Sunday, September 29, 2013

Classic Apple Pie


On Friday we went apple picking!  It's one of our favorite things to do in the Fall.  I came home with a bag of apples, mums, apple donuts, pumpkins, and a scarecrow.  What do you think? Pretty darn cute, right?!  I am having some trouble uploading my photos from the day, but if you happen to follow me on Instagram then you can see the lovely time we had.  The apple trees were gorgeous! And we went with friends that made the day even better!  ♥ I felt lucky.
When I got home I was trying to decide what to make with all of my apples. The answer was obvious.  Apple Pie of course!  Now I'm sure that everyone has their own recipe for apple pie.  Some have caramel in it, some have pecans, some even have a chocolate crust.  All delicious.  But my favorite has got to be this recipe for plain old apple pie.  It's simple, it's classic, it's not fancy, and I promise you it comes out perfect every time.   

Pie dough (if you are using store bought then you need (2) 9 inch dough rounds.  If you would like my recipe for homemade then click here.  All you need is flour, shortening, salt, and water)
6 large apples, cored, peeled, and sliced (my favorite are Empire but any apple will do)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
Grease and flour a 9 inch pie plate.  Roll dough out to about 11 inches and fit it into pan, leaving the excess to hang over the edge.  With a fork, poke a few air holes in the bottom of the crust. Add the apples in an even layer.  Add sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg (literally just pour over the top - no need to mix).  Sprinkle with the flour (this will thicken the mixture as it bakes) and dot with dabs of butter.  Roll out your top crust and cover pie.  Crimp the edges to seal. 
After crimping I go around the edge with a fork, like my Nana did ♥
Melt an additional 2 tablespoons of butter and brush it over the top, including the edges. Sprinkle with a dash of sugar and cinnamon. With a fork, make a few air vents in the top crust.
Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 1 hr.  (tip*put your pie on a cookie sheet, that way if anything bubbles over it won't leak onto the bottom of your oven*)
And here she is!
She looks and tastes homemade! This pie is part of my life. It's been served at every holiday that I can remember.  My first memory of my grandmother was her in the kitchen making apple pie.  The smell of it takes me back to my childhood. It's pure comfort food to me.  Simple and classic.  Just as it should be ♥

Have you been apple picking yet this season? If so what are you making? I still have lots of apples left over : )

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Buttermilk Blueberry Buckle

After two years of blogging I finally decided to add a picture of myself to this blog.  Some people may not view this as a big deal, but to me it is. I am not a photogenic person.  I am always the girl who blinks in group pictures.  I sneeze just as the words "cheese" are being said. Or someone snaps a photo just as I'm mouthing "please don't take my picture". It's never good. 
 I do love to take pictures though, which works our well.  I'm much better behind the camera. ♥
So why now?  We'll, when I read a blog I like to see whose writing it.  I feel so comfortable blogging and talking to other bloggers it's nice to visualize who you are actually talking to.  I've been feeling guilty and wanted my readers to have the same experience.  Here is my sad attempt at a self pic.  I didn't blink or sneeze so it's a keeper!
Whew! Glad that's done.  Now on to the business at hand...
On Monday while my boy was at school I made Buttermilk Blueberry Buckle.  It was a cool morning and having the oven on to warm the kitchen was heavenly.  Since Monday's are hard anyway, why not start them with something delicious.  I had the Walton's on in the background and an apron around my waist.  I was exactly where I wanted to be. 

If you don't have buttermilk on hand, check out this link for substitutions.  I use the milk/lemon method all the time and it comes out perfectly! (thank you Joy the Baker )

For the cake:
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) butter or margarine, melted
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
For the topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine

Mix four, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl beat egg, buttermilk, and vanilla. Stir in melted butter.

Add in the dry ingredients, stirring until well mixed.


Spread batter in a well-greased 9x9-inch pan.  Sprinkle with blueberries.

Mix topping ingredients until crumbly.

Spread over the blueberries.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 45 minutes or until the topping is brown.

It's the perfect combo of cake and crumble! YUM!  Served warm or cold, it's delicious.

