Sunday, November 2, 2014

Apple Skin Apple Butter.... sooo good.

When processing apples into Apple Pie Filling  you may find that you end up with a huge pile of apple skins.  These are not garbage... Go ahead and dispose of the cores (or dump them in the alley for the resident deer population to munch on).  While you're peeling apples keep a large crockpot nearby.  Toss the skins in the pot as you go (have it turned on low heat) and toss a cinnamon stick in there too.  If the pot is left open as you work, be sure it doesn't boil dry (add a little water) and keep it going all day.

I'm sure once you're done processing pie filling you'll have tons of energy to do apple butter.... I DON'T (we do 2-4 batches of filling and I'm beat). So I leave that baby cooking all night.  Before bed I cram it full (because the skins cook down a lot) by using a simple corer/wedger and stuffing as many apples in there as I can.  I fill a 2.5 qt and a 3.5 qt crockpot (so 6 qts.) and leave them bubbling all night.

Then in the morning we wake up to a heavenly apple smell.  I turn off the crock pots to cool while we get our morning routine out of the way.  A couple hours later I get going on it.

Apple Skin Apple Butter

20 Cups apple skins chunks and wedges slow cooked ~18hrs
1 1/2 cups Honey
1 1/2 tsp salt (w/out iodine)
I scoop the apple mush (removing cinnamon sticks!) into my blender until it's filled to the 5 cup line.  Then I blend until smooth and pour into my large pasta pot.  Repeat until all of the apples are pureed.  Adjust your recipe according to the amount of apple mush you measured (ex: 3/4 cup Honey for 10 cups of mush). Measure before blending since it adds air and makes it seem like more volume.  Heat until simmering and add honey and salt.

I can mine in pints or 1/2 pints, processing 15 min + my 10 min extra for altitude (don't forget to adjust for altitude).  I've been using a Victorio Steam canner (which is awesome) but a water bath method also works.

Feel free to adjust the recipe!  If you only have sugar you can use sugar. I am trying to consume less sweets so this recipe is not super sweet... you could double the amount of sweetener in the recipe (if you want it sugary like jam).  I have also added pectin before to make it thicker just following the jam directions (it is expensive so I usually leave it out since I make so much).

I use apple butter as a spread on toast or English muffins (I smear a little normal butter on and then the apple butter (like I do with jam).  We eat a lot of oatmeal (microwave 1/3 cup oats with 1/2 cup whole milk for 1 min).  One of my kids favorite stir ins is a big scoop of apple butter (I also like to add some flax seeds and a spoon of plain yogurt to mine.)

Peanut Butter Apple Fluff: To make sandwiches I make a goober mix (half creamy peanut butter half apple butter) and spread it generously between two slices of bread.  The kids call it Peanut Butter Apple Fluff.  You can use crunchy peanut butter (but the moisture from the apple butter can make the chunks soft). So I only use crunchy on sandwiches that will be eaten right away.  Peanut butter Apple Fluff is like frosting.... it is also good to sandwich between graham crackers before putting them in an airtight container in the fridge... You get soft and cakey graham bars after a few hours... such a yummy treat.  I think I will use it to frost a cake sometime in the near future... when the baby is okay-ed to eat peanuts.

Let me know if you try this... or if you made any excellent alterations.  Share your favorite ways to use apple butter.  I love comments.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Canned Apple Pie Filling II & Honey Sweetened Recipe

I've improved my recipe from last year: see how many more apples are crammed in the jar! and the 'sauce' is thicker.


7 quart jars/batch
a crank apple peeler/corer
canning supplies (pot, jar lifter, lids, rings, funnel)
lemon juice
apples enough to fill 7quart jars 5-8 apples/jar depending on size

Peel and core apples on a peeler/corer/slicer as seen above.  If you'd rather you can do any other preferred method but this is much faster.

Using a very large bowl pour lemon juice and water (maybe a half cup of lemon juice/quart of water). about 1/3 full (you can add more water/lemon as needed).
As each apple comes off the end of the corer, cut it in half and remove any pieces with skin, flaws, etc.  Then you will have smile shaped slices.  Save the skins in one container (puree cook them down sweeten and make them into apple butter...mmm).  Place the slices in the lemon water to wait until you process to prevent browning.

