Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sugarless Apple Butter












*Head over to the "recipes" section at the top of the page for lots of recipes and food ideas~

Three years ago I shared my recipe for sugarless apple butter. (see post here) It has been a hugely popular post (who knew people Google searched "sugarless apple butter" so often?)
I still make the same recipe each year and I thought this year I'd re-share it, filling in some
more details and suggestions~

A Ton of Apples (this year we used a bushel)
Cinnamon
Nutmeg

Wash and core the apples, leaving the peels on. Depending on the amount of apples you have, either put them directly into a slow cooker (crock pot) or if you have too many - like I did this year- place the apples in a large stockpot. Add a thin layer of water in the bottom of the pot and turn on medium-low.

Cook the apples down, stirring and mashing as they soften. Depending on how much the apples shrink, you may be able to transfer them to a slow cooker.
*It would be ideal if you can get the apples to the slow cooker to make the apple butter. This year I just had too many apples so I finished the entire process on the stove top.

Once the apples soften, cook, covered on low heat for many, many hours (this is why the slow cooker is so handy). Stir occasionally. As the hours wear on, the water will begin evaporating from the apples and it will thicken over time.

Add cinnamon and nutmeg to taste (again, depends on the amount of apples you are using). Continue to cook down until it thickens even more and darkens in color.

Once you feel like you have an apple butter consistency, take a taste. This is what a sugarless apple butter tastes like. Very much like...an apple! Most of us have been raised on very sweet apple butter so a sugarless apple butter will taste tart. You can, at this point, add sugar (or another form of sweetener) to taste. That is up to you. If you do add a sweetener, cook the apple butter a while longer to make sure the sweetener is dissolved properly.

Also, you need to decide if you want a smooth apple butter texture or not. If you like it smooth, transfer small batches of the apple butter to a blender or use an immersion blender. I prefer a bit of chunky-ness to my apple butter so I only blend half of the apple butter and mix it into the chunky apple butter.

Water bath process the apple butter in mason jars if you want to store them in the pantry for a long period of time or just scoop the apple butter in jars and store in the refrigerator if you plan on eating it up quickly.

This morning I made a big batch of biscuits and took biscuits and a small jar of apple butter to the neighbors for a Saturday morning breakfast treat. In fact, I think I have enough jarred apple butter to feed a small army this year~



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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Welcome!

So what do you think of this new fancy blog? I am so excited to finally get an overhaul. It was much overdue. Mike and I have been tinkering with the html for months now trying to get things the way I wanted but to no avail. So I found this miracle worker and voila, a perfectly organized blog. Hooray!

So if you haven't already, feel free to do all of those fun little blog things like
1.follow The Art of Homemaking on Facebook
2. and Twitter
3. and "Join This Site" there in the sidebar.
4. say hello
5. and of course, please help spread the word. You can even grab a (soon-to-be-appearing) button in the sidebar.

Lots of things happening (aside from the blog) over this way. Loads of freelance writing ~ yippee!
A weekend trek to a molasses stir off in the Appalachian mountains AND an amazing history lesson at a Civil War Battle Reinactment.


If you are out and about this weekend, pick up a copy of Hobby Farm Home's Popular Kitchen Series Magazine, Pies and Cakes. I have lots of articles, recipes and photos in this issue


Yep...thats my sweet Ezra eating a fruit tart. One of the perks of being the photographer~

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Scenes From the Orchard...

We are off to a sorghum molasses stir off this weekend. Trying to squeeze every last bit of fun and goodness out of this beautiful fall season. What will you be doing?

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Weekending~

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Watching the leaves change at such a rapid pace (too quickly for my liking) on our big old maple tree. In a few days our entire dining room will have a gorgeous golden hue.

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Pulling together an Autumn Dessert Wedding Reception at The Homestead. Mini warm apple pies were placed on each plate just moments before guests arrived.

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Beginning to work on handmade Christmas gifts. This year I have something a little special up my sleeve.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Have You Seen It Out There?!

*FYI...you can now find The Art of Homemaking on Facebook*

I hope you live in a part of the world that is getting the fall season right now. If you happen to be on a beach in Mexico sipping margaritas or shoveling snow in Alaska, I kind of feel bad for you.
The weather is incredible right now in Kentucky and the scenery, even better. Mike and I woke up this morning and knew we needed to make time for an Autumn day drive. We haven't had one of those in a long time.

We headed toward a small town south of here called Danville. Along the way we stopped at Marksbury Farm. I would take the time to tell you about it here but really you need to just head over to their website. This place is amazing.

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Chocolate Croissant's at Marksbury...Mike and Otto ate one before we even made it out the door.
We made a quick run down to Danville for $2 chicken salad sandwiches at a local bakery and a stop at (officially) Mike's new favorite shop, V the Market.

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The weather shows no sign of making a turn for the worse so we are making lots of plans to be outside in the coming weeks. I am forseeing tennis matches with my 8 year old, evening picnics under our big old maple tree and some pumpkin carving on the front steps.

Hello Autumn...feel free to stay as long as you like.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I'm A Kentucky Food Blogger

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Photo taken by fellow food blogger, Lori Rice

There's a new group in town.
A group with over 60 of us and growing.
We talk food, often.
We eat food, often.
And this weekend, shared an amazing meal together, marking our first official networking dinner.
Dinner at one of the finest restaurants in Kentucky, no less. Jonathan's at Gratz Park ~ oh la la, indeed! And to further add to the grandeur of the night, Alltech, a world leader in animal health and nutrition (their Angus steaks are amazing~), sponsored our amazing dinner.
I feel really lucky to live in a town with such an amazing group! I wouldn't necessarily label myself strictly a "food blogger" but my blog obviously encompasses alot of food so I am glad the group has warmly welcomed me.
And the group, of both men and women, college aged to retired, make up a generous, warm and really intelligent group of people.
We feasted on ridiculously yummy food, were given swag bags at the end of the night filled with all sorts of Kentucky Proud products, a signed copy of Jonathan Lundy's cookbook AND I won a $25 Marksbury Farm gift card at the end of the night. I know, right?!
We were also given tickets to the Incredible Food Show the following day.

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A day filled with food sampling, cooking demonstrations from the Voltaggio brothers and...well more food sampling, was more than this girl could have ever hoped for.

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Canaan learning about bees from a local honey producer.

We ended the weekend with food and friends (I think there is a constant theme throughout this post). After the show we met friends downtown for pizza. By total accident we found an amazing balcony open to the public, yet empty, that overlooked a festival happening below. I won't divulge the location because a girl should never give away her secrets~

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A photo of my dear friend Julie dancing with Otto

The perfect weekend ended perfectly. Music serenading us below, a beautiful sunset, pizza, friends and the warmth of the autumn sun on our faces. Thank you Lord.