Apple Pie Bars

We love apple desserts in the fall and are always seeking out variations of the traditional apple pie. Pies are great for holidays and have more of a show stopping presentation, but if we are craving a little weekday treat we don’t need to put in all that time decorating and rolling dough. We found this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction and modified a few things to make it our own. These Apple Pie Bars have everything we crave from an apple pie but require just a bit less work. A rich crust? Check. Lots of fresh cinnamon apples? Yep. A crumbly buttery streusel topping? Oh yeah. We go the extra mile by topping them with our Bourbon Salted Caramel for the ultimate fall treat. Our resident taste tester, Myles (15 months old), was screaming for more when he tried them – so we are confident these can please any audience.

Apple Pie Bars
Makes: 16 bars
Prep and Cooking Time: 1 hour Inactive Time: 6 hours to overnight

Ingredients For The Crust:

  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour

Ingredients For The Apple Filling:

  • 3 medium apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 3 tbs flour
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Ingredients For The Streusel Topping:

  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup butter, cold and cubed
  • Homemade salted caramel sauce for topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8 x 11 Pyrex dish with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Make the crust. Stir the melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the flour and stir until everything is combined. The crust batter will seem wet and that’s okay. Press the mixture into the Pyrex using your hands to create an even surface. Bake for 15 minutes, remove from the oven, and set aside to cool. Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  3. Make the apple filling. While the crust is baking, combine the apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. Toss gently so that all of the ingredients are coated on the apples. Set aside.
  4. Make the streusel topping. Mix the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and flour together in a medium bowl.  Take the chopped butter and knead it into the mixture with your hands to work the butter into the dry ingredients. The mixture should be course and resemble crumbly wet sand.
  5. Assemble the bars. Lay the apples on top of the crust in as even of a layer as you can. Gently press the apples into the crust to help combine the layers. Sprinkle the streusel topping on top of the apples in an even layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
  6. Remove the bars from the oven and allow them to cool for at least 20 minutes at room temperature, before lightly covering them with foil and refrigerating them at least 6 hours, up to overnight. Remove the bars from the pan when you are ready to cut by pulling on the excess parchment paper. Cut the apple pie into 2 inch x 2.75 inch bars; there will be 16 bars. Drizzle with some salted caramel and serve warm or room temperature.

Bourbon Salted Caramel

October is the month for spooky, scary festivities and lots of sweet treats! As an alternative to the bags candy you’re bound to have around the house over the next few weeks, we are taking things up a notch with some homemade dessert options. If you are overwhelmed by the thought of making caramel from scratch, don’t be! It is actually quite simple and takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish. We have gussied this version up with bourbon and sea salt, but you can omit those ingredients if they aren’t for you.

Bourbon Salted Caramel

Makes: about 2 cups of caramel

Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream, room temperature
  • 4 tbs butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbs of your favorite bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

  1. Combine the sugar and water a medium sauce pot. Stir to combine before putting onto the burner.
  2. Turn your burner onto medium-high heat. DO NOT STIR OR TOUCH THE PAN until the sugar has caramelized. This process will be tedious and you need to keep an eye on the sugar. It will go from being clear to champagne colored before turning light brown. Once it gets to light brown, it can go from light brown to burnt very very quickly. Remove the sugar from the heat and burner when the caramel is just lighter than the coppery color of a penny.
  3. Turn the burner on to medium-high heat.  Then — this is very important — do not stir or touch the pan until the sugar has caramelized.  The sugar mixture will go from being completely clear, to a champagne color, to a light golden color, and then to increasingly darker shades of amber.  (Keep a close eye on the sugar, as it darkens quickly once it begins to caramelize.) Once the sugar reaches a deep amber color (about the color of a copper penny), remove the saucepan from the heat and turn the burner off.
  4. Right away after removing the sugar from the heat, add the heavy cream to the sugar in a steady stream, whisking vigorously to incorporate the cream. Don’t be worried when the mixture bubbles like crazy- this is totally normal! When the heavy cream has been added, whisk in the butter until combined. Add in the bourbon, vanilla, and sea salt.
  5. From here, you can serve immediately hot from the stove or you can let the caramel cool and reserve for another time. The caramel will last up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator, and will thicken quite a bit as it chills. If you are planning to refrigerate and use later, heat it for just a few seconds in the microwave to loosen so that you can drizzle easily over ice cream, brownies, or any other dessert of choice!

Butternut Squash Linguini

It is officially fall which means it is pasta galore in our kitchens. We have no shame posting two pasta recipes in one week, and you shouldn’t feel bad about cooking both of these recipes during a chilly week either! There is something so satisfying about a creamy, hot bowl of noodles on a cold evening. That being said, just because a dish is hearty does not mean that it has to pack on the calories. The sauce for this Butternut Squash Linguini is pretty much just that, pureed butternut squash. We add some decadence to the dish by mixing sautéed pancetta and fried sage, but those ingredients act like garnishes versus heavy handed ingredients. For those of you with kids at home, this is a great way to sneak in extra veggies during this winter.

