My good friend over at Beth Fish Reads hosts this wonderful weekly meme where we can share what we are cooking. Many times I have found a new recipe to try or even planned right then and there that what I read about was what I was making for dinner.
Today I thought I would share with you the fall tradition I have of making Apple Butter from our apple trees. As there are lots of pictures, I am also placing this post under Saturday Snapshot (another excellent meme). The main connection I have to the whole process is this:
I am the proud owner of my Great Grandmother’s chinois sieve and pestle. This really is the selling point for making apple butter at home (well… that and all the apples). I love taking these items out of storage.
And… I do have apple trees.
It is Tree #3 I have been working off of. While I am waiting for the first frost before I pick the apples, Tree #3 is my crazy tree who never has an off year, is ALWAYS loaded down with apples and breaks it’s branches. And currently had dropped a lot of apples to the ground so I have been snatching them up.
So I have been making apple butter. I like it because it is fairly simple – no need to peel, seed, etc… here is my basic recipe handed down and perhaps tweaked a little be me….
You will need…
canning jars – small jelly style up to a pint
canning lids and rings
large pot (canners are good)
apples (I use from our trees but any hard apple will do – Granny Smith apples work great!)
apple cider vinegar
You will need 4 pounds of apples per batch. I usually double the batches. Cut off any bad spots on your apples and then cut in quarters and don’t worry about seeds, stem, core. Weigh your apples and when you have the right amount bring to the stove and place in a large pot (the big canners work great for this).
Once apples are in the large pot, add two cups of water and one cup of apple cider vinegar to every 4 pounds of apples. Cover and bring to boil for twenty minutes.
After apples have cooked soft, with a slotted spoon, scoop the apples out of the liquid and place the sieve over a pot or bowl and then put apples into the *sieve. Use the pestle to squish the good sauce out of the apples and keep doing this until all that remains in the sieve is the skin, seeds, and stems. Continue until you have done this with all the cooked apples. Then take a spatula and grab the excess sauce off the outside of the sieve.
Add to your apples – 1/2 -3/4 cup sugar to each cup of apples. I kind of do this to taste and you should too – some people like a sweeter product than others. I am closer to the 1/2 cup sugar to each cup of apple sauce, sometimes less. Add 2 tablespoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon all spice, 1 teaspoon, cloves, and 2 tablespoons vanilla to each 4 pound batch you are making. Stir all of this well.
Over med low heat start to cook your apples using a wide bottomed pan. The point of the cooking is to evaporate all the excess moisture our of the apples so the wider the pan bottom the faster this processes can be. I use two large deep fry pans. Cook this way for 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring often until apples are thick and if you place some on spoon and put in freezer for a minute the sauce does not get runny.
Sterilize your jars. I put mine in a clean sink and pour hot boiling water over them.
Scoop apple butter (yup…. it is apple butter now!) into the jars leaving 1/4 inch space to the top. Place a lid and ring over each jar. and leave to cool on a towel on your counter top. You should hear the lids pop as they seal.
I know there are easier ways to make apple butter these days, but using the same process that my Great Grandmother used and knowing that her hands used that pestle as did my own mother brings me a little happiness.
Apple butter is excellent on toast, and I like it with cottage cheese. It is also good on pork chops and makes for a wonderful gift.
Just a reminder.. Banned Book Week starts September 27th and we have a lot of fun lined up for this annual event. Click on the meme pic or the link above to find out more!
Today I wanted to share the pictures of the bench that was dedicated to my son at the Brainerd Public Library. It is one of those things that I am a little surprised I have not already posted the pics (I did post the prep of the area pics but never the finished area). And then as I plan to write this post the tears start rolling.
How my life has changed these past 5 months…
It is in all honesty quite surreal and surely requires a reality check from time to time. How can this all be real? How can 5 months ago I had this vibrant amazing kid in my life and we were making plans and hanging out and then…
Now I have benefits, and Color Runs, and tree plantings and ribbon cuttings…
and a very very broken heart.
However, this is not what this post is about. Well it is and it isn’t.
If you can put a shed of light over this tragedy I am trying to live through… what I am posting here is a spark of life and love and well…. here it is.
