Sunday, November 12

Chunky Applesauce

I love chunky applesauce and fondly remember nearly always having it with pork chops when I was young.
Chunky Applesauce makes a great side dish, garnish or is just yummy with a pork roast.
But these days, nearly all the commercially produced applesauce is made with high fructose corn syrup so I rarely get to enjoy it.

While spending a girl day with my daughter Alexis and Daughter-in-law Jennica, we found a small family owned farm market selling various types of apples.  The family has dozens of apple trees and sell the apples in baskets and buckets using the honor system. 

We bought a lot of apples with the intent to make our own Homemade Chunky Applesauce and also jam and oh my gosh I'm in love.  
This will now be on my list to make every fall when apples are in season!

Uses for Chunky Applesauce:
  • On toast or biscuit
  • Topping for Cheesecake
  • For quick apple crisp
  • Mix in oatmeal or yogurt
  • Over ice cream
  • As a natural dessert for kids
  • As a side dish
  • Use as a garnish for pork or chicken
  • Use in apple danishes or other desserts
  • Give as gifts

Farm fresh organic apples

I used three or four different recipes from cookbooks I have and other recipes found on the internet and came up with a version of my own. I used the newest Ball Blue Book for the recommended canning method.


If you're using mostly sweet apples you can cut back on the sugar.
The Vanilla adds an extra wonderful nuance to the recipe
We "heart" apples
The butter is to help stop the mixture from foaming
You can increase or decrease the cinnamon to desired taste
Make sure to use a good quality all natural apple juice for the best flavor
I gave "dozen" as the measurement for apples, ours were organic small to medium apples
1 pound of apples is approximately 4 small apples

Homemade Chunky Applesauce

About 4 to 5 dozen various apples
1 cup all natural apple juice (I use Mott's)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar 
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon real butter (to keep it from foaming)

Peel apples

Wash, peel and core the apples.  Cut each apple into 8 slices.
Combine all ingredient in a large stock pot, stirring gently and mixing well. 
Cook over medium heat bringing mixture to a low boil. 
A low boil is when a small bubble or two will pop up to the surface every second or two.

Mix all ingredients in a large stock pot

Reduce heat and simmer until apples are somewhat soft.  
Using a potato masher, smash about half of the apples in the mixture or until desired consistency.  
I like lots of chunks of apples left in my applesauce! 

To Freeze:
When Chunky Applesauce is completely cool, pack into airtight freezer containers.  Leave a 1-inch headspace and freeze.  Frozen applesauce can be stored for a year at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. 

A spoonful of steaming simmering yummy Chunky Applesauce!

To Can:
Wash and sterilize pint canning jars.
Prepare hot water bath canner.
Ladle hot applesauce into hot jar, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. 


Remove any air bubbles.  Clean the jar rim and attach the 2 piece lid, but just until fingertip tight.
Place filled jar in the prepared water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled.
Make sure the water in the canner covers the jars by at least 1 inch.
Once canner is full, bring water to a rolling boil and process pints for 20 minutes. 

Turn off heat and remove jars.  Do Not Tighten Lids!
Let cool for at least 12 or up to 24 hours before disturbing.
Test seals, wipe jars, label and then store in a cool dark location. 

I finally have my Halloween decorations down from our Fall Party and I'm now busy making a Thanksgiving dinner menu and shopping list. Yikes,  Fall is going by so fast!!


Other Posts

Fran's Holiday Cheese Ball

The Best Ever Monster Cookies

Cookie Cutter Christmas Ornament

Friday, October 20

Halloween Candelabra

I have been keeping my eye out for a candelabra and happen to come across one at a yard sale.

As a teenager and young adult, I loved old haunted scary mansion horror movies like the ones the actor Vincent Price starred in.  And they always seemed to have a woman in a flowing gown, descending a huge stone staircase, holding a candelabra!

I still love fall, Halloween, pumpkins, and good scary movies.

When I came across this old brass candelabra at a sale in Michigan, it was the end of the day and they took a $1.00 for it.   I knew with a facelift, it would work great for our annual fall party!

Tuesday, September 5

Upcycled Chalkboard Signs

OK, so yeah.  I'm a trash picker.
I will definitely stop along the road if there is something in someone's trash I can reuse or repurpose!

And that's where I picked up the drawers to make these:
Vintage Display Shelves
and where I scored the wood for my Chalkboards signs!

These chalkboard signs are actually the ends or sides of kitchen cabinets.
The cabinets already had the old, flaky grayish-blue paint, which really gives them a vintage weathered look.
You could also use an old heavy picture frame or mirror. Heavy because you don't want the wind to blow the signs over.

All I needed to do to turn these cabinets into signs was apply the chalkboard paint and add a stand or brace to the back to prop them up.
The results are marvelous!

What You"ll Need:

  • Chalkboard paint
  • Painter's tape or masking tape
  • Cabinet frame or large heavy picture frame.
  • 2 x 2 board for the brace
  • L bracket and drywall screws
  • Drop cloth

Wednesday, August 30

Honey - Cilantro Chicken Kabobs (Skewers)

This is one of my most requested recipes!

And not only is it flavorful and delicious, it's easy to make and very versatile. You can add any additional veggies or fruits you like, but the kabobs are perfect just following the recipe.

I sometimes add quartered peaches and red bell pepper or whatever is in season from my garden.

I usually serve a peach or strawberry salsa with this dish, along with roasted red skin potatoes or spring greens salad, yum. 

