Looking for any easy/healthy snack the whole family will enjoy? Look no further friends! Check out this amazing applesauce recipe for a yummy treat that even the pickiest eater will enjoy! (this has been adapted from the Pioneer Woman’s recipe which you can find here!)

Our all natural cinnamon applesauce

Our all natural cinnamon applesauce

Ingredients:
~6 lbs. of apples (roughly 18 med. to large size apples of any variety)
~1 cup apple juice or apple cider – (most apple cider is gluten free too!)
~lemon juice from one lemon
~1/2 cup brown sugar – you can substitute maple syrup for a gluten-free recipe.
~1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

(optional ingredients: nutmeg, allspice)

Delicious cinnamon!

Delicious cinnamon!

Tools:
Apple peeler/corer (if desired – it really speeds things up!)
Knife
Big stock pot
Food Processor

1. Core and chop all apples. We used all Granny Smith’s as that is what we picked at the orchard. I do like the blend of a half and half selection though such as 50% Granny Smith’s – 50% Pink Lady (or other sweet apple).

Peel and core apples

Peel and core apples

2. Add all ingredients to stock pot and cook for 25-30 min on medium. Stir often and taste to make sure you like the sweetness.

All ingredients in the stock pot

All ingredients in the stock pot

3. AFTER the apples are soft and COOLED add in 2 batches to a food processor and pulse until the consistency you like! We left ours a bit chunky!

This makes about 6 cups of fresh applesauce

This makes about 6 cups of fresh applesauce

4. Enjoy by itself or on pancakes, fresh bread, ice cream or anything you can think of!! One other nice thing about this recipe is that it freezes very well! (If your family doesn’t eat it all first!) I love that this can be made into an easy gluten free recipe too!

Sometimes it helps to have special helpers!  (who think apple peels are yarn!)

Sometimes it helps to have special helpers! (who think apple peels are yarn!)

Next up tomorrow in our kitchen tomorrow…….apple pie with Grandma’s pie crust!!! (And hopefully on a post coming up!)

Let us know if you try this recipe out!!

Have a wonderful week friends and don’t forget to enter in our HUGE giveaway that ends tomorrow!! Just click here!

Blessings,

CharlotteCharlotte

Coming next week!!
We are so excited to add a new ‘branch’ to our Spice Grove Designs forest!!
What will it be?
Tune in next week for the big launch!!

The New Branch

You won’t want to miss the HUGE giveaway that’s coming next week too!! We will even have 3 huge winners so you’ll have 3 chances to win!! Yay – we only have to keep the secret for one more week!!

Have a great week friends and we will see you back here for the BIG reveal!!

Blessings,
Charlotte
Charlotte

Delicious pumpkin footballs

Delicious pumpkin footballs

Football season is well under way and so are the traditions at the Spice Grove household! We love our Sunday night ‘pizza picnics,’ which include a blanket on the living room floor while eating pizza and watching the evening game. We also love the yummy treats and smells that fall and football bring to the house! From scenting the house with simmering spices, to favorite recipes made with love, cinnamon is front and center this time of year. One of our favorites is Pumpkin Footballs. (Special thanks to Brenda at STRUCTUREbags for letting us share these with her fans last year!)

I grew up with my Mom making these pumpkin bars frequently because they were gobbled up quickly and are easy and pain-free to make. Since I got married I fashioned them into something we can take to tailgate parties with our friends. Our kiddos love them now too. They love to be in the kitchen helping stir and taste when we make these!

