Canned Apple Pie Filling


Fresh! Homemade! Canned Apple Pie Filling!

Apples has always been a comfort fruit for me. Yes, I said fruit not food!

Maybe because the old saying goes, “A apple a day, keeps the doctor away”.

Or maybe because for some reason apples represent Americana and Freedom.

Or maybe it’s just the plain fact that apples, when baked, symbolizes a sense of “coming home”.

IMG_0571 (3)


There is nothing better in life than walking through your front door and smelling the aroma and baked apples, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon.

My daddy has lived in my childhood home for 47 years.  It is the place where memories were made with lots of tears, smiles, yelling and laughter.  It’s the place where I still can feel my momma’s presence. The place where life still matters in this world of chaos that we live in. The place where time stands still and hard work can still be found.

My bedroom window, of my childhood home, looked out at a old apple tree.  As a kid I would go out and eat the apples just as soon as they started growing.  My momma and tell me I was asking for a tummy ache.  And even though technically I didn’t ask, I still always ended up with one.

Maybe that’s why apples are so important to me.  It reminds me of the days gone by and the innocence of childhood.

I still pick those apples off that old apple tree, but now I wait just a tad bit longer and let them grow out of some of the tartness.  I recently made some Homemade Canned Apple Pie Filling from my daddy’s apples and I wanted to share of piece of my love for those apple with you.



Homemade Canned Apple Pie Filling


16 apples (4 quarts of filling)

6 cups of water

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1/2 cup of corn starch

3 cups of sugar

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of cloves or 6 whole cloves

1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

4 quart size caning jars, rings and lids

Hot Water Canner or large stock pot


  1. Wash, peel, and slice up your apples
  2. Boil your canning jars and lids to be filled
  3. Fill your jars 3/4 up with apple pieces
  4. Add 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice to each jar of apples to help with discoloration
  5. Bring your water to a rolling boil on the stove
  6. Turn the heat down and add your sugar to dissolve
  7. When sugar is dissolved turn off the heat to the pan
  8. Add the vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to the sugar water and mix
  9. In a separate bowl combine your corn starch with 2-3 tablespoons of water and mix together
  10. When the corn starch is liquefied add it to the other ingredients and mix
  11.  Pour the mixture into the canning jars over the apples
  12. Make sure to cover the apples completely
  13. Remove air bubbles by running a knife around the insides of the jars.
  14. Add the sterile lids and rims.
  15. Process the pie filling in a hot water bath for 30 minutes
  16. Place the processed jars on a dish towel and allow to cool and seal overnight
  17. Now it’s time to Enjoy!


Do you remember my Patriotic Mini Apple Pies?

Well now you can use your fresh canned apples in your mini apple pies!


Food, Freedom and Festivities: 4th of July

Food, Freedom and Festivities


I love the 4th of July!

I don’t remember exactly when I decided it was my favorite, or really why it was my favorite.

Maybe it’s the summertime and sunshine, or flag blowing in the wind.  Could be just the Freedom and Fireworks with friends and family.

No matter what the reason be, I just know I love the feeling I get on the 4th!

I love to make goodies for the BBQ’s and Picnics and crafts to decorate the house.

This year we spent the 4th at friends house having a BBQ/Pool Party.  I wanted to make it special for the family who invited us.  I always find it a treat to be invited to holiday’s and I want sure I impress to be invited again!

For the BBQ, I chose to make Freedom Frost Spritzer, Patriotic Mini Apple Pies, and Freedom Sprinkle Sugar Cookies (Y’all, all 4th of July goodies have to be named).

The hostess was more than happy to turn over the dessert making to me, but I wanted to make sure that since it was a Pool Party, the desserts were easy to grab and eat.


First up is the Freedom Frost Spritzer.

Here is Arkansas, it is super HOT, and the humidity makes you sweat buckets after being outside for even 5 minutes.  Because of that, it is super important to stay hydrated.  This drink is cool and refreshing, as well as, great to help you stay replenished because it contains electrolytes.

I’ll be honest with you.  I’m not a huge fan of gatorade, but adding in the lemon-lime soda and the ginger-ale, completely changes the flavor and I really love it.

Go all out if you feel like it and add whole cherries or a few strawberry slices for a more festive look.


