Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Armor maker

I have some extremely talented friends! For instance, a gentleman I knew years ago through the historical recreation group that I'm part of (the SCA) is passing through my town this week. He's staying with us for a few days, and set up his shop in my garage for the duration. What does he make?

Extraordinarily spiffy and quite functional armor. He's in mid move right now, so I can't tell you where to find him. But if you're ever lucky enough to run across Sir Seoinin Irontree, take a moment and ask to see his work. It is even more impressive in person.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Recipe: Apple Sauce

My husband and I went apple picking last weekend. It brought back all sorts of childhood memories of going to the orchard in the fall, but that was in the Midwest US. I didn't think we had apple orchards here in the middle of the Arizona desert, but it turns out I was wrong. A little ways north of the town of Wickenburg is Date Creek Ranch, where you can go and pick your own fruit.

So, I've been processing apples this week. I cut and peeled and sliced, and made a batch of dried apple chips on the food dehydrator. And then, one of my son's favorites is apple sauce. I'd never made it from scratch before, but I was willing to give it a try. The first batch turned out so well that when I found apples on sale at the grocery store, I bought more so I could do it again. Here's what I did:

The apples from the orchard were small enough that I had to peel and core them by hand, but store bought apples are big enough to use my cool apple slicer/corer/peeler gadget. (Similar to this one: , but a different model.)

Here's the apples, all cored and spiral sliced. I removed the rest of the peel bits, and cut each apple in half.

I put the slices in a sauce pan, and added a half inch or so of water in the bottom of the pan. Then I covered it, and simmered the apples for 15 minutes or so, until they became mushy.

I added 1 tsp of cinnamon.

And then added 1/4 C sugar. Cinnamon and sugar is to taste, but that is a good starting point.

Then I took a potato masher, and started squishing away. You could use a food processor, but this gadget was handy. And I like the slightly chunky texture that it gives.

After several minutes of squishing and splashing, I had applesauce! Very very tasty stuff. It is in the refrigerator now, chilling for tomorrow's eating.

So, why didn't I realize that apple sauce was this easy before???

Friday, September 17, 2010

Recipe: Oat Cakes

My daughter went off to college recently, so it is time to think about making stuff to go into care packages. I usually make these oatcakes for extended camping trips, because they keep well and are great for grab and go breakfasts. So I decided to make up a batch today, half for quick breakfasts before work, half to send north to Michelle.

I don't recall where I got the recipe originally, but I know I did add more sugar to meet my family's tastes. I've made this with bits of dried apple added to the batter, and that was quite good too. I've seen it made with raisins, but they tended to fall out of the finished product. Try it, and then experiment away!


6 C rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 C flour
2 C Crisco
1 1/2 C Sugar
1 tsp Salt
about 1 C cold water, as needed
extra flour to flour the board/counter when you roll out the dough

Preheat your oven to 375F. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the Crisco until mealy. Add the cold water a little at a time, until the dough forms a ball. Flour a board, and roll out your dough in batches, to about 1/4" thick. Cut into 2-3" squares. Bake on a baking sheet until lightly brown, around 20 min.