Let me just start by saying. I hate January. There is something about this month. October is my favorite and this month, well, it has nothing but deep and utter loathing from me.
Winter really isn’t that bad. But where I live, it seems like it actually starts in November. So that we have precisely one month of Autumn and 4-5 months of Winter. It gets old by the time the Christmas/New Year’s spirit has worn away, come mid-January.
It gives me the winter blues. And the winter crankies. And the cabin fever. Thank-you pregnancy hormones for helping that along.
But the point of this post is that there are still things to do to keep your mind active. With a small child in my house, I really have to work to find activities that interest us both. And they need to be easy and cheap.
So this week we have been 1. Playing in the snow and 2. Making bird seed crafts.
Lets face it, when you are pregnant you use up the TP. Plus little someones are either unfurling it everywhere or in the process of toilet training. Why not save all the empty tubes and use it to make a craft?
I love watching the birds nibble on these little feeders. I think J just likes the creating part but that’s ok 🙂
The birds love this little snack. I see a lot of sparrows and chickadees (I think?) nibbling away when I glance from my kitchen window. It makes me happy to do something kind, in the midst of my winter blues. And playing out in the snow was fun too. Ask me about how my snow pants wouldn’t zip up. Actually no. Don’t.
October is my favorite month. Hands down. The beauty of the season is astounding. And for us, good things have always happened in the month of October. My husband and I started dating in late September of 2009. We found out we were expecting our first child October 31st of 2012. And this month…
I’m lucky enough to say that I am expecting again. It didn’t feel so lucky, at first. I was so sick! When I confessed this so some of my female relatives, they said that a person is typically increasingly sick with each new baby…so if you have 3 kids you’re bound to feel like death with the 4th pregnancy? Thanks for that. I’m quite happy to have just two kids for now. Technically two.
We’ve had a lot of fun as a family lately. Got to enjoy a lovely vacation to Vermont last month. Go ahead and ask me why Vermont. “There’s nothing there,” said my husband, “nothing to do!” Oh darling, that is the point. My pregnant, introverted self just craved the peace and quiet that the state has an abundance of. Plus Ben and Jerry’s has their headquarters there. Need I say more? 🙂
Vermont was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it. Little J however, decided that he was going to go on a hunger strike of some sort. So our day in VT was a blur of fussies and trying to keep him entertained and pleading with him to try the most delicious macaroni and cheese in the whole entire world. And yes, it really was. But that’s life with toddlers. He enjoyed parts of our journey more than others.
But when we got back home we decided to do some fun local stuff. On a whim last week we decided to take a trip out to a pumpkin patch, so that we could pick our own pumpkin as a family.
It was a really neat experience. We traveled to a farm and drove a gator out to their pumpkin patch.
We got to cut our own pumpkin off the vine with these interesting pruning clippers or whatever in the world they are called. J got to hold them most of the time. And was supervised. They were rather dull and he couldn’t open the handles. Although, that didn’t stop him from trying to smash every pumpkin within reach. He’s a riot, I love him.
There’s the baby (in my belly) in the pumpkin patch. (Yes I wore that orange shirt on purpose.) 4 months pregnant here. And the sun was in my eyes. But oh my word, what a gorgeous day it was!
This was the pumpkin that we finally settled on. It was sitting in our car for about a week. And we will be lucky if it gets carved before Halloween! Haha that’s just how it is in our house.
It hit me today. Square between the eyes. Sometimes I forget just how special my son is to me and how very much I love him.
It was a bit of a rough morning. Getting ready to go out was quite interesting. My child has a new found love of the toilet. And he did not hesitate to show it as I was shampooing my hair under the bathtub faucet…you know those moments. Sometimes I just want to shout, “I am a bona fide manager of a crazy house!” And then you clean up, the moment passes and you move on with life.
When we got back home he was grouchy. Hungry and tired. And truth be known, so was I. So we ate our lunch. Or he did. Sortof. He nibbled and I stopped eating to lay him down for a much needed nap. He wanted me to sit with him while he fell asleep. From experience I know that could take ages. So I went back to eating. He cried, which is not unusual, but typically does not last long.
