Apple Butter Spice Loaves | Recipe

Since I posted this apple butter recipe I’ve used the last couple years, I’ve had several friends ask:  “The apple butter sounds great… but what can I do with it?”

I’m the type of person that’s happy to to eat apple butter straight out of the jar with a spoon or spread it on a piece of toast as a quick snack, though I have found several other awesome ways to use it in the last few years!

  1. Apple Butter Pancakes.  You can add apple butter into your pancake batter OR you can put the apple butter on top of your pancakes in place of (or in addition to!) syrup.  I’ve tried it both ways and they both rock.
  2. Apple Butter Pork Chops.  Sounds crazy, right?  I beg to differ!  Follow that link to see what I did.  (Shocker:  My hubby actually ate it and liked it!)
  3. Apple Butter Snickerdoodles!  You can add about 1/2 cup of apple butter to any snicker doodle recipe to give it some extra “umph”.  You know what I’m talking about!  …Right?
  4. Apple Butter BBQ Meatballs or Ribs.  Sounds crazy just like the pork chops.  Honestly though, apple butter is excellent mixed with your favorite BBQ sauces.  It adds a subtle additional flavor to mix things up a bit.
  5. Apple Butter Spice Cake/Bread.  I found a recipe last year for a spice cake that included apple butter and made a mental note to try to create a new recipe using my mini loaf pan.

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Apple Butter Spice Loaves
(makes 8 mini loaves or 1- 9×5 loaf)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (or 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (*see my note below if you don’t have buttermilk)
  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1.5 cups apple butter

    *Note:  If you don’t have buttermilk, add 1 tsp white vinegar to 1/2 cup of whole milk and let it set for 5 minutes.  Works like a charm!

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray your mini loaf or 9×5 loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Add eggs and buttermilk  and stir until smooth.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt and all the spices.
  5. Add half the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until it begins to come together.  Add the rest of the flour mixture and the apple butter, mixing until combined.
  6. Pour batter into your loaf pan.  (If using mini loaf pan, fill each about half to 3/4 full.)
  7. Bake 40 minutes if using a mini loaf pan.  Bake 60 minutes if using a 9×5 loaf pan.

 

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A friend told me she plans to can apple butter and give out jars as part of Christmas gifts this year and I love the idea!  I think these mini loaves would also be a wonderful gift idea; you can package them in a variety of ways and include a jar of apple butter to smother on top!

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Jack Skellington Blueberry Pie | Recipe

I love all things Halloween, including Jack Skellington.  I also like pie.  A lot.

So when I saw this photo floating around the web, I thought it was worth risking a Pinterest fail to recreate.

Using my favorite double pie crust recipe (it’s crazy easy), I created my own version of Jack Skellington pie using this blueberry pie filling from Dinner with Julie.

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I’m one of those people who forget to pre-heat the oven so I took this photo while I waited.

Double pie crust recipe

You’ll need an 8 inch pie pan and some wax paper

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup whole milk

Directions

  1. Whisk flour and salt together in a bowl and create a well in the center.
  2. Pour the vegetable oil and milk in the well, stirring everything together.
  3. Once dough comes together, knead gently on a sheet of wax paper.
  4. Divide dough in to two parts.
  5. Roll one piece of dough out between two sheets of wax paper.  Since we’re using an 8 inch pie pan in this recipe, roll the dough out about 10 inches (always give an extra 2 inches so it can climb the sides of the pan).
  6. Remove top sheet of wax paper and flip the dough in to your pie pan using the bottom sheet of wax paper.
  7. Pour in the pie filling (seeing filling recipe below).
  8. Roll out the second piece of dough between two sheets of wax paper then remove top piece.
  9. Use a knife to cut out your Jack Skellington face.
  10. Pick up using the wax paper and flip on top of the pie filling.
  11. Trim excess edges around the pie pan and seal gently using the tines of a fork.
  12. Bake in the pre-heated 375 degree oven for 35-40 minutes (until the crust is a nice golden brown).

 

Blueberry Pie Filling recipe from Dinner with Julie

Ingredients

  • 4 cups frozen blueberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients except butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Bring to a simmer and stir often, cooking until mixture thickens and blueberries start to bubble.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the butter.
  4. Place in 8 inch prepared pie pan.