1 32 oz bottle of Frost Glacier Freeze Gatorade

1 20 oz lemon-lime drink

1 20 oz ginger-ale


How to make it:

1) Freeze your bottles of drinks until slushy (If you don’t have time to wait til they are slushy, just add ice to your drink dispenser)

2) Add your gatorade, lemon-lime drink and ginger-ale together

3) Add any fruit that you like

4) Serve

So quick and easy!




For one of the desserts I decided on Patriotic Mini Apple Pies.

I LOVE making these!  They are so cute and easy.  You really can’t mess them up.

So if you are frightened of your pie looking like it was made by preschoolers, then this is definitely the way to go.

And who doesn’t like bite size apple pie? Right!  I think my husby consumed 6 in a matter of 5 minutes!


What you need:

1 package of pre-made Pie Crusts

(or click on picture for Pie Crust Recipe)

1 Can of Apple Filling

1 tbsp of Cinnamon or sugar crystals

1 tbsp of Butter


Now let’s begin:

1) Start with making your pie crusts.

If you are not a pie making person, then use the ready made pie crusts out of the dairy section of your local grocer.

Simplify!  There is no shame in using a pre-made crust (:

My favorite recipe is The Pioneer Woman’s Pie Crust.  If you don’t have a favorite recipe, then by all means try this one!


pie crustredo

Click on picture for Pie Crust Recipe


Don’t you just love old pastry cutters?  I do!  I love cutting the butter into the flour! Makes me think of simplier times.  Sigh

2) After you crust is complete and rolled, cut out 4 inch circles.  I use a lid of a canister that I have because it is perfect size.  Anything you have will work.  Don’t panic if its not the exact size.  I promise the pie will go on.

3) Use a cupcake/muffin pan and cut 3-4 inch long strips of parchment paper appx 1 inch wide.  Enough for all slots in your pan.


The parchment paper will make it so much easier to lift pies out of pan after they have cooked.

4) Take your crust circles and place in cupcake holes.  I try to make pleads in my crust as much as I can for a little extra character.

5) Fill your pie crusts will apple filling.  I used can apples for these and used appx 2 apples and a little filling in each pie.

**Check back soon for my post on Homemade Apple Filling! (The Apples are just now ready to pick)

6) Save enough dough to cut out mini stars.

This star cutter was actually from a Christmas Mini Cookie Cutter Set I got for super cheap after the holidays!  Hey works for me!

7) I then added a tiny bit of butter on top of the stars and sprinkled cinnamon.  YUM!




If you will notice in the picture above, these are sprinkled with red sugar crystals.  My husby thought some of the stars should be red!  If it makes him happy, then yes I will add red sugar crystals to half of my pies!

8) Bake at 350 for appx 20 mins, checking your pies along the way.

I hope you enjoy making these as much as I do.  And with the parchment paper as tabs, they should be really easy to lift out of the pan.





Can you really have a Holiday without Sugar Cookies?   Are they not a staple of days gone by?  I decided for this 4th of July I would make Freedom Sprinkle Sugar Cookies, which is your basic sugar cookies with festive sprinkles.

I love making sugar cookies, but what I love more is letting the kiddos decorate them!  This has been a tradition in our house since the kids could walk.  Don’t you just love traditions? No matter if it’s Easter, Christmas or the 4th, we need decorated sugar cookies!



For my sugar cookie recipe you will need:

2 cups of sugar (wouldn’t be sugar cookies without lots of sugar)

2 cups of All-Purpose Flour

1 cup of butter softened (2 sticks)

1 egg

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp of salt (I love kosher salt)

1 1/2 tsp of vanilla or vanilla paste (I prefer paste, so much more flavor)

1/4 cup of flour for rolling



This is how I do it:

1) I start with a parchment paper covered cookie sheet.

I LOVE parchment paper.

I don’t know how I ever survived without it!

Doesn’t it make life so much simpler?

2) Then I cream together my butter and sugar until it is completely mixed, almost to a mixed stage.

3) Then I add in my egg and vanilla.

4) In a separate bowl, i slightly whisk together my flour, salt and baking powder.

5) I then add the dry ingredients to my sugar/butter/egg mixture.

6) Mix together well.

