Howdy Sugar Pies! My goodness, it seems like the leaves changed colors overnight! This was the view from my back deck yesterday. The late afternoon sun covered the Ozark hills with such a radiant golden glow it looked like an oil painting!
For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.
~Folliot S. Pierpoint (1835-1917)
The street in front of my farmhouse
We also got quite a drenching the other night. It’s such a delicious feeling when chilly autumn winds begin to howl outside the windows and dark clouds gather overhead dropping buckets-full of rain when you’re snuggled all safe, warm, and cozy inside enjoying a steaming bowl of hearty soup by firelight.
It’s chill November weather,
But the firelight’s on the wall.
Home, dear home, is best of all, let’s thank God together.
~Henry Alford 1950
Image by artist John Sloane
It’s that glorious time of year when the sweet smell of burning leaves and wood smoke are swirling heavenward in the apple-crisp air (Oh my! I love it so much I want to marry it!) Folks are raking up their yards and stacking chopped wood in piles in preparation for when Ol’ Jack Frost stops by for a long winter visit. This is just one of the endearing delights of small-town America!
Local farm stands offer produce at it’s freshest! Sweet, crisp apples were on my shopping list to take home to simmer up a batch of old fashioned Apple Butter. On my last post I featured a sweet gal named Phyllis at Silver Dollar City who was one of the Harvestfest crafters demonstrating the art of apple butter making. I was so inspired I decided to try it myself…
I always like to start any project by creating a happy home atmosphere. When I’m going to be cooking I begin by putting on a cute apron with a flour sack towel tucked in at the waist so that I’m able to wipe my hands quickly when needed. I also make sure my kitchen is clean and clutter free. Lighting a candle makes the room feel cozy and putting on some happy-home music encourages a merry heart. (The music I play ranges from Bluegrass to Classical to Doris Day to The Gaither’s Southern Gospel to Bing Crosby Christmas to whatever tickles my fancy!(…oh yes I said Christmas! It’s my favorite kind of music so why only listen to it in December?) I’ve found that ”setting the stage” by intentionally nurturing a happy atmosphere almost always results in an enjoyable and even festive experience. Having things in order, the counters cleared off and plenty of time set aside for the task, makes for a more cheerful mama. And a cheerful mama is the best kind to be… all children everywhere I’m sure would wholeheartedly agree! (Hey! That rhymes! LOL!) You know what Sugar Pies? Every day we are making memories with our family…happy or sad…whether we want to or not. Let’s do our best to make home sweet for our dear loved ones! I love what Barbara Johnson said “For all of us, today’s experiences are tomorrow’s memories.” Let’s sprinkle those everyday memories with lots of joy!
Now, with my apples freshly scrubbed I’m ready to put up some downhome apple butter.
My white enamel-topped farm table made the perfect apple peeling station. I found that three bowls were needed to keep things in order and tidy. One bowl held the washed apples, the second bowl held the peels and cores, and the third bowl was filled with the sliced apples.
This handy old-timey apple peeler made the job a breeze! In fact my daughter Summer (age 12) wanted to take over for me. She was amazed at how fast it worked and how much fun it was! It peels, cores and slices all at the same time with just a few turns of the handle! It’s also perfect for when you are making apple pies, crisps and cobblers. You can use it to peel potatoes too! This particular model has a suction mount that adheres to smooth surfaces. (It held very strong onto my enamel table. I believe it would also work well on any slick surface such as granite, tile and formica.)
Of course you can also sit and relax with a bowl on your lap and peel the apples like farm women have done for years.
The wonderful thing about this recipe is that you cook it in a slow cooker! I can’t believe how easy it is. You can make simple apple sauce this way too. By the way, if you are not familiar with apple butter,( it was new to me until I moved to the Ozarks), it does not have any dairy butter in it. It’s basically a highly concentrated form of apple sauce that is cooked for a longer period of time, causing the sugar to caramelize and turn the apple butter a nice golden brown. It’s a delicious fruit preserve that you can spread on bread, biscuits, pancakes, even drizzle on ice cream. In many parts of the country apple butter making is a family event and is usually cooked in large copper kettles over an open fire. You can cook it on the stove top, but would have to stir often so it wouldn’t scorch, or in the oven. I like the simplicity of the slow cooker. Oh my, the aroma of apples and cinnamon goodness will fill your home for hours!
Aunt Ruthie’s Candy Apple Butter
1 gallon of peeled, cored and sliced apples
1 cup fresh apple cider
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon Red Hots cinnamon candies (if you don’t have these then put another 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon in its place…it will still taste delicious!)
Give it a good stir, put the lid on:
For fast cooking turn on High for 6 hours.
For slower cooking turn on low for 10-12 hours.
Stir occasionally during the cooking process. Once the apples have cooked down and have become soft use a hand held Immersion Blender to puree the apples into a smooth sauce right in the slow cooker pot…and you’ve got Aunt Ruthie’s Candy Apple Butter! Then make some biscuits or toast to spread it on and enjoy!
