Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Apples...

Firstly, I have to say that these donuts are the devil.
They are addicting to a degree that I have not experienced in a long time. All I have to do is drive 30 minutes to an apple orchard, walk up to a counter, place my order, and instantly I am handed a bag full of hot donuts. I mean those babies are fresh out of the deep fryer and rolled in cinnamon sugar. I have gone back 3 times in two weeks...3 times! The bad (good, for my waistline) news is that the orchard is only open during September and October. If I get a craving in March...too bad for me!
So, to better justify my 3rd trip, this morning I picked apples. I have been planning to make applesauce again this year and these apples looked like a good choice. They are Galas that are rosy and golden.

I had little helpers and it only took us about 20 minutes to pick a half bushel. The day was overcast and a wee bit muggy. We were the only pickers out there this morning, so we had rows upon rows of apple trees to ourselves. Elijah caught on quickly and was a big help. Evelyn spent her time trying to pull grass and clover through the drain holes on the floor of the wagon. All of us were happy with our labors at the end.





Depending on how much applesauce I get from this, we may make another trek out to the orchard for another half bushel...honest, I'm not motivated by those donuts one bit.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Putting food by...

I got a great deal on local sweet corn this past weekend. I didn't know how much to buy so I went with 12 ears. My intention was to blanch and then freeze the corn kernels for future use this winter. We aren't huge corn eaters, but we do like it from time to time in chowders and corn bread.

After 9 minutes or so in boiling water and cutting off the kernels, I spread them out onto two baking sheets and placed them in the freezer. I wanted the kernels to freeze more or less individually instead of as whole blocks of solid corn. It worked well. After a day in the freezer I transferred the corn to freezer bags and I ended up with four quart sized bags full. Easy and they will be great in the months ahead.
Taking a page from Leslie, I have been having a little school time with Elijah in the mornings. Today we talked about the letter C and the number 3. C is for Car, so we made a little car with a stick butter box and construction paper and we practiced counting to three and holding up only three fingers. He seemed to enjoy it. So since we are focused on the letter C, I made crackers this morning for our snack. I used a recipe posted by Heather at Beauty that Moves and they were quite good. I have held off buying any crackers at the store the last few weeks because I wanted to make this recipe. I am trying to cut out more processed food from our lives, so homemade crackers was an easy thing to do. A few changes I made to the recipe: I left out the nutritional yeast as I didn't have any on hand and I used dried celery instead of rosemary as I didn't have that either. They are yummy. Elijah kept sneaking them behind my back...so I know I have a winner if he can't stop eating them. I see lots of double batches and variations in our future. I am happy because they are not only tasty, but I know every ingredient in them is fine for my family to eat.
This week we'll be picking apples and making apple sauce...I'm sure you will be hearing more about that in the days ahead.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Birthday Goodness...

Awhile back I hinted that I was making some things for Evelyn for her birthday. I had found this doll bunk bed at an antique store for an unbelievably cheap price back in March. I enlisted my Step-Mom Lisa to make a set of doll quilts for it and they turned out beautifully, as you can see. She made them to match the full sized one that she sewed for Evelyn when she was born. Lisa also knitted an afghan that the dolls would certainly need for cold winter nights...I love that.
I made a set of mattresses out of pillow ticking. I stuffed them with cotton stuffing and then tied them like a quilt in places that I had marked with a pencil to provide a uniform shape. I am pretty happy with how the whole thing looks. I still hope to make pillows and perhaps sheets to go as well. Then of course Evelyn needed a doll to go with it. I set to work sewing an Awake/Asleep Doll. One side is asleep...
Then you flip her dress over and...
She's awake...
My Mom made one exactly like this when I was small. She had given me the pattern and instructions a few years ago. When I had a little girl I knew that I needed to make one for her too. It felt like it's a family tradition in the making. Giving my daughter a doll of her own, yet much the same as one that I had and loved (and still have) was really special to me. I had the sense of carrying something on and giving my daughter a piece of family history too. I hope that this is a doll that she will love and that this bunk bed set will give her lots of playtime joy as she gets older. And who am I kidding, I can't wait to play with it too (with Evelyn of course). :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Apple Skillet Cake...

