Make it Monday – Homemade Crockpot Apple Butter

The last few moments of September are here, soon it will just be a shadow passed and the brightness of a new month will be upon us. 

Has September been good to you, friends?

Here, September has shown us some beautiful highs and it has shown us some devastating lows. Through all the smiles and through all the tears, God has reigned and God has been good.  I hope you have had the opportunity to see (and more so, be a part of) His faithfulness this month.

I always have at least two things I look forward to as September approaches every year -the beginning of autumn and the abundance of apples.

Year after year, I receive a laundry basket full of fresh apples from my parent’s little set of apple trees. Year after year, I have to make quick decisions as to what I will do with all the said apples. Year after year, I peel until my fingers are crooked and sore. Year after year, I am thankful for the jars of delicious apple products I will have throughout the long winter months. 

This year, I decided my whole batch of apples would be used to make apple butter. 

You would think that I would have a solid recipe down after all of these years. But, no. It goes without saying that – year after year, I will scour Pinterest and all my recipe books for various apple recipes. Never using the same one twice. 

After looking at all the recipes – I always end up (loosely) following one…making most of it up as I go. 

So, here is my Make it Monday – Homemade Crockpot Apple Butter.

Here is a recipe that I stuck to pretty well with my last batch of apple butter.  

First, I had to peel, wash and dice all my apples.

I wanted to make mention here that I saw this really cool idea on how to quickly peel apples. 

   
This is how that whole “cool idea” ended for me…back to old fashioned and hand crippling peeling.
  
After I had my apples peeled, washed and cut, I placed them in my slow cooker.

  
Then I sprinkled on some – cinnamon (2 tsp.), brown sugar (3/4 cup), raw cane sugar (1/4 cup), nutmeg (1 tsp.) and clove (1/2 tsp.). 

 
I left it to cook in my crockpot on low for about 11-12 hours, stirring occasionally.

The consistency of my apples did not require for me to use an immersion blender, but I have read that sometimes one is needed before moving onto the last step of canning them.

Here are some of my lovely jars of apple butter…ready to be placed in our deep freeze for later enjoyment (I decided to freeze them instead of drag out all my canning supplies and can them).

 
What are you making today on this Make it Monday? Please, share!

A Perfect Peace in the Midst of a Raging War

The swirl of darkness – as that of a moonless night; no twinkling sparkle of even the slightest of stars pops through the heavy blanket of gloom. It envelopes. It digs. Mangled talons drive into depths deeper than that of an abyss. The emptiness providing a haven for iniquities that run deep as they do wide.

A fight. A struggle. Sweat drips hard and fast against this swirling monstrosity. It breaks and it gnaws. For every momentary victory comes an even more deciding defeat. Every wound that begins to heal eventually finds itself torn again.

A swirling mass of destruction. It does not cease, it does not rest. It hurts, it cripples. It weakens and destroys. Crushing. Suffocating. With great torment, delaying the inevitable…death. For isn’t written as such – every sin done, is another death earned?

But then, the echoing sound of a single drop falling. Its descent being felt through empty chasm. A single drop that darkness cannot touch. A drop that, with rushing force, brings forth the light. It is the only way to victory against this raging war.

The drop, is the blood of innocence and perfection being given up to an entity that requires a punishment of death. It is the drop of blood spilt in an ultimate act of sacrifice. It is the drop of blood that was beaten, crushed and squeezed out as the heaviness of iniquity was heaped upon perfect innocence. This drop? It is the blood of Jesus.

“Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow.”

A blackened, beaten and charred soul. It is not worth to even be spat upon, and yet, it finds itself being made new in the washing of precious blood spilt. It is redemption meeting realization of being made new.

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:13)

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. (Romans 5:9)

The blackness, momentarily appeased, comes back with the taste of blood fresh on gnashing teeth; Its mouth watering at a soul washed and clean. It raises talons, a swift and deadly strike inevitable.

