Category Archives: apples

Fall Festival: My Favorite Fall Recipe

Share your favorite fall recipe at LifeasMOM. All participants will be entered for a chance to win The Autumn Book by Susan Branch.


This is somewhat of a repost but I can’t help it, the following truly is my favorite fall recipe. It is great because you eat it at all three meals and dessert.

This recipe came on the back of my electric bill and gives credit to Bernice Hass:

Apple Bread

1/3 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
2 c chopped apples
1 c sugar
2 Tbsp sour milk (or buttermilk, I use a little milk and vinegar)
2 c flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup nuts (optional)

Topping: 2 Tbsp butter, 4 Tbsp sugar, 1-2 tsp cinnamon

Cream shortening & sugar. Add eggs & beat. Stir in sour milk, vanilla, flour, baking soda, & salt. Add chopped apples and nuts. Put in greased bread pan. Add topping and bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes. MMmmm!

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It Has Begun…(drumroll please)

What is IT? Canning season that is. And no, that’s not why I’ve been missing. I’ve been missing because my blogging addiction has given way to a Ravelry addiction which has led me to begin knitting everyone’s Christmas presents now, while I’m still motivated and sort of have the time.

I promise to post more soon. My order of peaches came in tonight which will lead directly in to apple and tomato seasons which might clash slightly with the vacation to who knows where that we’re taking the week of Labor Day. That will all keep me busy but it will give me lots of blog worthy material too.

I leave you with this. Anyone who can tell what it is gets an imaginary pat on the back from me. 🙂

County Fair Fun!

These pictures aren’t the greatest but I wanted to share all the fun things that happened last week at our county fair!

Our niece bracing her lamb.

Our other neice, Jill. Her sheep was being very stubborn and holding up the class but Jill handled it like a champ.

Jill setting her lamb’s feet in the proper place. She ended up winning her class!
Our nephew showing in the Cloverbud class. The little ones are supervised by an older helper and no ribbons are awarded. It is a great way for them to learn.

The best part: my caramel apple!!

It is hard to tell in this picture but this steer weighs 1800 pounds!

Aren’t the sheep cute in their pajamas!

We went up on Sunday night to see the animals and exhibits. Then we went back on Tuesday to watch our nieces show their sheep. They did great and I learned a lot from watching.

Do you attend your county’s fair? What’s your favorite thing to see or do?

Fruit Trees!


My order from the Conservation District came in on Friday. I took advantage of the 70 degree temps (!!!) yesterday and planted them. I put them on our sideyard near the one pear tree I planted last year. Now we have 1 pear, 1 peach, 1 cherry, and 2 apple trees there. I still need to add another pear and another peach.

I also got in touch with a neighbor who graciously came and showed me how to prune our older trees. We take care of the empty house across the road and there are a few apple trees in the yard. I picked a lot of apple from the trees last year and wanted to prune them back nicely. I didn’t do a lot because it is quite late for pruning but at least now I have a better idea on how to do it.

My nice neighbor gave me a recipe for tree spray and recommended I use it repeatedly throughout the season. He insists that he tried organic methods with his and was not happy with the results. What are you thoughts on this? I hate the idea of spraying them but it did make for a lot of extra labor last year trying to cut around the buggy spots.

Thoughts?

How to Buy Locally: 9 Easy Steps

I’ve been working on my post for the APLS Carnival for a couple days now and it turned in to me blabbing on about reasons why buying locally is good, etc.,etc. I decided to put together something quick and basic instead. I’ll leave the philosophical parts to someone else.

Assuming you support the idea of buying local products here are 9 easy steps to get you started:

1. Get yourself some reusable bags.
Ironically, you may not find these locally. You could always make them yourself, or the organizers of you local farmers’ market may have bags with their logo on them. My personal favorites are baggu bags, available on Amazon.com. There are several options out there so if you can’t find some locally look around online. It is still better than using plastic or taking new paper ones every time. Plus, a lot of vendors don’t even have bags.

