Apple Season – Crockpot Applesauce

20141027_104820I enjoy pumpkin season, but I LOVE apple season. Right now my diet is limited, but my guys still need to eat.  And they like applesauce.

Applesauce is so easy to make.  You don’t need any special equipment or ingredients.  The very minimum you need is apples, a knife, and a large pot.  Even easier…you can use a crockpot.  Tastes so much better than the stuff you buy from the store, and it is much cheaper as well.

To make the applesauce, start with your favorite apples.  Courtland apples are one of my favorites for applesauce and available here locally in bulk.  You can use Fuji, Gala, Honeycrisp or you can use a mix of what you have available.

Peel, core, and quarter your apples.  Use as few or as many as you like, but you can start with about a dozen.  As you cut, drop your apple quarters in a bowl of cold water with a couple tablespoons of lemon juice to keep them from browning.  Drain the apples and place into crockpot with about a half cup of water.  Cook on high for three to four hours or on low seven to eight hours (or overnight) until apples are very soft.  Stir apples with fork until desired consistency.  Serve warm or store in a sealed container in your refrigerator and serve cold.  You can put the applesauce into individual containers and they are great for lunches.

You can add sugar and/or cinnamon or other spices to your apples as they cook if you choose, but I find the apples are usually naturally sweet on their own especially if you use the sweeter apples (Honeycrisp, Fuji, Gala, Braeburn).

I hope you will trying making your own applesauce.  Once you see how easy it is, how good it tastes and how frugal it is, I know you’ll want to make more.  I’d love to hear how it turned out.

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re

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Frugal Friday – Pumpkin Puree

fall-2010

Fall 2010

We may not celebrate Halloween, but I do love pumpkins. I like to decorate the house for fall with them and then use them to make puree. I think fresh pumpkin tastes much better than canned…and it isn’t hard to make. I think once you try making and using fresh puree, it’ll be hard to go back to canned.

First you need a sugar pumpkin…or two. They are the smaller, darker orange pumpkins. You can use the bigger carving pumpkins, but they are more stringy instead of meaty. I’ve used carving pumpkins to make pumpkin bread and it tasted just fine but if you want to make a pie it is better to use a sugar pumpkin. A 4 pound pumpkin will give you about 1 1/2 cups of puree.

2014-10-08pumpkinsaWash your pumpkin, cut the top off and cut your pumpkin in half, then clean the guts and seeds out. Save the seeds as they make a yummy snack too! I choose to bake the pumpkin instead of boiling it. I think it retains more flavor and nutritional value. They contain Vitamin A, B and potassium. Pumpkins are also a source of protein, dietary fiber and Vitamin E. So bake it cut side down in a 375F oven with about a cup of water for about 1 1/2 hours or until soft. Cool, then scoop the pumpkin from the skin and mash it by hand or use a food processor.

Because pumpkins are 90 percent water, the puree will be watery. You will want to drain it in cheese cloth overnight before you use/store it. It can be stored in the fridge for about 3 days or frozen for up to six months (but I used some that was in longer and it was fine).

Now that you have your puree, you can use it to make all sorts of pumpkin yummies.  Do you have a favorite pumpkin recipe to share?  Feel free to post it or the link to your recipe in the comment section.  Here are a few of mine:

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin Seeds

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re

Recipes: Macaroni Salad

macaroni3aOne of my favorite summertime meals.  Great and frugal for picnics and carry ins too. Here are a few macaroni salad recipes from my stash.  These are easily adaptable to your own tastes and what you may have on hand like chicken or carrots.  They are also easily adaptable to dairy-free.   My opinion is it always tastes better the next day, so I like to make it a day ahead if I have the time.  What is your favorite macaroni salad recipe?

 

Macaroni Salad 1

2 cups macaroni
2 small cucumbers, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1 3/4 cups creamy salad dressing
1/4 cup milk

DIRECTIONS

Cook macaroni pasta in a large pot with boiling salted water until al dente. Rinse with cool water and drain. In a large bowl add the chopped cucumber, tomatoes, green bell pepper, and onion. Blend the milk and creamy salad dressing together in a small bowl until smooth and to your liking of thickness. Add cooled pasta and salad dressing mixture to large bowl of chopped vegetables. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until chilled. Serve.

