Apple crisp and comfort foods

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 perfect apple crisp

Perfect Apple Crisp

If ever there was a perfect time for our family to gorge ourselves on comfort foods, that time would be now. As a child my mom would give me cinnamon toast to “make the boo-boo go away”. I could  use that cinnamon toast now but in its place I suppose I have my apple crisp recipe and I have apples.

I use Granny Smith apples which gives this crisp just enough sweetness, but any baking apple will do. It is one of our favorite fall desserts. I hope you like it too!

Mary’s Apple Crisp Recipe

24 ounces granny smith slices (I like mine pretty thin)
4 tbsp. brown sugar
1/8 cup plus 2 tsp. white sugar
5/8 tsp. cinnamon (I like Saigon)
2 tbsp. flour for thickening

Mix filling ingredients and place in a buttered 8 or 9 inch glass baking dish and cover with topping below: 

3/8 cup flour
3/8 cup quick oats (not instant)
1/4 cup butter (I prefer this to margarine but margarine would do)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Blend the flour and butter with a pastry blender until crumbly. Add the remaining ingredients mixing well. Place on filling and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly and lightly toasted on top.

Note: At times I’ve added some dried cranberries which is a great tart addition!

If only I knew how to make my camera freeze all of the bubbling because the crisp was bubbling along nicely when I snapped this shot. Maybe next time I’ll do a video!

Free Tutorial, Swarovski Spiral Tree Ornament or Sun Catcher

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Swarovksi Spiral Ornament or Suncatcher

Catch the Light!

I am so far behind planning for Christmas 2014 that Christmas 2015 seems a much more attainable goal! If your schedule is in better shape than mine then take a look at this new tutorial. If you have the time to make a few special but simple gifts for yourself or others, give these ornaments a try. You don’t even have to make the spirals. They are only $1 each and save you so much work (and hair pulling!)

The design is easy to alter and there are some suggestions on the tutorial page. They would also make beautiful suncatchers in your kitchen window to add a little sparkle all year long!

Swarovski Spiral Ornament of Suncatcher Tutorial.

Saturday Simple Pleasures

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Inherited Garden Chives

Of all the things I have planted over the years, either ornamental or edible, I find myself wondering why not once did I consider chives. It is truly a mystery. They are both wonderful in egg salad, and beautiful as an ornamental.  I have always enjoyed the thrill of seeing crocus emerge, a promise of warmer weather, but never considered chives.

This particular bunch has been bringing me some simple pleasures each morning since early spring when this picture was taken. It is a plant I inherited when we bought this house. Most of the grounds had been left to go natural, but bordering the upstairs deck there were nine planter boxes hanging from the edge. The winter snows had completely covered their contents and I assumed had obliterated any possibility of plant life. How delighted I was when the daytime temps started to rise to find that I had an early start to a spring garden.

These chives are the star of the show but there are also dianthus, pansies,  delicate columbines, and a couple yet-to-be-unveiled surprises. I love surprises! There are even a few baby pine trees that have popped up in my planter boxes. If I had tried to grow a pine tree from seed I would have surely failed, but here I have nearly half a dozen that were possibly planted by a squirrel that are thriving!

The bees are frequent visitors to these planters and I love watching their non-stop activity and dedication to their goal. They provide early inspiration and a sense of peace to the beginning of my day. They are just one of the simple pleasures in my life that I try to take time to appreciate. What are yours?

After the storm……….sort of.

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Taken from the studio at dusk after the snowstorm.

After moving, being snowed in, digging ourselves out in below zero weather with shovels to go buy a snow blower, and being without heat for a few weeks we had a few days of sunshine that made the difficulties seem SO far away. That is, until the main water pipe ruptured at a previous repair (under a couple inches of asphalt and about 3 or more feet of dirt). Colin dug it out to find the leak and then the next snowstorm blew in. Sigh. Today I am waiting for the plumber that did the original repair to show up. No water since Tuesday but with this view from my studio it all still feels worth it.