|Polish folk art or wycinanki (pronounced vee-chee-non-key) Source: Polish News Seattle|
Happy New Year!
The end of 2014 had some rough spots for us. The flu hit us this Holiday Season. Also, the passing of a man that I babysat when he was young. He leaves behind a wife and three young children. Sadly. His death has hit me hard. My sadness is for his family. I love them so. Seeing them hurting just breaks my heart to pieces. Sadness because he was too young and too precious to go. A beautiful spirit. 41 is just too young. A brain tumor.
My best friend lost her father a few days after Christmas. I sat in Church, during the service, thinking about how he touched my life. When I was in my early twenties I had the good fortune of going with my friend, her sister and her Dad to Poland. I was very fortunate to go and am still very grateful about that! We stayed with his relatives in Gydinia and Gdansk. My friends father, in his younger days, was a Merchant Marine. He sailed the world over and learned many languages. I always thought that was very mysterious and exciting.
It is really the kindness of someone that you remember. I sat there, in Church, thinking about that. How kindness really does matter. Sure the accomplishments of an individual you remember too. But what really is the stand out for me is the love and kindness that the person extended to you and the world. (And really in some cases the lack there of- let's be honest).
I am looking forward to this New Year. Besides the fact that I don't really have a choice, 2015 is here. Period. I do like the freshness of a new day. The freshness of a New Year! How the slate seems to be wiped clean in some ways. But new beginnings are really in every moment. Aren't they? Each moment is a decision to be a better person, to live a better life, to give to someone. It is true there is no greater gift than the giving of one's self to another. The moments you spend with your children, your spouse, your friends, your parents. Or even the small kindness you give to a stranger.
The hardest part of this recipe is chopping all the apples. The rest? Easy Peasy. Place in crock pot, turn it on and forget about it. You don't have to even stir it. Just let it simmer away.
Crock Pot Apple Butter
18 large apples
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cider or water
Fill crock pot with apples. I use the above as a guide for about how much spice to put in. Don't add your spices until right at the end. Since everything will cook down quite a bit the flavor will condense as well. The vanilla will just cook out so wait until the end for that as well. Mine was in the crock pot for 12 hours. It never stuck to the pan at all.