Tag Archives: grandparents

Healthy Apple Butter Chat

crockpot apple butter
apple butter on gluten free biscuit

I love apples. In October in Georgia the apple are often prolific and wonderful.
Apples are full of vitamins (A, C, K) calcium, iron, trace of b vitamins, potassium and phosphorus and phytosterols, which the research shows they are wonderful cholesterol balancing chemicals. Science has been finding the old saying, an apple a day keeps the doctor away to be full of sound science in that apples are good for you.
There are many varieties and I have heard some nutritionist caution people that are watching sugar for health(diabetics) to payu attention to the type of apple because of the different sugar contents. The most recent research I have read suggests that gycemi numbers may not play that much role in the exact response to food. Number one rule about health also is that every person is unique and every person has a unique response so it can only be predicted in generalities.

When I had some not so crispy apples that were not that great to eat, I decided to make some crock pot apple butter. It is so easy. I usually peel the apples individually but I saw someone had boiled the apples in pieces and then mashed them through a sieve. That was so much easier and I froze the liquid that was left. The apple cores and skin and seeds are full of pectin so I saved the solution that I will use to make other jams and jellies.
I used sucranat* sugar. Half the recipe of sugar was all I needed and I added more cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice to make it the flavor I desired.

You just put the sieved applesauce in the crock pot with sugar and flavor and in about four hours on low you have a luscious butter. I freeze the butter in jars leaving room at the top for expansion in the freezer.
As long as I have a freezer I prefer this method but to can the apple butter you could use the water bath canning method. I would pressure the jars to make sure I got a tight seal if I was to do that. If your freezer fails or you do not have room you can always can the butters later.
This method could be used for any fruit but the left over juice would not necessarily have the pectin quality that apples do.

Just like my How to Cook without a Cookbook book, you can look for patterns in preserving foods and extrapolate.
Right now we live with seemingly unending information on the net for so many things. When I learned to can, it was not in my history, so we took books and studied them. For me the real help was when some experienced neighbors in Missouri took us under their tutoring and showed us. You can learn from books but one on one was so more about tips and confidence. Maybe it was my learning style because I find things on Utube also helpful if someone can show me.

*Sucranat comes in various stages of processing. I buy a brand that is very hearty large chunks of sugar cane that is just crushed and dried cane with all the molasses in it. This is twice as sweet as regular sugar so I usually halve the recipe and find it plenty sweet. I have bought various brands and they are often more processed than this one kind. You can use other sugars but I prefer one that has at least the minerals so that is slows the metabolizing of the sugar. For the most part all sugar in large quantities will raise blood sugar. I am working with coconut palm sugar right now and it is not as sweet. Supposedly slow to metabolize. I don’t think you would count it any differently if you are diabetic. Any time a product has more fiber in it then it slows the metabolism, except for popcorn, another discussion. Glycemic index is a term thrown around a lot but for carbohydrate counting diabetics this is not really shown in research to be very significant. This field of sugar and research and food is being studied a lot and there is a lot being discovered all the time. Hard to weed through all the most recent findings.

Stevia does not raise blood sugar but I wonder being sweet how it affects the body. All artificial sweeteners have negative affects, and I understand they are seeing that the body and insulin issues are still messed up by artificial sweeteners. I would not choose these from what I know about health.

Recipe adaptations – Brownies as an example

brownies from adapted recipe
chewy almost good for you brownines

Adapted brownie recipe

Here is a good example of adapting a brownies recipe to your own healthy one.
This author wanted ½ cup of butter. Because the consistency of coconut oil is the same I just replaced item for item.
Pretty standard measure for any chewy type of substance cookie or bar.,.
There are all kinds of research about coconut fats.
If you use olive oil need a little less moisture somewhere else.
Want to try rice oil when I can find it at a good cost. Supposed to lower cholesterol.

