Crock Pot Applesauce- an easy recipe

It’s the beginning of apple season and one of the best ways to use the lesser quality apples (Transparents, Crab apples) is to make them into applesauce.

My great-uncle and aunt have Transparent apple trees and they got a ton of them this year and graciously gave a few boxes away to my mom and I.

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Transparent apples tend to be kind of mealy and are not very good to eat just off the tree, so they are the perfect candidate to be made into applesauce.

Since I work most afternoon/evenings, I don’t have time to cook applesauce over the stove and then can it, (although I would LOVE to) so I’ve taken to just making applesauce in the crock pot and then freezing it.

It’s SUPER easy.

Basically, you take your apples, peel, core and slice them.

Throw them in the crockpot.

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Put on the lid, turn it on high for about 2 hours or on low for 4-ish hours, until your apples are soft and mushy.

I don’t puree it or anything, just let it cook til it’s soft and stir it up really well, and it gets pretty smooth on it’s own.

Then I let it cool, and put it in mason jars (with an inch or two of headroom) or gallon ziploc freezer bags and stick it in the freezer.

And that’s it!

So easy and delicious. You don’t need to add any sugar or anything for Transparent apples, although I might add some kind of sweetener for Crab apples as they tend to be a little more tart. I’m going to use my applesauce for making Mom’s Multi-Grain Bread, or just for a “dessert” in the winter. It almost tastes like apple pie, it is so yummy.

What is your favorite way to make applesauce?

Do you can it or freeze it?? I’d love to hear from you!

Chevron Apron

Hi!

So… I sewed an apron up for my sister a couple of days ago, and I love the way it turned out!  I’ve made aprons for myself and my mother but my little sis was out of the country and now she’s back and wanted an apron, so I made her this reversible apron with contrasting pockets:

Isn’t she gorgeous?

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I’ll have to write up a tutorial for making aprons soon because it really is a great quick project that only takes a couple of hours and you can customize it however you like.

Do you think I could sell these? I’ve been toying with the idea of starting an online store but haven’t had the guts to do it yet. I think I’d sell aprons and tote bags and stuff like that. What do you think?

Have a great Tuesday!

Hodge-Podge: Chicken Update and Sourdough Starter

So, I don’t have a “real” post for you today but I thought I”d update everyone on how the chicks are looking and share a few other random things.

The chicks are almost three weeks old!

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They were getting way too crowded in their other container (a flat-bottomed planter) so we went dumpster diving and got a couple of discarded refrigerator boxes and taped them together to make a new enclosure for them. It’s pretty ghetto, but it works!

When we were in the process of stuffing the giant cardboard cylinder into the small garden shed, the chicks got their first taste of the outdoors. At first, they were kind of scared and huddled together, but then they decided to explore a bit and all found this plant hanging off the side of a container..and went to town on it!

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They are so cute and awkward looking! The silly things are still getting their feathers so they look all weird and scruffy and it’s hilarious to watch them try to fly and jump and fight with each other. Our chicken coop is still not finished but it’s coming along nicely, maybe in a few weeks we’ll be able to move the chicks into it. We still need to finish one and a half walls, then seal the cracks in the walls and put the roof on. So there’s still quite a bit of work that needs to be done.

On a completely different, unrelated note; I’m making my first sourdough bread starter!

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I found this post on how to start one, then read this post about it too.  I’ve been growing my little jar of wild yeast for 6 days now and it’s definitely smelling like sourdough bread and is getting nice and bubbly.

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I keep trying to get everyone to smell it, but no one seems to be as excited about it as I am. 😉

I’ll update you on how my first baking goes- I’m can’t wait to try it!

We’re also starting sweet potatoes today inside the house, I’ll write a post about the seeds we’ve planted/ veggies we’ve started later this week.

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I hope you had a great weekend and have a nice week! It’s sunny here and gorgeous, even though it’s still kinda cold and very windy, the blue sky is just beautiful and the plum trees are starting to bloom!

Homemade Flour Tortillas

I wrote a couple days ago on my Facebook page that I’d made tortillas to go with dinner, and promised to share the recipe later, so here I am! 🙂

I’ve been baking all kinds of things for years, even made my own pasta  for a while, but for some reason making my own tortillas didn’t occur to me. Or when it did,  I was kinda scared to think about doing it. What if I burn them? How do you cook them?

Flour tortillas are so easy to make! I wish I’d gotten up the courage to try before now. I don’ t think we’ll ever buy tortillas again- they are so much more flavorful and less gummy than the flour tortillas you get at the store, and don’t have any of the weird preservatives in them. All you need are a few simple ingredients you probably already have in your house.

You also get to get your fingers into the dough and get messy, which is so much fun! If you have little helpers at home, they will love this. I love it too! Flour is so soft, and it just feels nice between my fingers.

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Makes 8-10 tortillas per batch

3 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup Coconut oil or olive oil or lard from pastured pork

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1 cup very warm water

Put the flour in a mixing bowl, add the coconut oil and smash around with your fingers until you have a bunch of tiny lumps throughout the flour.

Add the salt and warm water and mix until it turns into a nice dough.

Form into balls, let sit for at least 30 minutes.  It won’t really rise, but the dough needs to sit.

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Get out your rolling pin and on a floured surface, roll out your tortillas til they are just thick enough to stay together when you try to peel them off the counter. Supermodel thin. They will rise when you are cooking them, so make them thinner than you want to start with.

