Apple Butter

I seriously eat an apple a day and my brother has been known to make fun of me (more than once) because he claims that eating the same thing every day is boring.  Well, let me tell you, the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” just may be true.  I hardly every get sick and plus apples are delicious!

As delicious as apples are they can also be expensive, so I usually pick up whatever type is on sale that week at the grocery store.  My favorites are Fuji, Gala, and Honeycrisp.  Last week while I was at Harris Teeter I noticed that it would be a better deal to get the 5lb bag of Gala apples rather than buy them individually.  I didn’t realize just how many apples I was getting until I got home and they completely filled up my fruit basket.  After being out of town this weekend I realized Monday that I needed to find a way to use up my remaining apples before they went bad.  I just happened to be browsing on Pinterest when I saw a post for Apple Butter.  Once I read the recipe I knew exactly how I was going to use up my apples!

The original apple butter recipe is from Organize Yourself Skinny and I adapted it based on what I had on hand and my preferences.

Apple Butter

  • 3lbs Gala apples, chopped (with the skin on)
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract

**you can adjust the spices to your desired taste

  • Place the chopped apples into your crockpot (I used these crock pot liners and clean up was a breeze)
  • Top with brown sugar, water, and spices
  • Cook on high for about 4 hours until apples are soft
  • Remove the apples from the crockpot and place into a mixing bowl (leave all the extra liquid behind in the crockpot)
  • Use an immersion (hand-held) blender to blend all the apples until smooth
  • Place the apple mixture into a saucepan and heat over low heat for 30 minutes-1 hour until desired consistency is reached.

I froze some of the apple butter I made and I cannot wait to eat the rest!  I bet it will be delicious on the new Pumpkin Spice Swirl Bread I just got from Target :)

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Ribs, Who Knew They Could Be So Easy

Chase loves ribs, but I have never made them because for some reason I had in my head that they were super complicated to make!  Good thing Chase’s dad was bragging about the ribs his mom made one night because I decided to ask her what the secret was.  Turns out you can cook ribs in the crockpot on low all day and they turn out very tender and moist with hardly any work.  Really! It doesn’t get much easier than that.

I placed a rack of pork ribs in my crockpot and covered them with water.  I then cooked them on low all day while I was at work.  When I got off work I drained all the water out of the crockpot and covered the ribs with some BBQ sauce.  I then cooked on high for about 30 minutes while I made some corn muffins and green beans to round out our meal!  Anything that can lessen my time cooking once I get home from work is a winner in my book!

Taco Soup

I am so happy the weather is finally starting to warm up (although today hasn’t been such a good example)!!  It is hard to believe that 2 weeks ago it was cold, rainy, and SNOWING!  I was off Tuesday (2 weeks ago) and I knew that I would want something warm and hearty for dinner to go with the cold, damp day.  Thankfully one of my technicians, Ashley, had just given me a recipe for taco soup and I knew it would be perfect!

 

Taco Soup
1 can corn (don’t drain)
1 can kidney beans (don’t drain)
1 can rotel (I used the hot variety)
1 small can diced green chiles
1 can diced tomatoes
1 lb ground beef, browned
1 packet taco seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp minced onion

Add all the ingredients to the crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

I simmered mine on the stove stop for a little over an hour and it was delicious!  Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, and tortilla chips to complete the meal!

I plugged all the ingredients into MyFitnessPal (see a tutorial on how to do this here) and while I think I under estimated the servings at 6 it still came out to be a good calorie bargin at 249 calories/serving.

Working it out

So this past month has been a whirlwind of work, bad weather, and lots of errands and  to-do list activities.  After an incredibly fun weekend celebrating St Patrick’s Day I decided it was time to get back on track.

I went by WalMart yesterday and got the ingredients to make some super simple chicken in the crockpot to take to work this week.

Crockpot Salsa Chicken:

  • 1 package boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 jar salsa
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 can lower sodium black beans

Place all ingredients into the crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours (or if you wait until the last minute like me cook on high for 4 hours).

I plan on taking a serving to work tonight for dinner and also as one of my meals tomorrow.  It is so good by itself, with brown rice, with tortilla chips, or I have even used it as a filling for enchiladas!  I also love this simple recipe because it freezes well.

I have kind of fallen off the wagon with my FitBit Flex, so I am currently charging it so I can wear it to work this week.  I definitely like seeing how much I am walking and also find that it is a great motivator to get those extra steps in.  I did just hit up the gym in my apartment for a short workout and I know that is something that I definitely need to make time for.  I feel so much better when I am working out and eating better.

I feel the need to get back on my goals and have been thinking about how I will incorporate them this week as I face one of my long weeks at work.

Daily Goals–Starting March 17, 2014:

  • Get in at least 10,000 steps daily using my FitBit Flex (the hardest day for me will be Wednesday because I am off work, so I will definitely focus on this)
  • Track my meals using MyFitnessPal every day
  • Do some meal planning/prep Wednesday to help me stay on track as I work through the weekend
  • Look at my Pinterest and pick some new recipes to try out
  • Think of ways to mix up my snacks/meals so I won’t get burnt out of the same ‘ol same ‘ol :)

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Don’t forget to wear green!

2 Ingredient Dinner

I am always amazed at how easy it is to fall into a rut of not cooking at home and eating out because life tends to get in the way.  I do it myself (sometimes more than I would like to admit), which is why I have really gotten interested in using my crockpot.  There is nothing better than coming home from work and having dinner ready to go.  Plus what is easier than putting everything into one pot?  How about if all you had to use was 2 ingredients?  Yes, you read that right.  I made dinner tonight with 2 ingredients and it was awesome.  This isn’t a new recipe for me, in fact it has become a staple around my house and with my family, but I couldn’t resist sharing how easy it is.

First things first next time you are out grocery shopping find this marinade and immediately put it into your cart.  I usually find it in the Hispanic section, but yesterday at Harris Teeter it was with all the other condiments.  Step 2 find yourself a nice boston butt roast.  You can use boneless (which I usually do) or bone in depending on what you can find.  I have also made this using boneless pork loin chops, but the boston butt is better in my opinion.

If the roast I got has a lot of fat I usually trim some of it off before putting it in my crockpot.  Pour in half a bottle of the marinade and cook on low for about 8 hours.  By the time the pork is done cooking it will be so tender is literally just falls about.  I serve the pork with brown rice and a vegetable to round out the meal.

PS: Leftovers are even better because the pork soaks up all the extra flavor from sitting in the marinade.

When dinner involves minimal time and ingredients there is no excuse not to eat at home.