Quick and Easy Apple Cider, Three Ways!

Quick and Easy Apple Cider, Three Ways!

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

When the north wind starts to drive the warm weather away, the air turns crisp as the leaves begin to fall, and the days start to hint at winter, memories of apple cider dance into mind.

My mother makes THE BEST apple cider!

Her recipe will have all your guests coming back to refill their mug and asking if you made that delicious apple cider when they walk in the door. The best part–it is so easy to make!

Today I’m going to share three easy ways to make apple cider.  One is my mom’s traditional apple cider recipe, which is a staple at all our family and friend gatherings once it turns cold.  The other two are my ultra-simplified version of an already simplified version.  Why?  Because I stumbled upon these variations and found them to be amazingly simple yet still yielding the great taste that the traditional cider brings.

My Mom’s Traditional Apple Cider Recipe

For this recipe you will need:

  • Apple juice
  • Apple cider
  • Orange juice
  • Cinnamon sticks (do not use powder)
  • Whole cloves
quick-easy-delicious-apple-cider

I purchased whatever organic products were on sale at my local store. Choose whatever brands you like best!

You can make as much or as little as you want.  Typically, my mom makes an entire crock pot full of cider.  She simply puts all the ingredients into the crock pot and uses the following amounts:

  • 3 parts apple juice
  • 2 parts apple cider
  • 1 part orange juice*
  • cinnamon sticks (usually 4-5 if filling the crock pot)
  • whole cloves (almost a handful, if filling the crock pot)

So, for example, if she uses three cups of apple juice, she’ll use two cups of cider, and one cup of orange juice.

*Depending on what kind of orange juice you buy, you will need to alter this amount.  If you use fresh orange juice, you might want to add it a little more than one part orange juice.  If you use a canned or frozen concentrate, then you might use less than one part orange juice.  Basically, you want to taste it along the way and adjust it to your liking.

Turn the crock pot on high and let it simmer 10-15 minutes. Then it will be ready to serve!  How easy is that?  Your house will smell great, your guests will be impressed, and you will have spent hardly any time slaving away in the kitchen, which means more time enjoying your guests!

(Of course, you could use a pot on the stove as well.  We just don’t like to use up valuable stove top real estate when we are cooking holiday meals, so we use the crock pot.)

a-word-spoken-at-the-right-time-is-like-gold-apples-on-a-silver-tray

The Modified Apple Cider

The first time I decided to make my mom’s cider, I did not have cinnamon sticks or whole cloves.  Using the powder would have left a not so palatable film in the liquid, so I grabbed what I had on hand.  Can you guess what it was?

Thieves essential oil!  Thieves actually has cinnamon and cloves in it as well as some other oils, including lemon, eucalyptus radiata, and rosemary. I know that combination might seem a little strange, but let me tell you, it tastes great!  I just used a few drops and still received the rave reviews that my mom always gets.

(This post contains affiliate links.)

thieves essential oil

Just a few drops gave the cider just the right amount of warmth!

The Faux Apple Cider

This version of apple cider I happened onto by complete accident.  I had a sore throat and was trying everything to get rid of it.  I remembered that gargling with the aforementioned thieves might help, but I did not want to gargle it.  I was tired and just wanted to sleep.  So, I put a drop of thieves into a cup of apple juice and drank it down.*  The thieves numbed my throat and calmed my cough so I could go to sleep.  I was totally impressed with how it worked but even more impressed with how my apple juice tasted like apple cider with just one drop of added essential oil.

Call me lazy if you want, but my mom’s recipe went from being already easy to super easy!  Of course, this last version I did not heat up because I wanted the full effects of the oils to work.

Perfect Gift

Although I do enjoy sitting while reading and sipping on my apple cider, I believe apple cider should be enjoyed with others.  Actually, most of my memories involving apple cider are with a house full of people. We are having fun, talking, laughing, and sharing life.