2. Get organized! Find a spare little notebook in your desk or find a spot in your PDA for “local” contacts. When you find the one guy in 100 miles that grinds flour, you don’t want to lose his phone number! It helps if you have a place to store business cards.

3. Find out what’s in season when. Google the information for your area and print it off. If strawberries are only in for 2 weeks, you want to know about it. When they’re gone – they’re gone. This will help keep you from getting the call that your 2 bushels of peaches are ready the day before your wedding (like I did). If you’re really going to eat local, you’ve got to plan around the seasons.

4. Have a plan in place to preserve some foods for the off season.
This goes along with #3. Keep an eye out for recipes you like and store accordingly whether it be drying, freezing, or canning. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Someone’s Grandma would love to teach you to can. See my post about apples to get you started.

5. Check out sites like Local Harvest to find farmers’ markets and growers in your area. Most states have a website devoted to local companies and products. Search for “Michigan made” or “Michigan furniture”, etc. There are tons of sites devoted to finding local goods. Also scan your local newspaper and check store windows for signs that advertise “Local Products Here”.

6. Go Shopping! Seek out fair prices but remember that isn’t necessarily the most important thing. You’ll generally be saving on food anyway by buying raw goods and transforming them in to meals at home instead of buying processed meals at the grocery store. Remember to let the producers and artisans know how much you appreciate what they’re doing.

7. Expand your horizons. Pick a couple things off your shopping list each week and try to find a local source for them. Ask around. Chances are it is out there, it just may not be the most efficient option for you. For example, I would love to have local dairy products but right now I can’t stomach paying $7/gallon for milk. In those situations, just keep looking!

8. Consider making or growing your own of some things you use a lot.
You’d be amazed at how easy it is to grow potatoes. They are very forgiving. And so on.

9. Spread the word.
Give local products as gifts or share them at a special dinner. Chances are your friends didn’t know there were so many great things available locally. Plus, who doesn’t love pure maple syrup on Christmas morning pancakes.

I hope this helped get you started. If you’re already buying locally, I’d love to hear what works for you! Check out the APLS Carnival for more on local everything!

Update: Heather over at SGF has a great post up now about how to eat locally. Check it out!

9 Things We Do With Apples

Sorry for the long gap in posts – I lost my internet connection for awhile this week.

I have apples coming out of my ears and there is no end in sight – STILL! I thought I would share some of the things that we do with them around here to preserve the harvest. Here’s the list:

1. APPLE BETTY
This recipe was suggested by my mother-in-law and can be found in the Better Homes & Gardens “New” Cookbook (mine is definitely not new, more like 30+ years old). The recipe calls for 4 cups of apples so I peel and slice mine and freeze them in 4 cup portions. As you’re peeling drop them in some water & lemon juice to preserve the color, then drain & freeze. I don’t bother rinsing mine. Here’s the recipe:

“Apple Betty Pie”
4 cups sliced pared tart apples or 1 No. 2 can (2 1/2 cups) sliced pie apples, drained
1/4 cup orange juice (I’ll skip this if we don’t have any)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup butter

Mound apples in buttered 9″ pie plate, sprinkle with OJ. For topping: combine sugar, flour, spices, and dash salt. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly, then scatter over apples.
Bake @ 375 degrees F for 45 minutes or until apples are done and topping is crisp. Serve warm with cream (real whipped cream or cool whip, I don’t use anything). Serves 6.

