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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Falling Into Fall

Quirky reads, fall birthday, pies in a jar, and pig ballet, I mean pig & ballet has kicked off our October.   I’ll get to the reads later, but first on to the fall birthday. Having to top husband’s last year’s Italian birthday, the brainstorming began.   Well, fall is my most fav time of year so what could be better than a harvest décor complete with apple pies in jars?  Thank you Pinterest  <3   Yes you can put virtually anything into a glass Mason jar, pop it in the oven, and “ding” you’ve got one really cute delish pie.  It turned out really well, and it's so much fun to cook for the people I love! 

The Menu
Apple and Pecan Baked Brie
Arugula, Proscuitto, Blue Cheese, and Pear Salad
Shrimp Scampi
Individual Apple Pies


Here’s a link to the Brie recipe I used.  A definite hit!   
I made the salad by tossing sliced pears, blue cheese, and prosciutto into Arugula, then added Balsamic dressing.  (I used store-bought & it was fine)  The tart and sweet together are divine.
So the Shrimp Scampi isn’t really a fall food, but what the hey!  Simply add white wine, lemon, garlic, butter, and you’re in business. Here's the link.


We had so much fun making these.  They are adorable and who can resist desserts in cute little jars.   So share with you I will.  
Things You Will Need
12 - Half-Pint Wide-Mouth Mason Jars (Make sure they’re the wide mouth, otherwise your hands won’t be able to push in the dough inside. - I learned the hard way)
For The Crust
The recipe calls for 3 -9 inch Pie Crusts but I bought four boxes of Pillsbury pie crusts and used every bit of it.
For The Apple Filling
  • 6 Granny Smith apples peeled and cut
  • 2 Red apples peeled and cut
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice to keep from browning while you cut
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • ¼ cup of flower
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt if desired
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter
For the Cherry Filling
  • 1 can store-bought cherry pie filling
What to do Now?
·        Preheat oven to 400 degrees
·        Clean mason jars
·        Spray the heck out of your Mason jars w/ non stick spray
·        Roll dough thinner than they are out of the package and cut into one inch strips.  Now press strips into jar making sure that you don’t have any gaps.  At first it seems impossible, but hang in there you’ll get the groove going


For the Apple Pie Filling
This is the most time labor intensive part.
  • Peel and cut apples into small enough cubes to fit into jars.  
  • Sprinkle lemon juice
  • Combine and mix brown sugar, flour, and spices into another bowl
  • Then pour over apples and mix together
  • Spoon apples into jars about ¾ of the way and put a pat of butter on each one.
  • Top with crust and cut slits
For the Cherry Pie Filling
You’re tired so just open up your can and follow what you did up top.

Cooking Them
 This is the easy part so hang in there.
  • Place jars on rimmed backing sheet and place in preheated oven
  • Cook for 35 – 45 minutes or until golden brown (It varies in cook time, so keep your eyes on the pies just to be safe.
  • Remove and let cool.
  • We topped ours with whip cream  before serving
  • Smile it’s done, so enjoy!  And a little gloating never hurt anyone. 
So moving on to the ballet…  
Little Reader is officially a ballerina and who knows; maybe she’ll go as far as her mama.  A little something about me that most don’t know is that I danced with the Houston Ballet Company years ago with the greats like Li Cunxin and Janie Parker.  Yes, I once pressed to become a prima ballerina with the Company and did so until the director, Ben Stevenson decided that my body type, (not a long enough torso & being too chesty) was not what he looked for in his primas.  Devastating yes, but I learned then how to be a real teenager outside of dance and took my talents to cheerleading and gymnastics.  So now my Little Reader begins her journey as a dancer.

On to the pigs …  
What’s all the hog wash goin’ round town?  Yep it’s true, we have decided to add to our chaos and become pig farmers.   My oldest daughter joined FFA and put us in the market for a good pig.  A pig is a pig, or so I thought?  Call me what you want - City Slicker, barn newb, Mrs. Wishy Washy, or if you see me round town you can say, “There goes the pig lady!”   Yes I see it to, the making of a good story.  So be on the lookout for your It’s a girl!announcement.   No seriously, let me know and I’ll drop one your direction.

Our Quirky Romps

The Truly Horrible Sweater That Grandma Knit
By Macomber, Debbie



We all have them.  -  That hideous thing hanging in the back of your closet, that you just can’t bring yourself to throw away.  When one little boy receives a terribly ugly birthday sweater, he will not be caught dead wearing it. But after a visit from Grandma he learns the value of a handmade gift.   A simple story with a bit of special tucked in, but think it could have been done in less words.

Down the Back of the Chair (Blue Best)
By Mahy, Margaret




A romp through absurdity if you will, but you‘ll certainly wish you had a chair like this!  On a dad’s frantic search for car keys, wonderful and amazing riches emerge from down the back of the chair.   A rhyming witty tale of one economically-challenged family, and we may all soon be looking down the back of our chairs after this next election if we don’t see change.  Silly, quirky, and this one’s going into our home collection.

HogWood Steps Out
By Mansfield, Howard




Random side note:
So do I let my teenager join FFA and raise pigs?  Why sure we’ve got all the time in the world, and I really want to get up with the roosters to wallow with swine.  And what about that pig flu thing?  Don’t get me wrong I like small town livin’ but not sure if I’m ready to become Mrs. Wishy Washy.  But what could be more fun than spending my Friday night looking up how to raise pigs on YouTube and filling up my library cart with pig reads, boy I really know how to liven things up!  

Gotta respect a pig that knows what he wants, and not about to let any humans get in his way to boot.  600 pound Hogwood escapes his pen and goes a rootin’ the landscape and a complimentin’ a backhoe.  And he is even kind enough to let the policeman walk him home.   A laugh out loud joy and I’m convinced we need a pig.

Dahlia
By McClintock, Barbara



A gem of a read! Charlotte is not the girliest of girls, but after receiving a fancy doll (Dahlia) she grows attached, and more sweetly is the ending.  Phenomenally illustrated with a Victorian flair.  Every little girl should have this one to read? - Little Reader Agreed, and I don’t know how I've missed Barbara McClintock until now!

The Not So Quirky

Timothy Knapman's Marvelous Manners Series

The Friendliest Ballerina
Bella the star of ballet class learns the importance of being helpful and friendly.


Cowboys Can Be Kind
Cowboy Jack learns the hard way the importance of being unselfish and kind.


The two others, The Pirate Who Said Please & Princesses Love To Share we have not read yet.  Little Reader is anxiously awaiting these interlibrary loans, but really once you’ve read one then you’ve read them all.  But they do have cute pictures, are okay for a one time read, and would work for a manners classroom focus. 

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