Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Homemade Apple Butter

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours 
Yield: Makes a little more than 3 pint jars
• 4 lbs of good cooking apples {I filled a 4 quart pot heaping with apples. See photo, below.}
• 1 cup apple cider vinegar {I did not use vinegar.}
• 2 cups water {I used only about ¼ cup water. See NOTE.}
• Sugar, about 4 cups, (After cooking and pureeing, add ½ cup of sugar for each cup of apple pulp)
• Salt – a dash
• 2 teaspoons cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon ground cloves
• ½ teaspoon allspice {I used ½ teaspoon nutmeg instead.}
• Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

Preparing the Fruit 

Cut the apples into quarters, without peeling or coring them (much of the pectin is in the cores and flavor in the peels), cut out damaged parts. {I did core my apples.}

Cooking the Apples 

Put them into large pot, add the vinegar and water, cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cook until apples are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Note: I put all my apples in a large pot (see photo), adding about ¼ cup of water, and placed the pot to cook over a very low heat until the juices from the apples were released.

Measure the purée and add the sugar and spices 

Ladle cooked apples and liquid into a blender (about 2 cups at a time). Measure resulting puree. Add ½ cup of sugar for each cup of apple pulp. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add a dash of salt, and the cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice, lemon rind and juice. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Cooking the Purée 

Cook uncovered in a large, wide, thick-bottomed pot on medium low heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Scrape the bottom of the pot while you stir to make sure a crust is not forming at the bottom. Cook until thick and smooth (about 1 to 2 hours). A small bit spooned onto a chilled (in the freezer) plate will be thick, not runny. You can also cook the purée on low heat, stirring only occasionally, but this will take much longer as stirring encourages evaporation. (Note the wider the pan the better, as there is more surface for evaporation.)


There are several ways to sterilize your jars for canning. You can run them through a short cycle on your dishwasher. You can place them in a large pot (12 quart) of water on top of a steaming rack (so they don't touch the bottom of the pan), and bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes. Or you can rinse out the jars, dry them, and place them, without lids, in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes.

Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal. If you plan to store the apple butter unrefrigerated, make sure to follow proper canning procedures. Before applying the lids, sterilize the lids by placing them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them. Wipe the rims of the jars clean before applying the lids. I use a hot water bath for 10 minutes to ensure a good seal.



Thursday, December 29, 2016

Apple Cranberry Pie ~ Oh So Delicious

~ Apple Cranberry Pie ~
homemade pie crust {Perfect Pie Crust} The Pioneer Woman's recipe
3 large apples, cored, peeled, and sliced into 1/2-inch slices (about 6-7 cups)
1 and 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon orange zest
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed {I use salted butter}
egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon milk


Prepare pie crust

Make the filling: Stir the apples, cranberries, granulated sugar, cornstarch, orange zest, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. Set filling aside as the oven preheats.

Preheat oven to 400°F

Spoon the filling into the crust, leaving any excess liquid in the bowl

Dot the pieces of butter on top of the filling. Stick in the refrigerator until ready to cut the lattice.

Cut the top crust into lattice strips, or simply cover the filling with the 12-inch pie dough circle (cut slits in the top to form steam vents). Or a crumble or streusel topping would be great as well.

Lightly brush the top of the pie crust with the egg wash mixture.

Place the pie onto a large baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Keeping the pie in the oven, turn the temperature down to 350°F and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes.
NOTE: I cover the edges with a strip of aluminum foil to prevent the crust from burning and remove the foil during the last 20 minutes of baking.

Allow the pie to cool for 3 full hours at room temperature before serving. This time allows the filling to thicken up. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
{Recipe Source}

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

A delicious sour cream coffee cake covered in sweet cream cheese filling and a cinnamon-nut crumb-topping. It is worth the time to make it! 

{If you are short on time, you might like to try this easy but wonderful coffee cake: Quick Sour Cream Coffee Cake }

Feeds: 24 hungry men or 32 slender women
  Prep Time: 40 minutes
  Cook Time: 45 minutes
For the crumb topping:
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • pinch salt
For the cream cheese swirl:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
For the cake:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 & 1/4 cups sour cream

To make the crumb topping:
  1. Combine all the crumb ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Mix with a fork until the mixture resembles crumbs.
To make the cream cheese swirl:
  1. Beat the cream cheese and brown sugar until fluffy.
  2. Mix in the vanilla and cinnamon. Stir in the pecans.
To make the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9” x 13” x 2″ baking pan.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined after each addition. Mix in the vanilla.
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until combined. Stir in the sour cream and mix just until combined.
  5. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Top the batter with spoonfuls of the cream cheese swirl. Use an up and down motion with a knife to swirl. Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the top of the cake.
  6. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Romance Cookies