PUMPKIN FOOTBALLS

What you’ll need:
2 cookie sheets with lips on them
1 large bowl
Whisk
Large spoon
Football shapes cookie cutter or knife to cut football shape
Piping bag with tip or small Ziploc bag

BARS
1 ½ cups of applesauce (this originally called for 1 ½ cups of canola oil but we’ve made it a bit healthier!)
29 oz. of pumpkin (make sure it’s pureed pumpkin not pumpkin pie filling)
6 eggs
3 cups of flour
1 ½ tsp. of baking soda
3 tsp. cinnamon
2 ½ cups of sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
12 oz. chocolate chips

Mix ingredients together. (I like to mix the wet ingredients first and then add the dry ingredients. But the beauty of this recipe is you don’t have to separate them if you don’t have time. I’ve made them both ways and they turn out great either way.) Pour into two greased cookie sheets. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool and cut into football shapes. Make frosting while cooling.

LACES
6 oz. softened cream cheese
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
1 ½ stick of butter or margarine
2 tbsp. cream or milk

Mix frosting ingredients together. Put in a piping bag with a thin tip. (If you don’t have a piping bag simply use a sandwich size Ziploc bag with a tiny hole cut in one corner of it.) Pipe on laces on your cooled football shapes.

pumpkin football Collage

One of my favorite things about this recipe is that these freeze really well and taste just as good out of the freezer as the day you make them. Make up a batch and freeze half for later!

I hope you’ll try our Pumpkin Football Recipe and let us know what your ‘fans’ think!  :)

Have a great weekend friends and enjoy the games!! (and GO BRONCOS!!)

Charlotte

Bio football

In keeping with our series theme of “using what you have,” welcome to our autumn DIY post! I hope you’ll enjoy these easy and low-cost ideas for freshening up your Fall table! Read on to see our 5 simple table centerpieces!

1. Use what is in your yard. Since we live in the desert our yard is mainly rock with a few cactus and other desert plants. Our girls are constantly bringing me rocks to add to their collections so one day we decided to see how they would look as a centerpiece.

Rocks
Using the rocks and a few pinecones that I’ve collected over the years we were able to make a simple and rustic centerpiece that was FREE and took only about 2 minutes. (More if you are having fun looking at the rocks with your little ones!!)
Rocks and Pinecones
2. Nature provides us with so much beauty, why not use some of it inside your home? Whether you have a herb garden with some fragrant lavender, some mini pumpkins or beautiful branches lying around your home don’t be afraid to use them!! Get creative and see where your imagination takes you!
LavenderPumpkins or flowersBranches
3. Now as much as I love the branches and pinecones, the desert doesn’t provide many of these naturally so I have taken to using what grows naturally here.
Prickly pear
I found these amazing prickly pear fruit in our front yard and just simply arranged them in this large cylindrical vase. Again, super quick, easy and FREE!! (Important note!!! Make sure you are wearing thick gloves to handle these little guys as they have amazingly small little needles on them!!)

Prickly pearPrickly Pear
4. Another sweet idea is to take a peek into your spice cabinet and see what whole spices you have available!

SpicesThen take the lovely seeds and berries and let them arrange themselves into whatever container or bowl you have available. Now you have a beautiful and fragrant centerpiece that evokes the scents of Fall all found in your own kitchen for FREE! (My favorite Fall scents to use are probably, cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice, star anise, and rose hips for a splash of Autumn color!) Buying these in bulk or online will save you money if you want to purchase more than just a little bit!
Pinecones and Spice BallsRosemary and cranberriesCloseup pinecones and spice balls
Besides the spices, I also love using some coffee beans or natural herbs from our garden in various vases!!

5. The last idea features one of our rustic spiced candle wreaths. I love that they have four different uses! (candle wreath, napkin holder, flower holder or vase decor) I’ll show you how I used the wreath in a vase decor and flower holder here.
IMG_0079closeup of vase with candle wreath
Now since we don’t have abundant flowers here in the desert I just used some tiny little ‘weeds’ that the girls are always bringing in. They are just the perfect size for the tiny votive candle holder and the yellow looks so pretty with the Fall hued candle wreath!
I also made a tiny centerpiece with just the wreath and the flowers. I know it won’t last long but we loved the understated look of this one. (our household thrives on simplicity and creativity!)
Candle wreath with flowers
I truly hope that some of these easy tips and ideas will spark your imagination and let you come up with some new Autumn decor for your own table! I’d love to see pictures if you do!