Then I was filled with compassion for my dear son. Who wanted only me to comfort him. Only his mother to soothe him and love him. I left the leftovers of our lunch on the table and did something I don’t often do. I crawled into his crib. I laid next to him until he fell asleep.
And then I realized. I don’t know much about being a mother, but I have learned two things. There are definite, no-fail ways to bond with your child when they are little. One is to crawl into their crib when they are very distressed. Another is to read to them while they sit on your lap. I don’t think there is a child in this world that doesn’t like being read to.
Reading is such a powerful, beautiful thing. Now I am a book nerd, so I’m rather partial. But you can’t argue that reading is full of goodness on so many levels.
So I would like to share some of our favorite books. And I would like to thank my local library for their summer reading program. It gives me so much motivation to read new books to Baby J.
5 of Our Most Favorite Books
1. My Farm Friends by Wendell Minor has been a long time favorite. This is a board book. It gives a lot of accurate details about farm animals. Also, the wording is catchy and the artwork is beautiful.
2. Your Kind of Mommy by Marjorie Blain Parker is one that is so dear to me. One of those books that helps you get back to how special you are as a mommy. Really nice on those hard days! Its sweet and simple and will give you the warm fuzzies.
3.The Berenstain Bears’ Dinosaur Dig by Jan & Mike Berenstain is a fairly new one we’ve tried but Baby J wants to read it all the time! It actually has quite a bit of text, but somehow he sits still and listens very intently. He loves dinosaurs lately so I believe this is why. Plus I love the Bearenstein Bears. It brings up a lot of childhood nostalgia. Watching the cartoons at my Grandma’s..reading all the books. And they always have positive messages in the books.
4. The Mine-O-Saurby Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen is another dinosaur book. I’m actually not too sure why J likes this one. I think the illustrations are a bit goofy. But the text rhymes a bit and it flows well. Plus J likes the part where the Mine-o-saur spills the snacks on the floor. He will always point it out and say uh-oh. The ending is really nice too. A good book for promoting sharing 🙂
5. Here are two books but they belong in the same entry. Wow! Ocean!and Wow! America! by Robert Neubecker are two books that have less text and more visual info. They are responsible for teaching my son the word “wow!”. The ocean book we currently are borrowing from the library. Really good one for summer. Full of lots of details to discuss and point out.
There you have it! 6 of our favorite summertime books.
If you are reading this post, then it is likely that you have a toddler and know very well what I am about to say. Toddlers have sporadic eating habits. In between the cravings for all things crackers, and the constant demands for something to eat coupled with the game of making them actually want to eat something healthy…it can get to be a bit of a challenge. But the need to eat will always be there. So its up to us to find healthy solutions for our kids and family.
It can be a difficult thing to find healthy snacks. But it doesn’t have to be. Sure, I have days where I feed him semi-unhealthy snacks that he wants because the alternative is not eating anything. But I try to save the more unhealthy options for when we are out of the house shopping, for example.
When my son was approaching his first birthday, I began a pinterest board of toddler snack ideas. Because pinterest is the place to go when you have an unsolved problem and you want to know what the masses think. The masses aren’t often wrong.
However, not everyone’s child will have a palate that lines up with everybody else’s child. This is totally ok. But the neat thing about looking at what others feed their children is that sometimes you may come across something excitingly delicious, and healthy and dare I say it, also easy to prepare. So here is my toddler snack food list.
Healthy Toddler Snack Ideas
1. 1/4 of a whole wheat tortilla
2. Natural applesauce cups
3. English cucumbers, peeled and sliced
5. Greek yogurt
6. Small Macintosh apple, left unpeeled
7. Canned sliced peaches in 100% fruit juice, cut into pieces.
8. Baby carrots
12. Red (Bartlett) Pears, sliced and peeled.
13. Fruit or Veggie Muffins
14. Cottage cheese
15. Any type of cheese imaginable. Swiss, Munster, cheddar, mozzarella
and Parmesan is his new favorite.