These supper, delicious moist cookies are a long time family favorite. When we my husband and I were engaged, I made these for a special picnic.
Romance Cookies Recipe
1 cup flour
½ cup butter
2 tablespoons Sugar
2 eggs
1½ cups brown sugar
1 cup walnuts
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon baking powder

Combine flour, sugar, and butter to make crust (texture of cornmeal). Pat in an 8 inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. While baking, combine the rest of the ingredients. Pour over baked crust and return to 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Cool. Cut into squares.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sour Cream Cheesecake with Blueberry Topping

This cheesecake has a delicious, creamy texture.

Sour Cream Cheesecake

1 3/4 cups fine graham cracker crumbs (1 box has 3 packages. Use 1 package - plus 4 more crackers)
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted (I use an additional 2 tablespoons, making the crumbs easier press up sides of pan.)
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional - it's good with it, but I don't usually have it on hand.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3 cups dairy sour cream
Combine crumbs, nuts, and cinnamon; add butter, stirring until well combined. Reserve 1/4 cup for top of cheesecake; press remainder into bottom and 2 1/2 " up the sides of and 8" spring-form pan, or 2" up the sides of and 9" spring-form pan. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, almond extract, and salt until smooth. Add eggs, beating at low speed just until combined. Do NOT overbeat. Stir in sour cream. Pour into prepared crust. Sprinkle reserved crumbs on top. Bake at 375° for 50-55 minutes or until inserted knife comes out almost clean. Cool on wire rack; chill 4-5 hours. Add topping or glaze (below) before serving. Makes 12 servings.

  • Oven temperatures vary.  I cook my cheesecake for 1 hour. Then I turn off oven and let cake set in hot oven until the oven cools - about 1 to 2 hours. I set cake on rack to cool completely before set into refrigerator to chill.  
  • I set a pan in the oven to catch drippings and add about a cup of water to pan. (I use two 9" x 13" pans side by side, adding about 1/2 water to each pan.) 

Blueberry Topping
1 can Blueberry Pie Filling or Topping, 21 oz
Note: I used the thick type. If you get blueberries in light syrup, you'll need to thicken it  with cornstarch as follows:
(1.) Drain the the blueberry syrup (about 1/3 cup). Mix 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1-quart saucepan. Stir in reserved blueberry syrup. (2.) Heat sugar mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. (3.) Stir blueberries into sugar mixture. Cool completely.
Strawberry Glaze
1 1/2 cups mashed fresh strawberries
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup water
Bring mashed strawberries, sugar to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Dissolve cornstarch in water. Stir cornstarch into berry mixture and cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Cool completely.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Quick Sour Cream Coffee Cake

It’s oh so delicious! It is also very easy to make.
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
2 eggs

Streusel Topping:
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Prepare streusel topping:
With fork, combine flour, butter and sugar till crumbly.
Add cinnamon.
Set aside.

Coffee Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°
Combine sour cream and eggs. Beat well.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the cream mixture.
Beat just till smooth as over-beating tends to toughen dough.
Spread in a lightly oiled 9x9 pan.
Sprinkle with streusel (and nuts if desired).
Bake about 30-40 minutes at 350°, or till tester comes out clean.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Philly CheeseSteak Sandwich

Philly CheeseSteak Sandwich with baked beans

we made a simple version of the Philly CheeseSteak Sandwich.
Usually this type of sandwich is loaded with fixings - this is the weight conscious version.
Philly CheeseSteak Sandwiches

5 Minute Artisan Bread or Italian bread or French bread or 2 large hoagie rolls or large sub rolls
Steak, thin slice,
1 white onion (thinly sliced)
1 green bell pepper (thinly sliced)
2 teaspoons garlic (minced) (optional)
Pepper jack cheese (thinly sliced)
Olive oil (for sautéing)
Salt and pepper
Marinara sauce (optional topping) or ketchup and mayonnaise (optional topping)

1. Heat a griddle or a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
2. When hot, cover bottom with olive oil.
3. Sear steak on both sides for one minute. Place in 350° oven to finish cooking, about 20 minutes.
4. Add the onions and bell pepper to olive oil in griddle. Cook, stirring, until caramelized (about 6 to 8 minutes).
5. Add the garlic, salt and pepper, and cook for about 30 seconds.

If you want the hefty, full-flavored version, follow the link below...