Crock-pot Apple Butter
8 lbs. apples (about 24 medium) (I used Gala apples)
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 TBS cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt
In a small bowl mix the sugars and spices and set aside. Peel and core all the apples and cut into chunks. Place into a large oval crock-pot and pour the sugar mixture over the apples. Stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate the mixture throughout all the apples. Cook on low for ten hours stirring occasionally. At the end of the cooking time, use an immersion blender to puree the apple mixture which will now be redish brown in color. Divide mixture into five pint jars and process in boiling water for ten minutes. I use a steam canner but a traditional canner will work as well.
Like I said, my husband thought this recipe was pretty good, but he wants me to try using 1/2 cup less brown sugar in my next batch because he likes his butter sweet but not too sweet.
This week proved to be a little less busy for me but Emily spent quite a bit of time drawing. Drawing is something she has loved to do since she was old enough to hold a pencil and for a ten year old she is quite good. Of course, I might just be a little bit prejudiced, but then again maybe not. I happened to find several used and fairly inexpensive drawing books for her which she has been using as a guide when drawing people. Since my people drawing skills are barely above stick persons, I was pretty impressed with her drawings.
The funny thing about the books I chose this week is that they had to do with drawing. I swear I didn't choose them on purpose for that reason, it just happened to turn out that way.
The first book was titled Bridget's Beret and was the story of a girl who loved to draw while wearing a beret. She felt that the beret was her inspiration and when it was lost, she became downhearted and felt she could no longer draw. Thankfully, her younger sister came to the rescue and convinced her to make lemonade signs. While making the signs, something miraculous happened. Bridget began to draw again proving that drawing block is not permanent. A great book for encouraging children to create as well as a good reminder for authors and illustrators that blocks of any kind are always temporary.
The second book was called Ben Draws Trouble and was another story of a child who loved to draw. Ben doodled in his sketch book all the time. He especially loved to draw people, much like my Emily. But one day, while riding home on his bike, his sketch book got lost. When he returned to school the next day, someone had found the book and had placed it on the teachers desk. Ben thought for sure he was going to be in big trouble for the sketch he had drown of his tall bearded teacher, but instead he was invited to make art for a school program. This was another great book encouraging kids to draw.
And while both these books were about drawing in particular, I loved them because they encouraged children to explore their artistic side. So if your child doesn't necessarily like to draw, let them know that they can paint, color, craft, bake, or even arrange leaves into attractive arrangements for photos. Anything at all as long as they are creating and having fun!
Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, the sequels, Return To Fern Valley, and Cooking In Fern Valley, along with my very first picture book, Quack and Daisy! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.