not quite a white christmas

 

Christmas is such a dreamy time and I could be lazing around in my santa hat leggings (yes, those are real) at my parents’ house. Life is so much easier in overtly holiday clothing, don’t you think?

dale's jalopy

We were up in Massachusetts for a bit of the holiday break. Normally, I can count on New England to give me some seasonal weather, but she wouldn’t cooperate this year. Lots of fog and warm temps made for some mild, scenic strolls, so I can’t complain too much. Here are some pics to give you a sense of the neighborhood

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Linus, the tree

It’s feeling festive in here. Advent calendar’s up, balsam candles are lit, lights are up on the fire escape, and there’s a happy little tree named Linus in my living room. For those of you familiar with Charlie Brown Christmas, hopefully you get the Linus, blanket-as-tree-skirt reference here.

At work, it can be hard to feel those holiday vibes, so having a pine-scented, twinkly apartment to come home to has been helpful to make the season feel more present.

Below are some pics of Linus in all his majesty.

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take a stroll

I like a good stroll. Jersey City’s downtown is kind of small by NYC metro standards of pleasant walk-ability, but its smallness makes it feel nice and homey. It’s a good spot for strollin’. Good for poking around to see what new restaurants are popping up (so many Italian/pizza places) and get some ideas on stoop decoration techniques – there seems to be a firm divide between classy mums and fake, stringy spiderwebs.

Here are a couple of the neighborhood eye-catchers as seen in a recent stroll:

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apple butter jeans

I get seduced by farmer’s markets. If I see a cluster of white tents that even hint to a promise of produce, I’m probably heading that way. Most of the time I don’t even need to buy anything; I get a contact high from just being there. Sometimes I buy too many things though, and that’s how I found myself with a growing population of apples living in my kitchen.

With only two of us in the apartment, making a pie seemed a little excessive (and I need to work on my pie crust confidence and today was not the day), so I needed a recipe that would let me use up the apples without resulting in a huge dessert. Enter, apple butter.

apple butter mess

Since this recipe suggested using  a slow cooker, I had the added bonus of making my apartment smell f’ing great all afternoon.

Slow Cooker Apple Butter (adapted from Dinner a Love Story)

  • 10 apples peeled, sliced (I had a hodge podge of varieties and mixed them all together because I’m fearless like that)
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • slice of lemon
  • 1/2 c. water

To do:

Peel and slice your apples. Please try not to peel the tip of your thumb in the process (guilty as charged). Drop the apples as well as all other ingredients into your slow cooker. Turn it on low and stir occasionally. It’s probably recommended to stir as little as possible so that the slow cooker retains the moisture, but if you want to stir yours so that your kitchen gets hit with some appley perfume, be my guest. Make sure the lid is cracked a little open so that moisture can escape and the flavors can really concentrate down.

Once the apples have broken down and are taking on that distinctive apple butter brown color, turn off the slow cooker to let them cool. Remove cinnamon stick and what’s left of your lemon slice, and puree (immersion blender, food processor, whatever you have).

cinnamon