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Posts Tagged ‘apples’

Birthday month


September is a big birthday month in our family. I've been wanting to post a few things about our recent family birthdays and finally decided to write about them individually rather than to write about all three.

Our daughter Megan has the first birthday of the month on the 17th. We were not able to celebrate with her in person but we did talk with her on the phone and we sent her a package with a few items. Her husband and children came up with some fun activities to help her celebrate. Megan teaches first grade and has an apple theme in her classroom. She suggested that she would like some different pillow covers so she could have a themed pillow to place on the rocking chair she has in the reading area of her classroom. She sent me a picture of one that she had seen and I did a little research and found instructions for something similar that I thought I could create.

Here's a picture of the finished product:
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applepillowcover

It was fun to look through my fabric scraps to come up with all the colors for the apples. I also tried a new technique for appliqueing the apples and leaves onto the pillow cover called raw edge applique. You machine stitch around each piece twice in contrasting thread.

applepillowcoverclose

I have tried free-motion quilting in the past and wasn't very good at it, but this was much easier on such a small project. I did have a bit of trouble with the giant rick rack edging on the pillow. I think smaller rick rack would have been easier to maneuver around the corners of the pillow.

In my next post I will chronicle little Renny's first birthday party.


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Apple Peel Jelly and Carmel Apple Cheesecake


CarmelAppleCheesecake

Last summer while shopping at a thrift store I found a rather recent copy of Southern Living magazine which featured many apple recipes. After perusing the magazine I wanted to try making the recipe for Apple Peel Jelly so I could then make the recipe for Carmel Apple Cheesecake. ๐Ÿ™‚

I had heard of making jelly from leftover apple peels and cores from our neighbor, Dorothy. She lived right next door when we were first married. She loved to garden, can, and cook, so we were kindred spirits in many ways.

I made the apple jelly using the magazine recipe last fall. It turned a beautiful pink color and had a nice, sweet apple taste but it did not set up properly. Fortunately I found some instructions for what to do if your jelly is too thin on the Pick Your Own website. I followed those instructions and this time the jelly set properly. I had not planned to actually can this recipe since I was just making a very small amount and would keep it in the refrigerator. In the past I have had blackberry jam which was too thin which I used for blackberry syrup or ice cream topping.

Well, since I had the apple jelly on hand I could now move on to the Carmel Apple Cheesecake. It did not disappoint! It turned out to be quite delicious and helped to use up some of the last of our fall apples when I made it a few weeks ago. I used some leftover (store bought) ginger snaps to make the crust instead of the graham crackers called for in the recipe. The pecans in the crust were quite nice. In retrospect I don't think you would actually need apple jelly since it uses such a small amount as a glaze on top of the apples. You could probably use thinned and strained apricot or peach jam if that is something you are more likely to keep on hand.

While I'm not sure I will be making the apple peel jelly often it was fun to find out that it is possible and I did learn how to salvage jams and jellies that are too thin. I do plan to add the cheesecake recipe to my file as it was very tasty and attractive. It would make a nice Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert.

Besides the changes to the crust that are mentioned above I also baked the cheesecake in a water bath. I wrapped the pan in two layers of heavy duty foil. I got this new cheesecake pan last year and really like it.

RemovingCheesecake

The one I had before was cheap and flimsy and the latch on the outside was difficult to use. Some time ago I read a tip about using a hair dryer to heat the outside of the cheesecake pan to facilitate removing the cheesecake. This large spatula also helps to remove the bottom metal plate from the cheesecake if you want to put it on a serving plate.

CheesecakeTools

If you are looking for a delicious apple dessert add this one to your file.

CarmelAppleCheesecakeSlice


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A few new things


It seems that I often find myself trying to come up with ideas to utilize partial amounts of ingredients such as part of a can of evaporated milk, a cup of spaghetti sauce, or half a block of cream cheese. I recently ran across a recipe that would utilize that half block of cream cheese that was in the fridge and decided to try it. The result was these delicious Cream Cheese Brownies. I saw the recipe on the America's Test Kitchen TV show on PBS. We thought the brownies were delicious and I plan to definitely add this recipe to my file.

CreamCheeseBrownie

I needed to make a dessert for a church function recently and I tried a new recipe for Old Fashioned Apple Cake from the King Arthur flour website. It too was very tasty. It helped use up some fall apples that were starting to shrivel a bit. The frosting is especially good.

