Festive Holiday Ideas with Michigan Apples
by Shari Steinbach, MS RDN
The holiday season is upon us and we are all looking for food and décor inspiration that make this time of year special. Using Michigan Apples is a great way to bring a vibrant and natural flair to your holiday celebrations. Not only do they provide a delicious, seasonal appeal to recipes, but incorporating them into simple decorations around your home is a great way to create an inviting and warm space for guests. Michigan Apples are inexpensive, colorful and can be used in a variety of ways to spice up your décor and recipes!
Decorating with Michigan Apples:
• Apples can serve as the center piece on your table simply by placing them in a large bowl or basket. Start with red and green apples and add other elements such as greens or pinecones to complete the natural look.
• Placing apples into a tall glass vase is another option for a center piece that can make a big statement but takes little work to complete.
• Apples can also be made into a candle holder. Just core the apple and add a small votive candle. These unique candles can be placed in windows or on tables. (To avoid open flames, small flameless tea lights can also be used).
• Create a garland with dried apples and cranberries to use on your tree or as a fun kitchen decoration.
• Holiday wreaths are another way to incorporate apples. This wreath is simple to construct and certainly makes a festive and welcoming statement on your front door!
1. Cover a 9-inch foam circle with green sheetmoss (available at crafts stores), using hot glue to secure the moss.
2. Hot-glue pinecones around the perimeter, then add one in the center of the foam circle.
3. Push wooden florist's picks into the base of six to seven small apples. Insert the apples into the foam around the center pinecone, securing with hot glue. Repeat this step with 14 to 15 larger apples inside the outer circle of pinecones.
4. Fill the leftover space with hazelnuts, and cover any gaps with moss.
5. Secure a ribbon to the back of the wreath for hanging.
Celebrating with Michigan Apples:
Now that your décor is bright and shiny, it’s time to whip up some creative but easy appetizers for your family and friends. Michigan Apples add color and a great holiday flavor to these recipes. In addition, apples also provide many nutritional benefits including fiber and antioxidants to keep you healthy during this busy time of year.
Makes 2 cups
1 package (8 oz.) Neufchatel cheese, softened
1 cup shredded red Michigan Apple*
1/3 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/3 cup mango chutney
1. Combine all ingredients. Cover and chill thoroughly, about 2 hours. Serve with whole grain crackers or celery.
*Suggested Michigan Apple varieties to use: Empire, Gala, Ida Red, Jonagold, Jonathan, McIntosh, Red Delicious or Rome.
Nutrition information per serving (2 tablespoons): 60 Calories, 3g Fat, 10mg Cholesterol, 7g Carbohydrates, 118mg Sodium, 0g Fiber
Apple and Brie Toasts:
Makes approx. 15 servings (2 each)
1 baguette, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 (13.2-oz.) pkg. Brie cheese, thinly sliced
3 Michigan Golden Delicious Apples and/or Braeburn apples, cored and sliced
Arrange bread slices on an ungreased baking sheet; bake at 350° until lightly toasted. Set aside.
Mix together sugar, walnuts and butter. Top each slice of bread with a cheese slice, an apple slice and one teaspoon of brown sugar mixture. Bake until cheese melts.
May you all have a happy and healthy holiday season!