It’s the first day of real snow here, which is always one of my favorite times of the year. I’m that crazy person who actually enjoys getting snowed in, not that five inches of lake effect snow actually stops anyone in Erie, Pennsylvania from getting where they’re going. With the neighbor’s houses all spouting steam or smoke from their chimney’s my little apartment seems extra snug and cozy as I watch the snow stack up on my neighbor’s shingles.
I really have nothing I must be doing today, which is rare.
So, what better time to start in on the Thanksgiving feast preparations? I decided this morning to make my special, spiced apple sauce (it tastes a lot like mulled wine) so it would be ready in plenty of time for Thursday without taking up room on the stove the day of the big event.
I don’t have a set recipe, applesauce is very forgiving by it’s nature, but here’s what I did this year:
Spiced Applesauce by Ki Brightly
*About 9 big apples–I used a combo of Honey crisp and Northern Spy, but your favorites are fine, so long as they aren’t all tart
*Cinnamon–I used about two tablespoons, but I really like cinnamon. I suggest starting with one tablespoon and then taste testing halfway through. You can always add more, but you can’t take it out.
*Nutmeg–A dash will do you. I used two teaspoons, but as with the cinnamon, you can add one and then taste test halfway through.
*Vanilla–Three tablespoons. I have to say, vanilla is not the place to scrimp. I would use less if you don’t have a real vanilla extract. I usually buy the organics for my extracts simply because they have a cleaner flavor.
*Dried Cranberries–Use your judgment. I used a handful, but if your family really likes them you could drop in more.
*Raisins–Again, I used a handful. If you like more toss in more, or you can leave them out.
*Cranberry Juice–I used about a cup of Cranberry juice that isn’t a blend, but is straight cranberry juice. I tossed this in because I had it in my fridge, but you could easily make it without, or add in some wine or mead if you have either of those hanging out in your fridge, though I’m not sure how a dry wine would turn out, and as always, don’t cook with a wine you don’t like to drink.
Dice the apples (peel if you like, but you don’t have to), and drop them in the pot. Add enough water into the apples that it almost covers them and the rest of your ingredients. Bring everything to a boil, stirring the entire time, then reduce to a simmer, stirring every fifteen to twenty minutes, and let the applesauce cook until it’s the consistency you like. Some people like it a little chunkier, my family likes it to be really smooth. You may need to add some more water while you’re cooking, so keep an eye on it. If it gets too thick before it’s cooked down to the point you want it to be and you don’t add more water it could start to stick. Mine took about an hour and forty five minutes to cook down. You could probably cook it on a higher temperature and stir it consistently, but I like to putter and do other things while it cooks.
This works simply as a side next to the mashed potatoes and turkey, but with the hint of cranberry it can replace the cranberry jelly in the houses where that idea isn’t sacrilege. If you warm the applesauce up it can go on a turkey sandwich as a spread for your day after turkey sandwich splurge. My favorite idea is to warm it up and serve it over vanilla ice cream with a small snifter of apple brandy. Also for the day after Thanksgiving, this applesauce is sweet enough to mix in with some plain yogurt and eat with breakfast for a Thanksgiving inspired yogurt parfait.
Check out my book The Shape of Honey!
Yulian Volkov is an entrepreneur and lone werewolf who hates the city. At a pack meeting, he learns the only member he’s attracted to is being expelled for crimes unspecified. Yulian strikes a deal with the pack leader to allow Rolly Witten to live on his farm and work in his Meadery. Although enjoying handsome Rolly’s company, Yulian must tread carefully, since Rolly doesn’t trust him and the pack doesn’t acknowledge homosexuality exists. Meanwhile, Yulian stealthily courts Rolly by teaching him the value of his wolf side.
Rolly, who’s known he was gay since he was a teen, has accepted a life of solitude—and a life of crime. He has no desire to relocate. Yet Yulian’s trust in his ability to do honest work builds his confidence. As life is settling well for them, Rolly learns a friend from his old pack had a crush on him, and he’s torn between returning his friend’s feelings or pursuing the budding relationship with Yulian. But that’s not their worst problem. Assassins are trying to take out both wolves, and they need to figure out who wants them dead or all the trust and happiness they’re building together won’t matter.