Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter

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apple butter 6597   Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter

Last year, I dusted off my slow cooker and made my first batch of apple butter. While it tasted incredible, I realized (after the fact) that I cooked the apples way too long. I was left with a mere cup of apple butter from 5 pounds of apples. That sure was some thick, concentrated apple butter, let me tell you!

IMG 2143   Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter

This time around, I did things differently. Mainly, I cooked it for a fraction of the time. Not only was it much, much faster, but I was left with five cups of creamy apple butter.

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It’s also naked. Minimal spices, no sweetener. The blonde roast of apple butters! Most apple butter recipes call for 2-4 cups of sugar, but I wanted to make a batch without any sugar. Yes, sugar does help increase the shelf-life and also thicken, but my version seemed to turn out fine.

For this method, you only need a few ingredients:

1) Sweet + tart apples. For the best-tasting apple butter, use an equal mixture of sweet and tart apples. I used Granny Smith, Sunrise, Fuji, Honeycrisp, and Mac apples. Use any varieties you wish, the more the better. Each time you make apple butter, it will taste a bit different depending on the apples you use. Of course, local, in-season apples will make your apple butter even better (say that 5 times fast). I used 5.5 pounds of apples, but feel free to make a smaller batch if preferred (cooking time may vary).

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2) Cinnamon. I used about 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon for this batch, but if you’d like a more flavourful and darker apple butter, add as much cinnamon as you prefer. You can also throw in cinnamon sticks as it cooks or try adding ground cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. Some people like to add a spice packet to the mixture. Just grab cheesecloth and add in whole spices and tie it with cooking string. It is very easy to remove this way.

3) Lemon Juice. I added a tiny bit of fresh lemon juice, to taste. This will help extend shelf-life a bit.

Notes:

You can also add apple juice or sweet apple cider, but I didn’t bother for this batch.

I don’t find it needs any added sweetener when I use around 50% sweet apples, but feel free to add sweetener if your taste buds prefer. I like it a bit tart, with a light sweetness. When we cook down the apples, it concentrates the sweetness, so it will taste better as it cooks. A little bit of maple syrup would go a long way here.

apple butter 6591   Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter

How I made it:

As always, I’m giving you chatty detailed steps, photos, and tips, but the actual process is very easy. I like to talk, what can I say.

1. Slice apples. There is no need to peel the apples. In fact, your apple butter is much healthier with the peel left on. Don’t worry, we’ll blend it all up and you won’t even know the peel is in there. Tip: If you have an apple slicer, now is the time to use it. I love this OXO divider. Or if you have a food mill, I hear you can cook the apples whole and then run it through the mill. You make the call.

IMG 2131   Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter

2. Set slow cooker on HIGH for 4 hours with the lid on. During those 4 hours, give it several stirs as the apples tend to stick to the bottom. You can add some apple juice or cider to prevent sticking. If you’d rather cook it longer on a low heat, you can do that too.

3. Mash apples and turn off heat. After 4 hours, most of the apples are soft enough to mash up with a wooden spoon or potato masher. After mashing, we now have applesauce (with the peel of course).

IMG 21331   Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter

4. Cool slightly and scoop into high-speed blender. This step results in super smooth apple butter. Plus, we want to pulverize the apple peel. With a big ladle, scoop the apple mixture into a blender. If you have a small blender you may have to do this in a few batches. It all just fit in my Vitamix. Make sure lid is secured tightly or explosions may occur…

IMG 2134   Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter

5. Blend the mixture. Start on a low setting and go faster until you reach max speed. You may need to let some steam escape through the top hole if there is one. Puree mixture until super smooth and buttery. If it’s still chunky, keep blending.

It will look similar to this after blending – it’s like the silkiest apple “sauce” you’ve ever tasted, but not quite thick enough for a butter yet!

IMG 2137   Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter

6. Pour the apple butter back into the slow cooker. Turn heat on high and cook down, uncovered, for another 45-75 minutes until it’s as thick as you desire. After 45 mins, I was left with 5 cups and the consistency was very similar to my pumpkin butter. Keep in mind it will thicken very slightly once chilled overnight.

7. When ready, add cinnamon to taste. I didn’t add much so the colour of my apple butter stayed very light. You can also stir in a tiny bit of lemon juice now too, but this is optional.

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Swirl!

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To email, print, or text these directions, click here.

