28 December 2010

Excuses, Excuses!

I'm sure you've all (maybe) noticed the fact that I promised to have a birth story soon after my last post...and then enter an alternate universe where "soon" actually means "a month from now" without providing any fodder for the waiting period. Well, actually, what happened was that a week after I last posted my entire immediate family came to visit for Thanksgiving, and then a week after that they left. So, after having my mother around for a good month, and having a whole slew of eager baby-holders for a solid week, I found myself alone with a fussy baby and no one to hand him off to so I could throw together a few posts for my blog. As my darling husband put it just the other day, "having a baby really teaches you to be selfless."

In short, I've been having trouble finding time to devote to this blog. I've been told several times that this is just a phase and won't last forever, so rest assured that, at some point in the future, I will be able to devote more time to this blog than I am currently able.

I am working on the birth story, slowly but surely, so I hope to be able to post that in the near future.

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas!

17 November 2010

The Prodigal Blogger

I'm back!

How time flies! I can't believe it's been over a month since I posted something here! I suppose I just felt like I couldn't focus on anything but the impending arrival of little Dominic...and my nesting instinct was wicked strong for the last few weeks before the birth, so I was keeping myself pretty darn busy. Just try to imagine me shuffling/waddling around the house to the frantic tune of "Flight of the Bumblebee":

There, that should ease any angst you may harbor against me for making you wait so long for a post...I hope.

I would like to make a separate post containing the birth story, which will follow very soon after this one. So to whet your appetite until I have that written up, here are some pictures of the much anticipated Mr. Dominic. Enjoy!

14 October 2010

Just Checking In...

Yes, I am still alive, and no I haven't gone into labor yet. There have been a lot of changes going on in my life here recently (not the least of which being my increasingly beach ball sized belly) and I haven't been able to find the time nor the inspiration to blog. I promise there will be a new post here as soon as I'm feeling up to it.

Until then...try to guess what I'm doing in this picture!

22 September 2010

A Long Expected Party

A very Happy Birthday to Bilbo and Frodo Baggins on this 22nd of September, 2010! I would mention their respective ages, but I'm afraid I don't know how to convert Shire Reckoning to the Gregorian calendar.

I say we celebrate with a pint of the Gaffer's home brew (or some cider for us expectant folk)! Bottoms up! Also, check out Seven Geeky Ways to Celebrate Frodo and Bilbo’s Birthday With Your Kids. I particularly like #4.

21 September 2010

Monkey Balls!...Er, I Mean Bread

One of my favorite memories from my childhood is of visiting my grandparents, where we would pop open canisters of refrigerated biscuit dough, cut them into pieces with scissors, cover them in butter and cinnamon-sugar, and pile them all in a Bundt pan to bake. My grandmother always called them Monkey Balls, a moniker which her grandchildren found truly amusing and entertaining (for obvious reasons....giggle). I remember on more than one occasion we would somehow miscalculate the bake time and/or temperature, and end up with a very crunchy exterior and a rather doughy interior (which we still ate, of course).

Well, since then my standards have changed just a little bit, to where the use of refrigerated biscuit dough would be tantamount to culinary murder (sorry Gramma!). So you can imagine my delight when I stumbled upon (and when I say "stumbled upon" I really mean actively searched out...because I'm pregnant and I crave things) a recipe on smitten kitchen for homemade monkey bread...sans Pillsbury! She takes her version from Cook's Illustrated and adds a cream cheese glaze, which I omitted because 1) I was craving the Monkey Balls from my childhood, which did not include a glaze, and 2) I didn't have any cream cheese on hand. The result was an even better version of the one my grandmother made. Glory! And I polished most of it off by myself...because I'm pregnant.

Monkey Bread

Adapted from smitten kitchen

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) unsalted butter, divided (2 tablespoons softened, 2 tablespoons melted)
1 cup milk, warm (around 110 degrees)
1/3 cup water, warm (also around 110 degrees)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
1 package or 2 1/4 teaspoons rapid rise, instant or bread machine yeast
3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
2 teaspoons table salt

Brown Sugar Coating
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (I added an extra 1/2 teaspoon, because I love cinnamon)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick or 4 ounces), melted

1. Adjust oven rack to medium-low position and heat oven to 200°F. When oven reaches 200, turn it off. Butter Bundt pan with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Set aside.

