Tag: indoors (page 1 of 2)

Cookie-Sheet Apple Pie

I think I’ve mentioned before how I’m not a food blogger, and I don’t really aspire to be; this space is mainly about gardening. Gardening, however, often leads me to the kitchen and cooking and baking are generally a big part of my life; a lot of my favorite family memories involve food in some way or another. So when fall rolls around the food-blogging world seems to go crazy with pumpkin-spice-everything, for me, when fall rolls around I think about apples. Apples in the form of cider and pie to be specific.

“It’s easy for any of us to claim no time for cooking; harder to look at what we’re doing instead, and why every bit of it is presumed more worthy. Some people really do work double shifts with overtime and pursue no recreational activities, ever, or they are homeless or otherwise without access to a stove and refrigerator. But most are lucky enough to do some things for fun, or for self-improvement or family entertainment. Cooking can be one of those things.” – Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Not any old apple pie will do. Sure, there is a place for the deep dish varieties, or the Dutch versions. Or the picture perfect lattice-topped classic. But the version I dream about is this apple pie. It’s not fancy, and it definitely won’t be winning any beauty contests. But it is delicious; that I can promise. Also, you don’t have to worry about any sort of fussy lattice work, or carefully transferring the crust into a pie dish since it can be rolled out directly in the pan (at least the bottom crust), which is a bonus in my world. And, best of all, it makes a superb breakfast the next day. If you have any left over, that is.

apple pie on a cookie sheet

Since there are only two of us, I usually make only a half-cookie sheet sized pie. But I make the whole crust recipe and freeze half of it until I want to make another pie.

There are all sorts of opinions about which apples make the best baking apples, and McIntosh usually don’t make that list. They are soft and cook down to basically mush, which makes them excellent for sauce, but not for something where you want the apples to remain looking like apples. That being said, McIntosh are my favorite, and I really love them in this pie; I kind of like the uniform mash of apples. So what I’m saying is, you can choose whichever kind of apple suits your fancy.

I know you’re probably not looking for another apple pie recipe, but give this one a try sometime and let me know what you think.

Cookie Sheet Apple Pie

Crust

  • 3 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 Tb sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shortening (I use Crisco)
  • 1 egg, separated
  • milk
  • cornflakes or saltine crackers

Filling

  • 20 raw apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg

Mix the flour, sugar, and salt together. Cut in the shortening. Place the egg yolk in a measuring cup, beat slightly, then add enough milk to bring it to 2/3 cup. Add to flour mixture and stir with a fork to make dough workable. Divide dough on half and roll it out to fit your cookie sheet. I like to get it started on the counter, and then finish tolling it out on the sheet itself. Sprinkle with a couple handfuls of corn flakes or saltine crackers.

In a large bowl toss the apples with the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Place the apples evenly on the bottom crust. Roll out the remaining dough to fit the cookie sheet, and place on top of the apples. Crimp the edges, and add crust vents in the top. Beat the egg white and brush over the top.

Bake at 400 F for 1 hour, or until golden. When cooled, drizzle with a powder sugar glaze. (Powder sugar, a bit of lemon juice or vanilla extract, and enough milk to get it to the consistency you want).

Eating Local All Year Long

Each year in September is Utah Eat Local Week which is meant to highlight all the great local agricultural (and other) products and inspire people to eat locally grown and produced foods. This year, when Eat Local Week rolled around, I had just finished reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, which chronicles a year where her family tried to eat as local as possible. I don’t know that I’ll ever be quite that ambitious (or have enough land to grow that much food on), but I do like the idea of growing your own food.

Continue reading

Houseplants: Aloe (Aloe vera)

There’s a good chance you know the plant being highlighted today (and you probably even know it’s scientific name, you smarty-pants): Aloe vera. In the past it has also gone by the name Aloe barbadensis, but the most recent information I could find has grouped Aloe vera and Aloe barbadensis back together under the Aloe vera name.

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Houseplants: African violet (Saintpaulia sp.)

Chances are you or someone you know (your grandma, maybe?) owns or has owned an African violet. They’re the standbys and workhorses of every garden center – and perhaps the most well-known of all the houseplants. But, they’re lovely, so it’s a well-earned place. And there are so many varieties and hybrids available that you could amass quite a collection of them – and then join the African Violet Society of America (or a local chapter) so you can show them off and collect more! Continue reading

How-To: Forcing Bulbs Indoors

Over the years, a question I often get is “can I make these bulbs bloom indoors?” In the past, I’ve given an answer along the lines of, “Yeah, I think you should be able to. I mean, I know it can be done.” But because I had never done it myself, and didn’t really know the specifics, that was about as helpful as I could be. Sure, I had read that it could be done…but reading and doing are two quite different things. Especially when it comes to gardening.

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Houseplants: Zz plant (Zamioculcas zamifolia)

Ok guys, I’m really excited to introduce you to this next houseplant. My favorite houseplant. Maybe you think I say that about all my houseplants – and, there are definitely a lot on the list of “one of my favorites” – but, for real, this is one great plant. And if you’re looking for a plant that will really help your brown thumb get a little greener, then this is the plant for you. Continue reading

Houseplants: Pepperomia (Pepperomia incana)

I hesitated about whether or not I should introduce you to this plant. Not because it’s hard to care for, or because it’s ugly or something. It’s actually quite a laid back houseplant, and I think it looks very nice. But I hesitated because it is so different than the other peperomias you’re more likely to find. (Unless you have cooler plant stores in town than I do, which in that case, I want to come visit.) And mine seems to be quite different in growth than any of the ones you’re more likely to see on an internet image search. Continue reading

Forcing Bulbs – a sneak peak!

About a week ago on Instagram I shared a picture of the daffodil bulbs I’ve been keeping in my refrigerator. They’d met their required chilling period and it was time to come out into the sunshine and (relative) warmth.

I’ll be posting more about that whole process later, but in the meantime, I wanted to show you a little sneak-peak of how they’re growing. I know it might not look like much at first glance, but take a closer look and you’ll notice leaves are taller at the end than when they started (and if you pay very close attention you might see some of the tulip leaves bending toward the sun).

You’ll also see what a typical Sunday (and a not-so-typical Monday holiday) looks like in my kitchen.

Houseplants: Dragon tree (Dracaena marginata)

My husband says that “car-guys” don’t name their cars; they call them what they are. Which is why my car is named “Hector-the-Adventure-Car”, and his is just “the Hyundai” (except that I’ve taken to calling it “the Vanilla Bean”, a name bestowed by a friend and former roommate of my husband, so there’s that).

Well, in my opinion, the same goes for “plant-people”; we call our plants by their rightful names. Which is why his plant is named Wilson, and mine, of the same variety, is “the dracaena”.

dracaena marginata

This is Wilson. He’s grown quite a lot (like probably a foot) over the last couple years that he’s lived here. I’m sorry I don’t have a “before” and “after” photo, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

I suppose we complement each other well.

Wilson and the dracaena came to us through similar means – he was given his plant as a house-warming gift and I inherited mine from a friend who was moving across the country. If there’s anything I love more than a good houseplant it’s a free houseplant.

dracaena marginata

This is “the dracaena”. It too, has grown a bit since I acquired it. But, our bedroom gets less light than the kitchen, so its growth hasn’t been quite as noteworthy. I’ve had it for almost three years, though, so I should probably repot it soon.

Dracaena marginata is the technical name for what is commonly called the Madagascar dragon tree, or just simply: the dragon tree. It’s an incredibly low maintenance plant, and with it’s multi-colored (variegated) leaves its really quite attractive. To keep it looking its best, there are some things you’ll want to remember:

  1. The dragon tree needs bright, indirect light. If it’s in an area that doesn’t get enough light, you’ll know because the leaves will become pale rather than the vibrant colors it once was. If it’s getting too much light, the leaves can become scorched (brown, crispy spots will appear).
  2. It doesn’t like to be soggy – so water it well once a week (or when the top inch or so of potting mix is dry) and don’t let it sit in standing water.
  3. To really thrive, feed it once a month (or up to twice a month in the spring and early summer) with a general houseplant fertilizer.

If your growing conditions are just right, the dracaena can grow quite tall (10-15 feet, indoors). As it grows taller, you’ll be able to see more of the pale, gray stem with the leaves bunched at the top. If it is growing quickly (as it can during the first few years) you may need to re-pot it every year into a larger pot. As the growth slows, you can delay repotting for every 2-3 years, keeping the same size of pot (really just to refresh the potting mix).

dracaena marginata

Here are Wilson and the dracaena together. Wilson is definitely catching up in height – but still has leaves along most of the stem, while the dracaena (which is considerably older) is showing a lot of stem.

How about you? Do you name your plants? (or cars?)

Houseplants: Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

Today I want to introduce you to one of my oldest houseplants. Except that actually, the ones pictured here aren’t the original; they are clones of it, however. Confused? Don’t worry – I’ll explain it all. Continue reading

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