Of course, the best thing about making apple butter (next to eating it) is experimenting with different flavours. Try adding cinnamon sticks, freshly ground nutmeg and ginger, or even other fruit & veggies like pumpkin or pears. Next on my list might be a pumpkin apple butter hybrid…or apple pear…or butternut squash & pumpkin…hmm.

Homemade butters also make fun host/hostess gifts. Make it a couple days in advance and spoon into Mason jars with a cute ribbon and tag. I like to either write out the recipe or simply write the URL to the recipe if there isn’t enough room. I brought a jar over to my friend’s place last night and it was quite a hit!

I’m not certain how long this will last in the fridge since this is my first batch made this way. I will be sure to update this post with how long it lasts for me. If it’s anything like my pumpkin butter, it will hopefully last for at least 3 weeks in an air-tight jar in the fridge. As for canning or freezing, I haven’t tried it myself. For you canning pros out there – do you think this can be canned? As always, I appreciate your thoughts below!

For many ways to enjoy apple butter, see my pumpkin butter list.

What kind of fruit/veggie butter should I try next?

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{ 186 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah @ Yogi in Action September 26, 2012

I wish I could eat your pictures some days…that apple butter looks delicious!! Definitely on my list of things to make!

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Judee @ Gluten Free A-Z September 27, 2012

I’ve never eaten apple butter? How do you eat it, like applesauce or just as a spread on bread?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 27, 2012

check out the link I posted at the end of the post – in my pumpkin butter recipe I gave a ton of ideas. :)

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Iris Lee September 26, 2012

Wow, Angela, this looks delicious!! And it really screams FALL! I definitely want to give it a go soon. :)

And this is very overdue, but thank you for blogging! I’ve been following along for some time now, and I always love seeing what amazing things you’re cooking up. Your outlook on healthy living is so refreshing and real – truly an inspiration! I actually just started my own blog (several days ago!) and would be so excited if you have a moment to stop by and say hello. My photos are nowhere near as gorgeous as yours, but maybe one day! :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 27, 2012

Thank you Iris, that means a lot to me. Congrats on starting a blog – I will head over and check it out!

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Ashley September 26, 2012

Seriously want this right now!!! My friend Kelsey has a HUGE apple tree in her yard. Time to get picking!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 27, 2012

I would kill for an apple tree!! hah.

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Ellie@Fit for the Soul September 26, 2012

Since Fall is slowly getting back into action I’ve been craving some sort of fruity butter! It’d be great on top of oatmeal! Naturally :D

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Nicole September 26, 2012

This looks amazing – You have inspired me to try my hand at apple butter this chilly season. P.S. I love your site – the recipes are wonderful & the photos are awesome :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 27, 2012

Let me know how it goes! Thanks for your kind words. :)

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Tahlee September 27, 2012

Wow! That looks so delish. Silly question tho – what would you serve it with? :D

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 27, 2012

Check out my link at the bottom of the post :)

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Tahlee September 27, 2012

D’oh! :D

Thanks Angela. x

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 28, 2012

hah no worries!

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Naomi Casiro (Health Here Help There) September 27, 2012

HI Angela!
This looks delicious! any suggestions for those of us without a slow cooker? Do you think you could just do it on the stove in a pot over a low heat?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 27, 2012

Yes I do think you could do iton the stovetop. I think another reader commented with suggestions yesterday, I would check out her tips if possible. I will have to try my next batch with the stovetop! I’ve also heard you can do it in the oven…will have to look into it more.

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Sara September 27, 2012

I love your blog :) I have literally found myself logging on every morning at work (London time) to see what delights you have posted! And inevitably I end up popping in to the supermarket on the way home to pick up some butternut squash, kale or other lovely healthy ingredients! So just wanted to say thanks. Family and friends have all adored many of your recipes – banana peanut oatmeal and those lovely flax seed burgers and crispy wedges being the most recent! waiting for your book :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 27, 2012

Hey Sara, Thank you so much. I appreciate your encouragement so much and I’m so glad you enjoy the recipes! Thanks for reading.

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Michelle @ Eat Move Balance September 27, 2012

I would bet a roasted kabocha butter would be divine!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 27, 2012

Now that is a fun idea!

