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CeeCee and the Bea has a new home! After much discussion and thought, we have decided to create a new space to continue blogging at. You can find us here at Goodbye Bernadette.

We have spent the last few months refining our purpose and point-of-view as bloggers, and chose to create a completely new blogging identity to reflect that! We will continue to blog about our life and our love of handmade and homemade things. Please pay us a visit!

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handmade holiday: homemade apple butter

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Good morning! Today I am happy to share with you a fun recipe–homemade apple butter! This recipe is super easy, and I know that if you’re as addicted to apple butter as I am, you’ll fall for it right away. The best part? It’s made in a slow-cooker, so you could prep this on Christmas Eve and have fresh apple butter for Christmas Day breakfast!

My apple butter escapade started out with a bright future. Becca and I spent a weekend afternoon developing a recipe from scratch, fully expecting it to be a bust. Instead, the apple butter was DELIGHTFUL. It was rich. It was creamy. It was flavorful. I proudly schmeared some onto toast every time someone came over and made them taste test it. It was getting rave reviews.

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Then came the day to actually make my quadruple-magillion batch, to can and give as gifts for the Holiday. Here’s where my plans went wayward. You see, our test recipe used four apples and made about 24 ounces. My quadruple-magillion batch consisted of enough apples to fill thirty-six 8 ounce canning jars–that’s a lotta apples! So here I am chop chop chopping away, and I come to find that the number of apples I have chopped and seasoned (about half) won’t fit in my Crock Pot. Surprise! (Sometimes I can be a real dingbat…).

So what happens next? You guessed it. I strayed from the plan. I decide to take my apples, throw them in a stock pot and boil ’em down. I truly believe this method would have worked just fine had I actually paid attention to the apples. Instead, I went about working on my finals homework for school. After all, the original plan was to throw apples into a Crock Pot and let them have it for about 10 hours while I dutifully studied. Well, we all know the beauty of the slow-cooker is the ability to walk away from it for a whole day. Boiling fruit on the stove-top does not afford that same luxury.

I endeed scorching that apple mush an inch deep at the bottom of the pot.

Shamed, I reverted back to the original plan, only to discover another oversight: HOW WAS I GOING TO COOK 5, TEN-HOUR BATCHES IN ONE WEEKEND WITH ONE CROCK POT? The answer? I wasn’t!

So, Wes and I called around and rounded up an extra Crock Pot. I reduced the cook time (with much trepidation, mind you!) from 10 to 7 hours and hoped for the best.

It turned out just fine, especially since we also cut out the added sweetener (to accommodate sugar-free diets).  But, I still think my very original recipe was the best:

HOMEMADE APPLE BUTTER

INGREDIENTS

2 Granny Smith apples

2 Fuji apples

1/4 teaspoon ground clove

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon lemon juice

a drizzle of honey

SUPPLIES

slow-cooker

immersion blender

strainer

canning supplies (if you’re planning on making a large batch and preserving***)

INSTRUCTIONS

Slice apples into sixteenths. Don’t get rid of the core/seeds–the pectin in the core will help thicken the apple butter! Toss apple slices into your slow-cooker, sprinkling with the clove, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Drizzle honey all over the top, cover with lid, and turn on low. Let those babies cook for a solid 10 hours. The apples will become dark brown, and will reduce a lot. Liquid will release and will boil. All of these things are good things. At the end of 10 hours, pour into a bowl and carefully immersion blend. Strain into a cute serving dish and smear on toast, pancakes, and waffles, or even use as a fruit dip!

***If you want to can your apple butter, the web is full of great tutorials on canning. Also, you can ask your awesome mama for tips, like me. Here’s my canning process:

1. Wash jars, lids, and rings in hot, soapy water, and rinse.

2. Boil jars, lids, and rings for about 10 minutes.

3. Remove jars from water with this handy tool. Be sure to set jars onto clean towels, right side up. Avoid touching the lip of the jar to anything. Leave lids and rings in hot water until ready to seal jars.

4. I used this fancy-dancy food press to strain my apple butter into a clean bowl. Or you could use this two-in-one strainer/funnel to funnel strained apple butter right into the jar!

5. Otherwise, use a regular funnel to transfer the strained apple butter into jars. I must stress the usage of the funnel. It’s important to keep the lip of the jar sterile, so dripping apple butter all over it and constantly wiping it off is not the best practice!

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6. Leave room in the top of the jar for the contents to expand when boiling during the sealing process. For me, this meant I filled until just below the threads on the jar.

7. Use tongs to fish out your lids and rings. First the lid…place it evenly onto your jar, and follow with a ring.

8. Use a pot like this to give your cans a water-bath. The rack holds your cans off of the burner. I heated the water first, added the cans, and then turned it up to boiling. I processed my cans for 10 minutes. This processing time can vary depending on what you’re canning (jams/jellies, veggies, etc.) and also by your elevation. A Google search can always offer more information!

