apple butter

How to Make Apple Butter

Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat. Apple butter contains zero actual butter. It’s a common misconception. So common, in fact, that I can’t think of a single instance where, when apple butter is mentioned, I’ve not had to explain it’s absence of dairy butter. (Maybe it’s just the people I hang out with.) It’s named so for its texture; thick, smooth, decadent, like butter. It’s delicious on toast, biscuits, pancakes, as well as stirred into yogurt which is how I had it this morning.

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spicy bread and butter pickles

Spicy Bread and Butter Refrigerator Pickles

Have you ever made your own pickles? Neither had I but now, everything has changed. I don’t think I can ever go back to store bought. That might be a slight exaggeration but, really, only slight. You see, when you make your own, you can customize them exactly to your taste. You can add habanero pepper to spicy bread and butter pickles to give them just the right amount of heat. You can have whatever cucumber to sweet onion ration you like because you think the onions are as delicious pickled as the cucumbers! You can avoid high fructose corn syrup and tons of added sodium. Need I say more? Okay, well, you can also brag to your friends that you made your own pickles. I wouldn’t recommend trying to brag to your children. Mine were not at all impressed and roll their eyes at the mention of pickles. I still seem to keep mentioning them though…

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apricot jam

Apricot Jam

I’m becoming much more of an apricot jam person as the years go on. My best friend, Kelly, has always been a fan and I never used to understand why, but I’m getting it now. While I still don’t love it on a peanut butter sandwich (raspberry’s my favorite for that) it’s very tasty in many other applications. I really like to use it to enhance a
sauce for savory meats, especially pork and chicken, as a filling for a layer cake or cookie, and to make a simple appetizer as shown in the photo. Just take your favorite cracker, spread it with a soft cheese, like goat or brie, top if with a good amount of freshly ground pepper and a dollop of apricot jam and you have a fabulous little snack! It’s my new thing as of today. So, while I will certainly be supplying Kelly’s family with their share of apricot jam this year (they actually do eat it on peanut butter sandwiches!) I will be putting a couple jars to good use myself! I dare to suggest you do the same.
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Blueberry Vanilla Citrus Preserves

I realize blueberry season is pretty much over. That’s okay though because, for these preserves, you may use frozen blueberries. You will have just as good of a result, taste-wise, and also maintain all their antioxidents to fight those pesky free radicals. Often times, frozen fruits and vegetables are even higher in nutritional value than fresh because they are frozen immediately after picking and don’t have to make the long journey from the farm to your grocery store. They’re usually less expensive too so don’t think you’re shortchanging your health by buying frozen. If you can get local or organic, all the better!

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Ginger Peanut Sauce for stir fry and such….

I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since my last post! It’s not for lack of material, just lack of time. We’re having a very busy, very fun summer. This week, Abby, Nicole and their friend, Amy, are with us and that’s been great. Ella and Hailey are always happy when their cousins are here and I’m loving being able to develop more of an adult relationship with them. I make fun of their dad (my brother) a lot, which they enjoy. Very mature of me, right? Continue reading “Ginger Peanut Sauce for stir fry and such….”