Made from Scratch Apple Pie

7.29.2014

It's no secret that I love to bake goodies.  I have never attempted to bake a pie though.  For her birthday, Kaia requested I make her an apple pie.  She's on a Supernatural bender.  Neflixing the shit out of it.  Dean loves pie so Kaia loves pie.

I used four recipes to complete the pie.  The crust recipe from the book that came with my mixer, two recipes from the Pioneer Woman, and the super simple whipped cream recipe I shared in June.  It sounds a little excessive, but it was really much easier than expected.

All the ingredients:

Just 10 things.  There are 11 items pictured, but I changed what crust recipe I was using at the last minute and did not use the vinegar.

First up: KitchenAid Pie Pastry (right here is where I would link to the recipe if it were on the internet...)

What you need:  2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup shortening, well chilled, 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, well chilled, 5 to 6 tablespoons cold water.

What to do:

-Place flour and salt in bowl, mix well.  (In stand mixer, stir speed for about 15 seconds.)
-Cut shortening and butter into pieces and add to flour mixture, use pastry cutter to cut them into flour. (In stand mixer, stir speed and mix until shortening particles are size of small peas, about 30-45 seconds.
-Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until dough is just moistened and begins to hold together. Divide it in half, flatten slightly, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
-Roll half the dough out until it's 1/8-inch thick between wax paper (I used parchment paper), place in pie dish.  Finish it off with pie filling.  Bake as directed.

I only used one of the two because the recipe for the pie itself has THE MOST AMAZING CRUMB TOPPING so I refrigerated the other half to use later.

I peeled, cored, and sliced the apples according to the Pioneer Woman's Scrumpcious Apple Pie recipe.  I used all Granny Smith apples, but it was a little more tart than I would have liked so next time (and there will totes be a next time) I think I may mix in some Red Delicious because my brain was thinking about baked apple, but my mouth said tart apples.  Tossed the apples with lemon juice, sugar, flour, and a little salt.  Then I made that crumb topping.  M'mmmmm..... crumb topping...

At first, I thought the recipe was a misprint because it states to cut 1 1/2 sticks of butter into 1/2 cup of flour, but it is totally correct and as I was cutting it in I realized it mixed up very well.  Then you add in brown sugar, quick cook oats, and a little salt.  Put the apple mixture in the pie dish and top with the crumb topping.  I meant to take a photo because this pie was heaping!  I thought I was going to need a bigger dish!  Instead I just squished it all down, covered the edges of the crust with aluminum foil and baked, baked, baked.  After about 25 minutes, I removed the foil and continued to cook for another 30 minutes.  With five minutes left, add some chopped up pecans.

While that was cooking, I moved on to the caramel sauce, another first, and I followed the Pioneer Woman's Easy Caramel Sauce recipe.  Ermahgerd.  So easy.  So damn good.  You just put brown sugar, butter, half-and-half or heavy cream (I used heavy cream because I also made my own whipped cream), vanilla, and salt in a sauce pan.  Warm and stir. Sample. Sample again just to be sure.  If you think it's too thin, continue cooking.  I followed her directions though and once I let it sit and cool a bit on the counter while the pie was cooking, it thickened up nicely on its own.

As soon as I took the pie out of the oven, I drizzled it with caramel sauce.  When I thought I had added enough, I added more.  I had a lot left over so I put it into one of those El Cheapo condiment dispensers and I may or may not (of course I did!) put some in my coffee in the morning.  Letting the pie cool was the hardest thing to do, but it gave that caramel sauce time to form a nice caramelly crustiness on top of the brown sugary crumb topping.  M'mmm... camamelly crumb topping.....

Then I smacked some whipped cream on that shit and drizzled yet more caramel sauce on top.  And we all sat around drooling, mmmmm'ing, and in awe of the fact that the pie crust turned out awesome!

I was pretty apprehensive about this whole thing.  Pies look so intimidating to me, but this all came together so well.  And really, just 10 ingredients.  I'm already thinking ahead to the holidays.

You get a pie!  And you get a pie!  And, yes, YOU GET A PIE TOO!

*I included the pie crust recipe because it was from a book, but I didn't share the exact recipes of the others because they are easily found online.  Plus I didn't want to even remotely be accused of infringing on anyone's copyright.  Ya feel me?

Currently {july twenty fifth}

7.25.2014

this weeks themes:
watching, searching, missing, growing, ignoring

Sooooo... I'm a little late again.  Whoopsie.  Shit happens.  And around here it's flying everywhere!  At least I'm getting it done today.  Better late than never!

a) I have been watching my knits and purls.  I found an amazing slouchy beret pattern this week.  It's knitted flat, which I LOVE.  I haven't quite gotten the hang of knitting in-the-round yet so this pattern gives me the warm fuzzies in my belly.  Also I knitted one for Kaia for her 13th birthday (OH MY GAWD! SHE'S THIRTEEN!) in just a few hours.

