Crestview, Fl
Pie Oh My! Is there anything better than a slice of warm apple pie? The flaky crust, the soft apples, and the sweet cinnamon brown sugar. Mmmm mmm good. It has long since been one of my absolute favorite types of pie. Want to know a secret? I have never made my own crust! I know, I know! Shame on me. Honestly, until the past year or so, the thought of making anything dough related frightened me. Pizza, pastry, even from scratch cakes. The key to being comfortable with them...trial and error! I finally found recipes I like and that work for me. Let's get started on this yummy pie!
So first, let's get started on that flaky crust! (I made a small 6in instead of 9 so I halved the ingredients below.)

To make a 9in double crusted pie:
2/3 cup salted butter
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon sugar
3-8 tablespoons cold water

1. Measure out the butter and freeze it for at least 30 minutes. 

2. Sift the flour and sugar into a large bowl.

3. Using a grater, grate the frozen butter directly over the flour in the bowl. Do this as quickly as possible so that you don't warm the butter. 

4. Using a table fork, toss the grated butter in the flour until it's all coated.

5. Put 3 tablespoons  of cold water over the mixture and mix together with your fork. Add more water, tbs by tbs, if needed. The finished dough should be moist and starting to come together, but not wet. 

5. Using your hands, quickly bring the dough together into a ball. Be careful not to knead the dough. just press it all together.

6. Wrap dough in plastic and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Are you as excited as me that you just finished that??!!!

Now the sweet apple filling! The perfect balance of tart and sweet!

2¼ to 3-1/3 pounds of apples (depending on the depth of your pie dish)
1 cup  light brown sugar, lightly packed (more or less to taste)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves, nutmeg and/or ginger (optional)
1 - 2 teaspoons white sugar for sprinkling (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a deep 9" ceramic pie dish. 

2. Peel, quarter, core and slice the apples and place in a bowl. I prefer chunks so I cut them up into chunks. Do it how you want it. 

3. Sprinkle the brown sugar and spice(s) over the apples and toss them well to coat.

4. Take 2/3 of the pastry dough (I weighed my dough and 2/3 was about 12oz/340g) and roll out to fit pie dish, right up to the rim. Line the pie dish with it, prick all over the bottom with a fork and set aside.

5. Pack the apples tightly into the lined pie dish. It's ok if the filling comes up above the rim of the dish into a mound. **Tip- If there are any apples left over, how about some fried apples?

6. Roll out the remaining pastry dough.

7. Dip your finger in water and run it along the edge of the pastry in the dish. Place the dough on the pie and press the edges together. Trim the edges as necessary and crimp the seam closed with your fingers or the back of a fork.

8. With a pair of kitchen scissors, cut three vents in the top of the dough. You can either cut leaf-shaped vents and use the pieces you removed to fashion decorative leaves, or you can cut straight vents and use any pastry trimmings to fashion decorations as desired. Moisten the back of the decorations with a wet finger and gently press onto the top of the pie.

9. Glaze the top of the pie with 1 tbs of milk, then sprinkle the top with a little white sugar.

10. Place pie dish on a baking sheet and put it into the center of the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to moderate 350°F and bake for a further 30 minutes. The top should be light golden brown.

11. Enjoy the fruits of your labor hot, warm or cold. Personally, I love it hot with a little homemade rum whip cream on top while the hubs ate his with American cheese on top. 

This month  Shelley from C Mom Cook and Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to try meatballs. The only requirement: to create a meal based on the meatball. Any culture. Any recipe. I chose Swedish Meatballs. 

My husband and I just recently started P90X, so of course my first goal was to make these meatballs as healthy as possible. I adapted a recipe from Cooking with Mel. The woman did magical things with these meatballs. They were full of flavor. I was pretty happy with the end result since I have never done wet method meatballs before. Here is how I did it. 

For the meatballs:
2 slices of wheat bread, torn or cut into small pieces
¼ cup almond milk
2 pounds ground beef (I actually stuck with the beef but you can use 50/50 turkey/beef)
1 tablespoon margarine 
½ cup finely diced onion
1/3 c egg whites
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

For the gravy:
2 tablespoons margarine
¼ cup all-purpose flour (wheat if you have it)
3 cups  beef broth
¼ cup Greek yogurt 

1.    Preheat the oven to 200°F
2.    In a small bowl, tear the bread into little pieces and pour the milk over it, allowing it to soak
3.    Meanwhile, heat the butter in a pan over medium heat, saute the onions, along with a pinch of salt, and allow the onions to become soften.
4.    Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside, allowing the onions
5.    Combine the meat, bread, egg whites, salt, pepper garlic powder and sautéed onions. Mix it well to combine fully without overworking or the mix will become very gummy. 
6.    Roll the meatballs (I made them about 1-1.5 in, just make sure they all similar in size)
7.    Heat the 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan over medium-low to medium heat then cook the meatballs in batches until browned evenly on all sides, approximately 7-10 minutes per batch. (Make sure not to overcrowd the pan or they will not cook evenly. I did 6 at a 12 in a cast iron.)
8.    As each batch is done cooking, remove the meatballs to an oven-safe dish and keep them in the warm 200°F oven to stay warm.
9.    Once all of the meatballs are done cooking and are in the oven staying warm, lower the temperature on your pan and whisk in the flour for 1-2 minutes.
10. Gradually whisk in the broth until everything thickens up
11. Raise heat to medium
12. Add in the yogurt and continue to whisk until the gravy reaches the consistency you prefer.
13. Remove the meatballs from the oven and serve, smothered in gravy.
14. Proceed to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Mmmm Mmmm good!

I made these with a sweet potato mash with vanilla, yougurt, and cinnamon. Healthy and delicious!


Brandy Cakes