Apple cider would be a perfect gift to share with others this season.  I found this great bottle at a local store for about $3. After we enjoyed the lemonade the bottle originally contained, I simply removed the label and now we can recycle it as an apple cider gift!

apple-cider-makes-a-perfect-gift-1

What memories do you have associated with apple cider?

With whom might you enjoy sharing a cup of apple cider?

 

Items you might consider using for this recipe:

 

*(Thieves is a blend of essential oils. I believe in the French philosophy of using essential oils, which allows for the ingesting of some oils. There are other philosophies that do not.  I do recommend using safety precautions, learning about essential oil safety and not just doing it because I do it this way.  I don’t recommend drinking large amounts of thieves but I’ve found a drop every 4-6 hours does help me when I’m not feeling well.)

apple-cider-pinterest

apple-cider-pinterest
Steve Lehman’s Famous Soup

Steve Lehman’s Famous Soup

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

Latest posts by Kristin J (see all)

While I was growing up, my dad always had some version of tortilla soup he liked to make. It was a staple with our busy schedules, but we loved it enough to enjoy it for our Christmas Eve dinner. He’s never followed a recipe for his soup and it’s changed quite a bit over time. In recent years, his soup has been out-of-this-world-good. He might be making a pot for the hungry teachers at my mom’s school, friends and family, or simply to eat on for a few days.

Everyone always wants the recipe but he doesn’t know what to tell people. He usually says something like, “I don’t really have a recipe, it’s more of a method.” So recently I decided to observe him and attempt to form a recipe. I think I’ve got it! I’m not sure that you’d really call this a tortilla soup (though it is quite good with tortilla chips) so I’m affectionately calling this Steve Lehman’s Famous Soup. This is a wonderful soup to share with the ones you love! I hope you enjoy!

steve-lehmans-famous-soup

 

 

 

 

 

Steve Lehman’s Famous Soup 

Note: The amount of veggies can depend on your preference or what you have on hand. Feel free to adjust to your needs. 

12 carrots, peeled and sliced at an angle

1-2 yellow squash, diced

2-3 ears of corn in the husk

1 large onion, diced

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

(Optional) A handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

2 32-ounce boxes of unsalted chicken broth

1 large can of diced tomatoes, drained

8 ounces good quality salsa (or to taste)

1 heaping Tbsp oregano (or to taste)

1/2 tsp cumin

3/4 tsp coriander

Salt and pepper to taste

2-2.5 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs

Directions

  1. Add a couple swirls of olive oil to a hot skillet. Add garlic, onion, and carrots. Cover, and let cook about 15-20 minutes, or until carrots are just starting to get soft, but are still firm. Stir occasionally while they cook.
  2. Meanwhile, heat broth, tomatoes, salsa, oregano, cumin, coriander, cilantro, salt and pepper in a large pot. Bring to a simmer. (*The salsa might scare you a bit, but it really doesn’t add very much heat. If you want to avoid spicy, use a mild salsa. Also, use a good quality salsa, preferably one that is NOT chunky.)
  3. Prepare the corn. Place corn, with husk, directly into the microwave. Cook about 15 minutes, or until you can cut off the end and squeeze cob out of husk clean with no silk. (Time will vary.) Slice corn off of the cob.
  4. When the carrots have reached a soft but firm texture, add them to to the pot along with with all the juices from the pan. Add corn to the pot at this time as well. Continue to simmer.
  5. Season chicken thighs with a good seasoning salt. Add a couple swirls of olive oil to your hot skillet and cook chicken thighs completely. When they are done, dice chicken.
  6. Add chicken, along with all the juices from the pan, and squash to the pot. Simmer about 45 minutes more, until ready to eat.

Serve soup with blue corn chips and avocado or fresh cornbread.

for-easy-fresh-corn_

famous-soup

 

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Your Best Life is Only One Step Away Successful Quiet Bag Favorite Soups Blessings Come Through Raindrops

Create a Fall to Remember!

Create a Fall to Remember!

