Homemade Apple Cider

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Apparently at the tender age of 21, I have succumbed to the eternal tiredness accompanied with socializing until midnight and drinking 1 glass of sangria + a single gin and tonic.  This past weekend consisted of both of those events at a Friendsgiving celebration, where a few friends and I enjoyed a hodgepodge of family recipes along with a distracted game of Cards Against Humanity and a slew of various spirit glasses.  While Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday, I’m starting to realize the value of a successful Friendsgiving, which in my experience is pretty similar to regular Thanksgiving without the pressure of telling your great-aunt and four second-cousins your life plans post-college, and also, you typically don’t have to talk about the disappointing political climate (except not always, but that can be solved with a simple “Sangria anyone?!”.  I know how to please the crowd).

Typical to Sara Lynn antics, I provided the aforementioned sangria and a pumpkin pie with whipped cream, which after a few hours, turned into a weapon of mass destruction as it was flung throughout the kitchen, into hair, and onto faces while I ducked under the breakfast bar with my wine glass.  Once whipped cream starts flinging, this chick is out.  However, the pumpkin pie was amazing and enjoyed for breakfast before work the next day.  As for the sangria, a twist on the classic using apple cider for a autumnal flavor, it needs to be worked on slightly.  It was delicious, but it also reminded me of bubblegum which just isn’t really my style.  Don’t worry…I’ll keep working on it for winter holidays.

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After a weekend of socializing with friends and working, I came down with a bad chest cold that I can just tell is brewing into something horrid.  Luckily, I got my ass into the doctor ASAP, and hopefully the antibiotics they provided will knock this thing out before it even develops, because again, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday!  I want to enjoy my family time even if it does make me evaluate my life plans and strive to keep my mouth zipped when certain President-elects are brought up.  Also, I have a ton of pie dough to make before Wednesday, and this hacking out my lungs thing is making me want to do nothing but pass out in my bed with a heating pad suctioned to my chest.  Yes, I like to feel sorry for myself, but I did work today and take a test and do a presentation, so I feel like I deserve a little credit here.  I’d probably whine a little more, but I am hugging some warm apple cider and watching Full House reruns, so it can’t be all bad, right?

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And that leads to the apple cider.  As I mentioned before, my parents just moved here and have an abundance of apple trees on their property which equates to me having fresh apples in my house constantly.  Pros: beautiful, freshly picked apples all the time!!!  Cons: I will never be able to eat another apple pie with store-bought apples again.  How come homemade apples are so much sweeter and flavorful?  Anyways, I found myself with pounds on pounds of fresh apples, and that is how this apple cider recipe came to fruition.

Now, you can make this apple cider recipe on the stove which will take a couple of hours.  I chose to prepare it in a slow cooker so I could pop it on before class and come home to a cinnamony-appley-smelling goodness when I came home.  Either way, this recipe is fool-proof and will taste absolutely delicious.

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*If you are using orchard apples, you may notice that the cores look a little funky every once in a while – yay organic!!  I chose to cut these parts off, but if the cores look okay, don’t worry about removing them.  You can even leave the seeds in – they’ll all get strained out in the end.

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Flightless Bird, American Mouth by Iron & Wine

The Best Damn Pie Crust of Your Life

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IT’S FINALLY HERE.  Even after countless pies and months of promising you all the best pie dough recipe in the whole damn world, I had not delivered.  That is, until now.  I really should stop making promises like these considering I’m a full-time student, I have 2 jobs, plus I try to volunteer a few hours a month on top of all the normal things I have to do on a day-to-day basis a.k.a. I’m freaking busy and don’t always have time on the weekends to do a pie dough tutorial.  Honestly, I don’t know how I have free time sometimes, but bless my marketing internship for giving me college credit to work only a couple hours a week from home is all I have to say.  Aside from that major tangent, my point is that I know the wait was worth it, and I would like you to agree with me, because it would make me feel much better about my slacking.

