Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

How is it already mid-November? I feel like time is flying by me and I am playing a losing game of catch up. I am trying to stay positive though, so I am going to give myself some slack, and just try to enjoy things. 

I had a bucket list for the month of November. First on it: Make an apple pie. There is something about apple pie that screams fall and welcomes the holiday season. I am not a huge fan of crust, so I prefer the Dutch style crumble. I also cheat and use refrigerated dough. Don’t hate me. Just enjoy this fabulous pie. 

Flaky crust, loaded with seasoned pink lady apples and then topped with a brown sugar crumble. What more could you want in a dessert? 

Dutch Apple Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  • 8 cups pink lady apples, peeled cored and sliced
  • 1/2 c + 1 TBSP granulated sugar 
  • 1 1/4 c flour, divided
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter
  • 2/3 c packed brown sugar

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400-degrees. 
  2. Unfold the refrigerated pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim any over hanging crust and then flute the edges. 
  3. In a large bowl, combine the apples, 1/2 c granulated sugar, 1/4 c flour, cinnamon and lemon juice. Pour into the pie plate, mounding the fruit towards the center. 
  4. In a medium bowl, use your fingers to mix the butter, 1 cup flour and brown sugar into a crumble. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the apple mixture. Spread the 1 TBSP granulated sugar over the top of the pie. 
  5. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the crumble is a golden brown and the apples are bubbling. Cover the edges of the crust with foil if it begins to brown too quickly. 
  6. Allow to cool on a rack before slicing. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream if desired. 

This pie did not last 3 days in my house. Not only is it a great dessert, but leftovers make a decadent breakfast as well. I am sure I will have to make another round of pie for Thanksgiving, but I am OK with the repetition. 

What is your favorite fall dessert? Are you more of a pie, or a bread pudding type of person? And of course, if you try the pie, I would love to see pictures in the comments. 

Happy November. 

Kristie

Buzzing about : Blackberry Whiskey Lemonade

This recipe is the reason I made Blackberry Simple Syrup. Between the weather change, and a rough couple of nights with a whiny toddler, I was ready to relax. 

When I was telling a friend about this, I referred to it as my cold medicine. The whiskey helps suppress the cough and let me sleep. The lemon breaks up the mucus. Blackberries are thought to help fight colds and the flu because they are high in polyphenols. Combined, it sounds like medicine to me. 

I mix a batch for two when I make this, but you can round up to make more for a party if you desire. The first time I tried this, I used the blackberry syrup, whiskey, rosemary and lemon juice. I’m not sure if the issue was the bottled juice, as opposed to fresh lemon juice, but there was an after taste I did not enjoy. 

So I went back to the drawing board, and tried some frozen Minute Maid Lemonade Concentrate. I was much happier with this combination. The concentrate provided a real lemonade taste, instead of the artificial lemon juice after taste. 

Blackberry Whiskey Lemonade

Ingredients

  • 6 ice cubes
  • 1/2 c blackberry simple syrup
  • 1/2 c whiskey
  • 1/4 c frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1/2 c club soda
  • 1 sprig rosemary

Directions

  1. Place the ice cubes, blackberry syrup, whiskey, lemonade concentrate and rosemary into a beverage shaker. Shake well. 
  2. Divide the shaker contents into two 6 oz glasses filled with ice. Pour 1/4 c of club soda into each glass and stir. 
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving 
Calories337
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.6g1%
Saturated Fat 0.1g0%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 15mg1%
Total Carbohydrate 50.8g18%
Dietary Fiber 4.9g18%
Total Sugars 29.2g 
Protein 1.3g 
Vitamin D 0mcg0%
Calcium 38mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
Potassium 170mg4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Recipe analyzed by 

This may be my new favorite cocktail. I love the refreshing lemonade flavor, with just the bite of whiskey. The rosemary gives a hint of earthiness to the sweet blackberry flavor. I know there are a lot of similar recipes out there like this, but this is how it tastes best to me. 

Let me know what you think. 

Kristie 

Childhood Joys: 52 Lists for Happiness List 11

Today I felt well enough to work on my journal. It’s been a while, so I was excited to do something that felt normal. After reading the heading, I almost shut the book. The anniversary of my brother’s death is four days away, and revisiting my childhood is like an unhealed wound. That combined with the murder of a childhood friend Monday night, made this a bittersweet experience. 

