March 31, 2011

Applesauce Cookies

These are my absolutely my FAVORITE ever Cookies! 

Applesauce Cookies

1 C. Shortening
4 Eggs
2 tsp. Soda
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Nutmeg
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Cloves
4 C. Flour
2 C. Sugar
2 C. Applesauce
1 Lg Pkg. Chocolate Chips or Raisins

Mix sugar, shortening and eggs.  Mix applesauce and soda together.  Add to shortening mix, then flour and spices (sifted together) Add chocolate chips or raisins.  Drop on sheet and bake 8-10 min. 

**Applesauce should NOT turn black.  If it does turn black, you need to get a new can of applesauce.**


March 30, 2011

Recipe Book Dividers

This last week I ordered the Silhouette Sketch Pens, and they came on Monday!  WooHoo!  I used them to make some fun dividers for my recipe book.  I'm only about half way done, the others will take a little bit longer cause I couldn't find any silhouette graphics to purchase, I'm going to have to make my own, we'll see how they turn out.  ☺

Anyway here's what I made with my Sketch Pens:

This one is my favorite!  I love all the colors:

I told my husband "Look, honey!  I can Draw!"
I'm have fun ☺


March 27, 2011

Something Exciting!

My husband and I started our garden on Thursday.  We got a little Jiffy Greenhouse Starter and planted the first set of vegetables  ☺

In this garden we have Cucumbers, Banana Peppers, Tomatoes, Watermellon, Squash, Dill, Pumpkin, Green Beans, and Sunflowers.

This morning I found one sprout...
Then this afternoon I found THREE more!

I made the pictures nice and big so you can see.

It's all very exciting ☺


March 24, 2011

Strawberry Jam


I went to the grocery store to get milk, and I found these bright red, juicy, BIG Strawberries!
Guess what I did with them?

Yup, you guessed it. Strawberry Jam!! 
(Last autumn I made 42 jars of pear jam and we've been eating nothing but that ever since!  It's losing it's charm.  Therefore I'm So thrilled to finally have another flavor!)

My Wonderful and Amazing husband helped me, he got out that potato masher and he mashed my strawberries like a pro!

I used the Sure•Jell Pectin and followed the Cooked Jam Recipe.
Filled my jars.

I sealed the jars and now they're cooling.

I just love hearing that *POP* when my jars seal.  It makes me feel good.

6 Packages of Strawberries gave me enough to make 9 Pints of Jam.

Plus a little bit extra....for dessert.

If you'd like to make your own strawberry jam, start by purchasing your pectin in the baking isle of your local grocery store.  Each box will have instructions on exact ingredients and the proven method for the given pectin.  Jam needs to be water-bath canned for 10 minutes.

March 23, 2011

Homemade Applesauce Anyone?

Between last night and this morning I have peeled, cored, sliced, cooked, mashed, and canned, 30.7 lbs of apples.  It was a lot of work, but so totally worth it!  I came away with 9 Quarts and 4 Pints of Delicious Homemade Applesauce!  That totals 11 Quarts.  Boy oh Boy it is SOOO Good!
Do You have a desire to make and can or simply make and devour some wonderful homemade applesauce?

First go get your apples, for one batch of applesauce you'll need at least 24 medium apples.
If you can I would suggest going to the nearest apple orchard and picking your own.  This is an especially fun summer outing for the kids, mine are really little and they simply LOVE going to the orchard, I can't wait until they're actually old enough to help me pick the apples.

If the apple orchards around your are closed, or if they're simply aren't any orchards you can go to the store and purchase your apples there.  (Seems apple orchards aren't open in March I purchased mine at the grocery store.)

For today's applesauce I used 30.7 lbs of apples that was roughly 54 apples.  It yielded 11 Quarts.
The apples I used were a mixture of braeburn, fiji, golden delicious, and red delicious.
(6 Braeburn, 6 Golden Delicious, 6 Red Delicious and 9 Fiji Apples in each batch.)
Last fall I used strictly McIntosh apples, which was wonderful as well.  From what I understand, for a sweeter applesauce use as large of a variety of apples as you can, although applesauce from one type of apple will also be heavenly.

After you have your apples you can get to work.

To prepare your apples first, you have to peel them, core them, and slice them. 
Now I'd like to indroduce to my best friend during applesauce season:

The "Back to Basics" Apple Peeler, Corer, and Slicer.

This baby suctions to the countertop, I place an apple on the prongs, then simply turn the crank.  It peels my apples, then it slices and cores my apples. (I do my peeling first, then add the coring/slicing mechanism and run them through again.  It's designed to do them both at the same time, but I prefer to do it this way.)

This cuts my prep time in half!  I love it.

The apple slices are thin enough that they cook really quickly.

All I have to do is pull the core off the prongs and it's that easy.

Perfect apples every time.

It makes quick work of my apples ☺

**I will warn you this wonderful tool will not work with Red Delicious or any other soft apple.  It will destroy the core.  So if you are using Red Delicious or any soft or overripe apple, you'll have to peel by hand.  Sorry!**  You can find this tool online or I bought mine at Ace Hardware.

Once your apples are peeled, cored, and sliced, fit them into a large pot with a lid, along with 2 Cups Water.
If you need to overfill the pot to get your apples to fit you can, just put the lid on after the apples reduce a little.