 

 

I took these random photos with my phone while making the pie because it didn’t occur to me until afterward that this could be a fun blog post to share.

 

 

 

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Autumn Apple Picking | Apple Butter Recipe

You may remember our visit last year to Justus Orchard.  We picked apples, gorged on apple cider donuts, and I gave you an apple crisp recipe!

This year was our third annual visit to Justus Orchard in Hendersonville, North Carolina and it was a foggy morning on the mountain.  We picked a couple baskets of Mutsu and Gala apples, had an awesome BBQ lunch from the Good to the Bone food truck on site, purchased a 7 lb mountain cabbage, two dozen apple cider donuts (yep, they are THAT good), a gallon of apple cider, and a fried apple hand pie for the road!

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I made apple butter for the first time last year and it was a huge success thanks to Ronni Lundy’s suggestions in her cookbook, Victuals.

I plan on keeping my pantry stocked with apple butter again this year (we’re on the last jar of our 2016 batch so we visited just in time!) so I thought I’d share how I make it!

We’ll start by peeling, coring, and slicing up 5-6 lbs of apples.  That’s enough to fill a 6 qt slow cooker to the top!  (I used Galas with a few Mutsu apples tossed in)

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This is a quick process if you’ve got an apple peeler.  Trust me when I say it’s worth the $20!

 

Once you have your apple slices in the slow cooker, cook on high uncovered for one hour.

After the hour is up, place the lid on your slow cooker and turn to low for 10 hours.

I do this at night so my apples will cook while I sleep.

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When I wake up, my apples have cooked down to this brown mush.

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Now it’s time to add our fixins (as we say in the South).  I add two and half cups sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.  I stir it up, crank the slow cooker back up to high and cook covered for one more hour.

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Now I add 3 tablespoons of unfiltered apple cider vinegar (with the “mother”) and stir it in before I use a potato masher to blend everything into a velvety butter.

If you don’t want to can your apple butter for the pantry, you can put the butter in sterilized jars and store them in the fridge up to 8 weeks.

Since mine will be going in the pantry, I sterilized mason jars and filled them up.  I placed the jars in my pressure canner and filled with water up to the jar rings.

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I processed the jars for 20 minutes.

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Pardon the dirrrrty stove top.  We fried catfish before canning (’cause we needed our strength, of course) and it was delicious.

I removed them from the canner, let the jars cool and waited for the sweet music of the lids popping (that lets me know they sealed) before writing the process date on the lid and adding them to the pantry.

There’s not much better at the beginning of October than a plate of scrambled eggs and a side of toast smothered in apple butter.

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Here’s the recipe:

Apple Butter
(adapted from Ronni Lundy’s The Art of Apple Butter)
makes 5 pints

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 lbs apples (enough to fill a 6 qt slow cooker slap full); peeled, cored, sliced
  • 2 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp unfiltered apple cider vinegar (with the “mother”)

Directions:

  1. Peel, core, and slice your apples to fill a 6 qt slow cooker (allllll the way to the top because they will lose about a 1/3 of their volume after step 2).  Turn slow cooker on high and cook uncovered for 1 hour.
  2. Place lid on slow cooker and turn temp to low.  Let the apples cook down for 10 hours.
  3. Add sugar, cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt.  Give everything a good stir and then place lid back on and turn slow cooker back on high for 1 hour.
  4. Add the apple cider vinegar and stir it in before using a potato masher to blend the butter into a velvety texture.
  5. Now you have two options:  You can choose to skip canning the butter and simply place it in sterilized jars in your refrigerator for up to 8 weeks, or you can process your sterilized jars of butter in a pressure canner for 20 minutes and keep them in your pantry to enjoy over time.

Feel free to play with the ingredient amounts to suit your taste!

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Dandelion Pesto

Dandelions are everywhere, just like honeysuckle every spring!

We keep a small patch of dandelions in our back yard for the bees each year (and if we’re being honest, you can never completely rid your yard of them anyway).
People spend a lot of money to maintain grass:  by watering it, cutting it, and buying bottles of weed killer.
We let the rain water our grass, we mow and give the clippings to the chickens for foraging/entertainment, add some to the compost bin, and if there are weeds that are beneficial to the bees we leave some for them.