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Lisa C September 27, 2012

As soon as you made pumpkin butter, I thought, “Hey, we could improve on this…” and set to work in the same direction as you. Only difference is that I reversed what you did: put cored, unpeeled apples in the Vitamix on high until smooth and warm, poured batches into the slow cooker, added the cinnamon, covered it with a spoon propping the lid open, and walked away for an entire day. It was fabulous! Thanks for what you do. You inspire a lot of us in Pennsylvania!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 27, 2012

Thats funny – I originally tried processing the apples in my vitamix but they wouldnt blend! I even used the tamper stick….what’s your secret? hah

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Lisa C September 27, 2012

I cut them into chunks and turn the blender all the way to “turbo” speed, pushing down hard at first with the tamper. Once it gets going, you can let it run until the sauce gets hot and the color a little darker. Instant applesauce at this point – we do this all winter long for dessert.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 27, 2012

Thanks I will have to try it again. My apples were in slices so maybe that was the issue!

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Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers September 27, 2012

What a wonderful recipe!! I love apple butter!!

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Karen September 27, 2012

I love this no-sugar, slow cooker version of apple butter. I don’t like added sweetener in my apple butter and am itching to break out my slow cooker for the first time this season. Plus, I just bought a boatload of a variety of apples from the farmer’s market! Great timing!

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Andrea September 27, 2012

This looks so incredibly simple.. and with no sugar?! I just may be making this this season! Would love to see a butternut squash butter.. that sounds delicious.

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Erika September 27, 2012

Love it! My question of what is apple butter vs. applesauce = resolved :)

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Tiff (@LoveSweatBeers) September 27, 2012

This sounds wonderful! I’ll have to make it the next time I plan for company – I bet it makes the entire house smell heavenly.

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Lisa September 27, 2012

Made this last night delish and to think I did not like apple butter (only had store bought before). Do not can either so I hope I can use it all up b4 it goes bad.

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Elle September 27, 2012

Love this recipe! Probably going to try it this weekend with some Fuji Apples. Wondering if the consistency would change depending on the type of Apple you use? Fuji’s are usually a little more tart than your standard red apple. Wonder if peaches/nectarines would be too soft a fruit to try?

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Shana September 27, 2012

Have you ever tried to make homemade apple cider? I recently did a post on it and it is RIDICULOUSLY easy. Like, took less than 10 minutes easy. You definitely need to give it a try!

http://foodofmyaffection.com/2012/09/16/the-simple-life/

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 28, 2012

that looks good! What do you do with the leftover pulp?

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Shana September 28, 2012

I (unsuccessfully) tried to make granola bars. I’m sure you would have much better luck! I also thought the pulp would marry nicely in some sort of fruit and nut energy ball. Maybe mixed with peanut butter?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 28, 2012

Sometimes it takes a few tries with new ingredients! The story of my life… :)

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Meg September 27, 2012

Love this recipe, made it last night… One tip, grease the crockpot with coconut oil before adding the apples and they don’t stick at all. I purposely did not stir during cooking time just to expiriment. Works perfectly!

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Tash September 27, 2012

OMG Definately going to try this!! I make stewed apples in the slow cooker all the time, but just freeze it chunky so i can do what i like with it once defrosted. I have never had apple butter in my life, you cant find it here in New Zealand so once we are finished this batch of apples im off out to buy more haha. Theres a place i get apples for .69c a KG, which is about .55c US? SO cheap! Love it.

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Nic@diningwithastud September 27, 2012

Bookmarking this right now! I want to make it this weekend :) looks great!

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Donald September 28, 2012

Thanks for the recipe! TBW (the beautiful wife) and I love apple butter (or pumpkin, or pear, or peach, or etc…) and have some apples we need to do something with.
Sweet potatoes are also about to come into season; it’s not a fruit but it makes a wonderful butter. Could probably also use any of the winter squashes: Acorn, Blue Hubbard, Butternut, etc.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 28, 2012

Great idea :) I like how you think!

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Dayanna September 28, 2012

love love love apple butter making season! we have a huge apple tree in the yard that never fails to produce! i did just cinnamon, nutmeg, and pinch of allspice last year but i am gonna add some grated ginger this year for a kick ;) ! i never would have thought to add lemon of for longer shelf life – great tips! thanks again OSG!

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Dayanna September 29, 2012

my apple butter spent from 10am – now 1130pm in the slow cooker… and it is still the consistancy of apple sauce? I’ve had it sitting for the last 4 hours with no lid on …. to much water you think – suggestions? I did nothing different from last year… and it was so thick!!! weird….

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 29, 2012

Hmm..I’m not sure why that would be. did you pop it into the blender to blend it up smooth yet?
Maybe try adding a bit of sweetener to help get things going?
Let me know how it goes!

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Dayanna platt September 30, 2012

I turned off the heat overnight and in the morning added coconut palm sugar, cinnamon, and ginger. Then I used the immersion blender to whip it up, and it turned out thick and SO GOOD!!! Thanks (:

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 30, 2012

yay so glad to hear that!!

