apple butter // turns out colorado has orchards.

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i couldn’t remember the password to login to my blog today because that’s how long it’s been since i have posted. *insert wide-eyed face here.* the recipes have been piling up. . . .stacks of them. they just aren’t on here yet. & part of that is because life has been busy. but most of it is because i haven’t felt much like writing lately. i have nothing to say. and life has been rough & bustling. i could post the recipes alone. but wouldn’t that be boring? a week ago one of my best friends invited me to meet her at her grandmother’s farmstead to pick apples & pears off of the fruit trees. honeycrisps. fujis. my two favorites. she had been telling me about the orchard for years.

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her entire family used to get together every single year in the fall & had quite a streamline process for picking, sorting, peeling, cutting & processing the apples to make homemade apple cider and mead. the basement of her grandmother’s house had a room where the processing went on — a full room of tables & a homemade pulley system for the heavy glass jugs of cider and wine so that they would not have to be manhandled to their destination. underneath the stairs was a cellar where everything was stored. they would wait until after the first frost to begin picking because the apples would have a higher sugar content then.

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since those days, her grandfather has passed, her grandmother has aged and the family just doesn’t take part in such a hefty endeavor for cider anymore. i was completely honored that she even thought of me to join her.

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not only that, but she unwittingly planned the whole excursion during the golden hour. the house sits at the base of the foothills – nestled between some surrounding properties near the mountains and the busy city. b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l.

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without even realizing, we had placed 164 apples and 8 large pears into gigantic baskets that i had brought along. a trunk load of apples!

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on the way home from the farm, i was conjuring up all of the different recipes i wanted to try out. . .apple butter was at the top of the list.

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apple butter, something i grew up on. my dad would bring it to the cabins with us when we would go to the cold mountains for long hunting trips. my sister and i would eat the entire container of apple butter spread over cinnamon toast. the smell brings back nostalgia at its finest.

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next on the list came jelly. compost was a priority as well. the jelly & compost were both going to be making all of the odds & ends of the apples useful. the peels & cores, that of which i saved a plenty. my grandparents had requested some apple crisp — i happily obliged.

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i shared bags of apples with my sister, grandmother & close friend. after that, all i was left with was a small bag of about 20 small apples. i decided to quarter and freeze them for later use — use for something very specific. this thanksgiving, i am going to be making homemade cider with those orchard apples — and from that cider. . . .will come hot buttered rum drinks. coming for thanksgiving dinner? you’re welcome to. & you’re welcome in advance for the hot adult drinks that will be served in abundance. aside from aaalllll of those things, lastly, i made rigby eleanor some homemade dog treats as well as froze some diced apples properly for use in baking frenzies later this season.

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i dropped some apple butter & dog treats next door at the neighbors.

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and have so much left over to share with friends & family. .it. is. ridiculous!

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i felt soo grateful after realizing just how many fruit pieces my friend had allowed me to bring home. i had taken her grandmother a jar of country bean soup mix that i had put together to initially say thank you for letting my family visit the property. this week i sent over some jars of apple butter.

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without further adieu, the recipe i used for the apple butter. this is done in a slow cooker overnight and total cooking time is 12+ hours. do not make this in a hurry. it should be a slow process and you will thank yourself later for taking your time. i promise. you will also thank yourself for even making this at all, as your house is going to smell absolutely delectable. in this particular recipe, the creator states that she does not endorse it for ‘canning,’ or more properly ‘jarring.’ but simply because she does not feel educated enough on the subject in order to feel confident with telling others to safely do so. i did a lot of research on jarring and apples and acidity and ph levels. science-ee stuff. and deemed the recipe just fine for jarring with the boiling water bath method after the sterilization & jarring process.

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97% of the jars sealed up properly. i am still trying to figure out what went wrong with the remaining 3%. unless you are familiar with jarring, i would say follow the instructions just as she has listed out. i’m no expert. i don’t even know what i’m doing. however, those of you who will be receiving jars as gifts. . . .pleeease do not be alarmed. i swear they aren’t jars full of botulism. s.w.e.a.r. xx.

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recipe courtesy — brown eyed baker. [listed out below exactly as she has on her site — please use link above for direct reference].

yield: 4 pints

prep time: 30 minutes

cook time: 12 hours

total time: 12 hours 30 minutes

An easy recipe for Apple Butter, made right in your slow cooker!