Thursday, May 18

Sweet Smoky Barbecue Sauce

Summer is here and we love to barbecue!  My husband even bought a smoker 2 summers ago and we smoke everything and even have what we call "Smokin Sundays"!
Years ago my sister Debra and her husband Phil came over on a lazy summer Saturday to show us how to make our own homemade barbecue sauce.  
They brought all the ingredients with them and we spent the day mixing, stirring, simmering and tossing back a few cold adult beverages.  
Once the barbecue sauce was thick enough, we generously brushed it on ribs and had a wonderful backyard barbecue.
I didn’t write down each ingredient as my sister added it to the sauce, nor could I have, without just guessing at the correct measurements.  My sister had a way of cooking without a recipe and everything every time turned out delicious. Let me tell you, I am not that person.  
I lost my sister a few years back but I'm still trying to recreate some of her recipes.  One of our favorites I was able to somewhat copy is Debra’s Stuffed Hot Peppers.

Thursday, May 4

The U.P. Pasty

The hubby and I love to travel and although we take an occasional week long trips, my favorite trips are just 3-day weekend adventures. Living in Ohio we are centrally located near numerous beautiful states with lots to see and explore.

One of our favorite states to spend a weekend in is Michigan. There are tons of lighthouses, wineries, bodies of water and beaches, ATV and snowmobile trails, historic sites, beautiful scenery, and tree lined winding roads.

A couple other trips we have taken to Michigan are Holland, Michigan's Tulip Festival, and a Lake Superior Circle Tour Camping Trip.

On one summer weekend trip, while touring wineries,  we stopped at a little roadside vegetable stand and diner. We noticed many signs advertising “pasties” (pronounced pass-tee) as we came into town, but were just not sure what they were.
We ordered one at this little roadside diner and I fell in love!
Of course, I had to immediately talk to the cook and get the entire 411 on Pasties!

Monday, March 13

Irish Corned Beef and Cabbage

A traditional St. Patrick's Day dish I make every year. 
But first, what is Corned Beef?
Corned beef is made from a beef brisket that is cured or pickled in Brine. Brine is salt water.

In North America, corned beef dishes are associated with traditional Irish cuisine. However, there is considerable debate about the association of the corned beef and cabbage dish with Ireland.

In the 1800's, corned beef was used as a substitute for bacon by Irish-American immigrants because it was cheap and considered a luxury in Ireland. Corned beef and cabbage is really the Irish-American version of the Irish dish of bacon and cabbage.

Wait, bacon and cabbage?!?!  Well, now that's on my list to make!

Thursday, February 23

The Longest Yard Sale in the World

The 127 Yard Sale
The weather has been in the 60's here in Ohio and spring is in the air so yep, I'm daydreaming about gardening and yard sales!!

The World's Longest Yard Sale is also known as The 127 Yard Sale or The 127 Corridor Sale and is a 4-day event every year. The dates are always the first Thursday of the month of August, from Thursday to Sunday.  And that's 4 whole days of yard sale heaven!
If you are a yardsaler, antiquer, flea-marketer, thrift store shopper or anything in-between, you will love this!
The 127 Yard Sale covers 690 miles of sales, through six states, from Addison, Michigan to Gadsden, Alabama and boasts thousands of vendors every year.
And it's even been featured on HGTV!

Friday, February 17

Texas State Flag Quilt

Click the photo to view larger.  
My daughter Jami and her husband Donnie and the kids moved to Texas for a job in 2009. I hate that they're so far away (I'm in Ohio) and that I don't get to see them much. But we have taken numerous trips to Texas and we think it's a nice state to visit. We've even been to the Dealey Plaza and the Grassy Knoll in Dallas.

I have been making quilts for family members for the last year so decided to make Jami and Donnie one for Christmas gift.

I searched Pinterest for ideas and knew as soon as I saw it that the Texas State Flag would be the perfect quilt for them. And besides, patchwork is my favorite quilt pattern.  I always seem to be drawn to it the most, even before making quilts myself. Of all the quilts I've purchased over the years, I have the most of the Patchwork pattern. It just feels very homey to me and very “usable.”

Monday, February 13

Best Ever Monster Cookies

I make these cookies for different holidays, so this week, they're for Valentines Day!

Monster Cookies are not new and the recipes for making them are endless. Probably 95% of my cookies are homemade, but sometimes you just need a quick and easy recipe. 
I decided to come up with my own version of Monster Cookies which are easy and great to throw together when we have unexpected visitors or to serve at club meetings or any other last minute function I need to take something to.
For me, there will always be room in my recipe collection for a few super easy and fast recipes for busy days.

They're called Monster Cookies, I believe, because it's easier than saying “peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal M & M super yummy cookies!”

Besides easy, did I mention they're a wonderful tasting soft chewy moist delicious cookie?

Monday, January 9

The Mercantile

A few years back I received The Pioneer Woman's first cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks, as a gift for Christmas. 
I love it and have since bought for myself or received as gifts all her other cookbooks!
The Pioneer Woman or Ree Drummond also has her own blog and recently opened a shop called The Mercantile in her hometown of Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Ree and her husband Ladd purchased an old red brick building in downtown Pawhuska and she had it completely remodeled.  And the results are stunning. I just love old red brick buildings and am always so happy to see them rescued from demolition.

According to The Pioneer Woman's website, the building was originally a mercantile beginning in 1910 and was known as the Osage Mercantile.
It was a place for trading goods and browsing. Ree and her family wanted to honor that legacy by recreating that shopping experience with hints to an earlier time in small town America.