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Stacy September 29, 2012

I made this recipe this morning – OH MY WORD!!! It is soooo delicious and simple!! Thanks Angela!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 30, 2012

Hey Stacy, so glad it worked for you. :)

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Lindsey September 29, 2012

I was so excited earlier this week when I saw this recipe! I was planning to make apple butter this weekend (for the first time) and the couple of recipes I had found so far had sugar in them. And then I saw yours and it doesn’t have sugar! My apples are in the slow cooker right now :)

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Zoya September 30, 2012

Love all your recipes!! I’d love to see Fig Sauce on your website!!

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Jan September 30, 2012

Sounds great and so much easier than how it’s usually made here in East TN, outside over an open fire in a huge kettle!

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Kelsey October 1, 2012

Lovely! I am a huge fan of just letting the fruit’s natural sweetness speak for itself.. This would be heaven with a little natural almond or peanut butter on a nice crispy piece of toast.

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Heathy @ Sweetly Raw October 1, 2012

I’ve got a batch of this in my slow cooker right now Angela! I’ve only ever made apple butter on the stove top before – thanks for a great idea. My house is smelling like pure apple goodness right now Mmmmm! I will probably be eating it like pudding for the first while, lol.

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Jennifer October 1, 2012

Last year I made a batch of apple butter with a splash of champagne vinegar – it added a nice tangy punch to the rich dark apple butter. I use an immersion blender and it works perfectly. This has inspired me to pull out my slow cooker again!

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Nanna October 2, 2012

Oh, I’ve got to try this! I’d love to see you cook up something like this using pears.

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Shelley October 2, 2012

I made this last night and its delicious!! My husband was so impressed and happy!!
I’m going to post it on my blog and give you credit for such an awesome
(And easy) recipe!
Thanks!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 2, 2012

Im so glad to hear this Shelley!

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Kimmy October 2, 2012

Pretty excited to try this out. I don’t actually have a slow cooker, but I will try and figure it out.
My hubby and I are originally from southwestern Ontario but just moved to California for a job offer and guess what they don’t have? Apple Butter! What is up with that?
Crazyness!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 2, 2012

Really? Wow I wouldnt have thought that! Do you have a Trader Joe’s near by? I thought I heard someone say TJ’s has some. Enjoy your time in California!

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Michele October 5, 2012

So glad you posted this. I wanted to do exactly the same thing (skins on, no sugar) but I didn’t want to put in all that work only for it to fail. You’ve done it, it works, that’s good enough for me! Thanks!

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Kathy October 7, 2012

I bought some fresh apples yesterday from a farm, and I immediately thought of this recipe! Right now, it’s in the crockpot for the second time with the lid off, but oh it is SO good! I can’t wait until it’s finished and use it for your Apple Cinnamon Peanut Butter recipe (if I don’t eat it all by the spoonfuls first!!)
I also decided to put in some aloe vera juice when the apples were softening since I had some leftover in the fridge :)

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Zita October 11, 2012

Thanks for the recipe! I tried it out and it turned out delicious! Only that next time I will definitely peel the apples. My blender shredded the apple peels into fine threads, almost like the wooden part of ginger, and it was very throat scratching and unpleasant. I tried blending more, did not help – I had to strain it in the end. But it was delicious, I will have to make it again!

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Lindsay October 21, 2012

Oh, this is fabulous! I also threw in a few pears that were threatening to go bad and squeezed in the juice of two oranges instead of apple juice or lemon juice (I figured it was kind of half way in between!). No spices, no sugar. Yum! Who knew it was so easy?

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Gesche October 23, 2012

Hi Angela,
I tried your recipe and added one vanilla bean while cooking! Great flavour! With soymilk, rolled oats and maple syrup makes a delicous apple pie smoothie ;)

Thanks
Gesche :)

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Brooke October 27, 2012

Made this last night!! Spent the whole time worried that I didn’t do something correct! But it is delicious!! I didn’t use any sugar just a bit of a caramel apple cider I had on hand to prevent from sticking and it added just enough I think! Thank you for posting this recipe! I can not wait to have my toddler try it on top of her pancakes this morning…I would much rather use this than syrup!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 27, 2012

So glad it turned out for you. I always thought that I was doing something wrong in the past (umm and I did a couple tries!) but it’s so easy once you get the feel for it. Enjoy the rest!

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jessica Fleming October 28, 2012

tried this out and loved it:)

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