If you have someone helping (which I recommend because this is a pretty time consuming project)  Have the other person prepare the filling sauce:

Filling Recipe:

4 cups honey (I will likely use 1 cup less next time + a little extra water)
5 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups flour
3 tsp cinnamon (I used more spice to balance w/ the honey flavor)
2 tsp. salt (non-iodized)

In a large pot dissolve honey in the water.  Measure flour and stir in the cinnamon and salt.  Whisk flour mix into the water until smooth.  Heat until bubbling.  Reduce heat to keep warm.

5 cups sugar
1 cup thickener (I prefer flour for a hearty apple pie--some like cornstarch for a clear jell--looks store-bought to me)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. salt (non-iodized)
5 cups water *

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl making sure to break up any flour or starch lumps.  Measure cool water in a large sauce pot, whisk the dry ingredients into the water until smooth.  Place on stove top and bring to a boil (watch closely and stir)  I do this on high so I don't have to stand around all day waiting for it to boil.  You don't want to leave it to boil or it can boil over and make a big mess of the stove (I know).

Fill the Jars:

 When you've filled a large bowl of apple slices, take a minute and prepare your jars by rinsing in very hot water or have them waiting in a hot dishwasher and fill your canner maybe 1/3 full with hot tap water.  Prep your lids by letting them sit in hot simmering or near simmering water. 

Using a funnel fill each warm jar with 1 cup of hot filling *.  The best way to measure is by following measuring marks on the jar-if they have them.  Then pack apples into the jar and push down into the filling until you get the jar filled up to just beneath the neck of the jar (1 inch head space).  It is just right when you push the apples down and the filling rises up to that level flush with the apples.  It's okay if the apples rise up a little higher after you pull your hand away. 

This is the method for filling jars I came up with because you have a consistent amount of filling and apples in each jar and very few bubbles in the jar. You will have some leftover apple filling/sauce.  You will have more or less depending on how long your pot sat there warming/evaporating while waiting for the apples.


Wipe the rims of each jar with a clean damp cloth, top with a lid, and secure with a ring nice and tight.  Lower the jars into your canner filled with quite hot water (not boiling or even simmering).  Add cool water if you warmed it too hot.  Your filling is not very hot because of the cold raw apples, so be sure the water isn't too hot or you might break some jars.  Make sure their is 1-2 inches of water above the tops of the jars.  Bring the water to a boil and time it (process it) for 25 min. at sea level.

Be sure to adjust processing according to your altitude. I do mine for 30 min.

Altitude Adjustments for Boiling Water Bath Canner
Altitude in Feet Increase processing time
1001-3000 5 minutes
3001-6000 10 minutes
6001-8000 15 minutes
8001-10,000 20 minutes

 (chart from -- I adapted the recipe and made up my own method after trying out the recipe/process from this site).

Carefully remove your jars with a lifter from the hot water and place on a towel to cool and seal.  Don't mess with them until completely cool or you could hamper the sealing process.

When ready to bake a pie follow the directions for your crust recipe for a filled pie.  Each jar will fill an 8" covered pie.  I always make sure to cover my edges with foil to prevent them from burning.  Because I'm lazy I often use 1-1/2 to 2 jars of filling in a 9x13" pan  to make an apple crisp (plus it's got whole grain oats instead of pastry).  We serve it warm with vanilla ice-cream.


Stay tuned:.....MY APPLE SKIN APPLE BUTTER Post is going up on Sat. Nov. 1, 2014.

*changed from original recipe

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fall is in the Air.

First day of kindergarten last year: walking to the bus stop.

Today I'm going to make some of my favorite cookies (because it's cool and wet: a great day to bake).  Plus with my six year old going back to school next week I'll need healthy treats to pack in her lunches.

Best Ever Cookies

(I've also simplified the recipe)

Grilling Obsession: My hubby bought us a new (used but new to us :o) grill this summer and I've been doing a lot of grilling.  I thought it was a ploy to get me to cook large amounts of meat (my meat philosophy).  I've actually been doing more veggies than anything. Loving grilled kebabs especially with yellow squash, mushrooms, tomatoes, and sweet onion chunks (tossed in bacon grease w/ salt and pepper before skewering).  Grilled Broccoli is also Amazing (I just marinade in Italian herbs & spices a little oil and vinegar-instead of buying a bottle of dressing).  And something new I've tried is Grilled Cabbage. It is so tasty. I usually struggle to find ways to use a whole cabbage (I'm the only one who eats coleslaw around here) but this makes it go really fast.  We had it with brats... It was really good on the brats and it would be good to top burgers too.  The grill is a great way to cook veggies.  I challenge you to try something new on the grill while you still have the chance (unless you live in a land of eternal summer).

