Countdown: 10, 9, 8…

I was going to call this post On the 8th day of Christmas, but, fact of the day: the twelve days of Christmas start on Christmas end end on the 5th on January. You learn something every day, or at least I do.

Nevertheless, 8 more days until Christmas! Is anyone else super excited for Santa season?

We’ve got our Christmas tree up and festooned with cheer. I’ve been baking like mad (what else is new?).

This year is a special year because Mr and myself are hosting a Christmas dinner for the first time this year. It’s a big mix of excitement and fear for me; I’m really hoping it doesn’t turn into one of those urban legends that gets told and retold about turkeys that won’t fit into the oven, or everyone getting food poisoning. On one hand, part of me feels like it’s good to go into a big project like this with a healthy sense of the things that could go wrong. On the other hand, though, it’s not as though making this dinner is all that much more complicated than making any other dinner. I can make a dinner for 14. It’s going to be fine.

I hope.

I just don’t want for this Christmas to be the Christmas dinner that the family brings up for years after as the one that was a total disaster.

A 22 pound turkey will fit into a standard size oven, right?

If I’m getting wrapped up in Christmas worries, some of you out there probably are too. So just remember what these seasonal holidays are all about: coming in from the dark outside, into the warm and welcoming homes of your nearest and dearest, to enjoy togetherness and expressions of love.

If you find yourself without near or dear to gather with, come on down. The more the merrier, and I intend on having a very merry Christmas.

It’s going to be awesome!

Apple Butter

(A recipe for your slow cooker! Though I’m sure it could be adapted for the stove top set very low.)
(Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)

3 kilograms of apples

1 1/2 Cups brown sugar

1/2 Cup sugar

2 Tbsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp ground allspice

1/4 tsp salt

1 Tbsp vanilla

Directions

  • Wash all of your apples. Then peel, core, and slice the whole works.

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  • Plunk them into the slow cooker. They will fill your slow cooker very full, but do not fear, they mush down quite a bit in the cooking. If you need to, press down on the apples to pack them down enough so that the lid of the crock pot will properly close.
  • Sprinkle over top of the apples all of the dry ingredients, that is: the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, allspice, and salt.

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  • Place the lid on the slow cooker, plug the appliance in, and cook on the low setting for 10 hours.
  • Rejoice at how lovely your house smells.
  • When the cooking time has elapsed, purée the apple butter until smooth using a stick blender (or in a regular blender, working in batches) and then stir in the vanilla.
  • Continue to cook on the slow cooker’s low setting, with the lid ajar to allow for more evaporation, until the apple butter is thickened to your desired consistency.  I cooked mine for an extra two hours.
  • Slather apple butter on toast or a biscuit, top some baked brie with it, use it as a condiment with pork chops, or add it to your morning oatmeal. Delicious!

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Mr says: “Apple butter is like delicious apple jam.” And he’s right. :)

Happy holidays everybody! xo

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