Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Apple Recipes, Sausage Pies & Fall Challenge

It's all about apples here this week. This weekend I enjoyed our town's Apple Festival, and came home with a big bag of delicious local apples. Our home smells wonderful as the Apple Butter has been simmering away in the crock pot since last night. The kids are home for a five day weekend, and since everyone was home today, I decided to make Apple Bars as a treat, and because I just love to serve Pork with Apples, I made Sausage Pies for lunch. I thought I would share my recipes as well as talk about Week Two of the Fall Challenge going on at Women Living Well Blog.

First Apple Butter- I first learned how to make Apple Butter from a kind older women at our Apple Festival a couple of years ago. The recipe is very simple, and most of the work is in the peeling & chopping of the apples. I had meant to make my apple butter on Monday, but got busy, so last night I knew I wanted to get it in the crock pot. Shout out to my very helpful hubby who helped me peel, core and slice 4 lbs of apples so I could get our apple butter under way -Thanks Gary! Here's the recipe I used.

Crock Pot Apple Butter

4 lbs Peeled, cored, Chopped Apples
3 cups sugar
1 cup apple juice (enough liquid so apples don't stick to crock pot over night -organic unfiltered is our new favorite)
2 Tablespoons of Cinnamon (or more if you like)
1/2 teaspoon allspice
10 Red Hot Candies

Mix all of the Ingredients in a crock pot, and set crock pot on low - cook covered for 8 hours (I did mine over-night) Then, use a potato masher to smooth out apples a bit, not too much though, you want bits of apple. Stir and set crock pot on high, turn the lid on sideways, so it retains some heat, but lets the juice evaporate, check it often and turn it back to low if you feel it is getting too hot. Cook like this all day until liquid has mostly evaporated, and apple butter has a jam like consistency. Store in the refrigerator, and use within a couple of weeks.

Here are the apples with all of their spices and sugar mixed in.

Here are the Red Hots Right before they were mixed in. You could make this recipe without Red Hots by adding a bit more cinnamon, but since this is the way I was taught, and because I loved Red Hots as a child, I like to leave them in for the extra cinnamon oil, and the little bit of red color they add.

This is what my Apple Butter Looks like right now, still probably a couple of hours away from being done, but it looks pretty close to this when it is ready to cool down, and go into the fridge. I will be serving this with homemade muffins for breakfast tomorrow morning!

Since the Apple Butter's delicious aroma has permeated our entire home, I decided to make one of my favorite apple treats- Norwegian Apple Squares. I have been making these Apples Squares for nearly 20 years now, the recipe comes from he first cookbook I ever purchased for myself- The International Sampler Cookbook. My French Club in high school was selling these cookbooks to earn money for our club outings. I have loved this cookbook, and love all of the different international recipes in it- A lot of the recipes in this book are written in both English and French, Spanish or German.

Here is the Recipe for Norwegian Apple Squares

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup softened butter
2 eggs
3 cups grated apples
3 Tablespoons sugar
Cinnamon to taste

Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
Combine Flour, 1 cup sugar, and butter in a bowl, mix until combined (you can use a pastry blender or just melt the butter a bit more, and it will easily mix), add eggs to mixture and mix until crumbly. Pat half of mixture into a 9 by 13 inch pan ( I do use cooking spray in the pan, but with all of the butter it might not be needed, I also use slightly more than half of the mixture in the bottom of the pan so the bottom is a little thicker than the top) Combine apples with 3 Tablespoons Sugar and cinnamon to taste, and spread over bottom layer of dough. Then top with remaining crumb mixture, break it up like a crumble topping. Bake at 375 F. for 40 to 45 minutes until golden brown, like this.

Cool then Cut into squares.

I love serving apples dishes with pork dishes, so I thought I would make up some yummy sausage Pies for lunch. These tasty little pies are delicious and the whole family enjoyed them for lunch.

Sausage Pies:

a double pie crust rolled out into two circles or two rounds of refrigerated pie crust. Cut each round into quarters- so you have 8 quarters of pie crust.

