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Apple Pie!!!

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Ok…so I usually don’t bake my pie’s with a crust from scratch.  Frankly, why bother!  The store bought, already rolled out crust are fairly good, and super easy to use, not to mention actually very inexpensive when you start to look at all the ingredients in a crust.  But, I recently purchased a huge bag of pastry flour and just had to give this a try!  I found the recipe for the crust online, but honestly can’t remember where as I printed it out after pasting it into MS Word many months ago.  I have however rewritten the instructions to make them easier to follow!  The filling, that is something that I’ve just done forever!  Think I have my mom to thank for that one!

Crust:

2 1/2 cups pastry flour, plus extra for rolling out the crust

1 cup butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes and well chilled

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

4 – 6 Tbsp ice water

Directions:

Start by cubing the butter.  Stick into freezer and allow to remain there at least 15 minutes.

In food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar.  Pulse to mix.  Add the very well chilled butter pieces and pulse until mixture is crumbly and you can see pea size pieces of butter.  Begin to add the ice water 1 Tbsp at a time, pulsing the mixture slightly to incorporate.  Add only enough water to bring the dough together (hint, it should still be crumbly, but if pinched, will hold together nicely.)  You may not need all 6 Tbsp of water, or you may need slightly more.

Remove dough from food processor until a clean and dry surface.  Shape into 2 disks, kneading just enough to bring the dough together.  (Remember, those small bits of butter will be your friend!  Do not knead them into the dough!!!)  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 1/2 hour.

Remove dough from refrigerator and place on lightly floured surface.  Roll out with a rolling pin to a 12″ circle with the dough about 1/8″ thick.  Place in pie plate.

Filling:

6 large apples

1 C sugar

3 Tbsp cinnamon (note, I love cinnamon..you may want to tone this down)

1/3 C flour

1 Tbsp butter, very thinly sliced

OK…now is the time to begin to preheat your oven.  400°.  Peel, core, and thinly slice apples.  Toss with sugar, cinnamon, and flour.  Pour into prepared bottom crust.  Top with thin slices of butter.  Roll out remaining crust, place onto of filling and seal the edges of the 2 crust together.  You will need to slit so ventilation!

Beat 1 egg white in small bowl and brush over the top of the crust.  Bake pie 45 minutes to 1 hour, until apples are cooked through and crust is golden brown.

We topped our pie with fresh whipped cream!  There really is no better topping!!!!
Do you bake pies?  From scratch or do you use pre-made crust?


Wealthy Apples

I realized that I didn’t share what apples we were trying.  The variety is Wealthy.  The orchard that we bought them at classifies them as a cooking apple, but I have to say, we have enjoyed a couple already just as they are!  They make a great eating apple in my opinion.  They are a little tart, but very crisp and I love the white flesh inside!

It’s apple season!!!!  I am so excited!  I have several apple recipes lined up to make/try this week!  I went to a local orchard and purchased a peck (that’s 10 ish pounds) of a new variety of apples that we haven’t tried before.  Did I also mention the apple cider we picked up?  Yes, fresh apple cider right from the source!!!  I love the fall!!!!

With young children in the house, I have been more interested in how things are grown then I ever used to be.  For instance, I chose the orchard we visited based on the fact that they use Integrated Pest Management opposed to traditional spraying of the whole orchard!  Finding out that it is becoming more and more common as we as consumers push for safer food production.

So, now that I’m home with all these apples, sit back and prepare yourself for a few ways to use all these apples!!!

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Apple Cinnamon Pancakes – You could add smoke Applewood Smoked bacon, or sausage and make this a lunch or even a quick weeknight dinner!

Ingredients:

2 Cups all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp ground cinnamon

4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 1/2 C milk

1/2 cup butter flavored Crisco – melted

1 large apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped.

Directions:

In glass measuring cup, melt Crisco in the microwave in 30 second increments until melted.  Set aside.

In large bowl, mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In another bowl, mix milk and eggs.  Beat slightly.

Combine milk and egg mixture with dry ingredients.  Mix until moistened.  Add melted Crisco.  Stir just until blended.  Fold in finely chopped apples.  Pour onto hot griddle using a 1/4 cup measuring cup.  Pancakes should be flipped when bubbles appear on top.  Flip once, and allow the other side to get golden brown.  Repeat with remaining batter.  Serve with syrup, or butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Allow leftovers to cool on cooling rack.  When cooled completely, wrap in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator.  Reheat in oven or microwave.

