Apple Butter

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LOVE  apple butter. The creamy texture, the way it tastes on my home made cinnamon raisin bread, I just love it! So today is apple butter day in my home!

I use almost every part of the apple. Many recipes that I have found say that they core and peel the apple, others say that they use the core and the peel but then run them through a sieve. I core the apples, but use the peels in my recipe.

I hear the collective gasp! But no one used the actual peel! My grandmother never made it with the peel!

Why? I didn’t know either, so I went looking. My thinking was that the peel has lots of pectin in it, it is probably filled with all kinds of good stuff (like eating the skin of a potato) that we needed! Not one to buck the tried and true, however, I wanted to know why it wasn’t used.

The two answers I got most often were: It doesn’t mash well so there are chunks left in the butter; and the peels have wax on them.

Well, I have a really good blender so I have no worries about chunks of the peel left in my butter, but the other gave me pause. Until I found this http://tinyurl.com/kz4m9ah, and TA DA!!! No more wax!

So here is my apple butter recipe. It usually takes all day for it to cook and then jar, but it is worth it!

You will need:

1. 10 lbs of apples. I use 5 pounds of Red delicious, 2.5 pounds of Honey Crisp and 2.5 pounds of Granny Smith. I like the sweet and tart mix, but feel free to experiment on your own mixes!

2. 2 cups of sugar. Many of the recipes I found during my search (including old family one’s) called for 4 cups or more of sugar, and if you like really really really sweet apple butter then go for it! I have found that for my tastes 2 cups does just enough sweetening and the apples do the rest.

3. 1/2 tsp of Cloves

4. 1/2 tsp of Cinnamon

*A couple of side notes: I like to use Splenda when ever I can in my cooking, but I found that when canning the flavor becomes bitter if I don’t use sugar. Also, the cinnamon and cloves are beginning amounts, and I sometimes adjust them as I am going along depending on my tastes. Have fun! Make this your recipe! Adjust it to YOUR taste.

Okay, now for the fun part! I have a 6 quart slow cooker and 10 lbs of apples, so this is a process!

Core the apples and then cut them into small chunks. Throw them in the slow cooker. When it is full pour the sugar, cinnamon, and cloves over top and mix REALLY well. Cover and cook on high.

Keep an eye on them because as they cook down you’ll be adding more apples. I usually check on my slow cooker about every 30 minutes.

Once all of the apples are in leave it on high for another hour and then turn down to low to cook for another 8 hours or so.

Now, I have been told to leave it alone for all 8 hours, but I am not a patient person so I go back to stir it, taste it, and smell it whenever the mood strikes me. 🙂 I’m breaking all the rules here!

After 6 hours I run it through the blender to make it smooth and creamy. Remember the peels I was telling you about? Gone, gone. All blended up, and the texture is more like baby food than apple sauce, which is exactly the way I want it. Put it back in the slow cooker for another hour. They are ready to can after that!

If you are gone all day, or (like me) you need to wait on someone to help you with the canning, then leave the apple butter in the slow cooker on low or warm, it isn’t going to hurt it.

Can it up and keep it some place cool and dark until you are ready to eat it!

Enjoy!

Oh, let me know if you have any questions!

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A rant to the doctor: Would you?

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Dear Doctor “I’m sorry, what’s your name”

If I had been a man would you have been so quick to blow me off? If I were not female would you have taken another moment to listen to my concerns and realize that I am not stupid about my health? If I had a set of balls would you have believed me when I told you that the over the counter supplements that I take were the result of hours, days, months of research on my part to treat this disease that should have killed me by now? If I were Indian, like you, would it have made a difference? If I were male, like you, would you have listened?

Do you, in all of your vast education, believe that nothing is better than a chemical treatment, another pill, a little bit of death in a prescription? Do you believe there is no other way?

Can you realize that I am throughly convinced, not by feelings but by the research I have done and the results I live, that the supplements you tell me to stop taking are what has kept me alive and well all these years?

