informal or formal lengthy dresses that can be worn anytime and by all women, but they are PERFECT for pregnant ladies.


These maxi dresses work well as maternity dresses too because as the belly grows it grows into the dress. Perfect, right?


I had a chance to try a dress from Kiki's Fashions so I chose a long maxi dress that I could wear in the evenings or to an afternoon summer event. I chose a Black Blue Print Maxi Dress and LOVED the feel. It did not bunch up in the back and the bust area was perfect! The beauty of this dress is that I will also be able to wear it POSt-pregnancy!


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I am not a big polyester wearer, but even though this dress is 92% polyester and 8% spandex, the dress felt cool and smooth on my skin. I plan to wear a black sweater when fall comes along. I felt super comfortable in this dress and am already planning to buy a shorter dress! Nothing is really over $30 so really take advantage of buying something fun!


Kiki's Fashions has generously offered to give away ONE $25 Giftcard to one of my readers. Yet again, these dresses are perfect as non-maternity or as maternity dresses, but if you have a friend who is in search of dresses, this is the site to check out!


How to enter?


1. Mandatory entry: CHeck the website and tell me which dress you would pick!


Extra entries: (leave an extra comment)


2. Follow my blog by email or on Google reader (tell me you did so)
3. Follow me on Twitter.
4. Tweet the giveaway . "#Win a $25 gift certificate to Kiki's Fashions for #maternity clothing 7/11 @singerinkitchen http://bit.ly/lhSJQu #giveaway Pls RT"
5. Like Kiki's Fashions's on Facebook.
6. Share giveaway on Facebook. (Share your link)


Giveaway will close on July 10th, 2011 at midnight, EST. I will announce the winner on Monday, July 11th, 2011.

6.27.2011

White Russian Cupcakes

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What a relaxing weekend! I hope everyone had as great weather as we did. After more than a week of rainy and cloudy weather, we were blessed with sunshine and cool winds. Who could ask for anything more?

On Friday we had company over. I was really blessed to have Ryan offer to make dinner because it is a treat. I mostly hog the kitchen and do not give him opportunity to try out dishes he has been wanting to make. He usually likes to cook Italian, so he set his eyes on making lasagna. No arguments there, right? I was only in charge of making dessert, which were the cupcakes I will be sharing with you later.
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After Ryan spent nearly the whole Friday cooking and preparing for the lasagna, I thought I wold leave him alone at home so he could work on his dissertation research and more. I left home at 9:30am and came back home at 6pm! I cannot believe I was out all day and pretty much busy running errands.

What all did I get done? I got a haircut; found some baby stuff at garage sales; developed some photos; had brunch with a newspaper gal; went to the library; shopping; vacuumed and washed my car; bought MI strawberries; craft shopping; and comforter washing.

Whew! I had so much energy but I knew by the time I was finished I knew Ryan would be ready to leave the house. Luckily I did not have to do too much when I got home because we decided to go out for dinner and a movie, all on leftover giftcard money. I like when we have a nice surprise like that!

Dinner was at a local pub where I enjoyed a non-alcoholic beer, since I missed Germany already, and the fresh air of eating outdoors. Has anyone seen Super 8? Man, was it super loud in the theater. I screamed several times and I really thought I scared my little baby too!
Sunday was, of course, a day of rest and worshipping with our friends at church and then enjoying a picnic with them afterwards. What a way to spend a weekend right?

What fun things did you do?

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So back to the dessert I made Friday. I had alerted you in my last post that I was intrigued by Midwest Vegan's post about these great cupcakes called White Russian Cupcakes.  Anyone ever had a White Russian before? It consists of Kahlua, Vodka, and half & half over some ice. It actually is a nice drink and one of Ryan's favorite cocktails, but who is talking about my drinking this? Heck no!

Yes, maybe I miss a cocktail or two, but I am glad to withhold because I am having a beautiful healthy baby!!Well, anyway, who said I could not have it in dessert form? Yeah, no one said I could not!  hee hee

I have to say that this is probably the best cupcake icing I have ever eaten. It really was the only thing I wanted to eat, even though there was cake underneath that icing. Make this recipe! It is so delicious! Midwest Vegan adds some instant espresso powder to the icing so I agreed with her and added it to my recipe too! Thanks girl!!  Have it with some coffee or if you feel adventurous, have a cupcake with an actual White Russian.


The original recipe at Baked Perfection is not vegan so feel free to refer to that recipe. My recipe is all vegan and hard to believe. Make it....make it....you have to make it!

