8.29.2010

apricot pie....to finish off "A" week

Another Sunday morning of pie making.

I had a guest baker with me.

My sister Laura and her son Andrew were here for the weekend. Being the good sport she is, she got up early with me to bake a pie. I thought it was fitting to end "A" week with an Apricot pie. It was....Awesome.

I've had glass jars like these for a while now. They make me happy. I love how they look. I found them at Walmart a few years ago and put in our wine corks, rocks, seashells, buttons, dried beans, you name it.... everything except my baking supplies. And then it hit me when I saw that Kim had her rice and flour in jars like these. And so, now I have ALL my baking dried goods stored in these nifty jars. Lovely, don't you think?



Early morning helpers





Is George helping or hindering.....you decide.









Laura and I showed Annie how to crimp the edge of the pie crust. We each did it a different way, so between Laura's, mine, Annie's and George's fingerprints on the crust, it looked.....well, creative, let's say.

It was so nice to be with you Laura, you are a master pie baker and I can't wait to watch you teach Andrew and to see what kind of messes he can make. If he watches George long enough, he'll be a master mess maker sooner than later!




Apricot pie

Pie crust:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

2 sticks cold butter cut into chunks

approx 1/2 cup cold water (I never use it all)

In a MIXER add the flour,salt, sugar. Mix it around a few times. Add the butter chunks. Cover the bowl with a towel as you turn your mixer on otherwise you will have a cloud of flour in your face. Once it resembles a coarse meal, add the water very slowly as the mixer is running. Once it starts sticking together stop add water and let it mix for about one minute so it gets soft. Take the dough out, tear it into two pieces. Form them into disks and wrap in ciran wrap. I throw them in the freezer or if I'm going to use them in a day or two, in the fridge.

Filling:

15-20 apricots washed and pitted. Sliced with skins on.

a good dump of sugar (maybe 1/2 cup)

a good dump of cinnamon (maybe 3 or 4 TBS)

2 TBS flour

Mix it all together and dump into pie crust. Put top crust on. I wet the top with water and sprinkle with lots of sugar. Bake 350 degrees for one hour.

one cute cousin

Thanks Laura for a fun weekend of getting to hold and squish our cousin!! We love you Andrew!

















"A" week snacks

I started this last year.

Having a letter of the week themed after school snacks. The kids looked forward to snack when they got home and it helped me to get creative with their snacks. I only made it through "F" last year and then became pregnant. All my ambition goes out the window during the first trimester! So when Annie asked me if I was going to have "A" snacks after the first day of school I told her....absolutely.



Avacado smoothies

Letter A cookies
Apple cupcakes with worm
Apple slices dipped in carmalMini carmal Apples

8.27.2010

bread on Thursdays

I love to bake bread. There is no other smell I can think of, that can make your whole house smell so delightful.... as baking bread.
When Lindsay and I had just had Thomas and Dominic, I went over to her apartment to try our first attempt at baking bread. She grew up with her mom baking bread once a week. So, with Damaris on the phone, she walked us through our first try at bread making. We had such a fun day together, holding our babies, measuring flour and praying that the bread would turn out. I've used this recipe card now for, well, about eight years. This recipe is still the best bread I've ever made and I have a hard time branching out and trying others.

I have made bread off and on now for these eight years, but I've always had a bread baking day. It's Thursday. I like knowing that every week, I have the time set aside to bake. For the last couple years both Thomas and Annie have helped me with the bread making! Especially Annie! Oh how she loves to help with bread. We started a tradition about two or three years ago of singing while we kneed. And for whatever reason, we always sing the same songs.

They are:

Immaculate Mary

On Top of Spaghetti

O Christmas Tree

Weird choices I know. But we sing them every time. Annie has three aprons and before we start baking she always asks me which apron she should wear today. She likes to kneed and we each give the bread a pat, pat, pat, when it's done. We know it's done because it should feel soft as a baby's bottom.... we say. When she was smaller I would use bread making as an opportunity to help teach her to count and recognize measuring cups. I can still hear her little voice saying....one....two....three as she pours in the flour.

Today was so different. Thomas and Annie were both in school, George was off playing or watching a Thomas the Train video, and Evie was wandering around holding a baby. So, I began by myself.

I missed Annie.

Sure, it was nice to get going and make it by myself, and hey, there was NO cleaning up a pound of flour off the floor after I was done. It was much easier, but sad in a way too. It takes so much extra effort to engage our children in what we are doing, especially baking or cooking. But I think it is so worth it.

Seeing as I was by myself, I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures of the whole bread making process....

First....soak yeast and oats in water.


Add butter, eggs, honey, and salt.


Next come eight cups of flour. Probably ten cups in my case. I don't measure very well. This is how one should measure flour....
And this is how I measure....
After adding 8-10 cups of flour and stirring it all together, this is what you get. A gloppy, mass of dough all dumped out on the counter ready for kneading.
I only take my wedding ring off for two things. Making hamburger patties, and kneading bread. (oh, apparently I take it off while sleeping. While we were at the cabin a few weeks ago I woke up to find my ring not on my finger. We looked all around and I found it in between the couch cushions where I had slept that night.)
Anyways, kneading bread dough is fun. It's also your arm workout for the day. No need for the push ups in the morning when you're kneading bread. After the first time kneading, I was sore. Really sore.
Getting there....
Done. Soft as a baby's bottom.
As the dough is rising for two hours, out they come.... this recipe makes six loaves.
They rise for another hour and then....


Aha...fresh bread. Is there anything better? I seriously think not.
Well, this may be the only thing better. Slathering a hot slice with butter. Lots of butter.