Homemade Apple Butter

apple butter jars

I can remember my mother buying Apple Butter when I was a child. She would make toast for us, and we would spread the butter on the hot toast, then when the butter melted we would spread Apple Butter on top. It wasn’t an every day thing since it wasn’t always in the fridge. My mother would buy it occasionally, so it was a treat when she did buy it.

I’ve been making applesauce a lot more than I normally do, and peeling the apples is always the worst part, which is why I don’t make it all the time. If I had something that made peeling apples easier and faster, then I would make it all the time. I recently bought this gadget on Amazon called Starfrit Apple Pro-Peeler. I watched a video on YouTube that came from QVC and they made it look so easy to peel apples. I bought it based on their video and decided to make Apple Butter with the peeled apples. This is what it looks like.

Starfrit apple peeler

So you basically remove the plastic, then stick the apple on the 4 prongs to hold it in place, then turn the crank which turns the gears which turns the apple and the arm with the blade moves down to the bottom of the apple and starts peeling it from the bottom to the top. It’s really fun to peel apples. It normally takes me about 2 or 3 minutes to peel 1 apple, and this thing literally took 5 seconds to peel the apple.

I got the recipe for the Apple Butter from Betty Crocker. The recipe is for 12 granny smith apples, apple juice, brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg and ground cloves. You put all of the ingredients in a crock pot for 10 hours on low, then use a mixer on the apples, then continue cooking it on low for 2 more hours, then 2 hours to cool down before canning it.  Here’s what it looks like in the crock pot at the very beginning.

Apples in crock pot

I tasted it when it was finished, and I was surprised that it didn’t have the same taste that I remember of the Apple Butter from my childhood. I think it is too spicy in fact lol. Not hot spicy, but I mean like the cloves and nutmeg etc. I don’t recall tasting those ingredients.

When it was finished cooking, I tasted it and it didn’t taste very sweet to me, so I added more brown sugar. It did help with the sweetness and the bitter aftertaste. I figured I would not judge it while it was still hot, but instead go ahead and can it and put 1 jar in the fridge and make my decision when I could try it cold. I did, and it still wasn’t sweet enough, so I added a little bit more sugar to the jar (in the middle of the 2 jars in the picture above) and it did help it a lot. I made 1 slice of toast and added the butter, then added the Apple Butter and cut the toast in half and gave one half to my partner and we both ate it together. It was actually very good. I can see me trying this on several different things like ice cream and perhaps waffles and pancakes.

I used 20 apples and doubled the amount of the rest of the ingredients. I got 11 jars out of it, and there was a tiny bit leftover, so I poured the rest in the jar in the middle in the picture above. It’s from my Magic Bullet lol. I only have 11 glass jars for canning because 1 jar broke last year. I am going to be missing 4 more jars because my partner is giving 2 jars away at church tomorrow, and I will be giving 2 jars to people who work at the grocery store lol.

I’m going to buy more jars since we will be losing 4 more jars, but I’m going to buy the bigger jars because I want to make more applesauce and put them in the bigger jars. Now that I have this apple peeler, I’m probably going to be out of control  with canning apple butter and applesauce lol.

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My Old Sierra Games

Does anyone remember Sierra Online Entertainment?  I certainly do.  How could I ever forget?  They were the very first computer based video games I had ever played, and that was in the 80’s and 90’s.

I played King’s Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella on my old Apple //e that I bought from my brother-in-law in 1989 for $750.  It didn’t have a tower with a motherboard or a hard drive, because it got destroyed before I bought it.  Long story, it was my friends fault lol.  Anyway, I remember that this was the very first game I bought and I had so much fun with it.  I sold the computer a few years later.

In 1997 when I bought my very first Windows-based computer, I wondered if they still sold it, so I looked and found the King’s Quest Collection at a computer store for $20 and I bought it.  I also bought many other Sierra game collections and loved them all.

I have been very hard at work rebuilding my old website to make it new and fresh, and while looking in my CD book for a CD with a backup file, I came across all of my old Sierra games and it occurred to me that maybe I should make a page that showed all of them and mention how much fun I had playing them, so I did.

Shiver’s 2 is one of the games that I couldn’t remember playing.  I have the 2 cd’s, but I just don’t have any memory of playing it.  I tried to install it, but it wouldn’t let me.  Every attempt at installing it resulted in a crash.  I didn’t give up though, I did a Google search looking for Sierra installers and I actually found a website.

New Installers for Sierra Games.  I installed the King’s Quest collection using their installer and it worked.  Although some of the games crashed, not all of them did.  I ran the 4th and 5th game, but the 7th one crashed.  I even had it install Mixed Up Mother Goose and I tried playing it, but it wouldn’t do it.  I think the reason is because it needs to be in 256 colors.  I can only do 16 and 32 bit.  I do remember when I played some of those games in the 90’s that I had to physically change my resolution to 256 colors before I could run the game.  I don’t think I will play them so I uninstalled it.

