Thanks for giving us dessert, yo

Here's a straight-to-your-heart recipe from Kristal Manning, author of The Dirty Apron cookbook sure to win your whole family over this Thanksgiving.  


Apple Crisp:


8-10 medium green apples

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup organic sugar

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cup oats

1 cup melted butter

2/3 cup water


Preheat oven to 375

Peel, core and slice apples into 1/8 inch thick pieces. Put apples in 9x11 pan. Combine sugars, flour, and oats and finally melted butter. Spread mixture over apples evenly. Pour water over everything. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream

Can't live without 'em

We all have to eat, says Kristal Manning, author of The Dirty Apron; the trick is how to eat well. That depends on some key ingredients:

Garlic: "If you're stuck on a dish and don't think it tastes just right, add some garlic! Maybe it's the Italian in me, but it works."


Extra Virgin Olive Oil: "You'll need it for practically everything." 


Cinnamon and Nutmeg: :Always use them together and use a smaller amount of Nutmeg than Cinnamon. They taste great in pancakes, cookies and cakes."


Paprika: "It's your secret ingerdient in ANY potato recipe."


Lemon: "Always have fresh lemon around. It tastes amazing on chicken and fish of course. Plus, looks great in slices on the table for glasses of water and ice tea."


Fresh basil: "Keep a little plant of it in the kitchen and throw it it random things for a fresh, Italian taste. Tastes and LOOKS great in a pot of sauce, fresh tomato and mozzerella salad."


“I buy ingredients from all over," Kristal says, but  tells us she regularly stocks up at Trader Joes, and Whole Foods. 

The Dirty Apron Cookbook

It's Thanksgiving this Thursday -- you know, the kick-off holiday to all that warm, group hug family reunion sort of thing. We're overwhelmed with nausea already. What if you don't dig your blood relatives? What if you don't want to talk or eat with them, much less, hug them? 

Busy yourself. Cook up a storm! Assign yourself so many roast turkeys and sweet potato casseroles that you won’t have time to chitchat. Uncle Jimmy will have to trash Aunt Minnie with some other poor chump. Baby Joey can spit up on another cousin’s silk top. 

And Kristal Manning has your off-the-family-radar rescue resource. Self-published author of The Dirty Apron: A Young Lady's Cookbook and Guide, she’s written an approachable, easy-to-follow manual full of recipes and homemaking tips and tricks, all in the snarky voice of a single girl bushwhacking her way through the good, the bad and the tasteless.

To wit: Prosciutto and Cheese Stuffed Chicken—a.k.a., The Boyfriend Keeper, or, The Boyfriend Stealer. You can also find on-the-fly, minimum prep dishes if you need to be out the door in a pinch, like a quick-and-nasty spin on Chicken Piccata.

She's a trusty connoisseur. Influenced by her grandparents—her Italian nonna and papa—Manning has been cooking since she had a stool to stand on. Peering over the counter, she would help prepare dinner and, soon, a lively confidence was born—a conviction that you can’t be afraid of failure in the kitchen, that a mess can reflect you had fun. Even if you’re with your relatives. Happy Thanksgiving.