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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Apple Cream Pie....my most favorite pie

I love pie, especially fruit pies! Today I am sharing my MOST favorite pie of all pies. Flavors of apple and cinnamon with a creamy texture all in one with this Apple Cream Pie. Definitely one of my favorite flavors of Fall.

When I tell people I'm making an apple cream pie, most say they have never heard of it.

This is my Grandma's recipe. It is a recipe that has been passed down and made for several generations and I have always enjoyed it. I remember the day I asked her to teach me the recipe and she was so happy to show me. We got the ingredients and I learned how to make my most favorite pie of all! I even asked her for permission to share the recipe on my blog. It is super easy and DELICIOUS!! Plus I am so happy that I have learned one of my Grandma's recipes (along with a few others).

I especially like this pie during the holidays and in the fall when apples are in season. You can use any variety of apple, although there are specific apples that are better for baking. My favorite apple to use is Cortland or Gala. I prefer more of a tart apple.

So here is the recipe:

Apple Cream Pie
makes 2 pies

3 lbs of apples
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
Deep Dish pie crust - package of 2
1 pint of heavy whipping cream

Homemade pie crust rather than premade crust
1 1/2 cup all- purpose flour
1/4 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. salt
10 Tbsp. butter, cold and cut into chunks
4 oz. cold water

Directions for homemade pie crust:
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the chunks of cold butter and mix the butter into the flour using a pastry blender. Continue to do this until the mixture looks like bread crumbs or small pieces of butter. Add the cold water and stir into the mixture so that it all sticks together. Clump the dough all together to form a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. You want the dough chilled and cool, but not hard. This will make it easier to work. Roll out the dough to a circle on a lightly floured surface. Lay the circle of crust dough in your greased pie pan. Then do the directions below to fill your pie crust.

-Place your pie crusts on a cookie sheet, one that has a rim (Do this before filling your pie crusts, to prevent spillage once you pour in the cream)
-Peel, core, and slice your apples into thin slices
-Mix 2 cups flour and 2 cups sugar together in bowl

Filling the pie crusts is simply an alternating and layering process.
This is how I do mine.

-Sprinkle flour/sugar mixture on bottom - just enough to cover the bottom
-Layer of apples
-Flour/sugar mixture
-Sprinkle cinnamon - more or less for your taste
-Layer of Apples
-Flour/sugar mixture
-Sprinkle cinnamon
-Layer of Apples
-Flour/sugar mixture
-Sprinkle cinnamon

Once your pie crusts are filled, divide the 1 pint of whipping cream between the two pies, half pint on each. Pour it all around the top of each pie. Be sure to not get too close to the brim of the pie crust. When baking, the cream will rise up and may spill over (hence the cookie sheet underneath for baking).

Place in the oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Then bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.

Let cool until pie is slightly warm before serving.



This post is sponsored by Clabber Girl Baking Powder but my
 thoughts/opinions are always 100% my own.

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Beautiful Harvest 2014

Harvest '14 has been over for us for close to a month now. As you may know from previous posts, we grow pumpkins, gourds, squash and all the fall decor. We host Fall Harvest Days at our farm in the month of October. We had a great season and picked a lot this fall.
I also have had a wonderful opportunity to help out my dad and brother in the field the entire harvest season this year. I have always helped out in the past years, but this year I looked forward to helping everyday driving the tractor/auger cart. I was looking through my harvest photos for a special project and wanted to share some of my favorites.  A beautiful harvest 2014 through my eyes.

Of course had to take a selfie of how I spent some of my time in September and October. Loved it! 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Are Fall Mums Hardy?

A little Q&A
Are Fall mums hardy?
To answer the question....it really just depends.

For mums to truly be hardy, they are best planted in the spring. The mums we enjoy in the fall are nursed to set their buds for September and October blooming and not growing their roots. They put all their energy into blooming. This results in not guaranteeing sufficient time to get their roots established before colder weather sets in.