Stunned. A force field wrapped around vulnerable soul is the same blood spilt. The blood that satisfied the debt to darkness was not bound to its despairing hold. For in the innocent blood’s death, a Victor emerged. Darkness lacks a hold on victorious blood, its harrowing reign is over. Blocked is every strike given. Retreat is inevitable for the entity of darkness whenever it rears itself for attack, for every time and with every strike, there will be victory in Jesus. 

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:11)

In Jesus. Through Jesus. Only Jesus.

Left on our own, we might delay a battle, but we will surely lose the war. Our soul, new and restored, is only an ever increasing temptation to darkness. The desire to see ruin, to see brokenness and to see death is its sole desire.

With every sun rising and with with every sun setting, there must be surrender of – will, desire, anguish, hurt…of all that is imperfect and broken…of all that is mind, soul, body and strength. In the surrender comes a Warrior and Rescuer to carry us through in return. He brings wholeness, He brings redemption, He brings strength, He brings victory, and my friends, He brings grace. Grace that abounds where sin runs deep. Grace that is so scandalously undeserved, yet so perfectly needed.

“Grace, grace, God’s grace. Grace that is greater than all our sins.”

Yes, not just some of our sins…but all of our sins. It rests on our willingness to accept a gift that is so graciously free.

A lifeline.

We watch. We feel. Those we love are around us, darkness looming and raising itself victorious over them. And we know. We, who have been there. We, who have coward under darkness’ crushing blow and who have experienced agnozing despair. We who have felt the hot breath of death and then felt the sweet rescue of the God who saves, the Savior – Jesus Christ. We who know that love’s rescue is not found in the doing of things, it is only found in the matchless blood of Jesus. 

How do we, sinners set free, extend that same hope to our friends, family and strangers that are lost with darkness’ grip set deep and sure in their hearts. We pray, we plead and we love. But we are not enough. The lifeline, the sure rescue…how do we share with someone who wants it and craves it, but does not understand the daily surrenderance of iniquities that haunt deep? Or, how do we share with the one who is running hard and fast from the only One who can set them free?

Hearts beat. Hearts cry. Hearts long to see the captives set free.

Our worries? Our hurts? Our pain caused by loved ones bound captive?

There is peace, perfect peace.

This is the promise I cling to when in dead center of my own battles or when in the midst of joining with others in their’s.

With knees bent, head bowed and spirit lifted upward I will keep heart, soul and mind stayed on Him – the Giver, the Taker, the Sustainer, the Reedemer…the Lord Most High.  Then, and only then, I will rest in His perfect peace.

A perfect peace, the kind that passes all understanding. A peace given by a God who is Sovereign. A peace that doesn’t promise for all to be okay, but promises to walk alongside through valley’s deep and dark. A peace that will trust and hope for the drawing near of hearts and the surrendering of souls. A peace that trusts in The One who softens the hardest of hearts. A peace that is everlasting to everlasting.

To God be the glory, forever and ever.

Make it Monday – Charro Beans

Today’s Make it Monday will be a recipe that I found as I was rummaging through old blog posts. This is one of our favorite meals and has been added to our menu for this week. Although a recipe that we find ourselves eating anytime throughout the year, it is especially a favorite during the autumn and winter seasons.

While this recipe is not made in a crock pot, you can easily adjust it to do so.

What You Need:

* 3-4 cups of dry pinto beans

* 1 tsp. of baking soda

* Handful of cilantro (chopped)

* Half an onion (chopped)

* 4-5 garlic cloves (minced)

* 1 smoked turkey leg

* 1 can of Rotel

* Salt (to taste)

What To Do:

* Rinse and soak beans overnight with baking soda

* Discard soaking water

* Combine beans, cilantro, onion, garlic, turkey leg, Rotel, and salt in a large stockpot/dutch oven

* Add 6 cups of water

* Bring to a boil for about 20 minutes

* Reduce heat and let simmer until beans are soft (this can take a few hours)

* Remove meat from turkey leg and return meat to pot of beans

* Garnish with sour cream and/or avocado

(I also like to eat mine with a nice warm piece of french bread that is accompanied with a smattering of butter)

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