Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Apple/Pear Sauce Pie or Butter & Applesauce pie

The other day we picked a whole lot of pears for free :) We are so thankful for them. Today Brianna and I processed one sack of them ... we turned them into pear butter and just for the fun of it, I made up a pear butter or pear sauce pie. It seems to have turned out real well ... we'll do the taste test later after supper.

Nearly any kind of fruit similar to apples or pears can be used to make fruit butter. We've used apples, pears, peaches, nectarines and probably more with great success. The seasonings are nearly the same and of course adjusted to your taste. I prefer a mixture of spices (mostly cinnamon with a little nutmeg, ginger and cloves) as well as some kind of sweetener (usually a mixture of a little bit of honey or molasses or brown sugar and some stevia) and some kind of extract flavoring (vanilla, orange &/or maple work well). A little lemon juice can be added too.

Cut and core the fruit. I do NOT like to go through all the work of pealing, so I leave the peals on. Put the fruit in a large kettle and add about a cup of water. Cover & simmer till soft (lots of liquid will form). Batch process in a blender to make it smooth. You can stop here, put it in quart jars, process it for 20 minutes and call it apple or pear sauce, or you can move on to the next step and call it apple or pear butter. Pour the batches of blended sauce into a large kettle and add seasonings. Simmer UNCOVERED for several hours till it cooks down and becomes nice and smooth. Stir frequently to prevent burning (4 or more times an hour should do it). Taste it after a few hours and adjust seasonings if needed. When you think it's done, dip out a spoonful and let it plop down on a cool plate ... it should kind of look like a smooth goopy blob ... I'm sure you know exactly what I'm talking about, right?! Now is a good time to fill your water bath pot and set it to boil. Next you put your fruit butter into pint jars, add the lid and band. Once the water bath pot is boiling, add the jars and bring to a boil again. Cook at a full boil for 10 minutes. Remove jars, let cool.

Ok, so while we were waiting for the apple/pear butter to cook down, I decided to make an apple/pear sauce / butter pie. We were already planning to make two sweet potato pies but then found out we only had enough sweet potatoes for one pie ... that's where the thought of making the pear sauce pie came in. Here is what I put in it:

- 2 1/2c of apple/pear sauce or butter
- 3 eggs
- a little molasses (the fruit butter was sweet enough already, so I added a few tablespoons for flavor)
- 1/4c melted butter
- 1t vanilla
- 1T lemon juice
- 2T flour

Mix all together, pour into an unbaked shell, cook at 350 for an hour or so. Here is a picture ... I don't think the picture turned out well, but the pie sure looks and smells good.

Monday, October 10, 2011

How Low Can You Go?

I challenge everyone to ask yourself "how low can I go?" Here are a few examples of what I mean:

- How low can I turn my heat down? (put on more clothes ... you'd be surprised how low you can turn your heat down)
- What is the smallest amount of [toothpaste, shampoo, soap, etc.] that I can use and still feel like it is cleaning properly?
- How much expensive food do I really need? Can I stick to cheaper, more healthier options like rice and beans? [unless it's home raised, meat and dairy products can get very expensive]
- Do I have to have air conditioning? (most in the world do not, and they live in some really hot places)
- Do I have to have hot water in my house? (most in the world do not ... and they seem to get by)
- (if you do have hot water) Do I have to wash my clothes in hot or warm water, or will cold work? Before you use the hot water, ask yourself if you could use warm or cold water instead.
- Do I have to use my dryer, or can I hang clothes outside?
- Do I have to have a closet full of clothes, or can I get by on only a few options?
- Do I have to have convenience foods, or can I make things from scratch at a much lower cost?
- Do we have to go out to eat when we are 'out and about' and hungry? Why not just stop at the grocery store and grab some yummy fruit? It will be cheaper and much healthier.
- Do we have to take vacations? Why not just find something free or nearly free to do that is near by?

These are just a few examples. The list could go on and on. THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE DOING WITH YOUR MONEY. If you are a professing follower of the Lord, ask yourself another question, "Do I have to spend this money on ______ or would it be better spent giving it to someone who is in need?" Every dollar spent selfishly on YOU that could have been used to help someone else out is not pleasing to the Lord.