Thursday, September 18, 2014

Easy Two Ingredient Applesauce for Canning

A friend generously gave me a 20 pound box of some fun apple varieties. They included Honeycrisp and Hawaii. 

The kids and I made some applesauce with them using this easy, two ingredient recipe. Yep, that's it, only 2 ingredients! 

Apples (as many or few as you like. I used about 12 pounds)
*If you want cinnamon applesauce, then you can add that or ginger and nutmeg. I make a cinnamon batch also that is loaded with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. 

Wash the apples and peel them. Next, core them. This can be done with an Apple Cutter/Corer or by hand. Once they are peeled, cored and cut, toss them into a large, heavy bottomed stock pot with about an inch of water on the bottom. Turn heat to medium and continue prepping apples and adding them to the pot of water as they are ready. Once the pot is completely filled, cover with a lid and turn heat down to medium-low. 

Simmer for 30-45 minutes or until all of the apples are soft. Using a potato masher, carefully mash the apples up until your mixture is small chunks and thick, or to your desired consistency. If you want it smoother, use a Food Mill to run your applesauce through. If you are opting to add cinnamon, do so now. And just add it to taste. 

At this point you can freeze, eat fresh or can your applesauce. 

To can:
Ladle into pre-sanitized jars. Wipe jar rims clean and then put on lids and rings. Place in Canner and process in a hot water bath (add water to canner until it is one inch above the top of the jars, place lid loosely over the top of canner but do not lock closed). Process for 15 minutes for pints and 20 minutes for quarts. 

Note: Lemon juice is not needed for applesauce according to Ball's recipes and website. Sugar is also not needed. Your apples should be sweet enough without the added sugar!  

Xander is finally old enough to be somewhat helpful. This was his fist time getting to use a "real" knife. (Don't worry, it was a very dull butter knife) He had a blast and kept handing me little teenie tiny pieces of apple to put in the cooking pot. 

When the applesauce was done and we tasted it before we canned it. Xander's face lit up when he got to taste what he helped make, it was priceless! Kids should be in the kitchen, involved in cooking and shopping! The more they know the better choices they will make! 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Potato Soup with Ham

We recently bought a 50 pound box of yukon gold potatoes for $16. Score! I canned up most of them, but we still had about 15 pounds left that we could just eat. Matt made us several batches of french fries and then I opted for a potato soup. 

We all loved how this soup turned out. It is amazing! It has layers of flavor, great texture and is a perfect dinner on the soon coming chilly fall evenings! 

If you are wanting a vegan version of this recipe, just omit the ham. The amazing flavor of the soup will remain! 

8 large yukon gold potatoes
1 cup onion
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 cups vegetable stock (I used Pacific Foods Organic Vegetable Broth)
2 cups water
2 carrots
5 stalks celery
3 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
Cayenne pepper
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage (the kind from a box)
3 cups cubed ham, already fully cooked (optional)

Dice the onion and toss it into a large soup pot with the extra virgin olive oil. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and water, turn heat down to medium. Peel and chop the potatoes into 1-2 inch cubes. Rinse them and then add them to the soup pot. Peel the carrots and then cut into slices. Wash celery and cut into slices. Add both to the soup. Add salt, parsley and a 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne. 

Simmer on medium-low heat for about 30-45 minutes or until the potatoes and carrots are soft. Remove from heat. 

Remove half the soup from the pot. Puree it in a food processor, blender or use a separate bowl and an immersion blender. Return pureed portion back into the pot. 

Put back on low heat and add the coconut milk and ham (if using). Stir together and then simmer for another 15 minutes to get the ham hot. 

This soup is easy, fast and tastes great. It makes a large batch and stores great in the refrigerator for leftovers the next day. 

We enjoyed ours with a side of Sorghum Cornbread

Friday, September 5, 2014

Fantastic French Apple Pie ~ Gluten, dairy, rice flour and refined sugar-free

It is close to fall and apple season is upon us. What better use for all those apples than to make a pie with them?

Here is our family's fav apple pie recipe. It is gluten free, with a crust so amazing you won't believe its gluten free! Also refined sugar, dairy, processed oil, rice and starch free. This pie is sure to become a favorite of yours!