9. Remove your cans from the water with your can grabber, and allow to cool over night. This is my FAVORITE PART! If you’ve processed the cans correctly, you’ll start to hear little “pops” as the vacuum action seals the lids to the jar. Our cans popped all through the night, and every time, either myself or Wes would wake up and say “Oooh! Another one!” I was very nervous my jars wouldn’t seal!

10. Some people promote storing the jars without rings, because trapped water can cause the lid to rust or harbor bacteria (bad). I just chose to remove the rings after the jar had sealed, wipe off any water, and package with my squares of material and gift tags. Super cute, right?

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I hope you find this apple butter tasty! And, Happy Holidays. We’ll be signing off until after the holidays for the most part, so have fun and stay warm!

xoxo,

Catherine

birthday and thanksgiving memories

I am 24 and a few days old! I love having a birthday in November–it means I get to kick off Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s festivities that much sooner! Plus, there’s nothing quite like having a birthday right before turning the corner into a new year–it’s a super inspiring time for me. I may have made a multi-page goal list. And maybe I’ll share it with you!

I received some lovely, thoughtful gifts from all around–adorable socks, a Tiffany-blue sweater, the triangle necklace and Lip Venom from my wish list (!), plus some other fabulous trinkets. Oh–and Wes got me a fancy new blender! Now I can make my fruit smoothies without yelling “Blend, baby, blend!” And my niece Jordan made the most delicious Tar Heel Pie for Thanksgiving. I’m a spoiled girl!

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To make the month even better, I received some surprise correspondences in the mail–one from Corrie in Seattle, and one from Sarah in France! It was AMAZING to hear from my friends. It’s so nice to know we can be off on our own adventures and still love and care about one another! (*Makes a mental note to write back.)

But the best part was just being home with family at Thanksgiving. For the first time in my ENTIRE college career, I just left my homework at home. And yeah, it made for a stressful week upon return, but it made the two days with family much more peaceful without a stack of  to-do staring me down at every turn!

This birthday + Thanksgiving made me feel super blessed, and much less stressed. Loved it! Now, onward to Christmas!

xoxo cat

my eyes are so bleary…

I guess I’m young but I feel so weary!

Sing it, Zooey Deschanel!

I am so exhausted. My candle has-neither her nor there–and end to burn. I feel weary and bleary. And dreary.

This last week, I barely made it by. Academically, professionally, personally, emotionally. It’s mostly because I can’t find the proper motivation to get anything done at all. It’s just much easier to take a nap than to think about a messy apartment, unfinished homework, and Monday. I find that when my mental to-do list (or any physical variation thereof) gets overloaded, I just panic and choose not to do any of it. I’m very much a “If I can’t get it all done–and done right–why do it at all?” kind of gal. That means that I have trouble forgoing a full on house clean and focusing on just one room. Or, I neglect all of my homework because I feel like I can’t get it all done in one day. And I feel all these little life things piling up, like my license expiring soon, my car desperately needing an oil change, and not knowing what to cook for dinner.

Hang in there, Baby. My goal for today is to just prioritize tasks and accomplish as many as possible without sacrificing too much brain rest time.

Oh. And I don’t think it would hurt at all to give that desk a quick tidy. (Compels urge to reorganize the entire living room.)

And it might be nice to get some kitty snuggles.

 

a 24th birthday party wishlist

 

Guess who turns 24 this month? This girl. Just creepin’ farther and farther into my 20’s…I’ve been in this weird transition since entering young adulthood where birthdays just aren’t a big deal anymore. After that (mildly) wild and crazy 21st, it sometimes becomes just another day, especially if you have to work, do homework, or otherwise be a grownup. And yet, I’d like to try and celebrate birthdays with the some of the shebang found in the limousine parties of my pre-teen youth! This mostly means I’d just like to be surrounded by friends and family. My most favorite (adult) birthday party has to be my 22nd, where about 20 of my most favorite people and I ate dinner at a local restaurant. Live music, good food, and best friends–that was so special.

Well, anyway, to hush the “what do you want for your birthday” questions that keep coming my way (mostly from the BFF and my husband–Bea is exceptionally adept at knowing what I like, because we’re basically the same person) I decided to make a lovely little wishlist! By the way, the photo above is the first product collage I’ve ever made, and the first thing to come out of Photoshop that didn’t take me 15 hours. And I have this nice little tutorial to thank!

Without further ado . . .

1. This necklace eases my triangle addiction. 2. So does this bright white-n-yellow clutch! 3. Lindsay Lohan, I have always wanted to try Lip Venom. 4. Bea has an Instax and I’m in love with the mini pix that pop out! 5. I’m starting to fall in love with quirky, fun socks like these from Forever 21. 6. If you haven’t listened to She & Him before, click this link to hear my favorite song, and thing this one to buy their record! 7. I think this bag may be the best satchel of the season!

What’s on your wishlist this year? Birthday? Winter holidays?

xoxo,

cat