I learned as a young girl that dandelions are multi-purpose; the first being dandelion wine (thanks to the Ray Bradbury novel of the same name), salve/lip balm, and in recent years as food: dandelion jelly, which I made last year and cookies made from the yellow flower, and even pesto from the leaves.  Every part of the dandelion is edible and research shows there are benefits to eating these weeds.

Most people may picture hippies foraging in the forest and spending countless hours making “free range organic” health food.  I’m here to tell you this was a simple 20 minute project from start to finish.  I didn’t have to leave my house, wear patchouli oil, or devote a day to making food from scratch.  Wearing a tie dye shirt is optional.

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Dandelions are easy to spot though they closely resemble catsear.  If you want to make sure you’re picking dandelions, pull up the plant by the root and look for a milky white excretion from the stalk.  Also, the leaves will be pointy ended and smooth, unlike catsear which will be fuzzy.

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My daughter and I made the journey to the back yard (every outing is a journey with a three year old!) last week to gather two cups of dandelion leaves to make pesto, which was a quick process.
If you plan to pick some for yourself, please pick from an area that you are 100% sure hasn’t been sprayed with chemicals.

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After we gathered our greens, we brought them inside and gave them a thorough wash.

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I gave the batch a light rinse and then picked through looking for pieces of dirt/debris to remove.  I gave it a good spray and sifted through again to double check.

Next, I collected my ingredients for pesto.  It’s like making traditional pesto with basil, except you’re replacing the herb (basil) with a weed (dandelion green).

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I placed about a third of my dandelion greens in my food processor with the olive oil and let it chop down for half a minute.  I added the remainder of the greens until it was all finely chopped.

Next the garlic cloves, pine nuts, salt, and Parmesan cheese were added in with the greens and processed until smooth and creamy.

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This batch made enough to fill two jelly jars.  It will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week so I left one jar in the fridge and placed the other in the freezer for a later date.

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Dandelion Pesto

  • 2 cups dandelion greens, washed well
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 2oz  pine nuts
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 oz Parmesan cheese, shredded
  1. After greens have been washed thoroughly, place a third in a food processor with the olive oil and process for around 30 seconds.
  2. Add remaining greens and process until finely chopped.
  3. Add garlic, pine nuts, sea salt, and Parmesan cheese and process until smooth and creamy.
  4. Transfer to jars.  Refrigerate up to one week; freeze for up to 3 months.

This recipe can be used in place of traditional basil pesto.  Enjoy on a warm crusty baguette, mixed with tomatoes, topped with spinach and artichokes, or as a pizza sauce base.

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I used a pint size jar of marinara sauce we canned last summer mixed with a third of the dandelion pesto as my base sauce for this pizza.  It’s topped with grilled chicken, Vidalia onion, olives, and kale.  Spinach and artichokes would also be excellent toppings for this pizza!

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Honeysuckle Syrup

It’s April, which means Masters week (a big golf tournament in Augusta) is over, the tourists are gone, our garden has been planted, and honeysuckle is everywhere…

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Along the garden fence to attract the bees.
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The smell is incredible.  Takes me right back to childhood when I lived in a neighborhood and all of us kids would take our little sips of honey off the vine in front of the mean old lady’s house.  Every neighborhood has a resident “mean old lady”, right?
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On my walk to the rain barrel.
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Climbing the trees around the blackberry patch.  Literally, it’s EVERYWHERE.

I love everything about it:  the scent, the fact that is attracts the bees which pollinate our garden and take it back to hives to make honey, not to mention its beauty.  It’s also super invasive so we spend time hacking a lot down at the end of the season to prevent it overtaking everything.  We’re not really winning that battle but I’m certainly not mad!

It takes me right back to spring and summer during my childhood and I think every Southern girl wishes we could bottle up the scent and the taste fresh off the vine.

Last year I made this honeysuckle breeze cake  for my dad-in-law’s birthday and enjoyed that rich sweet taste baked in to the cake.

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No caption, just drool.

This year, I decided to and bottle up that taste for our sweet tea by making a simple syrup!

A simple syrup is exactly that:  a simple mix of sugar dissolved in water to create a syrup.  You can add certain elements to the sugar water to give it a unique flavor; in this case it’s honeysuckle.

My husband’s reaction after trying it in his sweet tea for the first time: “It tastes just like it smells!”

That basically means it tastes like summertime in Heaven, y’all.

