Posts Tagged ‘Apples’

Feb 05 2020

Big Apples & Beautiful Plants

The big apple and beautiful plant on my desk!

These past couple of weeks I have been in a bit of a funk…. Some little unexpected things happened that I let pile up and bother me. Instead of letting these incidents roll off of me and turning my focus towards the many blessings in my life I let these little disappointments and inconveniences capitalize too much of my energy.

All I have to do is look around me to how truly see blessed I am and yet at times I struggle with being content.  My negative attitude is not benefiting myself nor those who are in close proximity of me (family, friends, co-workers). In reality it is probably pretty toxic to myself and those who have to be in my presence.  While my life is not even close to being “perfect” mostly because I manage to mess it up more than I care to admit, it really isn’t bad by any means either. There are a lot of people that are going through far more challenging situations.

As I was thinking about some of these recent events, situations and incidents that got me into this little funk I was reminded of big apples and beautiful plants.  I know it sounds random, but sometimes it’s silly little objects that help bring clarity and focus to my messes of life. Often times these objects remind me of the person who thoughtfully and gave or made them for me which in return makes me smile.

My husband will randomly get me something that he knows I will enjoy.  An apple is a common fruit found in my work lunch, one day he surprised me with a very large apple as my work snack. It made me laugh because the apple was so big it barely fit in my lunch bag and ended up being part of my snack and lunch.   I love all kinds of plants and flowers, however, I have a black thumb which means it is a miracle if I keep a plant alive for a year or more (yes, I have managed to even kill a cactus….). One day he brought home an adorable potted plant for me.  I took it to work and had so many files on my desk that day that it ended up finding a home next to my monitor and in front of my main work space.  He is thoughtful and knows how to make me smile. The photo above is the day I had the big apple next to my beautiful plant. While these are just two visual examples of ways I am reminded of him and the many blessings in my life there are many more if I take a moment to look around me.

Unfortunately, there are many days when I am busy with tasks that I overlook the big apples, beautiful plants, and the many other little reminders of the multitude of blessings in my life. Some days I get sucked into tackling a variety of “to do” items or choose to focus on disappointments which tend to weigh on me instead of working hard while appreciating the positive blessings all around me.   It’s time to break out of this funk and remember who really is in control of my life.  When left up to myself I get off track, my focus is not on what truly matters in life, and I am not the easiest person to hang around.  I am ready to get back on track, anybody else ready?

A few ways to encourage us to turn our focus towards positive blessings:

  • Look – What do you see around you that makes you smile or brings are certain special person to mind?  You probably have more blessings than realize you once you take a few minutes to look around and think about it.
  • Relax – The to do list is always growing, don’t set unrealistic expectations for yourself.  You can relax every once in awhile without being considered lazy, it’s actually healthy for us.
  • Breathe – Take a few deep breaths, it helps clear your minds and relaxes your body
  • Focus – Choose to focus on the good parts of your life.  The hard times and inconveniences will come, but they do not have to monopolize all your time and energy.
  • Time – Spend quality time with family, friends, and people you love. Life really is short, make a point to invest time in people.

Here’s to a life full of many blessings!  May we always remember what’s truly important and if we forget hopefully we’ll get back on track quickly.

Nov 14 2014

Recipes: Homemade Apple Dumplings

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Homemade Apple Dumpling Dessert

Jake made recently made this delicious fall apple recipe for dessert!  Sometimes we go apple picking and other times we just enjoy the stores having some of our favorite apples on sale during this time of year.  Every year we like to try different apple dishes.  I am thankful for a husband who cooks and who will random surprise us with a tasty treat.  The homemade apple dumplings would go very well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream too if you have some at the house!

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Apple Dumpling

Homemade Apple Dumplings:

  • 1 3/4 cups Water
  • 1 1/4 cups Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons Butter or Maragine
  • 2 1/4 cups Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 2/3 cups shortening
  • 7 tablespoons Water
  • 4 Apples (small to medium size)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

In a saucepan combine 1 3/4 cups water, 1 cup of sugar (save the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar for later), 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (save the remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon for later), 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (save the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg for later).  Mix together, simmer with it covered for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the butter or margarine.  Set the syrup mixture aside.