A brief background story to the bench if you do not know it…. when my son died in a car accident this past April the book blogging community took a stand and wanted to do something to honor my love for books and the library and my great love for my son. Money was raised quickly for this project, bloggers and publishers, and authors, all came together to make this happen.
I still can not write this or talk about this without tearing up… what an outpouring of love during the hardest part of my entire life.
And the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library group contributed $10,000 to add in 4 more benches and a picnic table to the area for people to enjoy.
Thank you to every one who contributed. Coming through the way the book community did at such a time as this was such a gift to myself and my family. This heart felt generosity will not be forgotten.
(This post will be linked to Saturday Snapshot, where people share their stories through pictures).
This weeks Saturday Snapshot is going to be about Wine and Words, the literacy event that our Friends of the Brainerd Public Library sponsor each year. This is year three and we had 320 guests at our sold out event.
As you can imagine, this was not the easiest of years for me to push through this event. I thankfully had secured our authors in February of this year and Nadia Hashimi joined us in late March (only a week before my life fell apart). The website and the ticket sales were already in place by then so the team was able to move on with the planning without me until I was able to assist again in June.
We were at a larger venue (Grand View Lodge) that allowed us to accommodate 120 more guests than last year. It has been so exciting to watch this event grow from a “do you think this will work in Brainerd?” to a “holy smokes we need a larger venue!”
We had a great team of people willing to work on the silent auction, ticket sales, handing out brochures, and this year we even worked on sponsorship’s! As you can see in the above picture, we had an excellent author line up – a good mix of genres and the authors were so well spoken – talking about their writing, their books, and their relationship to libraries. Seriously.. I was a bit giddy.
Here are a few of the many many pictures taken of our event this year:
Ahhh… what the heck, here is what the event really looked like:
We gave away gift cards and a Kindle Fire. Justin’s friends also purchased a table in his name and attended, just as he would have – and just as he had, the last two years. ♥ There are no words for what that means to me…
As far as how we did… I am finishing up the last bit of calculating today so I can give our team an accurate look at the total win for Friends of the Brainerd Public Library… and trust me on this…
it was a win. :)
Check out other Saturday Snapshots here and see what awesome people are taking pictures of around the world.
Well I certainly did not plan on being MIA this past week here, but I see my last post was a week ago. A week on heavy library activity and we are down to the wire planning for Wine and Words. Lots of busy volunteers out there making the final steps happen. This week I worked on the table brochure, seating arrangements with my friend Sue, lots of email communications, sponsor information, phone calls, ticket sales, communications to our venue, and tomorrow myself and the Co-Chair Gail will hopefully take care of the final silent auction items which we are planning on a good 4-6 hours at the library doing that.
This week at the Brainerd Public Library a lot of things were happening fast.
- We got the word that the cement people were coming to lay out the plan for the benches and give the bid.
- The Library Director and I went and layed out the plan for the benches and where they would go.
- When they came the bid was a good one and they said they would be able to do the job on Friday. (Yesterday)
- We hit “go mode” and bought materials to put stone around two of the trees in the area the benches would go to add a nice park feel to the area.
- I dug up hostas from my own gardens because I loved the symbolism of having the plants being from our home where my son’s bench was going to be placed.
- Thursday we were able to work on it a little bit in the morning and then we were rained out.
- Friday morning we finished the hosta project (including a bonus space because we had extra stones) and the cement people did their thing.
- The benches will go in early this next week.
A little background on the benches for those of you who are not familiar with my story of the past 4 months…. when my 24 year old son was killed in a car accident in April of this year, the book community did an AMAZING thing. A group of bookish friends who I have connected with through here, started up a bench fund so a bench could be placed at our local library in memory of my son.
My heart… runneth over.
This bench led to the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library moving forward on something we had talked about over the last couple of years, and that was putting some nice outdoor benches outside the Library. The Friends, on top of what the book community started with Justin’s bench, tossed in an additional $10,000 so we could add a bench on both sides of Justin’s as well as an octagon picnic table, a heavy duty garbage can, and two more benches for the Children’s outdoor area of the library.
I will post pictures once the benches are in place. I have seen Justin’s bench and it is BEAUTIFUL.
As you can imagine, this whole project has been bitter sweet. I love being a part of it and digging my hands into the dirt knowing that this will become a place where people will sit and read, and talk, and enjoy. For those of you who contributed to making this happen… I can not thank you enough. Even now, 4 months in I still cry every day. This bench… this project means so much.