2. APPLE SAUCE
This is where I use the most apples and here is how I do it…
Again, slice apples directly into bowl of water & lemon juice. When done slicing, scoop out apples and put in large saucepan with just enough water to avoid sticking. I cook mine on medium heat until the apples can be crushed with a potato masher or large slotted spoon. I don’t run them through a food mill or anything, I found that to be a waste of time. My husband likes his applesauce chunky but even if you don’t, I gotten it pretty well mashed this way. Them add sugar and cinnamon to taste and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of lemon juice. You can follow a recipe exactly if you want but since I use all the apples of our trees, and I don’t know what kind they are, I just taste test each batch and adjust appropriately. I recommend the Ball Canning Book.
Once you add the sugar bring sauce to a slight boil again and then can in quart or pint jars, processing for 20-25 minutes. I guess you could probably freeze this too, although I try to only use the freezer for things that can’t be preserved elsewhere. You could also make dried applesauce, which leads me to…

3. DRIED SLICES
This is a quick way to get rid of an abundance of apples. Again, slice in to water/lemon juice and then spread handfuls out on food dehydrator trays. You can also dry them in the sun or by hanging rings in your house but I prefer the dehydrator. I sprinkle each tray with cinnamon sugar and dry for 1-2 days. They should be dry throughout but still chewy. My husband and I both like these a lot better then we expected to. Actually, they are quite addicting.

4. GRANOLA BARS
I’ve been using these dried apples chopped up in place of raisins or other fruit in this great granola bar recipe. I also add them to my oatmeal-in-a-thermos (7th recipe from the bottom.

5. CHOPPED APPLE COOKIES
These are something that my hubby’s Grandma always used to make. We’re trying to track down her original recipe but in the meantime I’m planning to try this one.

6. CHOP & FREEZE
Hmm, maybe this is cheating. This is how I prepare the apple to use in #5, 7, & 8. I think it’s quite ingenious if I do say so myself. First I peel them and cut them in slices or chunks. Then I use my Pampered Chef gizmo to chop them up, I like them fine to medium. I’ve been told a food processor would be much easier & faster. I intend to try that someday but for now I’m happy not using anything electricity. After chopping I pressed the apples in muffin tins and popped them in the freezer. When you’re done you have nice 1/4 to 1/2 cup portions so you can thaw as much as you need according to each recipe. Here’s some pics:


7. WAFFLES
I tried this recipe last weekend and it was great. I used fresh chopped apples because I had them but this winter I can use either the frozen blocks or I think adding applesauce would have a similar effect.

8. APPLE BREAD

This is my favorite on the whole list. I’ll use 3 or 4 frozen blocks for this one. It is great to make on a Sunday and have a slice or two for breakfast all week. It is SO good and quite filling, even without any butter. I heat mine in the microwave for a few seconds. This recipe came on the back of my electric bill and gives credit to Bernice Hass:

1/3 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
2 c chopped apples
1 c sugar
2 Tbsp sour milk (or buttermilk, I use a little milk and vinegar)
2 c flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup nuts (optional)

Topping: 2 Tbsp butter, 4 Tbsp sugar, 1-2 tsp cinnamon

Cream shortening & sugar. Add eggs & beat. Stir in sour milk, vanilla, flour, baking soda, & salt. Add chopped apples and nuts. Put in greased loaf bread pan. Add topping and bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes. MMmmm!

9. APPLE PIE FILLING
I’ve been canning a lot of this too. Here’s the recipe straight out of the canning book, to make about 7 pints. I usually make a double patch and use quart jars. 1 quart will make a big pie:
12 cups apple slices
2 3/4 sugar
3/4 ClearJel(R) (I use cornstarch & have fine results)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/4 cups cold water
2 1/2 cups unsweetened apple juice
1/2 cup lemon juice

Blanch apples for 1 minute, set aside and cover to keep warm. Combine all ingredients except lemon juice & bring to a boil. Stir constantly and cook until thick & bubbly. Add lemon juice & bring back to a boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and fold in apple slices. Heat again until apples are heated through. Can & process 25-30 minutes.

The book does not have directions for using the filling but I would use it as you would when you bake a normal pie, adding the filling to the uncooked crust and baking the whole thing at once.

Well, there’s my list. Let me know if you try any of these things. I would love to hear what you’re doing with your apples. I hope I’ve suggested a few things that will help them last until next harvest.