2. In large measuring cup, mix together milk, water, melted butter, sugar, and yeast.

To proceed with a stand mixer, mix flour and salt in standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn machine to low and slowly add milk mixture. After dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix until dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. The dough will be slightly sticky. Turn dough onto lightly floured counter and knead briefly to form a smooth, round ball.

To proceed by hand, mix flour and salt in large bowl. Make a well in the flour, then add the milk mixture to the well. Using a wooden spoon or dough scraper, stir until dough becomes shaggy and is difficult to stir. Turn out onto lightly floured work surface and begin to knead, incorporating shaggy scraps back into dough. Knead until dough is smooth and satiny, about 10 minutes. Shape into taut ball and proceed as directed.

3. Coat large bowl with nonstick cooking spray or a tablespoon of neutral oil. Place dough in bowl and coat surface of dough with more cooking spray or roll around to coat in oil. Cover bowl with plasti-crap and place in warm oven until dough doubles in size, 50 to 60 minutes.

4. Place melted butter in one bowl. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a second one.

5. Flip dough out onto floured surface and gently pat into an 8-inch square. Using a bench scraper or knife, cut dough into 64 pieces. Gently roll each piece of dough into a ball. Working one at a time, dip balls in melted butter, allowing excess butter to drip back into bowl (a fork helps). Roll in brown sugar mixture, then layer balls in Bundt pan, staggering seams where dough balls meet as you build layers. Cover Bundt pan tightly with plasti-crap and place in turned-off oven until dough balls are puffy and have risen 1 to 2 inches from top of pan, 50 to 70 minutes.

6. Remove pan from oven and heat oven to 350°F. Unwrap pan and bake until top is deep brown and caramel might begin to bubble around edges, 30 to 35 minutes (mine didn't bubble, but it was definitely done). Cool in pan for 5 minutes (no longer, or you’ll have trouble getting it out) then turn out on platter and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Basically, you just pull the thing apart with your fingers. I was a tad impatient and probably dug into it too soon because I burned my fingers more than once, but it was divine!

In the immortal words of Julia Child: Bon appetit!

18 September 2010

Confessions of a Northern Transplant

It was almost 90 degrees Fahrenheit today...in the middle of September...when I'm supposed to be unpacking my hoodies and drinking hot beverages in the crisp, slightly chill air.

Instead, I'm trying to stay cool by running the air conditioner and the ceiling fan at the same time (being pregnant has turned me into a walking furnace).

I don't know if I'll ever get used to the weather here in the south. While there are many positives to living here (loads of barbecue, friendly people, "Red State", etc.) I don't count the weather as one of them. Some of you may say, "You won't be saying that when winter comes!" Oh yes, I will. See, I actually don't mind winter. Some of my fondest memories are of the various blizzards I have weathered during my childhood and adolescence. There's nothing like curling up in front of the window with a gratuitously large mug of coffee and watching each snowflake make its balletic descent into obscurity. I was lucky last year to experience one of the snowiest winters this area has seen in a long while. It made leaving the north a bit easier.

As much as I love snow, however, autumn has always occupied a special place in my heart (hence why it was chosen as the preferred season for our wedding last year). And I suppose my internal clock has yet to reset itself, because I've already switched over into "Fall Mode"...a tad early for this climate, methinks.

For example, I desperately want to mull some cider. "You want to do what to that cider?" I want to mull it. No, I do not want to ruminate on it, although I have found myself in a very contemplative state whilst sipping apple cider. I want to mull it in the following sense:
To heat, sweeten, and flavor with spices for drinking, as ale or wine.
 Mulled, or spiced, cider is a favorite of mine. As a matter of fact, just this evening I purchased a bottle of home fragrance oil from Bath & Body Works in that very scent. It typifies autumn to me (probably because my mom makes a massive batch of it every Thanksgiving)...and it's damn good!

So last week, when the weather was beginning to look like it could be cooling off, I became a little overzealous and made my own mulling spices, fully intending to mull the gallon of cider I purchased back when I made my apple pie (also in a fit of zeal). I will share the recipe for the spices with you and hopefully you live in a climate that will allow you to actually use them without having to run the air conditioner full blast. I found this particular recipe on Love to Know:

Basic Mulling Spices

Makes 1 1/2 cups

6 cinnamon sticks
1 small whole nutmeg
1/2 cup whole cloves
1/2 cup whole allspice
Grated peel of one whole orange

Put the cinnamon and nutmeg in a zippered storage bag and chip into medium sized pieces with a hammer or the flat side of a meat tenderizer. Place in a storage container (in my case, another plastic bag) with the cloves, allspice and orange peel.

