Applelishousness

Apples

Good Morning!  In my last post I mentioned that my husband and I went for a little day trip to Black Mountain and Old Fort, North Carolina.  We had a blast hiking and spending much needed quality time together.  The weather was absolutely perfect and I could not have asked for a better day except that maybe it could have lasted a little longer.  Hey, a girl can dream can’t she?!

Am I the only one who feels that the work week drags on and on and then the weekend flies by?  I have this theory that production might be a little higher if the work week was only four days and the weekend a mandatory three days.  I know! I know!  I’m dreaming again!  If only, right?!  The point is enjoy your weekend only if it is one or two days.

After my husband and I finished hiking in Old Fort we decided to drive to Hendersonville, North Carolina.  Oh yes…can anyone say APPLE COUNTRY?!!!  It was so pretty with apple orchard after apple orchard and the mountains in the background.  It was absolutely beautiful!  We stopped at one of the orchards called Grandad’s Apples.  We drove in surrounded by apples trees on one side and a fenced area on the other side with goats and a donkey.  In front, was a large barn.

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We walked inside and the aroma of fresh baked apples filled the air.  Oh my goodness it smelled heavenly!  Inside the barn was a bakery, cider slush machines, jars of different jellies, jams, and oh yes apple butter along with many other items for sell.

We continued to the back of the barn where the barn was open to the outside and there sat rocking chairs for customers to enjoy their baked goodies.  But as soon as we reached this area of the barn my jaw dropped open and a sense of jealousy rushed through me.  If only I could enjoy this perfect view every day!  The view was gorgeous and relaxing!  There were apple trees upon apples trees on one side and on the other side a huge corn maze and a playground for kids.

Apple Orchard

There were picnic tables between the barn and the apple trees in the back of the barn.  That is where my husband and I spent about 30 minutes just sitting there talking and enjoying the view…and of course enjoying our goodies which included an apple dumpling topped with ice cream and a cider slush.  It was so delicious!

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This was the perfect ending to a perfect day!  Before we decided to head back home we picked up a bushel, yes I said a bushel of apples.  I wanted to make apple butter, but after experiencing the apple dumplings and the cider I had other ideas in mind for these apples.  What was I going to make with ALL of these apples?

Let’s just say my Labor Day Monday was filled with apples after apples and I stayed in the kitchen for the majority of the day.  It was really nice though because my Mom and Dad came by for an unexpected visit, so Mom helped me in the kitchen whipping up all kinds of wonderful apple dishes.  We made apple butter, apple dumplings, and my personal favorite apple pie.  I’m a sucker for fresh apple pie right out the oven!

The rest of this week my blog will be filled with wonderful apple recipes that my Mom and I whipped up.  Enjoy!  If you enjoy any of these recipes please drop a comment and let me know.  Happy Apple Season!

I found this product helpful for speeding the process up for peeling, coring, and slicing the apples.  Click on the image to see more details about this product.  I highly recommend!

APPLE BUTTER

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Ingredients:

20-25 Apples, peeled cored and sliced

3 Tsp Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

¼ to ½ cups Water

1 ½ cup Brown Sugar

3 Tsp Cinnamon

¼ Tsp All Spice

¼ Tsp Nutmeg

2 Tsp Lemon Juice

10-12 Tbsp White Sugar

Directions:

Place apples in a crock pot.  Add all the other ingredients over the apples and stir.  Cook the apples on low for 6-8 hours until apples are tender and break apart when stirred.  You can add more sugar if that is your preference.  I used a mixture of Jonagold, Gold Delicious, and Fuji apples.  Jonagold and Gold Delicious are sweet-tart apples and Fuji apples are sweet.  This combination creates a good balance for apple butter where a lot of sugar is not required.

After I cooked the apple butter, I sterilized some jars in a hot boiling water bath.  I poured the mixture into the jars to the bottom neck of the jar and added back to the hot water bath.  I boiled for about 10-15 minutes.  I then took the jars out of the water bath, set on a counter, and listened to the pops of the lids while I worked.  Hearing the tops of the jars pop is like music to my ears.  It lets me know my job is complete.

I hope you enjoy this apple butter as much as my husband and I do!

Apple Butter-2

Credits:

Pictures provided by Leaves, Loaves, and Life.  All rights reserved.

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Quality Time

After a long grueling week of work my husband and I decided to take a day trip this past Saturday.  It was spur of the moment, but was an awesome trip.  Every couple needs some quality time together and this was our time.  We decided we were going to North Carolina and wanted to go to the mountains, just wasn’t sure where.  We settled on Black Mountain, North Carolina.  It’s a quaint little town with several shops.  We decided to stop at the visitor’s center to see what trails were around there.  The guy working led us to Old Fort, NC where we hiked Catawba Falls Trail.

This trail was off the beaten path.  We had to take a side road down to the end of another road.  If the guy at the visitor’s center had not told us about it, we never would have known about it.  When we first walked up to the information area there were warning signs of bears and what to do.  Oh my!  Bears!  This could be good!  The signs mentioned walking in groups and if we saw claw marks or even spotted a bear we needed to start singing and making noise.  I really wanted to see a bear….well from a distance of course.

With that notice we started on our hike.  The hike did not start out well.  Let’s just say there were some rude people, a tense husband and wife, and some air that needed to be cleared between my husband and me.  After that, we were good to go.  The hike became very enjoyable and was exactly what the doctor ordered.  When I am out in nature it is so easy to see all of God’s beautiful creations.  I started snapping pictures of trees, leaves, rocks, and what we think was a tiny cave on the other side of the water.