My little really doesn’t like very many veggies. But *cucumbers and baby carrots he loves a lot. We do a special crunchy face where we chew with our mouths open and squint our eyes when eating carrots. Anything to get him to eat his veggies. He loves fruits and will eat pretty much any kind except berries and melon. Apples and bananas are his favorites. Black olives are kinda his quirky thing that he likes. I really don’t know too many kids or adults that like them. But Baby J sure does! I didn’t think they were all that healthy so I asked his doctor about it. He said, “Well they really aren’t all that unhealthy”. So I guess they have fiber if nothing else. And also, his doctor made the point that you really can’t force kids to eat what they don’t want anyway.
I hope that was able to give some encouragement with this post. All kids have stages where they only want to eat x, y, z. And it passes, eventually. If your kid(s) just want to eat 1 food and its healthy, I say let them have as much as they want 🙂
*Bonus these two veggies are great to eat in the summer heat, but they also really help with teething. Particularly molars. Mom win.
As I sat down to write this post, I am thinking of two things. One, Lemony Snicket quotes. Because the title of this blog reminds me of something that he might say. Something like:
That is from the book The Grim Grotto. Which yes is a kids book and yes I am admitting that I read it. I really like Daniel Handler’s writing style because I do believe that we have the same sense of humor. He has a very unique writing style which I appreciate, as I’m drawn to things that aren’t quite as mainstream.
So now that I’ve divulged that bit of info…the second thing on my mind as I write is that I’m working on expanding the blog to other subjects. Last month I wrote this blog post titled “A Grace-Filled Approach To 50 Shades Of Grey”. After writing that post, I realized that I wanted to expand the blog to include other topics. Hence, in the future you may see some diy posts and maybe other reviews of books or movies. Also maybe some gardening stuffs. There’s a reason I chose the name @thehonestherb you know.
Also, I am currently working on narrowing down my posts so my readers can feel like they are reading an actual blog post and not someones med school thesis.
So here is what I learned from caramel sauce last week.
Last week a had a dear friend visit me from out of state. So I thought it would be nice to make this dessert to share, since I’ve had it on my pinterest dessert board for forever. I got all of my ingredients together and was feeling very smart and prepared. Problem was, I don’t typically bake anything with caramel sauce in it. Make that I’ve never..somehow..made a dessert with a caramel sauce in it.
But I was feeling very confident. And you know what they say, “Pride comes before a fall.” So I realized afterwards.
This is how it happened. There was a sheet pan in the oven when I put the carmelitas in. From one of those I’ll-just-hide-this-dirty-pan-so-all-my-guests-won’t-see-it type of situations. I took it out, thinking, “Oh I know what I’m doing I won’t need this!” I was sitting visiting with my friend when I smelled a peculiar smell. The caramel sauce had overflowed onto the heating element and had caught fire. I turned off the oven. But. The dessert was not cooked completely to my liking so after the oven had calmed down I turned the oven back on and put the dessert back in. A larger piece of the element caught on fire and broke off. Way to go. I had ruined my oven element trying to cook this dessert.
Lesson learned. Put a sheet pan under the dessert item before baking. Because the caramel was full of sugar, when it burned it heated super hot and apparently had the capacity to catch a red hot element on fire. I wasn’t even aware that this was possible.
Because I have the sweetest, smartest and bestest husband in the world, he fixed the oven for me 🙂 He removed the old element and got a new one and installed it. Also he cleaned the outside of the back of the oven and fridge. He made me laugh when he said, “I think I found Jimmy Hoffa!” when he discovered the epic dust ball that had probably never ever been touched since said refrigerator had been purchased. (Notation: we rent and said appliance has been in our apartment for awhile.)
All in all these carmelitas were very good. The top and bottom crust are very comparable to the top crust in an apple crisp. And there is melted chocolate and caramel sauce in between. It was super hard to wait until it had cooled down to try it! I was telling my friend that it really reminded me of a snickers bar meets (some sort of a) crisp. A snickers version of apple crisp.
There you have my latest adventures in baking! What humorous escapades have you had in the kitchen lately?
