Crockpot Apple Butter

Hey, ya’ll! I must apologize for being absent. I’ve basically failed at time management the last couple of weeks. At least I’ve remembered to take pictures so I can share some recipes!

I’ve got several to post, and hopefully by Sunday I will be all caught up. Hopefully is the key word, here. ūüôā

First up, I’ve got my “famous among my family and friends” apple butter. It’s super easy, and super delicious! It¬†is a sweet spread, so don’t expect a healthy recipe, here. Don’t forget that indulgences¬†can be part of a healthy and balanced diet!

 

Crockpot Apple Butter

Ingredients:

  • 12 large apples (peeled, cored, and chopped)
  • 1 3/4 c. sugar
  • Dash of all spice
  • Dash of cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 c. apple cider
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice

 

Method:

For the prepping of the apples, I like to set up a little work station in the living room, in front of the TV! It is a pretty easy, but fairly time consuming task.

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Ta-da! I know, my set up is pretty sweet.

Any way, peel, core, and chop those apples. Add ’em to a crockpot. I¬†attempted the use of a liner. It did. not. work. Maybe there was a rip in the liner already, but I gave up like 2 hours into the process. Next time, I’m just not going to deal with it.

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Voila. Pretty apples haha.

Next, add in all the other ingredients.

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Stir the mixture as best as you can. It’ll get easier to stir as the mixture cooks down.

At first, it’ll almost look like a stew. Apple butter stew. Mmm.

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Here’s the cooking schedule (yes, schedule):

  1. Cook on high for 1.5 hour (lid on). Stir.
  2. Cook on low for 1 hour (lid on). Stir.
  3. Cook on low for 7 hours (lid ajar). Stir periodically and add in more spices as you see fit.

 

At the end of that time, this is your reward:

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Yum. I ran about half through a food processor to smooth it out a bit more. Hubs asked me to leave some of it chunky.

You can can it, like I did, or let it cool and transfer it to a container to chill out (haha) in your fridge. Just know that you have to consume it pretty quickly if you don’t can. I definitely recommend canning it.

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If you make this recipe, or any of my recipes, tag me on Instagram or Twitter and let me see!

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Comments, questions, requests? Let me know below!

Easy Dinner: Cheeseburger Wonton Cupcakes

Ok, I need to just take a minute to talk about how incredible EmilyBites is. I found this blog whilst one WeightWatchers, and let me tell ya, it saved me from many a boring meals. Emily is funny, super creative, and cranks out some awesome, low-guilt recipes! My favorite? Any of her wonton cupcakes! The white lasagna and the cheeseburger cupcakes are my favorite. Last night, I decided to make the cheeseburger cupcakes.

Guys, these are just so cute and so so good that I HAVE to share the recipe with you. The original recipe is here. I almost follow the recipe to a tee, but I omit the mushrooms (I don’t usually like them), I use canned tomatoes instead of fresh, and I used ground turkey since I don’t eat beef. I also just kind of eyeball the seasoning and onions. And cheese and tomatoes. Haha.

 

Emily Bites’ Cheeseburger Wonton Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • ¬†1/2 white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb ground turkey
  • McCormick Hamburger Seasoning (I use maybe a tbsp and a half. This stuff is seasoning gold)
  • 4 Laughing Cow Queso Fresco cheese wedges
  • 3 (ish) Tbsp ketchup
  • 1 (ish) tbsp yellow mustard
  • 16 wonton wrappers (in Kroger, these are found with the refrigerated health foods lol)
  • 1/4 c. canned diced tomatoes, drained SUPER well
  • Shredded sharp cheddar (you can use whatever shredded cheese you have on hand)

Method:

Preheat oven to 375. Use cooking spray to lightly grease 8 cups in a muffin tin. Add a small amount of water to the “non-greased” cups. Set aside.

In a nonstick skillet, sautee the onion over medium heat until translucent. Add the turkey and hamburger seasoning and cook until totally done.

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It’s gold, I tell you!

Drain the meat well, and add to a microwavable bowl. Also to this bowl add the 4 cheese wedges, ketchup, and mustard.

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Mix it all together. It WILL look nasty. You’ve been warned.