Autumn Blessings to you friends,

Charlotte
Charlotte

A big ‘Welcome’ to Fall and all of it’s amazing colors, scents and weather!! I can’t think of anything I don’t like about Autumn! So here are some of my favorite inspiring quotes and photos of this lovely Season!
Welcome Autumn“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
Albert Camus
Fall Colors
“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
Pumpkin quotes
“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.” [Indian Summer]
William Cullen Bryant

Fall Hiking

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.” [Notebook, Oct. 10, 1842]
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The American Notebooks
Autumn log
“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.”
Jim Bishop

Spiced Fall Mini Wreath

I hope that you are enjoying your first week of Fall and that these words and photos have brought a smile to your face!! Have a wonderful week friends! Let us know what your favorite thing about Fall is in the comments below!!

Blessings,
Charlotte
Charlotte

Welcome to the new blog series titled ‘Use What You Have!’

Use What You Have

I am so excited to share a special collection of all things inspirational for your Heart and Home! This new weekly/bi-weekly series will feature so many wonderful ideas you won’t want to miss a moment! Just some of the ideas I have planned for you are:

~Gorgeous DIY Home Decor Ideas using things you ALREADY have!

~Easy, Healthy Recipes using what is ALREADY in your pantry!

~Inspirational stories and thoughts to uplift your spirit!

~FREE tutorials! (These will make your Holiday parties so special!)

~Amazing guests!

~Festive Holiday ideas and Gift Guides!

~And MORE!!!! (giveaways too!!)

I’m so thankful for all of you and that you took the time to stop by! Do you have a recipe or awesome DIY you’d like to share with us? Just contact us here!! (or leave a comment below)

Have a beautiful day friends!
Blessings to you,

 

Charlotte
Charlotte

Wishing all of you a safe and peaceful 4th of July! Our deepest gratitude going out to all the men and women who have and continue to serve this Nation today.

July 4th

A peek in the Studio today……..

Americana flag design

Our new Americana Flag Design

A new design that celebrates Independence Day!! Add a touch of Americana to any room in your home with this rustic designmade with a recycled frame and whole spices. These can be custom ordered to any size that you might need. Simply contact us and we can work on your own one of a kind design!

Americana Flag Design

Make sure and stay tuned for our “Christmas in July” SALE coming very soon!! You won’t want to miss it!

Remembering on the 4th of July

Honoring those who gave all……

Again, we hope you have a wonderful Holiday weekend with family and friends and all the best to those who can’t be home today…

Blessings to you friends,
Charlotte
Charlotte

Happy Father's Day

Hero
Provider
Protector
Strong
Brave
Larger than life
Smart
Silly
Love

So many qualities that made my Dad special…..but my favorite……that he is MINE!!!

I’ve been so blessed to have a Dad that served not only his country, but his family too. Whether it was teaching us how to ride our bikes or letting us practice hammering on his extra 2X4’s, Dad always let us know we were important to him by the TIME he was willing to spend with us. I think we spent more hours with him in his beloved garage than in the actual house. He loves creating things with his hands. Even now, (many) years later, he is always coming up with projects or special things for our girls to invest in their lives. There really is nothing he can’t build/fix/invent/or change to make something work better! I pray I am half the parent he has been to me! I love you Dad!
My Dad

I’ve also been blessed with the most amazing Husband who is an amazing Dad to our girls!! Their faces light up when they hear him crack the door upon coming home from work!! Like my Father, he also served his country selflessly and also daily serves his family at home. Whether playing a rousing game of ‘tickle fest’, ‘chase me Daddy’ or ‘wall-softball’, it is pure joy to see the three of them together. He gives of his TIME to umpire little league softball games, go on mountain hikes and to read books to the girls. We all love our books and I’m so thankful that the 3 of them can share stories that they’ve read and scenes they’ve imagined. And they adore him in return……. I think they would do anything for him and I’ve seen him move mountains for them! We are truly blessed, thank you Todd!!