INGREDIENTS:

6½ pounds apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I used a combination of Granny Smith, Fuji and Honeycrisp)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place apples in slow cooker. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Sprinkle over the apples and stir gently to combine. Cook on low for 10 hours.

2. Stir in vanilla extract, breaking up any large chunks of apples that remain. Cover and cook for an additional 2 hours.

3. Remove cover and use an immersion blender to puree the apple butter until completely smooth. (Alternately, you could puree in batches in a food processor or regular blender.) If you want the apple butter thicker, you can continue to cook it on low with the lid of the slow cooker slightly ajar so that steam can escape.

4. Allow the mixture to cool, then spoon into jars and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 2 months.

(Recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction)

 

blueberry cheesecake ice cream.

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when i was little, my family would spend every single fourth of july at my great grandparents’ house. they had one of those old-fashioned, hand-crank, wooden ice cream makers. the slooow kind. where your arm gets super tired [to the point of thinking it may fall off] because you have to crank the handle for so long. that’s how i grew up making ice cream. so these days, electric makers aren’t allowed in the house. i was able to find an awesome wooden maker a few years ago at an antique shop and now we carry on the tradition with our kids every summer. there is nothing better than homemade vanilla ice cream. have you ever tried? not the kind in the store that’s labeled ‘homemade vanilla.’ make your OWN! do it.

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this recipe i’m sharing, however, is a no-churn. i had never tried making the cold stuff this way before.

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the ice cream was delicious [as were the cones]. what was left of it. i dropped 3/4 of the quart onto the kitchen floor while i was attempting to capture shots of the blueberry & cream filled tubs.

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and then. .to make matters even better, i absolutely refused to spend money on a pizzelle iron for the cones [as i knew i would only use it once every five years and it would sit, collecting dust & taking up kitchen space]. so i free-formed the ‘waffle’ bowls using a tin as a bit of a mold to wrap the pieces around.

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the recipe & process were almost identical to that of fortune cookies. all of the recipes are listed out below exactly as they are on the sites i found them. xx.

recipe for ice cream courtesy the baking goddess

Yields | 1 quart

Inspiration | Pastry Affair

  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 6 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 cups whipping cream, cold
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Waffle cones, to serve (optional)
  1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, cook blueberries and granulated sugar until berries burst and release their juices (approximately 5-10 minutes). Add the cornstarch to thicken and continue cooking for another 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and place blueberries in the freezer to cool quickly (approximately 15 minutes).
  2. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth. Add 1/2 cup cream and whip until the cream cheese mixture becomes incorporated. Scrape the bowl as needed. Add the rest of the cream and the vanilla extract and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. (this step may also be done with a hand mixer and a healthy dollop of patience!)
  3. In a plastic container, spread half the whipped cream. Top with half the blueberries. Spread the remaining cream and top with the remaining blueberries. Using a knife, swirl the ice cream. Cover and place in the freezer for at least 6 hours. Serve in waffle cones, if desired.

recipe & instructions for waffle bowls courtesy lindsay ann bakes.

Yields: 1/2 dozen mini 5″ cones/bowls (or 1/2 cup batter)
Ingredients
  • 1 large egg white
  • 3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Trace 2-4 five-inch circles on a sheet of parchment fit to the size of your baking sheet. Flip parchment paper over and place on baking sheet as a template for uniform sized cones/bowls. Create cones molds if desired out of card stock paper by cutting out 5 1/2 inch triangles, wrapping it around itself forming a cone shape, and taping to secure. Wrap the outside of the cone mold in foil or parchment paper so the cone can easily release from the mold. Make one cone mold for each circle on your parchment paper template.
Whisk together the egg white and sugars until frothy. Add butter and vanilla. Gently stir in flour until smooth.
Spoon about 1 heaping tablespoon of batter onto the parchment lined baking sheet using a small offset spatula or knife, using your circle templates as a guide. Make sure they are spread out thin and even so they come out nice and crisp. Bake for about 9-11 minutes. Immediately remove from pan with a spatula and very quickly, shape your cones into mini cones or bowls.

vegan overnight oats.

