Peach Butter

So, before my kids went back to school, I tried making this for the first time:

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A yummy batch of peach butter.

I was a little hesitant to try it, but we got a box of peaches that were seconds and really needed to be used up. Since I had enough canned peach halves from last year, I decided to give this a go.

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I’m glad I did, because it turned out good. Like just spooning-it-out-of the-jar good. Oh yeah, I had some on toast this morning, and it did not disappoint one bit!

Also, as a bonus, your house will smell heavenly when making this.

I researched some different peach butter recipes and ended up doing a little combination of 2 that I found.

If you’ve never made peach butter before either, don’t be intimidated. Yes, it took a little time, but was definitely not hard to do.

Here’s the basic recipe I followed (amounts are approximate):

18 medium-sized peaches

1/4 cup water

1 C honey

2 C sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Scald peaches and peel the skin off. Then halve them, pull out the pit, and slice up into a large pot. When all peaches are prepared, add 1/4 C water and simmer until they are very soft. Allow to cool a little while, then add batches to a blender and puree just until they are smooth (try not to puree for too long). Put your peach puree into a pot and add the spices and sweeteners and simmer, stirring pretty frequently. Cook down until it is thick enough to round up on a spoon. Ladle into hot, sterilized jelly jars or pint jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Place two-piece caps on and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

For me this recipe made 9 jelly jars.

The beauty of this is that you can modify some of the amounts to your liking. For example, you really wouldn’t have to use as much sweeteners as I did (or you can add more). To be honest with you, I started out just using honey, and then decided I wanted it more sweet than it was, hence the sugar. Same goes for the spices. Hey, whatever floats your boat! ¬†One of the recipes I saw used honey, sugar, and vanilla scraped out of a vanilla bean. I thought that sounded awesome, but did not have a vanilla bean just lying around, so went with the cinnamon and such instead.

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Peach Butter–definitely on my to-make list for next summer!

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s Off to School They Go

What happens tomorrow is a day that I have fantasized about for many years.

Oh yes, “Good Mommy” as I may sometimes be, I literally can not wait for all 5 of my children to go to school ALL day.

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I may not know how to act.

Like the first time I went to the grocery store without a baby and found myself rolling the cart back and forth whenever I stopped to look at something. I still do that sometimes. It becomes like an automatic reflex. So, if you’re ever in a store and see a Mom-looking type rolling an imaginary baby in a cart back and forth, don’t hide your children or be freaked out. It may just be her first time out and about without a little one.

Therefore, without any people underfoot for a semi-large chunk of the day, I really may not know how to act.

Or maybe I will. Like I said, I have kinda fantasized about this scenario for many years.

I’ve had many “When the kids are all in school….” projects that have been on my mental to-do list.

For example, clean/purge/organize my entire house, top to bottom. Yep, that closet where things fall on my head whenever I open it? Cleaned up and organized all cute-like. The laminate desk in H’s room that I’ve been meaning to get rid of? Out along the road with a free sign and thus out of my house. Oh yeah, and while I’m at it, some redecorating may be done as well. Like the stairwell that I’ve intended to paint for the what? last 3 years?? Give me a day or so and that bad boy is gonna be looking sharp. No messing around for this Mama.

Or maybe a little messing around. Who am I kidding? Yes, I may get some of these projects and to-do’s taken care of to some extent, but I fully realize that this little thing called life pops up and interrupts the best-laid plans. Also, I may just relax a bit and try to just enjoy the child-free time. Because frankly, I love this crew, but they really do need to be back in school. We had a pretty good summer, but I’ve really had enough. I’ve about had my fill of summer and kids with me 24/7 for months. I’m getting really tired of the fussing and fighting over the smallest infractions. Like when someone breathes wrong or chews their food wrong (and yes, they have fought about that). I think I reached my saturation point last week when I was trying to steal a few minutes of quiet (just a few!) and looked up to a child 2″ away from my face, asking in a creepy stage-whisper, “Can I play Minion Rush?,” so the siblings wouldn’t hear them and flock to their game-playing side and begging for turns. To top it off, the 2″ away child was breathing fish-stick breath in my face as they talked. Lovely, I know.

Wow, I sound really negative. See, told ya I wasn’t always “Good Mommy.”

