Earlier this fall my family took a trip to the local apple orchard for a Saturday outing. Growing up, going to the apple orchard and Cider Mill was one of my favorite day trips. The sights and smells of apples, pies and cider… the experience screams FALL IS HERE!
MoJo with “The Perfect Pumpkin” and a lot of apples!!
MoJo had a great day picking out “the perfect pumpkin,” and having fresh apple cider and doughnuts. My brother and his new wife had their reception at this same orchard in August, so MoJo had a lot of fun remembering what she did a couple of months ago. One thing we did was pick apples… LOTS of apples. A large reusable grocery bag full to bursting point with apples.
Now the fun begins… what to do with all those apples before they go bad. We made apple pancakes, apple butter, applesauce and some awesome healthy granola bars. Please excuse the links, but I want to make sure that I am giving props for some great recipes!
First the apple pancakes! My mom used to make these for my brother, sister and I when we were kids. I don’t know where she got the recipe, but they are YUMMY! (sorry, no picture)
2 C. Apples, shredded
2 C. Pancake Mix
1 C. Milk
1 tsp Cinnamon
3/4 C. Brown Sugar
1/2 C. Oil
1) Wash apples and leave the skins on, then shred
2) Mix all the ingredients except the oil in a bowl
3) Heat an electric skillet to 325 degrees- or if you prefer, use an iron skillet (makes an awesome crunch to the outsides)
4) Fry for 2 minutes on each side
5) Drain on paper towels
6) Serve with butter & Syrup… or with applesauce
Next is the apple butter. I have to preface, I am really picky about apple butter. I don’t like the prepackaged stuff you can buy in the store. To me it is like eating apple flavored gelatin. I have tried a couple of homemade recipes, but this one is the best! It is from “A Little Bit of This, That, and Everything.” I mean who doesn’t think Maple Coconut Apple Butter doesn’t sound AWESOME! I will tell you, it tastes okay on day one… on day two however it is incredible! Follow the link to the recipe.
The apple bars we made was another Pinterest find through Healthy Happy Mama. This one was loads of fun to make with MoJo. We had fun squishing all the ingredients together. Think of the fun with textures you can have with a kid when there is honey, oats, peanut butter, shredded apple and egg involved. I am also making these this week for a presentation I am doing at work about healthy food options during the holidays.
Okay, so this leaves my new FAVORITE… homemade chunky applesauce! I found a base recipe online, and fiddled and tweaked until I found one that my entire family is in love with. So here is what I came up with, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do :-)
Chunky Crock-Pot Applesauce
8-10 Apples, washed, peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 C. Apple Cider
1 T. Cinnamon
1/2 T. Nutmeg
Place all ingredients in the crock-pot and turn on HIGH for about 3 hours. You will start to smell the apply goodness and it is time to turn off the crock-pot. Smash with a fork until you gain the desired texture. We like a little extra chunky. We have also found that we like this with a couple of green apples in the mix and about a tablespoon of honey. I put it in mason jars and freeze it. Who wouldn’t love fresh applesauce in the middle of spring??