Last week I told you about our trip to the local apple orchard. We have SO many apples and I put out the call for your apple recipes. The first one that I tackled was crock pot applesauce. Reader Charlene emailed me a super simple recipe and this morning Lily Bean and I spent some time together in the kitchen prepping our apples and throwing them all into our trusty crock pot.
I tweaked the recipe a little – increasing all of the ingredients so that we had a full crock pot.
This recipe is perfect for freezing. You can also can it using the water bath method.
Makes: About 4 pints
You will need:
- 18 cups apples (one variety or mix and match) – cored, peeled and sliced. *Note: some people prefer to leave the skins on – this is totally personal preference. I usually peel my apples. I used a mix of Gala, McIntosh and Macoun apples.
- 3/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 TBSP cinnamon
How to make:
- Add cored, peeled, sliced apples to your slow cooker. Stir in all remaining ingredients. (Note: I tend to adjust my sugar amounts slightly depending on how sweet the apples are. If I’m using sweeter apples, I will cut down on the sugar a bit.)
- Turn slow cooker on low. Simmer apples on low for about 5 hours, stirring every so often.
- Apples will break down into a mush (<–official, technical term). Turn slower cooker off and let apples cool for an hour or so (until it’s cool enough to handle).
- You have several options when it comes to preparing your applesauce – and this will all depend on your consistency preference. If you like a chunkier applesauce, you might just use a potato masher. If you like it with a smoother texture, like I do, you can run it through a food mill or other processor. I broke out my trusty KitchenAid Blender and used the puree mode on pulse a few times to get the desired consistency.
- Your applesauce is now ready for freezing/canning!
- We have a lot of freezer space, so I picked up some BPA free Ball Freezer Jars (8 oz). I used a couple of smaller Glad containers at the end – we will keep these in the refrigerator to enjoy this week!
- Whether you choose to freeze or can, you can’t go wrong. You will have tasty applesauce to enjoy throughout the harsh winter months. Plus, I am psyched that we got our apples for just $.59/lb during a local farm’s apple festival. Cheap, wholesome, no preservatives… love that!
Did you know that September is National Honey Month?
To celebrate all things honey, which OF COURSE includes Winnie the Pooh, check out this neat (FREE!) resource for all sorts of honey-related recipes. (Recipes will download to your computer via .zip file. Open the file to access the recipes.)
Winnie the Pooh will be available nationwide on 10/25/11 on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Check out this bin o’ apples in my kitchen right now:
We are excited to make several different recipes to can or freeze and enjoy throughout the fall and winter.
Applesauce and apple pies are topping our list – do you have any good recipes to share?
The best part about these apples (you know, besides the fact that they are fresh, locally grown, blah blah blah) was the PRICE. These were on special this weekend during the farm’s apple festival. All apples were just $.59/lb – so we got this entire tub of apples for less than $24.
It was a fun time and I can’t wait to whip these into tasty treats!
Is your garden spewing tomatoes? Ours sure is!
I love this recipe from Baby in the Kitchen – especially because I don’t like spicy ANYTHING… so this is actually ME-friendly salsa.
Kiddie Salsa (Serves 4)
2 Cups Tomatoes, chopped (about 4 tomatoes)
1 Tbsp Cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp Red Onion, chopped
2 Tsp Lime Juice
Salt to taste
1. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and puree.*
2. Serve with tortilla chips.
* If you prefer your salsa a bit chunkier, simply put all of the ingredients in a bowl and then stir to combine.
You may have noticed a huge surge in nutritional awareness recently—organic this, high fructose corn syrup that, GMO this, and locavore that. You may have even heard the acronym CSA floating around. It’s enough to make your head spin HFCS-GMO-CSA-what?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. You find a local farm that offers a CSA, sign a contract, and pay a certain fee before the growing season begins. Once spring has sprung and the fruits and veggies are ready to be picked, the CSA season begins. Every week, we go to a local farm and pick up our bounty of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. Since I am also a teacher, I thought I would share my love of CSA’s with a corny yet informative acrostic!
Help support your local small farms which in turn helps your community’s economy.
Each week we are given produce that was picked that morning! Talk about fresh.
Ava girl will grow up knowing how food is grown.
Learn about a new veggie every single week!
They say children are more likely to try foods if they grow/pick them themselves.
Helpful farmers enhance your experience by providing recipes and tips.
You will expand the palate of your family, and yourself!
Little need to hit up the store- our CSA offers local eggs, local chicken, and locally milled grains!
Informed- any questions about how your food is grown? Ask at pick up or email your farmer.
Vital nutrients are not lost because your produce is not imported from a foreign country.
It is essential to foster a relationship with the farm that grows your food.
Nothing like a fresh tomato off the vine or herbs snipped from the ground.
Gorgeous, organic, vegetables that have not been sprayed, waxed or zapped.
CSA season is underway in most parts of the country but if you are interested in finding one near you, check out Local Harvest. Generally, you can sign up for a half or full share depending on your budget and size of your family. We have a full share, though it’s only two and a half of us at home- I like being forced to get in the kitchen, get creative and get cooking! No wasting – that is our mantra!