To use, place two tablespoons full of the spice in a square of cheesecloth, tie with twine, and add to four cups of cider (or wine). Sweeten to taste (I used about 1/2 cup of sugar for four cups). Simmer for three or more hours and serve hot. This works best in a crock pot, but you can do it on the stove, just make sure not to boil it.

This mix smells heavenly! Whenever I walk by the cupboard where it is kept I stop and inhale deeply. Ahh, fall...

16 September 2010

Pants are the Devil...and Make You Look Fat

Apparently there has recently been a debate of sorts circulating around the Catholic blogosphere on the moral standing of pants vs. skirts. Yes, pants vs. skirts. We're still having that discussion. This particular bout is being fought in response to an article over at CatholiCity, a website closely associated with a man who divorced his wife for no reason and gained custody of their four children by demanding she stop homeschooling them. Awesome, right?

So basically, the article pleads with women everywhere to discard our "damned pants" for the sake of modesty and femininity. We should wear dresses and skirts all the time in order to avoid being a stumbling block into temptation for all those poor men who want to respect us, but just can't if we insist on wearing form-hugging, flaw enhancing, evil, evil pants (actual points about pants made by the author...with the exception of "evil" although it is consistently implied).

Now, I'm an unabashed skirt wearer....especially during my pregnancy because, well, they're the only things that fit comfortably under my increasingly rotund belly. But I wear pants on occasion, especially during the wintertime or when I'm planning on engaging in an activity that will make the wearing of pants particularly convenient (like bungee jumping). I am, however, one of the weirdos that is sincerely, truly and honestly more comfortable in skirts. Given the choice between a pair of jeans and a long skirt, I will almost always choose the skirt. That being said, I take issue with the idea that women must wear skirts, or any particular article of clothing.

 My comments on the article follow:
Almost every style of pants reveals private information about your figure (by way of contour) what only your husband (and if not him, no man, including your sons, if you have sons) should perceive.
And some styles of skirts reveal just as much as a pair of tight pants. So is it the pants themselves that are the problem, or the fit? Can we not wear a skirt just as immodestly as a pair of pants? Is it really the pants themselves that are the problem? Hmmm.
Thus, even a woman endowed with the most spectacular genetic form, in the bloom of her youth, can be given the illusion of ugliness, if not cheapness, by wearing pants. Likewise, pants rarely do anything but exaggerate extra volume on our figures.
Wait a minute. First pants are an occasion for temptation, and now they merely serve to accentuate our wobbly bits? Make up your mind!
Of course, we defer and appeal to our male readers to make clear your moral clothing preferences to the women and girls within your realm of responsibility or influence.
...Um, what?
In the day-to-day reality of the suburban lives most of us live, men almost always delegate the purchase of clothing to their wives. Women then make virtually all the fashion choices, mistakenly relying upon the opinions of other women (who know either too little or too much about how fashion choices affect men morally). Good women are always tempted to buy the styles they see other women and young girls wearing; inevitably everyone, men and women, are pulled downward by the undertow of the constantly lowered bar of our sexualized and superficial culture.
Heaven forbid a woman purchase her own clothing!! It's too bad we're too weak-minded to make the right decisions about such purchases. The corrupting influence of society is too strong! WHO WILL HELP US?!?
May we suggest (or perhaps you wives and daughters might suggest) that your husbands and fathers take you shopping for the expressed purpose of choosing everyday clothing for you.
Oh thank God! I thought I was doomed to harlotry!

Can I just say that the idea of my dear father going shopping with me to help me pick out clothes makes me want to laugh so hard I would actually pee (pregnancy will do that to you). Not that he has poor taste, but I can just picture this scene in the women's department of JcPenney's:
Me: "So, um...what do you think of this?"
Dad: "Heck, I don't know. Get whatever you want. I'll be in the men's section..."
And while I take my darling husband's opinion into account, he by no means determines what I wear. He thinks I'm just as beautiful in a pair of pants as in a skirt, and he most definitely sees the practicality of pants for certain situations.