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I made them too thick the first time and they kinda turned out like pita bread instead of tortillas. Which wasn’t bad, per say; but they were more bready than we were shooting for. All of my tortillas also end up being  fun cool shapes, more like a rectangle or a stretched animal skin than round.  It gives them character. Makes eating more interesting. 🙂

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Cook your tortillas in a cast iron skillet on medium high heat til bubbles form on the first side, then flip the tortilla and let it go another few seconds. If I roll out one at a time, I can usually get another tortilla rolled while one is cooking. And if you happen to burn it a little- it’s okay. I did the same thing. They still tasted amazing.

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If you have any leftover from your meal or are making them for wraps, etc, then stick the tortillas immediately into a 2 gallon ziplock bag. A one gallon bag will work if your tortillas aren’t too big, but I tend to make larger ones so I need a bigger bag. Remember that these tortillas don’t have any preservatives in them so they won’t keep for a month like store bought tortillas will. Freeze them, or eat them right up. We haven’t had a problem with any sticking around for more than a week so far, since they are so good. I’m not sure beyond that how well they will stay.

This is what I used my tortillas for. Chicken Enchiladas. Delicious. 🙂

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Have fun making tortillas!

This post is shared at WildCrafting Wednesday.

Knitting Needle Holder

Here’s a fun fact about me:
I recently started teaching myself to knit!
Honestly, it’s easier than I thought it was going to be.
For some reason I always thought it would be hard because all the ladies I know who knit are super smart and seem to be more of the “Type A” personality, so I thought I’d have trouble with it since I am most definitely not a logical thinker.

Guess what?
It’s not too hard to learn to knit. You just have to keep track of the stitches, and the tension of the yarn in your hand.
I just went to Wal-Mart and bought a “teach yourself how to knit” kit,
some fat needles 
(the kit comes with needles but I wanted big fat ones to start since it’s easier to knit with those ones)
 and of course, some yarn.


Then, I practiced and practiced and got frustrated and tried again and practiced some more.
I am by NO means “good” at knitting yet, but I’m much better than I was a few weeks ago!


Anyway, since I have all of these knitting accessories, I need somewhere to keep them.


Where did I look for inspiration?

Pinterest, of  course!


I found this:

Source

Perfect.

I tried my hand at making my own, although I didn’t follow the directions on the original site completely.
I just winged it, and it (amazingly) worked out.

I found some cute fabric I’ve had lying around for literally 5 years and measured a big enough square to fit inside my 12″ embroidery hoop;

then sewed a pocket onto it, then simply sewed lines down the pocket (marking where to sew with pins)

and then ta-da!

My version of the knitting needle holder.

I want to make like a thousand of these and hang them everywhere.
Okay, maybe not a thousand, but they are really cute, and I’ll probably make a few more for holding stuff in my craft room.
I love that I can hang this up on the wall and  1.) free up shelving space  but more importantly, 2.) keep my knitting needles out of the kid’s reach. Because I know two little munchkins who would love to have a sword fight with a few of them. 😉

Natural Body Care Series: Homemade Body Wash

 Lately I’ve really been wanting to make the switch from store-bought body care products to natural, homemade ones. I’ve been putting it off for a while because it’s intimidating. I also have made the excuse that it’s expensive to make natural products, but if doing so creates a better state of health for my family, it actually will save me money in the long run!
The commercial products are just so full of chemicals, phalates, and who knows what else that I feel guilty putting them on my and my families bodies when I know there are healthier, natural alternatives that work just as well or even better.

So I’m on a mission to switch our family from store-bought to homemade body care!
My first foray is:

 (Mostly) Homemade Body Wash





What I mean when I say “mostly” is that I used a bar of Ivory Soap (leftover from making Homemade Laundry Detergent) for part of it.
In my next attempt, I’m going to use some Yardley of London Lavender bar soap- I can’t wait to see how it turns out! I just had the Ivory soap already at home, so I tried it with that first.

I found the recipe for this on Pinterest, and modified it slightly.

Here is the original recipe.

Here is what I used:

1 bar Ivory Soap
2 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup Eucalyptus Castile Soap

Yield: About 10 oz. (it reduces and thickens as you simmer it)

Melt your soap in the microwave (on a microwave safe dish of course) for about 60-90 seconds. It will puff up into amazing shapes that make you want to mush your hands around in it and play with it.
 (or is that just me??)
I didn’t get a picture because I suck and forgot. Next time. It looks really cool.

Pour the water into a large pan or pot, add the soap and Castile soap and stir gently.
Heat over medium-low heat until the bar soap is dissolved, around 30 min. It will be really foamy at first, but gradually will get clearer and kind of gelatinous.
Make sure you stir the soap every few minutes to help everything dissolve nicely and so it doesn’t scald on the bottom. I stirred it with a rubber spatula at first, then with a whisk at the end to get any lingering lumps of bar soap.

Once the body wash is thickened and most of your lumps are dissolved, remove from heat and pour into a glass or plastic container. The body wash will thicken as it cools, add more water if needed to make it more creamy.

I imagine you could add oats or rice pulverized into a powder for exfoliating, or any essential oils if eucalyptus isn’t to your liking. Play around with it and see what you come up with!

I’m already looking forward to making my next batch and trying some lavender body wash. 🙂

Next up in the series: Homemade Avocado Hair Conditioner



This post is shared at Wild Crafting Wednesday at Mind, Body and Sole.