Tag Archive | resolutions

How Hard Can It Be

Really??? Two days into the year and my one and only resolution is down the drain!  Why?  I can’t blog if the internet connection is non-existent.  I kept going to my computer yesterday to post a note but my computer kept saying “no internet connection”.  Oh well, today is another day and I’ll remedy the situation with two posts and hope you can stand two in one day!  🙂

I had a note from a cousin New Year’s Day wanting my Crockpot Apple Butter recipe and I sent it to her.  I’ll share it with you as well and if you have any questions just comment at the bottom of the post.  I’ve wanted for the last several years to make a copper kettle full of apple butter but we’ve not had enough apples to fill the kettle.  I have had enough apples of different varieties to freeze lots of applesauce which we love but it’s been building up.  Our smallest freezer is half-full of containers of applesauce and I thought maybe if I use up about half of it Mother Nature may give us a good crop of apples in the coming fall.

I store/freeze the applesauce in the large 48 oz. margarine containers or Cool Whip containers.  They’re sturdy and very stackable in a chest freezer.  After I cook up the apples, I always add sugar to the pot and stir well to make sure the sugar dissolves before I freeze it.  When we need apples on the table (just about every day), all I have to do is thaw it.

Now for the recipe:

I have two six quart crockpots with two settings of low and high.  One has a lid that can be vented and the other has securing handles but the lid had a pencil size hole in the top of the lid for venting.  I fill the crockpot almost to the top of the pot with applesauce (fresh or frozen) and turn the heat setting to high and cover with the lid NOT vented.  I want it to get hot and can tell when it’s hot enough because it will have little bubbles forming around the edge of the pot or may even bubble up.

First step–notice the color.

A very important note to making apple butter in a copper kettle or a crockpot, you MUST stir it.  In a copper kettle it has to be stirred constantly but in a crockpot you only have to stir at least every thirty minutes.  Why? In the copper kettle over an open fire it will burn unless stirred constantly.  Not so in a crockpot but it will get thick on top and form almost a crust of very thick sauce and you will have to stir harder and longer to get it to smooth out and incorporate into the rest of the sauce.

Once your applesauce has heated up to the point of bubbles add THREE cups of sugar and stir well.  This is why you don’t fill it all the way to the top, you have to make room for the extra sugar.  When you first add this the sauce will thin some.  Remember, stir well every thirty minutes or so.  DO Not put the lid on tight this time.  The vapor of the water in the apples needs to get out and this helps the applesauce thicken.  Also be careful of bubbling sauce popping out on your skin.  Each time that you stir you will notice the sauce turning colors as you stir.  Try to pull the bottom sauce to the top.  I found out a couple years ago the blending and stirring is easier if you have a good whisk to work it.

Notice the change in color?

At this point, continue to leave the lid cracked, stir every thirty minutes, and continue this step until the sauce gets thickened to your taste.  I don’t like it real thick, it spreads better on buttered biscuits and toast if it’s a little thinner.  Last step, this is where you flavor the sauce and it becomes applebutter.

Oil of Cloves and Oil of Cinnamon

This is the step that can make or ruin your apple butter.  Some people only like cinnamon, we like cinnamon and cloves.  My recipe is 4-6 drops of cinnamon and 3-5 drops of cloves.  Be very careful when you add this to your batch and taste test after one or two drops of cinnamon.  Once you have flavored with the cinnamon, then do the same process with the cloves.  You can add more drops of each depending on your taste but taking baby steps in flavoring will make the process worthwhile.  After you have the flavoring in cook the applebutter about 20-30 minutes longer stirring more frequently.  You will notice the applebutter will be darker.

First canning of 2019–Nine pints of Apple butter.

During the last minutes of processing, prepare your jars.  I use regular mouth pint, half-pint and jelly jars for canning.  The half-pints and jelly jars make great gifts but the gifter may come calling for more because it’s sooooooo good!  I pour the hot applebutter into the jars, put on the lids really tight and set aside with a heavy towel over the top to retain the heat until the jars seal.  You’re done!!  Easy and so good!!

2016 Resolutions

RitaI’ve been thinking for the last couple of days about resolutions that people make every year and I’m one of those people. Each year I try to come up with 10-15 resolutions that I really want to fulfill. Now these are not my “bucket list” which is a list of the same things but they’re for your lifetime.
My 2016 resolutions are:
1. Try to be more compassionate to those less fortunate than myself.
2. Count my blessings everyday!
3. Tell and show my family how much I love them more than I do now.
4. Teach myself to knit.
5. Set up my loom and learn how to weave.
6. Find and set out at least five new fruit trees.
7. Lose 10 more pounds.
8. Write a personal letter to friends and family at least once a week. That’s only 52 letters and I know I can do this if I just set my mind too it!
9. Take my younger brother on a day trip every other month. A trip that is just for me and him to connect and have a good time.
10. Finish the two quilts I started two years ago. I started a sampler quilt last year and a snowman quilt the year before.
11. Grow and spend more time in my gardens this year.
12. Spend a long weekend with my friend in Maryland.
13. Make at least one thing every two weeks from my “Idea Book” (more on that later)

14.  Road trip with my love at least once a month!

15.  Girls Trip with my daughter in 2016 because the 2015 trip was such a blast!

16.  Try one new recipe a month.

17.  Write posts on my blog better than in 2015.

18.  Make at least two more quilts besides the two previous.

19.  Finish the three cross stitch pieces I started years ago.

20.  Start and finish a 2016 journal.

Wow, if I can keep at least half of these resolutions in 2016 I’ll be very proud of myself.  I’ll check back in six months with an update and another at the end of 2016.

 

It’s never too late to set some goals for the year

I’ve been thinking about posting my 2014 goals/resolutions for two months and procrastinated long enough so here they are:

2014 GOALS

  • Finish making the quilts I started in early 2012 & 2013
  • Teach myself to knit
  • Finish two cross stitch pieces I started more than five years ago
  • Make a baby quilt for a friend of mine and a friend of my son’s
  • REALLY clean my house
  • Build new bird/squirrel feeding station in the backyard this spring
  • Repair work to chicken house
  • Raise 24 new baby chicks
  • Read a book a month (I’m already behind on this one)
  • Write a letter to someone once a month
  • Organize and catalog all of my books and DVD’s
  • Re-upholster a wing back chair
  • Work/post more on my blog
  • Crochet new scarves and cowls
  • Re-pot all of my blooming cactus
  • Lose 10 more pounds
  • Weatherproofing on the gazebo
  • Clean up/out a house on the farm that’s used for storage
  • Learn how to weave on my new loom that I’ve had for three years.

With this said, I have enough to keep me busy all year and no time for being lazy.