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2C rolled oats

2C mashed naners

1 1/2 Tbsp raw honey //or// sweetener of choice [coconut nectar, grade b pure maple syrup, agave nectar, etc.] i am partial to my local, raw honey.

1/3C organic raw cacao [powder]

1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

2 Tbsp chia seeds

2C milk of choice [almond, coconut, soy, flax, rice] *i would not recommend using cashew milk as it may thicken the consistency more than what is desirable.

mash the bananas and mix into the rolled oats. add the honey, cacao, cinnamon & chia seeds and stir until well blended. pour milk over the top and stir. cover and refrigerate overnight. top with fresh fruit, chia seeds, raw cacao nibs, etc. if desired.

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spiced cardamom blueberry pie.

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i must share first that i’m feeling a bit shocked. the lack of pie recipes on my blog is completely alarming, considering pies were sort of my gateway drug into baking. they led me to it all. and i have baked about one million. where are they all? thinking back, i realize that those pies were made during a time in my life when i was perhaps only taking photos of my bakes using a blackberry flip phone. or something like that. the shame for that phone. the regret for not taking the time to photograph food & log recipes. they’re heavy. okay so i know this [winter-ee] pie should have probably been baked during a cooler, more festive season. but it honestly went just as well for a gathering with friends in the springtime as it would have in the winter. it makes a delicious after dinner dessert. this is the least sweet pie i have ever tasted and i grew a very slow, odd appreciation for the lack of sweetness with each bite. it’s full of juniper berries, cloves, star anise, orange. . . .mmmm.

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i added cardamom to the dough recipe that i used for the blackberry & pear vanilla bean galette. & followed a blog Food Above Gold for the filling deets. a more direct link to her recipe is listed below.

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when adding the cardamom, do it to taste — it’s all about personal preference. i think i added a heaping teaspoon to the dough recipe i linked above, similar to the teaspoon Food Above Gold added to her dough. you can mix it in the food processor with the dry ingredients first so that it is well distributed. happy pie-ing! xx.

recipe courtesy — Food Above Gold.

iris’.

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sunnyside up. a cafe that is. Iris’ Sunnyside Up cafe in hopkins, located in the stann creek district of belize.

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it appears i am a whirlwind of bad luck. it began with a restaurant where nick & i had one of our first dates. the place closed down. not only did it shut down, but months following. .it was bulldozed to smithereens. and then several months ago there was Kevin’s Place. KP’s. my favorite breakfast place in the whole entire world. W-O-R-L-D. i travel a lot for a busy parent [considering our active lifestyle, two children & two pets] and i’m known to enjoy breakfasting. what i’m saying is, i’ve enjoyed a lot of breakfasts. . . .yelping my way all over north & parts of central america. coast-to-coast. top to bottom. many of the states. canada. calgary. banff. as well as all over the entire country of Belize. both high-end & slummin’ it in all of these places. and my faaaavorite place lied in a northern, quiet suburb of chicago. Kevin’s Place. a hole in the wall, literally. you’d miss it if you blinked while walking by. they shut their doors a few months back. and i cried. overly-emotional? perhaps. this month, a place that held so many meaningful travel experiences and provided us with the most fantastic breakfasts & warm company while honeymooning decided to call it quits when the lease was up.

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and omg look at the fry jacks!!!!!! iris’ were good but when we stayed in the tree-houses, those were the best! if we only went back to belize for the traditional fry jacks with beans, my heart would forever be content.

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i remember having over an hour long conversation with Maureen [the owner] one of the mornings that we biked down the long dusty road to the village for breakfast at iris’.

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she told me all about her days growing up in south africa, about her dad, her kids and their life in belize. and about her restaurant. i miss it. and we always said we would go back. there are just too many places to see in this world so i feel like repeat travels always have to be put on the back burner to the new sights & adventures we seek out. it sucks saying goodbye to all of these incredible, sentimental buildings & food & people. the people are the best part. and we somehow always manage to cling on to the best people. i suppose i’ll miss the feral kitties that hung around also.