FreshAppleCake

Hyacinths are one of my favorite flowers. I found this bulb in the vase at the grocery store a couple weeks ago and we have enjoyed watching it grow and finally bloom. It smells wonderful! After it wilts Rob will plant it out in the yard to add to our collection. Forcing spring bulbs is one of my favorite after Christmas traditions. It makes it seem like spring truly is approaching soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

HyacinthBlooming

Anything new going on at your house?

Becka


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Fall Favorites


SweetPotatoBaconCake

People say that fall is their favorite time of year for a variety of reasons. Some like the colorful leaves and cooler temperatures. Some, like me, look forward to preparing seasonal favorites. I thought I would highlight some of our favorite fall dishes.

We love apples and have already enjoyed some of our favorite apple recipes such as Apple Dumplings, homemade applesauce, and Cranberry Apple Pie.

Sweet Potatoes, winter squash, and pumpkins are plentiful and we have enjoyed Corn and Squash Soup, Roasted Butternut Squash, Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin, Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake.

I tried a new recipe for a Sweet Potato Cake this fall for a church event. The recipe was intriguing because the cake was topped with toasted pecans and crumbled bacon! (It's pictured at the top of this post.) It is a nice moist cake and the brown sugar in the cream cheese icing is a good complement. I don't think I will add the bacon in the future though. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you'd like to check out the recipe, it's called Betty Crocker Sweet Potato Sheet Cake with Bacon Cream Cheese Frosting.

I have made the Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake in the past and I wanted to share a tip from my friend Linda. This recipe calls for mini-chocolate chips. They do seem to work better in cakes by staying suspended in the batter. The regular size chocolate chips can sink to the bottom. Linda told me that she used a nut chopper to chop up the larger chips and she even gave me this little nut chopper so I could try it out. I can attest that it works very well!

NutChopper
Just looking back through these recipes I found several others that I haven't made yet this year. So many good fall recipes; so little time!

Another favorite fall activity here in the area is going to Gerald's to stock up on Christmas baking supplies. I heard recently that they have moved to a new location. I called and found out that they are now located in the Center West shopping plaza in Berea at 1601 Cedar Lane Road. I'm looking forward to checking out their new store soon to stock up on pecans and to get a few chocolate covered raisins. ๐Ÿ™‚

Do you have a favorite fall recipe or two that you look forward to each year?

Becka


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This and that


I'll start this post with a recent picture of Ryan who is nearly 18 months old now and lots of fun:

We drove up to the mountains one afternoon last week and after stopping at one of our favorite bakeries for a delicious Cranberry Apricot Scone we drove on down the road making our way to the apple farm to restock our dwindling supply of eating apples and produce. On the way Rob noticed some activity in a store front that used to be a quilt shop. He quickly pulled into the parking lot and we went in to the Beginnings Quilt Shop. The store has a lot of beautiful, modern fabrics, some patterns and quilting supplies. The owner told us that she has only been open for four weeks. So, if you are a quilter and are in the Flat Rock, North Carolina area you will have to check it out.

We did end up getting some fresh vegetables and some apples. A friend asked me to bring some apples and caramel dip to a bridal shower that is coming up and we were discussing how to keep the apples looking nice. I told her that my friend Kathy had told me about soaking the apple slices in Sprite or Seven Up to keep them from browning. She said she had tried that but it hadn't worked well for her.

Well, this morning I decided to do a little experiment. I peeled, cored, and sliced apples into four different solutions: Sprite, citric acid in water, salt water, and Fruit Fresh water. I let the apples soak for about an hour and then took some out and put them on a plate and let them stand for an hour.

At the end of the standing time I discovered that all of the solutions did a great job of keeping the apples from oxidizing. The apples soaked in Sprite and in the Fruit Fresh solution tasted the best. The salt water apples tasted slightly salty--this would not be a problem if you normally add a little salt to the pie or apple crisp you might be making. The apples soaked in the citric acid solution were very tart--this too would not pose a problem if you normally add lemon juice to your pie or apple crisp.

I then drained all of the apples and combined them to make an apple pie using this recipe. (I just omitted the boiled cider since I didn't have any.) The pie ran over and looks rather messy, but we ate it any way. ๐Ÿ™‚

What is your preferred method for keeping fruit from turning brown?

Becka


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