My house has odd angles. We can’t use the upstairs shower for anything but bathing A.J. because of the sloped walls. Our well water has a funky smell to it (but is perfectly safe, I swear!). Our musty basement smell creeps up into the main floor. The painted over wallpaper is peeling off our lath and plaster walls upstairs. But I love our old house. I love the old door in my office with it’s old latch door knob (Mark doesn’t love the door as much as I do since he constantly forgets to duck under the short doorframe…). I love the views into our backyard. I love the wooden swing the previous owners left on the tree. I love how friendly our neighbours are. I love watching Jedi race around the big yard, and I imagine A.J. running around in the next couple of years too. I love all the trees (raking all the leaves is not as beloved though…). I love seeing the change of season in our house, and I love spending time in my new kitchen!
One of my favourite things about fall is food. (Ok, food is one of my favourite things about pretty much any season…). In the fall, I particularly love to use my crockpot. Here are some of my favourite things to make in the crockpot!
Mark and I don’t have a lot of foods that we don’t like… That being said, there are certain foods that we are each particular about. He will only eat Kraft peanut butter. I will only eat peanut butter that only contains peanuts. We each have our separate jars. And we regularly argue over whose is better, but at the end of the day we know that we’ll never persuade the other to switch. Canned cranberry sauce (from the store) is also something that we disagree on: he likes chunky, I like smooth. Unless it’s homemade, in which case bring on the chunks!
I used this recipe as a starting point for my cranberry sauce. Instead of powdered cinnamon, I used a stick of cinnamon. And I also used some orange zest for a real tangy flavour. You can keep in your fridge or can them!
I love homemade applesauce. Store bought stuff just doesn’t compare! I also don’t like sugar in my applesauce, so I love making my own to keep out the uneccesary sugar.
- 6 medium apples
- 1/2 cup apple juice (the unsweetened stuff; I like to use President’s Choice apple juice)
- 1 stick of Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- A dash each (use your own measurements based on what flavours you like!) of allspice, nutmeg and cloves.
- Peel, core and chop your apples. Don’t worry about chopping them too fine – they’ll get soft as you cook and easy to mash!
- Place apples in crockpot.
- Pour apple juice and vanilla extract over mixture
- Place cinnamon stick on top and sprinkle on other spices
- Stir everything to try to coat apples
- Cook in crockpot on low until soft (usually about 4 hours)
- Using a hand masher/hand mixer/immersion blender blend apples to a consistency that you like (smooth? chunky? Up to you!)
You can either place in fridge for a couple of weeks, or you can can them! Then you can eat straight from a jar if you want, like A.J. and I did (a spoonful for her, a spoonful for me!).
Chicken stock/turkey stock
I always forget the difference between stock and broth??? Either way, I love to use chicken or turkey carcass to make broth/stock for soups. And with all the turkey in October for Thanksgiving, I get to make tons of soup!
The best part about my parents making Thanksgiving dinner? My dad always makes more turkey than needed (which means leftovers for me! Leftover meat AND leftover turkey carcass!) and I don’t need to cook Thanksgiving dinner!
I usually throw all the leftover turkey/chicken bones into the crockpot, cover it with water, throw in some veggies (onions, celery, and carrots), add some pepper and salt (this is the hardest part – I don’t like to add too much salt, so I sprinkle in what I think is needed and then add more once the process is all done and I can taste test it) and parsley, add a bay leaf and turn the crockpot on low. I usually throw in everything before bed and let it cook away overnight. The next morning, you’ll be awakened by glorious smelling broth (stock? Whatever…). I then freeze it in batches to make soup.
I cook all kinds of soups in the crockpot. Even soups that use stovetop directions I usually just throw into the crockpot. I find it’s so much less work. And letting everything simmer for hours lets the flavours really come through.
On Pinterest, I have a board dedicated to soup recipes. Haven’t been able to try them all, but am working on it! Here are some of my favourites though:
- Slow cooker tomato basil parmesan soup
- Butternut squash bisque
- Nicole’s corn chowder
- Loaded baked sweet potato soup (bacon and goat cheese??? YES PLEASE!)
- Chicken pot pie soup with parmesan drop biscuits
- Lasagna soup
- And an easier way to make French onion soup? Use the slow cooker to carmelize onions!