4

{9 Days of Apple Season} Day One: Stove-cooked Chunky Applesauce

This is Day One in a 9 day series featuring apple season! Click here to start reading at the beginning of the series.DSCN0659

Every year, Mom makes applesauce from apples on our own trees. This year there has been an abundance, so we have made several batches of sauce. Our favorite kind is chunky applesauce, which Mom makes by cutting the apples into small chunks and cooking them (with some water) over low heat for approximately half an hour. Here are more specific directions!

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First, place some water in a sauce pan. Not too much, just enough to cover the bottom, plus a tiny bit.

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Grab a pile of apples and peel them.

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Elisabeth did this part. She’s really fast!

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Perfect!

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Next, core the apples…

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…and cut them into chunks.

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Add the chunks to the sauce pan…

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…until it’s about full.

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Attention! This is vital to having good stove-cooked applesauce! Do not stir the apples once they are in the pan. The water on the bottom magically keeps the applesauce from burning, so you do not want to disrupt this process.

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Cover the pan and place it on the stove; cook the apples over the lowest heat for about 15 minutes to start with.

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Here is ours, after fifteen. The apples are starting to get soft, but it’s got a long way to go.

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Cook it (still over the lowest heat) for another 15 minutes or so, checking it every so often. Now it is perfect. The apples are soft, and there is a lovely foam on top!

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Remove it from heat and add some sugar to it. For this pan, we used almost a cup, but you can vary it according to your taste, or leave it unsweetened for baking. We also like to add a dash of cinnamon for yummy flavor.

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Yum!

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Then enjoy it!

Here are some of our favorite ways to use homemade applesauce:

• Eat it plain, or with granola, for a snack!

• Swirl it into your yogurt for an autumn twist on breakfast.

• Bake with it. It’s a wonderful substitute for part of the oil in many recipes. We use it in several of our cakes and quick breads.

• Use it as a filling for miniature apple pies. (Recipe coming soon!!)

• Make what our dad calls a “poor man’s apple pie.” Simply slather it between two slices of bread and sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar. 🙂

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle

8

Announcing: 9 Days of Apple Season

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Ah, autumn. Our favorite season. The season of cool, crisp days and brilliant blue skies that one sees only at this time of year. The season of hunting, of harvesting, and of baking. Of spices, and pumpkins, and trees changing color. And apples. Ah, the apples.

To celebrate our eternal love of this delicious fruit, we are launching a series all about apples! Mostly we will share favorite family recipes that center around apples, but we will also have some fun tutorials and projects.

Our plan is to blog this series over the next three weeks, publishing three posts each week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), for a total of nine posts. And we will be tucking in a few extra posts here and there about daily life on our farm!

That’s what is coming up soon here at A Homespun Country Life!

Thank you for visiting!

~Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle

Day One: Chunky Applesauce

Day Two: Mini Apple Pies

Day Three: Apple Cider Syrup

Day Four: Apple Dip

Day Five: DIY Apple Candle-Holders

Day Six: Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Day Seven: Apple Butter

Day Eight: Caramel Apple Slices

Day Nine: William Tell’s Never-Miss Apple Cake

0

Bond Falls in U.P. Michigan

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A couple weeks ago we went up north to Watersmeet, Michigan, to meet up with our sister Rebecca and her husband Luke for a birthday picnic.

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We wanted to do some hiking, and Rebecca suggested visiting this beautiful place! There were paths leading up either side of the falls for people to walk on.

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In some places the water and foam almost looked like root beer!

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Here are our wonderful parents enjoying the scenery. 🙂

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The sound of the water crashing over the rocks was breathtaking.

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Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~ Gabrielle

2

How to Assemble a Wonderful Birthday Package

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A few weeks ago, we mentioned in this post that we have several autumn birthdays in the family. One of them is our older sister’s birthday. Rebecca doesn’t live in Wisconsin anymore, so it’s not very often that we get to help her celebrate her birthday. However, this year, we were able to meet up with her and her husband for an early birthday celebration!

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We younger sisters wanted to put together a birthday package full of beautiful, fun, and delicious items for our beautiful, fun, and sweet older sister. We began brainstorming and searching Etsy and Pinterest for inspiration. We purchased some of the items, like these vanilla custard-scented sugar scrubs and this vanilla cupcake-scented body “frosting.”

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These honey caramels from the Beesbrothers Etsy shop inspired us to make our own version.

We also had a few soaps that we had purchased from Joan’s Garden a few months ago. For Rebecca’s package, we chose the red clover scent and the mocha scent. Yum!

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Some items we lovingly hand-made ourselves, such as two little handsewn notebooks (you can find similar ones here) and a dish towel with a cross-stitched floral design. Mom also gave Rebecca a gift card to one of her favorite places to shop.

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Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~ Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle

0

Pina Colada Birthday Cake

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Long ago when I was little, I ate a piece of Pina Colada Cake at my Aunt Julie’s house, and I loved it. Mom asked my aunt for the recipe, and since then, she has made this cake for my birthday several times! It starts with a basic yellow cake; you could even use a cake mix for it. Then you spread a can of sweetened condensed milk onto it and allow it to soak in. Next, you spoon crushed pineapple over it, and top it off with a thick layer of whipped cream. A sprinkle of coconut makes it perfect!

Here are more specific directions, starting with Mom’s homemade yellow cake.

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Measure dry ingredients into a bowl…

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and combine them.

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Add the shortening…

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…the milk…

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… the vanilla…

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… and the eggs.

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Blend all ingredients on low speed for 30 seconds.

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Then beat on high speed for 3 minutes.

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Ah, excellent!

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Grease a 13″x 9″ baking dish or pan.

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Pour the batter into the greased pan.

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And smooth it around with an extra spoon so you can sample the batter.

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Ah, perfection!

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Bake at 350 degrees F. for 35-40 minutes, or until it tests done.

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It tested done.

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If you are making the pina colada version, listen up. 🙂 Pour a can of sweetened condensed milk over the cake while it is still warm.

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Spread it evenly over the entire cake and down the edges a bit.

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Allow it to absorb.

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This can take a while, maybe 15 minutes or so.

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It should look something like this. Allow the cake to cool completely before the next step. Of course, it would be absolutely delicious to eat just like this!!

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But we must persevere. Spread a can of crushed pineapple over that. Don’t drain the pineapple; you want the juice to soak into the cake, too, so it will be lusciously moist!

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Ah, superb!

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Spoon a carton of whipped topping (Cool Whip) onto the cake.

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And spread it out, being careful that you don’t unearth any pineapple.

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Sprinkle a few handfuls of coconut over that to make it look soft and fluffy!

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Ah, lovely! Refrigerate until serving.

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And enjoy this delicious tropical cake! It can be served solo, or accompanied by vanilla ice cream.

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Yes, I will have a piece. On second thought, bring me two!  (Name that song!)

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Yellow Cake Recipe

2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
2/3 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

In large mixing bowl, blend all ingredeitns on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat 3 minutes on high speed. Pour into greased and floured 13″x 9″ pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until it tests done with a toothpick.

Pina Colada Cake

1 (13″x 9″) just-baked yellow cake {you can use a cake mix, or the recipe above for the yellow cake works wonderfully, too!}
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple, undrained
1 carton (8 ounces) whipped topping

Pour sweetened condensed milk over warm cake and allow it to absorb. Spread pineapple over that (juice also). Spread whipped topping over next and sprinkle with coconut.

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin