Pie Tales

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I’ll bring an apple pie!

A few weeks ago, our new friends who live down the hall invited us to share Thanksgiving dinner with them and their extended family. We were honored. Also grateful, as we were not going to be able to spend it with our adult children and their families.

It’s an unusual kind of apple pie...I warned my friend. The apples aren’t peeled. There’s no top crust… I also have to make it gluten free.

She was fine with whatever I wanted to make.

It is also huge…filling a lasagna pan.

At Thanksgiving, there is no such thing as moderation. Ever. Especially when it comes to pie. The turkey? The stuffing? And all the rest?

Just the path to pie.

In Thanksgivings past there were always at least 3 kinds of pie at my table…to go along with family shenanigans and card games (as shared in my 2018 Thanksgiving story). I miss all of it.

The most popular? “Hearty Apple Pie” – each slice 2 inches high by many inches wide.

Well, it has been a few years since I made this pie. After downsizing and moving and spending Thanksgivings by ourselves, there was no need to make one until now.

I still had the old family recipe.

As I assembled the ingredients yesterday, I thought…what could go wrong?

First step: substitute gluten free flour blend for the real thing. Press into the pan.

pie crust

Doesn’t quite look the same, but should be fine in the end. It’s PIE after all.

Next step: Core the apples. Can’t mess that one up.

apples cored

 

Next step: Slice apples in the food processor.

Um…the food processor doesn’t work. I tried a different outlet. Nope. My husband and I tried several variations of blades and positioning of the “pusher assembly” and the cover. Still nothing.

Find the directions! 

A fuzzy memory rose to the top of my aging brain. This was the new(ish) food processor we had gotten about 10 years ago. It had replaced the nice simple one from 1978. Back when there were no complicated safety features. When it was your own fault if you stuck your finger in when the blade was running. Back when you popped the blade in, snapped on the cover (the only safety feature) – added the apples through the hole in the top…and voila! sliced or chopped results.

Much simpler.

Not anymore. The current small appliance companies are in the business of saving us from ourselves. Which, in many cases, is necessary. As it turned out, there were 3 different steps and clickings into place that I had to perform before even one apple could be sliced.

I was annoyed for 2 reasons. First that I had forgotten what to do and second, that it had become necessary to make devices so complicated that I had to remember this sequence in the first place. (probably a third reason as well – that I was turning into the old fart I never wanted to be…complaining about newfangled stuff…).

Anyway, after much huffing and puffing and locating the directions…success.

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Next step: Mix with lots of yummy spices. No holding back here…

mix apples

Next step: Transfer to the waiting piecrust…

ready to bake

(fyi: covered apples with brown sugar, almonds and dots of butter which look like cheese…but aren’t)

After baking:

baked

Extra Large Apple Pie ready to share…

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

(where there’s no such thing as moderation)

 

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #74: Moderation

Photo a Week: Traditions

Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week Challenge: Traditions

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE ONE OR TWO OR MORE PHOTOS SHOWING A TRADITION YOU HAVE.

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Did you check the bathtub?
Look in the closet!
Behind the couch!
Under the table!

When my two children were growing up (and even when they were grown up and home for a visit), Easter morning meant hunting for Easter baskets.

During the Easter Bunny era, it involved more and more intricate hiding places as they got older. The thrill of the hunt was paramount.

The E.B. had to get extra creative (hence the bathtub)…or else the search was over in ten seconds.

After all, the E.B. filled four baskets with carefully selected jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, candy eggs and small stuffed bunnies. As the years went by…basketball cards, little books, stickers, trinkets & puzzles were added…

…so let’s make it a challenge! (thought the E.B.)

The E.B. was usually successful…and a sweet family tradition was born.

 

easter baskets1989
1989

 

easter baskets1993
1993

The sister and brother team eventually figured out where to look…every time.

Outdoors

Inspired by Frank at Dutch goes the Photo. The prompt: Outdoors

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Tree Farm 2008

 

Outdoors…

Where my family of 4 played, walked, explored, planted, vacationed and amassed countless memories.

We also discovered…it was the only place where you could carefully pick out a Christmas tree.

From many tree options.

And cut it down yourself.