 

Macaroni Salad 2

1 lb. box elbow macaroni – prepared as directed
4 hard-boiled eggs – peeled, coarsely chopped
3 ribs celery – sliced
1 med. onion – chopped
1/2 cup pimento-stuffed green olives – halved
1/2 cup mayonnaise OR creamy salad dressing – low-fat okay
2 Tbls. milk – low-fat okay
2 Tbls. distilled white vinegar
1 Tbls. granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt

Fold together all ingredients in large bowl. Refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight before serving.

 

Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad

2 cups macaroni
2 (6 ounce) cans tuna, drained
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. Rinse under cold water, and drain.

Mix tuna, onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic powder, mayonnaise, salt and pepper, and mustard together in a large bowl. Add pasta, and mix well.

Prepper? Homesteader? Survivalist? Other?

2016Aug25Chickens“You’re NOT a homesteader!!”

Yes, I’ve heard that and no, I’m not.  I don’t fit into the homesteader mold nor do I fit the prepper or survivalist molds either.

While many things I do are popular in these lifestyles, I don’t really fit the mold.  I have a totally different philosophy and goal than most others.

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Making slippers for Christmas gifts,  just like mama did.

I’ve always been on the frugal side.  Sometimes more frugal, sometimes less.  Much of what I do is just what I had learned growing up.  I’ve always been interested in the outdoors, gardening, camping, hiking, farming etc.  Growing up in the city didn’t give me many opportunities for them, but I really enjoyed any chance to be outside with nature and camping/hiking became and still is one of my favorite activities.

 

ggma

Celebrating my birthday with my great-grandmother…a homemade cake and homemade party hats.

I heartily understand the philosophy behind prepping and I agree with most of it.  I don’t feel like I need to live barricaded in militarized zone with 30 years of food and supplies put up in my hidden armored bunker.  If you do, that’s fine.  I do feel, however, that as the manager of my home I need to be as prepared as possible to care for my family in what ever situation comes our way.  We live in crazy, fragile times.  But I firmly believe that the extreme form of prepping goes against what the Bible teaches.  The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, to take care of the orphans and widows, feed the hungry, visit prisoners.  It doesn’t say only do these things when times are good and stop when “stuff” hits the fan.  I will do my best for my family, but together we serve God first.

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Canning grape jam.

There are so many ideas of what a homesteader is. To some it’s living completely off grid and to others it is simply adopting a more self sufficient lifestyle where ever you might be at.  Living off the land is hard, hard work, but can also be rewarding.  We live in a small town on a small lot, and while I do a lot of things that homesteaders do, I wouldn’t classify myself as a homesteader.  But again, a lot of these things I do I learned growing up.  For example: I learned gardening…organic gardening…from my grandfather.  In the big city.  I learned to make things by hand from my mother and great-grandmother.   I learned to be frugal from my grandmother…like using old clothing (read: underwear) to mop the floors and putting left over bread that is starting to stale in the freezer to use in the future for stuffing.  When I moved out on my own, I appreciated the farmers market that was right across the street, and I found out first hand how practical being frugal was.

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The garden goes all the way to the wood fence.

All these things became very real for our family when my husband lost his job a while back.  This area of Indiana suffered a great blow with many automotive, trailer and RV manufacturers laying people off or closing.  Hubby’s company closed and sent the work elsewhere.  Not being burdened by lots of debt and having a well stocked pantry with a garden got us through the hard times when many others were going under.  Not only were we able to keep our heads above water, but we didn’t have to rely on any assistance, food or utility programs.  And even then, we were able to help out others when they needed it.  I’m not saying it didn’t hit us hard because it did.  Only now are we starting to get caught up on things that we had to put off during that time (like getting our roof fixed, replacing appliances that stopped working etc.)  But being frugal, prepared and doing as much with our land as we could, we made it through when many others didn’t.

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Curing onions in the garage.

So I guess you can classify me under what ever category you would like.  I’m not prepping for any zombie apocalypse, but for real life circumstances for my family and those around me.  I’m not living on an off grid homestead with livestock, but we are trying to live more sustainable where we are.  If you asked me what I would call it…I guess I would call it living Proverbs 31.  I’m a homemaker.  Regardless of what circumstances arise, my main responsibility is to God first, then my family and my home, and then helping others as I can.