Howdy. Its been a long time! I bet you all thought I abandoned this blog. And yes I did have to clear away some spiderwebs (figuratively and literally) as I sat down to write this post. Truth be told, I was looking for a perfect recipe to share. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, really. I tried this and that but nothing seemed good enough.
Then we took a vacation to Florida. We’ve been back for almost a week now but the memories and the sun still linger with me. It is so beautiful down there. Most of you know that I live in the cold northern state of Ohio. Which, yes, some states in the continental US may be colder. But I doubt any of them have such wildly unpredictable weather as we do. That’s mostly reserved for the spring and fall seasons where we famously run the ac and heat both in one day. Anyways. Its been a bad winter for everyone. On our trip down south, we saw snow as far south as Georgia. And later we heard that Hawaii and Florida are the only two of the 50 states that haven’t gotten snow this winter. It has seriously been so harsh and awful for everyone. But I know that spring is on its way. I’ve heard the birds sing more lately and that’s brought a smile to my heart.
It was no surprise that it was very crowded down in Florida. Apparently everyone wanted a piece of the Florida sand and sun. We saw license plates from all over. East coast. Texas. Even Ontario. The locals said this is the busiest tourist season they’ve seen in..possibly forever. Which is nice for the economy.
But besides all that lovely sun the other thing that the state is known for is..the food. And I don’t just mean seafood. Though I do love that..we don’t get “fresh” seafood in the big OH. What I’m talking about is the produce. Amazing and fresh and wonderful. All of it. We visited a produce stand before we left and I picked up some lovely oranges, bananas, apples and strawberries of course.
Growing seasons and peak produce seasons vary from state to state. Just because something is available in the grocery store year-round does not mean that it is necessarily good, as I’ve tried to communicate in my past produce posts. Strawberry season in FL has just begun. I think it may take a bit longer for it to reach the northern states. According to ourohio.org, strawberry season for Ohio is in May and June. (source) When we reach full summer though the season is usually spent across the country. So even though they aren’t as good in other states yet, if you live down south, you may be able to find some nice berries.
I’ll admit it, I get jealous of those Florida folks! They have good food and lovely beaches..so much vitamin D. But then I remember the things I love about my home state. We may not have palm trees but we have many more varieties of trees that change color in the fall. Not many sandy beaches but we do have good solid dirt to grow crops and gardens. We may have cold noses in the wintertime but it gives us a chance to stay indoors and slow down and plan for the year ahead. And to write food blogs while our darling sons and husbands are asleep. Ha.
Alright onto the actual food.
If you’ve never made your own whipped cream then you really ought to give it a try. It is so divine. And aside from a hot fudge sundae, nothing goes better with whipped cream than fresh strawberries. Ok maybe pumpkin pie. But not until Thanksgiving.
To make it, all you need is heavy whipping cream, a whisk and a little sugar.
A bigger whisk would make it easier. But if your whisk is on the petite side like mine, take heart! I did it and so can you. All there is to do is pour that heavy whipping cream into a bowl and whisk away till its light and fluffy. Or if your kitchen is a part of the modern world you can delegate the task to a mixer. (Lucky.) As it is, hand whisking builds character 🙂
In about 15 minutes, you will have this. Yes it did take me 15 minutes and it got a little discouraging along the way. But I’m glad I didn’t give up. And fun fact, if you continue whisking you can make your own butter! I wasn’t feeling that adventurous but it does sound like an interesting activity for the future. I’ve also heard that you can recruit your kids to make butter by putting whipping cream in a small glass jar and letting them shake away.
Then you add sugar. This time I tried it with powdered sugar. In the past, I’ve tried it with granulated sugar and I like it better that way. The grainy texture makes the whipped cream taste better in my opinion. Just add in however much tastes good to you, a little at a time.
My son took a few bites of whipped cream. I really can’t convince him of the yummy-ness of strawberries just yet though. Ah well. I thought they were quite delicious.
Even if you don’t live in a southern state, you can take confidence in the fact that Spring is only weeks away. The new season will bring new foods and a kinder weather forecast for the winter weary. Until then, happy cooking and stay warm!
