The Best Apple Pie I've Ever Made

I've decided that every so often I want to post about food.  I love cooking, I love trying new things, and I need something other than Audrey to blog about :).  Plus, I work part-time as a caterer so I feel like I am sort of qualified to write about my recipes.

This week I needed to test my apple pie skills.  I'm making it for an upcoming party and wanted to make sure I knew how to make it correctly.  Great news, it came out WONDERFULLY.  I don't super love apple pie, but oh man this one is GOOD.  Here's the recipe, and some pictures I took along the way:

1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie (I made my own, but I'm sure that the store-bought Pillsbury kind would work perfectly fine)
1/2 cup unsalted butter3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
  6-8Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced, depending on how big they are.  I had huge apples so I only needed about 6.

First, peel and core your apples.  I have this cool tool that cores them and slices them all in one motion.  I got it at the Dollar Tree and it's one of my favorite kitchen gadgets.  Then, slice up your apples.  I like mine very thin, but you can do it however you like.  I feel like the thin slices end up cooking more thoroughly.  This seriously is the hardest part of making the pie.

Next you want to melt a stick of butter (yeah, a whole stick.  We're not messin' around here.) in a saucepan.

When it's all melted, add your flour.  Cook it for a couple of minutes to get the raw flour taste out.  This will help make a paste (or roux) for your apple pie "goo."  And yes, "goo" is the technical term for the yummy liquid found inside your apple pie. :)

The recipe I was loosely following did not include cinnamon.  I thought that was just ridiculous.  How do you have cinnamon-less apple pie?!  If you aren't digging the cinnamon, leave it out, but for me it's a must.

After you've cooked the flour and butter for a couple minutes, add your sugars and cinnamon.  Stir until combined, then add the 1/4 cup of water.

And man does it make beautiful sauce.  MMMmmmm I could just drink that stuff in a mug.  (Don't worry, I didn't.)   Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about five minutes, but watch it so it doesn't burn!

While you're waiting, get your crust stuff ready.  Halloween decorations optional.

If you made your own, flour the surface and roll it out to about 1/4" thick.  Try to keep it in a circle shape, but if you don't it's fine.  I never can seem to keep it round.

So this trick I learned from Chef Robert Irvine on Food Network.  You know the ridiculously buff, scary, British military man that goes in and fixes people's restaurants?  Him.  If you rub butter on your pie crust before filling it, it prevents soggy crust.  The fat in the butter acts as a barrier to the sauce.  Neat, huh?  I would recommend doing it differently than I have pictured here.  The way I really do it is to take some softened butter on my fingertips and rub it on that way. Then you don't tear your yummy crust.

Roll out your top portion of pastry dough and cut it into strips for your lattice top.  Don't be intimidated by this.  I was, and it's actually super easy.  You need to have a lattice top for your secret weapon later. ;)

Place your apples in the pie crust.  You don't have to make them all organized like me, but it brings joy to my perfectionist heart to see my apples neat and tidy.  Also, I feel like if you organize them it evenly distributes the apples.  I poured probably half of the goo on the apples at this point.  I tried to move them so it would cover all of them.

Put on your lattice strips like so:

Here's the secret weapon!  Pour the rest of your goo ON the crust!  It will sink through the holes in your lattice top, and it makes the crust golden brown, sweet, and crunchy.  Best tip ever!

I couldn't get a picture before we dug right in.  It was DELICIOUS!

I'm so happy I found an apple pie recipe that works!  There are a couple tweaks I'm going to make to the recipe that I think will improve it, but it's pretty darn good just how it is.  I'll let you all know if my tweaks make any difference!

Now, excuse me, I need my pre-workout pie. 


Our Fabulous Fall

Fall has always been my favorite season.  It's the most colorful season, there's my birthday, and it's a perfect transition from summer clothes to my fall wardrobe (which I like more than my summer, for some reason).  It always brings back fond memories of football games, marching band, homemade chili, and weenie roasts at my grandma's house.

Experiencing Fall with Audrey has made it a thousand times better than I ever remembered it.  It's so awesome to watch her experience all of these things for the first time and just be so in love with all of it.  She's been helping me create more Fall memories that I will cherish and keep with me forever.  She's grown to love (obsessively) pumpkins, and any time we're out and she spots one, she'll point, and squeal "PUNKINS!"  When we go to the Halloween section of any store she'll always warn me, "he'll get you!" about the scary guys hanging out there.  Just this past weekend she's discovered the joy of stomping on and crunching the leaves that have fallen from our tree in the backyard.  Our grapes are always ready for picking in the Fall, and we've spent many evenings just the three of us outside, talking, giggling, and eating grapes straight off the vine.  Audrey's even learned to go over and pick a bunch for herself.  I wish I could bottle all of it up and save it forever. 

Here are some picture of our Fall so far.

On our stroll on the Provo River trail.  I love the mountains in the Fall!

This Fall is when Audrey learned to go down slides all on her own!  She is so proud.

When we got our Halloween decorations out, Audrey fell in love with these cat ears.  She often pretends to be a cat, and has insisted on wearing them out in public.  Grocery stores, the library, you name it.  The girl's got no shame.

We went with our playgroup to Pumpkin land at a garden center nearby.  Audrey had fun teasing these goats and squealed when they would stick their heads out to get her.

