Simple & Savory Homemade Applesauce (Recipe)

With the Fall season, comes apple season!  And we all know there are innumerable wonderful and delicious things, that can be made with apples!
They really are a fruit of so many gifts. But some recipes take a lot more ambition, than others!
If you just want to enjoy the simplicity and goodness of apples, while still having a great celebration happening in your mouth, than this applesauce recipe is for you!
Applesauce is also a versatile food, that can be used in so many different ways. We’ll talk about there here, too.



  • 4-6 pounds Apples, Peeled, Cored, And Cut Into 8 Slices
  • 1 cup Water
  • Juice Of 1 Lemon (or 6 shakes of Lemon Essential Oil)
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon or Cassia, More Or Less To Taste

(*Optional Ingredients: Nutmeg, Maple Syrup, Allspice, Butter)

It’s This Simple:

1. First, we always recommend you begin with washed, organic apples, if possible.
What kind of apples? That’s up to you! But varieties of the sweet and soft kind, are best when making applesauce. In this recipe, we used all McIntosh apples, and so can attest to the goodness of an applesauce made with that variety!  But [Read more…]

Tropical Popsicles


Popsicles are just necessary for kids in the summer time. Don’t you think?  It’s right up there with swimming or sprinklers, catching lightening bugs in jars, and camping.  Our kids actually made these fruity ice treats themselves, and had so much fun making them, as much as they did eating them!  I have to confess though, that I’m not sure how legit it really is to call them tropical. They are truthfully partly tropical though!  And well, the word tropical just went so well with popsicle, that I couldn’t pass it up. (Please forgive me!)

Anyway, I have always wanted that Zoku popsicle maker by Williams-Sonoma, that freezes popsicles in like, 7 minutes.  Have you ever seen it? But for one thing, it only makes 3 at a time.  That’s a problem with 4 kids. And I figured, how urgent can popsicles be? (Now if it made chocolate….I do see the urgency in that sometimes.)  It’s good for my kids to have to wait for things they are looking forward to. I think we have enough instant gratification in kids’ hands these days. Don’t you?

01_summer-treats-popsicles What I did get are these fun popsicle molds at Wal*Mart. They are typical molds, except they have a great catch tray for the dripping, and a built in straw tunnel to suck it up!  As a kid, I could never stand the stickiness of popsicle juice on my hands, and the design of these really helps cut the mess. I love that, and the kids think they are great too.

02_summer-treats-popsicles Making our own popsicles is a great option to me most especially, because [Read more…]

Pumpkin Shaped Cookies

It’s the first day of November, and we’re still riding high on the beauty of Autumn all around us! I think we’ve done more baking than ever this year as well.  I had an idea about trying to make some pumpkin shaped cookies, using a dough recipe I already had, and they came out so great!  These are beautiful cookies to have around on Thanksgiving, or anytime during the pumpkin/Autumn season, and they were fun to make, too.  It may seem like a lot of steps, but it is easy, and the dough recipe itself is very useful!

The dough is the same recipe from my God-Mother’s Italian cookies, found here in a post called Cookie Love.  It’s a very I am going to give you the recipe right here as well, but you really can see how it is made at the other post.  *Please note; you can mix the ingredients to make dough with a Kitchen Aid Mixer, but we did not have one at the time of the other post, so we did it by hand. For these pumpkin shaped cookies, we did use the mixer since we have one now. It’s just easier and faster with a mixer, but still doable by hand.


  • 4  C Bleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1  C Sugar
  • 2 Tbs. Baking Powder
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/2C Land-O-Lakes Margarine
  • 4 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 C Milk
  • Confectioners Sugar
  • A Little Extra Milk for Glaze
    . . . . . . and some kind of Coloring.

Which brings me to this stuff . . . . . .

Wilton’s Icing Colors. 
Even though it says for icing, it works for any food coloring. I love it, because it IS concentrated.  It gives a nicer color, and is more potent, so it gets the job done easily.  Food coloring drops to me are a pain. It takes too much to get the depth of color you want, and adds a water content at the same time that you may not want. So this stuff is the bomb for me. It’s what I used to color my cookie dough orange. It is also great for icing, and we use it for that in this recipe too. ; )

1. In a large bowl (or your Kitchen Mixer bowl),  put in flour, sugar, baking powder, eggs, margarine, vanilla, and milk.

2.    Mix it all together with fork at first. Once it starts to form, you can use your mixer or clean hands.

3. Flour a counter or big board.

4. Remove dough from bowl, and knead for several minutes, sprinkling the surface more if the dough starts sticking.

5. Grease baking sheets with vegetable oil. (You probably can use Pam Spray…if you’re a fan of that.)

6. Once your dough is formed, it’s ready to color. Using a toothpick, mix up the orange container of coloring gel, and just wipe the toothpick onto your dough.  Then fold it in and knead the dough some more until the color works through and is uniformly mixed into the dough. Add more color as needed to get the desired  density of color.

** Two Things to Note Here:  A) This gel will likely stain yours hands and/or clothing a little, so use kitchen gloves and an apron is your concerned with that.  B) The color will lighten/fade a lot after baking.  So keep that in mind. Although the dough may appear too dark orange, they won’t be when done. (See photos of baked cookies for reference.)

7.   Grab a piece of dough, and begin to roll into a ball between the palms of your hands.  You want it to be about the size of say….a large cherry tomato.  You can place them directly on the cookie sheet, or keep working on a floured surface, such as a cutting board.

8. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.

9) First poke your finger down into the center of each orange dough ball.

10) Then, taking a toothpick, stand it up beside the dough ball, and press in your indentations for the pumpkin grooves, as seen above.

Make the indentations deep!  Really lay that toothpick in there, and rock it to the top, so the grooves are made all the way to the top.  The cookies will puff while baking, and you will completely loose your groove indentations if you don’t make them deep pre-baked.

They should look similar to this when the are done.   My little girl Olivia was a great help forming the pumpkins!

11) Now transfer to cookie sheets with  thin metal small spatula if need be.  (Try not to squich your pumpkins, as the dough is soft!) Place the dough pumpkins on the cookie sheets,  about an inch 1/2 apart, staggered.

**You will have more pumpkins waiting for their turn in the oven.  This dough makes at least a few dozen, depending on the size of your cookies.

12) Bake full sheets for 8-10 minutes.  You want them to be pale – not browned, but if you are wondering if they are cooked enough, open one with knife and see if it is baked through well. If not, put back in for 1-2 minutes more, depending on how doughy they still were.

13.  Remove from oven………and then place them each on a cooling rack.

  For cookie glaze:  
14) In a small bowl, pour some confectioner’s sugar, and add a little milk.  I don’t really measure the sugar or milk here.  I recommend adding one tablespoon of milk at a time, and stir well. You want the glaze thick, as it will be much easier it will be to work with if it is not thin and runny.. You will be surprised at how much powdered sugar you need!

15) Add in green gel coloring and mix well.

16)  When cookies are completely cooled, transfer your green icing to a piping bag with a very fine point tip, or if need be, a zip-lock bag with the very tip of the corner snipped off.

17) Just pipe on a stem in the center top of the pumpkin, a leaf if you are really good, and maybe make some curly vines coming off.

As you can see, my piping skills could use some practice.  But I thought they came out so adorable, and they are as delicious as the Italian Cookies recipe! It’s all the exact same ingredients, except for the tasteless coloring.  What I love about this dough recipe, is it is flexible to make many different looking cookies.

Alexis kept some of the dough before it was colored orange, and made these traditional cookies. . . . . .

Also quite Autumn looking!
The cookies can be sealed in an air tight container, or even put in the freezer the same way, for a coming holiday, or unexpected company.

We hope you try this recipe out, and have some fun making them yourself. Your mouth will surely thank you!

. . . . . .

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Recipe for Apple Pie Pops

 If you only knew the recipes I see in a day, a week, a month – that I have every intention of making!  I get to really making some, but most not, simply because there is really only so much time in a day, and so much food we can eat in it!  Granted some (little) people (my kids and husband), eat way more than others (myself.)  I actually am one of those with big eyes. I can be starving, and then eat 2 crackers, and I’m good. My kids cannot believe how little I eat. I just get full easy. Still, I consider myself a food lover, if only in my head. I love to find recipes, plan great food for my family, and photograph it too. And I really do enjoy eating. I’m just done sooner than everyone else.

Anyway, I first saw these pie pops almost 2 years ago at Bakerella‘s site.  I believe it was not even a new post when I had stumbled upon it. As soon as I saw them that first time, I immediately fell smitten.  She had seen them at yet another’s site. Since then I have seen them 100 times, all over the place.  Of course, you can make these pie pops with any kind of pie filling you’d like. But I have a particular fondness for apple pies, so that’s what I was planning to make.  We do a lot of baking in the Fall, so last year got away before we made them. But not this year! This past weekend we finally made them, as well as some cute cookies I’ll be sharing soon too!

So although these are not my idea, I thought I’d share how we made our Apple Pie Pops.

For any apple filling for baked goods, you want to start with good, firm apples, and a mix of the tart and sweet variety. Whether they are evenly mixed, or a little more of the sweet or tart, is all up to your preference.  I chose to keep it even, and used Granny Smiths (tart) and Golden Delicious (sweet).

One of the greatest parts of making any baked goods that call for apples, is using my Aunt Dot’s apple peeler-corer-slicer.  The peeler part actually needs to be replaced, but we have not been able to find it yet.  But that’s alright – so we peel the apples by hand for now, or forever. We still feel so blessed to have this antique of my beloved aunt’s, that is such a part of my most fondest childhood memories.

But I’ll admit, it’s damn handy!

Apple Pie Filling Recipe

6 C. peeled *apples, chopped small, and evenly sized as possible
3/4 C. sugar
2 T. all purpose flour
3/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. nutmeg (Optional. I don’t like it.)
1 T. lemon juice

*Reminder: Use a mix of sweet and tart firm apples.

Mix it all up well in a bowl.

Pie Crust Dough: You can make your own, or use store-bought ready pie crust, such as Pillsbury.
On a flour dusted surface, roll out your dough.  If you are using ready pie crust that is already round, remember that the size of the circle of dough does not matter for our purpose with pie pops, as it would for a pie dish. So you can roll it out larger and thinner than as it comes, and get more out of it. (We wish we did roll ours out thinner, and will next time. I’ll tell you about that at the end.)

Use a scalloped or plain circle cutter, or any other manageable shape that you would like, that is about 2 inches in diameter.  I like the idea of our pops looking like real little pies, but using shapes like an apple, or a maple leaf, or a pumpkin, etc., would also be cute.  Cut your shapes out of your crust dough as closely as possible, to get as many out of your dough as you can. Weed out the scraps of dough, re-roll, and use again. (As seen 2 photos up.)

Put a good dollop (what a great word…dollop..) of apple filling in the center of half of all of your cut dough shapes, because you’ll need the other half as tops, of course. You want to put as much as possible on there, but remembering you’ll need to cover it with the other dough circles, and be able to seal it. Too much apple filling will be a problem, and too little will just be….sad.

Transfer your pie bottoms with the filling onto a greased or sprayed cookie sheet.
If it easier for you, you can transfer the dough shapes first, and then put the filling on.

Also add your pop sticks. These are found in the candy making aisle of the craft stores. Now, I have seen that some cover their sticks with aluminum foil, to prevent them from burning. That is too tedious for me, and I was sure they wouldn’t burn anyway, and they didn’t, except where they got a little juice on them. No biggie, and still not worth covering them in foil. But you do what you want!

