In Gratitude

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Awhile back, I use to post trinkets of thanks each week.  I felt that in expressing my gratitude I was able to put positive vibes out into the atmosphere, and illustrate that it is often those seemingly minuscule or insignificant items or events that end up constructing a full life.

So, after a four year hiatus, on this 13th day of April, I am so very grateful for…

~a new computer and refreshed space in which I can write.

~Apple Support and their aid when this non-techy gal tried to set up the above mentioned computer. Whew.

~my seven year old, who led me through on the of the best yoga sessions of my life.

~this new book by Ashley English, and the fabulous recipes it contains.  Many of these recipes are sure to find themselves on my kitchen table in the very new future.

~a freshly mulched garden. (And yes, that is a glass of wine on the fencepost.  One needs some mode of relief from the back pain of hauling said mulch, right?)

~several days with family this upcoming weekend—sure to be filled with farmer’s markets and swimming, farm-fresh food and tasty cocktails, laughter and tears.

Growing Food

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I love growing food. Love. It.  There is nothing that gives me more pleasure than seeing the food I have grown, grace our plates at meal time.  And while this time of year requires a lot of physical demand (Who needs a gym when you are working 6 yards of compost and mulch into the soil?), the rewards are definitely worth the effort.  The perennials are already popping up, and the cold tolerant vegetable seeds are in the ground.  We are not far away, friends.  I can almost taste that strawberry rhubarb crisp now.

But perhaps the most rewarding of growing my own food, is sharing this passion with others.  I have the absolute pleasure of working with the students of Cathedral of St. Peter School in their school garden for the forth growing season.  And as I worked with students last week in the garden, I was reminded of why this project is so very important.  Many have lost their connection to the food they eat.  They view food as coming from the grocery store and have no idea how it is grown, or the work that goes in to growing it.  Working with these students allows them to connect with their food, see how it is grown, and become an active participant in that growth process.  Our garden project enables students to try new foods, and learn about the importance of consuming healthy foods and how that translates into fuel for our bodies and minds.  Most importantly, our school garden work illustrates how to be stewards of God’s creation, and to value and cherish all that the Earth and God provide for us each and every day.

IMG_2542Happy 2016 growing season, friends!

Dietmeier Apple Pie

Every time we gathered at my grandparent’s house in southwestern Wisconsin, homemade apple pie could be found at the center of the dessert table.  (Yes, there was always a dessert table.  It was amazing.)   My grandma and grandpa took turns making this family favorite, but it always tasted the same:  deliciously tart, yet creamy, with a hint of cinnamon underneath a crunchy sugar-layer.  To me, this pie is the quintessential fall dessert, and now that we have made the first one of the season, it seems that fall is truly being ushered in.

(The pie recipe is the same as my peach pie recipe that I shared here, and I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as you did the last.)

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Dietmeier Apple Pie

I make my own crust (recipe found here).  Place the crust in a pie plate (I love using this Stoneware pie plate because it does not burn the crust, and it looks great table side.)  Then I fill the crust with tart sliced apples.

Add about 10 tiny dollops of butter on top of the apples.  Then create a mixture of 1 cup sugar, 4 tablespoons flour and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.  Scoop this mixture over the apples and butter so the entire pie is coated.  Then add just a touch (about 1/4 cup) of water to the pie.  (Just sprinkle it over the top of the sugar mixture.  This creates a delicious custard-like consistency when it bakes.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake for an additional for 45 minutes.  Allow to rest at least 30 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

*A note about all my recipes: I use all organic ingredients, local when available. I use non-homogenized milk, and all of the dairy we use is from animals raised on pasture. I also use oils that are non-GMO verified. All our meat is raised locally on organic feed, and our beef is grass-fed, grass-finished. All our spices and cane sugar are fair-trade certified and purchased through a cooperative.

Dairy Free Apple Crisp

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Despite the fact the mercury is reading 85 degrees tonight as I write this, I am thinking Fall.  To help force my most-loved season along, the girls and I decided to pick our first-ever crop of apples from two of our apple trees and enjoy them for dinner in our favorite  baked apple form:  a crisp.

Because my youngest is still on a non-dairy diet, I continue striving to find new ways of tweaking our favorite recipes to make them dairy-free.  This recipe is one of those such experiments.  I wanted to substitute the butter in a traditional crisp, without losing the earthy, creamy flavor I think butter brings to the table.  I ended up using a combination of coconut oil, for the fat content, and whole wheat flour for the earthiness factor.  The crisp turned out quite nicely, without any hint of a coconut flavor that sometimes makes its way into recipes where I substitute butter with coconut oil.

I hope you enjoy this yummy fall treat!

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Dairy Free Apple Crisp

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Heat the above ingredients in a small saucepan until the honey becomes runny.  Pour this mixture over 6 cups of sliced, fresh apples.

Pour the apple honey mixture into a 9X9 baking pan.

In a separate bowl, mix together:

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

Cut in 5 tablespoons of coconut oil.  Crumble the oat mixture over the apple mixture.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, or until the top is crunchy and golden brown.  Enjoy!

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*A note about all my recipes:  I use all organic ingredients, local when available.  I use non-homogenized milk, and all of the dairy we use is from animals raised on pasture. I also use oils that are non-GMO verified.  All our meat is raised locally on organic feed, and our beef is grass-fed, grass-finished.  All our spices and cane sugar are fair-trade certified and purchased through a cooperative.

Apple Sauce

A sure fire sign that fall is upon us is when we start to find apples popping up here and there at the farmers’ markets.  Last week, we found our very favorite farming family at market with their tables loaded down with the most beautiful apples.  There were Cortlands, Jonathans, Honey Crisps, and Crimson Crisps.  Each more delicious than the next.

With all of this goodness to choose from, the girls and I decided it was high time to start making apple sauce.  So yesterday, with much fanfare and hullabaloo, we began our apple-sauce-making soiree.

The girls did all the work, while I took pictures and drunk in the sounds of 2Cellos on the IPad.  They used our very favorite apple peeler/corere/slicer to do the majority of labor, and then took turns adding some yummy local honey and spicy cinnamon to the mix.  We make our apple sauce in our slow cooker, so we just set it and forget it 🙂

A few hours later, once the aroma of the sweet and tangy apples, floral honey and spiced cinnamon fill the air, we have the perfect apple sauce for our family’s liking.  Fall is here.