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I started by collecting two cups loosely packed honeysuckle blossoms, making sure the green stem at the bottom was removed (it can create a bitter taste) and brushing off excess dirt.

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Once that was done, I brought 1 1/3 cups sugar and 1 cup water to a boil, stirring until the sugar was completely dissolved.

I packed the honeysuckle down in to a pint mason jar and poured the hot sugar water over the blossoms.

Once the jar reached room temperature, I placed it in the refrigerator for 8 hours to let the blossoms flavor the water.

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Next, I placed a strainer over top of a clean pint mason jar and poured the syrup in to the new jar, discarding the dirt/debris and honeysuckle blossoms.

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We’re left with this lovely jar of honeysuckle syrup!  You can cover and refrigerate for a couple of weeks – if it lasts that long!  I use around 3 teaspoons of syrup for a pint jar full of sweet tea but you can play with the amount until you get the flavor you want.

You could also use this syrup in a batter to add the flavor to pancakes, madeleines, or sweet breads.

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Honeysuckle Syrup

  • 2 cups honeysuckle blossoms, greenery removed
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  1. Pick your honeysuckle; remove green stems and shake off dirt.
  2. Boil your sugar and water; stirring until sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. Pour the hot sugar water over the packed honeysuckle in a pint mason jar and bring to room temperature.
  4. Place covered jar in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
  5. Pour contents through a strainer in to a clean pint mason jar, discarding blossoms and debris.
  6. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

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Chicken & Dumplings

I first heard about Biscuit Love in the current edition of Garden & Gun magazine.  Owned and operated by husband and wife Karl and Sarah Worley in Nashville, this food truck operation turned restaurant serves locally sourced from scratch food.  After hearing descriptions of the dishes (seriously, just look at that menu online!) I’m ready for a road trip specifically to dine there!
You may think that I’m joking but my family takes food very seriously.  We drove 7 hours to Townsend, TN just to eat at Smokin’ Joe’s Bar-B-Que. Okay, so yeah, we may have also visited Cade’s Cove and Clingman’s Dome while we were there but the entire premise of that trip was the BBQ.

After processing our first batch of chickens, I knew the first dish I wanted to make was chicken and dumplings.  My family already has a killer recipe for the creamiest slow cooked chicken and dumplings you’ll ever taste in your entire life, but I’m kind of obsessed with Ronni Lundy’s cookbook Victuals so I had to take a peek at her recipe!

Coincidentally, the recipe in her book is from none other than Biscuit Love’s Karl Worley.  When something so coincidental happens, I feel like it’s meant to be and so I set out to have a little of Karl Worley’s cooking in my kitchen rather than road tripping several hours with a toddler because I’m adventurous but not completely insane (…yet).

Karl’s recipe gives directions on roasting a whole chicken and making your own chicken stock from the reserved bones.  While I did this since I had a freshly processed chicken available, let’s operate under the assumption you’re coming home from work and want this dinner on your table like, now.  If that’s the case, ain’t nobody got time for roasting a chicken and making your chicken stock.  So let’s just say we go to the local grocery store deli and pick up a nice rotisserie chicken for around $7.00 and call it a day.

 

We’ll start this recipe by making the sauce:

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Mix up your butter and oil in the skillet and add carrots, garlic, and bay leaves once melted.  You’ll cook it until the vegetables are soft.  Next we’ll add in flour, continuously stirring to really coat the vegetables and remove starchy flavor.

We’ll pour in our chicken stock a cup at a time, stirring well.

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(I had to take a photo of my chicken stock.  This is from my first canned batch and I’m so proud of it.)

We’ll reduce the heat and let it simmer until it thickens up (about 15 minutes).  We’ll stir in our heavy cream last and set this pot aside.

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Next up is our dumpling dough (my favorite part!):

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In a large bowl, we sift our flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and pepper.  Use your fingers to work in the lard (or bacon fat) until your mixture is crumbly.  Stir in the cream until the dough just comes together.  It should be thick and stick well to your spoon.

Next we’re going to divide our sauce and shredded chickens equally between two wide pots and bring them both to a simmer.  Drop spoonfuls of dumpling dough into the pots and be sure to leave plenty of room for them to expand so they don’t end up sticking together.

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Reduce your heat to medium low and cover while the dumplings poach for about 10 minutes.  You’ll want them firmed up but fluffy.