You can make applesauce this way too. Just reduce the amount of sugar to 1 or two tablespoons (or leave it out completely) add the cinnamon, apple cider and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. You really can’t mess it up, it’s so easy and delicious!
I loved Phyllis’ idea of using the cinnamon candies in the apple butter. Along with the yummy taste it also gives the apple butter a rosy hue which is so pretty.
An Immersion Blender made all the difference in the texture of the apple butter. I use mine often to make my soups and sauces creamy and smooth.
The apple butter recipe makes 5 pints. I sterilized the jars in boiling water, filled and sealed them with lids and gave the jars a 10 minute boiling water bath so I could give as gifts or store in my pantry.
Rosy red apples are good to eat
and Mama’s apple butter is always a treat!
A rule of thumb that I read about is if a spoon can stand up on its own in the apple butter, then it’s ready.
By the way Sugar Pie Sistas…for those of you who ordered the cookbook by Phyllis, the Apple Butter Queen from Silver Dollar City (that I talked about on the post before this one), she sent me a message that she is printing up a new batch of cookbooks ( they sold out ) and they will be ready to ship to you in a few weeks. She thanks you kindly for your orders!
This fall start the tradition of singing the Johnny Appleseed song at the dinner table and you’ll harvest happy memories and lots of laughter!
The Johnny Appleseed story is a great one to read to your kids and grandkids! Amazon has several versions, I have this one with the charming illustrations of Will Moses.
There are so many opportunities to make happy family memories during the fall season…come see the memories we made…
We headed down to McKenna’s farm in search of the perfect pumpkin, ride the hayride and journey through their winding cornfield maze…
My daughter Ashley, hubby Glen and the cutest little pumpkin in the whole wide world came too! I have to say this is one AdOrAbLe family!
There he is! My perfect pumpkin! Oh HoNEy!
Oh my goodness…what a butterball of love that boy is!
Good Ol’ Johnny Appleseed, a friend of the creatures
and the birds in the trees. He was a barefoot friend of the pioneer, good Ol’ Johnny Appleseed!
I like his “big boy” pants! And those toes need lots and lots and lots of kissin’!
What a darlin’! That’s my Johnny boy wearing a pumpkin hat from his adoring Grammie!
Sisters bein’ silly!
Oh look! There’s a pumpkin in the corn patch!
You know you’re lookin’ at a new daddy when you see a burp cloth hangin’ out of his back pocket!
Johnny’s first glimpse at a pig! I’ve already been singin’ Old Mac Donald’s farm song to him…now he can see for himself that a pig really goes “oink oink!”
Johnny WAS. NOT. HAPPY. about looking like a princess!
His daddy Glen had to grin and bear it…I do have to say he does look good in pink though!
It doesn’t take much to make a happy memory, and the benefits will last a lifetime!
Well, darlin’s Thanksgiving is just around the corner! Can you believe it?!
I’ve already begun to stock my pantry with some of the dry goods I’ll be needing for Thanksgiving dinner. If you start now and purchase a few ingredients each week, then it will be so much easier on the budget. Start by pulling out your recipes to make a menu and market list. Carry it in your purse or Planner Notebook so you’ll have it to refer to and check off next time you go to the grocery store. You may also want to have on hand extra Aluminum foil, plastic baggies, plastic wrap and food storage containers for leftovers. Here are a few items that I have on my list just to get you started:
Spices, Sage, Bayleaf, Rosemary, Thyme, Poultry Seasoning
Salt and Peppercorns
Butter Cake Mix
Condiments for leftover sandwiches, Mustard, Mayo
Hot Cocoa Mix
Sweetened Condensed Milk
Food Storage Containers
Frozen Turkey ( This week I’ll be cleaning out my freezer to make room for a turkey. My grocery store will have a sale soon, so I want to be ready).
Thanksgiving 101 is a great book and will tell you everything you need to know about cooking a scrumptious Thanksgiving dinner with all of the trimmings! From how to roast a moist and flavorful turkey, mouthwatering savory stuffing, pan gravy 101 to desserts and yummy meals to cook with the leftovers. He also has several pages with questions and answers. Just read all the 5 star comments on Amazon!
Thanksgiving: A Time To Remember: Written by Barbara Rainey of Family Life Today. It’s a treasury of our American heritage and history of how Thanksgiving Day came to be. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to enrich your family’s awareness of our nation’s Christian heritage, provide models of courage and sacrifice for your children, and establish a tradition of sharing your gratefulness with one another, which will build a legacy of memories for the future.” ~Family Life
Now is the time to start preparing for a wonderful Thanksgiving day!
My perfect pumpkin!
Bless you Sugar Pies! I always love reading your comments and appreciate them so very much! Y’all are such a blessing to me!
May the good Lord bless you and keep you real good!