They had the Shiver’s 2 installer and I was successful in installing it, but here is my issue, when I run the game, it’s mostly video footage and it freezes up on me.  I can hear the sound perfectly, but the video freezes up too much.  It’s basically unplayable with my computer.

There are a few games that I never got to play, like the Police Quest Collection and the Quest for Glory Collection, so I may end up trying to install those and see what happens.  If they play then they play, if they don’t then they don’t.

I did have to install 2 programs for this.  DOSBox and ScummVM.  I’ve heard of DOSBox, but not the ScummVM one.  There is one annoying thing though.  I have avast anti-virus, and every time I tried running one of the games, avast would pop up on my screen saying it had never heard of Sierra, so it was checking it to see if it was a virus.  So I would suggest if you do have these Sierra games and intend to play them and you have avast, you could either wait for it to allow you to run it, or just close avast down.  I mean, you won’t need the internet with these games, usually, so you don’t have to worry about getting a virus.  If it only hassled me once then I’d say let it add that particular game to its list of approved programs, but if it does it every time then it’s annoying, shut it down.

I will try to play those other games and if/when I do, I will update my Sierra page on my website.

Windows 8 Installation Issues

Do you ever feel like your stick in a situation you can’t get yourself out of when you try to install a new operating system that doesn’t want to work properly?  Yeah, me too.

My first computer in 1989 was an Apple //e.  It didn’t have a tower with a hard drive, it did but my friend asked my brother-in-law to put a sound board in there that would make the computer talk when you typed and when he tried taking it back, it fried the motherboard.  All he was left with was the clunky keyboard, 2 floppy drives and the monitor.  He sold it to me in 1989 for $750.  It didn’t have a mouse or any icons, it was all dos.

My second computer was an IBM, but it had a tower with a motherboard and a hard drive, but it didn’t have windows on it.  I only had that for a couple of weeks in 1997 before I bought my very first Windows-based computer which had Windows 95 on it.  When 98 came out, I upgraded and when ME came out I upgraded to that too.  When XP came out, I had already built my first computer and put that on it and gave the one with ME on it to Darrin when we moved to Bakersfield.  Over the last 12 years, I have rebuilt my computer and given Darrin my old hand me downs and I am now on my 4th XP based computer.

I never upgraded to Vista when that came out because I heard nothing but horrible things about it from friends that I played EverQuest with.  When Windows 7 came out I wanted to buy the upgrade, but the upgrade adviser told me that my hardware wasn’t compatible (that was before my latest upgrades).

I tried looking for the Windows 8 upgrade adviser, but they didn’t have one.  All I could do was download the preview from the Microsoft website and try to run that to see if it gave me any clues about my hardware.  Before I did anything, I backed everything up on my backup hard drive in my computer.  I spent hours doing that because I knew something bad was going to happen if I didn’t and I was so right.

When my backups were all done, I bit the bullet and said just do it and I let Windows 8 preview install.  It took 2 hours to install before rebooting.  When I saw the new Windows logo, I got chills because I knew it had worked, but then that went away and all I had was a blank black screen.  I figured it was probably still installing, so I will give it awhile.  I gave it 2 more hours before deciding nothing was going to happen.  I rebooted it and got the Windows logo again, but this time the blank black screen was replaced with a blank blue screen.  I was overjoyed, until that blankness never got filled with words or logos, then I knew I was screwed.

I decided to run the installation again which meant going into the BIOS and making the DVD drive the first drive that runs so it runs directly from the disc, and it did.  It asked me for the code again and I thought SHIT, it’s on the desktop…  I didn’t write it down.  But, luckily it was on the website still.  WHEW!  I entered the code and thought everything would be OK  but it wasn’t.  It found my 2 hard drives and asked me which one to install it to and I chose the one that had my previous Windows installation, but it wouldn’t install.  I figured it didn’t have enough free space, so I had it format it, but it still wouldn’t install.

My only option was to put the Windows XP cd back in and install that, and I did and all was good until I installed the Router software, and then I couldn’t get my internet working.  I spent 3 hours trying to get my internet working to no avail.  I thought it was the router, but it wasn’t because I had the cable modem plugged directly into my desktop.  You don’t need a password, it’s instant on with a cable modem.  It’s like when you plug the cable into a TV, it’s instant on.  Right then I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was more screwed than a hooker who worked for free.

I didn’t know what else to do.  For some reason I thought there was something wrong with my computer, so I reformatted and reinstalled Windows XP again and it still wouldn’t connect.  I called our cable company and they transferred me over to Road Runner support and walked me through it.  He reset our connection from there, but had me unplug the power and then the coaxial cable from the box for 30 seconds and then it worked.  VICTORY!

