Recipes

Homemade Apple Chips

Apple Chips 6

Two recipes in a row?! You are gonna be so shocked when I’m sharing a third tomorrow 🙂

Today’s recipe is for a super healthy snack: Apple Chips!

I found a recipe on Pinterest from Maggie at Vittles and Bits and just had to try it out. I tweaked mine just a bit and now am a total addict. Just what I need, one more thing to be addicted to!

I grabbed some Golden Delicious apples from the store for my chips (Maggie used Red Delicious) and set them aside to be sliced.

Then, I lined three baking sheets with parchment paper. This probably goes without saying, but since I am not a total foodie I had no idea there was a difference between wax paper and parchment paper. Rookie move. I ended up destroying a baking pan because of that, so make sure you have the right kind of paper.

Spray your parchment paper lightly with cooking spray.

Apple Chips 1

Start to slice your apples. I used three for this batch. Slice them as thinly as you can and lay them on the parchment paper. I cut some of mine in slices, others in circles going straight through the core. Either way works, just make sure there aren’t any seeds.

If you have a dog, make sure no seeds fall onto the floor. They aren’t good for dogs (or anyone, really). Just sayin’.

Once your baking sheets are covered in the thin slices, I sprinkled a mixture of Splenda and cinnamon on them. You can bake them without either, with just cinnamon, with just Splenda, with sugar… blah blah blah, you get the idea. Use your imagination. On one of my baking sheets I lightly drizzled honey on the apples — it added a really nice flavor. Next time I make them, I want to sprinkle nutmeg on top. Yum!

Apple Chips 2

Now, time to bake! I set my oven to 215 F and put those suckers in for 2.5 hours. They take a while to dry out all the way, but they make your house smell amazing the whole time. Totally worth the wait.

Apple Chips 3

When you take them out, your super thin slices will be extra crispy. Some of your thicker slices might not be all of the way dry. I found that if you put them into a container they finish drying out. Or, you can eat them that way, too. Still delicious.

Apple Chips 5

Now your chips are done. Eat to your heart’s content. It is fruit after all 🙂

Apple Chips 7

Thanks for the inspiration, Maggie!

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Christmas, Craft Projects, Holiday, Quick and Easy Crafts

Glitter Pinecones

Wow, what a weekend! Craft night on Friday, two holiday parties on Saturday and a football party on Sunday.

I made the most adorable football cookies for our sad loss (better luck next time, boys!). At least the cookies were delicious.

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Onwards to the craft! Need a quick and easy holiday decoration that is sure to make your house sparkle and smell delicious? Why not glitter some cinnamon-scented pinecones?

That was one of our crafts for Craft Night and it was super fun and messy!

We used Mod Podge and a paint brush to paint the tips of the pinecones.

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Then we poured, rolled, dusted, etc., glitter onto the edges. Once the glue and glitter dried, I sprayed mine with Mod Podge sealer so the glitter would go crazy everywhere.

And then I popped them into my centerpiece bowl full of cinnamon pinecones. Yummo 🙂

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I only glittered four pinecones, and I think it was the perfect pop of aqua in my centerpiece. I’m usually all about green, red, gold and silver for the holidays, but I think the blue looks lovely.

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Holy glitter!

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Happy Monday!

Craft Projects, Holiday, Life, Recipes

Homemade Applesauce

Wow.

What a busy weekend.

Saturday was a blur. I participated in the Trash to Treasure Green Craft Fair and had a great time. A big “thank you” to those who stopped by the fair, and an even bigger “thank you” to by best friend Dana, my sister and my mom for stopping by and keeping me company throughout the day. Fairs are exhausting and having you there to help was really great.

Sunday was a blur. We made applesauce. All. Day. Long.

Seriously. Emily and I got to Dad’s house around 8:30 a.m. and immediately got to work making applesauce. We worked hard all day long, finally finishing up at 5:45 p.m. The hard work was worth it because we ended up with 72 jars of homemade deliciousness.

If you ever want to try making applesauce, I totally recommend it. It’s hard work, but it is also fun, smells amazing and tastes even better than it smells.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Apples: Duh. We used 3 bushels of apples (Two bushels of Red Delicious; One bushel of Golden Delicious) for 72 jars. Depending on how many you want to make… well, you do the math.
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Brown Sugar
  • Alcohol: We used Brandy this year. In years past, my dad has used Amaretto. Try what you’d like. The Brandy is the bomb, though. I definitely recommend it.
  • Vanilla
  • Red Hots 
  • Candy canes 
  • Pears
  • Canned Cranberries
  • Canning jars/lids/rings
  • Pots
  • Knives
  • Apple Grinder

Making applesauce is a many-step process. First, clean your apples and take all of the stickers off. If you want some extra fun, toss your apples into the sink. It doesn’t matter if they bruise, and it is great fun throwing fruit!