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Karl Worley’s Roasted Chicken & Dumplings (serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken (roasted at 375 degrees on rack in a roasting pan for an hour then shredded once cool OR a precooked rotisserie chicken from your grocery store, shredded)

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups chicken stock (from the grocery store is perfectly acceptable but I’ll be posting a super easy recipe to make your own soon!)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • salt

Heat a wide pot over medium heat.  Add butter and oil.  Once butter is melted, add carrot, garlic, and bay leaves.  Cook until soft.  Stir in flour to coat vegetables; keep mixing for a couple minutes to remove starchy flavor.  Slowly pour in chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring well.  Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is thickened up, about 15 minutes.  Stir in heavy cream and salt to taste then set pot aside while you make the dumpling dough.

For the dumpling dough:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup lard (or bacon fat if you happen to keep yours)
  • 2/3 to 1 1/3 cups heavy cream

In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and pepper.  Using your fingers, work lard (or bacon fat) into dough until crumbly.  Stir in heavy cream slowly until the dough comes together.  Dough will be thick, sticking to your spoon.

Directions:

  1. Follow instructions to roast your bird or shred your rotisserie chicken.
  2. Make your sauce.
  3. Make your dumpling dough.
  4. Divide sauce and shredded chicken between two pots.
  5. Bring pots to a simmer.
  6. Add dumpling dough by the spoonful to each pot, making sure they are not crowded.
  7. Cook at medium-low heat, covered, for about 10 minutes, until dumplings are firm and fluffy.
  8. Serve immediately.

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Apple Butter Pork Chops {Quick Recipe}

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Wait, wait… just hear me out!

The first time I heard about putting apple butter on pork chops, I hesitated.  Then I remembered my pantry is filled with jars of canned apple butter after our trip to Justus Orchard in September so really, there was nothing to lose.

I’ve had pork roasts slow cooked in apples before so this didn’t seem too off base once I gave it a second thought.  Getting my husband on board with this pork chop idea was the tough part. (Hence the single grainy, dark image I provided you with:  I wasn’t sure this meal would actually happen.  This photo is the only proof I have!)

Here’s a quick recipe if you’re curious.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Ingredients:

  • 2 thick pork chops, bone in
  • 1 cup apple butter
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 c heavy cream

Instructions:

  1. Grill your pork chops.  I’m not going to boss you around about this, every griller cooks their chops a little differently, so do this how you like.  If you’re in to pan frying your chops, that’ll work just fine also!
  2. While your chops are cooking, melt your 2 tbsp butter in a pan over medium heat.
  3. Once your butter is melted and frothy:  add apple butter, chili powder, and brown sugar. Stir well.
  4. Add the heavy cream and bring to bubbling (not boiling) while you stir.
  5. At this point you can add your cooked chops to the pan to marinate a few minutes or just pour the apple butter sauce over each pork chop on your plate.
  6. Serve hot with a side of baked beans or veggies.

Butternut Squash Chili

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You may remember waaaaay back at the end of October, my family visited Clyde’s Fresh Produce.  While we were there, I purchased my very first butternut squash.

Yes, for real.  The very first.  My family didn’t eat winter squash when I was growing up, for whatever reason.  Now that I’m grown with my own family and we’ve started our goal of eating as much locally grown food as possible, that also means eating seasonally.  So this fall/winter, it’s time to learn the different types of winter squash and what dishes to serve it in.

I brought that beauty pictured above (the large squash, far left) home and after a couple of days, I started looking for recipe ideas.  There were so many chili with squash recipes that I decided to mix up a few variations to create my own.  I can’t think of a more classic fall/winter dinner than chili!

I gathered my chili ingredients and began my food prep when suddenly I realized …

I had no idea how to peel/cut a butternut squash.

I’m not embarrassed to admit that because I know I’m not the only 30 year old who has stood in a kitchen with a squash in their hands and thought:  “What next?”

I know this because I found a step-by-step tutorial to show me how to do just that.

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Follow that link above to learn how to peel and cut a butternut squash.  It’s super simple and the photos included are lovely.  If you enjoy photos of food prep.  Which I do.

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I used ground beef for my chili but ground venison or leftover Thanksgiving turkey would be perfect for the season as well!

