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Happy October

So, I gotta keep it real with y’all. October, November and December are my three favorite months of the year. Apple picking, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas…. I absolutely love them all. And I think it’s mostly because of the abundance of family activities, crafts and fun foods I get to make. I could probably due without the impending snow but hey, it comes with the territory right?

Before I fast forward to the days where I’ll have to stop Olivia from eating the white stuff that has been peed on by one of the neighborhood dogs or when Caiden tries to sword fight with icicles I’ll celebrate the present, the  magnificent Autumn days.

I had been promising the kiddos since the middle of September that we would make our cider “soon”, but as a parent “soon”  really means “I hope they eventually forget because I already have 99 million things to do.”

Honestly though, I was looking forward to making the first batch of cider. It makes my house smell soooo good and we make apple sauce with the remaining apples in the crock pot. I’m really excited to share this recipe with y’all because it’s apple season and who doesn’t enjoy a warm glass of cider. I think you’ll actually be surprised how easy it is. It just takes a long time, well worth the wait though. My recommendation is to use a variety of apples, some sweet, some tart. I usually use a mix of Honeycrisp and Granny Smith AND surprise surprise, you’ll also be adding an orange to the mix!

HOMEMADE APPLE CIDER

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 medium sized apples cut in eighths
  • 1 orange, peeled and segmented
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 tsp ground cloves
  • Honey… adjust to taste. I personally don’t like a lot of honey, and only use a couple tbs but if you like your cider sweeter you can up to a half a cup

DIRECTIONS

Put all ingredients into your crockpot and add enough water to cover the fruit.
Cook on low for 7 hours (Or high for 3). I prefer to cook mine on the lower setting for longer. Don’t expect some scientific explanation as to why because all I can say is “because.” I think I learned that from my 4 year old.

At this point the fruit will be super soft. Grab your masher (or giant spoon if you don’t own a masher) and mash the fruit. This is the part that really releases the flavor and also the part where we get really excited because it’s almost done.

Let cider cook on low for 1 more hour

Now it’s time to strain! SLOWLY strain the cider through a fine mesh sieve, using a spoon to press down and squeeze out all the liquid into whatever you’ll be storing your cider in.

Serve warm or refrigerate for up to 1 week. Yea right…. like anything in my house lasts more than one week.

We like to use the remaining solid apples to make apple sauce. Just remove the peels and mash a little more.

My oldest daughter suggested that we make something Halloween related every day of October which I thought was a dope idea. It may not necessarily be edible but I’ll be posting pics every day on my Instagram. Last night we made apple cider floats (just put one scoop of the ice cream of your choice into a mug and add cider) and these cute little ghost brownies which were so simple to make, mainly because I took a shortcut (ugh I cringe thinking about all the added crap in em) and used already prepared brownies. I got the idea from Betty Crocker

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It’s Fall Y’all


Fall is finally here. I know, I know… I haven’t posted since spring but being the ringmaster of this circus I call home has been complete chaos. We’re about 3 weeks into our school year and kids are well into their activities. YaYa (my 12 year old) is actually playing in the band this year (the flute) at the middle school near us. I think it’s pretty dope how they’re letting home schooled kids participate in extra curricular activities.
In other news, my baby sister got married a couple weekends ago so the family and I got to take a road trip to Georgia for that, spent some quality time with my siblings, had our typical dysfunctional family moments and witnessed the beautiful union of my sissy and new brother in law.

Now that we’re back to “real life”…. school, home… kids trying to murder each other ever 9 minutes, I figured I’d start blogging again and admit it, y’all missed me…or whatever. I am super geeked that it is fall. This is definitely my favorite season… Cooler weather, hoodies, bonfires, pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING and of course those fall dishes that just warm you right up. And y’all know I love to cook! 

To start the season off right I had to make my  vegetarian chili. It’s a family fave, just the right amount of spicy and just feels so good. AND, something else dope…I served the chili in little pumpkins, saving the seeds to roast tomorrow. Don’t worry, I’ll post a recipe for that as well. But for now, here’s the vegetarian chili recipe. Hope y’all enjoy, let me know how yours turns out if you make it and/or any adjustments you have made, but not too many adjustments… Don’t be messin up my chili y’all. Oh and don’t forget, most recipes I post are for my family size so half it if you need to.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cups diced red bell pepper
  • 3 cups diced onion
  • 4 tbs minced fresh garlic
  • 5 Serrano peppers (remove seeds or keep them in if you can handle the heat)
  • 2 large zucchini, diced
  • 3 cups diced portobello mushrooms
  • 2 tbs ground cumin
  • 4 tbs chili powder
  • 4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 8 large tomatoes, diced
  • 3 cups black beans, drained and rinsed if you’re using canned
  • 2 (15 oz) cans of tomato sauce
  • 2 cups vegetable broth

DIRECTIONS

In a large pot heat oil. Add onions, peppers and garlic. Stir while cooking for about 5 minutes (yell upstairs for kids to stop running in the house)

Add mushrooms and zucchini and cook for an additional 10 minutes

Add cumin, chili powder, salt and cayenne and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute ( equivalent to the amount of time it will take kids to destroy everything you cleaned)

Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans and vegetable stock. Stir well and bring to a boil (Yell again for kids to stop running in the house)

Reduce heat, and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. I also use this to time to occasionally check on kids to make sure they’re all still accounted for, in one piece and breathing. I think they all were.

Remove from heat and add any garnishments you like. We use cilantro, green onions, avocados and plain Greek yogurt.

Retrieve any kids that are in time out and serve over rice!

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Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

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I am sooo excited that fall is upon us. This is definitely one of my favorite seasons. I cannot wait to indulge in everything apple and pumpkin of course. For the kids first day of homeschool I wanted to make them an extra special breakfast…so I made Apple Cinnamon Pancakes. These were absolutely perfect and easy to make. Oh, and I made my pancakes without eggs this time. I was always curious how they would turn out and I really couldn’t tell the difference. So, enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tbs baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 tsp pink salt
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 4 tbs butter
  • 4 apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 cup maple syrup

DIRECTIONS

Mix together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl)

In another bowl mix together milk and oil

Add to dry ingredients

Lightly butter pan and make pancakes,flipping when they start to bubble- using about a quarter cup of batter per pancake

APPLE TOPPING

In a medium saucepan melt butter

Add apples,  and syrup and cook until tender…about 5-6 minutes

When done spoon over warm pancakes and Enjoy!!!!!!!