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Let’s have a conversation about pie dough, my friends.  I’ll try to keep an open mind here, but let’s just face it, I’m biased and totally Team Make Your Own Pie Dough.  Most people refuse to even try to make their own dough, settling for either freezer-aisle roll-out pie dough (boo) or worse, store-bought pies from the grocery store (double boo).  We’ll call this side Team Wrong.  No offense if you’re on that team, I understand why you are, but hear me out.  I have a major theory that pie dough is one of the most misunderstood forms of pastry, and I can attest to this, because I was a frozen pie dough fan for many years.  After making pie dough once, I was a forever changed woman.  It’s so. damn. easy.  Surprisingly so, but it makes all the difference in the world.  If you care about pie, make your own dough!  I’m not kidding, you will not be able to go back to the store-bought stuff.  It’s really life-changing, especially this recipe, which yields the flakiest, buttery-est crust I ever did eat.  Thanks to Bon Appetit magazine for inspiring me to give it a try and also for giving me the recipe.  I appreciate for real ♥

So, after a long guilt trip from Team Make Your Own Dough, do you feel inspired to make your own pie dough for (please, at least one of) your Thanksgiving pies?!  Yes you do!

Let’s get started!

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First, you’re going to start off with 2 sticks + 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter.  Cut the butter into cubes, trying to work quickly to avoid melting the butter with your warm hands.  I like to use a bench scraper for this so I don’t have to touch the butter, but a regular knife works well too!  Put that butter in a bowl and pop it in the fridge while you gather your dry ingredients.

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Now we’re going to prep for the next few steps.  Whisk together 2 1/4 cups of all purpose flour, 2 Tablespoons of sugar (1 Tablespoon for a savory-pie crust), and a scant teaspoon of kosher salt.  Also prepare a glass of ice water and set the glass aside.  Toss the butter in the flour mixture.

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Now, working quickly, use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour, creating shaggy pieces of butter.  Some of the pieces should be thin and long while others are chunkier.  Be careful not to let the butter melt in your hands.

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Mix together 1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 3 Tablespoons of iced water.  Swirl to combine.

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Drizzle the vinegar-water over the butter mixture, running your fingers through the flour mixture to incorporate all the ingredients.  Quickly knead the dough until it starts to come together.  It will be a little crumbly and dry, but resist adding more water or your crust will turn out tough.

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Turn your dough onto a floured surface and knead it a few more times, incorporating the drier areas.

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Cut the dough in half and press into 1 inch thick discs.

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Wrap your dough in plastic and set it in the fridge for at least an hour and up to 5 days.  You can also freeze the dough for up to 2 months!  I like to make dough in advance and save it in the fridge for big events like holidays.  When you’re ready to use it, roll it on a floured surface and fill with whatever makes you happy.

Here’s a few pie ideas, if you needed any (;

Apple Pie with Sugared Crust
Pumpkin Pie
Beef & Veggie Pot Pie
Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie
Pear & Ginger Galette
Strawberry and Grapefruit Galette
Mixed Berry Pie

And here’s a handy-dandy recipe card:

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I hope this recipe makes the pie dough of your dreams as it did mine ♥

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Where is my Mind? by Pixies

 

 

 

 

Beef & Veggie Pot Pie

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Happy Election Day!  If you’re like me, you’re probably very nervous about the results of the presidential election, and you’re trying to decide if you should start packing your bags so you can get your ass to Canada.  My personal remedy is to drink lots of coffee and wine and try to stay positive.  Either way, I hope that you exercised your right to vote regardless of your political affiliation!  Today is a day to feel lucky that you have a right to *choose*, not a day to hurt others based on their beliefs.  However, I’m not here to talk about politics today or ever really, pls pls pls don’t bring it up like every confrontational person that walks into the coffee shop I work at. *eyeroll* Can you tell I’ve been dealing with this for a few months?  I’m here to talk about beef & veggie pot pie, which good news (!), has wine in it!!!  Plus, it takes a few hours to cook, so it’ll keep your mind off of the election (although, it is a really easy recipe and only takes a little bit of prep – it’s mostly cooking away quietly on the stove while you engage in other activities).