What about you?  Do you fit the mold or are you an outlier like me?

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re

Matthew 25:34-40 – Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

Coffee Recipes

coffeecupsun

Enjoying my morning hot coffee with the sun streaming in the window.

I have to say first off, I’m not a fan of iced coffee. Blech. I don’t mind coffee flavor in some things (like my favorite hard to find Coffee Crisp candy bars) but in my mind when coffee is cold, you either heat it up or get a fresh, hot cup. I thought I was just old school.

 

I was going through some cookbooks looking for a certain recipe and as I was flipping through one of my older cookbooks (1977) I came across a few coffee recipes including one for iced coffee. Wow. It was a thing back then too! I thought I’d share the recipes so I could save you from spending your hard earned cash on expensive cold coffee shop coffee.  I’m sure the recipes would work just as well with your favorite dairy free milks too.  Enjoy!

Iced Coffee: For each glass of iced coffee desired, brew coffee using two level tablespoons coffee and ¾ measuring cup (6 fl. oz.) cold water. Use more or less to suit your taste. Pour hot coffee over ice cubes in tall glasses. Serve immediately with cream and sugar.

Coffee Ice Cubes: Pour about 3 cups of brewed coffee into ice cube trays. Freeze until firm, at least 5 hours. If used with cold coffee, makes enough cubes for eight 12-ounce glasses; with hot coffee, enough for five 12-ounce glasses.

Coffee Frosted: Combine two cups of chilled brewed coffee with 1 pint of vanilla, coffee or chocolate flavored ice cream in a bowl and beat until blended and thick. Serve immediately over Coffee Ice Cubes in tall glasses. Makes 3 2/3 cups or 3-4 servings.

So, do you enjoy cold or iced coffee?  How do you like your coffee best?  You can let me know in the comments below or with a link to your blog post.  I can’t wait to hear from you!

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re

Unplugging

img_20170103_155518We recently cancelled our internet service here @ home.  There were many reasons for it, the main one being that it was getting expensive.  We are still able to connect through our cell phones, but having limited data has made us realize we spent WAY too much time online.  It has been a benefit not to be tethered all the time and I have found I am spending more real time with my family and more time getting things done.  Go figure.  The best benefit to unplugging is getting back to living life.

I do miss connecting with all the blogs, YouTube channels, and other streaming I was subscribed to, but now it’s a treat when I do, not a given.  I can do things like blog posts offline and

And in God’s perfect timing, the extra money in the budget helped in a financial pinch that would have really hurt otherwise.

Now I am looking for other things to unplug from.

How about you?  Have you thought about unplugging?  Let me know, I’d love to hear from you!

The Complete Tightwad Gazette

tightwadOur financial situation has changed quite a bit over the last several years.  We’ve had to tighten our belts, loosen them a bit, tighten them again, and just when we thought things were getting better we had to tighten more.

I’ve pulled out The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn to re-read.  It’s a compilation of the bygone newsletter The Tightwad Gazette.  The book is a bit outdated, and while everything she presents in her book may not apply, the book itself can be a good read to find ideas to apply to your situation and put you into the frugal mind set to come up with your own ideas. It’s one of the books I think everyone could benefit from reading.

Amy’s personality made being frugal fun, not drudgery.  Her wisdom and experience really helps you refocus the way you see things.  One of the things I like about this book is all the creative ideas for repurposing.  I have to be careful, I have a tendency to save everything thinking it could be useful one day. lol

The book also has recipes.  Here is a recipe we like from The Complete Tightwad Gazette for Bean-Bacon Chowder (just in time for fall!) I make my own versions of this quite a bit.

Bean-Bacon Chowder

6 slices bacon, cut up
1 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp flour
3 cups milk
2 medium potatoes, peeled
1/4 tsp crushed dried thyme
1 22-oz jar of baked beans or substitute homemade
1/4 cup snipped parsley

Cook bacon and onion in a saucepan until bacon is lightly browned and onion is tender. Blend in flour. Add milk; cook and stir until bubbly. Dice potatoes; add with thyme, 1 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Cover and simmer 12 to 15 minutes or till the potatoes are done. Stir in beans and heat through. Top with parsley. Serves six.

Genesis 41:35-36 – And let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming, and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. Then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land may not perish during the famine.