This leads to the "it really just depends."

Every fall I get asked that question by several of our customers,

 "Are fall mums hardy?"

 "Will the mums come back next year?" 

I always answer with it really just depends. 

When are they planted into the ground? If you plant them right when they become available in Early to Mid September then they have more time for their roots to get established before winter as opposed to planting them at the end of the season. 
What is the weather like? Is it warm out when you plant your mums. With the warmer weather, will also help the roots get established before winter. 

Where are they planted? Mums planted against a building for example are more protected from the cold winter winds that we often get. 

What kind of winter will there be? How cold of a winter are you expecting for your area. 

All these factors are important to determine if your beautiful fall mums will come back and bloom next year. You can also mulch them good at the time of planting, leave foliage on them until the following spring, and plant them before the first hard frost to help protect them and increase the chances of them coming back. 

Often times some mums come back the next Spring. When you start to see new growth sprouting from them mums, remove the old dead parts from the last season. This will look nicer for the new foliage growing.

With any luck, you will get to enjoy your mums the following year, usually larger and just as beautiful in blooming color. But if they don't come back, you will know why. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Meals on the go and in the field.....

With many hours spent in the field during harvest (and planting too) there are often times when the dinner table becomes the back of the vehicle. Long hours and a lot to get done in the field, it is nice to have a meal in the field so no time is spent traveling up to the house for a meal. Especially in those fields furthest from the house.

Photo from early summer of the kids having lunch in the field with grandpa and uncle.
I can remember eating meals in the field all growing up. It was fun. Mom would put the meal together, we would go to the field, eat, and go for a ride. Meals consisted from everything from spaghetti, casseroles, crock pot meals, to ham sandwiches and chips. It can be anything really, but is helpful when a full day is needed in the field. Time is valuable.

With those meals, it's nice to have a little dessert as well. Apples are in season in the fall and so I do a lot with apple baking and preserving apples by making applesauce for the freezer. I really enjoy making apple turnovers. They are great to have in the field as an after meal dessert as a mini apple pie or grab and go for a breakfast as a apple danish. However you want to consider them, they are pretty easy and also very nice to do a large batch at a time to put up in the freezer for winter too. My mom, aunt, and grandma used to get together every fall and work together to make large patches of applesauce and apple turnovers and the kids would all have a great time playing all day. I now make the same recipe and we enjoy them every year.

Simply apple turnover recipe. Great for freezing.


5 cups flour
2 cups + 4 tablespoons shortening
1 teaspoon salt
Mix together
Dissolve 1 package yeast in 3/4 cup of slightly warm condensed milk
Let stand a few minutes.
Add 2 beaten eggs
Mix with previous mixture for the crust.
Leave in refrigerator overnight.
Set out in room temperature.
Roll out thin. You can use any circle shape to cut out your crust depending on what size you want your turnovers to be. I use a coffee can lid to cut out my circles.

1 1/2 cup sugar
1 dozen apples diced
1 Tablespoon flour
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
Mix together and boil until apples are cooked.

Place 1 Tablespoon filling on each turnover crust piece. Fold over the crust and press the seams down with fork. Optional: Sprinkle with sugar before baking.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Recipe makes 3 dozen.

Optional: If you don't sprinkle with sugar before baking, you can also make a glaze from powdered sugar and water and drizzle over top after baked turnovers are cooled.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Be Thankful

We see it everywhere. The stores we go in to. On television. As we drive by homes and notice holiday decor. This year we saw it even more so with the weather. Snow on Halloween! Only for a little bit and and it didn't last long but it did accumulate.

We jump right into Fall and before Halloween is over we are seeing lots and lots of Christmas.
Now don't get me wrong...I LOVE CHRISTMAS, giving, and the holiday spirit it brings!