All you Moms that swear you are so sad and will cry to see your little cherubs go back to school? I am not one of you apparently. The tears I cry at the bus stop may be ones of unrestrained joy.

Yes, I love them dearly. I really, really do. And I’m certain I will have moments of missing my babies.

But honestly? Can I be transparent here?

I will be happy just to drink coffee and play Candy Crush without interruption.

I will be happy to take a nice long walk without worrying about getting a bunch of stuff done before the bus comes back.

I will be happy to go out and about without needing to be home for the kindergarten bus. (Can I get an amen for just that one?)

I will be happy to clean my well lived-in home and have it not looking like a natural disaster zone. Oh, and without someone to mess it up roughly 10 minutes later.

Oh yes, and last but not least–I’m sure I will be happy to see their smiling faces when they arrive home to their Mama. A Mama who is there for them. One who has cooked for them, juggled all the details of their life, made their favorite treats, packed their lunch, taken care of their laundry, and kept their home a soft place to land after a long day at school.

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Happy school days to all!

Cracker Toffee

Today I am sharing my recipe for cracker toffee.

Or maybe it should just be called “crack” toffee, because it’s highly addictive!

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A little bit salty, a lot of sweet, and just the right amount of crispy crunch.

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Yes ma’am (or sir), it’s good stuff.

I know this is extra early, but how great would this look bagged or in a cute container and given as a holiday gift?

Oh yeah, I know lots of folks I could give this to around Christmastime.

Or I could make some for my favorite people just because.

The recipe is ever so easy:

1 1/2 sticks butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1 sleeve saltine crackers

2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then spread out saltine crackers in rows that touch. Melt butter and sugar together, then spread all over the top of the crackers. Bake for about 10 minutes. Top with chocolate chips and put back in oven for another 2 minutes, 3 at the most. Use a spatula to spread the melted chocolate evenly all over. Allow to cool a little bit, then pop in the fridge or freezer to cool completely for awhile. Break in pieces, then place in storage container.

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Yum.

Salad on a Stick

My daughter is becoming quite the little homemaker this summer. One of her favorite things to do is read cookbooks, especially ones geared towards kids. She came upon this recipe and insisted we try it out. With the onslaught of many ripe tomatoes and loads of fresh basil, we gave it a try the other day when two of my nieces were here.

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The concept is extremely simple, and you only use a few different ingredients.

What I did was gather my ingredients and place them in various bowls, then had some toothpicks available in a pile.

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All you need is tomatoes (cherry ones would be better), cheese cubes (I used mozzarella), basil leaves, and a mix of olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping.

It’s sorta like a Caprese salad, but on a stick.

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The kids were pretty into making these. They were totally grubbing on them!

Just as an FYI–my kids can make a bag of potato chips disappear in record time, so I loved this as a healthy snack option.

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I am a huge Caprese salad fan, so I loved them too.

This could be adapted in different ways to suit different tastes. Maybe it could even be a healthy lunchbox option.

(Actually, I’m not sure if kids can still take toothpicks to school, they might be perceived as a weapon of sorts, LOL.)

So anyway, that’s our little kid and/or grown-up snack idea for you.

Hope you have a glorious late summer day!

Key Lime Pie

I have a small confession to make.

It really shouldn’t surprise you at all, but I’m just putting it out there.

I LOVE icebox pies. LOVE them. Actually, I love them so much that I purposely do NOT make them too often here in the summer, because I really have no self-control when they are in my fridge or freezer. It’s sad, really.

Anyway, my resolve was broken a couple weeks ago when the man and I ventured out for a little anniversary dinner. On top of a great meal, we decided to split a dessert. It was an incredible Key Lime Pie made on the premises. Well, that whetted my appetite for a good icebox type of pie, so I went a-searching for a good Key Lime Pie recipe. I came across a few on allrecipes.com, and sort of came up with my own little version, based on what I saw there.

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It’s an easy one for sure, and it turned out pretty darn tasty. Luckily my kids and man were into it too, so there wasn’t much left to tempt me.

Here’s the recipe I used:

1 9″ prepared graham cracker crust

2 cans sweetened condensed milk

1/2 C sour cream

3/4 C lime juice

1 TB lime zest

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix all ingredients well, then pour into crust. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool completely, then place in freezer for a couple of hours. Serve with whipped cream, and if you want it to look all fancy-like, add a slice of lime as a garnish.

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