02/13/18

Hassleback Baked Envy Apples for your Valentine! {low carb}

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

I love any reason to celebrate- especially when it involves whipping up sweet treats for family and friends. 

I’ve been thinking about what to whip up this year for this day of love, and of course, thought of all of the regular go-tos: brownies, cookies, cheesecakes, truffles… 

But then, THESE gorgeous gems arrived at my doorstep courtesy of Envy Apples and Allan Brother’s Inc.

This year, because of a partnership between Orangespoken and Envy Apples, I knew that these gorgeous beauties would be the perfect ingredient for whipping up a Valentine’s Day treat! 

The Envy apple is just apple perfection. Sweet, crisp, and clean, this apple was created as a cross between Royal Gala and Braeburn apples. The flesh is bright and white, and the skin is a gorgeous blend of swirly and speckled reds, oranges, and yellows. Envy apples are in season in the US from November through March, and if you live in the Tampa Bay area, you can pick up a fresh bag of Envy apples from your nearest Walmart Supercenter! 

Envy apples are absolutely delicious on their own, sliced up and paired with your favorite nut butter, diced up and tossed into savory salads, or cooked into pies, cakes, or breads! They also make an amazing addition to your favorite sangria recipe! 

At only 18g of carbs per apple, 3g fiber, 65 calories, and around 12g of natural sugar in each medium sized apple, you can feel good about adding these to your daily diet- even if you’re doing low carb or keto (like me), you can enjoy a few slices of these with an added fat (like a drizzle of coconut oil with cocoa powder and stevia, or a dollop of almond butter!). 

OR, you can whip up this recipe for low carb, refined sugar-free Hasselback baked apples! 

I was watching one of my favorite shows on the Food Network last weekend, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen, and saw my BFF whip up baked hasselback apples. I had heard of hasselback potatoes before, but hasselback apples were new to me! And They. Looked. Absolutely. AMAZING, and being that I had a gorgeous box of Envy apples just waiting to be turned into something glorious, this recipe seemed like the perfect fit! 

Because I’m deep into (6 months!) eating low carb, no sugar, I definitely wanted to clean up the recipe I saw on the show and make this fit into my lifestyle. 

These apples turned out SO amazingly scrumptious! Juicy and tart, yet buttery and sweet- and the crunch of the almonds on top just sent these over the moon! I used some of my most favorite low carb/keto friendly products in this dish- Envy Apples (of course!), Sukrin Gold, which is an amazing sugar free, low carb sweetener that mimics brown sugar, Bob’s Red Mill blanched almond flour, Kerrygold Irish Butter (seriously the best butter ever!)

Here’s the recipe! 

Hasselback baked apples
Serves 6
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
40 min
For the apples
  1. 3 medium-sized Envy apples- peeled, cored, and halved vertically
  2. 3 tbsp. Sukrin Gold sweetener
  3. 3 tbsp. melted unsalted Kerrygold butter
  4. 2 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
  5. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the topping
  1. 1/4 cup blanched almond flour
  2. 2 tbsp. Sukrin Gold sweetner
  3. 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  4. 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  5. 1/4 cup almond slices (or chopped pecans)
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. 2. Starting at one edge of the apple, cut most (but not all) of the way through each apple half at 1/8-inch slices (it helps to place the apple half in between two wooden spoons while slicing to prevent the knife from going all of the way through.)
  3. 3. Place apple halves core-side down in a greased ceramic or glass baking dish.
  4. 4. Combine 3 tbsp. Sukrin gold, 3 tbsp. melted butter, 2 tsp. ground cinnamon, and 1 tsp. vanilla extract together and brush mixture evenly over each apple.
  5. 5. Cover the apples with foil and bake at 400 for 20 minutes. While the apples bake, prepare the topping by combing all of the ingredients and stirring until mixed.
  6. 6. Remove apples from the oven and use a butter knife to carefully fan open the slices, just enough so that the topping mixture falls into the slices. Spoon the mixture over the apples and bake uncovered for an additional 10-12 minutes, or until the topping becomes golden brown (you can also broil these for 1-2 minutes right before taking them out of the oven!).
  7. 7. Serve warm with fresh whipped cream!
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Learn more about Envy Apples and where to find them by visiting www.envyapples.com.

Follow Envy Apples on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest and through the hashtag #biteandbelieve! 

HAVE A WONDERFUL VALENTINE’S DAY! 

02/11/18

VOLTA Cirque du Soleil comes to Tampa! #Giveaway

Disclosure: Because of a partnership with the Tampa Bay Bloggers, I was given tickets to attend the premiere of VOLTA in exchange for promotion of the show here on my blog and on my social media channels. All opinions are my own. 

Back in the day (circa 1999), the “it” thing to do was to travel the 60 mile drive from Tampa to Orlando to hang out at Downtown Disney (it’s former name… you kids these days call it Disney Springs) 😉

Taking that road trip to Orlando was something we did at least once a month. With so many awesome places to eat (our favorite back then being House of Blues), fun places to window shop, boat rides that took you across the lake to the other side of Downtown Disney (aka Pleasure Island!), and a larger-than-life, three-story Virgin records mega-store to explore, Downtown Disney provided us broke college kids with (mostly) free hours of entertainment. 

I remember when La Nouba opened up as a permanent Cirque du Soleil show at Downtown Disney- its HUGE white pointy tent redesigning the entire skyline of our go-to hangout. I’m not sure why we never caught a show, especially after hearing about how completely awesome they were. And even as Downtown Disney evolved into Disney Springs, I never put it on my bucket list. And unfortunately, the show ended last year. 

There have been traveling Cirque du Soleil shows that have come through Tampa and St. Pete, but sadly, I have never gotten the chance to attend those either. So when I was offered an opportunity to check out the next event to make an appearance in the area, I could not decline! After all of these years, I finally will have a chance to see what all of the excitement is about (And I could not be more thrilled!) 

Cirque du Soleil’s VOLTA is coming through Tampa (it will actually be just a couple of miles from my house in Seminole Heights) and we’ll be there for all of the action! Opening night is on Valentine’s Day under the big top at the Greyhound track in Tampa (off Nebraska Avenue), and runs through March 18, 2018. If you have traveled through I-275 north at anytime during the past few days, you have probably seen a sneak peek of the larger-than-life swirly tent being set up! We’re just a few days away from the show’s kick-off and you can already purchase tickets by visiting cirquedusoleil.com/volta!

About the show: Inspired in part by the adventurous spirit that fuels the culture of action sports, the show weaves the adrenaline rush of acrobatics into a visually striking world driven by a stirring melodic score. The name VOLTA refers to a sudden about-face, a change in emotion or idea often used in poetry. It also speaks to the jolt of energy delivered through the show. VOLTA tells a spellbinding story about the freedom to choose and the thrill of blazing your own trail. Inspired in part by the adventurous spirit that fuels the culture of action sports, the show weaves the adrenaline rush of acrobatics into a visually striking world driven by a stirring melodic score. VOLTA is a story of transformation. It is about being true to oneself, fulfilling one’s true potential, and the power of the group to make that possible. It celebrates freedom as a movement.

I’ll be attending the show this week and cannot wait to share a recap on social media on our first Cirque du Soleil impressions! What’s even BETTER news is that I have tickets to giveaway!!!!

If you would like to check out Volta while it’s here in Tampa, I am giving away a 4-pack of FREE tickets to a lucky Orangespoken reader to be used any Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evening between February 20- March 2. 

Use the Rafflecopter link below to enter. A winner will be announced on Valentine’s day. Good luck and see you under the big top! *Open to local residents only. Tickets will be available for pickup from the box office on the night of the show you choose to attend. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway