Ina Garten has called her series this season “Back to Basics” and I like that idea. I am coming up with my list of goals for next year and one of them is to do everything I can to get us off of pre-prepared/packaged foods. I’ve started that philosophy by making applesauce yesterday. It sounds simple, but making it takes time as opposed to just popping into the store and grabbing a jar full of applesauce.
3 lbs of apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 – 1 c. water
2-4 tbsp sugar (optional)
Place apples and water in large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add cinnamon sticks and cover, simmering 15-30 minutes until apples are tender. Mash in pan to desired consistency. If a thinner applesauce is desired, push apples through potato mill or ricer. Add sugar if desired
Notes! I used a combination of pink ladies and braeburn apples (probably 1/4 pink ladies to 3/4 braeburn). I put mine through a potato ricer and they look fantastic. I didn’t need to add any sugar and would probably never add sugar because the apples are so sweet. Taste the applesauce before adding the sugar to make sure that is what you want to do.
In other food related news, I made the snickerdoodle blondies for a white elephant exchange/caroling party. We went out caroling in a neighborhood and it was really really cold. I am quite sure that the temperature was in the single digits and we had to cut out before everyone else was finished. I couldn’t feel my toes, fingers or lips. It was a fun time nonetheless. I made myself a delicious brown rice and veggie soup but didn’t take any photos. It is super good and I have a new found love for thyme.
Brown Rice and Veggie Soup
2 cans of veggie broth or 30 oz homemade broth
5 c. water
3 carrots, sliced
2 c. potatoes
1 c. zucchini
1 c. mushrooms, sliced
1 c. onion, chopped
2 tsp garlic
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp salt
2 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
1 c. uncooked brown rice or barley
Combine water, broth, rice, potatoes, and carrots. Bring to a boil and simmer 30 minutes. Saute onions, mushrooms, and garlic in oil. Add onion mixture, zucchini, and seasonings to soup. Cook 30 more minutes or until rice and veggies are tender.
Notes! This soup is really yummy. The thyme is a fantastic addition. After sitting in the fridge though, the rice will absorb most of the broth. So when you reheat the soup, add a little more broth or water to thin it out a bit. Of course, if you would want a thicker stew, you don’t have to add any broth at all.