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Who doesn’t love Enchiladas?  I know that we do.  And I love the fact that this can be transformed into an awesome soup that is so yummy!  I think it might be my all time favorite when we go out to eat.  Here is a super easy, super simple soup that even someone who doesn’t “cook” can make!  Well, as long as you can shred a chicken and open a can or 3!

Ingredients:

1 small onion – chopped

1 package Enchilada Sauce mix

1 can Nacho Cheese Soup

2 1/2 C Chicken broth

1 C Sour Cream

1 can Mexican Style Corn – drained

1 can Black Beans – no need to drain or rinse

2 C cooked, shredded Chicken

Shredded Cheddar cheese and Tortilla Chips for garnish!

Directions:

In a large stock pot, cook chopped onion for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the Enchilada Sauce mix and Nacho Cheese Soup.  Stir until well blended.  Add the remaining ingredients (Chicken broth, Sour Cream, Mexican Style Corn, Black Beans, and shredded Chicken) to the pot.  Simmer until heated through.  Serve in large bowls with just a little shredded Cheddar Cheese and a couple of tortilla chips as a garnish!

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Many, many moons ago, when I was getting married, my mom gave me a collection of the recipes that we grew up on.  The other day, I had a craving for my mom’s meatballs!  This is something she made for us many times as a child.  This recipe has been handed down for at least 3 generations now.  I know that my Grandma made them as well!  We always make a double batch so that we have tons of leftovers!  Hope you enjoy!

1 lb Ground Beef

1/4 C Cracker Crumbs

1/2 C Chopped Onion

2/3 C Milk

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 Tbsp  Butter

1 1/2 C water

3 Tbsp ketchup

1 1/2 Tbsp Brown Sugar

8 peppercorns

1 Bay Leaf

Mix the 1st 5 ingredients together.  Form into meat balls.  Brown in 2 T butter.  Mix remaining ingredients together.  Pour this mixture over the browned meatballs.  Cover and let simmer for at least 1/2 hour to 3/4 of an hour.  Serve with spaghetti or just by themselves!

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OK…So I know that I just posted Banana Bread, but you have to understand…I had lots of bananas to use!!!  That, and we just met our 1st grader’s new teacher.  She is requesting only healthy treats.  So I thought I would try a twist on an old favorite or two and see what I can do to make them healthier.  With no butter in the muffin itself and whole wheat flour, I think that they classify as healthy!  If you don’t have whole wheat flour, you can substitute for all purpose flour, but I do encourage you to at least try them with the whole wheat flour.  My family is not a group of health food lovers as you are sure to see by a soup I plan to post later this week.  I chose not to tell anyone that they were “healthy” until after they ate them.  I must say by the reaction I got…all 12 muffins gone in less than 24 hours…they didn’t even notice that these are good for them!!!  Let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

1 egg

1/3 Cup apple sauce

1 tsp vanilla

3 ripe bananas

1/2 cup white sugar

1 1/2 Cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Topping:

1/3 Cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 Tbsp whole wheat flour

1 Tbsp butter – cold

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°.  Grease 12 cup muffin tin.

In a large bowl, beat egg.  Add applesauce, vanilla, bananas, and sugar.  Mix until well blended.  Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.  Stir until dry ingredients are moistened.  Fill muffin tin evenly with batter in all 12 cups.  Bake for 13 minutes.

While muffins are baking, make crumb topping.  Mix brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour in a small bowl.  Cut in butter.  After the initial 13 minutes, remove muffin tin from oven.  Carefully pat the crumb topping on the muffins.  Return muffins to oven to bake an additional 5 minutes.

Remove pan from oven and allow muffins to cool 10 – 15 minutes before removing from pan.

Help me please!!!!  I am currently working on a surprise birthday party for someone very special!  This person has fallen in love with a cake from a local bakery that is to die for!  Trust me!  3 layers of wonderful cake with a layer of this even better White Chocolate Mousse Filling between the layers that is almost as thick as the cake itself!  It is not overpowering at all.  In fact, it is very smooth, creamy, and light tasting.  Here is the catch.  I don’t want to just buy a cake…I want to make it!  That is where I hope to get some help!  Anyone have a recipe that they would like to share.  I have about 1 month to find and perfect whatever is out there…I’ve never made mousse before…so I need the time!  If you could help, send me a link to your site and I will be sure to post the results here and give you full credit!!!  Thanks to all!