We took the white flour and replaced it with whole wheat. You could use quinoa flour instead because we are not really need the rising power of the gluten in this item. Could cook them individually and ended up with a cookie type of dessert. I like the bars because they are quick but not as crunchy. Could use a muffin pan to cook the so they all have a crust. My family likes softer not crunchy. The outside edges are mine, and that is plenty for me that likes the crunchy.
1 cup of butter replace with coconut  oil.
1 cup flour – replace with wwflr
4 eggs instead of 6(I doubled the recipe
Used a little less sugar then called for because I think the raw sugar is very sweet, I wanted cocoa brownies and I added rich chocolate chips and they were sweet.
Vanilla was homemade .+
Leavening aluminum free. (this amount also changes texture could have used half as much.)
Sugar replace with raw sugar, could use honey, again may need a bit more dry ingredient for moisture change.
The sucranat (a very lightly processed cane sugar and raw sugar do not dissolve as well so I had to melt the coconut oil and so I stirred the sugar in to dissolve it better and cool the melted fat,
I use a few less eggs to help make more chewy and less cake like they called for three, I doubled the recipe and used four. This is a cooking pattern to know more eggs give a more cake like texture.
I used pecan pieces cause they were the cheapest nuts I could buy this month and I love pecans.
You know I thought living where they grow they would be cheaper but like a lobster in New England they can get more sending them away. Looking for a producer locally I can score from.

I bet I spent 10 more minutes making these from scratch putting things out and away. The time is to organize your pantry to have the ingredients on hand for all different combinations and you don’t need to run to the store for an expensive box mix full of chemicals.

+Homemade vanilla.
Pour vodka over vanilla beans and wait. I found them at whole foods. They are expensive buy $12 worth of beans lasted me two years. Much cheaper. I poured new vodka over the beans every time it got low and that seemed to do. I had a clear bottle in a dark cabinet but a dark bottle is probably better.

Nana’s Ways to Keep in Touch

  I have two grandchildren that live near me. Staying close to them is an easy thing, they come over several times a week. We go to the park and we go swimming and we go many places. I am always searching for things that we can go and do that does not cost us much to do. We live in Atlanta, Ga. area and there are many things to do that cost plenty of money. In the indoor days there are many creative things to do, but that is another topic.

Today I want to talk about the five grandchildren that are about a seven hour drive away.

We make as many trips as we can afford right now and often are taking long weekends to do that. That is great , but in lieu of that we are experimenting with other ways. The oldest son is ten and he is typing and now attempting email through his mom’s email. I am working on getting my son to hook up a camera to do skype. One of my patients said that her grandchild knew her after watching her on skype. The baby knew her voice and face and they actually had a great time when they finally met because of those connections.

 I still believe in snail mail especially when we are trying to make new connections with children. There is nothing like a small hand written note that you could reread time after time or pictures to send and  I like to include stickers that you can buy at a big lots cheap or a dollar type store.

You can have several little things that you could put in the flat envelopes  so you don’t have to spend a lot on shipping. I do know that a small shipping fee may be worth putting a bunch of little trinkets wrapped in a box. When my children were young my Mom always sent so many little things to the kids that often were of less value than the cost of the box mailing. To this day my adult children remember the effort that she made to think of them on holidays.  They knew she did not have much money or spend a lot to let them know she wanted connection with them. With talking, and texting, mail, email, facebook,

Twitter, there are lots of electronic methods to keep in touch. The main thing is to keep in touch. Being a grandma is the best.

Free fun with grandchildren or children

Ok grandmothers and parents alike. It is harvest time and how do you want to teach little ones the beauty of celebrating bounty? The goal for me was to teach thankfulness for food and how we can turn crops into goodies to eat.
I am always looking for opportunities to teach the children the miracle of plants because there is nothing more miraculous than a seed. (Animal seeds too) A tiny thing provides all the directions for a duplicate and multiplying food producer. One tiny tomatoes seed made a one half bushel of tomatoes for us in dry weather and excessive heat conditions. Imagine if the conditions were more perfect, what can happen. So even though we live in a city the project was harvest. The local church had a pumpkin fund raiser. The boys (ages five and three) had as much fun with the wagon as the pumpkin. So we pulled the wagon and compared sizes. The pumpkins were marked so we picked out the pumpkin and pulled the wagon to the place to see what size to figure out what price.(a little math lesson)
When we got home the boys helped me crumple up newspaper and fill some clothes to make a scarecrow. They learned what is a scarecrow and why do you have to scare crows. The pumpkin was hallowed out and about 2 cups of pumpkin came out of the extra inside.
This week we are making pumpkin puree and muffins to see about how this pumpkin turned into food. As we cut a scary face and lit it I taught the boys my understanding of evil and good and how I depend on Jesus when I am afraid , great teaching moment. The large pumpkins cost five dollars. The scarecrow cost nothing. The time together was priceless. So free and cheap ideas boil down to teaching our children what we know and believe. In a survey of many children of all ages the thing they most wanted from the adults in their lives was to spend time with them, imagine that. Most of all spending time with them teaches them that we prize our relationship with them.