I'm also getting prepared for my apple harvest and to do some serious canning... I love having pie filling in the cupboard so I can quickly throw together a tasty apple crisp.  I'll also be making a whole lot of apple sauce and apple butter.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Sometimes moms think they can do it all... but honestly we can't.... No matter how awesome a mom is, she can't replace a DAD!

Some of my fondest memories were wrestling with my dad... racing him... running as fast as I could, hanging from his incredibly strong biceps, being flung into the air and, caught in his arms.  He taught me to take risks, to challenge my safety net, and to even be reckless sometimes... These things are a bit outside of my nature and I needed his push to do things that were challenging.

Dad's have hard jobs, they have to go out in the world, compete in a sometimes ruthless and harsh world (and yes I know many women do too).  But they summon up the strength and push forward defying all the critics and the all the forces that could, and often do, combine against them.  Sometimes dads are riskier playing with their kids and sometimes we'd get hurt... but it was worth the risk.  We survived and the experiences we gained were priceless.  Sometimes men ignore risks and/or don't weigh all the possibilities of what could go wrong... but as a man working in a dog eat dog world... sometimes you have to slap on your big boy pants imagine that you're invincible, forget about the risks, and go for it.  Sure it might be terrifying but that's the essence of manhood.  And time and experience has proven to me that all those cliche phrases like man-up and take it like a man are well founded.

I always compared my Dad to Popeye because I thought he had such incredibly strong forearms... Yet he was not one who encouraged us to eat our vegetables.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I LOVE MY MOM: lessons my mom has taught me.

I had a rough mom day yesterday.... blowing up and screaming at my kids who seemed hell-bent on defying me.  Times like that you seriously question why you work so hard and whether it's worth it all.... At the moment it doesn't seem like it.
  But it

worth every minute of it!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Understanding Easter on a Deeper Level

image source
I know there are so many things to do around the holidays.  Easter is such an important holiday, but too often we get caught up in the Easter Bunny stuff and all the excitement for spring that we don't think about the deepest most important reason we celebrate this holiday.

Christ lives, yes he died for our sins, but he rose again.  We can live again and because of his atonement we have the power to rise above our sins, faults, weaknesses, and all the failings of mortality.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints created this video to remind us:

Also visit: for more links and information regarding the importance of Easter.  I hope we can share this message with our children this Easter.

This is also a beautiful Message about Easter and the meaning of Christ's atonement in our lives:

I love the purpose of this site:
#StartingToday Campaign Encourages Change
Christmas is a time of good will toward others. New Year’s inspires resolutions. But how does Easter go beyond the superficial themes of Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies? That question is the focus of the new YouTube video, “Starting Today.”
Radiant, a new values-based content provider owned by boncom, will premiere the thought-provoking message for Easter this Saturday. Starting Today will inspire viewers to take a closer look at their lives and make positive changes.
“The central message of the video is that change can begin at any time because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ—the defining event of Easter,” Brandon Burton, the president of boncom, explained. “His life and teachings give us the hope and the help to bring about real, positive change in our lives.”
Starting Today isn’t just an inspiring short film. It’s a holistic campaign encouraging viewers to post personal resolutions on social media with the hashtag #StartingToday.
Radiant hopes that by sharing the video and their resolutions, social media users will inspire their friends and family to take action, too. ( in Spanish), a Radiant -sponsored website, provides some suggestions for positive change, such as “forgive more” and “strengthen relationships.”
Radiant is dedicated to producing engaging, uplifting content. By creating great media experiences based on the time-honored virtues of integrity, morality, and human kindness, Radiant aims to help strengthen families, build faith, promote service and inspire greatness.

Starting today I will more consciously testify of truth to strengthen and inspire those around me.

I know that Jesus Christ is my Redeemer and Savior.  I am grateful for the hope he brings to my life.  He loves all of us beyond our ability to comprehend.  He understands all of our struggles and hardships.  He knows.  He is there for us. Through him, we have the power to overcome anything.  Amen.

Christ's atonement is so important in our lives.  I recently watched this devotional on the Atonement.  I know I've understood different parts of this message at different times in my life, but this one talk really helps to bring it all into perspective. It's so inspiring and eye-opening.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Patchwork Fabric Eggs

Want to make some awesome Easter eggs this year?  Here are 4 different ways to make some awesome eggs.

This year I decided to do more of my patchwork eggs.  They make cute gifts, are adorable, and durable.

