Classic Apple Pie

It is finally starting to feel like fall in this part of the country.
We actually had a fire in our fireplace this weekend.

It was wonderful.

I sat in front of the fire (so exhausted from our weekend diy--more on this to come later) and snuggled under a throw, as happy as can be.

I decided that for dinner on Sunday (my Mom is making seafood gumbo) 
that we would have apple pie for dessert.
Nothing really says fall like a classic apple pie.

This apple pie is my all-time favorite.
It is super easy and the apples are delicious.
I cook mine the entire time because I really like a super crunchy, flaky crust.

Classic Apple Pie
(slightly adapted from Fine Cooking)

2- 2 1/2 pounds firm apples (Granny Smith, Gala, Cortland), about 8 apples
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon water
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, softened, plus 1 tablespoons butter cut into small (1/4-inch) cubes
2 pie crusts ( I used Pillsbury roll pie crusts)

Position two oven racks in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Make the filling:

Peel the apples, remove the cores, and cut into slices.  Put the apples in a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice.

Combine the brown sugar, 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, kosher salt, and nutmeg in a small bowl.  (Don't add this to the fruit yet.)

In a small dish, lightly beat the egg white with 1 teaspoon water.  Set aside.

Butter a 9-inch deep dish pie plate, including the rim, with the 2 teaspoons of softened butter.

Place one of the pie crusts in the pie plate and lightly press it into the pan.  Brush the bottom and sides of the dough with a light coating of the egg-white wash.  Leaving a 1/4-inch overhang, cut around the egde of the dough with kitchen shears.

Combine the sugar mixture with the apples and toss to coat well.  Mound the apples in the pie plate, rearranging the fruit as needed to make the pile compact.  Dot the apples with the 1 tablespoons cold butter cubes.

Place the top crust on the pie and tuck the two layers together.  Press a lightly floured fork around the edge of the dough to seal it. 

Lightly brush the top with cold water and sprinkle the surface with the remaining 1 teaspoons sugar.  Make steam vents in the dough by poking the tip of a paring knife through it in a few places; it's important to vent well so that the steam from the cooking apples won't build up and crack the top of the crust.

Bake the pie:

Cover the rim of the pie with aluminum foil bands.  This will prevent the edge of the crust from overbrowning.

Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any juices that overflow during baking.

Bake until the top and bottom crusts are golden brown and the juices are bubbling, 60 to 75 minutes; to thicken, the juices must boil, so look for the bubbles through the steam vents or through cracks near the edges of the pie.  

During the last 5 minutes or baking, remove the foil bands from the edges of the pie.  Cool the pie at least 3 hours and up to overnight before serving.



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I'm dreaming of an organized closet, just one---mine are busting at the seams.
I am usually pretty organized, but lately I've been having some difficulty with my STUFF.
Oh well, I'll just dream on.
In my next (far, far richer) life!!!

I hope you enjoy these images (daydreams) as much as I do.

Roasted Shrimp & Tomato Enchiladas with Poblano Cream Sauce

This past August we cut our tomato plants back to the ground.
They were pretty withered and not really producing due to the summer heat.
So we thought, what the heck, let's cut them back and see what happens.

Well, they started producing like it was the beginning of the season and now every few days I pick a colander full of tomatoes.
I'm not complaining.
I am thoroughly enjoying having fresh tomatoes.

For this recipe I decided that I would slow roast them to bring out all of their natural sugars, making them as sweet as possible.

Roasted Shrimp and Tomato Enchiladas with Poblano Cream Sauce
(slightly adapted from damndelicious)
For the enchiladas:
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
3 cups baby spinach
2 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced
1 cup roasted tomatoes
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed
3 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

For the poblano cream sauce:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup sour cream
2 poblano peppers, minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


First, make the roasted tomatoes:

Wash and dry tomatoes.
Cut them in half and coat with olive oil.
Season with coarse salt.
Roast at 170 degrees for 3-4 hours.
(You can season with herbs if you like and even garlic.)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the shrimp onto a prepared baking sheet.  Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste, and gently toss to combine.

Place into oven and roast just until pink, firm  and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool before dicing into bite-size pieces.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Lightly oil a 9x13 " baking dish.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet.  Add the garlic and onion and cook until the onions become translucent, stirring occasionally.  Add the carrot, spinach, chipotle pepper, and roasted tomatoes.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach just begins to wilt, about 1-2 minutes.  Add the shrimp and gently stir to combine.  Set aside.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan.  Whisk in the flour until lightly browned, about 1-2 minutes.  Gradually whisk in the chicken stock and cook, whisking constantly, until incorporated, about 1-2 minutes.  Stir in the sour cream.  Add the poblanos and the garlic powder and simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat.

To assemble the enchiladas, lay the tortilla on a flat surface and spoon 1-2 tablespoons of the shrimp mixture in the center, sprinkle with cheese.  Roll the tortilla and place seam side down onto the prepared baking dish.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas and shrimp mixture.

Pour the poblano cream sauce over the top of the enchiladas and top with the remaining cheese.  Place into a 375 degree oven and bake, uncovered, until lightly golden and bubbly, about 20 minutes.


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Faux Fur--I'm Loving It!!

I've had a few faux fur throws over the years, 
but I am really loving all of the beautiful colors that everyone is using now.

I think all the ones that I've bought have been black or dark brown.

I think that I really need one of these beauties...




and all I can say about this is WOW!!!

So are you also loving this trend??

Homemade Oatmeal Creme Pies

When I was a little girl my Mom would ask me what special treat I wanted for my lunch.
I would always say that I wanted Little Debbie's Oatmeal Cream Pies.
They were my absolute favorite.
I had one not too long ago and I didn't really like it that much.
I couldn't really get into the over-processed cream in the middle.
I guess, for a kid, though they were the ultimate in treats.
(My sister always chose a Devil's Square.)