You may want to pre-heat you oven at this point, to 375°

 Now put on your tops. We had a little dish of water, just to dip one finger in, and wet the under-edge of the top all the way around, just to help it stick the bottom better. It also helps to stretch the top piece out bigger, to better fit over your dollop : ) of apple filling.
To make the wavy edge like a real pie, just cut off the end of a pop stick, and use it to press grooves all the way around each pie. This is a a bit tedious too, but one that is worth it to me!

Lastly, just brush each pie pop top with a little egg white, and if you wish, sprinkle with a bit of sugar for sparkle. The egg whites really help the pie crust kind of blister and look nice.

When the oven is up to temperature, you can put your pie pops in for 12-15 minutes.

How’s that for a high cute factor?
We bagged each one, and tied them closed with a little red stitched ribbon. Presentation is everything, Folks!

As mentioned earlier, we did not roll out our dough as thin as we will next time. Our pops seemed to be a little more crust, and a little less apple filling than we would have liked. We must remember the filling soaks in just a bit, and the dough really puffs as it bakes into pie crust. Nonetheless, they were oh so good, and next time they’ll be perfect. : )

There are SO many Fall-time apple treats to enjoy – Apple Pie Pops, big Apple Pies, Apple Crisp, Caramel Apples, Apple Sauce, Apple Cake, Apple Cider…’s endless, and there are no complaints here! My favorites are Apple Crisp and Apple Pie, both with Vanilla Ice Cream, please.
Do you eat more apples this time of year? What are your favorite apple or Fall treats?


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Fresh Strawberries and Chocolate Nachos

If you love chocolate covered strawberries, this unique treat might be just for you.  I really do love them, but I also enjoy things that have CrUnCh!   So a few weeks ago, when I just so happened to have picked an abundance of fresh strawberries from our (garden bed) the day before, I stumbled across this very unique recipe treat from Our Best Bites.  The recipe was fresh strawberries, drizzled with dark melted chocolate (chips), over some cinnamon tortilla chips she had previously made.   Now, to me personally, eating cinnamon with chocolate and strawberries did not sound appealing.  But the idea of dessert nachos did! And besides, it’s not all about me. We’ve got a crew to feed around here, and I was sure my husband and kiddos would be amused if I surprised them with dessert nachos! So I decided to try the recipe, minus the cinnamon.

We had all of the ingredients I needed, except for the tortillas, which I asked my husband to pick up on the way home. Although I did tell him to get the small ones, because they be so much easier to cut into chips, pizza-style, he got the great big ones. So, I cut them as I had planned anyway, and they just came out as much bigger chips.

It’s a simple recipe. So here’s what you do . . . . .

Strawberries Prep:  Wash, drain, cull and slice.  Then I put them in a bowl, added just a little white sugar, and gave it a quick mix.

 Preheat Oven: 350 °

Baked Tortilla Chips:  Melt butter, and brush on both sides of tortillas. Sprinkle-dust sugar all over the top side. Cut the tortillas, pizza-style.  Arrange the tortillas triangles on cookie sheet(s), and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until they start to brown and the edges start to curl some.  When they seem done, remove from oven and let cool.

Arrange: tortilla chips over a large plate or platter, just prior to eating.

Melted Chocolate: We strictly use Hershey’s Chocolate Chips, because they are safe for our peanut-allergy son.  But Our Best Bites seemed to use some good high quality dark chocolate chips, and that’s an option too. Pour an adequate amount of chips in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds or less the first time. Give it a good stir. *Tip: I always stir chocolate with the butt end of a wooden spoon, because silverware can alter the temperature of the chocolate. You will likely need to microwave the chocolate for 10-15 second intervals, and stirring after each time, until all of the chocolate is melted and smooth looking.

Spoon: Strawberries all over the sugared chips.  Then with the spoon, drizzle the chocolate all over the strawberries.  Add whip cream if desired.

Our Best Bites had much better visual presentation than I did. But ask my family if they cared.

So there you have Fresh Strawberries and Chocolate Nachos . . . . .

Share & Enjoy!