homemade apple pie {baking with girls I love}

About a month ago, I made my first Homemade Apple Pie. I will be making this recipe again, and again, and AGAIN!

In the past, I have baked quite a few frozen pies and the first homemade berry pie I attempted was a complete disaster. So…let’s just say I was a bit intimidated by pie. I couldn’t yet comprehend the saying, “easy as pie.”

Thankfully, I had some amazing girls by my side to help me through the whole process. My sister, Sarah, and my best friend, Jocelyn, came over for a baking day! Spending time chatting, laughing, and learning the skill of pie making together is something I will not soon forget. To top it off, we had some delectable Apple Brownies to snack on with a warm mug of Pumpkin Spice Rooibos Tea that Sarah brought me.

And as far as baking, we not only made the most delicious Homemade Apple Pie, but I also made Apple Peel Twigs with all our leftover apple skins. It was APPLES for DAYS in our home!

HOMEMADE APPLE PIE

This apple pie is loaded with all that fall flavor you love! It is just the right amount of sweet, tart, and crisp. The filing held together perfectly and the crust was firm yet flaky. And because this recipe is so simple, please feel free to make it your own!!

Ingredients:

CRUST

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks of cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/3 cup of ice water
  • 1 9 inch glass pie plate

FILLING

  • 6 (2 1/2 lbs.) apples of your choice (I used Granny Smith)
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground all-spice
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed

Directions:

1. CRUST: ( I like to make my dough 1 day ahead of time) Combine flour, salt, and butter in a large mixing bowl. Using your palms, fingers and thumbs, press the butter and flour together until there are no more large clumps of butter left (this can take a few minutes). Once your mixture has a smooth consistency, gradually stir in the ice water until the mixture holds together well (if the dough it is still cracking or crumbling apart you can add 1 Tbsp. of ice water at a time until it firms up).

2. CRUST: Lightly flour a surface and place your mixture onto that surface. You can now form it into one large ball of pie dough. Take your large ball of pie dough and separate it into two small and even-sized discs. Wrap those discs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 2 days.

3. FILLING: Core and peel your apples (save your apple skins to make Apple Peel Twigs). Thinly slice your apples lengthwise. Combine apples, spices, flour and sugar in a large bowl. Mix well until your apples are evenly coated.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Once your pie dough discs have been refrigerated, you can begin to work with them. On a lightly floured surface, roll your your first pie dough disc to the right size. Fit and place your dough in the pie plate (save extra dough for decorating the top of your pie). Pour the apple filling into your pie shell and dot the top with the small cubes of butter.

5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out your second pie dough disc slightly larger than the size of your pie plate. Place on top of your apples and fold any excess dough under the edges of your bottom pie shell. To seal your pie, use the edges of a fork (floured) and press down slightly. Prick the top of your pie a few times to allow for airflow while baking.

Suggestion: Use any excess dough you might have to decorate the top of your pie with letters, leaves, hearts, snowflakes, etc. Also, to make your pie have a more golden and shiny glow, brush the top with a little egg wash and a sprinkle of sugar.

6. Bake your pie for 1 hour (give or take 5 minutes depending on your oven). Look for a golden brown color and a bubbling filling. Make sure you let your pie cool completely before serving. ENJOY! We sure did.

APPLE PEEL TWIGS

These Apple Peel Twigs are a healthy and sweet snack for any time of day. I like to add a little bit of everything, so don’t feel like you need to follow this recipe exactly.

Ingredients:

  • Apple peels from 12-18 apples (preferably organic)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. all-spice
  • A healthy drizzle of clover honey or agave nectar

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, toss apple peels with all ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

2. Spread prepared apple peels in a thin layer over 2 parchment-lined cookie sheets.

3. Bake at 250 degree F for 2.5 hours. Rotate cookie sheets after the first half. Let cool before consuming.

Enjoy these apple recipes together with friends, family, and community! Maybe a new Thanksgiving Day tradition!

xo sarah

* I was inspired by Martha Stewart Magazine, September Issue, for these fantastic apple recipes!

roast pork sirloin & bacon rosemary potatoes

Dad is coming over for dinner tonight! I’m so excited!