7) At this point you have 2 options.  You can roll into balls and bake, or you can roll out like pie crusts appx 1/8 inch thick and cut out circles.

I normally roll out and cut into circles with a round cookie/fondant cutter.  you can also use a biscuit cutter (:

If you go for this option, you will need to lay out a piece of parchment paper and use your remainder of flour so your dough does not stick.

8) Lay your circles or dough balls  appx 3 inch apart on cookie sheet.

9) Bake at 350 for 8-10 or until they start to turn slightly brown around edges.

Don’t over bake, they are suppose to be chewy.

Yields appx 20 cookies.

10) After cookies cool then decorate with your favorite icing, sprinkles and sugar crystals.


cookie platter

Now that the snacks are made, it’s time for a little decorating!  I drive my husby crazy sometimes with all of my decorating for parties, events, holidays and just to make the house more cozy and appealing me me.



I wanted to do something very simple for the front porch.  We have a super cute wrought iron table on one side and a white porch swing on the other, so just a little something festive was the key.  I chose to decorate the table which sits in front of an old screen door.  I covered the table in a blue star material and added a chalkboard, a rusted star planter, which i added a flag material to, and a patriotic plaid placemat for a center piece.

Nothing fancy but perfect!

4th decor


I have several of these white wooden garden chairs.  I have some inside and I leave some outside.  I really enjoy sitting ferns and planters of flowers on the outside chairs.  In this pic I am using the rusted planter with flag print material.  Such a cute idea to sit beside your front steps or on the porch.

Sometimes all you  need is subtle touches.



This idea is great for a small 4th of July get together or a morning brunch.  I used my table from my porch, added a couple of my garden chairs and make a super cute place sitting with all of the festive food.

Now how easy is that.  Took maybe 5 minutes.

I love having small get togethers and brunches.  This set up is also great for a Tea Party.


And what kind of Holiday would it be without dressing festive?

My kiddos and I have done several different shirts in the past for the 4Th.  This year we have been on a Tie-Dye kick so we decided 4th Tie-Dye Shirts would be perfect.

We have done several different dyeing in the past.  We have used the regular tie-dye, we have used kool-aid, but I feel the Rit dye works the best for fading.

What we used:

White t-shirts (we chose v-necks for a different look this year)

package of rubber bands

Rit Dye in Cherry Red and Royal Blue

2 large bowls




How we made them:

1) First wrap rubberbands around your shirt

The awesome thing about tie-dye is that you really can’t mess it up.  Every shirt has its own unique design.

I prefer to wad my shirt up and place rubberbands in random places (:


2) Add 1/3 bottle of dye to appx 2 gallons of hot water in a large bowl.

I use the same color bowl as dye so it won’t stain.  And yes I use a little more dye, and less water than called for because I want my colors to pop!

3) Place newspapers on floor (or go outside) and set bowls of die on top.

4) Dip one section of your shirt in a color and hold for 3-4 minutes.



5) Gently wring out using a glove or plastic bag on hand and dip another section in same color or other color dye.

You can do half the shirt one color, the other half another color or sections in each color

6) When shirt is covered in dye, place in plastic bag and let leave for 12 hours so colors will set in.

7) After the 12 hours, remove shirt from bag and rinse with warm water as you start to remove rubberbands.

8) After all bands are removed, rinse shirt in cool water, until water is mostly clear.

9) Hang shirt up to dry part way and then continue drying in clothes dryer.

10) Remove shirt and you are ready to wear!



After all the drinks, desserts and shirts were made, we were ready for a great night of Food, Freedom and Festivities with friends.



We ate, and swam, and got ready for fireworks!





And after dark we enjoyed playing with a few sparklers.




Overall it was a another wonderful 4Th of July.

I hope you had am amazing day of Food, Freedom and Festivities in your neck of the woods!


Blackberry and Lemon Cake….Oh My!

Isn’t the world just a little sweeter because of blackberries!

My dad calls me last week and lets me know the blackberries are ready to be picked. Here’s the thing with blackerries with my family, it’s whoever can get to my dad’s the fastest! Well, it didn’t take me long to high-tail it to the garden (:
It just so happened to be Father’s Day and I had intentionally intended to bake  a blueberries and lemon cake for my sweet husby.