Butternut Squash Chili Recipe

Ingredients:

  •  2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 whole small onion, diced
  • 6 or 7 cloves minced garlic (Obviously I use 7.  And I also use minced garlic from the jar.  I have no shame.  I regret nothing.)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 lb ground beef (or ground venison … or leftover turkey!)
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes (when I don’t have homemade, I use 2 cans of fire-roasted Muir Glen)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups black beans (or 2 cans, 14 oz each, rinsed and drained)
  • 1 small/medium butternut squash (peeled, seeded and cubed)

 

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic, followed by sugar and all the spices.
  2. Add your meat of choice and break into small pieces.
  3. Once meat is properly cooked through, add your tomatoes and broth, stirring well.
  4. Simmer covered for 15 minutes, then add black beans and cubed squash.
  5. Simmer additional 10-15 minutes (until squash is soft enough to be pierced by a fork but not mushy)
  6. Salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Add cheese to your serving if you’re into that sort of thing.  Which I very much am!

 

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Final note:  This makes leftovers for daaaaaays.  Or you could invite about 10 of your closest friends over for dinner.

Venison Roast

October was a busy month around here!
Our chicks are now 4 weeks old and weighing in at a pound.  Our goat kid Darla has finished nursing so her mama NeNe will be returning to her home and soon a new kid and mama will be here so Darla will have a buddy!  Our silkies Johnny and June have matured and June laid her first (and so far only) egg in October.
We’re still picking tomatoes and had our first harvest of collard greens, the carrots are growing nicely — and Joe got his first deer!

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I’m glad he let me take this photo.  Everyone has to have a photo with their first deer in the South.

He did a great job skinning and cleaning this doe by himself.  I was just his cheerleader!
After a few days of rest in the cooler, the meat was ready to be prepared.  We had been told not to freeze the tenderloins so I cooked them roast style in the slow cooker that day before freezing the remainder of the deer after dinner.

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I’ve cooked deer burgers before but never tenderloins so I was concerned about the meat toughening but it was the perfect texture and was neither chewy or falling apart.

Venison Roast

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1.5 lbs venison (I used the tenderloin but any cut will work here!)
  • 4-6 red potatoes, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Optional: vegetables or rice as side dish

Directions:

  1. Mix BBQ sauce, honey, flour, soy sauce and brown sugar in your slow cooker.
  2. Place venison in the sauce and give it a good stir to coat.
  3. Add your potatoes and lightly salt.
  4. Pour red wine vinegar over the potatoes.
  5. Cook on low for 6 hours.  Check tenderness as needed; it’s all in what you prefer!
  6. Serve the sauce over venison and potatoes with a side of rice or vegetables.

 

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After dinner we processed our deer after 3 days cooler rest.

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We’re lucky enough to have friends who let us borrow their commercial grinder.

We ended up grinding about 16 lbs of meat into burger (using 3 lbs of beef fat we purchased from Tink’s earlier in the year in preparation for deer season) so we have almost 20 lbs of deer burger in the freezer.

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We ran the meat through twice to get our preferred consistency.  This took about 15 minutes start to finish.

 

20 lbs of ground venison, a few pounds venison stew meat, a couple steaks and two nice roasts is a great beginning to deer season around here!

Fried Apples

After I posted the tomato gravy recipe  I started thinking about other things my mamaw cooked up that I loved and fried apples was definitely next on the list.  It couldn’t come at a better time since I’m knee deep in apples from our visit to the orchard.
I’m Bubba Gump-ing apples over here:  apple butter, applesauce, dried apples, baked apples with oatmeal, cinnamon apples chips, apple and gouda salad…

Shall I continue?

No, you’re going to want to stop and check out this ridiculously simple recipe for fried apples.  This is the South… of course we fry apples!dsc_8318webedit

I call one apple a serving in this recipe.  You can adjust the recipe amounts based on how many people you’re feeding.

Ingredients:

  • 1 apple; cored, quartered and sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon bacon grease OR 1 teaspoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup

 

Directions:

  1. First we’ll core our apple and quarter it.  Take each quarter and make long thin slices (Around 1/4 inch or so).
  2. Heat your bacon grease (or butter) in a pan over medium heat. Once grease is warm or butter is melted, add in apple slices.
  3. Cover the pan and let the apple slices cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from heat and add in 1 teaspoon maple syrup and 1 teaspoon brown sugar.  Stir well so all the slices are coated.
  5. Enjoy!

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