Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fall Favorite- Stewed Apples


Let me start off this post with a story....

My Great Grandmother was a really good cook. The old fashioned kind that made all of her food, canned, and knew how to make just about anything from scraps. Every time I went to visit her, she had to feed me something. She made the absolute best Stewed Apples. She always had them in her fridge. ALWAYS. At least to my 10 year old self, it seemed like always.

I never got her recipe, as she passed away when I was only in the 7th grade, but I am always searching for a recipe that tastes like those Stewed Apples I remember from my childhood. I'd like to share one of my favorite recipes with you today...I change it up occasionally, but the same basic principals are the same.

First you take your apples- about 7 cups, give or take. And you peel and slice them.


I like to use my handy-dandy little coring and slicing tool to do the job, because it makes it go super fast. But, you can do it however you like.

The original recipe I used said to thinly slice the apples, but since my Great-Grandma's were thicker, I kept mine the same. Sometimes I would slice those chunks in the picture in half if they were too big, but just eyeball it, you can't really go wrong.


Next, melt about 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Then add in 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 a cup of brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, and 1/2 a cup of water. Bring this to a boil until it begins to thicken.



At this point you can also add in any other spices that strike your fancy- apple pie spice, ginger, cloves, etc. I've changed it up and it always tastes really good. As far as tasting like my Great-Grandma's...she probably stuck with just the cinnamon and nutmeg.

Reduce your heat, stir in your apples, and turn them until they're pretty evenly coated. At first your pan is going to be pretty full, but the cook down over time- condensing all of that yumminess!



Cook over medium-high heat 4-5 minutes and they will cook down. Keep stirring and allowing the sauce to thicken.
Then reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook until tender, stirring occasionally. How long this takes really depends on your preference. You can do 5-10 minutes, if you still want some bite- or sometimes I cook them for a lot longer, and they get really soft making for an excellent ice cream topping!
Mmmm...see how soft and brown they are?

A tip- add water if necessary, especially if you're cooking them longer. You don't want them to burn.

Every fall I make these and it transports me back in time to when I was a little girl, sitting next to my Great Grandma and listening to her tell me stories about when she was a little girl. What I wouldn't give to go back to that moment for a little while!

I'll post the full recipe at the bottom- if you try it, let me know what you think!





Stewed Apples

-4 TBSP butter
-7 cups apples, sliced
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-2 TSP cinnamon
-1/4 TSP nutmeg
-1/2 cup water

1.) Melt butter over medium heat.
2.) Mix in sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and water. Stir.
3.) Bring to a boil, and continue boiling until it begins to thicken.
4.) Reduce the heat, stir in the apples, turning to evenly coat.
5.) Cook over medium-high heat 4-5 minutes. Keep stirring, allowing sauce to thicken.
6.) Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until tender. Stir occasionally. Cook 5-10 minutes (longer if your slices are thicker, or you want your apples softer.)

*Add water if necessary
* The sauce will thicken as it cools

I will admit- I also have used the sauce as a syrup for all kinds of things- DELICIOUS!

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It's That Time of Year Again.....

.....where I jump back in and try to up my blog posts! Fall is finally here, which means it's my favorite time of year! I'll be sharing some of my favorite fall recipes and fall crafts soon.

Here's a quick craft I made with Baby B yesterday- super simple and cute, and of course the Grandma's love it.

Corn handprints. Super quick and easy! Sorry the pic is from my Instagram feed, but it's the only one I took.

I'll try to share some more stuff ASAP. As for today, I overslept for playgroup...so I'll be doing some Fall Cleaning around the house. (Like spring cleaning, only everything smells like pumpkins).

First up on my list of things to do...de-funkifying my towels. Trying out this trick. I'll post on how well it works. Stinky towels are a no-no!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hiatus

I feel like every spring-summer I get busy and go on a blogging hiatus! I just want to spend so much time doing things and being outside, I completely put the blog on the back burner. Then, once it gets cold, I blog like crazy. I am going to try to start updating more often- promise! I still have my Master Bathroom Update to share, and several recipes. My digital camera went out of commission, so all I have are cell phone pics until I finally break down and get a new one. Here's to updating ASAP!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Favorite Sensitive Skin Makeup

I've been thinking about and compiling my favorite makeup for my super-sensitive skin. If this is your first time, check out my sensitive skin care post here. (Disclaimer: These are all drug store brands, not high end makeup)

First off, foundation. I used to use just covergirl brand liquid foundation, when I noticed my face was getting drier and drier and my eyes were getting itchy. I found a Physician's Formula brand kit at the store and tried it- and I loved it! The kit came with Super BB concealer, Super BB cream, and Super BB powder. Separately this items range from $13-$15 a piece, but the kit with all 3 is only $20. I'm hooked! It makes my skin super soft and really covers up my blemishes, and the best part- my skin has not broken out even ONCE since I started using it, and I'm well into my second kit. I even let my sister-in-law try it out, and she loved it too.