I am posting this to Saturday Snaphot, where people all over the world can add pictures of what is happening in their lives. ♥
I have not been a part of Saturday snapshot for well… lets say a long time. Today seemed like a good day to do this one again. July was a crazy mess. On top of my own grief, my friend Connie went into the hospital on July 3rd and by the 5th we were told she would not be coming out. This lead to the next couple of weeks of visiting the hospital almost daily, in some cases twice a day. At the end of each day I would be a bundle of emotions – grief on grief I started to call it. On the morning of Thursday July 16th she passed away with her husband and two sons beside her. The world lost yet another amazing person. This set off another flurry of activity as I set up a meal train and helped the family as they needed throughout the weekend and the week of the funeral. On the afternoon of the 17th a friend posted on Facebook she was going to get a Rhino tattoo. (Rhino was our team name for the bike ride, named after a book Connie received 32 years ago when she first became sick called Rhino Success, about being strong and courageous and CHARGING ON like a Rhino no matter what. When Trisha asked if I would do the tattoo with her… I said yes without hesitation…
Three days after the funeral was the Camp Benedict Bike Ride that Connie had created to raise money for Camp Benedict each year. The Camp Board had decided in early July that we would move ahead with the bike ride. So….. that led to a whirlwind of other activity weaving throughout all of this other stuff in July… working on rider count, lining up many volunteers, promoting, planning food for the ride, awards, t – shirts (Connie had already designed this years t shirt), permits, marking the road, etc…. Thank goodness for a great team of helpers! Any hoo…. here for Saturday Snapshot are some of the ride pics…
And… let me just say day 2 was HOT. We were dreaming of riding our bikes right into a lake. Then when passing my friend Amy’s home we popped in to get a drink and wound up in their pool…. yes… in full on bike gear.
So there it is. That was last Saturday. The ride was a good way to complete a hard hard month and honor my friend Connie. Camp Benedict is a camp for families infected and affected by AIDS. I am proud to be the Vice President of this camp that I have watched change lives for the past 5 years that I have been a part of it and I am sure many years before I became involved. Camp Benedict is a non profit 501C3. If you or anyone you know would like to donate to this camp here is a link:
Today… I think I am laying low. In fact I think I am laying low for the weekend and I am looking forward to it. July was crazy busy and even this past week was filled with Wine and Words activity, a visit from one of Justin’s good friends, and catching up on my yard and home. Books and audio and sitting in the sun are on the agenda.
Good morning! Another Saturday is here! Saturdays are my FAVORITE day of the week. The work week is over and usually Saturdays are a day that I have something fun going on.
Speaking of Saturday’s, last Saturday was no exception. After spending the afternoon in a Writing seminar, I sped away to a local gas station where I changed into a dress and went to congratulate my friend Julia Lee at her book launch.
I walked in almost an hour and a half after the launch had started due to the seminar and I was surprised (and excited!) to see how full the room was with people!
I had talked a bit about Julia the week of her book launch for her book Seven Stones when I interviewed her, and then reviewed her book. Julia is so fun and easy to chat with that she is one of those people that when you meet her, you want to read whatever she has written to see if that personality shows through.
She is like a room full of champagne bubbles.
The event was a lot of fun, the venue, Prairie Bay is known for delicious and unique horduerves such as artichoke chicken pizza, and apple and goat cheese skewers. It was amazing food and great conversation as I waited in line with my friend Christy and chatted up what else? Books.
What a great first signing! The event was a lot of fun, I caught the tail end of it and had a glass of wine with Laurel from our Library and then went home after a long and productive day.
Today… I leave in about an hour for the library where a few of us are meeting to start hauling some of the books for the April book sale from the library to the venue we will be using. I am kind of excited to start this process and as there are SO MANY BOOKS this time and we are moving off site every little bit we do helps take the pressure off of the big push in a couple of weeks.
You can read Julia’s fun blog here where she talks about the book, the excitement, life stuff, and great recipes!
Last weekend I was a part of the largest run that Minnesota hosts every year, the Get Lucky. The Get Lucky run is a ST Patrick’s Day Run and it is a 7 K Run or a 7 7 7 Run (21 K). This is my third year being a part of this run.
