My Favorite Posts for 2013

It’s hard to believe that another year has almost passed us by.  It’s been a pretty good year here in Southeast Georgia and we have much to be thankful for.  I started the year off a little slow after my surgery last January and overall didn’t have as many post for 2013 as I did in 2012 or 2011.  I think maybe I’m a little pickier with the recipes that go on NJSD than I have ever been.  I also started a new venture in 2013, writing a weekly column for the Courier Herald newspaper in Dublin, Ga.  I love the opportunity to reach people that may not have a computer to read my blog.  As we approach a new year I wanted to look back at my favorite post from 2013.  It was hard to narrow my favorites to 10, but after much consideration this is my list, from oldest post to newest post.

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Crock Pot Apple Butter


Have you ever been riding down the road, listening to the radio, when a song comes on that you turn up loud and sing along with?  It brings back old memories and makes your smile.  Smells and tastes trigger old memories too.

For me, apple butter makes me think of my daddy. For as far back as I can remember I was a daddy’s girl.  My daddy, one of the best men I have ever known, passed away 10 years ago.  I still miss him today but the good memories make me smile.

Daddy loved apple butter and one of my favorite memories was when he picked loads of apples from the tree in the back yard and then I helped mama make apple butter.  It took us all day, it was a long, slow process.  We had to stand and stir, and stir, and stir to prevent it from burning or sticking.

I have made apple butter a few times since that day, and always just like mama taught me.  However, when I heard about apple butter made in the crock pot I took notice.  After my recent trip to the mountains I knew I had to try it.  I don’t know how many apples I actually used, but it is great and oh so EASY!  I’m not sure what made it so good.  Maybe it was the combination of apples I used this time or if it was the crock pot method.  Maybe it’s simply that I didn’t have to stand and stir all day.  Either way, my daddy would have loved it!

The majority of my apples were Mutzu, with some Braeburn and Honeycrisp in the mix too.  This is how I made it.


Crock Pot Apple Butter
  • Mixture of apple varieties, probably about 20 large, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 c. light brown sugar
  • 3-4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. coarse salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 c. fresh apple cider
  • ¼ c. fresh lemon juice
  1. Set your slow cooker to high and add sugars, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, ginger, 1 c. apple cider, and lemon juice. Stir to mix and add apple chunks to fill the crock pot. Cook for several hours until the apples break down. Add additional apple chunks to fill the crock pot, stir and cook several more hours until all apples break down.
  2. Reduce heat to low and cook for 9 to 11 hours, with the lid ajar. Stir occasionally, until the mixture is thick and dark in color. Taste and add additional spices or sugar if you prefer. Uncover and cook an additional 30 minutes on low.
  3. Ladle hot apple butter into freshly boiled jars, leaving ¼-inch head space. Wipe rims clean with a clean, wet dish towel, if necessary, so the lids will seal well. Adjust rings.
  4. Process jars of apple butter in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes at a gentle boil. Make sure jars are covered by at least 2-inches of water.
  5. After processing, remove jars and place on a towel to cool.
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Mango Habanero Jam

mango hab jelly


While on vacation at the beach this summer Savannah had Coconut Shrimp served with a sauce that I could have literally licked off the plate.  Yes, it was THAT good and looking back she may regret offering me a bite!!  It was sweet and hot at the same time.  It reminded me of pepper jelly but sweeter, it didn’t have a pepper taste, just the heat.  When I asked about the sauce I was told that it was mango habanero jelly. 

I googled and searched through cookbooks for weeks, until I finally decided to use what I liked from three different recipes.  Making jams and jellies is really simple if you will have everything organized and ready before you start cooking.  It turned out amazing, and I have made two batches already!  We have had it on cream cheese with crackers, with Panfried Grouper and with Coconut Shrimp.  Here’s the recipe for the jam. Check Not Just Sunday Dinner for my Coconut Shrimp and Easy Panfried Grouper recipes.
Mango Habanero Jam
Serves: about 8 half pints
  • 4 c. peeled, chopped and crushed mangoes
  • ½ c. habanero peppers, seeded and minced
  • ½ c. red bell pepper, seeded and minced
  • ¼ c. purple onion, minced
  • 1 c. unsweetened white grape juice
  • ¼ c. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ c. apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. Ball Fruit Jell No Sugar Needed Pectin
  • 3½ c. granulated sugar
  1. Prepare mangoes by peeling and chopping. Crush with a potato masher or pulse in a food processor, but don't over process.
  2. Wearing gloves, remove seeds and veins and mince. Be very careful not to touch your skin!
  3. Mince red bell pepper and purple onion.
  4. In a 8 quart nonreactive pot combine mangoes, peppers, and onions. Add the grape juice and butter. Gradually stir in the pectin. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
  5. Add sugar and return to a rolling boil. Boil hard for 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and ladle hot jam into freshly boiled half-pint jars, leaving ¼-inch head space. Wipe rims clean with a clean, wet dish towel, if necessary, so the lids will seal well. Adjust rings.
  7. Process jars of jam in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes at a gentle boil. Make sure jars are covered by at least 2 inches of water.
  8. After processing, remove jars and place on a towel to cool for 12 - 24 hours.
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