I am salad challenged. I’m not sure what it is but salad does not go over well at my house. The greens are a pain to wash. You can only buy it in a ginormous bunch or bag and I’m the only one that ever eats it. Sound like I’m complaining? I am! Salad greens are a pain to wash and dry and eat. So I never buy any. But then I remember. I’m supposed to eat my greens. It’s my mother’s voice I hear. The voice saying, “Be good to your body! Do what’s right! Be healthy! Be fit!”. Yes, I know. So I’ve been looking for a way to make salads a little less challenging.
My produce pick of the month is one that is a little off the beaten path (haha). People don’t often request them. Some may pass them over at the grocery store. And until now, I was one of those people! I would look at this purplish vegetable with its tall leafy stems and think, “Eww. What on earth could I do with THAT?”.
But then I remembered something that I had seen in a magazine. And because all great cooks push themselves to try new things, I decided to take a risk and buy some.
Ok. So let me let you in on the reason I bought them the first time. I wanted to make a red velvet cake for my BFF’s birthday. I thought it would be sweet if I could use some natural dye to color it.
Sadly beets were not the answer for this particular recipe. At least not for me. I could have possibly baked the cake incorrectly. I’m open to that. But a crunchy on the outside, under cooked on the inside cake is not palatable to anyone. It was a disaster.
However, beet greens = delicious. It tasted like spinach but with an added sweetness. I like to think that I’m hardcore when it comes to eating salad. But I can hardly eat spinach raw. It just tastes so icky. They have the added bonus of being larger and therefore easier to wash and dry. My bunch of 3 beets had about 9 large leaves and several smaller ones, which made the perfect amount for me. I could eat them all before they spoiled.
So I dug out a magazine article about greens that I had cut out from an old Real Simplemagazine. It recommended adding raw grated beets to beet greens for a healthy salad.
So I did.
But I couldn’t stomach the thought of eating plain beets with only the greens. I added some chopped apples and oranges and this disguised the taste quite a bit.
But the taste wasn’t quite complete. I found myself still not liking the strong taste of beets. It needed some walnuts and dried cranberries. So I went to the store and then made…
So much better. Some raspberry vinaigrette would go well with this too. I’m not a dressing fan usually so I left this ingredient out.
Is it healthy enough to brave eating? The answer is yes.
Beets are low in protein, fat and carbs. The beet root has a very high amount of folate and manganese. Even though the beet root has less nutrients than the beet greens it is worth noting that it contains some of the protein Tryptophan. Which, interestingly enough is also found in turkey!
The greens are high in vitamin A and vitamin K. A 1 cup serving has half the daily value of vitamin A and an astounding 152 µg, or almost double the dv, of vitamin K. The greens also contain a fair amount of Riboflavin, Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium and Manganese.
There was something about the taste of beets that intrigued me. Why did they taste so different than all of the other greens? In my opinion two things: high magnesium and high calcium. Beet greens have over twice the magnesium compared to kale and slightly more calcium than swiss chard. Or maybe beets are just weird like that..or maybe it’s just me I don’t know haha
The conclusion: Beets are great! Eat more of them. They are easy to wash and store. I tore mine in half and put them in the fridge, in a large plastic container. If you can’t stomach beet root no worries cause the beet greens really have more nutrients anyways. Aside from folate. Personally I didn’t feel that beet root was a very tasty form of folate. But they are what they are. I think there’s probably a reason why beets are typically pickled or canned.
I will leave you with this excellent Christmas prank.
So with Thanksgiving holiday arriving this week, I wanted to share a recipe that you could add to your Thanksgiving spread. It is so easy to make. So cheap! (Cost me about $1.50 for 24 oz) And on account of the busyness of the holiday season, this will be a short post. For my benefit and yours! So without further to do I’ll dive right in.
I got the basics of this recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens Red Plaid Cookbook (2012).
All you need is a ratio* of 2 cups of fresh cranberries to 1 cup each of water and sugar. Plus…1 teaspoon of ginger. Which I think really makes the recipe special. But then again I’m positively addicted to cranberries and ginger both. Call me crazy haha.
