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.

Mom’s Summer Cucumber Salad

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From the time my mom was given her diagnoses, her constant mantra was, “Please make sure you continue to tell our stories.” It was so very important to her that the stories of our family remain alive in our hearts and continue to be told and retold, even after she was no longer with us. During one of my vigils by my mom’s bedside, I assured her that I would indeed continue to tell her stories.   I assured her I would not only share them with my girls, but with anyone and everyone who would listen. Because it is in our sharing of stories that I believe we truly get to know one another, and strengthen the bond that brings us all together in this great big world of ours. And to be honest with you, so many of my memories and stories seem to revolve around the sharing of food while sitting at a table with those we hold dear to us. I have loved sharing my family’s food stories in the past in this blog space, and it is my absolute pleasure to continue. Today I am thrilled to share with you the story of my mom’s summer cucumber salad.

While growing up, when the days seemed to stretch on forever, my sister and I felt compelled to stay outside all day long, riding bikes all over our neighborhood. It wasn’t until the sky began to turn rosey in the west that we would finally venture home, red-faced and exhausted. We would walk into the house, greeted by a cool blast from the air-conditioner, and find my mom setting the table in the kitchen. On these types of hot nights, instead of heating up the kitchen with lots of pots and pans on the stove and in the oven, my mom would always have a series of cool, fresh dishes waiting for us. My very favorite of these dishes was my mom’s cucumber salad. It was always so cool and creamy, yet tangy and fresh. It just tastes like summer.

Mom’s Summer Cucumber Salad

4-6 medium cucumbers

1 white onion

1 cup sour cream

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon dill weed

salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together the sour cream, apple cider vinegar, dill weed, salt and pepper. Thinly slice the cucumbers and onions. (I use mandoline to accomplish this task because it leaves you with thin, consistently-cut produce.) Pour the sour cream/vinegar mixture over the cucumbers and onions. Mix until combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!

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Culinary Inspirations

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Just to give some forewarning, today’s post is going to be Monday-ish.  You know how Mondays are?  It’s the day when you wake up and have a million thoughts, plans and lists going all at the same time–that’s this post.  Monday-ish.

So, here we go…Give me a good book and an even better piece of produce and I am a happy camper.  Last week, I reached for two of my favorite books and some of my favorite spring-time produce, and I was off.  I have often talked about this book before in past posts, but Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver is a book that will change your world.  Not only is it a beautifully crafted piece about Kingsolver and her family’s journey toward eating locally, but it is also filled with the most delicious recipes! I looked out my kitchen window to find our strawberry and rhubarb bed was overflowing with goodness, so I knew this was the book I needed.  I went with one of my favorite recipes in that book: the strawberry rhubarb crisp.  This recipe is a family favorite, using very little refined sugar, and I love cooking it up in my small stoneware baker because I can cook in it and serve from it.  This time, I chose to dish up this gooey creation in our nourish soup bowls, which I thought looked just lovely because of the matching color profiles.  The other reason I have so many of these bowls on hand is because $2 of every bowl is donated to Feeding America.

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Also growing in our strawberry and rhubarb bed is asparagus.  We didn’t have a great crop of asparagus this year, so we supplemented our own with some from the farmers’ market.  I tried a new recipe, pistachio-crusted asparagus with feta vinaigrette, from Ashley English’s Handmade Gatherings to showcase this delicious perennial.  It was absolutely divine.  In fact, every recipe I have tried from this book has been a crowd pleaser.

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Now you may have noticed that when discussing the strawberry rhubarb crisp, I mentioned (and linked to) a few of my favorite kitchen essentials.  Please understand, it is not my intention to lure you to my blog with discussions of holistic living and sustainability and then try to sell you something.  Instead, I would love to share some of the kitchen items I use every day, because they help to make my life easier.  My hope is that in sharing this information, I can also help to make your meal preparation easier.

The other reason in sharing this information with you is to provide a means to contribute to my family financially.  After 3 years of debate, I have decided to leave teaching for good and homeschool my daughters.  I have wanted to homeschool ever since my eldest went off to kindergarten, but always held back because homeschooling was just too very far outside the box at that time in my life.  But as I mentioned last week, I need to do what I believe is best for my family, and for us, homeschooling is where it’s at 🙂  I have never beed more sure of a decision in my life, but the fact of the matter is that there will be a gap in our income.  I have worked (or maybe I should say dabbled) as an independent consultant with Pampered Chef for over five years, and I believe it’s business model is one that is keeping with my family’s belief structure.  It is based in Illinois (where we live), many of the products are made in the U.S., they provide funding to Feeding America and the American Cancer Society, and they allow women and men to work from home and put their families first.  So, from time to time, I will share some products that I use, and it is up to you whether or not you would like to link to them and find out more information.  I hope you understand my reasoning in doing this.

Well, if you have followed me through to this point, you have made it thought my Monday stream-of-conciousness post.  Books.  Produce.  Recipes.  Pampered Chef.  Homeschooling.  Lots of Action.

I wish you all a wonderful week, in which you can work through all those thoughts, follow through on all those plans, and check off all those items on your lists.  Happy Monday, friends.

Garden Party

This Mother’s Day was one for the memory books. I rose early for some quiet time with my hubby.  I sipped coffee while he made homemade cinnamon rolls that he and the girls were planning to serve to me later. When the girls awoke, the wild rumpus started (Oh Maurice Sendak, you will forever be remembered.) There were cards, there was frosting, and there were the most precious video cards that the girls and Tyler had worked on the day before, complete with costumed princesses, fairies and singing. It was a wonderful start to a fabulous day!

When the noon hour arrived, so did our entire family for our first annual Mother’s Day Garden Party. The kids played the day away in the playhouse, entertained us with their musical instruments, and then rounded out the day in the kiddie pool. The adults enjoyed rhubarb bellinis (yet another favorite Jamie Oliver recipe of mine taken from this cookbook), some tasty food, and of course, great company.

On the food docket for the day was pulled pork that I slow roasted for fifteen hours the day before, served with two different barbeque sauces my hubby made that morning. We also enjoyed rhubarb squares (the recipe can be found in this post), a mojito cake made from a Pampered Chef recipe I love to bust out when the weather gets nice, and coconut macaroons that I found a recipe for in Taproot magazine. All of our guests also brought dishes to pass including salad made with home-grown lettuce, and mushroom crustini’s made with locally grown mushrooms and bread baked by nuns in an area convent.

I know I mentioned it yesterday, but again, I hope that all of the mothers out there had a wonderful day on Sunday. We are all so lucky to be able to tend to our children each and every day. Even though some days can be rough, and we may want to just take a momma’s time out, it is comforting to know there are a plethora of other moms out there giving it their all.  Thank you for reading this blog, for your comments, and your thoughts.  It is a true blessing.