Eggs I did this year

Friday, April 4, 2014

Why Won't the LDS Church Ordain Women?

image source
I don't usually address super-controversial subjects on my blog, but I recently had a moment of clarity regarding the issue over women holding the priesthood in the LDS Church.  I felt a strong need to share.

Regarding the Ordain Women Movement: The Lord has designed the church to meet the needs of his children. If it wasn't meeting our needs, I'm sure counsel would be given to change it. I can see why changes were made so blacks could receive the priesthood. The growth of the church in predominantly black areas warranted a need for such change. I suppose if the majority of men in the church were not fulfilling their priesthood responsibilities, then the Lord would find a way to bring the blessings of the priesthood to the people of the earth (that might mean ordaining women).

 I feel that we need to have a little more faith in our priesthood holders. I don't feel that the demands of the priesthood are more than they can handle. If women feel so strongly that they (or others in the church) are unable to receive blessings of the priesthood, they should be pleading to the Lord for an answer. I would hope their spouses, fathers, home teachers, or priesthood leaders could help fill that need.

 If the current system was suddenly unable to further the work of the Lord, then yes I suppose He would (through his prophets) make changes in the church. I do believe that the church is not a democracy but it is His church. We need to have faith in His divine plan: He will insure that His work (the salvation of his children) WILL continue forward (which is the point of having an organized church in the first place). This is my testimony on the matter. Amen.

I know my blog is called Do-It-Yourself Mom
I don't mean that every mom should do everything alone (although there are many things we can). For some things we must rely on each other.  Sometimes this takes great faith and humility.  I've often heard the saying 'No man is an island.'  Well, no woman is either

If you want further information has several articles about the topic.
These 3 in particular: Why Don't Women Hold the Priesthood in the Church?
Women and the Priesthood
Church Asks Activist Group to Reconsider Plans to Protest at General Conference

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Move Over McDonald's: My New Favorite Breakfast

(Not that my favorite breakfast was ever from McDonalds this dish just reminds me of the McGriddle--although it's so much better.)

Okay so recently I discovered this ingenious idea of putting precooked crumbled sausage (which I keep in a ziploc bag in my freezer) in my pancake batter. They are so much tastier and better than chocolate I love syrup on my breakfast meats.  Today I took it to the next level... Adding cheese.


The process goes like so... take a bowl of your favorite pancake batter (like my new favorite: Whole Wheat Pancakes).  Add a few handfuls of crumbled breakfast sausage (I've used venison and turkey and they are both tasty).  Fold in.  Spoon onto hot griddle (300-350 degrees F). 

Turn with a spatula once bubbles start popping on the surface of the pancakes.

Add some cheese to half of the pancakes (I used Colby Jack because I have it and it's super gooey).

When cheese is all melty and pancakes are fully cooked stack a non-cheesed sausage cake on top of the cheesy one and drizzle with syrup.  If you want a less messy version (for the kiddos or for on the go) add the cheese right after removing from griddle and dip into syrup on the side. This is how Caleb prefers to eat his pancakes, although he was a little wary of the cheese concept.  You can also just let the hot gooey sandwich set for a minute and eat it by hand when the cheese sets up.

I first tried my maple/molasses syrup but decided that chokecherry syrup was much tastier.  I live in the chokecherry capital of the world, so I have my own but a friend of mine sells it.  Check out her FB business page Vintage Delights.  Her Chokecherry Chocolate syrup is also amazing on almost anything you can think to put it on.

The variations are endless... you could use any breakfast meat (like cubed ham or bacon pieces)  any cheese (like medium cheddar or even feta) and top it with anything you like (any flavor of syrup or even a chile sauce or salsa for a southwest kick).


Tips on making the Pancakes:  I whisk the egg, add the milk and vinegar, and then whisk in the warm melted butter (don't add the hot butter straight to the egg or else it will cook it).  I've made these enough that I have the batter ready by the time the griddle is hot. The recipe makes enough to feed 2 hungry adults.  I usually double the batch and have some for me and my kiddos with quite a few extras to keep in the fridge.  My husband is not a big breakfast or pancake fan but he snitches them (since I've been making them with sausage) out of the fridge and eats them cold.  If he doesn't devour them for lunch or a late night snack we zap them in the microwave (about 10 seconds/pancake) and have them for breakfast another day.

You could also cook up like 3 batches and freeze them (wait til they're cooled or the steam will cause them to freeze together.)  Then you can have a super tasty easy breakfast in a flash any day of the week (no need to buy those pre-packaged over-priced breakfast sandwiches).
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...