Saturday, July 19, 2014

Mini Apple Pies

Each year for July 4th, I make my  cheesecake tarts.  My family loves them so much....some times, like this year, they didn't wait for the topping.  Just scarfed them down and ate the berries later.  

But...I don't like cheesecake.   I think cheese needs to be salty....not sweet!  So, this year after making the family their tarts, I made myself some little apple pies.  This way, I can eat a few and freeze the rest.  I didn't want a pie in a muffin tin, too little....but I had a mini loaf pan so used it.  It made the perfect single serving pie ever!



Okay, so if you are interested, here is how I made them:

Ingredients to make 9 mini loaf sized pies:

4 premade pie crusts from the refrigerator section, the kind you unroll.  
5-6 Granny Smith apples
1-ish cup of sugar...you may need a little more.
1-3 teaspoons of cinnamon (I use 3 but most folks like 1)
Scant teaspoon nutmeg if you like it.
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons water
1 heaping tablespoon corn starch

*Egg wash is optional....mix 1 egg with a splash of milk, whisk to combine.

Peel and cube your apples into a bowl, sprinkling with cinnamon and sugar as you go to keep the apples from turning.  No need for lemon juice as granny smiths are tart!



Next put the water and butter in a pan and melt the butter, then add the apple mixture and cook for about 8 minutes.  Just to soften them a bit.  Add the cornstarch and stir well.



Get your pan and pie crusts out....I didn't grease the pans and the pies popped out just fine.



Cut the pie crust large enough to overlap....you want to seal these pies.  I left about an inch to hang out.  


Fill each little pie up, mounding it slightly.  Make sure some juice gets into each pie.  I eyeballed it and put enough juice into each pie to come halfway up the apples. 

Then top with more crust, seal around each pie, and cut vents in the top.



Brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle with a little cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Then bake them at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes.  

Look how pretty!



I had 1 little pie stick...the one that I over filled with juice.  All the rest came out beautifully!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Channeling Mumu

Sometimes you see something and you crack up because it is JUST like your mom!


My mother LOVED to travel.  That being said, her internal navigation system wasn't that hot.  So, she got lost...a lot!   When I was 13, the two of us had gone to Atlanta to visit family.   On the way home, I immersed myself in a book.  Every now and then I'd hear her swearing.  Each time it would get worse...and worse...and LOUDER.  Finally, I looked up and took a good look around ....and cracked up.  We'd been going a loop for over an hour!    

Once I pointed it out, she cracked up and knew exactly where she had gone wrong....and took off in the right direction.  I miss you momma!

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Pickle List


The other day I was busy in the kitchen making MORE blueberry jam....26 jars of it!   


 As I was doing so, I found myself listening for the little "POP" of the jars as they cooled.    It is such a satisfying sound.    Lots of hard work goes into the jam and with each pop, I'd smile.  I didn't even know I was counting the jars but with each "pop" I would know just how many were left to seal.




As I was working away, I got to thinking about how I wish I had learned canning from my parents.  They were wonderful cooks but took forever to explain something (can you say circumlocution?) and I have a bit of a focus issue (just look at how many crafts I do and you'll know its true!)   As it was, they'd start explaining and I'd go "yeah, yeah, got it...." and move on.  Foolish but I've always been a little quick on the draw.

ANYWAY....

Thinking of that led from one thought.... to another....to another.  Soon enough, I was thinking back to my parents' specialty canned goods.  Daddy always made pear preserves using sand pears...a hard pear used in canning.  We put them on pancakes, over ice cream....so good, even  straight out of the jar. 
But as good as daddy's pears were, momma's specialty beat his.   Mother always made pickles.  No one could compete with her pickles....they were FAMOUS.  Seriously y'all.  Coveted is a word we used in discussing these pickles.  They were THAT good.
Momma perfected a dill pickle recipe over several years. She took it from a basic dill pickle to a garlic-infused spicy but not TOO spicy pickle for which people clamored.  EVERYONE wanted them.  People wanted to buy them but she refused. Instead, she hid them away and used them as Christmas gifts.  

As the years went by and we all moved out and into households of our own, we couldn't WAIT for the pickle jars at Christmas.  I was the pickle maniac in the household (to my detriment as a child) and momma always gave me more jars than anyone else.   She made no bones about it.  I got more.  Period.  She even let me have jars IN BETWEEN holidays!  (Thank you momma!)

These pickles were such a hit that she had to create a pickle list.  On that list were names of friends and  family that would get pickles for Christmas.  This helped her know how much to buy to make enough jars for everyone.   But you didn't want to piss her off.....God help you if you did because she would STRIKE YOUR NAME OFF THE PICKLE LIST!
No lie.  Momma was quite spunky and she would take you off that pickle list in a heartbeat.  Then you'd have to earn your way back on it for the next year!  The horrors!

