Apples, Apples, and More Apples


Today my son-in-law came over and helped me do some winter sealing of doors. He is so good to me. I am a lucky lady. I would much rather pay him and know things are done right than pay someone who doesn’t know jack crap. He changed a shower head for me, showed me how to work the thermostat for the furnace and hopefully with the door repair, no more crickets.

He fixed two windows on the outside. It was a beautiful day to be doing this type of work. It is 82 in the sun today. After he left I drove into town and found the location of the next client I help take care of. I stopped at the grocery store and bought some chicken. I hadn’t had any for a while and I was missing it big-time as I used to eat it five out of seven days, it seemed.

These are Honey Crisp apples

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While I was there I  purchased some Honey Crisp apples. They are a little pricy compared to Red delicious, but oh, they are so good. I love to cut one up and eat it with peanut butter for a night-time snack.

My supper has been in the crock pot all day. BBQ country-style ribs. A potato and cabbage along side and I am set for the evening.

Here are a few recipes for this time of year using apples.

 

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Amish Apple Butter

How to make it


  • Cut apples into eighths (no need to peel or core them), and put them in the bottom of a large, heavy pot. Cover with apple cider, bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer until the apples are mushy.
  • Run the apples through a food mill to remove the peels and seeds, then dump back into the pot with the juices. Add the sugar, bring to a boil again, then put on the lowest heat and simmer. Stir every half hour or so for the first couple of hours. As it thickens, stir it more frequently. When the apple butter is the proper, spreadable consistency, flavor liberally with cinnamon, cloves, and allspice.
  • Can as you would jelly.

 

 

Applesauce

Delicious homemade applesauce recipe. There is nothing better than homemade applesauce with hand-picked apples, and it is so easy to do!

Apples vary in their sweetness level, depending on the variety and how late in the season they are picked. The amount of sugar you will want to add will depend on how sweet your apples are, and how sweet you would like your applesauce to be. This recipe is just a guideline, please adjust the sugar amounts to your taste. You can even leave the sugar out all together if you are using sweet apples.

If you use less sugar than this recipe suggest, you will likely want to reduce the amount of lemon juice as well. The lemon juice brightens the flavor of the apples and balances the sweetness.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 to 2 quarts.

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 lbs of apples (about 7 to 10 apples, depending on the size), peeled, cored, and quartered* (use apples varieties that are good for cooking such as Granny Smith, Pippin, Gravenstein, Mcintosh, Fugi, Jonathan, Jonagold, or Golden Delicious)
  • 4 strips of lemon peel (use a vegetable peeler to strip 4 lengths, zest only, not the pith)
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp lemon juice (more or less to taste)
  • 3 inches of cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
  • Up to 1/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

*To prep the apples, use a sharp vegetable peeler or paring knife and cut away the outer peel. Then quarter the apple and use a paring knife to cut out the tough core parts from the quarters. Or use an apple peeler corer.

Method

1 Place the peeled, cored, and quartered apples into a large pot. Add the strips of lemon peel, the lemon juice, cinnamon stick, sugars, water and salt. (You might want to start with half the sugar at this point and add more to taste later.) Bring to a boil on high heat, then lower the temperature, cover the pot, and maintain a low simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the apples are completely tender and cooked through.

2 Once the apples are cooked through, remove the pot from the heat. Remove the lemon peels and the cinnamon stick. Use a potato masher to mash the cooked apples in the pot to make a chunky applesauce. For a smoother applesauce you can either run the cooked apples through a food mill, or purée them in a blender. (If you use a blender, do small batches and do not fill the blender bowl more than halfway.)

Add more sugar to taste. If too sweet, add more lemon juice.

This applesauce is delicious either hot or chilled. It pairs well with pork chops for savory dishes, it’s terrific with cottage cheese as a snack or light lunch, and it’s great with vanilla ice cream or yogurt.

Freezes well and will last at least a year in a cold freezer.

 

apple bread

 

 
Apple Bread
I got this recipe a long time ago and with a few changes it’s become one of our favorites. Everyone who’s ever tasted this bread has asked for the recipe!
24 ServingsPrep: 15 min. Bake: 50 min. + cooling
Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
2 cups coarsely chopped peeled apples
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° In a large bowl, whisk the first six
ingredients. In another bowl, whisk eggs, oil and vanilla until
blended. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moistened (batter
will be thick). Fold in apples and walnuts.
Transfer to two greased 8×4-in. loaf pans. Bake 50-55 minutes or
until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans
10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool. Yield: 2 loaves
(12 slices each).

What I didn’t tell you before I gave you these recipes is; if you read them, then you have to make some and send me a little. LOL

 

 

Thoughts For Today


It was so hot and muggy last night. Our temperatures the last couple of days was almost 100. When I woke up this morning I was cold. I turned off the fan and got dressed. The big rains we had over night cooled it down.