In case you were wondering, I am a daddy’s girl all the way. I am so blessed by his unconditional love and support. God was so good to give him to me.

Here’s the situation: My dad is a health fanatic. No carbs. No sugar. Lots of hot sauce and jalapeño peppers on EVERYTHING (I’m not kidding).

That being said, cooking dinner for my dad can be a little difficult. He has a routine of meals he likes to eat daily and doesn’t really venture outside of that. However, I think treating him to something classic and hearty, like a roast pork, will be good for him.

And, can I just say, YUMMM! This is the perfect dish for fall and winter months. It really hits the spot. It’s also really easy to make it your own style!

Ingredients:

  • 1 2-3 pound pork sirloin tip roast
  • 4-6 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 2-4 russet potatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped or sliced
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves torn off
  • 1-2 Tbsp EVOO
  • Salt and pepper, or other desired seasoning

Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Chop bacon into bite size pieces and fry bacon in a heavy bottomed skillet until crispy.

3. Chop potatoes and onions. Set aside.

4. Remove meat from package and lightly coast the roast with oil and season as desired. I just used coarse salt and black pepper. Place in a oven safe roasting dish.

5. Assemble the potatoes, onions, bacon and fresh rosemary around your roast.

6. Cook for approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.

7. Remove from oven and let rest for 3 minutes.

8. Slice across the small end of the roast in 1/8 inch slices and serve!

Here is the bacon. Beautiful, right!?

Here is my pork roast & bacon rosemary potatoes before it went in the oven. You can toss the bacon into the potatoes and underneath the roast, too. It’s a shame that we gobbled it all up before I could get a picture of the roast and veggies plated all pretty! However, I think you can get an idea from this photo that it was quite mouthwatering!

Suggestion: I like to serve this delicious roast with a side of sautéed garlic green beans and peas. I would also suggest homemade apple pie for dessert! 

Here’s hoping my dad is a fan of this “out of his regular routine” dish! Let me know if you have any questions!

xo sarah

homemade polenta lasagna

Fact: I love creating a delicious dish from ingredients I need to use up in the fridge!

This simple polenta lasagna was inspired by the unused cheese from the pizza I made the week before and the fresh tomato basil sauce (YUM!) I had frozen from a few weeks prior. I also had never cooked with polenta before, making this dish somewhat exciting for me.

Another fact: It’s pretty hard to get my hubby to eat a meatless dish and fully enjoy it…but he was surprisingly satisfied!

So, here’s my recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of organic polenta from Trader Joe’s
  • 2 Tbs. EVOO
  • 1 cup shredded mozarella
  • 2-3 cups of fresh tomato basil sauce (recipe below)
  • 1 Tbsp. of oregano

Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce (adopted from Martha Stewart):

  • 2 pounds unrefrigerated ripe tomatoes (preferably plum)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic (from 2 garlic cloves), plus more if desired
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil (shiny side up). Drizzle 2 Tbsp. of EVOO onto the foil and brush to make sure all the foil is covered.

2. Cut the polenta into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place slices on the foil lined baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes (or until crispy).

3. Blend all ingredients for the fresh tomato basil sauce in a food processor.

4. Place baked polenta in a 9×13 glass baking dish. Sprinkle with a light layer of mozzarella.

5. Then, pour and spread three fourths (3/4) the fresh tomato basil sauce over the polenta and cheese (save one fourth [1/4] of the sauce for the end). Repeat step 4 until Polenta slices are gone. Pour the rest of your sauce over the top. Then sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella cheese and oregano on top.

6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is brown, bubbly, and beautiful. Wa-la!

Don’t be afraid to experiment by adding your own spin. For example, add a layer of sautéed zucchini, eggplant, spinach or red bell pepper; or even make this on top of a crispy sourdough toast (my hubby’s suggestion).

I hope you try this recipe and see for yourself how delicious a homemade polenta lasagna can be! Let me know if you have any questions!

xo sarah

BTW: Photo credit to Martha Stewart and the Four Seasons Organic Farm.