Oct 172016
 

When we were in Hood River I really wanted to go apple picking. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but have never done. I thought it would be a nice way to spend a Fall day with the little guy. That didn’t quite happen. It sounded good in my mind but the logistics just weren’t on our side this outing so instead of picking apples, I bought some at a fruit stand in the Fruit Loop.

When we got home I got set up to make applesauce with the 4 pounds of apples I bought in Hood River. I had my little pumpkin to keep me company while I made it.

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I got a mixture of apples–mostly honeycrisp but I got a few golden delicious too. I also used one leftover jazz apple to round out the weight to 4 pounds.

When I saw the recipe I planned on using called for 4 pounds of apples I was a little intimidated. That sounded like SO MANY APPLES! But it really wasn’t a ton. Here are four pounds:

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So basically a big bowl of them!

I washed and cored the apples and then chopped them up into chunks where they went into the crockpot and nearly filled it to the brim.

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I decided to do the High setting for three hours since I didn’t have a ton of time to do it on the low setting for 6 hours. It was a good call. I don’t know that it changed the flavor or texture by doing it high so it was just easier to do it faster!

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Since I was home I occasionally stirred the mixture (about once or twice an hour). As the apples started to soften and cook they smelled so good. It smelled like apple pie baking in my kitchen!!

I used the tomato press/food mill that I have and it worked great. The texture of the apples was pretty soft but it wasn’t applesauce consistency yet so I’m glad I used the food mill. Plus it got out 90% of the apple skins. I ran the pulp and skins through the mill two more times after the sauce was done and got more applesauce out of it.

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I didn’t have the time or desire to can the applesauce so I put some in a jar to eat immediately and I had two freezer containers that I filled 3/4 to the top and then froze.

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I really hope freezing it works well!

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The flavors of the applesauce are subtle and flavorful but not too sweet. It definitely tastes way better than the store bought applesauce. Plus it was so easy! I definitely plan on doing this again and making my own applesauce. And next time I will try to can them and maybe give them away as gifts.

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It was so much fun to make applesauce from scratch. And it felt like such a Fall thing to do. 🙂

Now for the recipe:

Crockpot Applesauce

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Total Time: 3 hours, 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds apples
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar (or 3 tablespoons honey)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Wash the apples. If they feel waxy, scrub with brush. Cut into slices or chunks no thicker than 3/4 inch.
  2. Put prepped apple pieces into the slow cooker and mix them with the other ingredients. If you use honey instead of sugar, dissolve in the water separately before adding to the apples.
  3. Pour everything over the apples and stir.
  4. Cover the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours.
  5. Depending on the consistency you like, run apples through food mill. If you want extra smooth applesauce, puree in food processor or blender.
  6. To freeze, transfer to freezer-safe containers or bags, removing excess air. Freeze for up to 3 months.
  7. To can applesauce: fill clean pint or half pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch of head space between the top of the food and the rims of the jar. Use a butter knife or spoon to release air bubbles. Wipe off rims, fasten canning lids, process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=50953

I tried to find the source for this recipe to link to it here but for the life of me I can’t find the website where I got the recipe from! It was a great recipe, though. I liked that it had very few ingredients and that it only called for 1/4 cup light brown sugar. Some of the recipes I saw online called for a lot of sugar, which I didn’t want to do.

Anyways, this recipe was a winner! And it was really easy! Give it a try!

Aug 012016
 

I definitely found the right “recipe” for overnight oats. Here it is:

1/4 cup steel cut oats

1/2 cup water

pinch of salt

1 Tablespoon flaxmeal

1/2 cup Plain Greek Yogurt

That’s the base I’ve been using and the last week or so I’ve been trying to experiment with other flavors.

The first experiment was with a 100 calorie black cherry yogurt. I used that instead of the plain Greek yogurt and added some frozen blueberries to it. I liked the flavor and chunks of the black cherry but I really don’t like flavored yogurts. I’ve been eating plain for so long now that the flavored ones taste either too sweet to me or they taste like fake sweeteners and chemicals. Yuck!

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The next try was a chocolate flavored Greek yogurt. I added some peanut butter and topped it with crushed nuts and chia seeds. This second try confirmed that I just prefer to use my good ol’ plain Greek yogurt (my favorite is the Costco brand). So I tried a few things and I’m going back to the basics.

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This time I used the base that is my old stand-by but substituted 1/4 cup of water with pineapple juice and then used 1/4 cup water. I added chopped pineapple and strawberries. Then I topped it with some shredded coconut, chia seeds and crushed nuts.

Yum! I liked the “tropical” flavor. 🙂

I tried using your basic rolled oats when I ran out of the steel cut and I am NOT a fan. The texture was all wrong. It was exactly how I imagined overnight oats to be before I tried them–mushy and like a sludge. For some reason the steel cut oats are just better to me. They are a bit chewy and not mushy at all and I just prefer it.

I’ve been back to work part time for a month and a half and on those days I do overnight oats for breakfast. It’s seriously been a time saver! It saves so much time in the morning when I’m trying to get out of the house. PLUS — I am full all morning long! This recipe is very satisfying and fulfilling and I don’t feel hungry for hours.

On those days, it’s very rushed and busy. My alarm goes off about 5:40 am. (I am so not a morning person. UGH.) Often time Logan has already woken me up, ready to eat. Depending on the time we often nurse in bed. (So glad we finally mastered the “side-lying” position. I just have to make sure I don’t fall back asleep as he eats.) Then he falls back asleep, I put him in his bassinet and get ready for work. Sometimes this isn’t the case and he stays asleep, so I need to pump instead. I’m pretty rushed trying to get everything done and packed for the day–even though I try and prep as much as I can the night before. So having these pre-made breakfasts ready to just take out of the fridge and put in a bowl has been a life saver! And they are delicious!

So after a few different experiments, I’m down to the same ol’ routine that works for me (the plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and steel cut oats) and I love it. I am definitely not sick of this breakfast yet. On days that I am home I have my old standby of eggs. I feel like I have a good balance right now. Once I’m back to work full time, this might change because I probably won’t want to have the oats every day.

What are your favorite FAST breakfast options?