For 28 years we piled into the car and drove the few miles to a local Christmas tree farm. Usually in early December. In later years, when the kids were in college, we went the weekend after Thanksgiving – so they could both participate.

It began with just my husband and me. Then with our daughter. Five years later our son completed the family group. His first visit, at age 4 weeks, was in a front pack I wore close to my chest.

Up and down the paths we’d search. The kids running ahead. Often in different directions (hence no photos from those years)…Here’s one! No, here’s one! Look I found it! What about THIS one?

We hunted for just the right tree. Tall, but not too tall. Wide, but not too wide. No big gaps (or gapes as they used to giggle) between the branches.  We also learned to avoid the blue spruces with their prickly needles. Sometimes it took a while for nature to cooperate with our requirements. And often there was snow to tromp through…adding to the adventure and challenge.

We’d agree – finally – on the perfect (or near perfect) choice. Cut it down. Carefully tie it to the roof of the station wagon. And bring it home.

If we weren’t buying it that day, we attached a tag with our name written on it to the top branch. Nearer to December 25th, we’d return – with our handsaw. And hopefully remember where our tagged tree was!

Once our children stopped coming home for Thanksgiving to participate in the weekend tree tagging, this tradition came to its natural end in 2009 – our last family trip to the tree farm.

 

2004 copy
2004
2003 tree027 copy
2003

 

 

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Cake

This post inspired by Frank at Dutch goes the Photo

The prompt: Cake

 

“Honey, could you please get me a cake of soap?”

I remember my grandmother asking me that question – under what circumstances I have no idea.

I asked her what she meant…and she explained.

It was the term used back in her day. When soap was made in large blocks. A slice for personal use was called a cake. She preferred Camay. And later on, Ivory.

 

 

cakes of soap
Cakes of Soap 2019

 

And…oddly enough…now that I think about it…she was also the grandmother who made all of her grandchildren’s birthday cakes.
Every year. From scratch!
We chose the flavor.
Mine was coconut.

 

1971 oma cake
Oma 1971

 

 

 

 

 

Pictures with Santa

Santa Claus appeared at many different venues when I was a child in the ’50’s and ’60’s. Sitting on some type of chair or throne-like chair – and dressed in his signature red suit and hat, he would wait for children. To sit on his lap. Briefly. For a quick question and answer, smile for the camera..and done! Then a parent would wait in line for the polaroid result of this annual pilgrimage.

I couldn’t wait to meet up with him…(or one of his elves subbing in – the explanation for why there was also a Santa on the street…and in the local Bamberger’s or Sterns department store at a “Breakfast with Santa” event on Saturday mornings)…in order to pass on my requests for presents.

I visited the pre-mall Santas – often appearing at local church fairs…or church “bazaars” as we used to call them. These were simple affairs…handmade mittens, cookies, potholders and such made by the church ladies. In the corner sat Santa – waiting for the local kids to sit on his lap and whisper their wishes for Christmas morning. Santa looked eerily similar to men I would see at church on Sunday talking to my parents, but I never questioned why.

I do not remember what I asked for this year….

santa 1957?017
Me, Santa and my sister circa 1957

….although Santa looks like he had heard most everything by the time it was our turn.

Almost thirty years later, my daughter sat on Santa’s lap at our local mall. And whispered her hopes for gifts on the 25th.  Again there was the wait in line for the polaroid result.

santa 1984016
My daughter and Santa 1984

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Pictures with Santa in 2018?
Still at a mall.  There is a long wait circling around extending past the stores. Babies, toddlers and elementary school age kids. Some dressed up. Some kids panic at the sight of this large man in the red suit. Other don’t…sitting quietly, not quite understanding all the activity. But still, whispering…something…to Santa. Look towards the camera. Hopefully, smile.

There is no longer a wait for the polaroid print. Now it is air-dropped to your smart phone. For a fee of course.

“Pictures with Santa” has changed in many ways in the past 50 plus years. As one might expect. All things do.

Santa sits on a fancier throne. I don’t see him at the church fairs.
Photos are digital and float through the air.

But the excitement in a toddler’s eyes…
I saw Santa, Mama! I sat on his lap!
The smiles. The jumping up and down…
THAT has not changed at all.