Happy Father's Day

To all of those Dad’s, Step Dad’s, Grandpa’s and other amazing guys out there…….we are so thankful for you and all you mean to our family and to your families. Wishing you a blessed and wonderful Father’s Day with your loved ones today!!

Blessings to you friends,

Charlotte

Charlotte

A gorgeous rose in Mom's garden

A gorgeous rose in Mom’s garden

Mother’s Day.
What does that mean to you?

Flowers, chocolate, a meal out, a Hallmark card, a nap (my personal favorite?)

Or is it a job description? Taxi driver, short order cook, nurse, laundry service, counselor, nightmare comforter, supporter, cheerleader?

While ‘thank-you’ will never ever be enough to voice our appreciation for all our Mom’s do for us….here’s my feeble attempt at doing just that! I hope you enjoy!

Here are some of my favorite things my Mom taught me that still ring true today, whether in my family life or in business.

~ Have more faith than fear.
My Mom, while not perfect, really tried/try’s to walk her journey of Faith out. I don’t remember any morning growing up that didn’t start with her doing a devotion and talking to God. This was regardless of good or bad times our family was having. How this still inspires and challenges me. Taking a step of Faith, knowing that someone is there to catch you is never a bad idea……even if you fall you’ve learned something you’d never otherwise learned!

Mom and I enjoying Nature

Mom and I enjoying nature!

~ Appreciate Nature and all of Creation.
I credit my Mom with the sense of wonder I have for Nature. Whether we were up to our elbows in plaster of paris taking a tracking sample, or hiking in the mountains or camping under the stars, she always approached the outdoors with a passion and reverence that has rubbed off on both of her children. My love of flowers and growing things stems from my Grandmother’s love of her rose garden and the memories of my Mom fighting the big fat tomato caterpillar worms in our large vegetable garden. How wonderful these dirt filled memories are! (I still catch myself singing an old girl scout song to my girls that Mom us kids used to sing while hiking……)

~ Show kindness, no matter how small it may seem.
My Mom was always the first to reach out when someone was hurting. Whether it was baking a casserole or driving kids where they needed to go she was always willing to help out. She taught us to think of others first. Even when we didn’t have much we learned to give first!

~ Hold tight to your family, through good and bad.
These are the folks that will be there through good, bad and otherwise. No one has the perfect family of course, but we all have the people with us to teach us the lessons we need to learn. The folks that know us at our best and our worst and still love us anyway!

~ Learn how to do it on your own.
My Mom was great at encouraging us to try things on our own – to make mistakes while thinking for ourselves. With trial and error came creativity, thinking out of the box, and learning to deal with failure and success.

~ Follow your dreams, they will lead to an amazing life!
My parents both encouraged us to follow dreams that fueled our passions. Now that I’m a Mom too, I can only imagine how it tugged at my Mom’s heart when I announced that I had decided on being a music major in college, yet she rarely voiced her concerns, but let me find out what chasing that dream meant.

Another rose from Mom's garden

Another rose from Mom’s garden

I have been truly blessed with an amazing Mother and I’m thankful for everyday that I can learn from her wisdom and bravery. She has no idea how strong she is, but I’ll always pray she knows how very beloved she is……

I love you Mom…..and I pray that I can pass on these lessons to our girls as they grow up….

Our girls in my beloved Aspen trees....

Our girls in my beloved Aspen trees….

Wishing you all a beautiful Mother’s Day,
Charlotte
Charlotte

Ranunculus

Welcome to our DIY tutorial for how to make a beautiful and one of a kind ‘recycled garden!’

Here we’ll go through our easy steps of how we created a stunning garden in no time and with minimal expense!