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

Each season brings it’s own cravings and fun activities.  It also brings many opportunities to do some soul searching, encourage each other and reach out to others!  You’ll love these ideas to use either in your own family or gift them to others. We’ve gathered a great list of activities, crafts, recipes, printables, decor and more for you to create a fall to remember!

creating-a-fall-to-remember-pinterest

creating-a-fall-to-remember-pinterestSoul Food

Let’s start by feeding our soul with a little of God’s fall flavor. McKenzie’s way of digging into Scripture through Bible Journaling is inspiring and definitely brings a new perspective to God’s word.

theletteredlight

Sharing God’s love with others is a wonderful way to kick off the fall! Go on a Scavenger Hunt with friends, family or church group. Head out to your neighborhood or one that could use some tender loving care and love on the people there by doing different mini-service projects.

september-service-scavenger-hunt

As we look forward to the changes of fall and all the things that we can create, we can pray for the Lord to create a pure heart in us as well!

psalm-51-10-pinterest

Food

Kick the Morning off Right!

The first thing you reach for in the morning is coffee, right?  Well, that’s my husband. I prefer hot chocolate or a protein drink.  But as soon as I saw this deliciously, healthy version of a pumpkin spice coffee creamer I thought of him.

do-it-yourself-healthy-pumpkin-spice-coffee-creamer

These gluten-free apple cinnamon protein pancakes are so good you won’t even need to drown them in syrup!

apple-cinnamon-protein-pancakes

These Apple Harvest Muffins are perfect for mornings on the go.

appleharvestmuffins

Fall Inspired Desserts

Ever since I was a child, desserts were what I enjoyed creating in the kitchen the most. As an adult, I still enjoy them but so enjoy finding recipes like this healthier apple crisp that chooses to not use refined white sugar, but instead adds an wonderful fall flavor by using maple syrup.

a-healthier-apple-crisp-www-justasimplehome-com_

These frosted maple cookies have me licking my lips.  I can’t believe I’ve never had these before.  Have you?

frosted-maple-cookies-4

It truly wouldn’t be fall unless homemade pumpkin pie is included!

pumpkin-pie

Fashion & Home Decor

I’m not one that enjoys shopping for clothes.  I do, however, enjoy shopping with friends who enjoy shopping and finding cute things for me to wear.  Now that I’ve moved into a warmer climate, I found this post about dressing for fall in a warmer climate to be helpful.

how-to-dress-in-fall-fashion-while-living-in-warmer-locations

Weclome guest with fall before they even enter your home with this adorable Hoop Fall Wreath.

fall-wreath

There are several fall themed signs for welcoming fall into your house.

give-thanks-gray-etsy-white-background

If you prefer to just add subtle hints that fall has arrived consider adding these 3 accessories

add-fall-to-home-2

 

Arts & Crafts

It would not be truly fall without crafts!  Craft fairs and festivals are some of my favorite places to visit in the fall.  I love seeing all the creativity and finding pieces that are draw in the season!

Engage all the senses with the most amazing apple cinnamon no cook playdough.

apple-cinnamon-playdough-recipe-pin-561x1024

This Autumn Hand Print Tree is such a cute way to capture our children’s hand prints and this could totally be made into a card to send off to the first person that pops to mind.

autumnhandprinttree28629

Get the modge podge out and create a peppier fall look by mixing up the bright colors with your pumpkins!

happy-fall-yall

Get inspired by nature to create fun art like this digi-leaf art project!

digileaf-225x300

Activities

There are so many wonderful activities to do during the fall.  Visiting pumpkin patches is probably the first thing that pops to mind but don’t miss enjoying these other activities:

Visiting an apple orchard and picking your own apples!

apple-orchard-1

Interact with our feathered friends by creating an apple bird feeder for them!

apple-birdseed-homemade-bird-feeders-pin-5t-683x1024

 

Fall & football go hand in hand.  Find budget friendly ways to decorate when you cheer on your favorite team.

how-to-plan-a-spirited-football-party-1

Explore nature with the fun fall scavenger hunt.

printable-fall-scavenger-hunt

Make art out of pressed leaves and flowers by making your own DIY Nature Press!

how-to-make-a-press

Winding Down

There is something about fall that makes me want to gather with friends around my favorite drinks. Of course, Hot Chocolate will always be my favorite but since this is a fall round up post, I’ll share some others that are tempting me as well.

