Friday, January 11, 2013

Crockpot Applesauce

Sheesh, I's been a while.  I didn't disappear off the face of the earth...but cooking just hasn't been getting top billing around here these days.  When the hubby is working 75-85 hours a week, you don't really feel motivated to spend even one hour in the kitchen cooking dinner, since the kids would be perfectly happy with something simple like eggs.  Or pancakes.  Or chicken nuggets and french fries (yeah...the frozen variety).  Or deli ham slices and apples.  Thank goodness my kids are not gourmet, LOL!  

(Well, except for Rebecca, who has become an expert in making eggs in a hole all by herself.  Yeah, I'm proud of her).   

I did make a fantastic Christmas Day dinner--roast turkey, dressing, gravy, buttermilk mashed potatoes, roasted green beans, vanilla bean pound cake, and deep dish apple pie. was good.  Really good.  And what made it even more special were friends who came over to share the meal with us that day.  

Anyways... ;-)

I was motivated to make crockpot applesauce yesterday.  Apples are plentiful and in season right now, plus it's fun to buy 3-4 different kinds to make your own applesauce.  I bought 6 Golden Delicious, 4 Granny Smith, and 6 Galas.  You can honestly use whatever you fancy.  Be prepared for the lovely smell of baking apples permeating every corner of your house.  It's amazing...and you'll be so proud of yourself for making it homemade. :-)

Crockpot Applesauce

10-12 mixed apples, such as Golden Delicious, Gala, Granny Smith, or Jonagold.  Use what you like!
(You can even throw in a few pears, peaches, plums, strawberries or other fruit.)
6 tablespoons light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 whole cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 small strip lemon peel
Pinch of salt

Peel, core, and slice apples 1/2 inch thick.  Using an apple slicer like this one really helps.  If you buy one, make sure it's ALL metal.  The plastic frame with metal spokes type will break in no time (yes...I know this from experience!) 

Toss all the apples into your crockpot, along with the lemon juice, lemon peel, brown sugar, cinnamon stick, cinnamon, and salt.  Make sure you fill your slow cooker all the way to the top.  Once the apples cook down, it'll only be about 1/2 full, and most crockpots work better if they're half to two-thirds full.  I used both ground cinnamon and a cinnamon stick because we're fans of the spice over here.  Whole cinnamon sticks can be found right in the baking aisle of the grocery store. 

Set your crockpot on "LOW" and let it go for about 8 hours.  You don't even have to stir it, but I did every couple of hours so you can see what it looks like.

Ready for some time lapsed pictures?  Of course you are.  

After 2 hours...

After 4 hours...

After 8 hours...

Now, you can leave it chunky like I did, or pureed it further with an immersion blender/regular blender for a very smooth texture.  I used to do that when Theresa was just starting with solids, but now she eats it no matter what. ;-)

Let the applesauce cool until it's a manageable temperature for kids before consuming with gusto.  I like it a bit warm, but 3 of my 5 kids prefer it cold, so you can certainly chill it in the fridge for later.  

We love this applesauce plain, or with pancakes, waffles, or on warm biscuits.  And let's not forget pork hubby's favorite.  He has fond memories of homemade applesauce with pork chops growing up. Best of all, it makes the whole house smell like apples and cinnamon all day...who doesn't love that?  

All righty guys, I've got to run. I've had 4 out of 5 kids down with the flu this week, but everyone is watching a movie with their juice cups and blankies right I had a few minutes to bang this post out for you. 

God bless your table tonight, and Happy New Year!  

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