After recalling the end to an enjoyable day I could not help but think there are so many times when we let our agenda cloud our ability to see things for what they are and see the beauty in it.  I personally have been at my wits end with my day job which is somehow turning into a day and night job.  Last week I only posted two blog posts because I was working late at night almost every day.  As much as I want my blog to take off, I still have to help provide for my family; however, this doesn’t mean I do not deserve a little play time too.

To be honest I have taken the entire weekend off from my day job.  I brought a stack of work home measuring about 8 inches high.  I haven’t even touched it yet on this Labor Day weekend.  I can honestly say I have enjoyed every minute of this weekend with my family.  Spending quality time with my husband is exactly what he and I needed to keep us going.  We have both been working crazy hours and with that comes exhaustion and stress and well…you know what that can cause!

Before my husband and I got married we loved to go hiking.  We hiked up until about two years after we got married from there life took over and we let everything else consume us.  With the adoption, my approach was we can’t spend any extra money which meant traveling was out.  Wrong!!!  We just needed to get back to the basics.  Moving forward my husband and I have decided that at least once a month or every two months we would take a day trip somewhere and just spend time together.  Making memories is what it’s about, not spending money or trying to work ourselves to death.  There comes a point when we have to step back and realize God gave us this life for a reason.  We can let work and everything else consume us or we can step back once in a while and let God open our eyes and be awed at His beauty and what he has created.  We all need that breathe of fresh air to help us realign our focus and priorities.

What gives you that breathe of fresh air?

In my next article find out what else my husband and I got into while we enjoyed our quality time together in the mountains of North Carolina.

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Until next time!

A Tribute to My Parents

A Tribute To My Parents

This week my parents will celebrate 36 years of marriage.  Wow!  That is such an accomplishment for my Mom.  Just kidding Dad!  It’s an accomplishment for both of you!  It’s something that both of you should be proud of.  Not many people these days can say they have been married for 36 years.  Instead of getting you two a card, I thought I would do a tribute blog post to you and your marriage.

I want to personally thank my parents for being great role models when it comes to marriage.  When they say opposites attract…man they got that right with my parents!  We used to pick at Mom because we always said she robbed the cradle when she married Dad.  Mom is a few years older than Dad, but age is just a number.  Dad was a young whippersnapper when he and Mom got married.  Seriously though, my parents were complete opposites.  Mom was very quiet and introverted and Dad was a little more vocal than Mom and was extroverted in my opinion.  This is funny though because over the years I think this has changed a little bit.  Mom is more outspoken and Dad…well…sometimes…you just don’t know what Dad is thinking.  There were several people who said these two wouldn’t make it.  Well…to those who said that Mom and Dad can now look back and say “How you like me now?!”

You have to understand though; I don’t want you to get the wrong impression.  Their marriage hasn’t always been picture perfect, but they did work to make their marriage last.  In fact, they faced some really tough times.  My Dad was injured at work at a young age and then was let go from his job and to this day is in time because of his injury.  My parents could no longer afford the family car or the house.  We stayed at both of my grandparents’ houses for a while.  During this time my parents were separated for a little while.  This was a very dark time for my family even for my brother and me.  There were moments when I wondered if my parents were on the verge of a divorce.  It’s not easy for children to be faced with a situation like this and I know it’s even worse for the parents.  However, there was a glimpse of light.

To this day I am thankful for my paternal grandmother who introduced my parents to God and a wonderful church family.  My parents eventually got into church and accepted Christ into their lives.  This was a turning point for my parents.  Christ, family members, and the church really helped my family during this tough time.  They gave my family hope.

During this time my parents were able to work through their differences and continue their marriage as one.  To this day, I look to my parents for guidance when I’m facing a situation in my marriage because I know that whatever my husband and I are going through my parents have probably already experienced it.  It’s actually pretty funny.  Both my husband and I look up to my parents and consult them for different things in our marriage.  I normally go to my Mom and my husband normally goes to my Dad.  A while back we told my parents that we know each of us consults with one or the other.  My parents popped up and said, “Yeah we know.  We talk about it together afterwards.”  We all kind of laughed at that comment.  At least I know my parents will never steer us wrong and they have our best interest at heart.

So, to my parents thank you for always being there for each other in the end.  Thank you for living up to your marriage vows.  Thank you for raising me to know what marriage is about.  Thank you for sticking it out even in the tough times.  Thank you for communicating with each other even when you didn’t want to.  Thank you for being marriage counselors to my husband and me.  Thank you for your love and support throughout the years.  Thank you for putting God first in your marriage and in everything else.  Thank you for being a constant reminder that marriage is great when each person puts 150% into it.  Thank you for reminding us that marriage is not always easy, but as with anything hard work, dedication, and a lot of prayers make it a little easier and smoother.

I pray that God continues to bless you both with many more years of happiness.  I pray that God will keep you both healthy and that your marriage will continue to inspire others as it has inspired me.  I pray Mom continues to say that with each passing year their marriage only gets better.  Lastly, I pray that if something does happen Mom will give Dad 5 minutes to pack his things so he can go with her! (Dad ALWAYS says this).

I love you both so much and I could not ask for better parents!

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails…”  1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 NIV Bible

Credits:

Picture from Pixabay.com