My daughter recently turned a year old. It was such a treat, to watch her joyfully dig into her first cake. Now that she is toddling about, she clearly wants more food. I want something she can hold, nibble on slowly and is easy to take on the go.
Crackers and those puffy items intended for toddlers are so convenient, yet nutritionally unimpressive and costly unless I am able to stock up when they are on sale.
In addition to a baggie of cut up veggies, fruit and these date bars I enjoy whipping up these carrot & cheese crackers to take on the go. The cheese gives a bit of protein, the whole wheat provides extra fiber and the carrots lend a healthy dose of Vitamin A &
Little hands can also participate in the fun! Either roll the dough out and cut shapes with cookie cutters or cut them into balls and press them flat. Even my daughter gets involved, although she usually attempts to nibble the dough instead of pressing it.
Cheddar Carrot Coins
1 cup whole wheat flour (substitute your preferred all-purpose flour, whether it is white
½ cup shredded carrots
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons butter, unsalted
½ teaspoon salt
3-4 tablespoons water
Preheat the oven to 375.
Combine everything except for the water. Pulse in a food processor until crumbly.
Alternatively, use a pastry cutter or forks to mash the butter into the dry ingredients until tiny balls of dough form. Bigger kids can even do this with their clean fingers, pressing and pinching the butter into the flour.
Sprinkle in the water about 1 tablespoon at a time. Pulse, press, or fold in each tablespoon, adding more until a ball is formed.
For golden coins:
Using a bit of extra flour on your hands, roll the dough into a snake, about 1 inch thick.
Cut pieces about 1 inch big and dip the sticky sides in the flour. Take a flat-bottomed cup and smash the piece of dough into a disk.
Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment or foil and bake for 12-16 minutes until lightly golden.
For cookie cutter crackers:
Form the ball of dough into a disk.
Cool in the fridge for about 20 minutes up to overnight.
Roll out into a 1/4 inch thick sheet.
Use cookie cutters to create your desired shapes or slice into squares.
Ball the remaining dough back into a disk.
Chill for at least 10 minutes and then repeat until the crackers are all cut out.
Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 12-16 minutes until lightly golden.
When Chef Lilly is not playing in the sandbox with her 1-year old, she is gathering seasonal vegetables to cook up recipes for Lilly’s Table Online Meal Planning Service.
Try it today! Use this promo for the first 6 months at 25% off with this promo: MMCHP9
Offer is only good until June 15, 2011.
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The school year is coming to a close and this year I dragged the kids into helping create a gift for their teachers. It’s inexpensive, pretty, and tasty! And I’m going to show you step by step how to make your own. Use them for teachers, the bus driver, Mother’s Day, Birthdays, or any other special occasion when you want to give a gift from the heart that makes the tummy smile. The best part is that I put these gifts together for less than $5.00 each!
First you’ll need to assemble your supplies:
1. Flower Pot
2. Scrapbook Paper or Construction Paper
3. Narrow Ribbon
4. Wax Paper
5. Lollipops (DumDums or small Charms)
6. Supplies for making Cupcakes (see recipe below)
8. Fill for your Flower Pot. (Easter Basket Grass, Shredded Craft Paper, Tissue Paper, etc.)
9. Large Cellophane Candy/Cookie Bags from the Candy Aisle at the Craft Store and either ribbon to tie shut or a twist tie.
We made three gifts so I picked up these three flower pots at my local craft store. Each pot cost less than $3.00. You want to stick with smaller pots that a standard size cupcake can fit inside.
Print out this pattern page. (Click to open it in a new window for printing). Then use the patterns to trace your flowers onto construction paper, scrapbooking paper, or poster paper. Cut your flowers out, curl the flower petals around your finger as seen below, and punch holes in the centers.
Once your petals are curled and your holes punched, you are ready to start assembling. Take your lollipop, unwrap, and slide the center, small petals, medium petals, and large petals onto the stick.
Then you can take your narrow ribbon and tie a small bow to secure your flower petals. They might slide a bit but that’s okay because when you put the flower down into the cupcake, it won’t go anywhere.
You’ll also need to bake some cupcakes. And despite what many people think, it’s okay to use a box mix. As long as you know how to tweak it, you’ll get great results every time. Ignore the directions on the box and add the following ingredients instead.
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup water
1 standard package of pudding (flavor to match cake mix)
1 cup sour cream
Bake as directed on box. You will end up with deliciously moist cupcakes. If you don’t have time to bake or you are a disaster in the kitchen, pick up a 6 pack of cupcakes from your favorite bakery. (We won’t tell!)
Prepare your icing by putting it into either a piping bag with a tip or a zipper bag and cut the corner out. Swirl some icing onto the top of the cupcake. This doesn’t have to be perfect because you’re going to hide the icing when you place the flower. If you don’t like icing bags, just use a spatula.
Now that your Lollipop Cupcake Flower is finished, you need to package it up to give it away. I like using the larger cellophane candy/cookie bags that you can purchase in the Cake Decorating/Candy Making Aisle of your local Craft Store. Just set your flower pot down into the bag and either tie a ribbon at the top to seal it or use a twist tie.
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