Monday, July 9, 2012

Crock-Pot Applesauce



While this recipe (if you even want to call it that) won't really save you money (fresh produce can be SO expensive these days!), it comes out delicious and has more nutrients in it than your store bought varieties.  And no sugar or sweeteners (your kids will NEVER know!)  Plus, it's SO easy to make!

Here is what you need:

8 Apples Coarsely Chopped - NOT peeled (you keep all the fiber that way) (Choose a good variety, 2-3 of each kind for best flavor.  I used Gala, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith & Braeburn)
2 Cinnamon Sticks
Juice of 1 Lemon
Rind of 1 Lemon peeled into about 6 long slices
Crock-Pot
Food Processor (if you like it smooth) or Electric Mixer (if you like it chunky).

Here is what you do:

Toss the chopped apples into the crock-pot and stir in the lemon juice and to coat all of the apples.  Throw the cinnamon sticks and the lemon peel on top.  Set your crock-pot to low and let it cook for 6 hours.

Remove the cinnamon sticks and lemon peel.  Toss everything into the food processor and blend to desired consistency.  If you like a chunkier applesauce, simply use an electric mixer (but then you may want to peel your apples first in that case).  And wa-la!  Simple isn't it?

Enjoy your applesauce warm or chilled.  (I LOVE it when it's warm!).  It would also be tasty over chicken, or in my homemade BBQ sauce (recipe will come).  And this kept well for over 3 weeks in the fridge.  You could also freeze some for later use or can it into smaller jars if you know how to do that sort of thing.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Balsamic Chicken Tortellini Salad - A Pin Re-Spin Recipe



Happy 4th of July Everyone!

The fourth is generally a day filled with food, family & fun.  Today my family & I are heading over to hubby's grandmother's house for a cook-out.  When I was asked to bring a dish, the first place I went to was my pin board affectionately named "Get In My Belly".  (http://pinterest.com/blessed2bmommy/get-in-my-belly/).  After perusing the board for a moment, this recipe (http://www.multiplydelicious.com/thefood/2010/01/balsamic-chicken-spinach-and-tomato-pasta-salad/), which I had re-pinned from my friend Brittany about 10 weeks prior, caught my eye.  Cold pasta salads are always a hit at a cookout and this one looked refreshingly different.

But, in typical Amanda-fashion, I had to add my own little spin on the recipe.  So, without further ado, here is my Pin Re-Spin:

*Be sure to visit the original recipe linked above for the ingredient list & original directions* 


1.) I decided to make mine the night before so that the flavors could congeal together overnight.

2.) I kept everything the same on the ingredient list with the exception of, A.) I doubled the recipe & B.) I used Newman's Own LIGHT Balsamic dressing.  It has more zip but, less fat & calories.


3.) The specific brand of dijon I used was Grey Poupon Mild & Creamy Dijon w/ White Wine.

4.) Yellow Peppers:  I diced mine, added salt & pepper and sauteed w/ approximately 1 TblSp. of extra virgin olive oil, uncovered, for about 4 min. stirring frequently.


5.) Chicken Preparation:  I placed my chicken and the dressing into my crock-pot & let marinate for 2 hours prior to turning the unit on.  (During this time, I did all of the other steps, mixed it all together and placed into the fridge).  Then I set the crock-pot to low and let the chicken slow cook overnight while I went to bed.


6.) I woke up to this bubbly goodness this morning (mmmmmm!)...











7.)  I used 2 forks to separate and shred the chicken...nothing to it really since it was so moist & tender.  I gave it a good stir & left the chicken in all of it's liquid glory to cool down to room temperature.  (Pulled Balsamic Chicken Sandwiches anyone?)












8.)  Once it was cooled down and the chicken had soaked up all f that juicy goodness, I tossed it in with the rest of the ingredients and let me just say, my taste-buds were rewarded for patiently waiting!

I hope everyone at the cookout will enjoy this pasta salad but, if not, I know Hubby & I sure will!  :)

Thanks so much to http://www.multiplydelicious.com/ for this tasty & easy recipe!

 Now for a little something to make you giggle.  (Thanks Aimee for sharing this on FB this morning)...


Another new detail for M's room...A "Pin Re-Spin"

So here is the first post of what I'm going to call a "Pin Re-Spin".  Where I take an inspiring idea or recipe that I saved on my pin boards & I give it my own little spin.

I started M's room make-over FOREVER ago!  It's been almost a year since I purchased this wooden letter "M", unsure of exactly what I wanted to do with it.  Then Pinterest waltzed into my life sometime late last Summer & over the last year, I would occasionally see inspiring ideas such as these...

http://pinterest.com/pin/150307706282984149/
http://pinterest.com/pin/150307706282986759/
http://pinterest.com/pin/150307706283056217/
http://pinterest.com/pin/150307706283056221/
http://pinterest.com/pin/150307706283057359/
http://pinterest.com/pin/150307706283173342/

Well, I finally got around to completing my little project this week.  Can you guess which pin I pulled the most inspiration from?  I LOVE how it turned out & so does Miss M.  :) 

So, here is how I did it (Sorry, I'm far to busy to post pictures of all of my steps, but it's pretty easy to follow anyways):

I used masking tape to mark off my white lines (no need for "fancy" painters tape).  Then I did 2 coats of pink (#633 Baby Pink) letting it dry between coats. I'm not really an artist so I don't know very much about acrylics but, I used FolkArt Acrylic from Jo-Ann's & was pleased with the thickness and pigment. It probably didn't even need the 2nd coat but, I did it anyways.  Then I painted the edges of the canvas as well as the wooden letter yellow (#904 Lemonade).  Next, I traced the M onto some fabric I had left over from the canopy I made for M's room and carefully cut it out with my mini rotary cutter.  I brushed ModgePodge onto the wooden letter and carefully smoothed the fabric on top and sealed with water and more ModgePodge.  Then I hot glued that sucker into the canvas & wa-la! 

Thanks so much to www.housetweaking.com for the inspiring idea! (http://www.housetweaking.com/2010/12/19/homemade-gifts-for-my-nieces/).

Whenever I finally get the rest of the little projects complete I'll post full pictures of her room & how it all ties together.

If you have completed & blogged about any Pin Re-Spins of your own, I'd love to see them, so please share in the comments section below.

*And I just Googled my little phrase "Pin Re-Spin"... Looks like I'm the FIRST ever to coin this term.  Woo Hoo!*  :)