Caramel Apple Pie

Happy (belated) Memorial Day everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful day spent with family and friends and good food, while remembering those who have fallen in the line of duty ❤
In honor of the weather starting to get hot and summer approaching I decided that an apple pie seems fitting and "American". Believe it or not, but this was actually my first apple pie that I've attempted! We ended up just staying home and bbq'ing hot dogs with our little family of three, so maybe it was a good thing that this was more of my practice pie. It was delicious and had amazing flavor, but the apples were just a tad crisp still and I think needed to be sliced smaller and maybe cooked for a bit longer in the oven. Next time, I'll tweek it a bit and I'm sure it will be perfect!
Please give this pie a try though, it's incredible!! 🙂

Ingredients:

Pie Dough (please refer to the recipe, "perfect pie crust" on here. It's the best pie crust and is so versatile whether you're using it for sweet or savory pies! 🙂 Perfect Pie Crust | mariahsrustickitchen
https://thehomemadehomemaker08.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/perfect-pie-crust/

Salted Caramel Sauce Ingredients:
– 1 cup granulated sugar
– 6 tbsp. salted butter, sliced in 1 tbsp. increments
– 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
– 1 tsp. salt

Directions:
Begin by placing your sugar into a medium saucepan. Turn the heat to medium-high and stir continuously for about 8-10 minutes. I know it will seem like the sugar isn't doing anything, but trust me, the heat is working its magic! The sugar will eventually start to get clumpy and soon turn into a thick, amber colored liquid. Keep stirring, until all the sugar is completely dissolved and transformed, and be careful not to burn it.
Carefully, add the chunks of butter to your liquid, the sugar will bubble up and hiss at you as you continue to add the butter, but keep going and just be a bit careful. Stir the butter completely into the caramel, about 2 minutes or so.
Slowly, drizzle the heavy cream into the mixture, this will also bubble up, so again, just be cautious.
Allow the caramel to boil for about a minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the tsp. of salt, allow to cool. Once cooled, cover the caramel tightly and store for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Warm caramel up for a few seconds before using in the pie.

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That caramel sauce is so delicious and decadent, try and leave so e for the pie 😉

Pie Filling Ingredients:
– 2 tsp. lemon zest
– 1/4 cup lemon juice
– 6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced pretty thin and uniform
– 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
– 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
– 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
– 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
– 1/2 cup granulated sugar
– 1 egg beaten (I left this step out because I ran out of eggs, it’s optional since it’s just for the egg wash)
– coarse sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400F.
Now, we’ll make the apple pie filling, place your sliced apples in a large bowl. To the bowl, add the lemon juice, and lemon zest and toss gently. In a small separate bowl, combine the flour, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and sugar. Add this mixture to the large bowl with the apples, and gently toss to combine. Set aside while you roll out the dough.
Roll out one of your dough balls and carefully place the dough in your pie dish. I used a deep pie dish and that worked well.
Fill the pie crust with the apples, there will be a lot of apples, but add them all, they will cook down once in the oven. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of your caramel sauce, reserving the rest for the topping.
Now, make the lattice cust. This was my first time doing a lattice crust and I didn’t do it correctly. I was still pretty happy with how it came out, it was more rustic looking than a perfect lattice crust, but I kind of like my pies more rustic 🙂
If you’ve never done a lattice top, like me, I would recommend googling it first to get the idea. I should have done this, but knew the basic concept so I thought I’d be ok.
If you just want to go for it, this is what I did. I rolled out my second dough ball, make sure you use quite a bit of flour so it doesn’t stick to your work surface. I used a pizza cutter and cut out 8 uniform strips of pie dough, then I laid the first four strips on the pie vertically and then laid the final four pie dough strips on the pie going horizontally. I weaved the strips over and under to make a “semi-lattice” crust. Like I said, I didn’t do it correctly, but next time I’ll do a bit more research and make the crust correctly.
If you’re using an egg wash, brush it on now and sprinkle with the coarse sugar.
Place your pie on a large baking sheet and bake in your preheated oven for 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes, bump the oven temperature down to 375F and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes. Check the pie after about 35 minutes, and if you notice the crust getting a bit too dark cover it with aluminum foil and continue cooking. When the time is up, do a toothpick test, to make sure that the crust is fully cooked. The apple pie filling will be happily bubbling away to signal it’s doneness.
Allow the pie to set and cool for about 4 hours before serving. Top with the rest of the warm caramel sauce to serve.
Enjoy this fun and yummy spin on the traditional apple pie!

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Buffalo Chicken Ranch Dip

LaLa made this dip for Paisley’s party when she visited, and oh my goodness was it good! Everyone by passed most of the other snacks, because this dip was so delicious! I made it for a BBQ this past weekend also and it went over well too 🙂 SO yummy!