Step 1

Decide what ‘look’ you are going for and find pieces/containers that match your style and plants you’ll be planting. Here we were looking for pieces that worked together, but had an old -time feel to them. (I let my girls pick some of the pieces out so it’s a bit more eclectic than I had envisioned! :) But I love how it turned out! We even found the ‘Reduce, Recycle, Reuse’ sign at a thrift store and added that to the garden!

Check all your local thrift stores and see what treasures jump out at you! Don’t forget to check Craigslist or your local Freecycle page for other local finds. (If you haven’t used Freecycle before I recommend checking it out! I’ve found some amazing ‘junk’ on there and I love being connected with others who also try to recycle things!)

Step 2

If your containers don’t have holes or a way for the water to drain out the bottom, make sure and drill holes in the bottom of the piece so the moisture has a place to go. (Holes about dime or penny size are good.)

We used a drill and dremel to accomplish this as we had a mix of metal and wood containers to drill. My sweet Hubby was so kind to help us with this task!

Step 3

Fill your container with good soil. I used an organic, non GMO soil made locally since we are growing edible yummies in the garden and it makes me so happy knowing we’ll have healthy, ‘good for us’ food in a bit!


Step 4

Plant your seeds or plants in your new beautiful gardens! We cheated this year and bought many of our plants already blooming or started since I was a bit late with this project this year! (Mental note….start in Feb. in the desert as the heat will be on us by late May!) But we did pick out some veggie seeds that will be going into the wooden munition boxes this week so I’ll have pictures of that soon!

Pictured below are some of the flowers that the girls and I chose. The gorgeous footlocker features sweet snapdragons, a geranium, 2 kinds of lavender and my favorite little ranunculus. The tall metal trash can is filled to the brim with a petunia and sweet little viola’s and johnny jump up’s. The vintage suitcase that I fell in love with now holds a strawberry patch on one side and a herb garden on the other! (Can you smell the delicious lemon thyme and pineapple sage from there??) The file cabinets and various recycled pots hold broccoli, yellow and orange peppers, sweet peas, tomatoes, and cucumbers. (Yum!) My youngest just loves the orange marigolds so we mixed those in with the rest of the pansies, violas and johnny jump up’s that we had left. The colander holds 2 adorable marigolds that were so easy and fun to plant. (Note of warning – don’t forget to water this one daily as the water drains so very well!!) One of my favorites was the up-cycled letter holder my Mother in law so sweetly gave me! (Hopefully she won’t mind this use of it!!) We put some ice plants and sweet little lobelia in there and it is just bursting with happiness!

The charm of these types of ‘container’ gardens is that you can make it meet your exact design preferences. If you love rustic designs, you can easily pick out/find older rustic looking containers to plant your garden in. Find old wooden signs and make your own planters from that. How about an old rusty tire rim? (Filled at the bottom of course so your dirt doesn’t escape.) Love the Victorian period?? Find some old teapots or china to use as planters. Or simply go ‘treasure’ hunting and see where your heart leads you!

Our cost so far has been – $60 for the planters. (This would have only been $30 but I found the wooden crates later on and just fell in love with them! The tops of the boxes we took off and they will be used for photo props for Spice Grove Designs!) The plants, seeds and soil cost around $150, but would have only been about $60 if I only had to buy seeds and soil instead of the established plants.

I was so thankful to get to do this with my girls not just to teach them about growing their own food and flowers, but to show them how creative we can be with reusing things!!

Little Gardeners

My amazing helpers!

I hope you enjoyed a walk through our recycled garden and we’d love to see pictures of your gardens! Let us know what you think! How are you recycling things in your garden?

As always, blessings to you friends,and happy gardening!Charlotte

PS. For some more inspiration from someone who is an actual gardener, make sure and check out our last post from our friend Emily at Fleuropean and the amazing difference she is making with her flowers!

Our happy Ranuculus!

Our happy Ranuculus!

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On Twitter