Category Archives: this, that and the other

Patience Please

I am coming to you this morning with a request (typed one-handed) for your indulgence.  I took a tumble down the stairs on Halloween, and am likely to be out of the kitchen for awhile.  I hope you all had a lovely holiday weekend (here is what ours looked like before the fall, and after).oops  I’ll be back next week with a report on the Marine Corps birthday (no, I promise I did not throw myself down the stairs to get out of making the cake) and the Commandant’s Ball.  See you soon!

Scenes from My Week or These Pies are not Gluten Free

Holy moly, I bit off very nearly more than I can chew.  On Saturday, Jason and I made our yearly pilgrimage to Hollabaugh Bros. for apple “picking” (can you be said to have picked them if you selected them from a bin?)  Despite some cold, wet, gloomy weather and some changes we found at the farm, it was a great day.  We came away with 101 apples and three handfuls of pears!  Good grief.  The plan was to make apple butter for canning, apple pies for freezing, baked apples for breakfast, and maybe cider if I got terribly ambitious.  Unfortunately, getting the apples coincided with the start of a very labor intensive project (more on that soon).  So for the last three days I have been up to my eyes in pies and the smell of slow simmering apple butter has filled our house. . .and I have been completely overwhelmed.  I’ve been brooding in black like some apple angst-ing, pie baking Hamlet: Alas, poor York!  I knew him. . .  (Wah, wah.  York,Yorick, get it?  Sorry, a little apple humor!)applescaleapplechunkappleevolution

However, this morning I rolled out my last pie top, and processed a dozen jars-o-jam. . .butter.  Cider is not going to happen.  I have learned my limits people.  For the last several months I feel like I have been taking on what seemed to be perfectly reasonable projects that turn out, for one reason or another (usually my own dreadful inefficiency), to be absolute monsters!

Speaking of monsters, let’s talk about these pies.  Pie making is actually therapeutic for me.  Despite the fact that I will not savor even a single bit of the finished product, I love every part of the process.  I make the dough, an all butter dough, by hand, because I like to control the final texture exactly.  I peel, core, slice and season the apples, and until this batch, I even layered in each slice in spirals to get the most densely packed, fall proof pies possible.  Control freak, right here!  Well, that hand layering didn’t happen this year. . .did I mention I was feeling overwhelmed–curse you, apple butter!  As we speak there are 18 cup pies and half a dozen mini pies residing in my freezer, right on top of my massive stockpile of tomato soup :).  I would love to be able to tell you that the pie recipe is original to me, but credit must be given where it is due.  The dough and the filling are Martha Stewart’s.  I have used these recipes for eight years now and for a stellar, let-your-apples-shine pie, I know none better.pie1pie2pie3cuppieduo

My tips:

1. freeze/chill your butter, your bowls, your water. . .everything that will touch the dough that can possibly be frozen or chilled.

2.  Don’t try to do pie dough in a hot room; you will regret it.

3.  Kitchen scissors are your friend for cutting clean edges.

4.  It is almost impossible to flour your rolling pin too much.

5.  Save those dough scraps.  They roll out just as well the second (or third) time.

So now that the apples are down to a manageable quantity, I am going to focus on my one little (big) project, getting ready for the Marine Corps birthday and its accompanying cake, and on getting my home ready for holiday guests (yes, it is taking us a long time to transition from being a one bdrm household to a two bdrm, but we are getting there)!  I hope you all have had a marvelous weekend/week.  Any of you take on any crazy projects lately?  I’d love to hear about them!minipie

Sneak Peek or the Drama Never Stops

my new pet from the Del Ray Variety Store

my new, hypoallergenic pet from the Del Ray Variety Store

Good morning!  The sun has finally decided to grace Alexandria, Va with its presence, and it is supposed to be a beautiful day.  I thought I’d take a quick moment while Jason is at the dentist to stop by, say hi, and offer you a sneak peek at our new apartment, and the never ceasing drama that this home selling/rental searching process continues to be.  If you are interested, pop over to Jason’s post here.  Do you have a crazy story about buying, selling, or renting a home?  If so, share below; I’d love to hear that we aren’t the only ones!  Have a fantastic weekend, and check in soon for more updates.

Checking in and a Quick Recipe

Howdy folks, long time no see.  I warned you last time that posting would be sporadic as we prepared to move, but even I didn’t foresee this much down time.  The last several weeks have been. . .odd.  First of all, for the sake of transparency in a matter I’ve already talked so much about, I made a big mistake.  If you have been reading for awhile, you know that I’m taking shots for a B12 deficiency.  Well, February’s self-administered injection didn’t go so well.  I hit a big, honkin’ nerve in my leg and within a few day I was down like a lame horse!  So, that was fantastic; it is beginning to get better but is still amazingly uncomfortable to touch, walk on, look at :).  The doctor said it was just an unfortunate accident, could happen to anyone, blah, blah.  It felt like she was just being nice, that I am incapable, and should leave it to the professionals in the future.  At least if they hit a nerve, I don’t feel quite so moronic!  On the plus side, I just got my 3 month blood check results in, and my B12 is up from 164 to 275; hooray!  That is nowhere near enough to get off supplements, but it is improvement.

In other news, rental hunting is hard these days.  Properties are flying off the shelf in a matter of hours, not days, here in the D.C. area.  However, after a few let downs, a few scary neighborhoods, and a few “let’s chuck it all and grow coffee in Hawaii” moments, it looks like we may have found a place.  I won’t feel secure until we have signed the dotted line, but the situation is looking good and the apartment itself is wonderful.  I’m thinking of calling it the Mustard Seed, first, because the building it is in is mustard yellow, and second, if it comes through, it will be a pretty tremendous step in this leap of faith we have been taking (in which there were definitely moments of despair and doubt).  We should know definitely by this weekend, so stay tuned!

So, enough about that, I promised you a recipe.  How about two for the price of one?  Today for lunch I had this

DSC_0175 15-52-56

inspired by this.  Mine is just toast with goat cheese, beets and lots of arugula but the recipe in the link looks like a fantastic way to do it up a bit more.

For lunch dessert (that is a totally normal and acceptable thing, right?)  I had this,

mangoparfait

a mango parfait with goat’s milk yogurt, quick, homemade granola, and a sweet dollop of maple syrup.  To make this granola you will need:

3 cups mixed g.f. oats, chopped nuts (I did almond, pecan, and walnut), and seeds (flax and chia seen here)

1/4 heaping cup coconut oil

2 1/2 Tbs. maple syrup

1 Tbs. vanilla extract

1 Tbs. coconut, shredded or flaked

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Mix oats, nuts, and seed together in  a large bowl.  In a small bowl stir together oil, maple, and vanilla.  Pour oil mixture over oats and stir with spatula to coat.  Spread mix over lined baking sheet and bake in oven for 15 minutes.  Add coconut and stir to combine.  Return to oven and bake for additional 15 min, checking ever 5 minutes to stir.   Remove when golden brown.  Cool completely before storing in an air tight container.