Butternut Squash Linguini

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb linguini
  • 4 oz cubed pancetta
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 8 (approx) sage leaves
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 12 oz cubed butternut squash (thawed if using frozen)
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • grated Parmesan cheese for garnish, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta. Heat a large stock pot full of water. Add about 2 tbs salt and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook to al dente according to package directions, about 12 minutes. When the pasta is ready, remove 1 cup of pasta water and drain the noodles.
  2. Make the butternut squash sauce. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and pancetta to the pan and fry for about 3 minutes, or until the pancetta is crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pancetta and set it aside. In the same olive oil, fry the sage leaves until crispy, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and again, keep the fat in the pan.
  3. Add the onion and garlic to the pan. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, or until the onions start to become translucent. Add the butternut squash and cook another 3 minutes to lightly sauté. Season with salt and pepper. Add the thyme (keep the stems intact) and the vegetable stock. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the butternut squash is fork tender.
  4. When the butternut squash is fork tender, remove the pan from the heat and remove the thyme leaves from the pan. Place the rest of the butternut squash mix into a blender and blend until smooth. You can add the pasta water in 1/4 cup increments as necessary to get the sauce to a smooth consistency. The sauce should be a little thinner than a butternut squash bisque. Reserve any extra pasta water.
  5. Add the sauce, pasta, and pancetta back to the pot and toss to coat. Taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary. If the pasta is starting to slurp up the sauce and it looks too thick, add more pasta water 1/4 cup at a time. If you don’t have any pasta water leftover you can use vegetable stock until you have the texture you are looking for. If you have added liquid back to the pasta, taste and season again. Serve the pasta in four bowls with the fried sage leaves (chopped) and a hearty serving of shaved Parmesan cheese.

Oktoberfest Pumpkin Chili

We love experimenting with pumpkin recipes in the fall, and surprisingly have ended up liking the renditions of savory dishes more than the sweet ones! We have been making versions of this pumpkin chili for years now, and this latest is our favorite yet. We have combined all things “October” in this hearty chili- Oktoberfest beer, a can of pumpkin, and lots of warming spices. The beer gives the chili a little punch and helps give it a rich taste. The pumpkin is a great way to add creaminess but keep everything healthy. We suggest buying an Oktoberfest beer versus a pumpkin beer, as sometimes pumpkin beers can be ultra sweet which doesn’t mix well with the rest of the recipe. Serve with any and all of your favorite chili toppings for an ultra-fall cozy night in!

Octoberfest Pumpkin Chili

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients for the Chili

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and stem removed, minced
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can white beans, drained
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 12 oz Octoberfest beer (we used a Bavarian lager)
  • salt, to taste

Optional Chili Toppings and Accompaniments:

  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/3 cup packed cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and stems removed, minced
  • Mexican cheese blend
  • roasted and salted pumpkin seeds
  • tortilla chips

Directions:

  1. Heat a large cast iron pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, onion, and garlic to the pan. Sauté 4-5 minutes, or until the onions start to become translucent.
  2. Add the jalapeno, paprika, cumin, and red chili flakes to the pot. Toast the spices in the pan for about 3 minutes before adding the tomato paste. Mix in the tomato paste and let everything cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the both cans of beans and the pumpkin to the chili. Add the beer and stir well to combine, but not so rough that you start to break up the beans. Season the chili with salt. Bring the chili to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes uncovered, and then cover and cook another 20-30 minutes. If the chili seems too thick before you are ready to serve, you can add water or stock to bring it to the consistency of your liking. Season again with salt to taste.
  4. Serve the chili hot out of the pan with any of your favorite chili toppings.

Spicy Chickpea & Harissa Stew

We love soups and stews and get giddy when the temperature starts to get cooler and it is acceptable to eat soup most meals of the week. This recipe incorporates all of our favorite Middle Eastern ingredients into one hearty bowl. You can easily make this vegetarian or vegan by eliminating the shrimp and feta cheese without compromising the flavor. For those unfamiliar with harissa, harissa is a Moroccan pasta made with garlic, red pepper and oil. You can find this is most supermarkets or online through Thrive Market and Amazon.