6 cups of thinly sliced and peeled apples ~ I used 4 organic gala apples
1 teaspoon organic cinnamon
1/8 cup Sorghum Flour
1 Tablespoon organic maple syrup
1 Tablespoon Organic Coconut Sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Get the recipe for my Best Gluten Free Pie Crust
Crumble Topping
1/2 cup Sorghum Flour
1/2 teaspoon ground organic cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Wash, peel and slice the apples. I use a mandoline slicer and it works so quick and all the apples are sliced uniformly. Put them in a bowl as you are slicing them. Once you have one sliced up, sprinkle on all the remaining filling ingredients. Then stir the remaining slices in as you are slicing them. The seasonings and flour will keep the apples from turning brown. 

Make the pie crust.

Pour the apples into the formed pie crust and spread them out evenly. 

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients for the crumble topping. Use a fork and mash all the ingredients together. It is okay if there are still some small chunks of coconut oil. It will form a sort of thick paste that you can pick up with your fingers. Spread it with your fingers in a sort of crumbly way over the top of the apples.

Place pie into a preheated oven at 425F. Cover the edges of the pie with aluminum foil (or a pie crust cover form) to prevent burning the edges. Bake for 30 minutes and then remove foil or cover. Bake another 10-20 minutes or until crust is starting to brown and apples are soft. 

Remove from oven and let cool for 2 hours on a wire cooling rack. 

This pie is simply amazing! It is lightly sweet with a light and flaky crust! 

Best Gluten Free Pie Crust ~ Rice, Dairy and Starch Free!!

I have been working with my pie crusts for years, trying to make a delicious, light, flaky pie crust that is gluten free, rice free, starch free, and uses organic palm shortening. I am happy to report that I have totally crushed it! 

This pie crust is so amazing that it is hard to believe that it is gluten-free. Yep, that's right. It doesn't taste gluten free!!

One of the big secrets is making the shortening cold. I keep mine in the refrigerator. All of the liquid ingredients need to be cold as well. 

Here is the recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! 

1 organic egg yolk
1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon Spectrum Organic Shortening
1 Tablespoon Organic Maple Syrup
1-2 Tablespoon ice cold water

In a medium size bowl combine both flours. Sprinkle in the Apple Cider Vinegar. Add egg yolk. Cut in shortening (make sure it is cold and solid). When it is pea sized, sprinkle in maple syrup and water as needed. 

Gather dough into a ball and place on a piece of parchment paper . Using the parchment paper, fold the dough over on itself several times (this creates layers of the dough which adds in air and translates to flakiness once it is cooked). Next, roll the dough into a smooth ball (smooth edges on the dough make for smooth edges on the crust). 

Place dough between two pieces of BPA-free cling wrap/saran wrap. Using a rolling pin, roll out evenly from the center of the dough to all edges. When it has reached a large enough circle, remove the top piece of cling wrap. Quickly, and carefully, invert the remaining piece of wrap with the dough on it over the pie plate. Gently remove the wrap from the crust and then form it to fit the pie plate with your fingers. 

To make a fancy edged crust, use your finger and scallop the edges around the top by pinching the dough around your finger as you move it around the edge of the pie. Or you can crimp the edges with a fork. 
This make one, 9 inch pie crust. 
This is the pie crust made with my Fantastic French Apple Pie. As you can see, it holds its shape and cooks great. 

This is a must have recipe to keep in your recipe book! This pie crust can go with any pie you are cooking that calls for a basic pie crust. And when you serve it to your friends and family they will not believe that it is gluten-free!  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Adventure in Ellensburg

I needed to get out of the house yesterday so we hopped in the car at naptime and headed east on I-90. We ended up in Ellensburg.

At the kids' request we found a local park with a playground and played around for awhile.

The view from our bathroom stop on the outskirts of Ellensburg.
The playground had a cool swing we'd never seen before. Matt enjoyed relaxing in it.
Gabriella and Xander had fun swinging in it together.
Gabriella spinning in the spinny chair.
Gabriella giving Matt a spin
Checking out some construction equipment
The boys climbed the tower
Xander hiding inside the giant planet
Such a beautiful sky! 

I enjoy being in the mountains. I love being up close to tall mountains and feeling so small. 
It was the perfect little get away for us.