My Mother’s Quick and Delicious Apple Cider is one people always as about when they come over. It also makes a perfect gift for your neighbors!

apple-cider-pinterest
One of my favorite fall treats is a caramel covered apple and this Caramel Apple Cider recipe seems to be the drinkable version of that treat!

caramel-apple-cider-1

And if you still need more ideas to dive into fall, check out these posts:

5-summer-activities-you-should-be-doing-in-the-fall-1-683x1024

50-ideas-best-fall-ever-1024x691

fall-bucket-list-activities

101-things-to-do-in-the-fall-2-600x900

 

What are some of your favorite fall activities?  

What is a new fall activity you are looking forward to enjoying? 

 

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Spiritual Bucket List Favorite Soups Confessions of a Homemaker Shine on Halloween

Lemon Chicken and Veggies Sheet Pan Dinner

Lemon Chicken and Veggies Sheet Pan Dinner

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

Latest posts by Kristin J (see all)

The school year might be upon us, but the weather is still warm and it’s not quite time to simmer a pot of chili on the stove! With routines kicking back into gear we can all use easy dinner recipes. Have you tried any of the popular sheet pan recipes that have been floating around social media? Those are PERFECT for busy nights! You can whip them up quickly and if you line your pan with foil or parchment paper, clean up is a breeze. What makes them perfect for this late summertime is that they utilize all the great veggies you find this time of year at the market.

My mother-in-law recently shared this recipe for chicken thighs with green beans and red potatoes that’s drizzled with a lemon dressing and we gobbled it all up- even the picky preschooler! So I thought I’d share the love with all of my sweet friends at Creating a Great Day in case you are in need a delicious and simple dinner recipe!

this-lemon-chicken-and-veggies-sheet-pan-dinner-fresh-veggies-social

Lemon Chicken and Veggies Sheet Pan Dinner:

Ingredients:

4-5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 lb  small red potatoes, quartered

1 lb  fresh green beans

3 TB Olive Oil

2 TB Fresh lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 TB Italian Herb Blend (Or combine a TB of your favorite dried herbs such as rosemary, basil, oregano, and thyme)

Instructions:

  1. Arrange veggies and chicken on sheet pan.
  2. Combine oil, lemon juice, and garlic with herbs, salt, and pepper.
  3. Drizzle oil blend on chicken and veggies and use your hands to coat everything well with the oil.
  4. Roast at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes.
  5. Serve with crusty bread, which you can dip in the oil from your pan. 🙂

 

I hope your family enjoys this sheet pan dinner as much as we have!

lemon-chicken-and-veggies-sheet-pan-dinner-pinterest

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Spaghetti Squash Spinach Salad Perfection or Not Kindness Cookies Don't Stress over Dirty Dishes

Growing with our Garden

Growing with our Garden

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

this-post-may-contain-affiliate-links-for-your-convenience-and-at-no-extra-cost-to-you-1in-order-to-grow-and-be-used-for-his-glory-he-prunes-us-in-such-a-way-that-we-may-feel-the-change-but-he-doesnt-damage-us-pinterest

This is from the first year we grew a garden with our children.  It was so exciting to make the square foot garden boxes, pick the seeds each child decided to plant, watch the first sprout pop up above the ground, and see the variety of God’s awesome creation. Then, we started harvesting some delectable garden goodness and in the process learned some lessons too!

Taste Bud Treats

Of course, you can just eat most items raw, straight out of the garden but we enjoy exploring different approaches with our taste buds, which brought us to these two yummy sandwiches.