My list is a probably a little odd. I was not an athletic kid. I didn’t do sports or take dance classes. I listened to music, played with the neighborhood kids and read a ton of books. The only organized things I participated in were bowling and scouts. I have always become attached to people. I still have the same best friends. They have become my family. 

I found a bike that I really like on amazon. My husband and I have been talking about buying me one before the spring so that we can do family bike rides together. Unfortunately, finding one I like has been difficult. I guess that’s because I’m short and picky. 

I did not find a magazine workout to try, but I did find a fun workout on self.com that I decided to try. I am not nearly as fit as the people demonstrating the exercises, but it does give me some new goals. Using 5 lb weights,  I was able to do: 

  • 1 set of 8 Renegade Row with a push up: I did modify the push up to my knees though, so I had an extra step going back up into the plank before lifting my weight. 
  • 1 set of 12 Single-Leg Reverse Fly per leg: I have better balance on my right leg than on my left. I almost fell twice while standing on t the left leg. Just something to work on. 
  • 2 sets of 12 Alternating Overhead Press: At this point I am feeling the muscles work in the sides of my core. I also feel like I am working out my shoulders and arms. It’s work but it feels good. 
  • 1 set of 10 Russian Twists: My twists are smaller but were definitely felt across the front of my abdomen. I was able to twist in each direction ten times, before it was too painful and hard to catch my breath. 

That is as far as I was able to get in one day. It’s not where I want to be, but it is a start. 
I also starting walking on my treadmill again this week. While I would love to take the dogs out for a walk, the weather has been cold and rainy. The moisture in the air increases the intensity of my migraines, which makes working out harder as well. My compromise is 30 minutes on the treadmill. I went slow and only walked a little over a mile, but again it is a start. 
My goals are to alternate the core workout and the treadmill each day. I want to add reps and exercises to the core workout each week. I also want to increase my stamina on the treadmill and work up to an easy 20 minute mile. 
As far as this helping my happiness levels goes, I have to admit that just getting out of bed and trying something new made me feel a little better. Finding a way to push through the pain for 30 minutes gives me hope that I am stronger than these migraines. And who knows, maybe some healthy endorphins will help. 
Thank for checking out my list. Have a great week. Kristie

Blackberry Simple Syrup

Last week I stopped at Meijer on my way home from work. They had blackberries on sale for 97 cents per 6 oz container. Naturally I had to buy a couple and take them to home to experiment with in the kitchen. 

I decided to attempt my very first simple syrup for mixing cocktails. It can also be used for pancake syrup. The kids were licking it off the spoon, while it was warm. Trust me when I tell you it is fabulous. 

Simply heat 12 oz of berries with 1/2 c sugar. As the berries soften and break down, mash them with a potato masher. 

Next, place a strainer in a mason jar. Spoon the mashed berry mixture in to the strainer, and push the liquid through with the back of your spoon. Discard the seeds. 

It’s that simple. The entire process takes about 30 minutes. What you are left with is yummy blackberry syrup that you can keep in your fridge for about 2 weeks. You should try it. 

Blackberry Simple Syrup

Ingredients

  • 12 oz fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the berries and the sugar over medium heat for 25 minutes, alternately stirring and mashing with a potato masher. The syrup should begin to thicken and stick to your spoon. 
  2. Strain the mixture into a mason jar, pushing the liquid through with the back of a spoon. Discard the seeds. 
  3. Chill. The syrup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving 
Calories130
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.4g1%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 1mg0%
Total Carbohydrate 33.2g12%
Dietary Fiber 4.5g16%
Total Sugars 29.2g 
Protein 1.2g 
Vitamin D 0mcg0%
Calcium 25mg2%
Iron 1mg3%
Potassium 138mg3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Recipe analyzed by 

Let me know who the recipe turns how. 

Have a sweet day, 

Kristie 

Bridget Jones Diary: Movie Review

It’s Sunday. I wish I had a weekly agenda and fun things planned to share with you. Instead, I am still in my pajamas at 2 in the afternoon. My migraines have returned with a vengeance. After an emergency room visit, the migraine disappeared for a whopping 12 hours. My primary care doctor has referred me to a headache clinic. Tuesday I will see if my neurologist agrees. I am not very optimistic, though, since they keep referring to this as “just a headache.”

