Hope you all enjoy a safe, fun, cute Halloween. Remember to save some
candy Twix to eat after the kids go to bed!
P.S. Starting tomorrow, it’s all about anticipating Thanksgiving and Christmas! Hooray!
I had a special Homekeeping day this week. I got to make (bunches and bunches) of homemade applesauce with my mom-in-law and sister-in-law. We took about 40 lbs. of beautiful Fuji apples and cooked, squished, and seasoned them into super-yummy applesauce. Then we canned (why is is not called “jarred”?) the sauce into lots of mason jars so we will all have applesauce for quite a while. I am really looking forward to using mine to go along with pork tenderloin at Christmas, and for Little Lady as she starts eating real food.
We also had a great time just hanging out together, playing when the kids, and talking. It was a neat thing, we had three generations together, but we also had three “homekeeping generations” together as well. My sister-in-law, homekeeper of her first place with her new hubby. My mom-in-law in her newly-empty-nest, homekeeping both a retreat for her and my dad-in-law and a great place for grand-kids. And me, homekeeping our apartment for Big Man and our Little Ones, in the midst of lots of toys, baby clothes, and sippy cups.
And even though we are each in a different phase of life now, we were all really excited to make homemade applesauce. There is no comparison between homemade applesauce and the store-bought kind, which has so much less flavor. And applesauce is actually easy to make; the hardest part is just doing the prep work on the apples. If you decide to can your applesauce, just follow the instructions for your canning equipment, remembering to keep the jars warm, fill with warm applesauce, and then process for the correct amount of time. (A good resource for canning is the Ball website). If you aren’t going to can your applesauce, you can keep it in the fridge for a week or freeze it for up to six months.
Homemade Applesauce (scale-able to however many apples you have)~5 lbs of your favorite sweet/tart apple (don’t use something completely tart like Granny Smith. You want something sweet or sweet/tart like Gala or Fuji) ~Water ~Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
Prep the apples by peeling and coring them, and slicing into large chunks. Place all the apples in a large stock pot and add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pot (you just need enough to keep the apples from sticking in the first few minutes before their juices release). Cover and heat over medium-high heat, stirring to keep the apples from sticking. Once the apples start to release their juices, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the apples are very soft. For chunkier applesauce, mash the apples with a potato masher. For smoother applesauce, use a food processor to mash the apples (you may have to work in batches depending on how many apples you have). Once all your apples are squished into sauce, return pot to very low heat and add cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. You shouldn’t have to add any sugar. Stir in the spices and heat through, then store as desired.
You’ll never go back to store-bought again, I promise!
There are some times when a picture is not worth a thousand words. This is one of those times. Some dishes don’t photograph well even for people with good photography skills, and since I don’t have those, I end up with a photo like the one above. But you need to trust me on this one. Even though it isn’t very pretty, this pot roast is so good. And it fulfills (almost) every possible recipe desire!
Comfort food? Check
Easy to make? Check
Meat and potatoes dish for the man in your life? Check
Minimal list of ingredients? Check
Great leftovers? Check
Makes the house smell uber-yummy all day? Check
So even if you can’t trust the picture, please trust the words. This recipe really is easy, tasty, and perfect for those chilly fall and winter days when the comfort food cravings are strong. I like to serve the meat and lots of gravy over egg noodles or mashed potatoes, and the leftovers make awesome French Dip Sandwiches.
Slow Cooker Pot Roast (my own recipe)3-3.5 lb. chuck roast* 2 tbs. olive oil 3 tbs. flour salt and pepper to taste 1 large yellow onion 2 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup 1 packet dry onion soup/dip mix 3/4 cup water 3/4 cup red wine** *I find the cut marked “chuck tender roast” is my favorite, but cuts marked “chuck roast” or “pot roast” work well also. **You can substitute beef broth for the wine, but if you do, use low sodium broth and condensed soup.
Slice onion into 1/2-3/4 inch slices, crosswise (as if making onion rings). Place slices into slow cooker (you are making a place for the roast to sit). In a bowl, stir together condensed soup, dry soup mix, water, and wine.
Liberally salt and pepper both sides of the chuck roast and dredge both sides in flour. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear roast on both sides until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes per side.
Transfer roast to slow cooker, placing on top of onion slices. Pour soup/wine mix over the roast. Cook on low 7-8 hours. Shred meat with a fork, removing any excess fat, and serve over preferred starch with lots of gravy.