Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Applesauce is Easy (Unless your me!!!)

So ... I think I will start this out with I was born a dishwater blond, please remember that!

I learned a lot about apples, applesauce and just how dumb I can be this past week.  First I will start with what I learned about apples.  #1 - 25 lbs of apples is a lot of apples (I set out to farmers market to pick up 8 lbs of apples for applesauce, and ended up coming home with a 25 lb box - Thanks Todd (my husband) ... that was a great idea!!!  #2 - 25 lbs of apples sitting on the table in the kitchen looks like a very big task, which makes it easier to procrastinate!

Well, after several days of walking by the apples and wondering what I got myself into ... I decided it was time to start making applesauce (I did not want my 25 lbs of apples to rot before I dealt with them!)  So after putting Easton to bed I dug out my recipe to make a batch of applesauce using 4 lbs of apples (which I decided to double) and started.  I wash a large portion of apples, cut them in quarters, remove the cores and any bad spots and put the in the pot until I have reached my 8 lbs.  *THIS IS WHERE YOU SEE JUST HOW DUMB I CAN BE - INSTEAD OF WEIGHING JUST THE APPLES, I WAS WEIGHTING THE APPLES AND THE POT AND DIDN'T REALIZE IT UNTIL THE END OF THE PROCESS!!!*

 I put my "8 lbs" of apples on the stove with 1 cup of water and let them simmer for approximately 15-20 minutes until the skins are easy to remove with a pair of tongs.

After all the skins are removed you can either mash your apples if you like chunky applesauce or use a blender to make it smoother.  I chose to use the blender since Easton is used to eating the store-bought applesauce which is smooth.

After you get the right consistency then you add your spices, and if I would have measured my apples right this would have been perfect.  But instead, I ended up with super-spicy applesauce and spent the next 2 hours cooking down more apples and adding them to make it less spicy.

Once you get the right flavor place applesauce in warm jars (I used pints and 1/2 pints).  Wipe rims, add lids, screw on rings, and process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes.  Remove jars from canner and let them cool on a towel-lined counter top.

What I learned about applesauce:  #1 - if you use correct measurements it is very easy to make, but it does take quite a bit of time.  #2 - Easton does not like warm applesauce (I let him try it from the second batch I made and he was "mommy warm - icky!")  #3 - 25lbs of apples does not really make that much applesauce!

 and an empty box!!!

Here's the original recipe if anyone wants to try it:
  4 lbs apples
  1/2 cup apple cider or water
  1 Tbsp cinnamon
  1 tsp grated nutmeg
  1/2 tsp cloves
  sugar (if needed)

Process jars in boiling water canner for 15 minutes for half pints and pints or 20 minutes for quarts.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mom's Flower Pot Cakes

Well, I couldn't just start the blog with an introduction ... I had to post my most recent project.  I wanted to to something special for my mom's birthday (it was Friday) but we couldn't make it to see her until Saturday and I wanted to make her smile!  So I did a little looking on-line and found this idea to do flower pot cakes!  They ended up turning out super cute and my mom liked them. 

For anyone interested in making them they also were pretty easy and not to expensive (less than $30 for 12).  I started off getting 12 of the pots (.79 each) and washed and dried them.  I cheated and used 2 boxed cake mixes for the cake (I had bought them on sale!).  When you go to bake the cake spray the inside of each pot with Pam and then coat with flour or baking cocoa (my choice).  Place a little piece of parchment paper in the bottom to cover the hole and fill the pots about 1/2 full (I had a couple that were to full and spilled out in the oven - I ended up just cutting the tops off and using them anyways!).  Bake for about 35 - 40 minutes.  After they cooled I took a knife around the outer edge and popped out each cake to remove the parchment paper before decorating (I didn't want my family to accidentally eat it!).  Frost with chocolate frosting and sprinkle with chopped up Oreo cookies (centers removed).  Last step was inserting the fake flowers (I bought them at Michaels 50% off - so they were about .99 each)

Getting Started

So ... this is the first time I have tried blogging.  Hopefully I will be able to keep it going (my life tends to get me sidetracked - but, my goal is to blog at least weekly!)  Anyways, the reason I have started a blog is because I was wanting a place that I could share my current projects and also some of my favorite recipes.  I hope to maybe inspire someone to try something new and to get feedback from others out there that are doing crafty things.

I hope that you will check back and see what I am doing!