Spicy Chickpea and Harissa Stew
Makes: 4 servings 
Prep Time: 15 minutes     Total Time: 45 minutes 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2 cans chickpea, drained 
  • 3 tbs harissa paste
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp salt 
  • 28 oz can of tomato sauce 
  • 28 oz water (reuse the can!)
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined 

Optional Toppings:

  • feta
  • parsley or cilantro
  • pita

Directions 

  1. In a soup pot, turn the heat to medium and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the shallot and garlic and saute for 5 minutes. 
  2. Add the chickpeas, harissa, cumin and salt and saute for 2-3 minutes until the chickpeas are coated with all of the spices. If you like your food extra spicy, you can bump up the harissa from 3 to 4 tablespoons. 
  3. Add the tomato sauce and use the same can to add the water. This will help ensure you get all of the tomato juice out! 
  4. Bring the stew up to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. 
  5. Bring the heat back up to high and add the shrimp. Put the cover on the pot and cook for 3 minutes on each side or until the shrimp are completely cooked through. 
  6. Serve hot in a bowl and top with feta cheese, parsley and a side of your favorite pita! 

Whiskey Cider Cocktails

When hosting a big party or get together like Thanksgiving dinner, we always like to have a pre-made cocktail on hand when guests arrive. This does a few things: 1) helps get everyone situated and makes them feel welcome — 2) eliminates us from having to be bartender the entire evening — 3) sets the mood that we are here to have a good time. 

For a fall cocktail, the first place we turn to is the beautiful marriage of whiskey and apple cider. We have made and tweaked this recipe a number of times over the years and finally feel like we have the blend just right. Whiskey, apple cider, lemon juice and champagne combine to make the perfect chilled whiskey cocktail. It’s a little sweet from the cider, sparkling from the champagne, and has a nice twist of lemon to make it refreshing. Make a big batch to have on hand this Thanksgiving or for any other fall event- it’s a hit even with whiskey haters. 

Whiskey Cider Cocktails
Serving Size: 10 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes      Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whiskey 
  • 6 cups apple cider
  • 3 lemons, sliced 
  • 1 bottle of chilled champagne- choose a dry variety so the drink isn’t too sweet
  • cinnamon sticks for garnish- optional 

Directions: 

  1. Make the cocktail by combining all of the ingredients in a large beverage dispenser. Give it a good stir so that the flavors combine. If you want to make this ahead of time, combine all of the ingredients except for the champagne. Add that just before serving so that the drink keeps some carbonation. 
  2. Serve chilled, over ice. 

Thanksgiving Dinner 2019

Thanksgiving is one of our absolute favorite days of the year. Our Nana has hosted Thanksgiving for as long as we can remember and is the ultimate hostess. Everything from the table settings and place cards to the delicious meal is expertly thought out and memorable. We were inspired by her attention to detail when creating this year’s look for our Thanksgiving table setting. 

When starting to create a scheme for your table, it’s important to narrow your scope and limit the design elements. It is easy to go overboard with a theme for any holiday, Thanksgiving included. Our inspiration for this year’s table came from new place settings that Tate’s mom purchased this year – rustic placemats and napkins that can easily be matched with our china to make the table feel dressed up for the holiday. We continued the rustic chic theme and added natural looking table decorations- faux pumpkins and squash in hurricanes, cinnamon scented pinecones for the table, and an arrangement of flowers purchased at the grocery store. As a whole, this look is very clean, simple, and cost effective. It is a great example that less is always more when it comes to decorating. One of the best things about using hurricanes and vases for flowers is that they can be easily lifted and removed to bring food to the table. It will make it that much easier to be a host that can enjoy the party.

Expert Tip: set your table at least a day in advance (flowers excluded). There is no reason to wait until the last minute to do this and can save you a lot of time the day of.

Get The Look: 

Chargers – Pottery Barn – Tava Rattan Flat Round Charger 

Napkins- Pottery Barn – Mason Oversized Linen Napkin (in flax)

China Plates and Salad Plates- Waterford Ballet Ribbon Dinnerware

Hurricanes- Crate and Barrel – London Narrow Clear Hurricane Candle Holder

Filler for Hurricans- Home Goods- see similar from Amazon

In setting out to create our Thanksgiving menu for Tuck & Tate, we really tried to think about all of our favorite memories and moments from our past Thanksgivings. We took into consideration rules our Nana has instilled over the years like “there is NO kale at the Thanksgiving table” and “mashed potatoes should never be healthy”. We know that everyone has a favorite dish, and we hope we can contribute some new ideas to your table this year! We will be posting a new recipe from the menu below every day leading up to Thanksgiving. 

Thanksgiving Dinner 2019 

Cheese Board- Fall Edition

Whiskey Apple Cider Cocktails

Deep Fried Turkey with Buttermilk Gravy

Best Ever Mashed Potatoes

Green Bean & Mushroom Casserole

Cranberry & Chickpea Stuffed Squash

Easy Buttermilk Biscuits

Pumpkin Sugar Cookie Place Cards