Do you ever get melancholy on Sundays?
I tend to.
After church, I tend to fart around from small project to small project… not usually completing any of them from start to finish… but just simply putzing around.
It's putzing even a word?
Yesterday, I was blessed with a wonderful baby shower from our church and was able to spend the afternoon in sweet fellowship with beautiful sisters in Christ. Instead of said melancholy putzing. Which made the Sabbath that much sweeter.
And speaking of sweet.
I'm still using up the last of the few apples that were sent to me from Washington – what a delicious blessing they have been! This apple butter is a great way to use up an excess, or even slightly damaged or overly-ripe, apples that you may have laying around.
You may remember last year it was pear butter that really got my juices flowing. But this year, since we no longer live across the street from a pear orchard we can glean from, the pear butter was a no-go. I am still feeling very blessed to have been able to replace it with this apple butter instead.
All that being said, I made this recipe even easier by simply freezing it instead of canning it. By all means, feel free to can if you like for easy storage. But I was just thankful to get it made and get it in the freezer where it shall await it's culinary destiny.
Naturally Sweetened Apple Butter
You will need:
– 3-4 pounds of apples
– 2 teaspoons of lemon juice or a few nice slices of lemon peel (optional)
– 1/4 cup rapadura or honey
– 1 cinnamon stick
– 5 cloves
– 5 allspice berries
– 1 tsp. vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
Step One: Wash, core, and slice the apples into large chunks. No need to peel. Throw them in your food processor or high-powered blender and blend until smooth. You may need to scrap down the sides a few times to ensure you get it evenly blended into a nice puree.
Step Two: Transfer the apple puree into a 9×13 pan. Add in the vanilla, rapadura, lemon juice (I used peel), and spices.
Step Three: Bake the puree in a 300 degree oven for 2-3 hours. Stir every once in awhile. The apple butter will begin to thicken. Simply cook it until it's done to your desired consistency. Remove from the oven.
Step Four: Once the apple butter has cooled, remove the cinnamon stick. Transfer it to a few pint sized mason jars, cover with lids and bands, and stick 'em in the freezer for safe keeping. Alternatively, you could also process the warm apple butter in a water-canner for ten minutes.
Just in case you wanted to see a picture of the apple butter in my hand, there you go. Very simple and very delicious. The apple butter, that is. Not my hand.
My favorite way to eat this apple butter is on soaked waffles with freshly whipped cream.
Oh my gosh that sounds good right now.
Looks like I know what we'll be having for dinner tonight…
I had to apologize to Stu for my dinner performances last week. I'm pretty sure we had breakfast-for-dinner four nights in a row. Eggs are easy. And nourishing. And delicious. Breakfast is just so dang good.
And waffles smothered in apple butter is no exception.
Speaking of food, even though I'm ‘technically' not allowed to eat or drink during labor at the hospital (stupid rule, by the way), a nurse advised me that I can easily bring food in and Stuart can sneak it to me while we're alone in the room.
So scandalous. Sneakin' food into the hospital. Who knew eating could be such a crime!
We're such rebels. But seriously. I know exactly how I function when I'm hungry, and if there is any chance of getting through this labor without pain medication, girlfriend cannot be hungry. In fact, if there is any chance of getting through this labor at all, girlfriend cannot be hungry. I cease to function. I simply curl up into fetal position and cry. Nourishment is a must. I'll take my chances with the general-anesthesia risk (which is why they don't allow you to eat in the first place).
My nurse also advised me to load up on nutritious food and drink before I arrive. She told me to labor at home, relax, take a long bath, and eat a big ‘ol meal. She's a woman after my own heart.
My point of saying that is this: homemade yogurt and fruit is on the list. Instant and delicious natural sugar boost.
I was also thinking about taking some cheese sticks. Or some cooked bacon. Ya know, for protein sake.
Is that weird?
For other great meal ideas, no matter what your dietary restrictions, check out the meal planning service I use: Real Plans.
Naturally Sweetened Apple Butter
- 3-4 pounds apples
- 2 tsp lemon juice or a few nice slices of lemon peel (optional)
- ¼ cup rapadura or honey
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 cloves
- 5 allspice berries
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
- Wash, core, and slice the apples into large chunks. No need to peel. Throw them in your food processor or high-powered blender and blend until smooth. You may need to scrap down the sides a few times to ensure you get it evenly blended into a nice puree.
- Transfer the apple puree into a 9×13 pan. Add in the vanilla, rapadura, lemon juice (I used peel), and spices.
- Bake the puree in a 300 degree oven for 2-3 hours. Stir every once in awhile. The apple butter will begin to thicken. Simply cook it until it's done to your desired consistency. Remove from the oven.
- Once the apple butter has cooled, remove the cinnamon stick. Transfer it to a few pint sized mason jars, cover with lids and bands, and stick 'em in the freezer for safe keeping. Alternatively, you could also process the warm apple butter in a water-canner for ten minutes.
When I was in full-blown labor, I didn’t have time to give a spare thought to food. I did wish that they would allow me to drink something other than ice chips. I really needed something flavored because I had this awful taste in my mouth that made me feel like throwing up. Maybe I’ll sneak something to drink next time I’m in labor which hopefully won’t be for quite a while as I currently have a 3 m/o.
When I was in labor, the first nurse after I was admitted told me I couldn’t eat. After shift change, the second nurse said “officially, you are not allowed to eat anything. Unofficially, I am going to walk out of this room right now and you can enjoy your ‘water’.” Complete with air quotes around water… I’m really glad I got to eat at the start and a snack here and there along the way, because I was in labor for 36 hours long hours at the hospital and there is no way I would have had enough energy to persevere without some food along the way!
I was not allowed to eat during labor either. I ate just before I went into labor with my oldest and promptly vomited it all up during labor. Same for the second. I learned my lesson by the third…no food.
Hi Shaye, I’m Anne from Life on the Funny Farm (http://annesfunnyfarm.blogspot.com), and I’m visiting from the Barn Hop.
Great instructions on the apple butter. Looks delish! I’ve never made it beofre, but I’d like to give it a try.
Anyway, thanks for posting this. If you’ve never visited yet, I hope you can pop by my blog sometime to say hi…
You might be shocked by how I appealing food is during labor. I am like you in that I get so cranky when I’m hungry. It makes me feel awful. But I can honesty say if someone had brought food near me I would have screamed and kicked them. Lol. You might be different though. It was the same all 3 times. However all 3 times I had hubby and family bring me a big fast food meal after giving birth. That first meal after is like heaven!! Lol. Good luck no matter how the food thing goes. Love your blog and can’t wait to see the new baby. 🙂
That is supposed to read unappealing not I appealing. Darn iPhone messes up my typing. Lol
The Birthing Center, where we started (before an “awesome” transfer to the hospital) suggests mamas to bring food in with other birthing supplies. Our midwife even told me to eat A LOT before heading into the hospital, because it’s forbidden. Wow. I don’t know how anyone labors/delivers without some calories… Thankfully, midwives aren’t outlawed here and there will be plenty of fruit, yogurt, granola, cheese sticks and bacon munching here too… :)Happy Birthday soon!!!
I agree with being irritated and annoyed by food while in labor. my “support team” was eating, and I could smell it, but the smell was awful. And I love food! You just might find chewing isnt a priority. Or maybe not. I ate like crazy the 48 hrs after, however!
I know this is a very old post, however instead of apologizing to Stu for making “breakfast” foods for four nights you should have said “you’re welcome”. Ha! Breakfast foods for dinner = awesomeness. Always a family win.