Grandma G’s Applesauce

Today I tweeted about making applesauce and Monina asked if it was difficult. Before I could respond my friend Michelle tweeted her family applesauce recipe. Which, of course, is different from mine. I love seeing how other people make the same product – so much family history! Michelle’s 95-years-young grandfather is the chief applesauce maker in her family. My paternal grandmother was the applesauce maker in mine.

Everyone loved Thelma’s pink applesauce. Her secret was to leave the skins on – something only a few people do. It adds color, flavor and body to the sauce.

A few years ago, about 3 years after Grandma passed away, my mom asked me to take over the applesauce duties for our big family dinners. My aunt even bought me a food mill so I could be authentic.

This applesauce is sweet, but you can adjust to your taste. It’s also very easy. I suggest making a big batch and freezing some…that is if you have any left. My dad could eat this everyday. When I make applesauce I use a full peck of apples – I just make it in two batches – and throw a few jars in the freezer. A huge bowl of this will be going to Thanksgiving dinner with us next week.

Grandma G’s Applesauce
1/2 peck (give or take) apples, mixed varieties.
You want a mixture of sweet apples like macintosh and melrose. Get the “drops” or “seconds” if you can to save money. I got a peck of seconds at the farmer’s market for $2 last weekend.
Splash water or cider
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c brown sugar

Cut all the spots and bruises off the apples. Slice (I use an apple slicer) and throw into your biggest pot.

Throw the cinnamon and sugar over the top. If you’re like me and over-filled the pot and can’t stir it without making a mess, no worries. Just stir it later as the apples break down. If your apples aren’t very juicy you can add a splash of water, apple juice or cider. I usually wait to see what kind of moisture the apples give up and add this later if needed. The liquid just makes steam to soften the apples.

Cover and cook over low to medium low about an hour or until the apples are very tender and start to fall apart when you stir them. Stir when you remember. Cool the apples until you can handle them.

Spoon the soft apples into a food mill, blender* or the grinder attachment on a mixer and process. This is a great job for kitchen helpers.

(this photo is from last October – she’s grown so much!)

Store covered in fridge for about 2 weeks. Or pour into jars and freeze. If you’re cheap like me, recycle your pickle jars for freezing. It will keep in the freezer at least a year.

*if you use a blender I would peel half of the apples before cooking since the food mill or grinder will leave some of the skin behind.


Halloween Rehash

I know, I know. Halloween was over a week ago and you’ve already got your Christmas tree up.  I don’t care. I made some kick-ass Halloween costumes and I want to share show them off.

Matilda decided she wanted to be a super hero. She didn’t want to be any specific super hero, just a super hero. I decided going the SuperGirl route because the symbol is so recognizable (and easy to recreate) and we could just say she was Super Matilda.

 Of course, if I had a Super Matilda I needed a Super Madman.

Last fall I bought a ton of satin during a fabric store-closing sale so that was in my stash. I spent about $9 on felt and some metallic pleather. The base for their costumes was new t-shirts and pants that can be worn again. Add in thread cost (the only downfall of these costumes is the number of different colors of thread I needed) plus the fusible web and I spent way more than it cost to just purchase similar costumes. But where’s the fun in that? And the shirts and pants are totally reusable. Minus the cost of the shirts and pants I spent about $25.

For the capes I used a pattern I purchased last year to make a cape for a birthday gift. The only thing I’d add to the tutorial is to sew the layers of felt/fabric together first then just sew the finished appliquéd the cape. Satin is delicate – the fewer needle holes, the better.

They are reversible …she wanted a “thunder bolt” on hers (his is the same with a green circle on navy satin).

 I made the shirts the same way I make their appliquéd birthday shirts, except this time I used layered felt instead of one layer of cotton.

Matilda’s skirt was made using my beloved Oliver + S Lazy Day skirt instructions. I’ve made this easy skirt dozens of times.

 The belts are scrap elastic that was part of the packaging of Matilda’s bed quilt – I’m not kidding. It was this great 2-inch wide pink elastic with Velcro already sewn on. I cut it down to size, added a felt “buckle” and for Madman, covered it with a tube of yellow felt.

The Madman’s “boots” are just tubes I sewed out of red felt safety-pinned to his fleece Old Navy pants. Matilda wore new boots (boots I was going to buy her anyway).

I love, love, love these costumes and they’ve already re-worn the shirts and pants.  Madman’s shirt got a few little holes around the appliqué when I washed, but I fixed it with an iron-on patch.

Matilda and I had fun photographing her costume. And the capes are in the dress up box ready for more use!

(Chalk idea stolen from BurghBaby)