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another one bites the dust. farewell iris’. xx.

raw pistachio cookies. {gluten-free, vegan}

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we are leaving for LA in just a couple of short weeks. nick has a large convention & a few conferences he will be attending for work. the sunshine is desperately needed. i am eagerly, and somewhat restlessly, awaiting its warmth. who knows how alarmingly low my vitamin D levels could be after the cluster of depressingly gloomy, snowy, sleety days we have been experiencing off & on for months here in colorado?! i swore i would take a supplement last winter but somehow it slipped my mind. this mini get-away honestly could not be coming at a better time. i want to frolic on all of the beaches along the OC area west coast in my brand new suit. bathe in the sun [with sunscreen of course], enjoy the little cottage-feeling bungalow where we’ll be staying & maybe take a drive — either down to tijuana [where our safety may be questionable] so that i can relive my glory days as a child during my first trip to mexico — or up to a couple of vineyards in the madera|fresno area. both are fabulously within driving distance. & i’m sure both would be equally as exciting. nick has been trying to talk me into a kid-less disneyland visit for months. i suppose we wouldn’t feel so guilty, being as we just stopped off at disney with the kiddos when we were coming back from hawaii in november. LA is my second favorite US city, just down the list from chicago. i love the people. i love the sunny days. the beach. the food. and everything else that the entire state of california has to offer up & down the western coast. hiking. seafood. activities. they have it all. i mean, don’t they?

i was going to have these cookies up last weekend. & as promised, but late, here they are. . .

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extra delicious & full of nutrients — this recipe from Miryam Quinn Doblas, RD, is listed exactly as i found it from nuts.com. direct link listed at the bottom as always and i have included a link to Miryam’s site as well! enjoy!! xx.

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Cookies:
Filling:

Instructions

  1. Place the cookie ingredients in your food processor and pulse until combined or until the mixture comes together. Place the mixture between two pieces of plastic wrap, and use a rolling pin to roll the cookie dough until it becomes about 1/2 inch thick. With a round cookie cutter, cut cookies out until you have no more dough. Set the cookies in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to harden.
  2. In the meantime, prepare the filling by placing the ingredients in the food processor and pulsing the mixture until it is nice and smooth.
  3. Take the cookies out of the freezer and scoop about 1-2 tablespoons of the filling over half of the cookies. Place another cookie on top of the filling to assemble the cookie sandwiches.
  4. Enjoy immediately or store cookies in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

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recipe courtesy — Miryam Quinn Doblas, RD via nuts.com — Miryam’s website, eatgood4life.com, can be found by following the link provided!

tasty mexican hot cocoa.

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since the forecast calls for snow all weekend, i think i can finally get this post up. i’m sure this won’t be our last snow. it usually trickles in throughout may. a lot of people act surprised, but really. . . .we know it’s coming every spring. if you live in a colder climate or at least somewhere winter hasn’t quite yet left, maybe you’ll have a chance to make this one last time before the seasons change & the chill disappears!

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four years ago, while wedding planning — nick & i were deciding upon favors. we wanted them all to be handmade, homemade & full of love. my sister sewed all the pairs of lace, hand-warmers full of lavender for everyone. they were so lovely & sweet smelling.

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if you have yet to notice, this post is incredibly media-heavy [sorry up front! i promise the recipe in the end is worth the scroll through]. since the hot cocoa is so nostalgic for us, i wanted to share photographs from our wedding day as well. i promise to keep it under fifty.

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i had spent hours over a few scattered evenings scouring the internet for the best hot cocoa mix recipe. the site i came across and landed on for sure immediately upon finding was really difficult to discover. i had searched a lot of different key terms for so long. for some reason, i forgot to bookmark the blog site. the year following our winter wonderland, canadian wedding, i went searching for the site again and was lucky enough to come across it. a friend had asked me for the recipe and i had to dig it out of the depths of cyberspace so that i could send it over to her. and yet again, i failed to bookmark it. ahh! but how?? finally, three years later i was ready to do a third search, trying to remember what it was that i had used for key terms. i tried everything. i even tried specifically putting in the wording from the preparation instructions. nothing was bringing it up. i began to wonder if the site had been removed and i started to get disheartened. nick was able to locate the blog using an internet history site that sweeps the web & saves copies of pages & sites. I.N.C.R.E.D.I.B.L.E.

