Monday, September 17, 2012

Blackberry Apple Pie

People in Washington always say that summer break should go from July til October.  June is usually terribly rainy, and September really is our best month.  Everywhere I turn online and in the stores, fall is everywhere..... yet our weather is screaming summer.  Still, the signs are increasing day by day.  Mornings are a little crisper, the trees are starting to turn (although that could be lack of water!), and harvest is in full swing.

You know it's September in Washington when you have more zucchini, apples and blackberries than you know what to do with.

So when Michael from Inspired by Charm posted a Fall Baking Link Party, it was a great excuse to finally get in the fall spirit. (And if you don't know who Michael is, you're missing out!  Do yourself a favor: go on Pinterest and join the over 3 million -yes, MILLION- people already following him.)

I decided to use up the rest of the blackberries that Ellie and I picked yesterday at a friend's house.  We DID have enough for a pie, but the kids couldn't help snacking on them all evening, so I was left with too few.  No problem-  I still have a bunch of apples we picked on Labor Day from the same friend's house (Thank you, Constance!).  So Blackberry Apple Pie it is!

I tend to make up recipes as I go then forget how I made them, but I wrote it all down this time!  I didn't make this pie very sweet, since I'm letting the kids eat it for breakfast.

2.5 Cups Blackberries
5 small baking apples (about 2 Cups)
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/3 Flour (I realized too late that I was out of corn starch. Ideally, use 2-3 Tablespoons of corn starch instead)
1/3 Cup Sugar (more if you want a really sweet pie)
3 Tbsp Golden Syrup (the last of the left over from this recipe)

If I had more, I would have only used the golden syrup to sweeten the pie... it is so good!

I used my handy-dandy corer/peeler/slicer
It makes fun little apple slinkies
Then just cut crosswise twice to get nice apple chunks
Fruity goodness

For the crust, I used a basic recipe:

3/4 C shortening
2 C flour
1 tsp salt

Growing up, I remember my mom always hated rolling out pie crust, if only she had known about this:

Roll pie crust out between two sheets of plastic wrap
I probably would have gotten a lot more pie as a kid.  Darn it!
Make sure to flip the crust over and straighten out any large creases in the plastic wrap.  
Peel off the top layer....
...and cut out your design.  You can see I pushed the pie plate down onto the crust to give myself a circle on which to center my design.  
Use the plastic wrap to pick up the crust
and flip it onto the pie

Get it centered....
Slowly, SLOWLY, pull off the plastic wrap.  If the crust has gotten too warm, you can stick the whole thing in the fridge for a few minutes before removing the plastic.  By the way, see that crack in the crust on the right? That was from a crease in the plastic wrap that I missed.  
Trimming edges. 
I sprinkled my pie with evaporate cane juice, then it was ready to bake.  350 for about an hour.  I also cut out some of the extra crust and sprinkled them too.  Take the crust scraps out after about 20 min.  
Pie crust scraps- crumbly, but delicious!  
All done!

In the fridge awaiting tomorrow's breakfast.  

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Morning in the Garden

I had a fun time in my garden this morning picking berries and taking pictures.  Here's a few: 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Everything's coming up Roses!

I've been waiting for this all year- my wonderfully fragrant, old fashioned, pink rose bush is in full bloom.  We stayed inside for a couple of days, and next thing I knew....  roses!  

And in my house that means one thing- rose petal baths.  What better way to make the ladies in your family feel like princesses than a nice, hot bath full of pink rose petals?

Picking the petals: 

You want to ones that have been blooming for a couple of days and are starting to get floppy.  The one on the right is perfect.  

This rose was too scubby to use, so I just deadheaded it.  

I grabbed most of the blooms in this picture.

This one was just starting to bloom, so I left it.  

I also picked some whole flowers to float in the tub. 
Check out my messed up pedicure.  Figures that as soon as I pay someone else to do my toes, that's when I bang up two toenails in one week!)

A few blooms less, but in a couple of days, you'd never know I picked so many.  This thing blooms like crazy!   

 When washing the petals use COLD WATER.  Hot water will wilt the leaves and release all the scent.  Save the hot water for the bath.  Also, pay special attention to get the full flowers really clean- last thing you want is a bug in your rose bath!

Toss them like a salad! :)

I laid them all out on a towel and picked out the very best petals, the rest stayed on the counter to make the kitchen smell pretty.  

At this point, it was dinner time.  I decided to add some petals to my dinner salad.  All roses are edible as long as you don't use pesticides in your garden.  

Bath time!  I added rosemary to up the yummy smell ante.  
This is right before I put my head in that colander and left it there for about 5 minutes.  Then I took it outside and made my whole family smell it.  
Rose and rosemary bouquet.  I think that once the baths are done, I'm going to just carry this around the house smelling it.  

 I only picked enough for one bath, so I just saved a couple of rosemary springs for my bath and let Ellie have the roses.  
So pretty; and she loved it!  When she was done, the whole bathroom smelled like roses.  

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hooray for Spring!

I love being in the garden this time of year. Every day, there's something new to look at that makes me smile! I took these pictures last week, and it's astonishing to me how much has changed in that short amount of time.

Lilac:  One of my favorite plants in the garden

Funny story: As I was laying on the ground taking this picture, I was thinking, "Gosh, I hope the neighbors don't see me; they'll think I'm crazy."  The next day, my neighbor informed me that he saw me out in my garden, laying on the ground taking pictures of mounds of dirt and that he thought I was a bit crazy.  So there you have it: if you feel like you're being watched.... you probably are.  

Snap peas.  These have already grown several inches taller.  

Espaliered cherry trees

I picked this beauty up from a Freecycle ad.  I think I'm going to grow clematis on it.  

Volunteer Solomon's Seal (and weeds!)


 The dandelions are enjoying my garden this year!  

 Bleeding Heart and Hosta

 This little guy is part of my Insectary and Soil Builder mix from Uprising Seeds.  He's MUCH bigger this week.  Awesome what 10 days of spring sunshine will do. 

 Oops!  Somehow I planted a peony right over the top of a rose root system.  Someone's going to have to move.  

 I consider the dandelions and clover a "No Weed and Feed in this Lawn" badge of honor! 

 Every year, Ryan gets me a gift for May Day.  This year, I got to help pick this hanging basket for my front porch.  

 Hubert the cat being elusive.  

Baby Carrots.  I cheer them on sometimes.... grow, grow! 

 Little things like this pinwheel make me smile.  Nathan got this in Sunday school and we gave it a home on the back porch.  

 My herb planters outside the back door.  I love being able to run out there and grab something in the middle of cooking. 

Birdbath in desperate need of a cleaning and more 'pretty rocks'.  I leave the glass beads in random places throughout the garden for the kids to discover. 

My mom says this one is called bridal veil, and I can see why.  It has tons of these long branches covered in white flowers.  I got them as 'in distress plants' for 2.50 each.  The biggest of them is now about 6 feet across.  

So there you have it... my garden as it was a week and a half ago, but nothing like it looks today.  A garden in spring is always changing!