After we picked all the blackberries, I thought well why not blackberries instead of blueberries.

My husby had his doubts for a mere 2 seconds but that soon changed.

It has just enough lemon flavor, but the blackberries help cut out the too-sweet taste. I topped it with a lemon buttercream frosting that came out perfecto!

This would make an amazing cake for your next potluck or bbq. Or how about for the upcoming 4Th Celebration?

But seriously, this cake is to die for.  It’s a mix between a pound cake and a cobbler, yumm-o!  It didn’t stay long around these parts.  I had a lot of grabby hands reaching for it.

But I would love for you to try this cake for yourself and tell me your thought!

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
5 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil or butter
2 cups blackberries
1/4 lemon juice
1 cup of milk
4 sticks of butter
1 bag of powered sugar
3 tbs of milk or heavy cream (just to help mix the powered sugar with butter)
3 tbs lemon juice


1) Mix your eggs together with your sugar until completely mixed
2) Add in your oil and lemon juice
3) In a seperate bowl, wisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt
4) Add in 1/2 flour mixture and 1/2 milk and mix together
5) Add in remainder of flour and milk and continue mixing until combined
6) Pour your mixture into 3-8 inch round cake pans (grease well)
7) Add 1/3 of blackberries to each pan
8) Bake at 325 degrees on middle rack for appx 35 minutes
9) Remove cake from pan and let cool before frosting
*If you have any loose crumbs on cake, refrigerate for 30 minutes before frosting


1) Whip butter with the mixer until completely smooth (make sure butter is soft before mixing)
2) Add in 1 cup of powered sugar and 1 tbsp of milk or heavy cream, at a time to butter and whip together.
3) Continue adding the sugar and cream and whipping until all powered sugar has been added to butter.
4)Now add in your lemon juice for flavor.

5)If your frosting is to dry add another tbsp of cream. If frosting is too thin add another 1/2 cup of powered sugar until you get the consistency you desire.


Final Phase:

1)Spread frosting between layers and stack, evening up as much as possible

2)Now you are ready to frost your cake, add a few blackberries on top for decor and enjoy

You will not regret your choice for this cake!


And if you missed the DIY Tutorial for the Cute and Easy CakeStand, you can find it here:


Also today is June 24th!  That means that Wild Iris Ridge is released today!  If you haven’t read the reviews for this new book, please do!  This is such a great summer read, that I am giving everyone permission to grab a cup of coffee, cuddle up in a comfy chair and spend the afternoon reading.

It is available for purchase online from Amazon @

or B&N @

Make sure to check it out!

Freedom at it’s finest….And potato salad too!

Memorial Day……

What a special day we have the opportunity to experience.  A day to give thanks where needed, remember the ones who have lost their life for us to live ours and a time to reflect how differently each of us would be without the ultimate sacrifice that someone paid in our place.

For me, this is a humbling day.  I looked and reminisced through old photographs of family members who have proudly and bravely fought for my freedom as well as yours.  Many who are still serving today.

I would be lying to you though if I said I didn’t enjoy the other aspect of Memorial Day….Grilling/Cookouts/Picnics!

I love getting together with friends and family and sharing memories.  This year we chose to have our family cookout on Sunday after church so we could enjoy Memorial Day making other memories.

No cookout in my family is complete without my Momma’s Potato Salad. I know everyone has a special version but for me I have always loved this southern style potato salad this more than any other I have tasted.  I am so thankful for the freedom I have to share this special recipe with you today.

Here’s what it consists of…

5 lbs of Russet Potato’s scrubbed and boiled with peelings on until they have cracked and Potato’s are soft.  (Make it 10 lbs if your feeding a large group of 15 or more.)


pot salad 3


Mix together (or if you like chunky like me, use your potato masher and slighty mash leaving big chucnks of potatoes, with the peeled potatoes….