Right now it is 68. I was watching the  news and saw that this coming weekend we will be lucky to have a high of 60 degrees. 60? isn’t that a little bit fall-like? I guess with September being here we will see a roller coaster of temperatures.

Summer will fight to remain while the chill of fall pushes its way in. Time to put those bikinis away ladies. Schools have started all around here. Fog hovers in the early mornings.

Thoughts change from picnic foods to warm soups and heartier foods. One of my favorite soups that I could eat all year round is chili. I just love it. What is your favorite soup?

I saw on Hallmark station yesterday the commercial for the Christmas movies. I was blown away. Christmas, already? who is thinking about Christmas? The station reported the movies will start at the end of October. Wow, has it been almost a year since I put that big tree away?

With Al not being here and moving farther away I know I won’t have family at my home for the holidays. My son wanted a big tree so I gave it to him this week. I know the kids will love waking up on Christmas morning seeing the twinkling lights and the goodies under the tree.

Last year Christmas was so sad. Al was still with me but he didn’t realize it was Christmas Day. He slept through most of it. This coming Christmas will be sad but different.

I plan on hitching a ride with my daughter when they come up to visit for their Christmas with her husband. I will spend the day with my kids. It will be nice but there will be that familiar void I have been feeling as of late without my family being there.

Can you imagine what Christmas is like in heaven? Oh my, the mind can not even take in how grand it will be. Do you think Al will be smiling? I do and he will be spending the holidays with our family.

Well, I got invited for breakfast this morning. I think I best get dressed and look presentable. I am going to go visit my oldest son later today, so today is full. I hope all of you have a nice weekend. Smiles and God bless.

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When Down Low, Angels Flow


chloeI haven’t felt the best  today, from the stupid mistake I made yesterday moving my bed. I have done very little today; but I am feeling a bit better tonight with pain medications, so time to get up and start moving around.

Speaking of moving, it seems when I am at one of my low points in life, God sends angels to my rescue to up-lift me. Today, I received two of those angels. One of them was a video of my youngest granddaughter. This is  her, all eyes and beautiful with her loving brother, looking down at her. I tell you, this made me smile big and brightened up my day.

The other angel was my phone ringing. When I looked at it, it was my daughter who lives such a busy life; but yet took time to give me a call just to chat. She didn’t want anything special, and this is what made the call so nice.

Thank-you angels.

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Please Let my Pain Rest


For two nights in a row I have slept like crap. Dreams, yes dreams are what kept me waking up. The first night I had dreams that my kids were chasing me. My arms were being pulled apart as different kids had words being hurled at me and I didn’t know which way to go.

I got through that by only waking up one time. It was a fairy-tale ending so to speak. I remember everyone in my dream was smiling in the end. Those are the best dreams aren’t they?

Last night’s dream woke me up at least three times. When I went back to sleep I picked up where the dream had left off. It was a strange dream and yet familiar. I kept hearing bells. I had another dream last month where it had to do with Al and bells.

Last night bells kept going off. Tinker type bells, not big, piercing bells. I would wake up to see Al standing at the foot of my bed and he would say nothing but smile at me. When my eyes were fully awake I would see nothing.

I dreamed of many times Al and I had gone to flea markets in Florida and I could hear the conversations that we had once shared. I had visions of trips we took to this flea market in Kentucky. It was as if I was re-living the real scene all over. I remember Al rushing down the aisles to see if there was any coke items and if there wasn’t he would sit down and wait. This was always irritating to me and I remember trying to teach him that we were at the flea market not just for him, but for me also.

I saw dad’s drooling from his mouth and his lip quivering and I am pretty sure that my own thoughts of having Parkinson’s Disease now is what caused that part of my dream. The bells though; this is what kept waking me up. I don’t know how many times i heard them but each time Al would appear at the end of the bed.

I never got out of bed until late this morning, and then I was woken by a phone call from distant relatives. Have you had that happen to you also? Someone who has hurt you and hasn’t spoken to you for years now is calling?

It brings back all the pain and hurt. The conversations do not feel real. Suspicion on what is really wanted enters the back door. There was a lot of, way too much of drama that happened when my dad was ill.

I took care of my dad myself pretty much, as far as doctor appointments, and physical care was concerned.  My dad was my hero and he and I had talked very intent conversations towards the end.

I hurt for my dad when people he thought would come see him did not and ugly words were tossed around from those who didn’t help care for him. They were just ugly times. I somehow made it through it and was able to suppress the ugly and remember the gold of my dad.

Then there was my brother. People wanting things they thought he had. Few calls were made from the family that Al most wanted to hear from. If it were not for my caregivers and my best friend, Al and I would have suffered through Al’s illness alone.

