Recipe: Apple Pear Sauce

My kids love pears!

I do not.

BUT, I do love how inexpensive they can be this time of the year. So, I looked up several pear sauce recipes, but I did not find one that made me overly excited to mash pears and eat them. Until I saw people mixing pears with apples to make an Apple Pear Sauce! Genius!

I created a ratio of 2 to 1, apples to pears, just to be sure the pear taste wasn’t overwhelming. (I know, I am a baby about the pear taste!) Here is what we ended up with….and it is YUMMY!!

Apple Pear Sauce

6 pounds apples (we had a mix of gala and a few golden delicious)

3 pounds pears (we had Bartlett on sale locally)

Cinnamon, optional

Juice of 1 orange

2 TBSP lemon juice

Peel, core and cut apples and pears. (Yes, the pears become so juicy and slippery you will be extremely annoyed by them!) Heat on medium in large pot with about 3/4 cup of water. Cover and cook down, stir occasionally, for about an hour. Lower the heat slightly if it seems the water is evaporating faster than the fruit is getting mushy.

After an hour, remove lid for good and stir and mush fruit. Cook until fruit can be smashed with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and use potato masher to smash all fruit into a chunky sauce (or run through the blender in batches to get a thinner sauce). Stir in juices. Add cinnamon to taste.

Tah-dah!

I believe I did slightly more fruit than I posted here, and I ended up with 4 1/2 quarts of sauce. I canned (water bath, 25 minutes for quarts, 15 minutes for pints) the quarts and refrigerated the pint.

Apples are on sale again this week, so I do plan to get several more 3-pound bags and work on more sauce. One of my FAVORITE things about Fall!!!

Bake It Tuesday

I am on week two of my two-week menu plan. We are really liking the two weeks’ worth of meals planned out at a time. And when I say we I totally mean just ME. No one else really cares…as long as there is an edible meal on the table at dinnertime!

Today was a baking day, but the only thing I managed to do was make a loaf of bread. And I used the bread machine.

So, I guess I really didn’t bake.

Oh well. I have plans for granola bars later this week and some muffins for breakfast on Thursday or Friday.

Did any of you bake anything fun today (or any time recently)? I would love to hear about it!

Two-Week Menu Plan

We went as a family to do our big grocery trip. A family of seven. All of us went to three stores. It was a bit long and crazy, but we got it done! I using A LOT of the meals from the $5 Dinner Menu Plans that I am receiving for free. (Go HERE to sign up and get four weeks free to test out the site and service….you will love it!)

 

Breakfast

Oatmeal Muffins x 2

Cinnamon Rolls x 2

Eggs x 4 (fried, scrambled, cheesy, whatever)

Apple Cake x 1

Waffles x 2

Egg and Ham Hash x 1

Pancakes x 2

 

Lunch

Leftovers x 6

Noodles x 2

PB &J x 4

Egg Salad x 1

Chicken Salad x 1

 

Dinner

BBQ Meatball Sliders (on homemade rolls), frozen corn, applesauce

2 x BBQ Chicken Tacos, Black beans and corn

2 x Red Enchiladas, Salad

2 x Black Bean Chili, Salad, Cooked Carrots

Spaghetti w/Meat Sauce, Cooked Veggies

2 x Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas

Herbed Meatballs w/Pasta, Veggies

Pizza

Taquitos

Savory Pulled Pork, Potatoes, Veggies

 

Homemade Items to Make for the Two Weeks:

Applesauce (Meijer has apples for $.68/lb!!!)

Honey Granola

Trail Mix

Bread

Cookies/Brownies

Rolls

Homemade Mixes (pancake, oatmeal muffin, biscuit)

Catching Up and Falling Behind

The last week has felt like a controlled chaos around here! My husband took off a few days around his regular time off and ended up with seven full days t home!