I look at other women with this disease. Women who have been on prescribed medications. Have you seen them? Do you honestly believe that they look “healthy”?

LISTEN TO ME! I know my body better than anyone. I know my mind better than anyone! I KNOW what I am taking, and what it is doing for me. LISTEN! I know that you think I am an idiot, I can tell but the way you talk to me. The way you dismissed me. The way you shut me down before we could start a dialogue about MY health.

I am just trying to decide if that is because I am female or because you are an asshole.

Work work work

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The never ending saga that is this house.

The plumbing. I think that it was put into the house as an after thought using whatever scraps were lying around. The plumbing is where the downstairs issues began.

The kitchen was painted and beautiful. We had chosen a cream color with a bright yellow strip all the way around the center, well, in fairness I talked the Man into it. Details details. We had replaced everything in kitchen. Not because we wanted to, our intention was only to clean it and paint it, but as soon as we began moving things they fell apart – literally – and there we were in Home Depot at 9 o’clock in the evening looking for a counter base.

Anyway. One day I noticed what looked like a bubble in the paint on the ceiling, and me being me I poked my finger into it! Damn damn damn.

Okay, I can’t kick myself over this too much. It was bound to happen and I’m glad I didn’t leave it because it exposed a big BIG problem. That problem was the the damn plumbing from the tub and toilet (which, incidentally, runs right over the kitchen) was all backed up and broken.

The problem is that our landlord is  a relative  which means that to date it has not been fixed. So once a week I have to go out and spray any “material” down the sewage pipe to make sure that it doesn’t plug up again.

Fun Fun! Today my landlord is calling plumbers. I am remaining optimistic.

The wall was fixed in the hallway today, once it is dry I will sand and paint and all that good stuff! Yay! I am really looking forward to having at least that part of it complete.

 

Begin at the beginning

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I live, we live, in a home that is less than 500 square feet. It has two floors, downstairs is the kitchen/living area/dining room and upstairs is the bedroom/bathroom. I love it! But it’s not been easy. We moved here because it was a steal! Low rent + utilities, but it would need to be cleaned and painted and have some work done to it.  Uhm, yeah. Lots of work.

When we first showed up to clean the older woman living her still hadn’t moved all of her stuff out so I had to start on the top floor while she had people helping her load up and move out. Even The Man helped her, while I grabbed my bucket – o – supplies and headed up the very narrow, leaning stairs.

What I found had me crying within an hour. Don’t misunderstand, I am normally a very strong woman! I don’t cry much usually, but I was overwhelmed by what I found. There was shit all over the floor. No, I don’t mean stuff that was left behind, I mean feces. Human feces. Covering the floor, running down the side of the stair case, in every nook and cranny. The bathroom had been left to her cats (lord knows how many) and reeked of cat urine, the toilet, tub and floor of the bathroom were black. I had to call in the big guns! On went the triple thick rubber gloves, the face mask, the long sleeves – you get my point – I looked like I was ready for a chemical war! Everything got scrubbed. Everything, walls, ceilings, floors, anything that had been touched by someone else was being touched by Mr. Clean and Lysol. It took nearly 7 hours to clean the top floor! But it was a whole new place when I was done.

I couldn’t do the downstairs until the next day, which was fine since the Man wanted to start painting upstairs and needed me to be down.

It was a Sunday when we returned. I got to work on the downstairs and he started painting the up. Oh, it looked so wonderful when we started getting the paint up! Before the walls had been this ugly brownish-pinkish color that you find in nursing homes, but the Man had coaxed these beautiful walls back to life with primer and earth tones so that you wouldn’t even recognize it was the same place. We have often said that we should have taken before and after pictures, because no one would ever believe us.

The top floor was coming together, and we were both starting to breathe.

Soon, the work would take us to whole new levels of hell and triumph.

That’s for another day.