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White Russian Cupcakes

makes 12 cupcakes
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons Earth Balance margarine, softened
2 flax seed "eggs" (2 Tbsp ground flaxseeds + 6 Tbsp warm water)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup So Delicious Original Coconut Milk
1/8 cup Vodka
1/4 cup Kahlua, divided
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
 
 
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl or in a stand mixer, beat together the sugar and margarine until combined. Add flax "eggs", one at a time. Then add the vanilla, Vodka, and Kahlua. Gradually add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the coconut milk in two additions, ending with the flour mixture.
 
 
Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcakes comes out clean. While the cupcakes are still warm, brush the tops with the remaining 1/8 cup Kahlua. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Kahlua Buttercream
1 stick Earth Balance margarine, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon instant espresso granules
3 - 4 Tablespoons Kahlua
Beat margarine until creamy. Add salt. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until combined. Add Kahlua 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach desired consistency. Lastly add the espresso granules and combine well.
Ice each cupcake and sprinkle with chocolate shavings and decorate with coffee beans. Enjoy!

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6.23.2011

White Pizza --with Mushrooms, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Broccoli

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Thank you all for your lovely comments on my last post. We are terribly excited about bringing a new life into this world. All this means is that we have to make room in our snug duplex for a baby! We are so ahppy to already have our crib, we just need to make space in Ryan's office to make it half a nursery.

I love challenges and I know I will be faced with many in the next 4 months. We are already booking our calendars for multiple visits from friends and family members. Is it not wonderful when an addition to the family brings everyone together?

 I have been going through the predicted nesting period since we returned from Germany. Nothing seems to be clean enough or organized enough, but then some things DO need more organizing. I am making more lists than usual and trying to spread out evenly over my work days so that I do not feel so exhausted by the end of the day.

A little side note: For those who are new to the site, I have been singing and since the summer started I have not been singing as much. We have been traveling and working on other things, but the plan is to continue voice lessons throughout the summer so as to prepare for upcoming solos in the fall. Meanwhile, I forgot to share with you several recordings from this past spring.

 

I sang a new Verdi aria from La Forza del Destino called "Pace, pace mio dio." It was an amazing aria for me to work on especially being pregnant. How would it affect my singing early in the 1st trimester? I think I had more saliva production and had recently gotten a cold so it was hard not to let those things get in the way.  Please feel free to listen:


While in Germany, we got to the Bavarian region and got to visit the magnificent Nieuwenstein Castle. While there we learned that most of Wagner's operas inspired King Ludwig to depict his characters in many of his rooms.


The concert hall was fabulous and as we were told it was amazing to think that Wagner was in the same room we were touring.  One of the gentleman in our tour group found out I sang opera and dared me to sing a few notes in the hall. I sang a few notes of Mozart's "Ach, ich fühl's." It was pretty amazing to hear the voice carry in the room and I think I also surprised the tour group behind me too! :D
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Well, enough of my German adventures and on to a new adventure in the kitchen. Last night I was inspired to make a white pizza for the first time. As I looked up other recipes for white pizza I noticed a lot of them called for ricotta and mozzarella cheeses but the one that really caught my eye was one that required no cheese but still sounded delicious.

Midwest Vegan has been cooking up a delicious storm in her kitchen this week and somehow I have been inspired to make everything she is making. I do not know if it is more the fact that anything I plan makes me nauseous, but I guess imagining someone else's dishes makes me less sick. Either way, my eye caught her post about the white pizza she made 2 nights ago inspired by another blogger at SB and GB Both of them look so scrumptious folks and it was so EASY to prepare and make.
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Neither recipe states how big of a pizza the dough makes but I know that I made mine fit in a 14 inch pan and it was the right thickness. What was not accurate was the amount of white sauce for the pizza. It only makes 1/2 cup sauce, but I would increase it to 2/3 cup and little more salt. Either way, it was a very tasty pizza with the crust being more of a foccacia consistency.
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I added mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and chopped broccoli and an additional shake of parmesan. Add a big green salad and you have a perfect meal.  My favorite part was grilling the garlic heads and making the white sauce because it is thick and delicious without the dairy, and get this, it uses coconut milk! YUM!  Make it tonight or over the weekend folks!
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White Pizza with Mushrooms, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Broccoli

serves 2 to 3
Crust
1 1/2 teaspoons active yeast
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 cup warm water
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Coconut White Sauce
2 heads garlic
2/3 cup So Delicious Original coconut milk
1/3 teaspoon salt

Toppings
1/2 c sun dried tomatoes
1 1/4 cup broccoli heads, chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced

vegan parmesan (or regular) for sprinkling

For crust
Mix together the dry active yeast, sugar and ground coriander in a large bowl.  Add 1 cup of warm water to the bowl.  Set aside for a few minutes until it foams. Toss in the salt and 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, and slowly sift in about 2 cups flour until it sticks together into a loose dough.


