Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Apple Pie Apple Crisp (a canning recipe)

I know I keep saying it, but I just can't help myself. Fall is finally here...the leaves have even gotten the message and started turning golden. Even though it's going to be short lived (it'll be 85 next week), I'm going to live it up while I can.

And honestly, what screams fall more than crisp apples? Ummmm... how about Apple Pie Apple Crisp!?!And since you know you're going to be craving this amazing food, why not spend some time canning this liquid nectar from the gods so you can have it in January? It's really not as hard as you would think... here, I'll even show you it's easy!

Here's what you need for the Apple Pie Filling:

Apples, Sugar, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Salt, Cornstarch, Lemon Juice, Yellow Food Coloring
 Apple Pie Filling for Canning
(Makes up to 7 quarts of filling)


* 6 lbs Apples, any variety used for baking (about 32 cups of sliced apples depending on how much you pack into a jar)
* 4 1/2 cups White Sugar
* 1 cup Cornstarch
* 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
* 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
* 1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
* 2 tsp Salt
* 10 cups of Water (cold)
* 3 Tbl Lemon Juice
* 2 drops of Yellow Food Coloring

Along with canning supplies {Wide Mouth Jars, Lids, Rings, Water Bath, Jar Lifter}


Start by sterilizing lids, jars and rings. To do this, place the lids and rings in a small saucepan and simmer on low while you cook the sauce. Also, now is the time to bring your water bath to a boil. Because nothing ruins the canning momentum like waiting for that massive pot to boil. To sterilize the jars, I just place them in the water bath (filled with water) and bring to a boil with the water. Pull them out just before filling with apples and sauce. Keeps the jars hot to fill with hot things. Gotta keep it germ-free.

Next you peel and slice your apples. If you happen to have a fancy peeler, corer, slicer thingy, use that. If you don't (I didn't), just peel and slice yourself. It doesn't really matter. It all tastes the same anyway. You'll need to end up with around 32 cups of sliced apples. Just get your biggest bowl and fill it up. Put aside. {and if you're worried about the apples turning colors, they are going to go brown when you cook them anyway, so don't stress}

Now onto the sauce. In a large pot, mix sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

Then add salt and water and mix well.

Be prepared to think this looks really gross... because it does. It's going to look like really watery milk. But it will get better. I promise.

Bring to a boil and cook until think and bubbly. 

Better right?! It's going to look a lot like caramel, but not quite as thick

Remove from heat and add Lemon Juice and Food Coloring. (side note: You CANNOT skip this step for canning. It's where the acid comes from that preserves the food. So please don't be like me and waste an entire batch because you forgot to put in the lemon juice. Because it will break your heart. And I don't want that to happen)

Now you're going to fill the jars. The best way I've found is to fill the jars half full of apples, ladle in enough syrup to cover them, then using a knife, release the bubbles that are trapped.

Then finish pushing in as many apples as you can into the jar without going up the neck. Fill with more sauce. Release the air bubbles by using the knife to slide around the sides of the jar. Then fill up the neck with apples and sauce, leaving 1/2 inch headroom. {hope that made sense}.

Now wipe off the rims of the jars and put on lids and rings. Place in the water bath and bring to a boil. Then process for 20 minutes. Longer if you live at a high elevation.

Once they have processed, carefully take the jars out of the water bath and place on towels to cool down. If you are like me, some of your jars may leak out sauce when they start to cool. Don't worry about it. It will still seal just fine. Just wipe it off after it's cooled down.

See? Not that hard. I'd say it takes about an hour and a half per batch if you do it alone. I had my friend Liz over and we were whipping them out in about 40 minutes per batch. Totally doable!

The canned Apple Pie Filling will last a year in a cool, dry place, but let's be honest here. It's going to be gone long before it goes bad. It's just that GOOD!

Now for the Apple Crisp:


* 2/3 cup Light Brown Sugar
* 1/2 cup Flour
* 1/2 cup Quick Oats
* 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
* 1/2 cup Stick Butter, softened
* 1 Jar Apple Pie Filling


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 8x8 pan with nonstick cooking spray and fill with 1 jar of canned Apple Pie Filling.

Mix dry ingredients together, then cut in butter to form a crumbly mixture.

Spread mixture over apple pie filling and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly.

Serve hot with Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream and Carmel Sauce. You will be in heaven!

Now go find some apples to can. You'll be happy you did!

I need to thank my best friend Tammy Gibson for the recipe she doctored from allrecipes.com and Betty Crocker for the basis of the recipe I doctored for the crisp. Isn't it great that people are so willing to share?!



Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fall Mantle

My favorite thing about my living room is my fireplace mantle: It's nearly 5 feet long with beautiful trim work. Truly the work of a great craftsman. And since I have such a great mantle, I love to decorate for the holidays with it!