Bridget Jones's Diary Poster

I tend to lie in bed in the dark with the television on low when I don’t feel well. While doing that, I learned that I have a cable channel called POP. I watched the movie Bridget Jones Diary from there after recording it on my DVR so I can fast forward through the commercials. Sadly, I was not impressed. 

I love Renee Zellweger and Hugh Grant in other things. They actually had good chemistry in the movie. Their flirty romance was actually one of the only parts of the movie I enjoyed. The other part was the fight scene between Hugh Grant and Collin Firth. 

Unfortunately, in the movie Bridget’s insecurities don’t some across as funny. Instead it seems to be more desperate and sad. Her obsession with her weight, when she has a flat stomach makes me shake my head and worry about teen girls thinking they are fat. I know all this was in the book, but on the screen it just didn’t translate.  

The side story with her parents is always bizarre. On screen, it was more of an afterthought than something that was effecting Bridget’s life. Her mother was far less secure about her wants than she is in the book. Bridget’s father is sad and lost without his wife, but he takes her back far too easily. 

I also missed Bridget’s friends and self help books. In the book, they round out Bridget’s eccentricities, and provide a sounding board for the things she is thinking in her diary. In the movie, they make very brief appearances. The most interesting thing I found watching them was that Jude was Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter movies. 

I’m glad I read the books first and didn’t base my entire opinion of the series on this movie. 

Let me know what you think. 

Kristie 

My Lucky Rock

Last week’s Happiness Journal entry was all about luck. After creating a list of ways I believe I am lucky, the journal challenged me to pain a rock and hide it somewhere so that the finder could feel lucky as well. 

This challenge changes the definition of luck from me focusing on my blessings to a more superstitious belief in lucky objects. I remember people having lucky rabbit’s feet while growing up, and looking for a four-leaf clover in the spring. I’ve grown and changed as a person this then. Now I tend to believe we create our own luck.

Instead of making an obvious “lucky” rock, I painted a kindness stone. It includes pretty flowers and a somewhat messy rainbow, along with the word. Hopefully the rock makes someone smile today. 

I didn’t hide it very well. I simply placed it near the foot of a memorial bench on the golf course near my home. The weather is still nice enough to play. I think it will be interesting to see how long the rock stays there and if someone picks it up to keep as a reminder to be kind.

Do you believe in luck? Is there an object in your life that you consider lucky?

Let me know in the comments.

Have a lucky day.

Kristie

I Feel Lucky: Happiness List 10

List 10 in the 52 Lists for Happiness Journal is a list of ways I feel lucky. The first thing I thought when I read this was that 90’s song from Mary Chapin Carpenter.

I have the rainy day happening. I called in sick to work, with a migraine, again, not so lucky, but things could turn around. 

For me, feeling luck is similar to being blessed. I know that my country of origin is based on the struggles of my ancestors and makes me luckier than many who are trying to come here to better their lives. I was lucky to find my other half , and to be able to build a life and family with my partner. I am lucky to be employed, have great friends and access to healthcare. All in all, life is good. 

My follow-up project for this list is to create a lucky rock and leave it for someone else to find. I will be creating a kindness rock, that I can share with you later. 

Until then, I hope you have a lucky day. 

Kristie 

Rough Week: What I Accomplished and What’s Next

Last week did not go as planned. I had two great uncles pass suddenly. I also had my ear drum perforate due to a sinus infection. We got a new furnace, and of course, I worked. So sorry for abandoning you. I will try to do better this week. 

In the midst of all the chaos, I did manage to get a few things accomplished. I made a double batch of Toll House chocolate chip cookies. Baby Bear informed me she was not eating the cookie dough, she was just taste testing. 

My husband read that feeding chickens raw pumpkin is a natural de-wormer, so we fed them the insides of Baby Bear’s pumpkin. It was a big hit. 

Speaking of pumpkins, Baby Bear had to have a Chase pumpkin. The stencil didn’t stay on very well, but I think it turned out ok. I let her paint it after I carved it. Not bad for a 3 year old. 

Meijer is starting to get their liquor alcohol sets out for Christmas. I snagged this Hockeytown set of Jack Daniels for myself. 

I’m pretty sure I live in the grocery store. There is a Polly’s Country Market over in Brooklyn that now has mini cart so your child can do the shopping. It was a fun experience, until the muchkin ran over my heel. 

Baby Bear has been in rare form this week. She is not sleeping very well at night, which means she is keeping her mama awake. Her new thing is 2am selfies. Ugh.