The best thing about this buckle is that you can also have it for breakfast! Just rename it Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake! I'm sneaky that way : )


Have a wonderful day, friends.  The weekend is almost here! xx

Friday, September 20, 2013

After School Apple Snack

Hello and Happy Friday! As I type this post the sun is shining in through the windows and I have this music on in the kitchen.  I can't get it out of my head.  It's a beautiful day and feeling more like Fall every minute.  It's so cool in the mornings now that I need a fuzzy jacket and I love that feeling.  Little by little the leaves are beginning to change and there is currently an abundance of apples in the supermarket.  We have plans to go apple picking next week (here) and I can't wait!  It's one of our most favorite fall activities!

We are still trying to get adjusted to our new school schedule (up early, homework, to bed early, and everything in between).  At this point Summer seems like a distant memory, even though it wasn't that long ago.  Things change so quickly.  The life of a first grader is a lot different that what I remember it to be.  There is much more structure now and it's definitely more aggressive than I remember.  After school is fun because it's a time to release and relax.  John goes outside with his cars and let's his imagination take over.  He could sit out there for hours.  I love that he has that free time to himself to decompress.  We all need that in our day.

Here's an idea for a quick after school snack for your little ones.  I also make this just for ME for a mid afternoon treat.  I saw it in a Martha Stewart magazine a few years ago.  My first thought was "this is so easy, why didn't I think of it?"  Seriously. 

All you do is lightly toast an English muffin.  Then top it with sliced apples and a few thin slices of cheese.  Then toast again. Done!

Martha suggests using cheddar cheese (which is delicious) but Swiss also works really well. It gets nice and "melty" over the apples. 

The apples will get warm and slightly soft.  It's soooo good!  This snack also proves my point that you can melt cheese on anything and it will taste good. ♥

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  We are having a yard sale on Saturday so cross your fingers for nice weather and happy shoppers :  )  I'm also thinking it might be time to try these pancakes

Don't they sound delicious......  ♥

Have a great day! xo

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fall Comfort Food: Roasted Chicken dinner with Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake for dessert


Today was the first day that it really felt like Fall to me.  The air was crisp and cool.  It's still warm enough to have the windows cracked a bit, but I needed a sweater because of the chill in the breeze coming through the window.  By nightfall everything gets closed up and we bring out the quilts and blankets to the couches. (My six year old is currently on a Full House kick and we watch reruns every night.  Hour after hour of Uncle Jessie, DJ, and Michelle.  It's really not as bad as it sounds except when I remember that this is a 20 something year old show and little Michelle must be nearing 30 by now.  Wow. When did I get old?  I bury my face in a quilt. ) Someone in my neighborhood was using a wood burning stove tonight.  It smelled like burning leaves and I'm happy again.... 

It's also great sleeping weather.  We are still trying to get used to our new school routine (up early, in bed early, and whole lot of stuff in between).  By dark we are all exhausted, and having cool nights makes the bed seem that much cozier ♥


After dropping my son off at school this morning I took a walk around the yard to inspect things.  It's been a while since I've been out there, so it was nice to take in all the changes.  I noticed some leaves are already starting to turn color. 

In a matter of weeks all my bushes and trees will look like this!  Hello early arrivals! : )

We still have the last of the summer flowers still lingering, not wanting to let go of the season, which is just fine by me ♥