So quick, so easy.  I ended up making another and then another.  The third was an experiment that was meant to be one for Rowan, but it was too small.  No problem as I have a friend with a 6 month old.  Except it was too small for her head too!  Haha!

b) We have these trees in our yard.  We call them stick trees.  They are tall and skinny and are good for nothing but sticks because inevitably half of the tree dies.  Usually the bottom half while the top is still green. I've been searching like crazy trying to figure out what kind of tree they actually are.  No luck yet.  I took a photo of one of the leaves (see above) to help identify them.  I have a possible match, but it's just not quite right.

c) I am missing the Summer!  While Neil is the only one entering high school, Kaia was asked to be a part of the marching band this year as well.  Monday began band camp and I had forgotten what it meant to get up so early every morning.  I plan on driving the kids to school this year so this gives me an opportunity to get our schedules figured out as far as wake up times and leave the house times.

d) My first little girl is growing up.  She turned 13 years old today.  I feel like she was just born.  Now she is in the official teenager zone.  How did this happen?!

e) I have been desperately trying to ignore my want of sodas.  Or, as we call them here, cokes.  They are so bad and so good at the same time.  It's such a struggle.  (Ok, clearly I had to stretch it on this one...)

Bonus! Reading:  Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

next weeks themes:
needing, listening, learning, jumping, building

Currently link up is hosted by Harvesting Kale and OT & ET.

A Vacation Story: The Bad

7.22.2014

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this journey, we don't vacation well.  The morning of the day we were leaving, I woke up with a stopped up nose and a sore throat.  I had hoped it was just a sleeping with my mouth open all night problem, but nerp.  I had an itchy, running like a faucet, sneezy nose the entire time we were there.  Do you think I took any Kleenex?  No.  I had to use napkins.  I looked like Rudolph.

The weather.  You can't really predict the weather you are going to have more than a week-ish out, but it was like Mother Nature was playing a seriously cruel joke.  The days leading up to arrival were hot, but pleasant enough.  The day we left was the most beautiful day I have seen all Summer.  The four days we were there?  Hot.  Heat index in the 100F+ mark, every day.  Temperatures themselves were in the high 90's.  Plus there were chances of at least 40% of rain and/or thunderstorms.  You know it stormed.  If you didn't already guess that the rain cover on the tent leaked, you haven't been following along.  The Vacation Gods hate us.

Every time Chris would try to go fish, it would start to rain.  Camping + rain + toddler = no fun.  Trying to keep her cooped up in that tent was not the most exciting thing.  Yes, that is an arm floatie in my face.  She wanted to go swim. Which we were only able to do one time because... weather.

Bridges.  I'm terrified of large bridges.  There are two bridges here.  One over Lake Barkley/Cumberland River and, the one pictured, over Kentucky Lake/Tennessee River.  This particular bridge is called the Eggner's Ferry bridge and is currently under construction because a barge hit it and destroyed two portions.  In the second photo you can see the repaired portion because it's a different color than the rest.  I mentioned it was still under construction right?  Because I am terrified of bridges of this size... again the Universe was like, "Hey y'all!  Watch this!", and told the construction workers it would be HILARIOUS to stop the traffic (already down to one lane) in the middle of the damn bridge!!!

While not exactly part of the "Bad" category, the Golden Pond Planetarium wasn't on the "Good" list either.

As evidenced by the looks on my kids faces, not the best experience.  They have different shows throughout the day and I chose one that I thought would be a good mix for us all.  I thought it was going to be about the different constellations in the current seasons sky.  And it was, to some extent, but they really should have mentioned a target age group for the different shows.  This show was clearly not meant for adults or older kids.  Also it only covered a couple of the constellations.  The demonstration of the laser lights at the end was better than the actual show.  Overall, we were not impressed.  Thank goodness it only cost $18.

The coup de grâce came on Monday.  While we were out perusing the animals, the animals were perusing our campsite.  Particularly, squirrels.

The squirrels at Land Between the Lakes have a serious hot cocoa addiction.  This is a regular hot cocoa container made of cardboard with a metal bottom and plastic lid.  It was inside our tent on the table with the rest of our food stuffs.  They also took out the majority of a loaf of bread.

But how did they get inside the tent, you say?  For your viewing pleasure...

That's right.  The cocoa-crackhead squirrels CHEWED A HOLE THROUGH THE TENT to get to the cocoa that was all closed up and minding it's own business!!  What's even better than all this is that I had to pick up squirrel shit from all over our bed because in their effort to escape the scene of the crime, they also tried to chew a hole through one of the windows next to the bed.  They were not successful in that plan, but did manage to get their cute little raisinette crap all over our bed.

Originally we had planned on going swimming the morning we were to check out because check out time isn't until 3:30pm, but that night is rained.  Again.  And on top of everything else that had gone wrong...

Broken zipper.  BROKEN ZIPPER!!

We were up, packed, and on the road in an hour and half the next day.  On the most beautiful day of the year.  The most camping worthy day.  All we wanted to do was get the hell out of that place!