Monday, October 10, 2011

Apple Butter

Apple Butter


This time every fall our grocery stores and farmer markets are filling their shelves with apples of every kind and color.  Green, yellow, red, red-yellow, green-red and the  creamiest yellow I’ve ever seen.  The aroma of the apple area always brings back fall kitchen memories for me.  Both sets of my grandparents had some sort of apple tree in their yard.  And our family didn’t believe in wasting anything so apple recipes were being exchanged among all the members of my family.


Apple butter was one of the last foods to be made.  You could use older apples, bruised apples and somewhat damaged apples and you still get a  tasty apple butter.  I never liked apple butter when I was a kid.  But now,  I love fresh apple butter.  Add another food that I wouldn’t touch as a kid to one I enjoy as an adult.


I think the first time I experienced apple butter that I actually liked was in Shipshewana, Indiana at Das Dutchman Essenhaus.  It was fresh and the spicy fragrance made me want to try it. Surprise! I liked it.  I don’t know what happened to my taste buds between 6 and 60, but something did.


Don’t get confused between apple butter and apple sauce.  Try putting apple sauce on your piece of warm crispy toast and see how soggy that gets in no time.  There is a significant difference between the two.


Apple butter is velvety and spreads as thick as jam over your toast.  Apple butter is most enjoyable when it is full of spices and sweets and brings visions of autumn mornings to mind.


Apple butter made by my “Ma” (my maternal Grandmother, Alice) usually took about a whole weekend to come from the tree to the table.  Gosh, I wish now that I would have liked it.  I still have wonderful memories of that week of preparing apple butter.  As far as I am concerned, cozy childhood memories are always created in our kitchensl.  I can come up with a memory for each season depending on the aroma of the food cooking.


Traditionally, apple butter was prepared outdoors, in big kettles over an open fire.  Now, that would create a memory.  It took a whole community to finish it.  In my childhood, however, we weren’t feeding the entire neighborhood.


Ma made it in a big kettle in her kitchen (her tiny kitchen by today’s standards.)  She filled the sink with water and added the apples, swishing them around each time she grabbed one.  Don’t ask me, I’ve researched this and can find no reason why she would do that, other than she wanted to.  Ma didn’t get to do a lot of things that she wanted to, so maybe this just made her happy!  You go Girl Ma!


Here is the recipe from “The Household Searchlight Recipe Book”  page 100, circa 1931. I am pretty sure that this was Ma’s recipe.




Apple Butter

4 quarts, pared, quartered apples
¼ cup vinegar



Cover apples with water.

Cook until soft.

Rub through a sieve.

Add ½ much sugar as there is pulp.

Add vinegar.

Add spices to taste.

Simmer slowly, stirring constantly, until thick.

“The Household Searchlight”


That’s it!  It seems that we always make our recipes so complicated and that we want to be told every step of the way what to do.  Do you think that this is why we are so intimated when it comes to cooking? Seriously, when I was looking up apple butter recipes on the internet, I found so many of them, and most of those I didn’t even understand.  And when I get to that point with a recipe, I say, poo poo on it.  I’m not doing it.


I have to admit, that I did make changes to the second batch of apple butter.  I added some Rum to the apples while they were cooking and I used boiled apple vinegar.


Ma would be proud.


By the way,  where’s the BUTTER?



Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Jello Recipe

Making Jello with Grammy

In-Our-Kitchen with Jell-O and Grandma

Children love to be helpful in the kitchen and they are very young toddlers it is hard to find projects that they can do themselves without being burned, cut, or harmed. That is why as a grandmother I love Jell-O. Jell-O is a very good substance for your toddlers to work with because they will not get hurt making it and they can have lots of fun in the process.
Bill Cosby set the pace when he showed how much fun children have eating Jell-O but in order to add to this fun you should let your toddlers make the Jell-O. I have two granddaughters age two and four years of age who constantly want to help me cook. I solved that problem with Jell-O!


Let your toddler pour the Jell-O in a mixing bowl with a handle, and then you add the hot water but let the toddler stir it with a plastic spoon. After the Jell-O has dissolved, let the toddler add the cup of cold water. Show your toddler the measuring line that says one cup. After this has been stirred for a bit, let the second little one stir the Jell-O for a while. Include all children in the stirring process this makes them feel very important.


I have Jell-O cups that are different colors so the girls select the cups that they want to put their Jell-O in. Wait! This is not the fun part! What better way to get your toddler to eat fruit than to add it into the Jell-O cups. I usually have fresh strawberries, blueberries, and peaches or pears chopped up into small pieces. The girls help me with the fruit by washing it under the water and sorting out the pieces. They have to separate the fruit by color or type we make a Kitchen Game of it in order to teach them about colors, fruit, and numbers.