But let's not skip the season to be THANKFUL.
We should be and are thankful 365 days of the year but in November are reminded of it more (you may see others doing the 30 days of thankfulness on their blogs or Facebook or others similar)

Every day is a new day and brings new reasons to be thankful for. Especially in November, it is the time to be thankful for those things that we do have. November is time to stop focusing on our wants but to spend time thinking about specific reasons in our lives to which we are thankful. It's time to let others know we are thankful for them.

Be thankful for all things. The big things all the way down to the little things! The good days and the bad days. Also why you are thankful for those specific aspects of your life. Yes, it is easy to say you're thankful for your parents, your kids, your home, all the obvious things. When you understand why your are thankful of someone or something specific it makes you truly appreciate what you have in life.

This month I am focusing on "In All Things, Be Thankful." To also carry it on past the season and into every day.
I challenge you to do the same.

I created a printable for you to enjoy. Print it off and hang in a place you see often to remind yourself "In all things, be thankful," on the best days to the worst days.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Beauty in October Color

Now that we are well into October....how has the month been treating you? 
Here in Indiana, we sure entered it on a cold note, but it's warmed back up a little and we have had some beautiful days! The leaves have had amazing fall color and are lasting a while. The sunsets have also been breathtaking. 

I love the quote above! I sure do love the month of October! 

For so many reasons well beyond the obvious pumpkin spice drinks and favorite cozy hoodies, 
Some of mine are...

Harvest - We grow pumpkins along with produce so we are very busy filling orders for pumpkins and hosting Fall Harvest Days where we sell our fall pumpkin harvest and other fall decor. I also have a great opportunity to help my dad and brother in the field and enjoy it so much! Harvest brings a sense of fulfillment. Pride. Accomplishment. (I will be sharing about harvest in another post)

Life slowing down (some) - We sure do love growing produce, pumpkins, and helping in the field!! On another level it is sort of nice to look forward to life slowing down a little. A short break. Time to get some needed projects done. Unwind some. Plan the next season.

Completion - It's like everything comes together in the Fall. It seems like the winter is hustle and bustle with the holidays before the new year. The Fall/October is time to wrap things up. Feeling a sense of completion as the season winds down and things are getting done. Maybe the outdoor to do list. For us, our pumpkin season is ending, out produce season is almost over, we will only be mowing the yard a few more times, etc. We sure do love to be outside and doing those things from April-November, but there is also a sense of joy that the busy season is almost complete.

Seeing God's beauty in the changing of the seasons - Everywhere I turn I see a beautiful picture! I am sharing some of them with you here in this post. 

The following photos are some of October through my eyes...enjoy!!

I also was able to make it to the Covered Bridge Festival this year down in Southern Indiana and captured some photos there as well.

Loved all the color in this vendor's booth!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

As the seasons change......

Seasons come and go so fast it seems. It is important to capture moments as much as you can. This is one of my favorite photos of summer! The boys throwing dirt clumps off back of grain truck while we were irrigating the sweet corn. This photo was from the summer of 2013 actually, but I always look back on it and love it. It reminds me of the blessings I have in the life we live and love. It reminds me of my childhood and how my boys are having fun in the atmosphere they're in, the same that my brother and I also did. 

Although summer has came to an end and we are now into fall we often look back at past seasons and think about all the fun times we've had. Like the photo above, being from a previous year, but I still remember how much fun the boys were having, all while we were accomplishing something important in the garden. As the seasons change, I find myself looking forward to things to come. I love summer, but I really love the fall season. 

Cozy sweaters. Favorite hoodies.
 Pumpkin drinks from our favorite places.
 Fall decorating. Pumpkin patches. 
Riding in the buddy seat. Bountiful harvest.

 As the seasons change, a sense of gratification comes with the season that passed. Look back and see those images and memories you've captured. They'll remind you of some of your funnest moments. 

We are winding down the farmers market season. 
Summer produce in the garden is about done. 
Fall produce is taking off. 
We can look back at all the fun memories we made during the season before.
We can look back and see what we all we have accomplished.

