Apple Butter Made Easy – Plus a great gift idea!

While growing up, I remember friends of ours planning the annual apple butter making day. It was a huge chore & a very long process! Peel the apples – core the apples – slice the apples – start a huge fire in a pit – cook the apples in a heavy cast iron kettle – stoke the fire – stoke the fire – did I say stoke the fire? This went on for literally hours! Then came the process of canning the apple butter!
Apple butter.

Hopefully I can encourage you to try your hand at this flavorful spread, when you see how easy you can make it in your own kitchen.

Wash apples & cook whole in a large pot with water. When very tender, push through a sieve – now you have apple sauce! No peeling, slicing, or coring needed!

These ingredients make 1 apple butter recipe:

8 cups of apple sauce
4 cups of sugar (2 white – 2 brown)
1/2 cup of vinegar or cider
2 t cinnamon
1 t ground cloves

Put all into a crock pot & cook on high for approx. 7 hours. Make sure the steam can escape when it starts boiling.

You can store in the fridge or freeze for later use. Canning would also be a good option. Fill jelly jars with hot sauce & process in a boiling water bath.

* Here’s a great gift idea – a gift basket with a breakfast theme. Include things like; apple butter, homemade bread, pretty bowl, coffee cup, coffee (make some of those different coffee mixes), tea, and homemade granola cereal. Wrap it up with tea towels and cloth napkins. You could call it – breakfast in bed.

Drink Mix For The Chocolate Lover in 2 Quick steps – Great for gift giving!

After a cool evening walk, one of our favorite things to do is grab a cup of hot cocoa! Here’s a quick recipe that will keep your family warm throughout the season!

hot chocolate

The basic recipe is made by adding 3 parts nonfat dry milk & 2 parts semisweet chocolate chips.


3 cups instant nonfat dry milk & 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (12 oz.).

After you mix the amount desired, mix 1/2 of the recipe at a time in a food processor. Store in an airtight container.

To serve, place 3 heaping spoons of mix in a cup of hot water.

If you’d like, you could add a bit of vanilla or marshmallows to your cup.

* This recipe can be stored for up to 6 months!

This would make a great gift for friends, teachers, the mail man, bus driver, or anyone for that matter! Simply put mix in a pretty tin or jar, and include the directions for making on a nice card that you could attach to the container.

You could also put some of the mix in a zip lock bag, stuff that into a nice coffee mug, and attach the recipe for the mix on a handcrafted note card (brown paper bag with a stencil or stamp would be really nice!), and add a cinnamon stick or two. This would also make a great addition to a gift basket.

To stop the mess made by pouring pancake batter from the bowl, squeeze your pancakes into the pan using a meat baster!

Caramel Apples & Candy Apples – October at it’s best!

Is there anything more delicious at an Oct. party than candy & caramel apples?! These tasty treats hold a special place in my childhood memory! Like cotton candy at a circus, candy apples hold the spotlight at any harvest party.

Caramel Apples with Peanuts & Chocolate

You’ll be so surprised at how easy these wonderful treats are to make! Get the whole family involved – they’ll never forget it!

Line a few cookie trays with wax paper to set your apples on to cool.

Caramel Apples

Choose your favorite apples – wash & dry.
Melt a bag of caramels in the microwave – watch & stir.
Insert popsicle sticks into the apples.
Dip & coat with nuts

Candy Apples

1 C light corn syrup
1 1/2 C sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Red food coloring

Bring sugar – corn syrup & water to a boil. Stir often! Let boil without stirring until it reaches “soft crack” stage – 285o (takes approx. 15-20 min). Use a wooden spoon to stir in red coloring & cinnamon. Dip & allow to dry. Coating will harden as it cools!

Here are just a few ideas to make these apples extra special.

After you coat with desired coating, roll the apple in;

– chopped nuts (use your favorite kinds)
– chocolate chips
– cinnamon candies
– coconut
– powdered sugar
– m&ms
– crushed cookies

Enjoy this easy caramel apple recipe & make some memories for you and your family!

Quick & Easy Sugar Cookies

This sugar cookie recipe is such an easy one, that it would make a nice project for family night. You could make up several batches – some for you, and some to share with your neighbors. How easy you say? You simply pour all ingredients into a bowl – then mix, drop, and bake!

2 eggs
2/3C oil
2t vanilla
3/4C sugar
2C flour
2t baking powder
1/2t salt

Mix ingredients in order (1 at a time) in a large bowl. Then drop onto greased cookie sheets. Dip fork into sugar & press cookies into desired shape. Bake @ 375 degrees until golden.

* For a nice change you could: add food coloring – mold into shapes – add colored sprinkles, choc. chips, cinnamon – or have kids flatten dough with hands & use cookie cutters.

Sugar cookies are one of my favorites, and this easy recipe makes it that much more fun to enjoy 🙂

Chicken Salad

chicken salad

Growing up in the south, we never really mixed fruit directly into our recipes, however, over the past year or so, I have started to acquire a taste for these new recipe ideas!

This week I put together a chicken salad something like one that I had at a local restaurant.

Although you can feel free to mix the ingredients in any combination that suits your taste, this is what I decided to do today.

Mix together
– cooked chicken (cubed)
– diced green peppers
– very small sized pasta
– grapes
– mayonnaise
– salt, pepper, garlic salt, and any other seasonings that you fancy

Mix well & enjoy!

Like I said – this recipe may not be something that you might normally have, but I think you’ll come to love the little bit of crisp sweetness that the grapes add to this salad.

You can serve by itself – or in a pita or wrap as a sandwich.