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

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Pear & Ginger Galette

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Sometimes I yearn for the kind of life that involves an airy, brightly-lit house on a large, green property surrounded by a variety of fruit bushes, trees, roots, and stalks.  In my little dream, I don’t necessarily have a job per se, unless by “job” we’re talking something along the lines of “fruit-picker who makes artisan pies and breads and fresh salads while experimenting with ingredients all day”.  Then yeah, that’s my job.  Also, I wear a lot of sun dresses and big floppy hats.

Oh!  Lastly, and I don’t want to ask for too much here, but since this is a dream after all, my life would include a flannel-beard partner who plays guitar and makes me pour-overs and we have at least 2 dogs.

It’s precisely at the flannel-beard-dog moment that I realize this dream is not very realistic, mostly because 1. nice flannel-beards who play guitar and make pour-overs are hard to come by these days and 2. I really like my big-city-luxuries, including easy to find specialty coffee shops, great bars and restaurants, and 24/7 access to a grocery store, even if those “big city-luxuries” are in the BLC itself.  However, a dream is a dream is a dream, and I still like to think about it now and again.

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My dream was re-inspired the other day while I was walking my parents’ property, picking fresh apples and pears from their newly acquired fruit trees (from their newly acquired house, go figures).  Stumped over what to do with a million half-ripe pears, I decided to follow my go-to philosophy surrounding fruit and all foods in general:

Turn it into a *pie.

Turn everything into a pie.

If you’re going to cheat on your **healthy-eating pact, you should just really go for it and eat pie, right?  Say it with me: Right!  And on that sentiment, I went to work kneading pie dough, slicing pears, and grating ginger.  What resulted was probably one of the best desserts – no, recipes – I’ve made to date.  Oh pie, I ♥ you.

*If we’re going to get all technical here, it’s actually a galette.  I don’t discriminate against anything with pie dough.

**As far as the healthy eating pact goes, I mean, there’s pears in this, ya know?)

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Before I give you the recipe, I must say one more thing:  Remember when I gave you pie recipes multiple times in the past claiming to have hold on the best pie dough recipe of all time?  Remember how I alwaaaaays give you the recipe but never give you a tutorial?  Yeah, it happened again.  I’m the worst.  But I swear to you all so soon, I will have a step-by-step!  Let me just say that, as an early-twenty-something single woman, it’s hard to find people who 1. like cooking as much as you do (because early-twenty-somethings can’t cook anything but ramen as it turns out), which means your friends can’t demonstrate as you take pics or 2. use your very particular photography techniques or know how to use a nice camera in general.  But no worries, my friends, I already have someone lined up to help a sista out (literally…it’s my brother).  Pie dough dreams will arrive momentarily.

But for now, here’s a written step-by-step and one of my favorite desserts I’ve made to date ♥  Thanks for dealing with the crazy.

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*Note: I forgot to include this in the recipe card, but I highly recommend serving the galette with butter pecan, salted caramel, or classic vanilla bean ice cream.  Butter pecan was my choice, but any of those will go!  If you’re not an ice cream person, in which case, I don’t know if we can be friends (just kidding kind of), but a little whipped cream does the trick.

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Flowers in Your Hair by The Lumineers

Pecan Pie Handpies

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Happy happy happy Halloween!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays because I love dressing up and seeing a bunch of kids walking around like Spiderman and Cinderella.  No, I do not find it a devilish holiday.  Halloween is what you make it people!

Rant over.

I decided to dress up as a scarecrow for Halloween.  Originally, B and I were planning on being Daphne and Shaggy from Scooby Doo, but he had work so I had a change of plans.

But the costume only cost me $4 from the dollar store and I had everything else!  Plus, I thought mine looked cuter thanthe store bought ones!  Homemade=good.

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Crow-$1, Leaves-$1, Flowers-$1, Straw-$1

Everything else I had on hand.  And I got a lot of complements!  If you guys ever need a last minute costume, this is the way to go!  You can even add a straw hat, which I didn’t have and didn’t want to buy.

Now on to the handpies.

I think the word handpies sounds really weird.  I don’t know why.  Luckily, they’re just delicious.

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And they don’t take all that much time.  Maybe an hour without refrigeration time?

Also, take my word and make your own pie crust, okay?  Will you just listen to me?  Will you just do it?

Please and thank you.

Ingredients for pie crust:

1 1/4 c. AP flour

1 Tbs. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 stick butter

1/4 c. ice water

Whisk flour, sugar, and salt together.  Cut cold, cubed butter into the flour mix with a pastry cutter or two knives until they are the size of peas.  Add water and mix with a spoon.  Knead ten times.

Flatten and store in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for about two hours or overnight.

Filling Ingredients

1 c. pecans, chopped

1/2 c. brown sugar, packed firmly

1/3 c. heavy cream

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/8 tsp. allspice

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.

Chai Glaze:

1/4 c. powdered sugar

2 Tbs. milk

1-2 Tbs. Chai powdered mix (I LOVE the Costco kind)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.

Egg wash=1 egg+about 2 Tbs. water whisked together

Directions

To make handpies, roll out the dough until about 1/8 inch thick.  Cut cirlces with a large cookie cutter and refrigerate until you are ready to use them.

Spoon about 2 Tbs. of filling into the middle of each circle.  Fold them over and seal them together with egg wash.  Using the tines of a fork, seal the edges together.

Bake at 350* until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.

Spoon Chai glaze over handpies.

Serve either warm or cold.  They’re delicious either way!

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Eat them outside with coffee on a cool fall morning.  They scream fall and they are so comforting.

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Make these and then smile and be happy for the rest of your fall.  Or winter.  These are multi-seasonal.

Have a great rest of your Halloween everybody!

XOXO Sara