Category Archives: Uncategorized

Ben does a puzzle

I didn’t know this when we got married, but Ben really likes jigsaw puzzles. And not in that “if there’s one around I’ll look at it for a few minutes and fit a couple pieces in place, and over the course of several months I may or may not finish it” way, but in the obsessive, down-the-rabbit-hole way. Which is all right, really, because the only table big enough for the thousand-piece puzzles he does is our kitchen table, which is also where we eat.

Abbey Road, the beginning

Abbey Road, the beginning

Find all those edge pieces and start with the border...

Find all those edge pieces and start with the border…

Expert puzzler posture: the hunchback.

Expert puzzler posture: the hunchback.

The Liverpool lads begin to take shape.

The Liverpool lads begin to take shape…

As does the road and a bit more sky and trees.

…as does the road and a bit more sky and trees…

And a bit more...

…and a bit more (though Ringo is still hollow at this point).

The crosswalk is almost complete.

The crosswalk is almost complete.

Nearly there!

Nearly there!

Hmm...

Hmm…

There it goes.

There it goes.

And, done!

And, done!

Beginning to end, Ben did the puzzle in about four days. I helped very little with it, other than sorting the puzzle pieces to find edge pieces or certain blocks of color. (Also, I set up the Welcome to Night Vale podcasts to listen to while I was sorting and Ben was puzzling. That is one trippy podcast, and I highly recommend it.)

We’re thinking of framing the completed Abbey Road puzzle, but Ben plans to do the Where the Wild Things Are Puzzle again sometime. Maybe jigsaw puzzles will be his December tradition; he completed this one last year.

Where the Wild Things (mostly) Are

Where the Wild Things (mostly) Are

Where the Wild Things Are

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Homemade Applesauce

There are few things more disappointing that biting into a beautiful apple and realizing that, despite its promising exterior, it is mushy instead of crisp. Oh, sure, not getting into your top-choice college is disappointing; not getting hired for that job you were really excited about is disappointing; arriving at your favorite donut shop only to find out that it closed an hour ago – these things are disappointing too. But I contend that a mushy apple is the same type of tragedy, if on a smaller scale.

Some people would just go ahead and eat the damn apple. Maybe you are one of those people. I sometimes try to be; I hate to waste anything, plus if I throw the apple out, then I have no more apple. (This is beginning to sound like a metaphor, or a euphemism; I promise it isn’t.) So sometimes I’ll force myself to finish the disappointing apple, and other times I throw it away.

But. But! If you happen to be at home, and you have a few more apples and a half-hour to spare, here is a much better solution to the sad apple dilemma: make homemade applesauce! (You guessed, didn’t you? The title of the post gave it away, I suppose.)

I originally posted this recipe for applesauce on my old blog. The recipe came from Simply Recipes, but I tinkered with it a bit, and you can too.

Ingredients:
6 apples, peeled and cored (tip: use a mix of different types of apples for better flavor)
1 cup water
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. ground cinnamon (you can throw in a cinnamon stick too, if you like, just remember to take it out before mashing/blending)
pinch of salt
1/4 cup brown sugar*
1/8 cup white sugar*

*You can go even lighter on the sugar if you’re using sweeter apples. If you’re using tart apples, such as Granny Smith, keep the sugar at these amounts.

Cut the peeled, cored apples into chunks; larger is okay if you’re planning to blend the sauce later, but if you’re just using a potato masher to mush the sauce by hand, chop the apples a little smaller – bite-size pieces are good.

Put the apples, water, lemon juice, cinnamon, sugars, and salt into a pot over medium-low heat and simmer for about half an hour, stirring occasionally.

Once the apples are soft, remove from heat and mash or blend.

 

This applesauce keeps for several days in the fridge, if you can keep your hands off it for that long. It’s great warm, either on its own or over vanilla ice cream, and good cold as well.

Enjoy, and happy Thanksgiving!

 

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