30-Second Whipped Cream and Even Easier Applesauce

When all my kids were little-bitty, I needed to utilize every time-saving kitchen trick I could. Cooking while holding a baby, keeping the toddler from grabbing a knife, and playing referee between the two pre-schoolers – well no wonder so many moms resort to boxed dino-nuggets.

four boys pilgrim

Somehow (my kids and) I lived to tell about it.

Then there were what I lovingly refer to as “the golden years.” That was when my kids were between the ages of 4 and 12. They could all buckle themselves into their van seats, they could entertain themselves without having to be watched constantly, and they began to do more and more of their school work independently. I no longer had to do all the wiping. I won’t go into details (there is no need) but it is a blissfully happy day when the mom no longer has to do all the wiping. You know I’m right.

Parenting was still challenging during “the golden years” but not as relentless as the baby years. I found myself with a little extra time to do things I loved like bake bread every week and can 100+ jars of produce each year. How nice! I could now run circles around my kitchen and have much to show for it.

Then the teen years hit. I still hold to the truth that teenagers are wonderful and amazing, and I love this stage like no other. I constantly marvel watching God grow my children from little boys to young men, and I thoroughly enjoy the fun we have as our boys discover gifts and talents and grown-up personalities.

boys at wedding

But the intensity of parenting needs has increased in ways that have blind-sided me a bit. Their schedules got busier outside our home, which meant that mine did too. Instead of teaching them to read, we are teaching them to drive. Instead of talking about sharing toys, we talk about maintaining purity. What used to be a 20-minute math lesson has turned into two hours of complicated algebra (which they can mostly do on their own ~ XOXOXO Teaching Textbooks). Reading aloud while we lay around on couches and pillows has turned into writing 5-7 page papers in MLA format for college professors.

This is all a part of life and raising kids. God continues to equip and prepare and provide, just as He always has. All I’m really saying here about raising teenagers is this:

I now have less time for cooking for a family who eats five times the amount of food.

No big deal.

Perhaps you’ve noticed a theme with my last few months’ recipe and food posts. While I’ve always been into simple-to-make recipes, now I’ve even more of a need to make real food, fast. Food has to be quick, easy, make-ahead, stir-and-pour, wash-and-serve, heat-and-eat. It’s all still real food. It’s all still delicious. But if I can’t make it without very little brain-energy and time, I just can’t make it. There is no time for kneading or canning right now. My people need me now more than ever.

But there is also a big need for food. So I’ve learned:

Any kitchen appliance that saves me time while feeding my family real food is a must-have. Allow me to share my current favorite.

For years, I’d heard from several of you about how awesome a Blendtec is. Their price tag startled me though, so I kept spending $25 on cheap blenders that would give out after about a year. (I use a blender several times every day. After 10-12 months none of the Walmart blenders can handle me anymore. “Get me out of this lady’s kitchen,” they say, just before they die.)

Finally about a year ago, instead of dropping another $25 on a cheap blender, I decided to go ahead and invest in a Blendtec. It made sense after reading how powerful they are, and if felt silly to keep dropping $25 on what I would soon have to put in the dumpster.

I’m never going back to a cheap blender again. The Blendtec has changed my kitchen life, and if you think I’m exaggerating, go back and read the paragraphs above about feeding teenage boys while trying to keep up with their schedules. This blender saves me so much time in the kitchen! It blends a smoothie in 1/5 of the time it took to make smoothies in a cheap blender. I don’t have to take it apart to clean it (and then put it back together) – hallelujah. And my favorite discovery: I can use it to whip cream!

Instead of getting out a bowl and my hand mixer, then whipping cream for several minutes until soft peaks form, I dump the cream into my Blendtec and turn it on. Approximately 37 seconds later, I have whipped cream. It is so easy (even if the pictures below are ugly).

blend tec 1
blend tec 2

You know how I’ve been going on and on for the past few years about my Victorio being so wonderful for making applesauce and tomato sauce? I still hold to this and will always and forever use it to make tomato sauce. That appliance is a huge time saver! But if you can believe it, my Blendtec makes applesauce even easier. I didn’t even know it was possible!

See the huge bowls of applesauce below? (Well, the one on the left used to be full of applesauce.) I was able to make those so quickly because of my Blendtec.

