One of the things Jeremiah and I really enjoy doing is wine tasting. We like to go on little day trips as well as while we are on vacation. A few of our favorite places are Somerset Ridge (just past the Louisburg Cider Mill on the Miami County Wine Trail), Van Till Winery and Family Farm (great wood-fired pizzas on the weekends just outside of Excelsior Springs), and Windy Wine Company (east of St. Joseph off Hwy 36). Another little winery in downtown Weston actually got us to join their wine club.
The first winery Jeremiah and I visited together was Pirtle Winery – located in a historic church just off Main Street. Downtown Weston has lots of great shops. I love the community food pantry and charming kitty cat outside the photography shop. This little town really isn’t any bigger than where I grew up but really developed tourism around wine tasting, local food, unique shops, and B&B stays. Once a quarter, the Weston Wine Company host their monthly book club…aka an excuse to drink wine and pick-up your free bottle. In August, the book featured was “What to Eat with What You Drink.” You don’t need to buy or even read the book, they give you the Cliff Notes version during the event. Since the book was about pairings, they had matched each of their wines with a recipe. One of our favorites was the Italian Quesadilla served with a semi-sweet red (Radiant Cut Wine). At the winery, they sell a pepperoni cheese. I told Jeremiah that I thought we should buy a block and use it with fresh basil. Jeremiah says that kicked it up a bit. This is our take on this non-traditional quesadilla.
Italian Quesadilla by Weston Wine Company (modified by Amber Bourek Slater)
1 lb. ground Italian sausage (we used Scimeca’s turkey sausage)
1 apple (red preferred)
Grated Parmesan cheese
Shredded mozzarella cheese (or pepperoni cheese if you can find it)
Flour tortilla shells (we like high fiber Mission shells)
Dice the apple. Cook the ground sausage and apple. Cover half a tortilla shell with sausage mixture, basil, and cheeses. Fold over. Cook on medium for 3 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 1 ½ minutes (or until golden brown).
Starting in April, Harvesters began receiving larger than normal donations of bread. Our creative Nutrition Department developed lots of recipes to teach the families we serve other thing they could do with bread than just making sandwiches. I recently tried this bread pudding recipe and loved it. I also love it because it uses one of the essential seven produce items – apples.
Each month, Harvesters distributes over ½ million pounds of fresh produce to help feed hungry people in our community. One of the ways we do this is through Mobile Food Pantries. Six days a week, Harvesters works with 6-10 agency partners each day to distribute food through Mobile Food Pantries. Unfortunately, hundreds of families line up hours in advance in hopes of getting whatever food is available.
This week is National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week. This holiday season, I hope you will remember all your neighbors who struggle with food insecurity. You can help simply by donating a $1 or more at area grocery stores at the cash register through the Check-Out Hunger Campaign. Your $1 gift will provide 3 meals for hungry children, families, and seniors in our community.
Caramel Apple Bread Pudding by Harvesters Nutrition Services Department
1 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 c. fat-free milk
¼ c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. cinnamon
5 c. day old bread, cubed
½ c. chopped peeled apples
Fat-free caramel sauce (I like Trader Joe’s)
In a large bowl, combine applesauce, milk, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon. Fold in bread and apples. Let is stand for 15 minutes to absorb liquid. Pour into 8 inch sprayed square pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 45-60 minutes. (Test with a knife until it comes out clean.) Drizzle with caramel topping. Serve warm and refrigerate leftovers. Makes 9 servings.
Last year, I had a chance to judge Harvesters AmeriCorps Members’ Lunch Challenge. This activity is an event kind of like one of those Food Network chef shows but for people learning to create a nutritious meal on a budget. They are given a mystery pantry bag of groceries and a handful of seasonings. Then, they can purchase items from a grocery store. But wait, your goal is to feed everyone in your group for less than a $1.50 per person (the max benefit for person receiving SNAP – former called food stamps).
I’m not a salad person. You will never find me go to a restaurant and order a salad. But when I sampled this romaine lettuce and apple salad with a cinnamon flavored dressing, I wanted more. I asked the team how they made it but I couldn’t get an exact recipe. Below is my recreation. Although I am not 100% sure it is the same – it does taste good.
I served this recipe over romaine lettuce and chopped honey crisp apples. You could probably add croutons, feta, and nuts to your salad and it would still taste delicious.
Cinnamon Vinaigrette by Amber Bourek
¼ c. Balsamic vinaigrette
½ c. honey
½ c. water (may need to add a little more to thin honey)
cinnamon to taste
Mix ingredients and pour over salad.
Note: I did not peal the apples but my boyfriend thinks it would be good that way as well.
Forget the scented candles – here’s the best way to make your house smell like an apple pie without much work.
Crockpot Baked Apple Slices from Pinterest
¼ c. brown sugar
¼ c. sugar
½ c. apple juice
2 T. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 T. cinnamon
½ tsp. vanilla
1 T. butter
Peel, core, and slice apples. Place in Crockpot and top with all ingredients except butter. Stir and top with diced butter. Bake for 1 ½ hours on high or 4-5 hours on low. Stir halfway through.
Fruit Salsa from Pinterest
1 – 16 oz. package of fresh strawberries
1 – 8 oz. package of fresh raspberries
2 – red apples
2 T. sugar
1 T. brown sugar
2 T. fruit preserves (I used strawberry)
Dice fruit into bite sided pieces. Add sugars and preserves. Refrigerate for an hour.
Note: I had Mission Sugar & Cinnamon Chips and Sesmark Multigrain Buttery Caramel Chips that I used with it. If you can’t find them, I would suggest using my Baked Tortilla recipe. Just substitute cinnamon and sugar for the other spices.