Lightly flour a cutting board and turn the dough out onto it.  Knead it for about a minute, then set the ball in a large bowl greased with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.  Turn the dough over to cover in oil,
then let sit in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 45 minutes.


Meanwhile roast the heads of garlic. chop the tops off to make them easier to extract later. lay them in aluminum foil and cover with a little olive oil.  Roast at 375F for about 30-45 minutes until light golden brown.


When they are cool enough to handle you can pop the cloves out with your fingers. blend them with the coconut milk and salt, and set aside.

 

Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 475F.  Sprinkle a large baking pan with cornmeal or flour.  Gently remove the dough from the bowl onto the pan – it will deflate a little. lightly flour the dough again if needed and press out to a large oval, slightly thicker around the edges.


Lightly pour the cream across the crust, then add the mushrooms, tomatoes and broccoli, pressing down gently.

 

Bake at 475F for 10 minutes or until lightly brown around the edges and the cream is starting to bubble. Sprinkle with parmesan!

6.20.2011

Thick and Creamy Asparagus Soup

I have been back for 6 days and am roughly getting back in the groove of things. WOW, it sure has been difficult with jet lag this time around which I would attribute to being pregnant but Ryan has had a hard time too! I read that begin dehydrated during long plane flights contribute to bad jet lag but I know I drank plenty of liquids and walked around several times during our long plane trips.


We have really tried to take naps during the days and to extend our bed times to our normal times, but 6 or 7pm would roll around and we would be snoozing on the couch! Not good. I think returning to rainy and cold weather in Michigan also contributed to feeling a little more on the tired side. This past weekend turned out to be very warm and inviting with the lovely sunshine so I think the Vitamin D helped.


I am going to be working a little backwards as I update you on all that has happened since returning from Germany. Our trip was amazing and LONG but very enjoyable. We are glad to be home for the rest of the summer. A day after returning from our trip I had my 22 week appointment and ultrasound. All my readings were great and the baby is healthy, thanks to God! Here is a picture. We are having a BABY GIRL friends!!!! We are so excited to know, even though we did not care what the Lord provided, although I think we had more boy names picked out. (Whoops!)




Is this not precious? My placenta is in the perfect place and the measurements on the baby are great. I feel really blessed. I just could not believe that I have a human being in me! The nurse told me she was very feisty and that she was a mover. She definitely has been moving a lot lately especially the time we were in Germany.



How was it being in the 2nd trimester and traveling? Well, I had read that the 2nd trimester was the perfect time to travel, but I have to say that I still got VERY tired. This is not my 1st time to travel in Europe, so I knew I had to pack good walking shoes. Well, THAT did not matter. I feel the weight of another being in me and changes caused me to more tired. We did not take more breaks but we traveled as though I was not pregnant. We walked ALOT but we did make sure to take buses and the subway to make our travel shorter.

I also felt whiney. I got frustrated that I was tried so much, but here's the deal. It was really difficult finding places that sold water. We would have to go into restaurants to buy bottles water that was SO expensive. We would try to locate grocery stores to stock up on cheap water bottles but even that was hard. I KNOW that if had been better hydrated I probably would have felt better. It was frustrating for me. I only got morning sickness twice and it was due to temperature changes.


How about food choices? I expressed to some that my plan was to visit some vegan restaurants but it just was not feasible with our schedule and how we were traveling. We had to make the most of it and we went on Rick Steeve's recommendations when it came to eateries. Most of the places we stayed had breakfast provided, so we had our morning coffee and bakes goods with eggs, cold cuts and cheese. That would hold us up but when breakfast was not provided it was hard to find breakfast places that did not JUST serve sausage. Blech! Who eats sausages or brats at 7am? It is definitely another diet.



When we wanted a break from German cuisine we ate at Italian restaurants or Asian food. We ate a DELICIOUS Italian place in Munich, where I would communicate with the serve in broken Italian and German (so confusing, mentally but funny), where we got the freshest food. We felt like we were in Italy. I am sorry but I think I could have JUST eaten Italian the whole time while in Germany.



It was hard enough to stay away from salads despite places placing signs assuring us that their products were not from up north. Who KNEW? There were doner kebab places that loaded their sandwiches with tomatoes, lettuce and all the raw veggies that looked so good, but that we had to ignore because we wanted to stay safe. We certainly did have our share of potatoes.


I have returned home and enjoyed lots of veggies, salads, fruits, and BEANS! Yum.


 One of the meals we enjoyed while in Rottenberg was a white asparagus soup. It was really lovely and Ryan told me it would be nice to have this at home. Well, I did not buy white asparagus but I bought green asparagus upon returning to the states. It was so quick to make and it turned out to be thick, creamy and almost frothy! Hope you like it!