Applesauce Cups

I made the applesauce using this method, then just dumped the cooked apples into my Blendtec and blended until smooth. (I edited this post to update you on what is now the quickest way I’ve found to make applesauce.) It actually makes the applesauce creamy, and it takes so little time and very little effort on my part. (By the way, you can read about my cute little applesauce cups here.)

Well, yay for anything that saves time in the kitchen, no matter what season of life we are in. I think good food is important (obviously), but there is more to life than standing on our feet in the kitchen. There are people to love on, events to attend and support, needs all around us to be met. The more we can learn about making real food faster and simpler, the better.

What are some of your favorite time-saving appliances in your kitchen? Do you have a favorite blender?

Psst…I have another fun Stir-and-Pour Bread tip for you tomorrow! We’ll save even more time and money!

This post contains affiliate links.

I Love Food, and Talking About Food, and Sharing Recipes. Also Here is a Wiggams the Cat Update.

Last week was a fun food (and cat) week at our house. That means that we’re eating like kings (and queen) this week. Check out these raspberries we got to pick (for free, oh my goodness, thank you friends with oodles of raspberries):

groceries sept 222

That had to have been $30 worth of berries if we were to have bought them at the store, and these are by far superior quality! There are more where those came from, so we’ll be heading back to pick again this week. We’ve been eating them to our heart’s content, but look what I made with the last few of this batch:

raspberry syrup1

Simple Raspberry Syrup recipe coming up.
It took five minutes of brainless work to make that goodness for our Quick Mix Pancakes this morning.

In other (free and plentiful) fruit news, our neighbor has been sharing fresh peaches with us. Man, this time of year is delicious. We’re freezing most of these and making a lot of Peach Milkshakes.

groceries sept 224

Tomatoes are doing great for us, though not really great enough to make sauce and can it this year. We’re just enjoying them with our salads and as side dishes.

groceries sept 221

Those are my Easy {Low} Sugar Cookies you see there. They have nothing to do with the tomatoes except that they made it into the same picture. That is also a juicy steak on the plate with the tomatoes. This fall, we’re gonna grill until we can’t grill no more (aka when it gets too cold to stand at the grill).

I finally got another Bountiful Basket order last week. I’ve been unavailable during every delivery day for several weeks, so it was awesome to be a part of it again. I loaded our kitchen table with fruits and veggies! (And also some Whole Wheat Bread for our soccer trip sandwich convenience.)

groceries sept 223

This plate was too pretty to ignore, so I snapped a shot before I handed it to Matt. (He’s used to it.) That is Creamy Salsa Enchilada Casserole from Lesson 2 of the Let’s Do This! eCourse, in case you were wondering. Of course I made two casseroles that day so we could eat one and freeze another.

enchilada meal

We just got a load of apples delivered to us from “the Apple Man” also known as “the Honey Man” also known as “our friend with the orchard and honey bees.” It is always a joy when he and his wife show up on our porch. I help disperse the apples to friends, and we all make loads of Homemade Applesauce.

Malachi loves the cat…

apples wiggams and malachi

Oh hey look – it’s Wiggams (and Malachi). They like each other just a little bit. I am so happy to share that I saw Wiggams doing her job of pouncing and eating in our back yard last week. I was both grossed out and proud, but mostly proud (and pretty grossed out). Yay, Wiggams! This is why we kept you. Plus, we can’t help but love you. Who knew?

What fall foods are you enjoying these days?

Gratituesday: Apple Time

gratituesday[2]

At church yesterday, a dear friend stopped me to say, “Laura, if you want apples, I’ve got a tree full. Come help yourself!”  And so, as soon as we got through the majority of our school work today, three boys and I headed out with bags and boxes. Below, you will see a big apple tree…and three sets of legs.

apple time

We didn’t have much time, but the four of us picked fast and furious. Within a half hour, we had 2 big fruit boxes and 5 paper grocery sacks filled!

apple time 2

You can guess what I’ll be doing the rest of this week.  Applesauce, apple pie filling, apple crisp – oh yeah. Our house will be smelling good. Our Victorio will be getting a workout. Our cinnamon supply will dwindle.

What a blessing to be supplied with so many apples. Having the chance to pick them with my boys on a bright sunny day was glorious!

What are you thankful for this Gratituesday? Leave a comment to share!

Confessions of an Applesauce Maker

I’m not making any applesauce this year.  Not even a little bit. As much as I love making and preserving applesauce for my family, and as easy as it is to make applesauce with my Victorio – I am very happy to take the year off from this endeavor.