I also have some Physician's Formula blush that works good, and a loose face powder I just started using. My favorite blush that I use though, is Mary Kay. It's called sparkling cider. It's the perfect shade for my skin and has a little sparkle. The downside, you have to order it from a Mary Kay lady, but pretty much everyone knows at least one. It also doesn't break me out (though some of their stuff does, so you just have to do a little trial and error). I have used the same color for years, and it lasts forever.

(The one in the middle)

 
 As far as eye make-up goes, I'm still trying to find one that works best for me. It feels like my eyes are getting more and more sensitive. I mostly just have to be careful that there's not too much glitter in it, which really irritates my eyes, and I've really gotten down to where I don't wear eye makeup every day. Or I'll just wear a highlight color, so there's nothing too heavy on my lids. So, right now, there's not specific brand that I'm loving-yet. I think I'll try thy Physicians Formula, since their other makeup is working so well for me. For some higher end brands that have sensitive skin lines, you can always try: Clinique, which is all allergy tested and fragrance free. They even have a new nail polish for sensitive skin- which I really need to try! Or, Lush, which is all handmade cosmetics. I have never tried it, but I have some friends that swear by it.

Same goes with mascara, I just buy and try, they all seem to slightly irritate my eyes a little. One of my favorites is still just the plain Maybelline Great Lash, it's inexpensive and does it's job well. I've used it for as long as I can remember.


I use all types of lip products, because thankfully none of them bother me. Right now I'm loving Baby Lips:


and Wetslicks Lipgloss

Overall I just wanted to share the types of makeup that work for me. Everyone is different, so they may or may not work for you. Try some of these products and let me know what you think. Do you have any favorite drug-store brands of makeup for your sensitive skin? I'd love to hear feedback.

(PS- These opinions are my own, though I'd love for someone to send me free makeup, they didn't. I was not compensated for sharing any of these types of makeup with you).

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sensitive Skin Care

Like I said, I've been working on a post about the types of makeup I use for my super sensitive skin. First, a little background. I spent quite a lot of time at the dermatologist last year with severely broken out hands and arms. They first started breaking out back in my hairstyling days, but just every now and again. After having Baby B they got much worse. After trying a few different meds and treatments, she diagnosed me with psoriasis and contact eczema. All different types of things cause me flare-ups, so the past year it has been trial and error with everyone to see if it breaks me out. The makeup I used for years even started breaking out my face. I even bought a pair of dark wash jeans once, and the dye broke out my legs.

First off, I had to switch to unscented everything. Body wash, deodorant, no scented lotion, unscented laundry detergent, and no fabric softener (though when I'm not broken out, I bend that rule a little- I really like my clothes to be soft!) And the culprit for making my hands so broken out...my sons baby wipes. It doesn't matter what brand, any baby wipe breaks me out severely now. So, I just had to start wearing gloves when I change diapers.

The first major change I did was switch soap. I used to carry small bottles in my purse so I didn't use other soaps any where else.

This stuff is pricey, but worth it- especially when I have a flare-up! It is great for super dried out skin, I even used it as body wash. I also often use this:
It works pretty well, and this is what I use most of the time now. I use it for face wash, body wash, and hand soap. I DO miss scented washes, but they are way too irritating!

For lotion for the rest of my body, as well as facial moisturizer, I use this:

And anywhere I'm super dried out and broken out, my dermatologist recommended this:
Again, pricey- but it lasts forever! It is super greasy, but when your skin is extremely dry, that's what you want!

I am also on an oral medication, a topical steroid, and a topical ointment, but these changes have majorly contributed to helping my skin.

Here's a few of the other changes I made:


I already used this laundry detergent, but this was also what my dermatologist recommended. Like I mentioned, she said no fabric softener, but I do used it occasionally. I usually use Downy Free and Gentle or Snuggle Free Clear. This has also been gentle enough for Baby B, who also has super sensitive skin like his Mommy.

-If you buy clothes that are dark wash, or dark in color, take a lesson from me, wash it a few times first!

- Buy hypoallergenic makeups!

- Drink lots of water- you're hydrated, your skin will be too!

I just wanted to give a basis for why my skin is so sensitive, and hopefully this will help anyone who has the same type of skin issues. Now that I've given a little background, later this week I will share my favorite types of sensitive skin make-up.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to comment or email! Thanks!


Note: I have seen some articles about organic products, and all natural products that I just haven't tried yet...suggestions would be appreciated :-)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Life Update

Things are going pretty slow around here, and we are all ready for winter to be over. We're just getting over, what I hope, is our last winter storm. Anybody else ready for spring? I am usually a snow lover-but even I'm over it this year!

We've started potty training Baby B this week. Right now I'm mostly just getting him used to sitting on the potty a few times a day, and after a couple of days he has already gone in the potty a few times. I have a feeling we're in for a long potty training journey though. I'll keep the blog updated with our successes. We bought him his first pairs of underwear and I teared up, wondering how we're already to this point. Wasn't he just born yesterday?

