I am soooo excited to be able to share this with you all!! The second I heard this giveaway was in the works, I jumped on board. Well, for a second I considered not, so that I could enter, but then I thought of my crazy cool reader peeps and knew I had to join. I’m going to be totally jealous of the winner, so do me a HUGE favor and make sure you enter so that’s it’s one of you and then I won’t feel so bad. 🙂
Several members of the Homestead Bloggers Network (myself included 🙂 ) have come together to purchase one of these great machines and give you the opportunity to win an Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator with a 26 hour timer. This model sells for $349. It’s basic black and with its 9 trays, adjustable thermostat and 7″ 600 watt fan, it means business! An Excalibur dehydrator is on every homesteader, gardener and prepper’s wishlist. It is the elite when it comes to dehydrators!
This giveaway is open to residents of the contiguous United States. Entrants must be age 18 or older to enter. Giveaway runs from October 15th – 22nd. Winner will be drawn October 23rd and emailed. The winner will have 24 hours to respond to the email before another entrant is chosen.
Enter right here folks! GOOD LUCK! GOOD LUCK!!! GOOOOOD LUUUUUCK!!!!!!!
DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links, and I may receive compensation if you purchase items after clicking on these links. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Walking Softly Upon the Earth! See this page for full site Disclosure.
Autumn is my most favorite of all the seasons by far. Even all the beautiful blooming flowers of spring, the delicious tomatoes of summer and the gorgeous snowfalls of winter can’t beat the fiery colors, cool, crisp air and the crunch of fallen leaves under your feet that Autumn brings. I also love the smells of Autumn. Cinnamon, clove, apples and pumpkin everything. 🙂 Mmmmm….makes me happy.
So this recipe I’m about to share? You can make it because it tastes wonderful. You can make it because it’s healthier for your kids than store bought. Or, you can also make it because it just smells so, so, so good. Like make the whole house smell deliciously like autumn good. I won’t judge. I used to make crockpot apple butter just because it made the house smell wonderful. I would keep a tiny bit for myself and give the rest to my Dad who loves the stuff.
Now this recipe is extremely complex, and so difficult only the very best cooks should try it. 😉 Just kidding. My 10 year old made ours. 😀 I just helped adjust the ingredients to taste at the end. The biggest thing to remember when making this is that the size of apples varies greatly, as does their level of sweetness. You really will need to go by your taste at the end and adjust it as needed.
Homemade Crockpot Applesauce
8-12 Apples depending upon their size. I added apples until the crockpot was a good 3/4 filled. We used 3 massive Golden Delicious and 5 or 6 Red Delicious. I have used many different varieties of apples and have never been disappointed. I always grab what is fresh and beautiful at the farm stand, and what my kiddos like to eat fresh so the leftovers don’t go to waste. My Little Dude loves Gala and my Sweet Pea fell in love with Jonagold the other day, so I will probably make another batch soon with those.
1/4 cup of honey, or more to taste. Always start with less, because you can add more in the end, but you certainly can’t take it out if it’s too sweet. I also love to use local honey so that I know I am getting the real thing and not some of the fake stuff that some companies are selling as honey these days. Honey should come from bees, not factories. There’s my soapbox for the day, right in the middle of your recipe. 🙂
1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon My kids are not huge fans of cinnamon in their applesauce, so I only added 1 teaspoon to ours. Crazy little people they are! Again, go by taste with this one so it’s as cinnamon-y as you like. 🙂
Juice from half a lemon
1/2 cup of water
Directions (Follow along carefully. This gets super-complex) 😉
Peel, core and slice your apples. This is probably the most time consuming step if you are doing it by hand. My recommendation is, if you are ever planning to make this again or any other apple dish for that matter, get yourself one of these: Apple Peeler, Corer, Slicer I hate the whole process of peeling, coring, slicing apples for pies and sauce, and with 9 little apples trees growing in my yard now, this was a no-brainer for me. This little gadget was crazy easy to use (again the 10 year old did most of the work) and I am very happy with myself for getting it.
You stick the apple on the prongs and turn the handle.
I can’t tell you how happy it made me not having to do this all with a knife. It’s the little things. 🙂
Now for the tricky part. Throw everything in your crock pot, cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
I usually grab my potato masher and mash the apples around the 4 hour mark and let it cook for another hour or two. This is a good time to taste it and add more honey or cinnamon if needed.
It’s done when it’s the texture you want and there isn’t a bunch of liquid in the pot. You can’t mess this up. 🙂 I got two quarts out of the recipe, plus a whole lot little that we ate while “taste testing” it.