Deep pain still exists from those years and I hate to sound selfish; but I don’t want to be reminded of it today. I am trying to heal. I sometimes think that my daughter makes a very valid point today. When our dad died, Al had his heart attack exactly one week after we buried dad. I never had a chance to mourn my idol, before I was thrust into the caregiver part of taking care of Al the next seven years. Now the mourning process is terrible. I didn’t expect it to go on this long. My daughter says I am most likely mourning not just losing Al, but dad also; causing this huge void in my life.

So when the phone call came in this morning it brought everything rushing back again. The sour words, the lack of concern, the threats. I am sure I played parts in causing pain, but I believe that most decisions I made were to protect my brother.

He had on the surface a wonderful life, but if you talked to Al, you were able to learn and see that many of his emotional problems stemmed from his estranged life with his dad. Pain runs deep and if it can’t be healed or is continued to draw on for years, the damages are not easily healed.

When I learned of Al’s true feelings I protected him at all cost, even if it meant hurting others or them not understanding. I did what I did. I have this huge hang up today with living in or with the past.

The whys and what ifs eat me up. Did I ever mention that  am perfect? No, because I know I am not. I am human and sometimes I have made decisions based on being hurt or as I said to protect Al.

All in all though, I got to know another side of Al that no one else did. I feel lucky. I feel happy that I was able to provide him with as much as I could. I was able to see more smiles from him than I saw in his entire youth.

If no one else understands why or how I feel this way my only answer is they should have quit standing on the outside judging and remembered they were once close and got themselves involved in Al and my life.

For those who are lucky enough to  have a close knit family still today, good for you. For those who have been hurt by family members and the resolving of issues still carries with you, you understand my feelings today.

Today is going to be one of those times where once again I am reminded of all the past. I am going to spend a tiny amount of time facing these who hurt me. Phone conversations are no different. Familiar voices now faded in my mind, come rushing back at the sound of the phone ringing.

I am going to miss my family here very much. No matter what reasons anyone thinks I am moving away, I have no doubt they really understand. I need to get away. No, I have to get away.  Tongue lashings, sad memories, death and trying to heal need to be placed on a shelf marked, task completed. I can’t go on with the rest of my days being reminded. I feel like I deserve a fresh start, even if it is at the age of 60. Discovering I now have Parkinson’s Disease makes me a little scared. I never want to be a burden to anyone but I may need help. This is a major decision I am getting out of my hone and away from these terrible winters.

I realize that some or all of this conversation between you and me may be confusing; but writing for me; it makes me sit just a little bit taller as I continue to try to re-build who I once was. Thank-you for caring for me these past two years you have come to know me my dear friends. Thank-you for seeing the good in me and not judging me.

Sometimes family is not only that of blood, it is those who walked beside me when the air was thick.

 

ME

Pick Me Up


http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/pick-me-up/#like-77422, DP

What is the one word or phrase that immediately cheers you up when you hear it?

Hello”hello  I love that word.

To pick up my phone and hear this one simple word is great. To pick up the phone and hear the voice of my child is fantastic.

 

As a mom of young or grown…

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Pick Me Up


http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/pick-me-up/#like-77422, DP

What is the one word or phrase that immediately cheers you up when you hear it?

Hello”hello  I love that word.

To pick up my phone and hear this one simple word is great. To pick up the phone and hear the voice of my child is fantastic.

 

As a mom of young or grown children there is nothing better, more special than to know your children are thinking of you and give you a call to just say hello. It brings me a smile every time. It turns my sad frown upside down.

 

The Day Has Ended


The Day Has Ended


Well the day has ended

The hours passed

The minutes long

The shadows were cast

Took the dog for walks

Made potato salad

Watched silly TV

This day was valid

Tonight it was quiet

The darkness screamed

I called my son

Let’s have a fire and dream

He said alright

He came right down

Brought the two kids

And AJ ran around

The air was quiet

The moon was small

The wood smelled great

The sparks…

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The Day Has Ended


Well the day has ended

The hours passed

The minutes long

The shadows were cast

 

Took the dog for walks

Made potato salad

Watched silly TV

This day was valid

 

Tonight it was quiet

The darkness screamed

I called my son

Let’s have a fire and dream

 

He said alright

He came right down

Brought the two kids

And AJ ran around

 

The air was quiet

The moon was small

The wood smelled great

The sparks were tall

 

It broke the evening

Took away some pain

So thankful for family

So thankful for no rain.

Written by,

Terry Shepherd

05.03.2014

 

firepitmoon 3

Blogging Friends, Facebook Friends, Family


Blogging Friends, Facebook Friends, Family


I have had so many well wishers for my birthday today. For this I will always be grateful. My brother used to celebrate my special day with me. He would purchase my birthday dinner and then remind me how much he spent on it when it came time for me to buy his birthday dinner.

Yet there is a part of me that is suffering emotionally. Instead of each day getting better it isn’t. Instead of the many…

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