Yesterday I bought a cute new bedding set, pillows, and new sheets. Got it all home, unwrapped everything, and realized I forgot a fitted sheet- decorating fail. Hubby is going to pick one up, and hopefully I'll have pictures of my room looking nice and pretty over the next couple of days!

We've already started planning and looking at stuff to update the outside of our house once the weather warms up around here. We're going to paint the front door, fix up our porch (paint, etc), and build some flower beds with some pretty spring flowers. Hubby and I are itching to do some DIY, but the weather has kept us from starting any projects.

I'm working on a post for later this week about makeup and skincare. Just my favorites and what works best for my uber-sensitive, psoriasis prone skin. I'll also be asking for suggestions!

Just wanted to do an update about what's happening in our lives at the moment...will post again soon!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Toddler Meal Test Kitchen

Eating "pancakes"


This Momma has been on a rampage lately searching for healthy meals to get my EXTREMELY picky toddler to eat. Specifically to get him to eat HEALTHY foods. Right now we are at a point where some days, all he will eat is peanut butter and jelly.That's not jiving with this Momma. I have scoured Pinterest for healthy Toddler Meals, and have been a Mad Woman this week testing out recipes. I'm down 4 recipes, and I'd like to share my changes/thoughts/how well little stinker boy liked them with you...

First down, breakfast. A friend of mine posted a recipe for Flourless Banana Pancakes this week:

-2 eggs, 1 banana

Pretty self explanatory, right? The link I found for this only lead to a picture, but it seemed simple enough. So, this very morning I mashed up a banana, mixed in 2 eggs, and for Baby B's sake, threw in a healthy handful of peanut butter. They were DELICIOUS! They didn't taste exactly like a traditional pancake, but they were still very good. I couldn't believe they cooked up like a pancake. I was quite amazed, actually. One tip I have, they cook quickly, and don't "bubble" as much as regular pancakes. So whilst chasing a toddler, be careful not to burn them. Learn from my mistake. And the best part- Baby B actually likes them! He's not much of a breakfast man, but he actually ate quite a few bites. I did put a little syrup on his, and I even ate a couple myself. This recipe is definitely a toddler win! And they really couldn't be simpler. I wonder if I grated some carrots in there, if he'd still eat them? Any other ingredient suggestions any of you may have would be appreciated!

Now, on to some snacks. I found a recipe for Sneaky Veggie Cookies. I was a little skeptical, because I had made a muffin version of this recipe, and Baby B wouldn't touch them. In the end, he ended up eating these for a couple of days, and then didn't really want them anymore. He's a texture man, and the texture of them was a little off for him. He didn't gag- which is actually a good sign. I would probably make them again, but they're not at the top of my list. But, by all means, if you're toddler will eat them, it's a great way to sneak in some veggies! (Sorry I forgot to take pics, but check out the original blog post for step-by-steps).

Baby B is a crunchy food fanatic, so I had a feeling this next recipe would be a win. Carrot Snack Sticks. They also are light in flavor, which with my guy, is a good thing. He does not do well with strong flavors. I changed this recipe, slightly. Instead of parmesan, I used a parmesan-romano mix because it's what I had on hand. It took about 2 good-sized carrots, grated, to make the 1/2 cup. Otherwise I followed the recipe. Mixing it together was sort of fun. It was a non-sticky dough, which made it kind of like carrot play-doh. Next time I think I'll let little man get his little hands in there. In the end, he actually really liked these. They were crunchy and light. I stored the extras in a plastic baggie, which made them not as crunchy, so we'll see. I also like that the original post gives instructions for freezing these, which I will probably do with half the batch next time. Definitely worth making again!


For my gluten-free Mommas out there, I would love some feedback on how these turn out using a different type of flour, and maybe coconut oil instead of vegetable...

Lastly, a no-cook recipe: great for a busy Momma. Frozen applesauce bites. I've seen people do this with yogurt before. I used an organic blueberry applesauce. The problem with the applesauce by itself was, it's runny, which made it hard for Baby B to spoon it to himself. So I poured some in a gallon size baggie, in the corner. Cut off the tip, and squeezed little blobs of it onto parchment paper. Froze it, and then stuck them in a baggie in the freezer.
At first, I had a little trouble getting the right amount to come out, but over time I got in a rhythm and it was really easy. Best part, no cooking! I just keep them in a baggie in my freezer and get a few out for the little guy when he wants some. I could also tell he liked the coldness of them on his newly emerging molars. If you have an older toddler, you could probably "trick" them into thinking they're popsicles, which they sort of are!

3 out of 4 isn't bad for a toddler that may be the pickiest eater on the planet (just kidding...a little).
I'm going to keep trying new recipes, and giving my thoughts. I would love some recommendations from other Momma's out there in the same boat as me.

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