Then I will tell the younger toddler she may have three pieces of each fruit. This may be the highest number some little ones can count to. When my granddaughter was very young, she knew the name of the fruits but not the colors. This comes with practice, and what better way to practice than eating fruit! The older girl picks out about six pieces of fruit but she can mix the fruit if she likes or she can put all of one kind in a cup.


We only but small bits of fruits into the Jell-O cups because we also have mini-marshmallows to add to the Jell-O cups. I try to get the colored marshmallows so the girls can tell me the colors and count their marshmallows. This does not take very long but it is a fun way to let your toddlers do their own cooking. I taught my own children how to make Jell-O when they were young so of course they expected me to teach the grandchildren.


1- Box of any flavor Jell-O that you like
1-Cup hot water
1-Cup cold water
Mini-marshmallows colored preferred
Two or three kinds of fresh fruit

Let the toddler pour the Jell-O into the bowl you add the hot water.

Let the toddlers stir until the Jell-O is dissolved.

Let the toddler pour in the cup of cold-water try to let all toddlers in the kitchen stir at least once or twice.

Next have your fruit prepared and in baggies, so the toddlers can select the fruit they want.

Let them tell you the type of fruit, the color of the fruit and count out the pieces.

When fruit and marshmallows are placed in the cups then pour the Jell-O over the top and refrigerate until it sets.

Afterwards children can have fun eating their Jell-O and fruits.

You might even want to include story time with the Jell-O.




This guest post was written by freelance writer Victoria. She is a stay at home mom and is currently working on a project with
gulv slibning.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Homemade Ice Cream

Homemade Ice Cream

Homemade Icecream

Think about those hot, summer days. You’re practically sweating buckets with the relentless sun throwing its scorching rays down on you. Oh, how you would give anything for something cooling, something refreshing, something that will give you some reprieve from this unbelievably arid weather. And right on cue, a familiar jingle begins from down the street: the ice cream truck chugs along, with its truckload of ice-cold sweetness. Oh, you think to yourself, we’re saved!


Who could forget the jingle? I’m sure that as kids, you would immediately dash into your home, hunt for some spare change or beg your parents for money if that fails, and rush out with the other kids in town to buy that irresistible, delectable ice cream. No one forgets that jingle – you’ll definitely be hit by a deluge of nostalgia if you were to hear that jingle now!


But who says you’ll have to wait for the ice cream truck before you can enjoy a cone of ice-cold ice cream? Some of you might have that old-fashioned ice cream maker, complete with a hand crank. home made ice cream making is a sort of Summer family fun for you lucky souls – Mom and Dad will take turns to crank, add salt and basically make those delicious ice cream for the entire family.


Summer family fun, indeed! We would all look forward to Summer, not just because school’s out – Summer is the only season where you have a ready-made excuse to make as much home made ice cream as possible for yourself! Think about having that creamy, yummy home made ice cream everyday after meals in the hot, arid afternoon. Remember that look of satisfaction on your siblings as they licked their ice-cold home made ice cream?


You’ll never forget the process of making these home made ice cream – every batch of ice cream takes more than 45 minutes to make, making every batch of ice cream your parents make so much more sweeter. Of course, you won’t be idling in one corner, waiting for the ice creams to be made. You were definitely asked to clean the blueberries or various flavorings, ready the cones and spoons, or prepare the next batch of ice cream to be made. This is the essence of Summer family fun – the entire family comes together to complete a task together, and that’s what bonds the family together.


However, so many people nowadays skip this family bonding moment – they simply waltz down to the nearest convenience store to buy their ice creams. It’s true that this is so much more convenient – who wants to spend their time in the hot summer, cranking the ice cream maker for 45 minutes?


On the other hand, that sweetness of tasting your hard work is gone. Where’s the “Summer family fun” if all you had to do to eat those ice cream is to place a few dimes onto the store assistant’s outstretched hands?


Don’t worry; you can still relive that Summer family fun moment by making your own ice cream. There are various recipes in here to help you recreate those ice cream memories with your family and friends. Grab your loved ones, and start making those home made ice cream and those magical moments shared together now!

 My friend, Suzanne, has an ebook available that has over 100 ice cream and frozen treats recipes.  Plus information on how to purchase ice cream makers. Homemade Ice Cream It’s only $6.00 and you can download it right away.

Why not print out some of our free ice cream recipe cards we made for you.

Free Ice Cream Recipe Cards

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