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Place 8 wrappers in the 8 greased cups, like so…

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Use about half the meat mixture, half the tomatoes, and half the shredded cheese (in that order) to fill the first layer.

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Add another wonton wrapper to each existing wonton wrapper, and repeat the layers. They should look a like this:

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Bake these suckers for about 18 minutes….. Annndd they will come out looking like this:

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Guys, they are seriously SO GOOD. I serve them with a veggie (like broccoli) or a starch (like baked fries, if I’m feeling slightly unhealthy haha).

I want to know what you think! Requests? Try a recipe? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you!

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Chili Day!

Sunday was chili day in the French household! I love any kind of chili- chicken, taco, green, veggie, whatever. Sunday, I opted for the traditional, tomato-based chili. I grew up on tomato-y chili. I altered my family’s recipe, and it turned out lovely!

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Simple Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 large can tomato juice (for thicker chili, use sauce)
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 3 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed (you can use a combo of beans…this is just what I had on hand)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I used stewed because, again, it is what I had on hand)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and membranes removed, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper, and chili powder to taste

Method:

In a crockpot, add the tomato juice and paste, as well as the canned tomatoes. Turn crockpot on low to get that stuff a-goin.

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Crockpot liners are your best friend. They just are.

Brown your turkey, being sure to totally cook it through. Meanwhile, dice up the onion, garlic, and jalapeno.

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Ta-da!

Drain and rinse the meat. Add the meat and cut up veggies to the crockpot. Add in the drained and rinsed beans, also.

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Mix all that tomato-beany goodness together.

Annnddd now we season. I like lots of flavor, so I add copious amounts of salt, pepper, cayenne, chili powder, and paprika. Just taste as the chili cooks in the crockpot, and add seasonings as you feel necessary.

I kind of just let the chili cook all day. Everything is already cooked and safe, but the longer the flavors meld together, the better. I personally think chili is better the next day.

I served this chili with shredded sharp cheddar (my fave) and of course, a Jiffy corn muffin with butter and honey! Ahhhh, so good and soooo comforting.

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I would like to apologize for the camera quality. We don’t own a digital camera (what? I know) and the iPhone comes in next week. So hopefully that’ll help? Who knows. We shall see.

What’s your favorite chili recipe? Post requests? Let me know in the comments!

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Catch Up: A Llama, some goats, and a creepy “craft”

Happy Monday!

For me, it’s more like sickly Monday! I was sent home from work early today because I was hacking up a lung. Nasty cold+day care = really rough morning. I got home around 11 30 and took it easy for the better part of the afternoon. I’ve been consuming copious amounts of orange juice, hot tea with lemon and honey, and, of course, water. I also had a bowl of chili (that lovely, traditional mess, recipe to follow soon), and have been cleaning out the DVR and binging on Netflix.

I also had this thought: “Wow Katie, you’ve been a terrible blogger lately.” So I figured I could also use this time to play catch up with some posts.

 

The hubs and continued our “tradition” of heading out to an apple orchard. I’m a bad person and didn’t take any pictures. I was so blown away with how beautiful it was, and we were having so much fun, that I totally forgot to take any photos. Of the trees or pumpkins.

 

I did a little happy dance when we came across this llama and goat. I was way too excited about it. But how cute??

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After the orchard, we went over to our friends’ house for chili, brownies, and a fun strategy game called The Settlers of Catan. I’ve never played a game like that before–it took me a bit to figure it out, but I got the hang of it after a while!

On Sunday, we made chili (recipe to come later) and reorganized the kitchen and dining room. We moved the table into the dining room, so now there is a large empty space in the kitchen that is BEGGING to be filled. We’re thinking a kitchen cart or a small table with two stools. I saw this project on Pinterest a while ago that I was just DYING to try, and I finally got around to it yesterday.

Anyway, here it is:

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I’m calling this a “craft” because it really didn’t take any effort. I just cleaned and removed the label of a lemonade jar, bought a $3 mask from Kroger, rolled up said mask and stuffed it into the bottle, and added super weak tea. Voila! It is creepy, but great for Halloween. We have it sitting among our liquor bottles right now. Hubs will probably try to keep it there all year. We shall see.

