Old-Fashioned Apple Jelly

My favorite orchard in North Alabama announced last call on apples over the weekend.

The trees are no longer producing quality fruits, and apple season is ending as the first frosts are threaten the South. This doesn’t mean you have to wait another year for that tasty autumn flavor! Nothing is as delightful (nor as cozy) as homemade jelly topping hot, flaky biscuits on a cold weekend for breakfast, brunch or even supper with the family!

Fresh Picked Orchard Apples

Apple jelly, while a little time-consuming, is really quite worth the small amount of work as you savor each bite throughout the year. I stepped out of my comfort zone this year and made our apple jelly without commercial pectin.

Did you know commercial pectin is actually a derivative of apples? This delicious fruit is loaded with natural sugars which make it an ideal experiment for old-fashioned jelly making.

Old Fashioned Apple Jelly

Taking about 6 pounds of Granny Smith and Rome Beauty apples, I chopped them up (core and all) and placed in a large stock pot with six cups of water. When choosing apples for your jelly keep in mind that tart apples (Granny Smith, Fuji, Honey Crisp) have more pectin. Also, the more an apple ripens, the less pectin it will have, so choose slightly underripe apples. This is where picking your own at an orchard comes in handy!

Apple Jelly Prep

I allowed my apple mixture to simmer about 25 minutes until the apples were nice and soft. Lining a colander with cheese cloth over a large bowl, I carefully and slowly poured the entire pot of apples and juice into it, allowing the juices to start draining so I didn’t overfill. I had about 7 cups of juice, which is slightly more than you need for this recipe.

Pulp for Apple Jelly

{Save what’s left, chill and drink it. The taste is unforgettably delicious !}

Fresh Apple Juice

Next, I added the juice to a large stockpot along with sugar and lemon juice, then brought it all to a boil. Even though your juice mixture might hit the 220° mark fairly quick, working without commercial pectin can be tricky. Test the jelly several times to see if it’s going to gel. Keep stirring it, so that it does not boil over while you’re waiting! To test for gel I took a cold spoon and dipped it into the boiling jelly, then dropped it over a cold plate. If the jelly forms a gel or began dripping very slowly, it’s probably ready. This was my first time making jelly without pectin, so there was a lot of uncertainty in my judgement!

Apple Jelly in Weck jars

Once the jelly was ready, I ladled it into sterilized jars, sealed with bands and lids, then processed in a water bath to seal them up for future use.

homemade apple jelly

Click Old Fashion Apple Jelly for the full, printable recipe.

Audley opened a jar the next day to top a Bojangles biscuit and deemed it absolutely perfect ! His seal of approval is all I need.

How do you preserve your favorite harvest flavors for later use? I would love to hear what your favorite ways to extend the season!

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Pumpkin Spice French Toast

Halloween (& a MUCH need vacation to the Caribbean last week) is over and we are snowballing into the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays! I don’t know what the weather is where you are, but here in Georgia we have cooled off, the leaves are finally turning colors, and it’s been a wee bit rainy the last two days as we head into Saturday.

Before the rush of the holidays set in, it’s looking like a great weekend for breakfast or brunch in bed and I have a yummy recipe to fit the season and my mood… Pumpkin Spice French Toast!

Pumpkin Spice French Toast/Fiddle Dee Dee

With a little French bread, fresh pumpkin purée, eggs, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice you can whip this up in no time and savor a cozy weekend in.

Pumpkin SPice French Toast

Down time is so important for our health, well-being, and our marriages; we need to slow down and enjoy every moment we find together . I wish I had been better at this when my children were young, but honestly it’s always a good time to take better care of yourself and your relationships at home.

Pumpkin Spice French Toast Breakfast in Bed

There is absolutely nothing wrong with preparing a quick breakfast while in your pj’s and hopping right back into bed to share it with your spouse. A slow, flavorful breakfast in bed with your mate is just the perfect way to relax and enjoy time with one another before y’all become caught up in the busyness of the season! Tell the kids to watch cartoons, turn the phones off (unless you are waiting on a call from your Marine who has been in the field) and y’all laugh and talk together. It’s a cheap date worth taking. When you’re finished eating, toss the tray in the floor, allow the dog to lick the syrup of the plate and y’all take a nap!! Cherish a lazy Saturday morning. I know you need it!

Pumpkin Spice French Toast Breakfast in Bed

Click Pumpkin Spice French Toast to get the full printable recipe!