It is wonderful hot or cold just as it is. I also like it in my oatmeal and on pancakes. YUM!!!! My next recipe will be my Pumpkin Muffins. Making them would be a good way to use some of this applesauce. That is, if you have any left. 🙂
DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links, and I may receive compensation for sharing products and information on this site. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Walking Softly Upon the Earth! See this page for full site Disclosure.
If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you saw a couple of photos last week of my very first canning adventure. In case you aren’t following me yet (and shame on you if you’re not!!!) here is the gorgeousness that was my tomato harvest one day:
I’ll let you in on a little secret. I am a completely fearless gardener. I jumped right in full force, will try anything and everything, and even though I hope it all works out I’m not hesitant at all just because it may fail miserably. Canning on the other hand? I was terrified to try it. Truly. I worried about it being too complicated and not doing it right, making my family sick because I messed it up or ruining a whole bunch of delicious food that I poured my heart into growing. That’s a LOT of pressure people!!! Well, I’m quite embarrassed now because, well, it’s pretty dang simple. 🙂
I took a look at all those beautiful tomatoes and wanted fresh salsa. At a friend’s suggestion I went simple and used Ball’s Zesty Salsa Recipe. It is sooooo delish!
So while eating some of that yummy fresh salsa, I was reminded a tiny bit of the corn relish that my mom used to make when we were kids. My brother and I used to tear that stuff UP!!! Mmmm. I figured while I’m sitting here still all confident from my canning success I should give her a call and get her recipe. This is adapted from her recipe, and it is yummy!! And you need to pronounce that Ya-Um-EE!! 🙂
Kickin’ Corn Relish
8 cups of fresh corn (it took 10 ears for me today)
1/2 cup chopped onion (I am not a big onion person, so you could bump it up to a cup if you are)
2 cups of finely chopped sweet peppers of your choice (I used one red and one green bell to make it pretty)
1-2 finely chopped, seeded jalapeno peppers (depending upon your desired level of heat)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 tablespoon of salt
1 tablespoon of Turmeric
2 tablespoons of dry mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons of mustard seed
4 cups of distilled white vinegar
1 cup of water
Directions: Remove the husks and silks from your corn. Bring it to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the corn from the cob and place it into a large pot with all of the rest of your ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Fill your jars while your relish is still hot. Process for 15 minutes if you are canning. This recipe makes 6 pints. I went with quart jars though because that’s what we had handy.
As for what it looks like along the way… I gathered up my ingredients while the corn was cooking and had to take a picture. They were so pretty. Unfortunately the kitchen was a little dark. Is a kitchen re-model a tax deduction if I’m doing it to make it bright and beautiful for blog photos?
I wish I could say the corn was from my garden, but unfortunately the corn didn’t do well this year.
I was scared of this why???
It’s fun making things as an adult that take you back to your childhood. I guess one of these is going to my brother’s house. Well….maybe…. 🙂
A little warning now, this post is long-winded. I thought it was necessary though, to give you the story behind my position on our food system and to let you know why I have become so passionate about gardening and providing safer, healthier food for my family.
Our youngest was born in 2009, and just a few short weeks later my journey towards a more healthy life began, even though I didn’t realize it at the time. When your month old baby begins having blood in his stools, it’s enough to freak out most people. When you are told it is food allergies, you think okay now I have an answer, work to identify the culprits, eliminate them and then have loads of time to think about the whys and hows. It took me weeks of elimination diet trial and error until I figured out what my little dude was allergic to. I had two choices since I was nursing. I could stop and feed him hypoallergenic formula or I could eat just a couple of foods and slowly add things one at a time until I identified what he was allergic to. He was too young for allergy testing to work, and I was staying home and able to nurse, so I knew what my choice was.
It was a miserable couple of months. I’m not going to lie. My first attempt failed because in choosing 4 or 5 of the least allergenic foods to begin with, I chose potatoes which he WAS allergic to. You get bored really quickly only eating apples, oatmeal, rice, squash and chicken. When I finally had my list of problem foods it got a little easier. I’m not a very creative cook, so I pretty much ate oatmeal or a special recipe pumpkin muffin for breakfast and salads, stir fries or baked chicken with veggies for lunch and dinner. He was allergic to milk, corn, soy, potatoes, beef, and chocolate (although I think chocolate was because of the milk. I never really tried plain cocoa).