Combine flour and salt.  Cut in the shortening until all the pieces are about the size of a black bean.  Add water a little at a time and mix until all is moist.  Form the dough into a ball. Roll the dough onto an approximately 16 x 12 inch rectangle, cut into four 4 inch squares.

Wash, peel, and core your 4 apples.  Place an apple on each of the 4 pastry squares.  Mix together the brown sugar and raisins and put a small scoop in each apple where the core was removed.  Mix the remaining sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together and sprinkle over the fruit.   Moisten the edges of the pastry with water and fold the corners to the center on top of the fruit and pinch to seal it (see picture below).  Place dumplings in a  greased pan and pour the syrup mixture over the top of the dumplings.

Bake the dumplings on 375 degrees in the oven for 45 minutes or until the fruit is tender and the pastry is slightly brown.  Prior to serving spoon syrup from the pan over the pastries and serve with vanilla ice cream.

The recipe is a delicious fall apple dessert!  I recommend serving with ice cream or a glass of milk!  Enjoy!

Baked Apple Dumpling

Ready to go into the oven!

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The apple dumplings not only smelled delicious, they tasted amazing too!

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Inside the apple dumplings!

Mar 15 2013

Fresh Apples & Caramel Dip

Fresh Apple Slices and Caramel Dip

Do you have a party where you need a quick, healthy, and easy appetizer?  This one is kind of a no-brainer, but sometimes I need to be reminded that the simple easy snacks that require less prep can be just as enjoyable for everyone (and allows you to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your family).  Freshly sliced apples with caramel dip is a great one to bring and share!  There’s is just something refreshing and delicious about apples and caramel.  Yum!

For this event I took fresh apples sliced them, dipped them in a mix of  lemon juice and water to keep them from turning brown and poured the caramel dip that we already had in the pantry onto the serving platter.  You can make your own caramel sauce, but since I had some on hand it was easier just to pour it into the dish.  Also, if you want to make it even easier, especially if you’re in a pinch, you can purchase both pre-sliced apples and caramel dip at the store.  Sometimes it’s the simple easy stuff that is a big hit.

Dec 07 2012

Do You See Apple Slices or A Candy Cane?

It is the super simple things that can add an extra festive touch to a family snack or get together.  The girls wanted a snack so I sliced up some apples, but instead of putting them in a bowl or on a plate I left them on the cutting board in the shape of a candy cane.  I love it when I am thinking clearly enough to actually do the “little stuff” because it is so worth seeing them get excited over apple slices in the shape of a candy cane or something similar.

Think of 3 simple ways you can add a festive touch to things you are already doing.  Not to mention it may coax your kids to eat more apples or other healthy foods around the Holidays! 🙂   You don’t have to make  elaborate dishes to spark a smile in your family members!

Nov 02 2012

Recipe: Apple Pie

One of the best parts of Fall is the delicious food, which includes APPLES!  If you want to make a homemade apple pie or need to use up some of those apples here is a great recipe to use.  You can get a pie crust from the grocery store or make my Great Aunt Noami’s Never Fail Flaky Pie Crust.  The only thing I should have done with this pie is put some foil over it to keep it from browning so much, it still tasted amazing!

Apple Pie with Never Fail Flaky Pie Crust:

First is the pie crust (if you are using store bought or another recipe skip this step).  This recipe makes crust for 2 pies (top & bottom).

  • 3 cups Flour
  • 1 cup Shortening
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 Egg, well beaten
  • 5 tablespoon Water
  • 1 tablespoon Vinegar

Mix flour, shortening, salt with pastry blender.  Combine egg, water, and vinegar then combine with flour mixture.  Mold into 4 balls chill awhile then roll out for pie.  Balls will keep up to 2 weeks in refrigerator for additional pies.  Yields: 2 double pie crusts

If you want to just do enough for 1 complete pie crust (top and bottom) cut the recipe in half.

Apple Pie Filling

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 cups thinly sliced and cored apple

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and grease a pie dish.  Mix sugar, cinnamon, and flour.  Stir in apples and place into the pie crust.  Dot with butter and cover with the top crust.  Cut a slit in the top of the pie to let the steam escape.  Seal the top crust to the bottom one by pinching the edges together.  Cover the edge of the crust with a strip of aluminum foil.  Bake pie for 50 minutes or until the crust is brown and the juice begins to bubble through the top.