As we enter into fall, it brings pumpkins and harvest. For my family, this is what fall is all about. Much of our September and October is centered around pumpkins.

Pumpkins at the farmers market. 
Pumpkins for wholesale to local businesses.  
Pumpkin sales at our event Fall Harvest Days. 


We love fall and pumpkins. We are sure to capture photos of these days to help remember our favorite times. As the seasons change, we reminisce about the past seasons, but look forward to the good times the new season brings.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Canning Tomato Juice

Having fresh tomatoes in the garden is one of my favorite things about having a garden! Although our summer garden is winding down, we have had a great amount of tomatoes this year. What better way to use up some of the tomatoes than canning them into a variety of different things like sauces, salsa, and juice.
We use tomato juice a lot during the winter months.
Well in other months too.
But we make a lot of chili, Spanish rice, stuffed peppers, goulash, etc in the winter that the canned tomato juice is nice to have.
This season, I canned several quarts, a few pints as well, of tomato juice and this last weekend, I did my last batch for this year.

Canning tomato juice takes a bit of effort and work, but once you are done and enjoying it in the winter, you will be glad you did!

* I can tomato juice by processing my tomatoes using a food strainer so that is how I will explain my process in this post. Here is one similar to what I use.*

How to can tomato juice

-Pick tomatoes that fresh, ripe, and firm.
-Have your clean and sterilized jars ready to fill. Be sure to check your canning equipment. Remember canning safety during your canning process.
-Prepare your tomatoes by washing them, coring them, and removing any bad spots if they have any.

-Cut your tomatoes into quarters and place in a stock pot on the stove.

-Set the burners on high and start to cook down your tomatoes. I smash some of the tomatoes at the beginning to create some juices at the bottom of the pot to prevent burning.

- Once the tomato skins start to peel off and the tomatoes become tender, remove them from the heat.

Here is where the food strainer is so handy to use.
I simply use a ladle and put several scoops into the hopper part of the food strainer, turn the crank, and this separates the tomato juice from the skins and seed. The juice flows out one spout, while the skins and seeds goes out the other.
I continue to do this until my pots are empty of the quartered tomatoes.

 -I run my bowl of peels and seeds back through twice to be sure to get as much juice from them that I can.

- As I fill up my bowl with juice, I dump it back into a stock pot on the stove. This will be the finished product of juice that will go in the jar.

-Once the pot is full of freshly squeezed juice, bring the pot to a rolling boil. As it boils, the juice will bubble up and form frothy areas. I simply remove that with a spoon.

-I use a ladle and funnel to pour the juice into my jars. Be sure to leave 1/2 inch headspace at the top of the jar. While filling the jars, I have my lids in boiling water on the stove to sterilize them before putting on my jars.

-Use a towel to wipe around the rim of the jar. This removes any tomato debris that would prevent the lid from sealing. Place the lids on the jars and screw the ring on tightly.

-Next, place the jars in the canner. I have a Presto canner that I use. Be sure to read your canner manual to see what it says for cook time and at how many pounds. For example, my canner says process at 11 pounds pressure for 15 minutes for quart jars.

-At the end of processing time, turn the burner off and remove canner from heat. Let the canner sit and cool and the pressure drop to zero on it's own. This may take a while. Do not take the lid off the pressure cooker and do not quick cool. 

When the pressure of the canner has been completely reduced, you can take off the pressure regulator from the vent pipe and let canner set for 10 more minutes. Then remove the canner lid. Remove jars from canner with a jar lifter and place on a towel to cool and dry. 

When jars are cool, check seals by making sure the lids are not popped up, wipe jars down, label and store in a cool dry place. You can also remove the rings to use for more canning. 

After three full tomato juice canning days, one pictured here, we are ready for winter. Happy canning to you!!

If you don't have a food strainer, you can also use a food mill and remove tomato peels before juicing them.

This post is part of The Backroad Life Freezing & Canning series.

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