Once I settled into a routine I had time to wonder how this little person who hadn’t even had a bite of these foods could be allergic to them, and why these foods? I read and read and read. I am a science nerd at heart, and my degree is in Clinical Laboratory Science, so research was something I turned to naturally. I know the science behind food allergies, but the more I researched and looked at that list, the more I began to wonder if it wasn’t what people had done to those foods, and not the foods themselves, that was the problem. I wish I had had my garden then and could have tried those foods grown organically to test my theory. Corn and soy are in everything processed. Today these ingredients are also quite often genetically modified so that great amounts of pesticides/herbacides/fungicides can be sprayed all over them. Could it be he was reacting to the unnatural, genetically modified food or the gross amounts of chemicals on them? Milk and beef, of course come from cows. Factory farms are truly terrible, horrible hells on earth. These cows are generating huge amounts of stress hormones, which we ingest when we eat them or their milk. They are also pumped with antibiotics and fed unnatural diets of, you guessed it, genetically modified corn. Hmmm. Pattern much? Potatoes are supposed to be one of the least allergenic foods. This gave me all kinds of fits trying to figure out what was bothering the dude. You know what else is true about potatoes? They are sprayed with an incredible amount of chemical so that they keep and don’t sprout. They are also a root crop which takes in everything from the soil it is grown in. Heavy metals and chemicals all sucked in and stored in its tubers. So at 20-some days old and consuming only mama’s milk, was he really allergic to these things or was it something man-made? I’ll never know for sure, but I think you can figure out which way I am leaning.
So for almost two years I ate a special diet so I could nurse the little dude and pump milk for him so that we didn’t have to do the hypoallergenic formula. This consumed the rest of 2009, all of 2010 and the beginning of 2011. The allergist told us he most likely would outgrow these allergies around the age of 2, so one by one we carefully tried adding the foods to our diets and found his now stronger body and immune system was able to handle them. I went a little nuts, as you can imagine. Sodas and chocolate were my vices, and went overboard like a castaway who had been deprived of food. I gained weight and felt terribly and proved to myself that fast food, processed food, sweets and sodas were really, really terrible for the body.
With 2012 approaching, and a whole lot more reading and documentary watching under my belt, I knew I had to start making some serious changes. I decided that instead of overwhelming myself with changing so many things at once, that I would choose a couple of things each year for the next few years and hopefully, with so much focus, I would be setting myself up for success and a new, healthier lifestyle. In 2012 I cut the majority of sugar out of my diet. The evils of processed sugar are a topic we could spend days on, but I think it’s pretty much accepted that it is terrible for you. For me and my sweet tooth, this was major. I had to give up my beloved soda, which was the hardest. It’s nice for the grocery budget though. 🙂 I allowed myself one sweet a week, and after about a month they were all so incredibly sweet that I didn’t want much, if any. It IS hard at first, but really, if you can stick with it, the cravings do go away. Oh, and I lost 15 pounds. BO-NUS!!!!
2013 was my year to add regular exercise and begin cutting back on the meat I was eating. (Shhh! I also started cutting back on the meat my family was eating as well. Very slowly, and not as much as I was cutting, but little victories are still victories)! I had a secret longing to be a runner, even though I despised running and was never able to do it for long, even when I played team sports in my younger days. I downloaded the Couch to 5K running app on my phone. 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week for 9 weeks seemed doable, especially since I made a deal with myself to run every other day and not move up in the workouts until I was comfortable doing so. No pressure to get done in any certain amount of time. Exercising for 30 minutes, every other day, was exercising no matter what I was doing. I found I loved it, and not only went through the Couch to 5K program, but the 5K to 10K as well. I felt like a kick, um, butt 🙂 rockstar running for one hour when six months ago running for one minute kicked my butt. I started the program with my daughter a couple weeks ago. I’m training myself a running buddy. 🙂
This year my goals were to continue to cut out meat, do a lot of juicing and either get chickens or switch to local, farm fresh eggs. I’m still working on these, but have found a lady near me who sells her extra eggs from her lovely, free-range chickens. So until I can work out having our own tiny flock of hens, I will enjoy the fresh, beautiful eggs from her’s. If you haven’t looked closer at where your food is coming from yet, please take a moment and do. I come from a long line of meat eaters and even hunters. I love animals, but always thought it was okay to consume animal products because of that idyllic, bright red barn and rolling green pasture farm that I pictured all of our meat animals coming from. I don’t know when our humanity changed to allow animals to be treated the way they are now, or when the conditions they are kept in became acceptable for their health and well-being or ours as consumers, but I won’t support it any longer. I know me no longer purchasing a dozen eggs a week from the grocery store is having little effect on the factory egg industry, but if we ALL choose to make little changes they WILL add up. Try it. Make one change this year. We have to start doing something.
I’ll talk about it more another time, since I’ve certainly rambled on long enough today, but your local farm fresh eggs not only taste better and are crazy healthier, but you can’t beat how pretty they are. Ditch the plain white and brown for an assortment of blues, greens, browns, pinks and creams. They’ll remind you every time you open the fridge of the changes you’re making and the difference you are making, and you’ll smile.