Thick and Creamy Asparagus Soup

serves 2

2 cups of asparagus stems and tips
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 small white onions (1 cup)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  (or 1/2 tsp celery salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp paprika)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 vegan bouillon cube (Rapanzel brand)
1 cup So Delicious Original Coconut Milk
1/2 cup water

Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan and saute' asparagus and onions for 5-7 minutes on medium heat. Add garlic and spices and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the veggies and the rest of the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth, for about 3 minutes.

Add soup to a pot and warm on low until ready to serve. Drizzle with olive oil and sesame seeds.

Optional: You could also just add all ingredients to Vitamix and blend for 5 minutes or until the blender slightly warms the soup. I wanted to saute' the ingredients before so that was my option.

6.07.2011

A little update while in Germany

In Potsdam, Germany
It has been a busy 6 days here in Germany. I have to say that my feet have been broken in, but it has been painful. Despite having tennis shoes, being pregnant and traveling has been a little challenging mostly for my feet. Thank God that eating and morning sickness has been really great as long as I eat on time ( nothing new here.)


Where have we been so far?  We were in Berlin the first 2 days, traveled to Dresden for 2 days, making a stop in Wittenberg, and now we are in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. It has been nonstop action with lots of sunshine, crazy body odor in train traveling, and yummy foods.


Yes, we had heard about the whole e.coli situation which now has been tagged to sprouts, so we have been staying clear of raw veggies. Either way, we have been enjoying all types of foods from the region and even having some Italian food too!


I just wanted to send a little update to know we're having tons o' fun!

Dresden Semperopera after watching Anna Bolena


6.01.2011

Kelapo AppleCrumble Pie and Coconut Oil Review

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Hello! Just a quick post before Ryan and I leave for Germany. I know right? We are leaving again! We had 2 days to recover from our North Carolina trip before packing again but this time for an international trip. I have been trying not to stress to much. How many clothes to take? Well, this girl is only doing a carry-on so wish me luck!


Before I left I knew I needed to get my cooking on since we have been eating out for the past 12 days. A kitchen has not been available or an option so it has been a bit difficult. Now as we head overseas, we have the e.coli scare to worry about. We have had salad the past 2 nights in order to get the raw veggies before we do not touch a single one while in Germany. If you have missed the news, here is an update on the E. Coli Scare.


Anyway, I was saying that I cooked for the past 2 days, making breakfast, lunch and dinner, except for last night where I invited myself to a friend's house for dinner since I was by myself. {Thanks Kristi!} I have had a hankering for apple pie for over a week and I had not had a chance to buy any or to find a slice so I decided that I would use up the leftover sad apples in my fridge to get it done. By the way, sad apples are perfect for apple pie!


When I got back from North Carolina I had a package waiting for me from the nice folks at Kelapo. They sent me an 8 ounce bottle of their virgin coconut oil. I realy like their glass packaging!


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This coconut oil is "harvested from exclusive coconut palms in Sri Lanka, this 100% organic, trans fat free oil can be used as an all-natural, flavorful, and energy packed, butter alternative." This is a fair trade product where farmers harvest and collect the fruit at its peak and extract the coconut oil  through a cold expellar press. It is unrefined, organic and 100% natural!


The oil smelled of coconuts. I would have used this on my skin but I used it all for one recipe! Even though I made ONE huge deep dish apple pie, coconut oil can be used instead of butter or any other cooking oils. Something I learned off their website is that coconut oil "helps the body absorb important nutrients and minerals, eliminate harmful bacteria, and fight the signs of aging." Who would not want that?

Kelapo also offers coconut oil softgels which they have added "supports immune, metabolic, and brain function." I personally like applying the oil over my skin and I plan on using it now during my pregnancy to prevent harsh stretch marks. How about that?

I hope you give this oil a try. You can order through their website or on Amazon.

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I received a recipe card with the oil that just grabbed my attention so I decided to try it out and see how the oil worked in the pie crust and crumble. Apples! I have been wanting an apple pie and this recipe sure did satisfy my craving! I had fun slicing the apples REAL thin and I used a deep-dish pie pan because I wanted to use all my sad apples. Please give this recipe a try. The crust turned out really like and crunchy and the crumble on the apples was delicious!

Thanks Kelapo for letting try this delicious oil!

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Kelapo Apple Crumble Pie

serves 10

Crust
3/4 cup Kelapo coconut oil (softened)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt

Place in a bowl and knead by hand. Add 2-3 Tablespoons ice cold water as needed. Refrigerate for 15 minutes then press into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan.

Apple filling
6-8 cups thinly sliced apples
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar

Pour into crust.

Crumble
1/4 cup coconut oil ( softened)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

In the same bowl, combine all ingredients until well mixed and top the pie with mixture.

Bake for 30 minutes on 425 degrees and then lower heat to 375 degrees and continue cooking for 20 minutes.
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