Criss-Cross

Homemade Apple Sauce

Right now at local farmer’s markets and in supermarkets, apples are in season!  My kiddos, likes lots of kiddos, like a good bowl of apple sauce.  I started making my own when my first was a baby.  It was the first homemade baby food I ever made!  I make it now because I can buy delicious, locally grown, organic apples from the ugly bin at a hugely marked down price (sometimes even 80 cents per pound!), cut out the random bad spot, and whip up a BIG pot of yum.

Making your own apple sauce is obviously a tad more time-consuming that opening a jar from the store, but it’s super easy, the result is very worth the effort.

Step 1: Cut your apples into cubes, removing any offending spots.  I leave the skins on.

step 1

Step 2: place your apple cubes into a cooking pot and add water until just over 1/2 of the apples are covered.  When the apples cook down, they will add a lot of liquid, and you don’t want the sauce too runny.  (If it does look too runny after boiling, you can drain a bit of the liquid before blending.)

step 2

Step 3: Heat until boiling and then simmer until the apples are soft enough to mash.  How long you ask?  Sorta depends how many apples you’ve got in your pot.  After they are boiling I test mine after about 10 minutes simmering.

Step 4: Mash those babies up!  I use one of my favorite kitchen gadgets that I can’t even remember the name of… At our house we refer to it as “the wand.”  I like it because I can stick this vicious little blade right in the pot, push the button and wah-lah.  You can use an electric mixer or even a blender though if you don’t have a magical-vicious-blade-wand like mine. (By the way–this doohicky is from Target.  Nothing fancy.)

step 3

Blend it until it looks like, uh, apple sauce.  In case you’ve never seen apple sauce before (I want to meet you.  Where in the world are you from?) here’s a photo I took and may as well use!

step 4

Step 5: ENJOY!

step 5

Tips: I also blend up some of this yum if I’ve purchased apples that taste mealy (I hate that, don’t you?) or have been sitting in my fruit bowl long enough to look sad.  Cold apple sauce is a great snack on a summer’s afternoon, and warm apple sauce is dreamy for breakfast in the winter.

I typically make sauce with 4 or 5 pounds at a time, to make the effort worth it.  It keeps fine in the fridge for days (if it lasts) and can be frozen for longer storage.

Pears or strawberries (if you have some lying around) can also be thrown in and will make the sauce even sweeter.  The berries don’t need to cook for more than two or so minutes.

Final tip (still with me?): This is a great kids-help-in-the-kitchen recipe for my 7 and 8 year-olds (5 year old soon!)

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Here I go!

Welcome to my little corner of the world!  Thank you, Noeleen, for setting up my stellar blog and BIG gracias, amigas, for reading my entries, nodding politely while I shamelessly promote my workshops, and telling everyone you know (please, please, please…) about how cool it is to “kick it in the kitchen” with me!

After 8 1/2 years of dedicating most waking moments to raising my three amazing kiddos, I’m using some new-found time to realize the vision of sharing a few tricks, promoting a good-food life with family and hanging out a lot more with fun mamas.  Woo-hoo!

I hope ya’ll can find some inspiration from what pops up on this page, and if you like, from my workshops and future endeavors.  Ideally this blog will soon provide a path toward connecting with the many new friends I haven’t yet met!

I’ll do my best to write clever, unique entries, and share some of my favorite recipes.  Overall my mission is to offer something useful to the lives of busy mamas.  And so for my first trick, I’d love to warm up with something simple and savory: a simple recipe for homemade croutons…

Tasty Croutons

Ingredients:

Bread.  Any kind.  Old is better than new.  Crusty is better than not.
Olive oil
Garlic salt

Directions:

Set oven to broil on high and place rack at highest spot.
Slice bread into long slices, about an inch or two wide.
Lay slices on a cookie sheet close together.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt.
Broil bread for 2 mins and check.  (your broiler may be stronger than mine, so you may need to check sooner)
When bread is toasted, remove tray and flip pieces over to toast other side.  You’ll save time flipping by having cut the bread in strips rather than smaller cubes.  Place back in oven for 2 or so more minutes. 
That’s it!

Croutons can be frozen in plastic freezer bags for a couple of months.  These little honeys are great with soups, red sauces, salads, as incentive for someone little to finish his beets…  It’s a great way to use up old bread!