Appx 1/8 cup of mustard ( A little more if you like more of a mustard taste)

1 – 1 1/2 cups mayo or miracle whip

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Pepper

1/2 onion diced

About an 1/8 cup of pickle relish

4-6 boiled eggs chopped up

pot salad 2


I love adding about 1 tsp of paprika on top, but that is completely optional.  You can serve warm, yum yum or chill in fridge til time for your celebration.  Either way you will not be disappointed!

pot salad 4


So on Monday, we decided to spend the day as a family at our favorite Amusement Park.  Even though its about a 2 1/2 hr drive each way, we enjoy going at least once a month to have fun and relax.  Yesterday, we decided to take our great nieces Maddie and Jessie with us.  We love them sweet angels so much and we take advantage of every opportunity we have to spend time with them.  Of the innocence of childhood. (Sigh)


Silver Dollar City, in Branson, Missouri, is the most family oriented amusement park I have ever been too.  From the rides to fit all ages, amazing Festivals and Shows, old homesteads, the school that teaches history lessons of the park and area and The Wilderness Church that still operates every Sunday Morning and you can even have Weddings in!  I never get tired of making memories at SDC!

I hope you had an amazing Memorial Day as well.  Enjoy your freedom!

Sometimes we just need a “Do Over”

A few months ago I had a day that I would like to have started over at least ten times.

Do you ever have those days?

I sat down at least 3 different times to blog but no words came to mind, no fingers begin to type, no creativity flowed at all.

Of course that was only the start.

That was a day to go back to bed, pull the covers over my head and forget it ever existed.

I would have to say after the dog escaping from the house, running up and down the neighborhood, pleasantly enjoying me yelling as loud as I could, all while running faster away from me, I was done completely done with the day.

So as I stood outside in my housecoat, tears streaming down my face from frustration, I had to get my thoughts right before I had a complete meltdown.

As I went back inside, with no dog, deciding to take a nice long hot shower, a song came to me, “Beautiful Jesus”.

“Your love o God, displayed for us
As crimson covered over sinless hands
Your majesty for all to see
In raging storms and quiet cloudless days”

“Beautiful Jesus, beautiful Savior
Nothing is greater, brilliant creator
Friend of mine”

No matter if my days are chaos and hectic or quiet and calm, he is still my Beautiful Jesus, Perfect in Power. He is still the one I go to, to calm my mind, to fill me with peace and comfort.

What else was there to do then to go to him in the WORD. So for the reminder of the afternoon it was just me, my coffee and my Beautiful Jesus talking it out and being reminded that he is still God. He is the only one who can take away the overwhelming feelings that this world fills me with.

Just as Isaiah 41:10 reads,

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

I hadn’t thought much of that day until this past week. My husby and I had decided to take a huge step into risky waters, to go into a ministry that we felt God was leading our family to. Everything was stacking up just perfect. We felt God’s hand every step of the way, until last week.

I received a disturbing phone call from the organization we were planning to work with. Several years ago we had worked with the organization and during this time my family was wronged. Even though I cannot express details, all I can say is that my family was victimized. It has taken a lot of prayer and faith to let go with the feelings and emotions involved with that situation.

You might be saying, well why would you want to go back into that organization again? Well, I guess because God did not put any restrictions on our freedom or his love for us, and it is our responsible to do everything we can to reach every lost soul.

Back to the phone call, we know the devil can wiggle his way into every situation. And we know he uses normal people to do his dirty work. Even though my family was wronged, the person who wrote the report has tried to turn it around so my family looks like the bad guy, not the organization.

How wrong is that? Why have we had to relive painful memories when we were trying to do God’s work?

I believe there is a couple answers to that. First, the devil plays every game possible to try to detour God’s plan in your life. And the other is that God already has our life planned and maybe God is trying to prevent us from bring hurt worse in the future.

I also had another thought. What if God needed my family to relive the memories that was brought up to help us heal and move forward. Is he trying to see if we are strong enough to deal with situations that are to come.

As I sat and pondered this week, I came back to the memory of a few months ago. I had to chose not to let my emotions overwhelm me or I would be lost in the chaos of the dying world, and my light would turn dark. I cannot let the black hole of hurt affect what God has in front of me. I had to go back to the same scripture I read that day.

Isaiah 41:10

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

God will work it together for his good. He us still my God. He plan is greater than my plan. He can turn the negative into a positive.

So as I sit and type these words, I am renewed, refreshed and loved by my creator. I may not understand the path right now, I just have to trust and have faith and know his ways are always better than mine. That he is my protector, my provider, my Jesus!