The fact that this has been turned into a moral issue is ridiculous. The pants themselves are morally neutral...they're just pants! It's how they are worn that constitutes the real moral issue, and I can definitely agree that there are some styles of pants that should never be worn. But if I wear a pair of pants to weed my garden I shouldn't feel like I'm breaking some moral code. I also shouldn't feel like I'm betraying my femininity. I affirm my femininity every day I bear this child in my womb, and I will continue to affirm my femininity once he is born by mothering him and raising him to be a respectful Catholic gentleman.

Now where are my maternity jeans?

15 September 2010

Lookie, Lookie! I Made a SCARF!

I've actually been working on this project for a few months now, but never got around to uploading pictures because 1) I am a lazy procrastinating preggo and 2) I kept going back and forth over whether to wait until I steam blocked it to take pictures. Of course I never ended up steam blocking it (see number 1) so I finally took some (OK) pictures of it to post:

It's really long so I couldn't get the whole thing in the picture without hyperextending my arm (I was both holding the scarf and trying to take a picture of it). This way you get a basic idea of what the pattern looks like. I made it with Misti Alpaca Lace yarn and a 3.75 mm crochet hook.

Here you can see what the ends look like. If I were to steam block it, the ends would look more scalloped, but again, I am lazy.

A closeup of the lace pattern. It's really soft and warm, despite how lightweight it is. I can't wait until it gets cool enough around here for me to wear it (which probably won't be until February...c'est la vie).

If you're interested, the pattern is the Isosceles Shawl by Amy O'Neill Houck from Tension Magazine.

How to Eat Responsibly

There's an excellent article by Wendell Berry (who is from Kentucky...RAWK!) over at Organic Gardening about why it's important to understand where our food comes from. He says that eating is an agricultural act that begins with planting and ends with consumption (no not tuberculosis), and the modern person considers themself a "consumer" of a product, and not a participant in the biological reality of farming and the land. This particular excerpt caught my attention:
The passive American consumer, sitting down to a meal of pre-prepared or fast food, confronts a platter covered with inert, anonymous substances that have been processed, dyed, breaded, sauced, gravied, ground, pulped, strained, blended, prettified, and sanitized beyond resemblance to any part of any creature that ever lived.
Sound familiar? I am convinced McDonald's has ceased to serve real food, and is instead serving some sort of synthesized "food product" created in a lab. Yummy.

Here's where it gets real interesting (emphasis mine):
[I]n the food industry—as in any other industry—the overriding concerns are not quality and health, but volume and price. For decades now the entire industrial food economy, from the large farms and feedlots to the chains of supermarkets and fast-food restaurants, has been obsessed with volume. It has relentlessly increased scale in order to increase volume in order (presumably) to reduce costs. But as scale increases, diversity declines; as diversity declines, so does health; as health declines, the dependence on drugs and chemicals necessarily increases. As capital replaces labor, it does so by substituting machines, drugs, and chemicals for human workers and for the natural health and fertility of the soil. The food is produced by any means or any shortcut that will increase profits.
No wonder our country struggles so much with obesity. The quality of our food has surrendered to the demand for quantity...just look at the meal portions at Applebee's! And they're always getting bigger.

Ever since seeing Super Size Me I have become more and more aware of how what we eat affects more than just our health (and our pocketbook). Then I saw Food Inc., and never wanted to look at a cheeseburger ever again...for the rest of my natural born life (pregnancy cravings overrode that sentiment a few times, but I blame that entirely on the hormones). My options weren't particularly appealing, either. Pay $1 for a cheeseburger, or $15 for an organic sandwich. Well, my money tree died, so either I needed to find some sort of middle ground, or we were gonna live on beans for the rest of our (very smelly) lives.

Then I became acquainted with people who grew their own food...and even raised their own animals. They weren't starving...far from it. And they weren't spending their life savings on chichi overpriced organic frozen dinners from Whole Foods. I began feeling a peculiar pulling sensation in the region of my chest, which I eventually identified as longing. I wanted what these people had. Unfortunately for me, I am not in possession of the quantity of land that would allow me to accomplish this goal in the near future.

But I can still grow things.

A book called The Bountiful Container helped me come to this realization. Apparently, you can grow most of your own produce in pots on your back (or front) porch (or in our case, a cement patio about the size of a postage stamp). I had completely planned on doing this exact thing at the beginning of this year...oh, I had plans. Then I got pregnant...and hadn't the energy nor the wherewithal. Sad story.