It's not Fall until you get some new Fall boots!  I just love her little boots, so stinkin' cute.

Papa Murphy's sells a Jack-o-Lantern pizza this time of year.  We were both pretty shocked that Audrey knew that this was a pumpkin!  She loved it, and it was pretty tasty, too.  (Also, only $7!)

Pictures from Thanksgiving Point's Cornbelly's.  We picked out our pumpkins and had some fun!

Audrey somehow made it through this maze ;)

Way up high!  (Mom was too scared to go up)

This next picture is a random one, but I wanted to share it so I could document it on my blog and remember it.  Last night I put Audrey in the bath and went to grab a washcloth from the cabinet.  I turned around to see that she had pulled Lovey Bunny into the bath with her!  The two of them were having a ball in the water together, but it was nearly bedtime and Bunny was DRENCHED.  I had to pry him from her hands and we threw him in the dryer after ringing him out for about five minutes.  He still wasn't all the way dry for bedtime, but Audrey didn't mind.

She really loves her buddy Lovey Bunny!  

Hooray for Fall, pumpkins, and baths with our best friends! :)


My Little Parrot

Audrey is at that special age where you really have to watch what you say in front of her.  She is the most observant creature I've ever met, and picks up on things very quickly.  Lately she's really been experimenting with new sounds and words and it's made me realize the things I must say regularly on a daily basis.  She has some of the funniest phrases memorized, and whips them out at just the right moments.

Here are some examples:

(in the car)
Me:  Audrey? Are you sleeping back there?
Audrey: It's okay, babe.

Me: Audrey, time to change your diaper!
Audrey: Second, please!  (copying my "give me one second, please")
Me: Can you eat your sandwich, please?
Audrey: Two bites.  One, two.  Two bites.
Audrey: (bringing her shoes to me) Bye!  Goin' to work!
Audrey: (snuggling her bunny) Awww, it's my baaaby.
Audrey walked into the bathroom while I was fixing my hair and said, "aw, soo pretty!"
Me:  Audrey, you're so silly!
Audrey: (points at me) PUMPKIN HEAD! *giggles*
Me: Audrey, I'm making dinner.
Audrey: Stop it!
not so proud of this one, lol
While Audrey waits for her milk to warm in the microwave she gives a proper countdown:  "3...2...1....BLASTOFF!"
Me:  Audrey, which car is our car?
Audrey: Favorite rocket ship!
Too much Little Einsteins, anyone??
Me:  Audrey, I'm going to clean up your toys, want to help?
Audrey:  I don't think so!
Audrey: (standing by the door)  Outside!  Want to??
Audrey: (upon sitting down on my lap after bringing me the book she'd like to read for bedtime)  Okay, ready?  

I'm sure there's more, but that's all I could come up with right now. It's just hilarious that she's picked up on all of these different things Tony and I say to her.  She also started to repeat things she overhears from our conversations.  We'll be talking in the car and suddenly we'll hear Audrey pipe up from the backseat with a word she heard us use.  We really have to start being careful what we talk about now!  Not that we would talk about anything unsavory, of course ;).


Story Time

I'm always looking for fun things to do with Audrey.  If they're also educational, mega plus, right?  I heard about Toddler Time at the Provo library from one of my friends and hesitantly decided to give it a try.  We tried "Mommy and Me" time at the Orem library a while ago, which was advertised as a story time for babies.  It did not go over well.  Ten-month-old Audrey hated it.  Even though it's been six months, I was still unsure of how she would react to story time.

We got there ten minutes early and I was worried that we would have to sit all by our lonesome while we wait for a few people to show up.  Oh, boy, was I wrong!  We were lucky to get a seat!  The Provo Library is AMAZING.  They have an entirely separate children's library that is huge, beautiful, and oh so fun.  Audrey was loving it.  We sat down in this carpeted amphitheater type thing called "Story Circle" and Ms. Kristy handed out paper letter D's to all of the kids. 

Meet Mr. Glenn and Ms. Kristy
After all of the D's were passed out, these two came out with headset microphones on singing songs.  This was legit.  They started talking about the letter D and all the things that start with D.  Audrey was sitting by me and I was glad to see that she seemed entertained.  Ms. Kristy instructed all of the kids to stand up, hold up their D's and yell "DEEEEEEEEE!"  Assuming Audrey would just watch the other kids do this, I was shocked and amazed when she stood up, held up her paper letter, and yelled "DEEEEE!"  I didn't realize she knew how to follow instructions so well!

They keep Toddler Time to 30 minutes, but Audrey was involved and participating every second of it.  She danced in the middle of the circle with the kids during dance time, she sat on the blanket and watched the story being read.  She was cracking up at the puppet shows, and especially loved the song about ducks.

It was seriously like Sesame Street up in there.  It was the most impressive story time I've ever been to.  (And I've been to at least ten.  I used to be a nanny, ya know.)  We are most definitely going back again.  Audrey still has her letter D and proudly exclaims "D!" when we hold it up or show it to her.

Anyone in Utah who wants to come with me is totally welcome!  Even for my SLC friends, its worth the drive.  They have it on T/W/Th at 10, 11, and 12 I think.  We usually go on Tuesdays at 10.