When momma got older and stopping pickling, we would raid the pantry looking for a lost jar...she hid them all the time and sometimes would lose them (yay!)  Sadly, we eventually quit finding them.  By now, momma was in a nursing home and her pickles became the thing of legend.

Working in the kitchen brought all that back in a flood of tears and memories and more tears.  Daddy's pears, momma's pickles...but mostly love.  That is the way Southerner's show their love for you.  In their food. And, in the hard work of cleaning and prepping and cooking on a hot summer day in a hot kitchen.  

All the while, listening for the pop, pop, pop as one more jar seals...and smiling when it does.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Mad Tea Party Blog Hop/EDITED!

The winners of the little pincushions were Anne from alittlefurinthepaint and Diane from lavenderdreamstoo!  Thank you to all who dropped by!

Welcome to the Mad Hatter tea party blog hop!    The fabulous Ms. V at A Fanciful Twist is the hostess of this fun event.

I look forward to creating a post for this each summer but have been under the weather...that being said, I am finally feeling better!  
I still wanted to play along so decided to create a little poem in honor of the day.  Be sure to read to the end or you might miss out on something special!

Mr. Rabbit was late, he ran through here...
Alice fell in behind him, I fear!
"I'm tumbling, I'm shrinking, I'm GROWING!  OH MY!"
All of these words to my ears she did cry.

Then into the garden she clumsily landed..
And hid from the queen so she wouldn't be stranded.
She went through the garden, flower by flower...
As quick as she was, it took most of an hour!

"Where was that old rabbit?"  she said with a sigh.
Then Alice sat down and started to cry!
So tired and hungry, she wanted to rest.
Then music she heard and voices in jest!

She followed the sound, so happy and gay.
To a place with a party where music was played!
At a table she sat and was served some fine tea.
And sang a song that I'll now sing to ME!

Why do I do this? Oh wait, don't you know?  
'Tis my UNBIRTHDAY!  Why yes, it is so!
I've just a week til the actual day
But thought I'd celebrate it here today!! 

And to make it the best, I'm giving to you.
A chance to win a thing...maybe, two!
Just leave me a comment, a note, a hello.
Do it now, before you GO!



Here is a peek at what you might win...   I'll draw 2 names on July 18th (my real birthday) and each will win a little tea party favor with a pincushion.



Don't forget to leave some way for me to contact you in your comment.  

Thanks to Vanessa at A Fanciful Twist for dreaming up and hosting this fun annual event!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

goings on...

I may be under the weather (still...what EVER) but lots of stuff has been going on.  

Such as:

Our front door all lite up for July 4th!  Pretty.......



the mantle too....





dinners are being cooked....



a pretty moth taking a rest....ok, so he is dead.  Seriously, but NEWLY dead, so just pretend he is sleeping, 'k?




A gift from a friend from afar....thank you Tammy!



That ball of yarn?


is being worked on.....


 lots and lots and lots of hot tea is being consumed in an effort to soothe a sore throat!


and mass owl softie production for a project I've had in mind since January!


So what's up in your world?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

pretty little alien





Sometimes you work in the yard and upon closer inspection, you discover a little treasure.




This is one of the orchids my brother gave me for Dean last year.  It is an itty bitty one and hard to see given all the green on the bloom because it blends into the foliage of the tree it is under. 
I love how spindly it is....almost alien like, but  beautiful too.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th!

Growing up in a military family made me realize just how lucky we are to live in the USA.  We were reminded of it on a daily basis.  I had a post planned for that, to remid people of how much we have to be thankful for.  But then that started me thinking about my folks and that started me thinking of our family.... and the next thing you know I was thinking about what we did for our 4th of July celebrations.

The things I remember.....daddy's famous bbq chicken and homemade peach ice cream, momma's Mississippi mud brownies with rocky road icing, and famous potato salad which I NEVER EVER TASTED.  
They were hot days and humid evenings spent with people we loved.  And sparklers....LOTS and LOTS of sparklers.  

Sometimes we had company, sometimes we WERE company.  Our celebrations weren't huge but we always had fun.  
Of course there was that time I showed my cousin a large bullfrog and it jumped out of my hands and right smack onto his chicken...I don't think he thought that was much fun.

So today in remembering the 4th and all that it means...and as daddy would say "It means a whole hell of a lot and don't you forget it!"
I can't help but remember the parents who aren't here to share it today.  I love you both!  
Now mom, she would love my door....so here it is.  Pretty but simple.



and they BOTH would approve of this.....
Red berry, white wine and blue glass.....works for me!



HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!!!
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