Well, I was feeling victorious until Internet Explorer wouldn’t stay on for more than 2 seconds without crashing.  I was finally able to get it to stay on when I went into the start menu and clicked Windows Update.  Then my heart sank when Windows Update wouldn’t give me any updates.  I was able to download and install Google Chrome and the updated Linksys EasyLink Advisor to get our wi-fi back on.

I think I read somewhere that Microsoft isn’t giving any more updates to people who have Windows XP, so my only option is to find a way to get Windows 8 to install properly.  Now I am forced to upgrade which probably means a bigger hard drive.  If I am forced to upgrade, then I better get on that bigger hard drive as fast as possible, because that $40 upgrade deal expires in January 2013.

This sucks for me big time!  I hope Microsoft releases an upgrade adviser program for me to install to tell me what hardware will work by scanning my computer just like Windows 7 had.  If they had that, I wouldn’t have had to go through all this crap.  I will have to see what I can do and what I can afford to get this done.

Update: Good news, Windows Updates are downloading and installing, so I’m thankful for that.

If it isn’t one thing, it’s another…

Official Book Club Selection

I started reading this book on October 17th and just finished reading it today.  It took me awhile to read it because it was so big but I enjoyed every minute.

I wanted to read this book not just to read all about Kathy’s life but I also wanted to read it as research for my own autobiography and it helped out a lot.  It also gave me encouragement to include a few things that I was afraid to, but not too many things.

I was touched in chapter 4 when she talked about her brothers friend sexually assaulting her, yes it was only a kiss but he was 28 and she was 13, that is sexual assault, rape and child molestation.  Then she talked about her brother almost molesting her too.  I was actually in tears throughout most of that chapter.

Then when I got to chapter 9 where she was talking about doing Suddenly Susan and talked about her co-star David Strickland I started crying because I liked him.  I heard about the drugs but I didn’t know the whole story.

When I first heard on the news that he killed himself I just remember crying because I loved him on Suddenly Susan.  When I hear that an actor who I loved killed themselves, it makes me sad and upset.  He had some pretty funny lines and he was so cute and I just couldn’t see him killing himself especially when he’s working on a TV show.  It was just really sad.

But then she got to Woz, co-founder of Apple and then she had all these emails in that chapter.  I think I fell asleep about 3 times.  I just couldn’t stay awake.  It took me longer to read that chapter than any of the other chapters.  I don’t know why she put them in there.  I mean, she could’ve just made up a story of how things progressed based on her recollection of the emails but she thought it would be better to just show them.

I was glad when the next chapter was going back to the story though.  By the time I got to the end of the book, there was an interview with Kathy from Random House.  Again, I was bored to tears.

I love Kathy Griffin to death and I was happy that I finally got to read her book.  I laughed, I cried and then I fell asleep.  Despite the boring parts, I still give her props for writing it.  She could’ve left the world in the dark but she chose to let us in on that private part and for that I thank her.

I think that if a person doesn’t like Kathy Griffin for her humor, read this book and it just might change your mind.  Maybe you might all of a sudden be able to remove the very long and very thick stick out of your ass and realize how funny she really is.

Let me tell you how D-list she really is.  I went to put in the tags for this post and let yahoo suggest tags and it didn’t even show her name as a tag.  Hello, how many times is her name listed in this post?  You would think that her name would’ve shown up in the tags.  I thought that she if anyone would appreciate the humor in that.

Sparking Up Again

In October 2007 I was on the SparkPeople diet which is really not a diet but they teach you how you should be eating the right foods and the right portions. They tell you what foods to eat which include the food pyramid and you eat veggies and drink water all day long and you tell them exactly what you ate and they tell you how many calories, carbs, fats etc you had for the day.

This is really helpful in losing weight. It’s not a diet because you are eating foods you are supposed to be eating anyway. You can eat snacks just as long as they aren’t too fatty or have a lot of calories. Eating an apple for a snack is good, or carrots, hey my mom used to give that to us for snacks and celery with peanut butter. And they tell you to exercise and you can log your cardio exercises in there so it can tell you how many calories you have to burn 3 days a week. The program has 4 stages too.

In October 2007 something changed in my life a few weeks after I started this diet and I ended up slacking off because I was too depressed to continue with it. I started out on October 1st at 225lbs and lost about 13lbs. Since I quit I gained 30+lbs.

I can’t tell you how much I need to lose this weight. I am having trouble breathing, my back is breaking all the time from carrying around 93lbs of extra weight, I have sleep apnea, if I don’t get thin I will be diabetic and that is no joking matter. I need this to work.

I’m going to try to get a jump rope today because apparently that is really good cardio. I was using the treadmill a couple years ago and the calorie loss in 1 hour is the same or more for 30 min of jumping rope. When I was a kid I jumped rope for hours so hopefully I can get back into it and lose the weight.