4-6 small cooked, cooled and chopped red potatoes
1 pound sausage
1 onion chopped
1 package of sliced white mushrooms

Pre-heat oven to 425 F.

Boil up 4-6 little red potatoes, cook through, then cool and chop, set aside. Then saute chopped onion in a skillet with a little olive oil, until they are translucent, then add a whole package of sliced mushrooms, chop the mushrooms while you are sauteing them so they are smaller pieces. When the mushrooms have cooked down a bit add a pound of mild sausage to the skillet, and cook until sausage is completely cooked, add the chopped potatoes just before sausage is cooked and saute until mixture is cooked through and combined.

Like this-
Take a scoop of mixture, about 1/3 cup and put it onto one quarter of pie crust, fold over and seal with a fork, so they are shaped like the picture below. Put each little pie on a parchment lined baking sheet, and when you have all of the pies ready, bake at 425 F. until browned for about 12-15 minutes. We ended up with about a cup and a half of extra mixture, and I served it along side of the pies, it would also make an excellent sausage hash side to scrambled eggs. Very yummy little pies!

This is Week two in the Making your Home a Haven Challenge, click this link to read the Week Two Challenge. Last week we lit a candle, and were reminded to pray for our family each time we passed the candle light, see my week one post here.

This week, I will continue lighting my beautiful fall candle, and praying each time I pass. This week we are encouraged to add soft music playing in the home. I tried this for a little while today while we were cooking and doing chores, it was nice to have some of my pretty Celtic music playing in the background instead of hearing the TV or something else. I only played the music for a little while, and I will try it again throughout the week.

This weeks challenge also encourages us to work on remembering to be slow to anger, and to be gentle. I love the verse that was shared.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)

This is a wonderful reminder to the Homemaker- it is easy to lose your cool when children are throwing fits or teens are complaining, or when arguing with hubby- and instead of being calm and gentle- reacting harshly. This week I will work on remembering to be gentle and patient instead of quick to anger.

I also like this verse as a reminder to control our anger-

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. James 1:19

I am really enjoying this challenge, and think this lesson is so important!

Hope everyone is enjoying their week, and can get out and find some delicious apple to cook up :)


  1. Thank you for visiting my blog! I am ALL OVER the apple recipes for fall - my kids will love trying some of your apple butter and getting to help make it.

    We are also doing the fall challenge and have kept a candle lit. It really does remind me to pray more often for my children and also for several friends who are struggling with job loss or cancer. Good idea to include that in the blog too. Think I'll add it after the recipe I'm working on putting up tonight. It's nice to "meet" you!

  2. I loved the apple recipes and also your last post about apple picking!! I love this time of the year!
    The fall home challenge is such a blessing, great reminders of our words and attitudes. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thank you so much for visiting my blog and your comment. It is funny that you mentioned Celtic music because just last night I spend quite a bit of time on YouTube listening to Celtic Women (Christmas songs). It was beautiful!


  4. What a mouth watering post! I add cinnamon hots to my applesauce and butter too. It makes it such a pretty pink color.Such nice ideas about making your home a haven. I'll have to check out the others blogs.

  5. Thanks for visiting Bella Organized Interiors! Your recipes looks so yummy! My husband LOVES apple butter, so I may have to give your recipe a try. Love that it's a crock pot recipe!

    In response to your comment on my post, learning to say "no" is often difficult but so important to keeping our sanity. I am a twenty-five year old homemaker and some assume I sit around all day waiting for someone to give me a task. I'm busy enough on my own, thank you very much! :)

    Anyways, love your blog and I hope to see you around mine again soon!

  6. Thanks everyone for your nice comments, I have really enjoyed this Weeks Home Haven Challenge, and have had fun cooking up all of my apples. Thanks for stopping by :) ~April

  7. What a great batch of recipes. I have a wonderful apple tree and am always looking for new recipes. Many, many thanks for posting the recipes and accompanying recipes.


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