Why am I not making applesauce? Because I counted up jars I have leftover from the stash I made last year, and I found that I have plenty of applesauce to last us through the winter. I don’t need any, so I’m checking that task off my list. Yay!

applesauce_victorio

For those of you who don’t have a pantry full of applesauce, I did want to remind you of what I learned last year:  Making applesauce with a Victorio is by far the easiest method I’ve found.

So how about you? Are you making applesauce this year?

Do You Have a Victorio?

Last week, as I was describing to one of our visitors how I make applesauce, I was reminded that I have an awesome new tool in my kitchen:  my Victorio food strainer.

I guess it’s not really new anymore, but it feels new because I don’t get new “toys” very often and I only found out about the amazing Victorio last summer. How in the world did I ever make applesauce or tomato sauce without it?? Whichever of you wonderful ladies told me about this last year – thank you! Because of it, I can not wait to make sauce this year. It has simplified my canning process so much.

Our tomato plants are loaded with small green tomatoes, which means that soon, it will be loaded with big red tomatoes!

The Victorio is discounted right now to $51.58 at Amazon, so I wanted to be sure you knew about it and could take advantage. With the amount of money I save making our own apple and tomato sauces, and the amount of time I save making them with the Victorio, I would have to say that it was one of the best ways I’ve ever spent $52!

Victorio Food Strainer and Sauce Maker – Best Investment Ever for Homemade Applesauce and Tomato Sauce!

applesauce_victorio

I’ve always known all of you were smart. You’ve proven it to me once again.

Last year, while I was making applesauce and experimenting with ways to make the process easier, many of you suggested that I get a Victorio Food Strainer. Before that day, I had never even heard of this gadget. And I’ll admit, I really questioned – would a Victorio really make the process of making applesauce go any faster? I mean, there are apple cores and bad spots to deal with. No matter how easy the process, you still have to prepare the apples. I’m usually dealing with several bushels of apples at one time. It takes time. It takes work. There’s no way around it.

Or is there? (There is! There is!)

I’m so excited after making 13 quarts of applesauce yesterday, I could do flips. And guess what? Since I invested in a Victorio, I still actually have the energy to do flips! (Not that I can or will. I’m not that coordinated.)

But it’s true. The Victorio DID made the applesauce making process much faster and easier. Like hours easier. I can’t believe how much time I saved compared to how long it used to take me to make applesauce.

I’ve tried all kinds of methods of making applesauce:

Yes, I’ve been making applesauce for years, using all varieties of methods to save myself time.  This is why I feel like I have a leg to stand on when I say that using a Victorio Food Strainer is by far the easiest, fastest, most efficient way to make homemade applesauce – especially if you are making large amounts! (I’m also very sure this is going to save time while I make tomato sauce, though I don’t have enough tomatoes ready yet to give it a try.)

With the Victorio, you wash the apples, halve or quarter them, cook them down, then run them through the Victorio. You don’t core them. You barely touch them. My hands didn’t even turn brown – and I did loads of apples!! And this is why I want to turn flips.

Here’s a picture of what my new toy looks like:

I even figured out how to put it together all by myself. Aren’t you impressed?!

Here’s a little tutorial to show how easy this process was. You wash your apples (or in my case, you ask your children to wash the apples while you are working on other jobs in the kitchen).

You halve or quarter your apples and put them into a big stock pot. I simply halved mine since they were small.

Add a little water to the pot to keep the apples from scorching, then you cook them for 15-25 minutes until they are soft (while you go do something else!). Then you run the soft apples through your Victorio.  The process barely even challenged my arm muscles it was so easy.

All the core and skin comes out the shoot, leaving bowl after bowl full of beautiful, smooth applesauce.

I had enough applesauce yesterday that after we all ate as much as we wanted, I canned 13 quarts using the water bath method. Awesome!

The jars are still sitting on my countertop so that I can admire them for a little while longer before putting them away. You know I always have to do that right? ;)

I have to say that the Victorio Food Strainer was a wonderful investment. Anything that saves me time in the kitchen, especially during the fall season when all the garden produce threatens to overtake my kitchen, is a life saver. It is very reasonably priced for such a handy appliance.

Do you have a Victorio? Do you love it? Do you want to turn flips with me over how great this thing is?