Tomato, Cheese & Basil Sandwich

 

Simple Ingredients:  Honey Mustard, Tomato, Cheese and Basil

 

I love anything with basil, so when I noticed that some basil was ready to harvest, we promptly added it to our sandwiches.  After taking her first bite, my youngest daughter shouted in a loud, baritone voice,

Mom, I love these leaves!  They are delicious!”

She should like them.  I ate basil and cheese sandwiches every day for weeks when I was pregnant with her!

Cucumber Sandwich

 

At a baby shower I attended, the hostesses served these delectable sandwiches.  The mixture of herbs in the creamy spread was so enjoyable, I tracked down the person who made it to gather the recipe.

Simple Ingredients: Creamy Spread and Cucumbers

Creamy Spread (can also be enjoyed as a dip):

1 Cup Greek Yogurt

1 Cup Cream Cheese

2 teaspoons dried dill

2 teaspoons dried parsley

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Lesson Learned

God uses all his creations to teach us a little more about Him.  Growing a garden has helped us grow in our understanding of our relationship with Him as well.

For example, when I was trying to learn how to harvest basil, I found this great video that explained exactly how to harvest the basil in such a way that the plant would continue to grow.

 

In the video she says,

“If you want your plant to continue to grow you are going to have to trim it down…You want to do it in a way that you don’t damage your plant and your plant can continue to grow.”

This video made me realize that God is pruning us all the time. He wants us to grow in our relationship with Him, but that means we can’t stay the same.  In order to grow and be used for His glory, he prunes us in such a way that we may feel the change, but he doesn’t damage us.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 

1 Peter 1:6-7

His ways of refining us to make us stronger spiritually may not always feel comfortable at the time, but the growth it produces will bring glory to Him in the process.

Do you garden?  

What are some of your favorite fresh garden recipes?  

What lessons have you learned in the process?

Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Muffins

Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Muffins

Lindsay W

Lindsay W

Hi! Born in the great state of Texas and raised in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, this Daughter of the Alamo/Georgia Peach is still adjusting to life in Razorback Nation! My husband and I live just outside of Little Rock, Arkansas with our two crazy pups and new baby girl, Avery. I’m a small business owner, chocolate aficionado, and travel lover with a 2pm coffee hour no matter what time zone I’m in!
Lindsay W

Latest posts by Lindsay W (see all)

Don’t you just love it when one of your always-on-your-grocery-list items is in season?

It’s that time of year when almost all of my favorite fruits and veggies are in season, which is great news for parents going through baby-led weaning, like me!

My baby girl LOVES bananas! I call her Banana Girl. So, I pick up a few bananas every time I pop into the grocery store.

The double score? My husband LOVES banana walnut chocolate chip muffins.

So, you can guess what’s being consumed on a daily basis in our house right now…yep, bananas.

Whether they’ve been rolled in rice cereal, mashed into a muffin, or blended into my smoothie, everyone is eating bananas.

As most of my go-to recipes, this is one that came together after trying a few I’d found on Pinterest after my husband’s first request for banana walnut chocolate chip muffins. He thinks they’re great for breakfast as he’s running out the door to work, and I think they’re great with a cup of afternoon coffee!

Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Muffins
Ingredients:

1.5 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp ground flaxseed

1 egg

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 medium-size bananas (or 1.5 large bananas)

1/8-1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (per personal preference)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, flaxseeds, and salt.

Combine egg, oil, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla in a separate bowl.

Stir the wet ingredient mixture into the dry ingredients.

Mash up your bananas with a fork in your now empty wet bowl. Add your chocolate chips and walnuts. Then fold them into your batter.

Grease your muffin tin or drop in muffin tin liners. Fill each cup 3/4 full. Bake at 350 for 20-25 min or until golden brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy for breakfast, like my hubby, or for snack time, like me!

Do you have an always-on-your-grocery-list item that everyone in the house eats but in different ways? Comment below! I’d love some inspiration to give my grocery list a little more versatility!

Lindsay

Pin It on Pinterest