My house smells amazing right now. I made a batch of cinnamon apple sauce this morning, and now I’m roasting some beef bones to make French Onion soup later. I kinda want to lick the walls…but I know where they’ve been, so I’ll just wait for dinner. But in the meantime, I can’t stop sneaking a spoonful of sauce here and there.
Applesauce is super easy to make, but a lot of folks figure it takes hours and days so they buy the stuff at the store (packed with extra chemicals, ickies and sugars) instead. But I’m here to tell you, it’s pretty much the easiest thing ever.
- Peel, core, and slice as many apples as you would like (today’s batch had 4 apples – small). Tip: the smaller the slices, the faster it will cook
- Add apples to a sauce pan with 2 TB water (just to get things started) and 1/2 TB cinnamon (or however much you would like)
- Simmer, stirring occasionally, covered until the apples start to reduce and lose shape
- If it gets super duper watery, remove the lid and allow some of the steam to evaporate
- After 30 or so minutes (which should require very little supervision) you have applesauce. Done. Don’t like the chunks? Throw the batch in the blender or hit it with a potato masher.
Warm, fresh applesauce is definitely in the top 10 simple awesome pleasures in life.
When life gets a little tough, a friend of mine and I joke around about moving to a commune on our own to be hippies and live on the land like crazy independent Amazon women. We have most of the necessary skill sets covered (booze making, cooking, clothing design, bread and butter production and a newly drafted ninja has the security aspect of the program under control – as soon as we have cheese making under our belts we can pack our bags) to make it a totally viable option in our overstressed entrepreneurial brains (no, it’s not really going to happen…I know…). Should our super fabulous commune never come to fruition and I am forced to move to a straight up hippie ranch I have come to realize that I make some damn tasty lentils.
Lentils have gained the reputation for being the peace loving legume, but they are truly more than just that – they are simple and delicious. We make them every other week or so and it seems I’m making larger and larger batches to ensure that we have some leftovers for a lunch or two – they are so good we can’t stop eating them. The recipe below is for a ‘medium’ 6 helping batch.
- Add 2 cups of lentils (you choose the color – we use the yellow/brown guys) and 5 cups of water or chicken broth to a large pot and bring to a boil with 2 bouillon cubes and a bay leaf
- Add 1/2 cup chopped onion and 2 chopped medium carrots to the pot and simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally (you may need to add more water)
- The lentils will start to sort of break down (we like them mushy – I pretend I’m Oliver Twist), and at this point add another 1/4-1/2 cup of chopped onions and another 2 chopped medium carrots (contrasting texture! It makes mouths happy). Slowly simmer for another 8 minutes or so
At this point you can add whatever you else you like or have on hand. We have been known to chop up the lone leftover pork chop no one wants and throw that in. Leftover Christmas ham makes for super awesome lentils, and of course, a little cooked bacon makes everything better. Last night we chopped up the last reindeer sausage link that has been haunting the freezer and added a little bacon. Of course if you are one of those veggie only people, you can skip this step and add whatever else you choose.
- After your additions have had a few minutes to meet and mingle with their lentil neighbors, salt and pepper to taste. I also like to add a little garlic powder or salt as well as cayenne pepper
It’s just good stuff. And talk about cheap! You’re looking at perhaps a $3 meal here and it’s delicious. Maybe if you get good enough at making them, you too can join a hippie commune!