Crockpot Apple Butter

I love my crockpot, so when I saw this recipe I knew it was going to be on the Christmas giving list.

So are you ready to set it and forget it?

Crockpot Apple Butter

Ingredients

  • 1 dozen apples, peeled, cored, cubed
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon All Spice

Step 1:

  • Core and peel apples. Once you cube them put them in the crockpot.

Step 2:

  • Stir in water, sugar, and spices with apples.

Step 3:

  • Set it on low and leave overnight. I left it around 16 hours on low. You can shorten this time on high, but I would watch the apples more closely. Even on low, I periodically stirred the apples to break them up faster into the mush.

Step 4:

  • Once the apples are a mush, stir it to further smooth the mixture. You can put it in a blender to smooth out further. I left it fairly chunky, almost like applesauce.

Step 5:

  • Put butter into storing containers. This recipe allowed for 6 smaller canning jars.
  • (I also took this step to taste test it. Yummeeeee. I would eat it by the spoonful.)

You could jazz up the jars with ribbon and labels, but I didn’t quite go that far. These would make a good spread for toast or bagels.

Crockpot Apple Butter

cubed apples

Crockpot Apple Butter

all ingredients

Crockpot Apple Butter

final product

For the Birds

My in-laws love birds and really pride themselves on having a fantastic yard of nature.

They have bird houses and feeders everywhere, and they manage to get some of the coolest birds around their house because of it.

IMG_5643

I sat on their deck for probably a half hour waiting for this humming bird. I am pretty satisfied with myself!

IMG_0031

They even had dozens of birds come through during the Christmas ice storm.

So when I saw this idea, I knew that it was going to be a great gift. They give them food and shelter, so why not add comfort in there too!

2013-12-24 13.55.53

supplies

You need a suet basket which you can find at any store that sells bird seed. They come in various sizes. Since, I didn’t want to get in over my head, I just stuck with a medium to small sized one.

You will also need scraps of yarn. Since I crochet (a LOT), I was able to save tons of scraps for this. I am sure you can just cut yarn too if you don’t use yarn on a regular basis. (You can definitely tell which colors I use most often on my projects-yellow, white, purple, and red.)

You just stuff the scraps into the suet basket. You will need a lot of scraps because they will squish together. I saved over the last year for this. I ended up with two bags, one of which went in the basket initially. I gave the second bag as well as filler once this one is hopefully picked clean.

The end result is an offering basically for the birds to make their nests with this string.

It will be fun to see if this actually worked in the spring by seeing if the nests are now colorful.

Pretty sweet gift!

IMG_0255

Yet Another Crochet Scarf

Are you done with these yet?

Sorry friends, this was the year that I crocheted my booty off. (I wish literally. That is my kind of exercise!)

Also, I had another post planned for today to space out the crochet madness. However, my computer is out of commission so the one I had planned did not get written as I had hoped. So this is my quick back up while I get that figured out. I sure do miss having computer engineers at hand!

I have two more scarves to show you after this one. Rest assured, my family is warm!

This one is probably my favorite new stitch. It is called the blanket stitch, and I am a rebel by doing it on a scarf.

Here is the pattern. Once you get a feel for it, it is really easy to do. It creates a really neat look, and I must say it is actually really nice on a scarf because it creates a little bulk. Take that blanket stitch!

I then used a needle to sew the ends together. (I’ve gotten really good at this.)

I realize now that I may have gotten the infinity fever and gone a little overboard. However, my mom requested another one, so I guess I did something right!

blanket stitch

a close up

blanket stitch scarf

Doesn’t it look pretty?

 Hope you all have a great day!

Crochet Braided Infinity Scarf

This was another Christmas gift. Surprise!

This one is fairly easy to do.

I used two colors of yarn and did a single crochet stitch with a medium hook.

First I crocheted three strips of the same length. I did not count perfectly the number of rows. I just eyeballed the same length.

2013-12-19 19.49.28

Next I braided the three strips together. You will want to do it fairly tight because it will loosen up once it is done. The picture below is too loose, so make sure you do it tighter. I took me a couple braids to get it to the thickness I wanted. Also it might be handy to either have clamps or a person to hold it while you braid.

2013-12-19 19.53.32

It will look a little sloppy at this point, but don’t worry once you are done it will look great!

After you braid, you will use a darning needle to sew all the ends together.

  2013-12-19 20.48.26

I finished this project in an evening since it is all simple stiches. It is really easy!

You can vary this design a lot. You could do various stitches, have all the same color, or do three different colors. The options really are endless on the style.

It will make a fairly thick infinity scarf so make sure you make it long enough to double up or short enough that one go around doesn’t look silly.

2013-12-19 20.48.04

Homemade Bath Salts

Another homemade gift item. I made these for my step-mom and my aunt.

This one began as an attempt to make these bath bombs, but it turned out to just be salts.

Here is our story. I adjusted the directions to what we did, so if you want the “bomb” part, you need to follow her recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 3 c cornstarch
  • 3 c baking soda
  • 4-5 c lavender epsom salt
  • 1 c lemon juice
  • blue and red food coloring
  • muffin tins

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients (except food coloring) in a bowl and mix
  2. Add several drops of food coloring to get desired coloring
  3. Press firmly into a muffin tins
  4. Let dry several hours or overnight
2013-12-20 22.13.52

Supplies were all purchased at Walmart.

2013-12-20 22.25.03

Perfect and ready to be set.

So here is where we went wrong. I scoured several of these bath bomb recipes, and many said you could substitute lemon juice for citric acid. Well my pea brain didn’t translate that lemon juice is a liquid whereas the citric acid is a solid. So that liquid made a dramatic difference on the mold and how it stuck things together. For future reference, if you do substitute lemon juice, dramatically cut the amount. We added more of the dry ingredients to compensate. I estimated how much we put in there since we kind of guessed to make the consistency stick. (And I was in slight panic mode at this point, so I wasn’t thinking clearly about the documenting the measurements…)

Even after sitting for more than 24 hours, the molds did not stay as a mold.

2013-12-21 14.30.38

They were like mush.

Sooo, we decided to just keep them as mush and put them in the jars as salts. I will prevail!

I added a scoop to each one so the recipients can easily get enough out for a relaxing bath.

2013-12-21 14.30.28

This “recipe” made two of these large jars as salts.

Things to know if you attempt these:

1. Make sure you know what you are doing when you make substitutions.

2. Use silicone molds. Fortunately for this part, we could scoop them out with a spoon, but if they had hardened I am not sure they would have come out as nicely.

3. You will make a big mess and your kitchen will be overwhelmed with the smell of lavender. (Maybe the mess is just me…)

4. You should probably use someone else’s recipe. Just saying.

I will say that these do work though, so if you want bath salts, have at this recipe!

I hope you enjoyed another round of Pinterest vs. Stephanie.