I definitely plan on a garden next year, which will be an adventure since the last thing I grew was a Chia Pet. Shenanigans will undoubtedly ensue.
The pleasure of eating should be an extensive pleasure, not that of the mere gourmet. People who know the garden in which their vegetables have grown and know that the garden is healthy will remember the beauty of the growing plants, perhaps in the dewy first light of morning when gardens are at their best.

14 September 2010

Additions to My Veil Collection

I am the only person in my parish to wear a chapel veil to Mass. This, understandably, makes me stand out just a little bit. In contrast to the disapproving looks and confused stares I was accustomed to receiving in the northeast, the responses here have been relatively positive and supportive. So supportive in fact that in the past week I have received two gorgeous vintage veils from two different parishioners! One of them was just sitting around unused at this woman's house, and the other was given as a prize at the Mount Saint Joseph picnic! I have been on the lookout for a good black veil since I got married...now I have two! Huzzah!

My darling husband wrote a Question & Answer column for our church bulletin a while back on the wearing of veils during Mass. He did such a good job explaining it, I don't feel like I could improve upon it, but I will add my own thoughts after.
It has been a long-standing custom in the Church for a woman to wear a veil at Mass or in the presence of our Lord in the Eucharist. Although it seems to have gone out of fashion nowadays, there is certainly nothing that prevents a woman from continuing this practice, and it is a commendable one for many reasons.

For one, Paul tells us in 1 Cor 11:2-16 that when a woman veils herself at Mass, she is acknowledging the headship of Christ and the authority of her husband (or father, if she is single) who is called to represent the headship of Christ in her life. “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior” (Eph 5:23).

Paul also says that a woman’s long hair is “her pride,” or her glory (1 Cor 11:15), and rightly so. Women should celebrate all that makes them distinctly feminine, and often times, there is nothing more beautiful than a woman’s hair! But, in the Mass, where we are called to humbly present ourselves before the Almighty God, we must, as St. John the Baptist says, “decrease so that he may increase” (Jn 3:30). So, a woman veils herself so that all glory will be given to God and not to herself.

Thirdly, in the Judeo-Christian tradition, vessels of life are often veiled. In the Old Testament, the “Holy of Holies” – the place where the life of God in the Ark of the Covenant resided – was separated from the rest of the Temple by a veil. In Mass, the chalice that holds the Blood of Christ is veiled until the Offertory. In between Masses, the ciborium that contains the Body of Christ is veiled inside the tabernacle. These are, as Jesus himself tells us, the sources of our spiritual life (cf. Jn 6:53). Finally, Mary, who consented to bring the life of Christ to the world, is almost always pictured with a veil on her head.

Like Mary, women have been given the sacred privilege of being co-creators with God by bringing new life into the world. As such, they often veil themselves in Mass, as a way of promoting due reverence for their unique, God-given purpose as vessels of life. Wearing a veil is also a way of imitating Mary, who is the pre-eminent role model for all women.

Finally, you have to admit: nothing remedies a “bad-hair-day” like a veil!
Honestly, the last reason is probably one of the best reasons to wear a veil. Sometimes I just don't feel like fixing my hair on Sunday morning, and I think to myself, "It doesn't matter anyway, because I'm gonna put a veil over it!" and cheerfully go about the rest of my morning.

The original reason I started wearing my veil was because I wanted to show reverence to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. I know it sounds misogynistic for a woman to veil herself in acknowledgment of a man's headship (horror!), but it isn't so. If you read all of Ephesians 5, you will find that both the husband and the wife are subject to each other, in different ways that mimic the relationship between Christ and the Church. "Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ" (Eph 5:21). The wife is subject to the husband in obedience, yes, but the husband must be subject to the wife in love as well, and be willing to give up his life for her. Inequality is not the aim, but rather complementarity...we are equal but different, and as such have different roles to perform.

Secondly, I love my hair. Yes, I said it. It can be a source of vanity for me, and I have often thought about how devastated I would be if I were to ever lose it. When people compliment me on my hair, I have often thought to myself, "I KNOW, right?" So the second reason to wear a veil definitely applies to me. That is my confession for the day.

The third reason to wear a veil made me chuckle a little to myself. Recently, at my goddaughter's baptism, one of my uncle's family members approached me and asked if my veil signified that I was "with child." It was asked so earnestly and with such a fascination at the possibility of there existing such a custom that I can't help but smile when I think of it. Of course if such were the case, my single sister wearing one would be more than a little scandalous. But I digress.