So let's take a look:
The Garland was made by taking a 6 foot long grapevine garland (they sell them all twisted up next to the wreaths at Hob Lob). Using some hot glue, I added in a few leaves from a tattered wreath, some berry picks and ribbon. Lots and lots of ribbon. Once it looked good, I found some Mums on clips and just clipped it to the garland. The construction of the wreath was actually very easy. The hard part was hanging it on the mantle. Since no one in their right mind would nail into such a beautiful mantle, I had to figure something else out. And after much trial and error (think things going BANG/CRASH/BOOM in the night), the best thing I found were 3M Command Velcro Strips. Adhere one side to the mantle and hot glue the other to the middle of a 12" piece of ribbon. Then to hang it, all you have to do it literally tie it on. Sooooo much easier than anything else I've tried.

In order to hide my hubby's toy, I needed something tall. So I found some old glass bottles and added some of Martha's Halloween labels. The white candle pillars came from Target along with the grapevine pumpkin (dollar bin!).

The fabric pumpkins were made from fat quarters (great tutorial here). I made a dozen or so last year and they look awesome around the house. Totally something anyone could make!
And last but not least, our Countdown to Candy blocks. My kids favorite holiday tradition. These are awesomely easy to make (need a tutorial? look here) - and perfect for a craft group activity. I need to give a shout out here to my crafting buddies, because everyone needs someone to make them feel creative. Thanks Girls! You're always there when I'm feeling blah to inspire me to create something beautiful to get me out of my funk. Can I just say that they are AWESOME?!

So I hope that helps you get inspired to create something seasonal for fall. Or autumn. Whatever you may call it!

Hope you like my mantle as much as I do. What did you like best? Anything you hated? You can tell me... I can handle the truth... maybe.

~ Janice


Friday, September 30, 2011

Fall Front Porch

Welcome Fall! I've missed you terribly. I've been itching to have the colors of fall EVERYWHERE, but I couldn't explain to my hubby why I want to decorate when it's been SO HOT you'd think it was the middle of summer. Now that's is finally cooled down, the colors have started to change. So maybe it's not on the trees... but definitely at my house!

And since I've already shown you the inside, how about a look at the outside?

Berry Wreath with a few fall picks along with a paper mache B that's been Mod Podged. Cheap and Easy!

Mums and Pumpkins. Would you believe that I got these for less than half what they charge at the big box stores? Just by local or from a farmer's market. Great quality... did I mention they are HUGE?!

Mums. I didn't realize until recently that Mums were as awesome as they are. Mums: not just for Memorial Day!

And a Full Porch view
  Even though every tree and bush in my yard are still vividly green, I love the orange, reds, and yellows that fall allows me to decorate with.

So what's your thoughts? Do you decorate for the season's with a wreath and flowers? Is there anything else you add that I'm missing?

~ Janice


Thursday, September 29, 2011

It's Fall Ya'll!

Fall is my FAVORITE time of year. It's finally cooling down enough to let the kids play outside and enjoy our yard. Here in Nashville, we don't have a true fall like I did growing up in Utah. So I like to bring the fall inside.

Here's what Fall Puked Up in my house this week:

Top of my great-grandmother's upright piano

Another view of my piano

Centerpiece of my dining room table (on a mirror a la thrifty decor chick)

Wooden Pumpkin made from 2x6's and SPOOKY blocks from 2x4's
 And let's not forget about my love affair with pillows:

And we can't forget about Elvira, my boys favorite flying witch:

We have two very large columns leading into our living room....too bad Elvira doesn't know how to steer
 There's my fall decor, with more to come in the next few days. Stay tuned for the Mantle and Front Porch... my favorite things to decorate for Fall.

So what do you think? Do you go all out, or just keep it low key for Fall?



Monday, September 26, 2011

Babies, Babies, Babies

I swear they are everywhere! Either everyone has one or is going to have one. I've been to soooo many showers lately that I'm nearly over my baby cravings. Nearly....

But that's not what this post is about. This post is about being the best gift-giver at said shower. Trust me. If you include a few of these homemade burp-cloths along with your appliqued ribbon blanket in a cutely wrapped basket, you will be the talk of the shower. And many more showers to follow. In fact, I can speak from experience... your reputation will preceed you. And it's a good feeling....

So if you'd like that feeling, go ahead and make a few of these...

(I like using Gerber 6-ply Pre-folded cloth diapers. Very thick and wash extreemly well)

And then wrap them up all cute like this:

(and I'm sorry about the crappy pic... I'd forgotten about taking a pic until I had to leave and it was black outside... stupid winter is coming...)

*I made these using an embroidery machine, but you could freezer paper stencil them on or just order them from me. Yep. I'm doing a little self-promoting here. Just leave me a message, and I'll get right back to you.

What do you think? Is there anything you always give as a gift that's better? Because if there is, I'd like to add it to my basket of stuff!