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve partnered with Sanford Ranch Beef to bring you all kinds of delicious recipes to make with your box of beef!  If you’re in the Reno area, give them a call!  Their beef is way more affordable than at the grocery, and you’ll be supporting a local family business!  I can guarantee this, because well, I’m related to the owners.

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img_2227 img_2196For this recipe, you’re going to start with some typical winter veggies and a durable cut of steak.  You can add or subtract veggies if you want, but I’d say the mirepoix components are necessary – that’s the carrots, celery, and onions.  The recipe calls for 1 onion, but because mine were teeny tiny and cute, I used 2.

Essentially, you’ll add these ingredients with some wine, stock, and herbs and cook the hell out of it, because durable steak cuts require lots of cooking time in order to become tender.  After, you’ll plop some pastry on top, bake it for a bit, and it’ll be ready to go!  It’s super easy, but also very flavorful and impressive for company.  I like to serve it with a simple green salad and pie for dessert!

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Daylight savings ending means bad pictures 😦

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Happy fall and happy voting ♥

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Light House by Future Islands

Rainy Day Songs

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It’s been pitch black all morning, and I’m still not quite used to it which makes me question why I adjust so easily to the beginning of Daylight Savings but not the end.  For reasons unbeknownst to me, the darkness is absolutely confusing, and the adjustment only gets more difficult as I get older.

In addition to the darkness, it has also been raining all morning and for the past few days.  Rain is my absolute favorite weather in the whole entire world, especially when I get to drink coffee and relax all day.  Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily what’s happening right now, because it is midterm week, but I’m looking forward to relaxing this weekend!  Now, I’m just hoping the rain will stay…

As promised, I made this playlist a few days ago, and it’s filled with all of my favorite songs to listen to while it’s rainy (imagine that).  They’re all pretty, soft, relaxing songs, some happy & some sad.  Most are of the indie rock/alternative acoustic/etc. variety, although I do listen to all kinds of genres!  However, indie rock/alternative/acoustic/and the like typically tend to be my favorite.  Feel free to comment songs you would add!

You can follow the playlist on my Spotify – just look up heysaralynn, and the playlist is called Rainy Day!  If you are not involved in the Spotify thing, the songs are posted below, and you can make your own playlist however you choose!

Creature Fear by Bon Iver

Slow It Down by The Lumineers

England by The National

Lua by Bright Eyes

Big Jet Plane by Angus & Julia Stone

Ooo by Karen O

Asleep by The Smiths

100 Million by Charlie Hilton

Call It Fate, Call It Karma by The Strokes

Depreston by Courtney Barnett

Your Fine Petting Duck by Devendra Banhart

You Can Do Better by Deathcab for Cutie

You Really Got a Hold on Me (cover) by She & Him

New York, I Love You by LCD Soundsystem

Mardy Bum by Arctic Monkeys

Green Aisles by Real Estate

Hannah Hunt by Vampire Weekend

Trailer Trash by Modest Mouse

Without You by Oh Wonder

Agnes by Glass Animals

The Start of Something by Voxtrot

Nostalgic Intellect by Peter Bjorn & John

Bit by a Dead Bee Part II by Foxing

Light House by Future Islands

Be Mine by Alabama Shakes

Marjorette by Beach House

Dust Bunnies by Kurt Vile

Unrequited Love by Lykke Li

Sailing to Nowhere by Broken Bells

New Day by Deep Sea Diver

Fade Into Me by Mazzy Star

Sea of Love by Cat Power

Red Eyes by The War on Drugs

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel

White Winter Hymnal by Fleet Foxes

To Be Alone with You by Sufjan Stevens

Life's a Dream by Built to Spill

Evaporar by Little Joy

Back to studying (;

XO Sara Lynn