For Saturday Snapshot this morning I thought I would give you a little recap of the run.
I ran the 7k with 11,000 other people in Minneapolis. In St Paul, another 20,000 were running the Triple 7k. CRAZY stuff.
The run has entertainment along the way. These girls were dancing Irish style at the start of the run…
These little boys were about half way through the run. There were also a couple of Irish bands along the way that played music for us as we went by.
There were signs along the way that marked what “K” we were at to
torture us let us know how far we had gone.
The route is the same every year and towards the end of the run we go over a bridge that is always an uphill battle. Literally.
Sweet victory was mine!
At the end of the run they had up signs for other runs they will be having in Minnesota this year. I am signed up for the Tiki run next that will be a night run in St Paul. SWEET!
One of the things I really enjoy about the Ortho Runs is the swag you get for doing them. Ortho does not give out yet another event t-shirt. They usually have cool hoodies or running gear.
SO that was the run. Today is a literary day. After a walk with a friend this morning, this afternoon I am attending a writing class and after that a book release party. I am looking forward to a good day!
Kind of hard to believe from the comfort of my cozy home this morning that a week ago I was loading up the car with a prom dress, bubble toe tennis shoes, a black make up marker, and wearing a friend of mines dog tags to go to Anoka Minnesota to throw myself in the lake.
Crazy Minnesotans… we will do anything for entertainment in the winter. :)
SO for this Saturday Snapshot, I give you the Polar Plunge pics that I have. There are more to come from the professional camera peeps of the event however those are not posted yet.
and the pictures you are waiting for….
It was for a good cause, our area alone had 1,000 plungers raising a total of $208,000. Other areas:
South Metro: 985 Plungers raised more than $232,000
Alexandria: 435 Plungers raised more than $93,100
Today there is a plunge in my home town of Brainerd Minnesota. Oddly, I have completed two now but I have never jumped in Brainerd. Hmmm…. maybe next year :D
You may recall in January I picked my word for this year to be Emerge. I purchased the above necklace for myself on my birthday to remind myself of my word. I think so far… I am living it. :)
Today is a day of reading, web design, working out, and just chilling around the house. I rented Mockingjay for my hubby and I to watch tonight. Laying low and loving it!
Good morning! As the sun comes up this morning in Central Minnesota I am prepping to leave for my two-hour drive to Anoka MN where at approximately 1:45 pm today, I along with many many other crazy people are going to jump in the lake for Special Olympics.
I am guessing I signed up, I received pledges. I am doing this.
I offered the people who pledged me to have a say in one thing that I wear. I will be wearing a prom dress. Dog tags. And something Harry Potter. I will show you what that ensemble looks like at a later time.
For the rest of you… stay warm. Read something good. I will be finishing the audio book All The Bright Places today during the drive time.
I am linking this post to Saturday Snapshop. Stop and see what everyone else is taking pictures of today :)
Good morning! For today’s Saturday Snapshot I thought I would share with you a little information on the Glow Worm Caves in New Zealand. When traveling there last month I had never heard of the glow worm caves. Our travel-mates were signed up to do a tour at the caves and we decided to join them.
What a trip in education!
The caves are located in Waitomo, New Zealand. From our cruise ship that had docked in Auckland it was about an hour to the caves.
The glow worm is actually while pretty to look at, also gross. It is apparently the larvae life cycle of an insect and looks like a maggot. (The caves were dark so thankfully we only seen the pretty part).
The caves themselves are beautiful lime caves. I wish we could have taken pictures inside, the rock formation was beautiful.
The female glow worms drop a line which is what you see in the picture. The line attracts insects and they get stuck to the line. It is crazy but the females live two days and the males live three days. The cycle continues due to the thousands of eggs each female lays in her short lifetime.
It is deep within the caves that we then get in the small boats. We are asked to remain very quiet as our voices cause vibrations and disturb the glow worms. It is a pretty cool experience.
You can read more about the glow worms on the Glow Worm Tour website. It is a unique tour. I had never heard of a glow worm until the tour.
Check out more Saturday Snapshots here.
Today I may just read. Or I am talking big. I keep saying I am going to read all week but I have been busy with projects and the books kind of go to the wayside. I do need to have some book time this weekend. Order of the Phoenix and a few others wait on me.
What are you reading this weekend?