Thursday, October 16, 2014

Apple Dumplings

6 apples, peeled & cored
Two Pie Crusts
a stick and a half, roughly, of  Butter 
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1.5 t cinnamon
1 t Nutmeg
4 Cups Water
2.5 Cups White Sugar
2 t Vanilla Extract

My favorite pie crust recipe is this one from Martha Stewart - made in a food processor.  

My second favorite is this one.  Second choice won out this week.  :-)
(side note - the berry pie recipe on this box is my favorite pie recipe of all time)
Roll the dough out.  Shown here is one pie crust, rolled thin.Pplace each apple on a square of dough.  Cut butter into chunks - roughly 1T per an apple.
 Stick butter inside the apple, sprinkle with brown sugar - inside and out.
Wrap the dough around the apple.
When I wrap each apple, I used the second pie crust, cut, to "top" the apples.

Place in pan.

 Make The Sauce:
Boil water, sugar, vanilla, and 3T of butter in a saucepan.  
Boil for 5 minutes, making sure all sugar is dissolved. 
(The sauce will NOT thicken much at all)
Pour Over Apples.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 50-60 minutes

I used a turkey baster to pull the sauce from the bottom of the pan and drench over the top of the dumplings.

Do not let them sit in the excess liquid too long, or they will spread out and get mushy..  although they are still great to eat, they won't look as pretty.  Once they have cooled a bit, put them in another pan or container.  (This was a mute point here, they were all eaten quickly, served with ice cream)

There are a lot of opinions, and charts, for which apples are best for what.  I buy our apples from a local farmer (catch him on Saturday mornings in the parking lot by the river bridge in Watsontown.  Get there early if you want apple cider, he sells out fast!) & I just tell him what I want them for and he tells me what he thinks will be best that week.  If you don't have that luxury, here is a basic chart that may help:

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

From Miss To Mrs Banner (With Free Printable Downloads)

My daughter was the maid of honor for our son's recent wedding.  The bride (now our daughter in law) was a friend of Meg's before she was the fiance of Luke.  :-)  So Meg planned the bridal shower, and I made this banner for her.

Super simple. The hardest part was actually stringing the jute through the tops!

I made the letters on PicMonkey, then uploaded them to Sam's club and had them printed as 4x6 photos.

I've uploaded all of the letters here, feel free to download them and use them.

The burlap is a role that I bought with a 40% off coupon, it was actually leftover from the wreaths I made for the doors of the church.

The rehearsal was so chaotic that I didn't get good pics - the lighting wasn't great either, but here you can see how we reused the banner for the rehearsal dinner.  (What I had planned as an elegant outdoor dinner with lights strung above us ended up being a garage affair, due to threat of serious thunder storms)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

W...W...W... Wednesday 8/6/14

Currently Reading:

(I'm not far enough in to have a real opinion yet.)
Free for Kindle
A carefree summer in Deadhampton turns lethal when the tide washes in the body of Clea, an investigative journalist whose passions included environmental issues and more than her share of boyfriends. The suspects are all in 12-step programs, but somebody's not abstaining from murder. Soon Bruce, Jimmy and Barbara are up to their necks in sleuthing. As the summer heats up, secrets and lies start buzzing around this dream vacation like flies at a beach picnic. Bruce must find answers by Labor Day without getting himself killed.Readers who fell in love with Bruce, Barbara, and Jimmy on their previous outings will see a new side of them as they slather on sunblock and snoop their way through the Hamptons.

Just Finished Reading:

     3/4ths of the way through this book, you still don't know who died. You may, as I did, suspect, and even hope, but you won't know until almost the end. After the first chapter, I was prepared to be disappointed in this book by the same author who wrote The Husbands Secret, possibly one of my favorite books of all time.      A few chapters later, I didn't want to put the book down.
The style this is written in- a brief glimpse of the overall story, followed by police interview answers -was unique
     I particularly loved that most of the characters really didn't take themselves too seriously. Many of them joked over how ridiculous their actions were. The characters were likeable.
     This is a big book - much longer than your typical beach read. But it's a quick read, and I found it perfect for an afternoon by the lake & an evening by a campfire

Think I will Read Next:

Unerringly perceptive, superbly written, every page packed with the warmth and compassionate wisdom that have become Nancy Thayer’s trademark, Heat Wave tells the moving story of a woman who, after her seemingly perfect life unravels, must find the strength to live and love again.