I'm not saying that every woman should wear a veil just because I wear one. It should be a personal decision, and some people just don't feel comfortable wearing one. That's ok. It's not required. It isn't the only way to cover your head either. The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales said it well when they wrote:
Why should a woman wear a head covering or veil in church? Not to be praised, not to go along, not for tradition’s sake, not to stand out in the crowd, not because you say or I say or anybody says...But because she loves our Eucharistic Lord Jesus.
Amen, sister!

13 September 2010

Homemade Apple Pie

I'm from the northeast, and right now it's the perfect weather for apple pie, warm spiced apple cider, and caramel apples. When I was a kid, our family used to go apple picking as soon as humanly possible so that my mom could then transform our bounty into these delicacies...particularly apple pie. My mom is known for her pies. Every Thanksgiving she makes at least five different varieties (and at least one cheesecake), and one of them is always apple.

Now I live in the south...it is not apple pie weather here. Does that stop me from making one anyway? NEVER! So I dragged my husband out to Reid's Orchard, bought a half peck of Empire apples and a gallon of cider, and stopped by the grocery on the way home to replenish my butter stash...cause I was makin' a pie!

There are three phases to pie making. The first is to make the crust dough and chill it, the second is to prepare the filling, and the third is to bake. I should probably add a fourth phase to that...consume with reckless abandon...since that is what usually happens after the bake phase.

On to the first phase, the crust.

I found my pie crust recipe via The New Homemaker, and adjusted a few things based on my understanding of pie crust and some trial and error. The original recipe calls for more water, but for some reason I always end up with a very wet dough when I add the amount suggested, so I've cut it back here. If your dough seems too dry, add more water.

Double Pie Crust

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
1/4 cup shortening
4 to 6 tablespoons ice cold water

1. Cut the fat into small pieces and add to the measured flour. Cut the fat quickly into the flour using a pastry blender or pulse in a food processor. The mixture should resemble coarse meal, with pea-sized lumps of fat (bigger lumps are OK, too). Try not to over mix as the butter will start to soften and you want it to remain cold.

2. Slowly add the water a tablespoon at a time. The mixture should still look fairly dry. When you squeeze a portion of it in your hand, it should hold together. If not, add more water.

3. Divide the dough in half and place each piece in plasti-crap. With the plasti-crap, form the dough into a flat disk. Refrigerate for an hour or more.

4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap, and place on a floured counter top or a piece of wax paper. Roll out from the center until it is large enough to fit your pie pan (I use Pyrex). Gently fold the disk in half and place in your pie plate. Repair any splits by pinching together or use spare dough to fix any cracks.

5. Roll out the top crust the same way and follow the instructions for your particular pie.

Now it's time for the filling!

Apple Pie

6-8 Jonathan, Macoun, Rome Beauty or Empire apples (apples should form a mound above the pie dish), peeled, cored and sliced.
1/2-3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg (you can use preground, but freshly ground is SO much better!)
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp unsalted butter

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line pie plate with 1/2 the dough (we already did that, so we proceed onward).

2. Mix sugars, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and flour in a large bowl. Toss sliced apples in sugar mixture. Pile them into the lined plate and dot with the butter.

3. Wet the top edge of the dough with warm water. Roll out the top crust and drape it over the pie. Crimp the edges and cut several vents in the top.

4. Bake for 15 minutes at 425. Lower the heat to 350 degrees F and bake for 50-55 minutes more until the apples are tender and the crust is browned.


Wilkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome!

I know, I know, I shouldn't be quoting such a morally depraved show as Cabaret in my first post, but it seemed fitting for the subject matter and, well, I kinda like that song...don't shun me.

So, this would have to be my fourth attempt at a blog. I'm hoping this one will take off better than the previous three...why do I always start my blogs like that? It's so depressing. No wonder the other ones flopped.

Let's start over...HI! Welcome to my blog, which will surely undergo further improvements over the coming months as I tweak and rearrange it to my liking. A lot of stuff will be happening within that time frame (I'm having a BABY in less than TWO MONTHS!!! AAAHHHH!!!) so we'll see how well I can keep up posting. So look around, make yourself comfortable, and enjoy the show!

Until next time!


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