Tuesday, October 28, 2008

God help us

You probably don't want to watch this with young children around. It is very difficult to watch, but I hope that you will.

HT: Creative Minority Report

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cherry Apple Crisp

My family has been making apple crisp for a looooong time. It's a very simple recipe - we don't usually put anything in the filling except apples, maybe a bit of lemon juice (although I usually forget that) and occasionally a drizzle of honey (because the recipe is officially called Honey Apple Crisp - but we almost always skip the honey, too). The topping is just flour, brown sugar, salt, and butter.

Then I decided to try the Country Pear Cherry Crisp from the Better Homes and Gardens baking book. It has a granola topping. Well, we really like our topping, so we made their filling with our topping, and it was pretty good. But, we really like apples better than pears, and it's often easier to find good apples around my birthday, which is when I always request this, so here is the latest variation. I think it's a keeper!

Cherry Apple Crisp

1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter

Mix the flour, brown sugar, and salt, and then cut in the butter. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375, then start the filling.

1 16-ounce can of tart pitted cherries, water pack (NOT cherry pie filling!)
1/3 - 1/2 cup sugar (I have only used 1/3, but maybe you want more if you have very tart apples)
4 large apples, peeled and sliced - you want these fairly thin
2-3 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon fresh orange zest (optional)

Dump the cherries with juice into your casserole dish - I used a 2 1/2 quart. Mix in the sugar and let that sit and dissolve while you peel and slice the apples. Mix the apple slices, flour, cinnamon, and orange zest into the cherries, getting it all evenly distributed. Sprinkle on the topping, and then bake for about 40 minutes, or until filling bubbles, apples are tender, and topping is browned. Let it cool for a few minutes before serving. If you're the type of person who likes ice cream over warm baked goods (and I am not) this would be good with some vanilla or even butter pecan.

This made enough for about 6 medium servings - enough for our family of three for last night and tonight. (It reheats well in the oven.)

If you need more, you can use 6 apples instead of 4, and increase the topping by 50%. (So, 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cups brown sugar, etc.) Everything else can stay the same, you just won't have quite as many cherries in each dish. You'll obviously need a bigger casserole too.

This is definitely one of my new favorite desserts, and will probably be my birthday treat for a long time!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

You can see all of this week's posts if you go and visit Peggy!

For Today...

Outside my Window... a dreary, overcast fall day. Indian summer is over, and fall is here to stay. Now I just wish the leaves would catch up. I am seeing way too much green for this time of year!

I am thinking... that winter will be here before we know it. Fall never seems to last long enough.

From the learning rooms... we are plugging away at Samuel's "Little Stories for Little Folks" books. I know, I know, not very unschool-y. But he actually enjoys it and it is helping him to feel more confident in trying to read things that are unfamiliar to him. Plus, it makes dh feel better.

I am thankful for... life. We should never take it for granted.

From the kitchen... dh is working (I think I only ever do this on nights when dh is working) so probably leftover pasta with alfredo and broccoli for dinner. And, if I get my act together, a cherry apple crisp for when he comes home.

I am wearing... blue jeans, a green T-shirt with 3/4 sleeves, gray socks and navy slippers.

I am reading... more about politics online. I should really stop, as it just gets me mad, but...

I am hoping... and praying for a miracle.

I am creating... a scarf. Still. Someday I'll finish it. Really.

I am hearing... the muted sound of Samuel playing with his friends outside.

Around the house... it is cold in here! And it is going to stay cold until some time in May... that's 7 months from now! Better break out the blankets and sweaters!

One of my favorite things... hot drinks. Coffee, tea, cider, cocoa. I'll need lots to get me through.

A few plans for the rest of the week... Samuel and I are going to a museum program on Wednesday and then we will hopefully get to see a friend from out-of-town. Other than that, we'll probably start staying indoors more, reading more, and trying to keep warm!

No picture this week, I haven't used the camera for a while. The one I can't get out of my mind is over at the top of my sidebar.

pray for Michael

Thursday, October 09, 2008

not that I am bitter...


Yep, I need to get a couple of those T-shirts for my husband and me. You see, we've made very little money during our nine years of marriage, since he works for the Church. However, that was a sacrifice we were quite willing to make. So, we did our best to be responsible with the money we had. We saved, were frugal, and did without. We rarely bought any of the extras that most people take for granted. We bought a house, but it was a house we could afford: half a duplex in a small town 30 minutes away from where dh works. Sure, we wanted to live closer. And have a nicer house, as opposed to old military housing. And not share a wall with people who scream at each other and don't mow their lawn - ever. But we didn't have the money to do that, SO WE DIDN'T. All this time, we thought that we were being responsible, and using our money wisely. How silly of us. Apparently, we'd have been better off blowing money we didn't have and buying our dream house in a nice neighborhood within walking distance of dh's work, because thanks to stupid politicians, those people may not only get their fancy houses, they won't even have to pay the money that they owe for them. No, it's my husband and I - who only this year will even make enough money to have to pay federal taxes - who will be helping to pay for their irresponsibility.