Don’t get me wrong…I love having him here. To fight the whininess at 4pm, to battle the bath times, to help feed the starving kids in the morning, and so on. BUT my obsessive cleaning has to halt while we spend our time together. I feel like nothing gets cleaned while he is home. We work around a crazy schedule of his regularly, so his days off get dumped on with everything we want to get done with him home- movie nights, playing outside, going to the museum. And on top of all that stuf, he ran the Chicago Marathon his past Sunday!

So, my cleaning schedule, my blog, my menu plan posting…it all takes a back seat. And it is ok. I will catch up once he is back to work.

For now, on his last day home, I will enjoy the mess and the moments with him!

Recipe: Apple Cake

I love Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures! I don’t remember how I first heard of or came across her site, but I have used so many of her recipes. They are all amazing! She has such a huge selection, and she has a TON of gluten-free versions too…for those in need of gluten-free foods!

So, I received her daily email last week, which included an Apple Cake recipe. I tried it and LOVED it!

You need to go make this cake…NOW. It is delicious as a dessert or breakfast food or snack after you put the kids to bed (I don’t know who would do that…).

Here it is: Apple Cake. Click on it. Make it. Eat it.

NOW!

Menu Plan Update

Last week, I posted my two-week menu plan. As always, life changed some things around, and we deviated from the menu. Here is what we ate last week for dinners:

English Muffin Pizzas
Chicken and spinach taco casserole (because I forgot to buy enchilada sauce…duh!)
Bbq chili
Broccoli Chicken Casserole
Frozen pizza
Creamy potato soup

This week should be:

Bbq chicken and tatoes
Chicken tortilla soup
Spanish rice skillet
Southwest rice pilaf
Tato, egg and cheese tacos
Zucchini meatballs
Chicken taco casserole

Hoping it doesn’t get too crazy here. My husband runs the Marathon on Sunday. I won’t be able to go and watch (race security + 5 kids= too much crazy), but he will need certain meals the night before and after.

Happy Monday!!

Clean Countertops, Clean Mind

OK, so maybe having clean counter tops doesn’t cleanse the mind….but it sure does refresh my soul! :) I used to have amazingly clean counter tops – appliances, dishes, and random papers were ALL in their proper place and NOT on the counter top. I loved it! It was so much easier at night to wipe the counters down and feel like the kitchen was clean at the end of the day.

Then life got busy, and I decided certain things should stay out to have better access to them. A basket as a catch-all for pens, tape dispensers, scraps of paper, gift cards, receipts, scissors, and a bunch of other crap(!) sat right at the edge of the counters, ready to receive all the little things I didn’t feel like sorting or putting away each day. My salt and pepper shakers….that I never actually used…were set out to look pretty. Of course, I had them sitting nowhere near the stove, so that set never got used while I was cooking! A trivet with a candle, that we rarely lit, on the island….and little hands messed with often. I thought I was setting out things I really needed while working in the kitchen, but most of them just collected dust or got little ones into trouble when they messed with them.

This past week, I read a post about clean counters. The lady’s counters looked so neat and clean. It looked like so peaceful. :) So, I decided to scale back on what I kept out and really thought about the items I needed out. Here is what was left on the counter tops:

photo 1

I have the coffeemaker on the left edge. In back corner, I have a paper towel holder, one Halloween candy dish, and our butter dish. Then on the small counter next to the fridge I have a pedestal, since we often have baked goods around.

And that is it!! It looks so clean now, and I love that wiping down the counter tops after dinner is so quick! No more moving objects to clean under or behind.

And maybe I’m too obsessed with cleanliness (is there such a thing, really?! one can never be TOO clean…right??), but this new arrangement is working fabulously so far. I have much more room when I bake and cook. Yes, it takes a few more seconds to be sure things are put away after I work in the kitchen, but it is one less room I have to look at and think about how messy it is!!

Anyone else keep empty (or nearly empty) counter tops? Care to share what made the coveted spot on the counters in your home?! :)