If you want to elevate this simple recipe, add whipped cream and pecans…. Oh yeah, it’s really delicious, and plan your late morning in bed!

Happy weekend y’all!

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Easy Saturday Brunch

Every once in a while scrolling through instagram, I come upon a picture where the food looks so delicious that I want it.

Oftentimes, immediately.

Baked-Egg-Acocado-Dish

 

 

This happened last week, and I was saddened to find there was no link for a recipe, just pretty food.

Egg-Baked-in-Avocado

After studying the picture a little, I decided to try and recreate it myself, so I handed my son the check card and a grocery list and sent him off to grab a handful of items, while I found the rest in the pantry and refrigerator here.

Baked-Egg-Ingredients

{Anyone else ask their teens run errands because you don’t want to get out in the cold?}

The picture that captured my attention was of avocados with eggs and this is how I recreated it…

In fact it was quite easy once it was decided what should go into this recipe.

Really easy.

Baked-Egg-Avocado-Brunch

 

 

 

Ingredients I used included fresh avocado, cage free eggs, grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, fresh parsley and chives, and nitrate-free bacon, cooked and crumbled.

Preheating the oven to 350º I cut two avocados in half, removed the seeds, and placed into a cast iron pan sprayed with coconut oil.

Egg-Baked-Avocado

 

Next I cracked an egg into the hole of each half, seasoned with a little salt and pepper, and sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over it. Pop the pan into the oven and cook until the egg is set as you like it; I like a fairly runny yolk so I baked it about 10 minutes or so.

Remove when done, top with the fresh herbs and bacon and serve up immediately.

This made a perfect brunch for Bradley and I (since we slept in) and was really filling, so it didn’t need any sides.

Baked-Eggs-and-Avocado

If you follow a low carb, keto, or paleo (leave off the Parmesan) diet, this is perfect for you!  It’s very filling with a good serving of protein and healthy fats.

Click here to print off the full recipe for baked eggs and avocado .

I hope you have a relaxing and enjoyable weekend!

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Post Vacay Clean Eats

I absolutely love to travel, experiencing the many fun and unique things you can do in other places from culture to food.  But, what I do not like about travel is how I often feel upon returning home; swelling from long plane flights, belly bloat and just plain feeling fat … it is miserable!

Vacation-Family-Picture | ohfiddledeedee

Audley, Bradley and I returned from San Diego late Sunday night. While I still battle my weight (I always will), I have settled into a pattern of maintenance that keeps me feeling healthy, energetic, and happy for the most part.

An occasional “cheat” type meal fits into my lifestyle just fine, but after an entire week of spicy Mexican food, rich desserts, home cooked full breakfast each morning and a stop at In and Out Burger my body was not at all happy with me.  I have spent the last three days doing a little intermittent fasting (do a little research as it is good for you to add to your health and wellness routines from time to time), trying to detox and make my gut happy with me again.

Another way I detox is to eat really clean whole foods with ingredients that I can pronounce.  That means I prepare and cook everything that goes into my body and on our table using fresh and organic ingredients.

The easiest of all recipes is egg whites and oatmeal.  I carb-cycle (three low carb days followed by a day with two meals of heavy carb), so this delicious one-pan meal, that is so filling and satisfying, is a favorite of mine.

It’s also super easy to make and can be so versatile.**

Oatmeal-and-Egg-whites | ohfiddledeedee

Ingredients are very simple: 4 egg whites (separate these yourself, do not use the ones in a carton), 1/2 cup McCann’s Oatmeal, 2 Tablespoons Navatis Cacao powder (I found this at the Vitamin Shoppe), 1/2 cup water and a little stevia if you like it sweet.

Whisk all the ingredients together in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the oatmeal and egg whites reach a custardy state, stirring continuously while it cooks.

{This will stick if you aren’t paying attention.}

Top with strawberries and serve up pretty.  It’s almost like a dessert, so you never know that it’s good for you!

Eggwhites-and-oatmeal | ohfiddledeedee

**I did mention that this recipe is versatile, so here is another option:  Leave out the cacao powder and instead toss fresh diced fruit of another variety in your oatmeal.  Peaches are so good, as are any type of berry!

Your body will thank you for eating so clean and your tummy will thank you.

Clean-Eats-for-Breakfast | ohfiddledeedee

I have learned from experience food can either destroy you or heal you.  It’s all how you eat and use it!

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