Because I wanted to make this ahead of time, I went ahead and put it in the freezer. With all of that sugar, it shouldn’t go bad but I didn’t want to take any chances.
I love this homemade cranberry sauce and if its not clear from this post already, I try hard to advocate homemade cranberry sauce as an alternative to the canned kind. Am I opposed to using canned products? No, not at all. I think canned stuff is great. But I think eating canned food in moderation is also great. We eat a lot of canned peaches in my household during the winter because peaches aren’t in season. But when something like cranberries are in season, why not take advantage of it and make some awesome sauce to compliment your turkey?
*I used a whole 12 oz bag of cranberries, which was 3 cups. So I used 1 1/2 cups of water and sugar and grated about 2 tsp of ginger. It made 3 cups of sauce.
It’s that time of the year again. In my state, fall is starting to dwindle into a colder, duller time of the year. How dismal. To challenge myself, I’m going to try to blog about one fruit or vegetable that is in season during the winter months. Preferably one that I’m not as familiar with. Honestly its so dark and dreary already in the winter and I feel like not a lot of things are in season during the winter time, so this should be a good challenge for me.
I shall begin by introducing a seasonal superfruit. This fruit is in season for a 2-3 month span, beginning as early as mid-August and potentially extending into December, depending on where you live. I just noticed them at my local grocery store about a month ago, yet they have just this week (11/5) gone on sale at Aldi. 69¢ a piece! That is an excellent price for our featured fruit.
About nutrition…the FAQs state state that this superfruit is so called because of the powerful antioxidants it contains. Better than red wine? I’ll take it! They are also high in potassium and vitamin C, to boot. Supposedly half of a this fruit has 25% of your daily vitamin C requirement and about 10% of your daily potassium. But it was the antioxidants that intrigued me.
The seeds are actually referred to as arils…I thought it was a bit of a funny term myself. Wiki enlightened me. Basically an aril is a part of a fruit that encloses a seed. Wiki points out that nutmeg has an aril, called mace in the spice world.
(Yes, I used a red towel under my cutting board. I would recommend it, as the juice can stain fabric and other surfaces very easily.)
The unique thing about a pomegranate is that the aril is really the only edible part of the fruit. The peel and pith are really too bitter to eat.
Or so I’ve heard. Didn’t personally want to give that one a go.
There are basically 2 options for eating a pomegranate: 1) eat the arils whole or 2) juice the pomegranate arils.
I tried eating them whole and did not particularly care for it. Wasn’t crazy about those crunchy seeds. But that was ok, because I happened to be borrowing a juicer from a family member. Besides using a juicer, I’ve heard that you can manually juice a pom using a juice press. A juice press is nice because all you do is cut the fruit in half, pull down a lever and ka-bam. Juice.
If you’re using a juicer though, you need to extract the seeds before putting them into the juicer. There is an easy method for this involving a bowl of water and a metal slotted spoon.
Can I just say how much I love any recipe that allows me to vent my frustration through pounding? Does that sound odd? It was a great stress relief to de-seed these pomegranates. After pounding away for about 30 seconds, I peeled the fruit a bit to get the few remaining seeds out. This would be a good activity to do with your kids, too. It was really a lot of fun.
Then I scooped out the pith that was floating in the water and rinsed and sorted the arils.
Aren’t they gorgeous? They look like little jewels. I measured 2 1/2 cups of them. Then I carefully poured them into the juicer. This is the one I used. It’s actually not too pricey. This isn’t a high end model though. I think if you’re a serious juicer a bigger investment would be in order. But I’m not serious. And my borrowed juicer suites me just fine.
It looks like so. My kitchen counters were not so picturesque. But here the juicer is after I used it. Talk about an explosion of pink! It did an excellent job.
And it was delicious. I would describe the taste as similar to grape, raspberry and cranberry juice, yet not really like either one. Pomegranate juice has its own thing going. What is your favorite seasonal superfood?