Yes, I know that there are some people who can't pay their mortgage not because they were irresponsible, but due to a genuine crisis. Yes, I think they should be helped, but by the community, not the government. As for the average greedy Americans who bought McMansions they couldn't afford, maybe you should sell it and try living within your means. There are some duplexes for sale in my neighborhood if you'd like to move to the real world.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I guess he's not a morning person either.

This morning we had to get up early to drive dh to work so that Samuel and I could take the car to visit Grandma and Grandpa. As I came into the bedroom after my shower and flipped the light on, Samuel moaned, "Noooooooo," and dove under the covers. I stood in front of the closet and mused, "What should Mama wear today?" He replied, "Something she can put on with the light off."

Monday, October 06, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

You can see all of this week's posts if you go and visit Peggy!

For Today...

Outside my Window... twilight is fading. I do love autumn, but the shorter days are not my favorite part.

I am thinking... that I want to enjoy every last bit of fall before the real cold sets in.

From the learning rooms... Samuel was fascinated by an orb spider who took up residence near our front door. We got to watch it reweave its web each night and catch insects. It reminded him of Shelob and now he is watching Lord of the Rings.

I am thankful for... the lovely weekend we just spent with my family. We went to the Best of Missouri Market at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. There are so many interesting vendors there, and lots of things to taste - Samuel's favorite part. :)

From the kitchen... dh is working tonight, so something quick and easy... eggs and toast! Scrambled eggs with buttered toast for Samuel, and eggs fried in bread with a hole cut in the middle for me.

I am wearing... blue jeans and a pink T-shirt.

I am reading... Facebook. Yep, just joined. It has been fun to see what everyone's been up to.

I am hoping... to have the will to resist wasting too much time on Facebook.

I am creating... fall crafts. Whoever posted about The Crafty Crow on 4Real: thank you! What a fun website. I made this acorn necklace, which Samuel loves.

look what I made!

And, I am going to try the waxed leaves once we have a better selection here in the next week or two.

I am hearing... the theme of Rohan. (I told you Samuel is watching LOTR!)

Around the house... need to finish putting up the fall decor!

One of my favorite things... a crescent moon on a clear night. (It's not so clear tonight, but last night as we were driving home, it was beautiful.)

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... going to visit Grandma and Grandpa tomorrow. Other than that, I just want to get back to a routine, or what passes for one in this house.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

crunchin' the leaves

Took a walk a few days ago, and Samuel kept straying into the gutter to crunch the leaves that had accumulated there. We don't have too many yet, but there will be lots more to come!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Feast of the Hunter's Moon!

We went to the Feast of the Hunter's Moon on Saturday and Sunday. It was awesome! If Fort Ouiatenon in West Lafayette, Indiana is a reasonable driving distance for you, then you really must plan to go next year.

We got to see craftspeople at work, like this cooper.

Feast of the Hunter's Moon: a cooper at work

We watched Native American dance.
Feast of the Hunter's Moon: Native American dance

We saw artisans' wares, like this beautifully dyed yarn.

Feast of the Hunter's Moon: a spinner's wares

We watched a musket competition.

Feast of the Hunter's Moon: a musket competition

We watched various fife and drum corps give demonstrations.

Feast of the Hunters' Moon: fife and drum demonstration

We got to learn some forgotten skills, like cross-cut sawing.

Feast of the Hunters' Moon: learning to use a cross-cut saw

We watched a cannon demonstration. (The picture is fuzzy due to the shock wave from the cannon firing!)

Feast of the Hunters' Moon: cannon demonstration

We got to watch the massed fife and drum corps perform.

Feast of the Hunters' Moon: massed fife and drum performance

We watched some country dancing.
Feast of the Hunters' Moon: a country dance

We watched the British battle the French!

Feast of the Hunters' Moon: a battle

Feast of the Hunters' Moon: a battle

We ate LOTS of delicious food, all cooked over wood fires like these. (Samuel's favorites were the forfar bridies and apple dumplings.)
Feast of the Hunters' Moon: food cooked over wood fires

We saw all the campsites where people were living just like they did in the 1700's.

Feast of the Hunters' Moon: campsite

And we got in the spirit ourselves!
Feast of the Hunters' Moon: all dressed up

Next Feast is October 10-11, 2009 - hope to see you there!

note to self: always bring the camera

On Friday, we decided to go for a walk in the woods. Since I forgot the camera, of course we saw lots of cool stuff! In our short walk, we spied 5 deer, 2 of whom we were able to observe for quite a while from less than 15 feet away, a really weird looking spider, and a toad, which peed all over dh's hand when he picked it up. Samuel learned a very valuable lesson: always let Daddy pick up the toad. As we were hiking down the trail, Samuel said, "Now this is my idea of a good time!"