Ingredients:
– 3 cups chopped chicken
– 3/4 cup Frank’s Red hot sauce
– 1 cup ranch
– 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
– two 8 ounce packages of cream cheese

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350F.
In a medium sized bowl, mix everything together and pour into a small baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes, and stir once halfway through the cooking time.
Serve with “Scoops” tortilla chips.

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Copycat Recipe of Red Robin’s Freckled Lemonade

Hi guys,
For Paisley’s party I had purchased a really pretty decanter and wanted to serve some type of a pretty redish punch, to match with the Mickey theme. After a lot of Pinterest parousing I finally settled on Strawberry Lemonade. It seemed like a great, non alcoholic drink to serve at a 2 year olds birthday party, and really refreshing for Spring. The best strawberry lemonade I have ever had is Red Robin’s freckled lemonade, so I went searching for a copycat recipe. I did find so e copycat recipe’s that sounded pretty close, but I had already gone to the grocery store about a million times and I just decided to wing it. I normally am not a “wing it” kind of a person, I’m very organized, follow recipes exactly, dislike clutter, etc. type of person. This was a pretty bold move coming from me and especially on the day of Paisley’s party! Now, I did have the basics for strawberry lemonade, but I wasn’t really sure how I was going to execute it. Hubby gave me a few ideas (he’s a “wing it” type of person naturally) and I sort of just went with it. Would you believe that the lemonade came out awesome and really close to RR’s version! It was pretty freeing actually, I still don’t know that I’ll venture out into those waters again for the most part, but it did feel good just to trust myself, my husband, and my intuition 🙂

So here’s what I did:

Ingredients:

-5 cans of lemonade concentrate
– 3-4 cans of cold water
– 4-5 cups of strawberries (For half of them, I just pulled out some frozen ones and let them defrost in the bag, making their own juices). The other half I used fresh, this was mainly just because it was what I had around.
– 1 lemon, sliced
– sugar, to taste, I think I did about 3-4 cups since it’s quite a bit of liquid.

Directions:
Begin by opening your cans of lemonade and pouring them into your decanter/punch bowl. Next, pour the water over the lemonade and give it a stir.
Blend the frozen and fresh strawberries together with a teaspoon or two of sugar and a little bit of water. Make sure it’s really well blended and is basically a liquid, it’s ok to have some chunky parts though. The unpulvarized bits are yummy actually and add a nice texture.
Now, mix your strawberry purée into your lemonade. Add in your sugar and make sure you dissolve it completely. I would start with about 2 cups, taste and adjust accordingly.
Place your lemons and some of your fresh strawberries to float on top.
That’s it! Enjoy! 🙂

I apologize that I did not get any closer pictures of the Strawberry Lemonade. You at least can get an idea of the size of decanter I used).

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Mother’s Day 2014

This year was especially special because my “mom” was here. She’s not my biological mother but might as well be. She was a big part in raising me and has always been there, we are very close and to me she’s like a mom. Paisley calls her LaLa, it’s very sweet and endearing 🙂
Hubby took me shopping and I got to pick out a pair of white Levi’s that I’d been wanting, and he took us to lunch at Moe’s. LaLa had some beautiful flowers sent to me “from” Paisley, which was also so thoughtful and wonderful 🙂 we grilled steak for dinner and had fresh fruit and pasta salad with it and then finished the meal off with leftover birthday cake for dessert! 🙂 it was a perfect day! 🙂
I hope all you Mamas out there had a great day too! 🙂

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LaLa and myself 🙂

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Paisley’s 2nd Birthday Party!

Hello everyone!
Sorry I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks! My older cousin, who is pretty much a second mom to me, flew in and stayed for the week leading up to the party. It was so amazing to have her here and now that she’s gone it makes me miss her and my family so much more 😦
On the bright side though, the party was awesome! Everything went off without a hitch, and the rain even held out for us. The whole week prior had been sunny as well as Sunday, Mother’s Day. The day of the party however, was very cloudy and I had been praying and doing “no rain” dances the entire week. We spent most of the time inside, but I still had some outdoor decorations that I was hoping wouldn’t get ruined. Thankfully my prayers and dances were answered and it ended up pouring a few hours after the party!
This week I’ve been basically making some of my old recipes, so nothing to new and exciting to share. However, I do have a couple new recipes I’m going to try in the next two weeks, so I’ll post them if they are winners 🙂
I hope you enjoy the birthday pictures 🙂 Thankfully I have two awesome friends that were my photographers throughout the whole party 🙂 Shout out to Stephanie and Max! 🙂

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