The Apple Skillet Cake was made and it was pretty good. It didn't really get eaten for dinner...it took longer to complete than I had paid attention too when I read the recipe. Peanut Butter and Jelly soon was on the menu and Apple Cake became a before bed treat.
I had a little helper. He wore the Snowman apron and I wore the one with the stars. He helped me mix and pour and stir. He also liked to try and sneak fingertips full of butter when he thought I wasn't looking. We had a talk about listening to Mama and obeying my directions. We are still working on those lessons each and every day. He really does very well most of the time with brief periods of extreme testing of this Mama. He is a good helper and I want to continue to foster that...by having him with me it seems that there are multiple opportunities for both of us to learn.

Anyway...back to the cake. I am really looking forward to cooler temperatures. The kitchen gets so hot when I use the oven, so I am looking forward to when having the oven on is a pleasant thing. I think that baking is really may favorite thing. I would rather bake something any day of the week then cook. Maybe that is why I gravitate naturally to casseroles for meals...God bless my family for putting up with that. If it can be mixed together and baked, I'm in. Maybe I'll just make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for each meal and then bake something to go with it. That sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me. ;)
OK, so I digress...again. The one change I made to the recipe is that I omitted the boiled cider, which I did not have on hand. I think it would be good with it. There would be a more intense apple taste, but it was still nice without it. The cake was a little too done for my taste, I like a more moist, slightly under done cake...David likes cake with absolutely no doughiness whatsoever. So I hit that mark this time. Oh, and I used Gala Apples instead of the Granny Smith's because those are what I had on hand.

Oh, my...the fresh whipped cream is what made it for sure...I could have eaten twice as much whipped cream as cake if I had allowed myself. Good thing I went for a run last night, then I didn't feel guilty for eating a piece...plus it's a fruit serving right? I mean look at all of those apples! And it's baked in a cast iron skillet so it's a good source of iron. Plus, the whipped cream...calcium! All and all a healthy meal...I'm convinced anyway.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I was surprised...


I had a grand surprise while off on my travels. It was a typical Wednesday, I had just finished making Elijah a grilled cheese sandwich for his dinner when there on knock on my in-laws door. It was my Mother-in-law and walking in behind her was my Dad and Step-Mom. Wow! I cried and cried...I had not seen them in almost a year. I had no idea that they were planning to come and be around for Evelyn's birthday party. We had four + lovely days together. What a blessing...I needed that.
We talked, laughed, went to see the Nebraska State Capital, Union Pacific Trains, and they taught David and I pinochle. It was also great to see Elijah and Evelyn interact with them. My Dad can fall asleep anywhere, sitting, standing up etc...Elijah liked tickling his tummy to wake him up if he caught him sleeping on the couch. Elijah also would ask in the mornings if he could go wake up Grandpapa by tickling his tummy...we let him a couple of times.

Mostly we just spent time together not doing much in particular...I needed that time too. That is when some of the best conversations happen. I miss them, but I am so thankful for the days together.


So this is where I have been.
Tonight I am making an Apple Cake for dinner...yes, dinner. Sometimes I have to break the rules and just go on ahead and eat dessert and that's it. I will report back on how it is. I'm making homemade whipped cream to go with it...heaven. Don't you wish you could come over??? ;)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I am back...Actually I have been back for a few days, but I have been trying to get back into the swing of things...unpack, a little cleaning, some cooking, and starting up the running routine again (ugh, I should have never taken two weeks off, those hills were tough).
Evelyn turned one (wow!). We had a joint party with her cousin Sierra who is a week younger than she. I will post pictures, I just haven't taken the two seconds to upload them to my computer. I will, it's on my list. OH, BIG NEWS...Evelyn is walking...all.over.the.house. She holds on to something in each hand, like a spoon or a toy and does laps. She doesn't really play right now...just walks. She is also working on two more teeth which makes for a high level of crankiness at times.
I am trying to get back into a routine around the house, but, I am learning that I am going to have to figure out a new one, what with two completly mobile kids...I love it.
I feel like I am moving nicely into fall. I am making plans to take the babies to the apple orchard and I have pulled out my knitting...I am ready for the golden leaves, warm socks, and purple Mums.
Ugh, time to go sort through their drawers, clean out the things that are too small and figure out what their cold weather needs are...anyone want to come do it for me?!