Making the startling discovery that her family finances are in dire straits is only the latest shock endured by Carley Winsted after her husband’s sudden death from a heart attack. Resisting her in-laws’ well-meaning overtures to take in Carley and her two daughters, the young widow instead devises a plan to keep her family in their beloved home, a grand historic house on the island of Nantucket.

The solution is right at Carley’s front door: transforming her expensive, expansive house into a bed-and-breakfast. Not everyone, however, thinks this plan prudent or quite respectable—especially not Carley’s mother-in-law. Further complicating a myriad of challenges, a friend forces Carley to keep a secret that, if revealed, will undo families and friendships. 

When her late husband’s former law partner keeps showing up at the most unexpected times, Carley must cope with an array of mixed feelings. And then, during a late-summer heat wave, the lives of Carley and her friends and family will be forever changed in entirely unexpected ways. 

Lyrical, emotional, dramatic, and ultimately wonderfully uplifting, Nancy Thayer’s latest novel is compelling from its first page to its last

Zombie 5k Week Five

See My Experience with All The Weeks Here:

Day One

I jogged the entire first 5 minute free run.  And I did 2 minutes and 3 minutes respectively in the first 15 minute free run, followed by a full five minutes again in the last 15 minute free run.

I know it's not really enough at this stage, but it's major progress for me.

But oh my - those first heel lifts about killed me.  And it didn't get much better by the last set - they HURT today!

I did a full 3 miles today too.  My time wasn't great -- but keep in mind that there is 5 minutes of stretching in the middle here... not that that makes it look much better, but it's something.  :-)

Compared To the C25k Plan:
Day One
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

Day Two
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
Walk 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)

Day Three
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog two miles (or 20 minutes) with no walking.

Week Four
Week Five
Week Six
Week Seven
Week Eight

Friday, August 1, 2014

Quick & Easy Calzones

The secret to a good calzone?  Don't skimp on the cheese - and make sure one of the cheeses is Provolone.

Preheat your oven to 375. 

Mix up a batch of pizza dough.
1 cup warm  water
1 (2 1/4 teaspoons) envelope active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
(I mix the above 3 together in a measuring cup)
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups  flour
1 teaspoon salt

Add all of the above ingredients to a kitchen aid mixing bowl, mix together, then use the bread hook and let the kitchen aid run for a few minutes.  Or, optionally, mix by hand and knead.

Let it rise for a few minutes - but it does not need to be a full rise.

Roll into a rectangle (you can get two out of this recipe, it depends on how large you want to make them) and top with ham, pepperoni, & cheese (I use mozarella & provolone)
You can add others too - suggestions include mushrooms, onions, peppers, sausage...
Sprinkle with italian seasoning & sea salt

Fold in half, shape slightly into a crescent.  Seal the edges using the flat side of a knife, or a fork.
Slice vents in the top
Sprinkle the top with more coarse sea salt & italian seasonings

I make two of these most friday nights all fall and winter.  I like to dip strips into sauce, but the boys like theirs plain, as is.

Because I make these so frequently, I get the ingredients in bulk and freeze them.

5.5 lbs of provolone is about $15 at Sam's club.
I bring it home, and chop it roughly with a large knife into 6 or 8 pieces.  
Place those pieces into a ziplock bag, and freeze - it will last for months

I do not like preshredded cheeses normally (they have an additive to keep them from clumping, which keeps them from melting as well) but this one is decent, and it's the cheapest option, and I keep it in the freezer.  $13.50 for 5lbs. 

This bag of pepperoni will last for months in the freezer.  It's around $10 at Sams's Club.

This is my favorite ham for calzones
Cut the packages in half, and put one in the freezer for later.
One package will easily make 2 calzones
This two pack is around $6 at Sam's Club