Canning, Recipes

A weekend of Applesauce

My eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach this weekend. I went to our local market to buy apples for applesauce, and the price was so astonishingly great that I bought two bushels instead of one. Yay apples!

Apples_Bags

I spent all day Sunday (from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) making applesauce — with a little help from my older sister who was in town — and only got through one bushel. Considering it took seven hours, I don’t know when I’ll get to using the next bushel — hopefully one night this week. I think I’ll turn the remainder into apple butter. Yum!

Anyway, if you want to read about how I make applesauce or see one of the few videos I’ve made for A Smith of All Trades, check out my applesauce post from 2012. My dad, little sister and I have made applesauce each year for the past three years. After the first year and a limited supply of sauce, I started doing a batch with the family and a batch on my own. This weekend was my batch and I made 28 jars (24 quarts, 4 pints). Next weekend, the plan is to do it again with my dad. Double the help = half the production time!

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In my 2012 post I shared a bunch of different add-ins for the applesauce. It is a family tradition to doctor the applesauce with things like vanilla, cinnamon red hots, brandy, candy canes — all sorts of stuff! This year, I added in fireball whisky. I’d never had it before, but our family friend suggested the cinnamon flavor would taste great in applesauce. Well, he was right. It might be my new favorite thing to add in!

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Life, Vacation

The Finger Lakes

My husband and I aren’t big travelers, but in the past two months we’ve visited Chicago, New York City, Atlantic City and the Finger Lakes in upstate New York. Oh, and I’m going to Philadelphia this weekend! So much travel!!!

Anyway, we just got back from a week in the Finger Lakes, which is a gorgeous area to visit.

If you are ever looking for a relaxing vacation, I highly recommend visiting this area, even if only for a long weekend (that might even be better than a whole week).

We started our vacation in Corning, NY, at the Corning Museum of Glass. I was pretty nervous about bringing the hubby to a glass museum, but it was pretty darn cool. The museum has a huge portion dedicated to interactive displays ranging from heat-sensitive windows to telescope lenses to walking on glass. They also had glass blowing demonstrations and a make your own glass class! It probably goes without saying that I HAD TO DO THIS CLASS! And it was awesome.

Glass blowing

Yup, she’s holding my thousands-of-degrees-hot (I think it was thousands anyway) Christmas ornament! How fancy!

After Corning, we headed to Watkins Glen, NY. We stayed in a beautiful hotel on the harbor. Look at our amazing view of Seneca Lake.

Seneca LakeHoly smokes is that amazing!

Next, we went hiking in Watkins Glen State Park, which is a gorge you can hike/walk/climb up. The views were breathtaking.

US at Watkins Glen

When we were finished hiking, we walked back to our hotel and hopped on a local boat tour of the lake. Then we hit some wineries.

GrapesWe drank A LOT of wine on vacation haha.

Us at vineyard

Day three was a day for horseback riding, which was probably my favorite part of our vacation. We rode at Painted Bar Stables with our guide Erica. She was hilarious and such a good teacher. I was nervous at first, but it was fantastic. MY horse’s name was Dozer and Brian’s horse was named Mac.

Brian and MacHe looks like a super trooper!

After horses we explored the lake before heading to our hotel for the night in Seneca Falls. The town was itty bitty with not much to do, but had a lot of beautiful buildings to look at. The old knitting mill was my favorite.

Knitting Mill

The leaves were also super beautiful here, probably because it was the northern end of the lake.

Leaves

That evening we got the treat of a lifetime. Brian and I did a six-course dinner at Belhurst Castle paired with six of their wines. The castle is right on the lake, so that was a win. AND we had two wine experts all to ourselves explaining how to sniff the wine and different ways of tasting the wine. It was pretty incredible. And did I mentioned dessert was chocolate crème brûlée? Possibly one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten!

After Seneca Falls, we headed over to Cayuga Lake. First, we stopped to go apple picking!

Us at orchard

I have always wanted to go apple picking. First of all, how novel is that. Second, the apples were SO CHEAP! I’m talking $1.15/lb. The orchard was called Beak and Skiff  and it was just too cool. They had tractor rides out to the part of the orchard you were allowed to pick in. They had a hard cider tasting room, a cafe, a bakery, an apple barn, a playground, a gift shop… they had everything!

Barn

We picked 10 pounds of apples, which I have already turned into applesauce and apple butter. YUM!

After our apple adventure, we hiked Buttermilk Falls in Ithaca, NY.

Buttermilk Falls

Seriously, upstate New York has some pretty incredible parks to hike with some amazing scenery. What we didn’t know about this hike was that the hike started as a pretty steep climb up about 300 stairs. We were so tired by the time we got to the top, but it was so worth it.

Our trip ended with a nice stay in a local bed and breakfast, a few more wineries, and a kayak excursion on Cayuga Lake.

I say it was an excursion, but it was just us. And only one of us was good at kayaking. I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t Brian!

Kayaks

Yes folks, I love to kayak. Love love love. I can thank my dad for that! He’s taken me many times and I’m pretty darn good at it.

My hubby, on the other hand, is pretty bad. He is SO SLOW and can’t paddle straight to save his life. But he was charming with his kayaking inadequacies and it ended up being the perfect way to end our trip.

Kayaks again

We are home now and so relaxed. It really was such a great trip filled with so many wonderful activities.

Craft Projects, Graphic Design

Applesauce Labels

Remember all of that applesauce I made last month? Well, it’s getting super close to Christmas and time to give it all away. I wanted to jazz up my gift a little by making labels for the applesauce, so I designed a super cute red and green label in InDesign.

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I printed them out and started cutting each label out. I applied them to the jars in different ways, but the way I liked best was adding it to the jar with ribbon. To do so, I cut two lines on either side of the label using an exacto knife, then I slid the ribbon through these holes.

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I then put a few dabs of hot glue onto the back the label and placed it onto the jar, making sure to secure the ribbon with a dab or two of hot glue as well.

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Don’t the labels look great? I left a line at the bottom so I could write in the flavor of the applesauce before giving them to my coworkers for Christmas.

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Here’s one with a little bow instead of ribbon around the jar. These turned out adorable as well.

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