It’s October. Such a gorgeous, gorgeous month this year. One thing we love about this month in my house are the apples. Apple season starts typically in August and reaches its peak towards the end of October. That’s the time when you can find the best apples for the cheapest price. I am so very excited about this blog post. Here’s 5 reasons why:
1. Buying local, delicious
2. Apples to make into
3. Homemade applesauce
4. Using the crock pot
5. And doing it on the cheap.
In the crock pot.
Where have I been? Why didn’t I think of this before? I was browsing pinterest, looking for things to do with some wicked awesome apples I picked up in Amish Country when I came across these recipes for crock pot applesauce:
My blog post is based on sort of a combo of these two recipes. I used the ratio of apples to lemon juice and cinnamon from @onegoodthingbyjillee and I did my prep like @livesimply and took her advice and added water and honey.
Because I’ve made applesauce on the stove-top a kadjikillion times, I felt ok just using guidelines from these recipes to make it in the crock pot.
First, of course, I had to get some apples. So long story short, I found this wonderful place to buy apples. It’s cheap, local and the customer service and product value are exceptional. About a week ago, I went there for the second time to buy more Macintosh apples and some Golden Delicious with the intent of making boatloads of applesauce.
Amount: I ended up buying a 1/2 bushel of golden delicious and 1 peck of Macintosh. I wasn’t really sure on the exact amount of applesauce I wanted to make. Maybe I should have checked out this chart sooner..
According to the chart, I could have made 6-7.5 quarts of applesauce with 1/2 bushel of apples, and about 3 quarts with the Macintosh for a total of 10 quarts of applesauce. That’s roughly 52 pounds of apples for 10 quarts or 40 servings of 8 oz each.
I did not feel like making that much. Plus, I would rather save some apples to eat. The Macintosh are especially good for eating in my opinion. Here is what we brought home.
1. Peel, slice, cut the apples. I would guesstimate I cut up 6 lbs, or a little over 1/4 of the 1/2 bushel bag. I was aiming to double jillee’s recipe. I just filled the crock pot with as many slices as it would hold.
2. Juice 2 lemons for 3 TBS lemon juice. Again, this is double of jillee’s.
3. Grate 2 tsp. of cinnamon.
4. Pour on the lemon juice and sprinkle the cinnamon over the apples.
5. Then toss it all together and turn the crock pot on high.
6. On batch #1, I added about 3/4c. water and a few TBS honey about 1 1/2 hours into it.
7. Stir it periodically. I had to watch every so often to make sure the apples weren’t boiling over.
The apples actually cooked rather quickly. It took only 2 or 3 hours for the applesauce to be done. I didn’t need to mash them overly either. I actually prefer the semi-chunky texture, so I didn’t puree or alter the sauce in any way.
It’s very easy, no? As long as it isn’t too sour or cinnamon-y for your taste, you should be good. Live simply used Red Delicious apples in her sauce, but I really wouldn’t use that kind…her sauce was really brown and I think the type she used may have something to do with it. But to each his own! My fav. apple is a Golden Delicious, so I used those. On batch #2 I mixed in some Macintosh with the Golden Delicious. It’s all in your preference, really 🙂
How much did it cost me? About $3 (apples) + $1 (4 lemons) + 79¢ (4 TBS organic honey) = $4.79 for both batches.
We did eat some before I really measured but I think it’s safe to say we made 4 quarts out of 12 lbs. It adds up with the afore mentioned chart (http://www.pickyourown.org/info.htm). So that’s about 3.7¢ per oz, 30¢ per 8 oz serving. And $1.20 for 1 qt, or 32 oz.
The farm that I got my apples from is open year-round. I understand that not every apple farm operates that way though. If you can’t get out to an apple orchard in your area, just remember that apples go on and off sale at the grocery store all throughout the winter. It’s not a must that crock pot applesauce be made from farm fresh apples, although I highly recommend the experience. I would equate it to comparing my Grandma’s homemade strawberry jam to Smuckers jam. You can just taste the difference, and you’ll never want to go back to store bought again.
Cooking food from home is all about combining what your values are, what your family loves, what’s available in your area and what you have time and energy for. There are many many paths to healthy homemade cooking!