Because it was so cool today I wanted to cook my first comfort meal of the season.  I decided on roasted chicken.  What's not to love?  It cooks for two hours, the oven keeps the kitchen warm, and the house smells like a holiday dinner.  Plus there are left overs, which means no cooking tomorrow night. Bingo!
Here's the marinade I used:   2 tablespoons olive oil, zest of 1 lemon, 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp dried rosemary, and 2 garlic cloves (chopped).  Mix together and rub it all over the chicken. Also, with your fingers, loosen the skin from the chicken breast and rub the mixture under the skin.  Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and roast.  350 degrees/20 minutes per pound. 
 I served this chicken with stuffing, roasted veggies, and cranberry sauce.  (my mom brought the gravy!)  It made me sad that my son still wanted his left over chicken fingers and fries from today's lunch.  I wish I could somehow re-program that mind of his when it comes to chicken fingers.  He eats them like they are going out of style! Chicken fingers and Full House is how he rolls right now. 
The desert on the other hand, he loved.  And since technically pumpkin is a veggie - I was secretly smiling. I also snuck in some whole wheat flour and flax seed and no one was the wiser.  This cake is delicious. 
Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake (recipe from The Meal Makeover Moms)
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup wheat germ or ground flax seed
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 eggs, beaten
15 ounce can of pumpkin
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
 2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup raisins, walnuts, or chocolate chips (optional)
powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 10-cup bundt pan with non-stick spray. 
Whisk together the flour, whole wheat flour*, sugar, wheat germ*, baking power, cinnamon, ginger, salt, cloves, and nutmeg in a large bowl until well combined.
In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, pumpkin, milk, and vanilla until well blended.  Pour the liquid ingredients (and the raisins, walnuts, or chocolate chips if using) over the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. 
Pour the batter into the bundt pan and smooth the top with a spatula.  Bake about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.  Cool cake completely and dust with powered sugar if desired. 
*If you don't have whole wheat flour then you can leave it out and just use 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour.  Also if you don't have wheat germ or flax seed you can leave that out as well.  It's completely tasteless and only added to boost the nutrition of the cake.  I'm looking for ways to sneak good things into our diet so I chose to leave it in*
This cake was a wonderful dessert, but it will be even better with my coffee tomorrow morning at work.  Maybe I'll bring two pieces.  Sounds like a nice way to start the day. One might go in the lunch box as well.  I think he'll like that....
Have a wonderful day! Bye! xo

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cherry Menlove's Peach Cobbler and a little Fall decorating

Today was my son's first day of 1st grade.  I can hardly believe I am the Mom of a first grader!  It seems like just yesterday he was born.  How did this happen? Where does the time go?  Anyone?
This was him this morning.  Ready to face the world as a big shot!  I will be the first one to admit I had waaaay more butterflies than him! He marched into school, gave me a half turn and a wave, and off he went.  I was both proud and devastated at the same time.  Mostly proud (and just a bit devastated.  He is my one and only after all).
So I didn't drive myself crazy while he was gone I decided to keep myself busy with some Fall decorating.  I was ready to put away all the things that reminded me of summer and bring out some Fall fancies....starting with this wreath. 

Welcome ~ Autumn has arrived! Let's ignore the fact that it was in the 80's today and I still have my a/c on.  We won't think about that right now.  I'm in a Fall state of mind.... ♥

Light in the entrance way. I love these colors!

Happy Fall! I can't wait for the leaves to start changing!

Over the kitchen sink.  

Ok, maybe the "trick or treat" was a bit much, which was pointed out to me by my family, but I figured why not go all the way....

I usually have this simmering on crisp, cool, evenings.  Makes the whole house cozy.

Pumpkins are tucked in every corner. It's hard to tell in this picture, but this one is beaded and a little bit sparkly.  I got three of them at the Christmas Tree Shop a few years ago.  I love them!

 Pumpkin spice is burning of course!

I'm happy to say that the first day of school was a complete success and he can't wait to go back again tomorrow! Whew!  He loves his teacher and really enjoyed seeing all of his friends.  Let's hope this feeling of good will continues when the homework starts.  Yes indeed, there IS homework in first grade now.  I know...ugh!

Before I go, I've been meaning to share with you this video of Cherry Menlove's peach cobbler.  It's one of my favorite deserts of all time!  Not just because Cherry is absolutely adorable (which she is!), but because it's easy and always comes out perfect! I made it last weekend and served it with soft vanilla ice cream.  It was a hit!  I have the instructions  for you from when I blogged about it here, so check it out.  Make this cobbler for your family this week.  It will warm your heart.  Especially if it's a bit sad because your baby isn't quite a baby anymore ♥

Another reason why I love Cherry Menlove?  I Love Lucy in the kitchen! ♥