It is also important to sanitize your canning jars. We ran ours through the dishwasher, but you can also boil them. Clean your rings and lids, too.

Once your apples are clean and your jars are ready to go, it is safe to start cutting up your apples. I cut my apples into quarters, slicing through the core. Then I cut out any seeds and halved the slice. Set your apples aside until you have enough to steam.

Put your apples into a pot and fill the bottom with a few inches of water. Since apples have a lot of water in them, you don’t need to fully boil them to make them mushy. A little steaming goes a long way.

For this part, we used a regular-sized kitchen pot and a larger stock pot so we could have two going at one time. Talk about efficient.

Once your apples are super mushy, it is time to put them through the apple grinder. I’m not sure if that is the official term, but if I had to hazard a guess I’d say it’s not. You get the idea though.

The “grinder” has three important parts to note. First, there is the top where you put the apples in and mash them down into the processor. You can fill the white tub all the way with apples, but be careful not to splash the water onto yourself because it is HOT! We learned this the hard way.

Next, there is the sieve where the applesauce comes out. That is the portion with the large bowl right underneath of it. Finally, above the smaller bowl is where the peels come out. This contraption is awesome and such a time saver since you don’t have to peel all of your apples!

Once we had enough apples steamed to start making sauce, we put pots and pots full of them through the grinder. A few tips: Be gentle when mashing the apples down into the processor because stuff will go flying. Also, send the peels through a couple of extra times before tossing them. You can get a little bit more applesauce out of them!

Once you have a big ol’ bowl full of applesauce, it’s time to add your extras in. We don’t measure in our family, so just add what seems right to you. It’s the Bauer way. Here are a few of the concoctions we came up with:

1. Plain Jane applesauce: Applesauce, sugar and cinnamon (We added red hots to most batches of this, too. And, sometimes we put in vanilla!)

2. Brown Sugar applesauce: Applesauce and brown sugar — hold the cinnamon

3. Boozy Sauce: Applesauce, sugar, cinnamon and Brandy (We also added red hots to this)

4. Peppermint Sauce: Applesauce, sugar, cinnamon, crushed-up candy cane and red hots

5. Holiday Boozy Sauce: Applesauce, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, Brandy, red hots and crushed-up candy canes (This one is AMAZING. Seriously, it’s so freakin’ delicious)

6. Pear Sauce: Instead of apples (or in addition to apples), do this same process with pears. Add sugar and cinnamon!

7. Cranberry Sauce: Applesauce, cranberries (send these through the grinder), sugar and cinnamon

For any of these recipes, you can sub out sugar with Splenda. That tasted great, too.

Once your applesauce is mixed up in your bowl, transfer it into a mason jar using the jar funnel and a ladle.

You can also add red hots to the top of the jar before adding your lid.

Here’s a few important things to remember. 1. Leave about an inch or so of head room at the top of your jar. Do not fill your jar to the tippy top. 2. Make sure there is no residue on the top or sides of your jar where your lid will seat or it will not seal properly. 3. As you make different batches of applesauce (one or two bowls = batch), write on the lids in permanent marker what type they are so you can tell later on.

As you are getting ready to can your applesauce, soak your sanitized lids and rings in hot water. This helps them seal to the jar.

Place your warmed lid on top of your jar, then the canning ring around it. Do not screw it on too tightly or your jar won’t seal. Then, place them into boiling water for 20 to 25 minutes.

When they’ve boiled long enough, grab your jabs using a jar grabber (again, probably not a technical term), and place them onto a drying rack or on a towel. Don’t place them directly onto a cool counter because the temperature differential could cause them to break.

Here’s the most important thing — make sure your jars actually seal! When you set them aside to cool they will often make a single popping sound as they seal. That is GREAT! How do you know if they are sealed? Well, if you can press on the lid and it moves up and down and makes a clicking sound, it isn’t sealed. A sealed lid won’t move much and will have seemingly been sucked downward into the jar. If your jar doesn’t seal properly, your applesauce will spoil. We had to re-seal a bunch of jars — definitely invest in real Ball Mason jars and lids and avoid cheap knock-offs. Our cheap lids didn’t seal well at all and we ended up redoing most of them using Ball lids instead.

Once your jars are sealed, store them until it is time to gift, gift, gift! Like I said earlier, we made 72 different-sized jars. I took home 27. SWEEEEET.

I plan on making labels for mine before I gift them to friends, family and coworkers for the holidays. I also hope to make this a family tradition each year. My Dad used to do it years ago and I finally got him to do it again this year and teach me and Em how… I really hope we keep this tradition going. I love family time and I love me some homemade applesauce.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and encourage you to check out my sweet video at the top of the post. Yes, it’s a goofy DIY by yours truly. I think it turned out pretty well!

Thanks for stopping by.

And seriously… try the Holiday Boozy Sauce. You won’t regret it 🙂