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so from what i can tell, jamie jimenez used to have a blog site @yours-is-the-earth.com. i’m not even sure that it was a specific food blog. i think it was artsy odds & ends and there just happened to maybe be a few recipes on there. i think i got lucky with that hot cocoa recipe. i mean i really hit the jackpot. at least that’s how i felt. guys — i have tried probably upwards of thirty hot cocoa recipes in my day. that’s kind of a lot, right? i’m not sure jamie jiminez quite understands the golden recipe she was holding onto. i have found so many sites saying the exact same thing — that it was hands down the best hot cocoa they had ever tasted. sooo lucky to have found it in the first place! and that’s how i feel now that i have found the original recipe again. for a third time.

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so after yours-is-the-earth, it appears that jamie went and helped her husband start homespun  @homespunatl.com — which she is the co-founder of — i’m not even sure if any of the things from her old blog were transferred over. however, they should seriously consider adding the hot cocoa to homespun. it would be a hit.

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anyway, back to my finding the recipe. i cannot stress enough that this is the greatest hot cocoa recipe i have ever come across. i did make a few modifications. i added ancho chile pepper, chipotle chile pepper & habanero powder. i used extra large chunks of chocolate to top off the powder in each of the mugs and i used one large mallow as opposed to littles.

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i had several requests for the recipe after everyone had safely made it home and tried the liquid chocolate gold. i have been meaning to get this on the blog for years and to be quite honest, time slips away from me many days and posts sit for a while before i actually get around to them. you know, because real life happens. this isn’t my job. and so i just sort of get to the blog when i get to it. i hope you guys enjoy this one. i really, really do! let me know if you try the hot cocoa.

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i cannot source the original site since it is no longer available. however, i did put a listing for homespun at the bottom of the page — they are actually putting together some absolutely incredible gatherings [i wish we lived closer!] and the blog and things jamie sells are so fun to look through! her husband creates some very delectable dishes! if nothing else, give their site a glance!! homespun can be found on IG via @HomespunATL and jamie can be found via @mrsjamiejimenez. if you do make the hot cocoa i’m sure you could throw a tag in there!

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so, without further ado, what you have all been waiting for [i hope] as i just talked it up for a good five minutes. the recipe {listed exactly as it were on yours-is-the-earth.com}. . . . [my modifications are listed just below it.]

recipe courtesy — jamie jimenez from Homespun ATL.

photo credit for all pictured above: kristy-anne swart from up and away studios.

tasty mexican hot cocoa

INSTRUCTIONS:

In your handled mason jar, mix the following ingredients:

-3 Tbsp cocoa powder
-¼ Cup of sugar, mixed with a teaspoon of vanilla extract (or a scraped vanilla bean)
-½ tsp of salt
-½ tsp cinnamon
-¼ tsp nutmeg
-A dash of cayenne or chili powder (optional)
-½ Cup chopped semisweet chocolate (or morsels)
-Approximately 1 cup large marshmallows. These will fill the space at the top of the jar.

*When it comes time to enjoy the cocoa (for one serving):
Set marshmallows aside. Put ¼ of the mix in a mug. Warm a cup of milk. Pour just enough of the warm milk into the mug to make a paste with the mix. This will prevent clumping. Then pour in the rest of the milk and stir. Add the marshmallows on top, and enjoy. This can easily be made in whole batches, by diving all of the mix between 4 mugs, and using 4 cups of milk.

*For dairy allergies, almond milk makes this drink quite delish!

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**the first time around (for the wedding favors), i used vanilla essence. the second time around and most recently, i used vanilla bean paste in place of the essence and prefer it that way.

**add to powdered mix:  1/8-1/4 tsp. ancho chile pepper, 1/8-1/4 tsp. chipotle chile pepper, a pinch of habañero powder {i used a decent-size pinch, but you can tailor based off of how spicy you want the hot cocoa!}

**lastly — do not go cheap! splurge on good quality chocolate. i used a bar that we had from nuance chocolate in fort collins — a specialty shop that imports chocolate from all over the world. we had a bar from belize that we threw into our most recent jar! in the end, you will be so happy you spent the few extra dollars! after you have drank your warm mug of cocoa right down to the last drop, ‘thank you’s‘ for recovering this glorious recipe can be sent to moi — @country.bumpkin on IG, or here — simply leave your comments below! [of course i’m totally kidding, but seriously — ENJOY!] xx.

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