Tuesday, October 27, 2009

National Novel Writing Month

Next month is National Noval Writing Month! What is National Noval Writing Month? It's a month were a few thousand insane souls imbark on a journey of 50,ooo words in a month. If you do the math that about 1,666 words a day or about 28 words a minute. I've only completed this journey once at it was awesome! Insane? Yes. Fun? You bet!
Usually I do a historical or fantasy story but this year it'll be a city girl meets country sort of story. I have a very vague plot so far so any suggestions of minor events to happen would be appreicated. I'm still working on characters as well.
Interested? Go to www.nanowrimo.com and read up on the rules and join in the fun! Hope to see you at the finish line!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

God, Where Has This Pie Been all my Life?

I'm not kinding, this is the best pumpkin pie that I've ever had. It could do with less sugar but it is awesome! I made the filling and the crust. I'm so proud of myself. Here's how I did it.
This is made with REAL fresh cooked pumpkin. It was easy.
Cut your sugar pie pumpkin in half, cut stem off and gut it. Place in a microwave dish with a few inches of water. Place in mircowave on high for 15 minutes and then additional 5 minute incements after, if needed.
Meanwhile, cut up 1 and 1/2 sticks of butter and combine with 2 tablespoons of vegetable shortening, 1 tablespoon sugar and 2 cups flour in a bowl of food processor until it resembles cornmeal then add 3 tablespoons of iced water until it forms a dough. Place it in the fridge for at least an hour. (Credit for this crust goes to Jenna Woginrich, girl you're a saint.)
Now that your pumpkin's cooked, scoop out meat with ice cream scooper and mash it. Measure out 1 and 1/2 cup pumpkin. Add 1 cup sugar, 1 and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 1 and 2/3 cup sweeten condensed milk and 2 eggs. Mix until smooth.
Roll your pie crust out and put it in the pie dish (easier said then done). Put filling into the unbaked pie crust and bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes then at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.
I found this recipe on a stick on my pie pumpkin. Like I said, needs less sugar. Probably 1/2 cup instead of 1 cup.
After a troublesome week, whatever supreme being there is made up to me, and I dug in to pie and hot cocoa.


I'm slacking in posting. I know, but lately I've been sort of down in the dumps. I don't mean to sound like a troubled teen but I feel so alone. My friends don't call me or talk to me. It's depressing. Two of my friends aren't in college and they live 15 minutes away. I've tried to get them to come over but both wont. The friend that I wanted to go to the meusum with I have not been able to get in touch with her. I'll go by myself and have a good time. I love going to work because it gives me a chance to talk to non-family members and people my own age.
I've been cooking like crazy. To me, I'm cooking my frustrations away. In the past week I've made two batches of apple butter, a totally from scratch pumpkin pie, and snickerdoodles. When I'm cooking I'm one of the happiest people in the world. It feels good.
About the pumpkin pie, I'll post more about it later.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Apple Butter: A Reflection

"Live and learn" is one of my mottoes. If something goes wrong or right you learn something from it. Well, my apple butter went wrong. I'll start from the beginning.
A recent thread on Cold Antler Farm forum was about apples. Many people listed their favorite apple recipes. Among these was one for apple butter made in the crockpot. I rejoiced knowing that I could have slightly less laborious but still have tasty apple butter in about a day. Excited to can some I rushed to the orchard, bought a basket of blemished mixed apples for $4, a steal. Yesterday morning I peeled, cored, and chopped my 10 apples. Threw in the spices and discovered that we didn't have any sugar. Not a problem. I was due to go to work in a few hours anyway so I would just have to add it when I came home. I put on high for an hour stirred excitedly then switched it to low for 9 more hours, but in nine more hours I would be at work. I told my mom to take the cover off at about 7 o'clock. When I got home my mom had reported that that apple butter started to burned. Of course, I questioned her about what time she took it off....7:30. Groan! Thankfully it didn't taste burnt!
I left it alone since it was too late to can it. This morning I got up, threw the apple butter in the food processor to smooth it out and add the sugar. Although the recipe suggests putting in 2 cups of sugar I found that 1/2 cup did just fine. I threw the mixture back into the crockpot on warm, to kill any bacteria and set up the canning equipment. This was the fourth time that I canned this year so my set up was great. I corrected any flaws in my previous canning adventures.
Sadly, the apple butter only did three 1/2 pint jars. I had anticipated at least six 1/2 pint jars.
No worries, I still have a lot of apples left from the basket so I'll be making some more soon. I think I'll be freezing it this time.
P.S. I'm on my third book of the season, Hit by a Farm by Catherine Friend.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

An Apple of a Day

It was one of those days that didn't go as planned but still worked out alright. I had a last minute change of plans, my friend had to help her mom move. The Mercer Muesum visit is postponed until Tuesday.
Instead, I cleaned my room a little bit. Not much but enough to call it progress. Tomorrow I'll have to finish it. My mom and dad were outside doing yardwork so I stole the chance to practice the fiddle. So far I can play the D scale and "Ida Red" okay. I think my fiddle is out of tune and I'm not about to offer up money to support something that I may or may not end up keeping in the long run. I'm going to take it back to the rental store and see if their violin guy can give it a once over. It's a rental right? It should be in tune when I rent it. I'll probably ask if he can put fingering tape on it. They're nice people that run the store so I doubt they'll say no.
My cat started to swat the bow so I figured it was time to put it away and go ouside.
I gathered sticks for the camp fire. I'm tempted to douse some larger logs in a little lighter fluid so help them catch. No matter which way I build the fire it seems to only want to burn smaller stuff.
I figured that since I'm not going to eat the apples that I'm buying for my apple butter fresh, I went to my local orchard to pick up some of their blemished ones. Boy! Did they have a lot! I swear there were more than the perfect ones. At $4 a basket of mixed apple, I couldn't argue. The amount in the basket is enough to make a few nice jars plus an apple pie or two. I'm really looking forward to it. While I was there I picked up some of their apple cider which wasn't near as good as the cider that I've been getting at a different orchard. This apple cider tasted more like tany apple juice. It's still good and local so I can't argue.
Now, I'm waited for dinner to be ready, lasange, and be done with so I can finished making snickerdoodles.
So, it has been a pleasant day. Now, I'm excited for Tuesday!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Next Weekend...

Apple Butter...
Pumpkin Ice Cream...

Next weekend shall be fun. After work Saturday I'm picking a friend up for two days of fun. Here's the agenda.
Saturday Night: Stop at a local ice cream shop, campfire, scary movies
Sunday Afternoon: Mercer Museum, stop at apple stand for apples
Monday: Apple Butter
Why would two teenage girls want to go to a museum. It's simple. They both like history. AND it has artifacts from before the industrial revolution! Very neat stuff. I should dig out my photos from the last time and post them.
This place is sort of special to me. One of my ancestors worked for Henry Mercer's wife. So I feel all cozy there. Maybe if we have time we'll visit Fonthill (Mercer's home).