I use my canner becaue it is simply the biggest pot I have.
Cook the apples for about 25-45 minutes, or until they are soft and can be easily mashed.

In the meantime wash your jars in hot soapy water, then place on a baking sheet and put in the oven at 200° for at least 20 minutes.  This sanatizes them and keeps them hot.  Also put your NEW seals in a small saucepan of boiling water until you're ready to use them.

Once your apples are fully cooked mash them.  I use a potato masher (your sauce will be chunky if you choose this method.)  You can also put it in the blender, a food processor, or if you're lucky enough to have a food grinder attachment for your kitchen aid, you can use that too.

Once your applesauce is mashed to your desired consistency, you can either pull your jars out of the oven and fill them.  Wipe the rims and lid with your new seals and rings.  OR you can add 3/4 to 1 1/4 C. Sugar, up to 1/2 tsp. Vanilla and desired amount of cinnamon, then fill your jars and lid them.

Process Applesauce in a Pressure canner at 5 pounds pressure.  Pints 8 minutes, Quarts 10 minutes.
It can also be processed in a Waterbath canner.  Pints 15 minutes Quarts: consult your pressure canner guide.

Once they are done processing and the pressure is relieved from your canner you can remove the cans.  Place them several inches apart to allow them to cool.  Placing them too close together can cause the jars to break.  Check the seals once jars are completly cool.  If the jars did not seal it will need to be refrigerated.

Lable the jars with the date.  Store for up to one year. 

Don't forget to save a little for yourself as a reward for all your hard work!

I love love love homemade applesauce.


March 21, 2011

Applesauce Anyone?

My empty canning jars have been calling to me.
Then the produce ads caught my eye.

Applesauce anyone?

I know fresh orchard apples are a gazillion times better than store-bought, but I'm out of applesauce, and it's impossible to find beautiful ready-to-harvest apple trees in March. 
Store bought it is.


My Recipe Book

When I was younger I put up with a lot of ridicule for my, shall we call them, lack of cooking skills.  In recent years I've improved, much to the relief of my husband.  Several years ago my Mother-in-law gave me a homemade cookbook with all the recipes my husband grew up with.  I re-typed all the recipes and added in all the ones I'd collected over the years.  Now all my recipes can be found in one quick, easy, and convenient place.  I add to it every year and the family favorite recipes (totaling about 100) can be found right in front. 

Today I gave my book a fun cover.

Inside it's about as organized as I get...

All the new recipes I collect during the year go in the front pocket (unless it's a dessert, then it goes in the back)  Behind the plastic flap starts the "family favorite section"

All the other recipes have been categorized into 8 different sections.
Each paper is in a plastic sheet protector and is labeled at the top right hand such as this:
Appetizers and Side Dishes 1
This allows me to remove the pages when I need them and put them back where they go when I'm done.

Now that I have my fancy smancy Silhouette I plan on re-making these pages, haven't had time yet.

So far I'm 4 1/2 years into being a wife, and 3 years into being a mom and my cookbook is making pretty good progress...  There are roughly 85 pages and each page has an average of 5 recipes on it.  So I have roughly 425 recipes in my book.  Give or take.
Not bad.

I ♥ My Recipe Book
This thing's a lifesaver!


Best-Gotta-Have-It Brownies

I don't like brownies.  Never have.  I simply cannot understand why anyone would choose to eat brownies when there are so many amazing and incredible desserts in the world!  These are not brownies.  These are pure heaven!  You pretty much have to eat them with a fork!  Have a napkin handy.  ☺

I was first introduced to this fragment of heaven by a co-worker when I worked at the University of Utah.
Julie Morton.  She was full of incredible dessert recipes!  Just wait til you read about her White Chocolate Fruit Tart!  You'll Die!  I'll post that one soon.
Best-Gotta-Have-It Brownies
1 C. Butter, soft
2 C. Sugar
1/3 C. Cocoa
4 Eggs
1 1/2 C. Flower
2 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 lb Mini Marshmallows
1 2/3 C. Powdered Sugar
1/2 C. Butter, soft
1/3 C. Cocoa
1/3 C. Evaporated Milk

Preheat oven to 350° grease a cookie sheet.
Mix butter, sugar and cocoa, stir in eggs.  Add flour, vanilla and salt.  Pour into cookie sheet.  Bake 20 minutes.  Remove and cover with marshmallows.  Bake 3 minutes more.  Remove from oven
Mix remaining ingredients.  Pour over marshmallows while still hot.  Cool and Enjoy.

I like mine extra gooey.  I add 1/3 C more Evaporated Milk.

mmmm.  Heaven.


March 17, 2011

Non-Vodka Pasta

You'll Need:
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Butter
1/4 C. Onion, chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
2 C. Tomato Sauce
1 C. Chicken Broth
1/4 C. Milk
Italian Seasoning
1 lb Pasta cooked and drained
1 C. Mozzarella, shredded

Heat oil and butter in skillet, saute onion 5 minutes on low.  Add garlic and pepper.  Cook on low 2 minutes.  Stir.  Add sauce, broth and seasonings.  Cook 5 minutes, slowly add milk.  Cook until gently bubbles.  Add noodles and mozzarella.

*You can omit the first 3 ingredients if you don't wish to use onions.  Just add the garlic and pepper with the rest of the seasonings instead of sauteing them with the onions.*