So, not to long ago I saw a recipe on pinterest for 
homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies and I knew that I had to give it a try.

 Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies
(from Baked Perfection)

recipe makes 24 sandwich cookies


1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups quick oats

Cream Filling:

2 teaspoons hot water
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow cream
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a bowl.  In the large bowl of a mixer, cream butter and the sugars.  Add in the eggs, beating after each.  Finally beat in molasses and vanilla.  Add to the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat until just blended; mix in the oats with a wooden spoon.  Scoop dough with a small scoop (I used 1 tablespoon scoop) and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Make sure to leave plenty of space between the dough scoops.  Bake for 12 minutes, or until just starting to brown around the edges.  Let sit on a cookie sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

While the cookies bake prepare the filling.  In a small bowl, dissolve the salt in hot water.  Set aside and allow this to cool.  Combine the marshmallow cream, shortening, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a bowl.  Mix on high until fluffy (3-4 minutes).  Add the cooled salt water and mix well.  Spread the filling on the flat side of one cookie  and press the 2nd cookie on top.


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So I thought I was on the mend,
feeling pretty good at the end of last week
when BOOM went my cold
and became bronchitis and walking pneumonia.
Now, no more continuing ed in NOLA this weekend and a lot of couch time.

Thanks Dad for the soup!!!
It was awesome.  

So now I'm blog stalking and doing this...

I'm on tumblr now and you can find me here!!
(It is very addicting.)
I'm also on instagram here.

I've also been using the heck out of netflix and hulu+.
They are so wonderful.

I've watched most of the espisodes of 

It is amazing.
Have you seen it yet?
I also want to watch

So I guess I better get back to TV watching and getting better.
Thank goodness I prescheduled a few posts when I was feeling better.
Make sure to check back tomorrow for a sweet treat!!!

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

I'm a sucker for stew anyway, but add slow-cooker to the recipe and it's over.
For years, I thought that using my crock pot was somehow cheating on cooking.
I thought that I had to make everything by hand, stirring and simmering all day long.
I don't know why I was such a slow-cooker snob, but sadly I was.
I hate that I wasted all of those years of not using my slow cooker.  
How could I have known that I was missing such wonderful meals ready when we walked in the door.

Oh well, no use lamenting on the past.
Now, I'm a proud crock pot user.
The easier the recipe the better.

This recipe was so easy and is definitely one of the best Beef Stew recipes that I've ever made.
My Dad and husband, who are both ultimate beef lovers, couldn't agree more.

Slow-Cooker Beef Stew
(slightly adapted from Movita Beaucoup)

2 pounds sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium sized onions, chopped into large pieces
2 ribs celery, chopped
4-5 carrots, peeled and chopped
about 20 mini potatoes, cut large one in half, leave smallest ones as is
1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes
2 tablespoons creole seasoning (I used Tony's)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups reduced-sodium beef broth, divided
2 bay leaves
2 cups frozen peas
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and then lightly brown the meat in batches.  Transfer the browned beef to a plate and set aside.

Dump the tomatoes into the slow cooker (juice and all).  Crush them with the back of a spoon.  Add the onions, celery, carrots, and potatoes.  Sprinkle the seasonings over the vegetables and add the beef and any accumulated drippings.  Pour 2 1/2 cups of the beef broth over the beef and vegetables.  Give the mixture a quick stir.  Add the bay leaves.  Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

About 30 minutes before serving, add the peas (no need to defrost first).  In a small bowl whisk together the flour the remaining 1/2 cup of beef broth, creating a smooth paste.  Stir into the ste.  Replace the slow cooker cover and cook until thickened (about 20-25 minutes).  Remove the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.


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Cajun Chicken Pasta

Every Sunday, unless we are out of town or busy, I try to make some type of dinner.
I love to make something that we can eat at least twice.
I'm not a huge left-over person, but I will if it means not having to cook every night.

This week, however, my cold was definitely getting the best of me and I decided that I needed to make something really easy, but also comforting and warm.
I DID NOT want to venture to the grocery store, so I decided to try to cook with what we had on hand.

This recipe is so easy and the peppers really pack a punch.

Cajun Chicken Pasta
1 pound chicken breast tenderloins, cut into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons cajun seasoning (I used Tony's)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bell pepper, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup milk
1 pound fettuccine

Prepare the chicken and sprinkle with the cajun seasoning.  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil.  Cook the chicken until done.  Remove from the skillet and cook the vegetables until tender.  Remove the vegetables and add the chicken broth and wine.  Scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze.  Add the milk and bring to a simmer.  Allow the mixture to thicken.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente.  Add the chicken and vegetables back to the cream sauce.  Drain the pasta and add to the chicken mixture.

Serve warm.


How To Make A Pillow With An Invisible Zipper in 10 Easy Steps

So, I'm finally back.
I had the nastiest cold, ever!
It completely wiped me out for a little over a week.
I've been working on a few projects, since I've been home so much (couldn't get out much with all of the hacking and sneezing).
One confession I must make though--I've been blog stalking all week, but I don't know if it was sickness or maybe a little laziness that has kept me from keeping up with my blog.
(I guess I needed a little break.)
Whatever it was, though, I am glad to be back-I've missed it.

I thought that I would share a little project tutorial on one of my favorite things to completely change up your space.

Pillows !!!

I am constantly replacing them throughout my house.
I especially love to change them with the seasons.

Even better, I thought that I could show you in 10 easy steps.
(You must have some basic sewing knowledge.)

I hope this tutorial is not to confusing and inspires you to make a few pillows to change up your space.

I'll Be Back Soon


Just taking a few days off...I'm a little under the weather.

Be back soon.