life of faith

taking baby steps & leaps & everything in between


2 Comments

Apples, Friends, Crafts, Kittens, and Tissues

This past week was kind of flipped upside-down for us, as the big window installation Dayne and I were planning for (and moved all of our furniture for) didn’t happen, and the coughing-sneezing-runny nose-irritable-tired cold we weren’t planning for did happen. Typically I do my reading and blogging in the stillness of the morning, but Dayne is very different in that he doesn’t feed off of peaceful quiet, but instead he thrives on the 12-hour-a-day hum of the television. Ahhh, marriage. 🙂

Sooo here is my post that has been about five days coming!

I’ve been making LOTS of apple stuff with our 18 lbs of apples from the orchard. In the past couple of weeks, I have made:

1) apple cinnamon muffins – from a recipe on the back of a whole wheat pancake box as shown in this blog post. They didn’t turn out so great since I didn’t have brown sugar and I tried to mix granulated sugar and molasses on my own with a spoon. Spoiler alert: it didn’t work. Verdict: Dayne liked them, and they were edible… Storage: countertop for a day or two and then fridge. They were all eaten within a few days since the recipe only yields a dozen. Plus I dropped one on the floor.

2) slow-cooker applesauce using this recipe. Verdict: delicious. Storage: half eaten, half went in the freezer. Perfect.

After making that (and cutting my finger, which bled for 3 days), my mom bought me these fantastic apple accessories from the QVC store:

peeler – so quick & easy!

corer/ejector and corer/slicer – these have saved my precious fingers from future careless slices!

3) toasted oat & apple crumble from my EatingWell on a Budget cookbook. Verdict: yummy, but different (not very sweet, although the oat mixture on top was sweeter and more filling). Storage: fridge for a few days, almost completely eaten by Dayne, me, and my dad. The oats directly on top of the apples get kind of soggy the longer they’re stored.

4) chicken sauteéd with apples from a Real Simple recipe. I’ve made this before, but haven’t made it regularly since. Verdict: Even better than the last time! SCRUMPTIOUS. Storage: Uhhh, what storage? We polished off the whole pan in one sitting.

Worth it.

5) apple cake from my trusty Betty Crocker cookbook. I can’t find a link for my specific edition of the cookbook. Anyways, it’s really a carrot cake recipe adapted for apples, and I didn’t use nuts. It turned out pretty yummy! Plus, my ever-so-generous mom gave me her stand mixer, and I got to use it for this recipe! I’m loving it! Verdict: delicious, but rich (the cream cheese icing is super sweet/heavy). Storage: mostly in the fridge – I’ve also shared with my dad. And four pieces went into the freezer. We still have quite a bit to eat…

Making a mess mixing the icing.

Apple cake fresh out of the oven.

We still have 13 apples left in our fridge… Maybe I can manage another toasted oat & apple crumble or more applesauce, since they both use large quantities of apples.

Anyways, last weekend, while we were still healthy, Dayne and I went on a little last-minute getaway!

Saturday night, we visited Sonja & David & Ingrid in Wilmington for dinner. Sonja’s technically my great-aunt from my great-grandfather’s 3rd marriage… my family tree is a little complicated.

Most of my family from our wedding – Sonja and Ingrid are in the front in the blue dresses; David is in between them 🙂 (Photo credit to Morby Photography)

It was really fun to hang out with them since we don’t normally see each other very often! We had a great time and ended up staying for almost five hours before we drove down to Dover to the Residence Inn. I have been a Marriott rewards member for years, and I finally was able to use my points for a free stay! It was deliciously luxurious and quiet. Here are photos of our suite:

Full kitchen!

Living room.

Bedroom. The bed was so big & comfy!

Dayne being silly. I loved the sink area outside the bathroom!

We wished we could have stayed there longer, but we were kind of in & out quickly because we wanted to make it to Burt & Katie’s church (Solid Ground Community Church) Sunday morning! Even though Sunday morning was a rough morning for me not feeling well, I was determined to visit for the service, and we did. Burt gave a great sermon on the topic of fear, and afterwards we went out with them and their adorable 1-year-old son, Ben, and more of Burt’s family to Panera for lunch. Then we got to hang with Burt & Katie & Ben for the rest of the day, which was wonderful. They are such special people to Dayne and me.

Here’s Burt officiating our wedding. (Photo credit to Morby Photography)

And as for the rest of our week, I’ve been crafting:

in the process of making a wreath for over our fireplace…

Made a sign for our powder room to match the lavender accents already in there.

Finished product – held it up with Command strips.

The kitties have been hunting stink bugs:

And snuggling in a tray, making it a makeshift bed:

And this last picture with a kitty pretty much sums up our week:

Hoping next week will be a healthier, busier, warmer one with NEW windows!


6 Comments

What to do with leftover apples?

MAKE MORE APPLE STUFF!

Last year, when we were still only dating, Dayne and I apple-picked our faces off and came home with waaaaay too many apples — and ambitious as I was (trying to impress Dayne, I guess), I started baking straight-away and made apple pie, apple crisp, and applesauce. All in one day. We forced everyone who came over to my apartment that week to eat our apple baked goods. I believe we still threw away an entire bag of apples at the end of Apple Week 2010, and vowed to never eat apples again.

This year, we completely forgot the horrific experience and headed straight back to Highland Orchards to do it all over again. What can we say? We’re stupid.

This time, as you’ll recall, it was too crowded to actually go out into the fields, so we apple-picked a little basket of Jonagolds (our favorite from last year) straight from the bin:

I actually made Dayne put an apple back and act like he was "picking" an apple for this shot. I'm a fun wife.

I let the apples sit for a few days before I got around to making apple crisp. It was delicious, but it was not enough to absorb our Apple Collection of 2011.

This is the only photo I got of our apple crisp. It didn't last long on a plate.

So while I was busy enjoying my sinus infection, I realized I had to do something with the rest of the apples that kept glaring at me from the corner of our kitchen counter. I thought about making applesauce, but we would never eat it – we’ve got two half-eaten jars of Musselman’s and Mott’s or whatever they are in the fridge.

So I posted on facebook asking what to do with the leftover apples (facebook comments are where I get all my good ideas) and my wedding coordinator, of all people, responded that I should look for a chicken and sauteéd apples recipe online. I found one from Real Simple and got to work. It surprisingly didn’t require anything special – just chicken breasts, onion, apple, garlic, thyme, apple cider, and dijon mustard – all of which I had “in-house”, which is always a plus when you’re running a fever.

I honestly did not expect this to be good. But I was desperate.

You just let it simmer together into this gross-looking mess.

It looks like vomit. This is the un-prettiest picture.

Automatic 10 point bonus if the husband likes it!

Unfortunately, the broccoli was awful, but the chicken was fantastic!

It was delicious! And easy. So delicious and easy, in fact, that I added it to our roster (yes, I have an Excel spreadsheet of dinner options that I use to meal plan).

Today, I still had two apples leftover. Then I found this little gem at the grocery store:

That's right! It's WHOLE WHEAT pancake mix.

My husband can tell you that I will go for anything that says “whole wheat” or “whole grain”. It’s healthy!

Would you believe that on the back of that box, there was a recipe for apple muffins?! Soooo, guess what I made?

They’re sooooo yummy. They taste more like cinnamon than apple, so they’re not too overwhelming after a week of apple crisp followed by apple chicken two nights in a row.

Now, I have 1 apple left… I think that bugger might be going in the trash.