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Polenta Bowl

Happy Friday! I made this awesome and indulgent polenta bowl a couple nights ago and I wanted to share the recipe with you. ¬†I adapted it from a recipe I found on Pinterest. You can find the original here. It’s cheesy, vegetable-y (yeah, I know my vocab is STELLAR), and the poached egg on top really makes the dish.

 

Polenta Bowl

Ingredients, for 2 servings:

  • Half of a tube of pre-made polenta (yes, I know it sounds delish haha)
  • 1 c. total of cheese (I used a combo of goat cheese and reduced fat cheddar)
  • Chicken sausage (hubs picked spicy parm. The sausage used a pork casing, so I couldn’t eat it. But hubs said it was good)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (ish) c. of fresh spinach, rolled and chopped
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, drained well
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil
  • 2 eggs, poached

Method:

Heat up some olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook sausage until browned all sides and cooked through.

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Cut cooked sausage into coins. I was dissatisfied with how done it was, so I returned the coins to the pan to brown further (you can really never be too safe).

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Transfer the sausage to a thick layer of paper towels to drain well. These were super greasy. When I make this again, I think I will use pre-cooked turkey sausage to eliminate that fat (and so I can actually have some haha)

Clean out your sausage pan, and heat some olive oil over medium heat.

Add in the garlic and spinach. I used a little salt and pepper here. Cook until wilted and fragrant.

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Add in the drained tomatoes, and cook until reduced and heated through.

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Cook the polenta according to the package directions. Basically, add in some chicken stock and heat it up in the microwave. Super easy.

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Stir cheese into the hot polenta, and divide between two bowls.

Poach your eggs. If you don’t know how to poach (I barely do, which is why instructions are not included here), just fry ’em over easy.

Layer the veggies and, if using, sausage over the polenta. Add the egg, and poke the yolk so it spills out over everything. UM, YUM. Delicious.

Mine:

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Hubs:

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It was so good, and definitely needed after a rough day at work! It was comforting and just sooo good. You HAVE to try it!

Don’t forget to follow me on here, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. And share with your friends!

Comments? Questions? Requests? Let me know below!

 

 

Motivational…. Tuesday?

Hey ya’ll!

I apologize again for being MIA. Last week, hubs was in Florida for work and I was in northern KY to visit with family while he was away. Not being in my kitchen=no cookin happenin.

BUT, here I am, back. I promise I won’t abandon you again. I promise.

I figured I would catch up with a day late Motivational Monday post. In this one, I want to identify something we all probably need to do more of….

 

DRINK WATER. 

I don’t do it nearly enough. I like to think that I get enough, but my dry lips, super oily skin, and appetite would argue otherwise. I did some water research on WebMD. The website gives us 6 reasons why we should drink water. 3 of the most motivating (for me, at least) are below.

1. Water can help control calories. Drinking water instead of juice or soda is kind of a no brainer. It’s zero calories versus way too many calories. Drinking water with meals can fill you up and prevent that inevitable “crash and eat a lot of carbs” feeling later. I try to drink at least 2 glasses of water with dinner. Try is the key word here.

2. Water helps energize muscles. Cells need to maintain a balance of water and electrolytes. Dehydration causes muscles to fatigue, which means they get tired. Tired muscles=no workout.

3. Water keeps your skin look awesome.¬†Dehydration causes your skin to essentially “shrink.” Almost like it’s shriveling up. This can make wrinkles look more harsh or pronounced. Drinking lots of water can also “dilute” the oil on your skin, which can help keep it clear.

Water is awesome. So drink it.

I’ve declared October Fit-Tober. I’m going to be challenging myself–and YOU–every Motivational Monday to alter/begin SOME habit or practice that will lead to a healthier person. Week 1? You guessed it!

DRINK MORE WATER. 

I am challenging you to drink half your body weight (in ounces) of water, every day. For me, right now, that’s about 76 ounces of water. This amounts to three large tervis-fulls. Lol.

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Let’s go, ya’ll! Make this your fittest month of the year! We’re going out with a bang!

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