And in case I have yet to mention, it’s deer season her in Michigan. My husband heads out to the woods in search of Bambi. I take pictures of the deer in our subdivision and tease him that I am seeing more than he is. I’m helpful like that. 

Hopefully this week allows for a little more blogging time, but we shall see. Let me know what you are up to and how you are prepping for Halloween. 

Have a great week, 

Kristie 

Daily Joy

Happy Monday! I thought I would start today off with some positivity, because I figure I am not the only person dreading this week. 

Last night I filled out List 9 in my 52 Lists of Happiness journal. It is a list of things that made me happy throughout the day. My list includes things like, cuddling with my husband, playing with my 3 year old and cooking dinner. It is nice to step back and realize how good life really is. I think facing the frustrating moments is easier when you realize how many good things happen in between. 

The journal recommends writing down a happy moment at the end of each day, and putting it in a jar, so I can pull out a memory when I am feeling down. I think I would rather take a picture of something that makes me happy everyday. Then I have a physical memory to make me smile. I took a picture of my shake, and posted it on my Instagram account earlier. 

What were your favorite moments of your day? How do you choose to keep your happiness ratio up? Let me know in the comments. 

Have a great week. 

Kristie

10/13 Weekly Agenda and a Book Review: The King of Clubs 2 (Undercity Chronicles)

My week is not starting off as planned. I should be getting ready to go to work today, but instead I am waiting for Kenzie to get up, so she can watch the Baby Bear while I go to urgent care. I’ve had a cold for a couple days, but I’m pretty sure it has turned into bronchitis, a sinus infection and a left ear infection. When I get home I get to search for the truck key that my husband has somehow hidden from himself. 

The rest of the week promises to continue to test my levels of easiness. Our furnace needs to be replaced, so we have 4 quotes scheduled for this week. Then we get to wait for installation. Please pray it doesn’t get too cold before we get this worked out. I also have to take my mother in law to the doctor tomorrow, winterize the camper and celebrate my eldest son’s birthday. I’m exhausted already. Time to pull out my super-mom  cape and boots. 

Other things on this week’s agenda: 

I am hoping to balance my stress by making some fun fall cocktails, and maybe a campfire, if I’m feeling better. I have a fun and easy recipe I want to share with you. I’m sure I will add other things to the list as the week goes on. Until then, let’s get into The King of Clubs 2 by Savannah Skye. 

The King of Clubs 2: A Paranormal Romance (Undercity Chronicles Book 6) by [Skye, Savannah]

This is the 6th book in the Undercity Chronicles series. It picks up where the King of Clubs 1 left off. Vampire Hunter, Ursula Lee is being held captive by Jack, also know as Bronx Jacks. He is keeping her in Castle de Coeur, a home he has owned for centuries. It is full of locked rooms, and secret passages. The castle is also home to Jack’s companion, Bathsheba, and his three vampire brides. 

While being a prisoner in Castle de Coeur, Ursula is kicking herself for getting into this situation. Ever since Jack bit her the first time, she has felt a connection to him. He was able to propel her to his home, just by sending her a gargoyle. He can draw her to him, in order to bite her again, just by pushing her with his mind. I think this is an awesome power, but I wonder why he doesn’t compel her to do what he needs, if his control of her is so strong. 

Every time Jack bites Ursula, she has some very vivid dreams. While in the castle, she keeps dreaming that she is a girl named Marianne Christopher. Marianne has accompanied her father to Castle de Coeur, and will spend a month there while he conducts business with Jack. During her stay, she falls in love with the reclusive Lord. Ursula begins to find it hard to remember if she is herself or Marianne. It makes me wonder if this is a case of reincarnation. How else would she have such vivid memories of someone else’s past. And the two women look oddly alike, which is creepy. 

I will give the book a 3/5. The story is interesting and takes some unexpected curves, so it never gets boring and predictable. I wish that the three King of Clubs books had been presented as one solid volume, though. The end of each book is a cliff hanger, so there is never any real conclusion. I also have a hard time with the continuous Damsel in Distress story line. Ursula is supposed to be this legendary bounty hunter, but somehow she constantly finds herself in situations where she needs her lover, Connery, to rescue her. How did she survive without him before? Did she just deal with less powerful vampires? It’s sort of annoying. 

If you have read this book, let me know what your opinion is. I would also love to hear about your plans for the week. 

Thanks, for reading, 

Kristie