Dad’s Homemade Applesauce

Fall is official in Ohio when the apple orchards open for picking. The first up is typically the Honeycrisp and they are gone within a day. If you ever have the chance to pick fresh Honeycrisp, it is absolutely worth the craze at the orchard. A fresh Honeycrisp right off the tree is the best apple you will ever have.

Sadly, we missed the honeycrisps this year. We instead caught the last bit of Suncrisps, also amazing. I really mean last bit though. I was climbing the trees and Joe was lifting B for every last Suncrisp we could spot. 

They were worth it. G would agree…

Unfortunately since the Suncrisps were slim pickings, we gathered a small bag to munch on and moved onto the Romes. I actually had never had a Rome Apple before, but they were awesome. It was also M’s first time to the apple orchard and she liked it just as much as mama.

And I love everything about the orchard… But what I love most is being able to share the experience and tradition of apple picking every Fall with these little ones. 
Okay, on to the applesauce…
One of my favorite childhood memories is making homemade applesauce with my dad. I’m making it sound like I really helped, but I didn’t. I sat at the kitchen table with him while he peeled and cored the apples. I would munch on the peels as they spiraled off the apples. I loved everything about those moments.

When I was pregnant with B I craved my dad’s homemade applesauce. I didn’t crave much when pregnant but dad’s applesauce and mom’s mac n cheese. I brought my dad a bag full of apples once and he graciously made me a pot of his applesauce. I don’t think I shared a spoonfull. 

I wanted to share the memory of making applesauce with B. He’s the best little helper. 

We used about 20 apples to make a full pot of applesauce. 

We peeled, cored, and sliced the apples with the help of our little tool. Of course, this can be done by hand but way easier with one of these bad boys. 

Put the apples over medium heat. Once slightly softened, I used a wooden spatula to further break up the apples. Add 1 1/2 cups water, 1/2 cup light brown sugar and two cinnamon sticks.

Cook on medium heat until the apples have softened completely and browned, approximately half an hour. 
I prefer my applesauce like my dad’s, chunky, so I don’t puree it. If you prefer smooth applesauce, you can puree in a blender or by using an hand emulsion blender. 

Honeycrisp Apple Fritters

honeycrisp apple fritters

About once every weekend, I announce “I need to bake something. What sounds good?” to my family. There’s rarely a shortage of suggestions and for the past month or so, my husband has been repeatedly requesting apple fritters. I would briefly consider his suggestion, but then dismiss it because it just seemed like too much work. Until this weekend. The poor guy had been sick all week and finally got his appetite back. So when he asked for apple fritters for the 5th time, I complied. Read More

Butternut Squash Soup with Apple-Cranberry Chutney

This soup screams fall. Maybe it even shrieks it. My house always smells amazing when I cook up butternut squash soup. I sometimes think I make it just to smell it. Probably cheaper than those Anthropologie candles that I burn through at an absurd rate.

Anyway, come fall, my pantry is rarely without a squash of some sort. I like squash because it feels like a vegetable and a starch at the same time. So, whereas I might make broccoli and roasted potatoes as sides for a meal, squash kind of ticks both boxes for me. While butternut squash always tastes delicious, I think I like it best for its vibrant orange color. It’s so appetizing!

Usually I make this soup without the chutney, but I added the chutney recently to fancy it up a bit for a dinner with friends and it definitely adds some interest! Make it with or without, whatever suits your palate.

I served this soup with grilled (Vermont) cheese sandwiches for an easy and cozy weeknight dinner. Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Soup with Apple-Cranberry Chutney
Serves 4


For the soup:
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 of a large butternut squash, cubed
1/2 of an onion
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup of milk
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
sour cream for garnish

For the chutney:
2 small granny smith apples
1/2 of an onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1/3 cup of orange juice
2 tbsp water
pinch of red pepper flakes
pinch of kosher salt
couple of turns of freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 tbsp dried cranberries


In a medium saucepan, heat your olive oil. Add onions and butternut squash and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for one more minute.

Add stock and spices (everything except milk and sour cream).

Cook, covered, for 45 minutes until squash is soft. Turn off burner and allow to cool to room temperature. Pour into blender (or use immersion blender) and blend until smooth. Return to pot, warm back up, and stir in milk.

For the chutney, put all ingredients except dried cranberries into a small saucepan and simmer for about 40 minutes (while the soup cooks).

Add cranberries, cook for a few more minutes and then turn burner off and let the chutney come to room temperature.

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with sour cream. I simply put a couple of spoonfuls into a ziplock bag and then snip the corner and squeeze out, making a zig-zag pattern on top of the soup.

Top with the chutney and serve.

The Vermont 75

Since returning from our little jaunt to Vermont, I’m finding that many of my sentences are starting with “Well, in Vermont….” or “We had the best ___ (food/drink/etc) in Vermont”. I’m sure we’re being pretty annoying to our friends and family (sorry guys). But we can’t help ourselves –  they just do things right in Vermont!

We had such a great time visiting Burlington, Stowe, and Woodstock (and several towns in between). Even though we were a little early for fall foliage season, the scenery was still breathtaking. Rolling hills and mountains, brightly painted barns, covered bridges, old stone houses, rivers, lakes, and waterfalls … Vermont really has it all. Here are a few of my favorite photos from our trip.

Union Covered Bridge –  Woodstock
Moss Glen Falls – Stowe

Bicycles at The Woodstock Inn – Woodstock


Local Butcher Shop – Woodstock

Waterfront Park – Burlington
Citizen Cider – Burlington
Our visit to Citizen Cider actually inspired this drink. We enjoyed a tasting of several of the cider varieties they produce, and then sampled one of their cocktails, which was their spin on a French 75. It was amazing. The only problem is that we can’t get Citizen Cider down here in South Carolina (hopefully they are working on that!), so we’ve had to adapt this recipe slightly. 
The Vermont 75

3 oz. hard cider of your choice (Citizen’s, if you can get it in your state!)
1 oz. gin (we brought some Vermont-made Barr Hill Gin back in our suitcase)
1/2 oz. lemon juice (or skip the lemon juice and honey syrup and use one ounce of our Meyer Lemon simple syrup)

1/2 oz. honey syrup (recipe below)


Pour gin, lemon juice and honey into a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Pour into champagne flute and top with cider. Stir gently. Garnish with an apple slice.

Honey Syrup
Love this stuff! Adds so much more interest to a drink than regular old simple syrup. 

4 oz. honey
4 oz. water

Heat in microwave, stir until dissolved.