Friday, October 28, 2011

Apple pie of my eye

Last weekend we were given a box of freshly picked, local apples from a kind man's tree.  It was put in the trunk of my car by my hubby without me realizing just how many apples there really was in that box.
The number? A lot.
Just a few of the little lovelies..
So I decided to make an apple pie with the lot of apples.  From scratch.  All of it.
I thought it would be easy.
But I was wrong.
Okay, I'll take that back.  It wasn't necessarily as difficult as I make it out to be as it was time consuming.
 As far as the apples go, you have to peel, core and slice them apples AND that my friends is what takes sooo much time.

But that's not all. You see, the crust has to be made too.  The flour and salt has to be sifted then "cut in" the shortening ( I used good ol' Crisco.) 

From there, very cold water is added a little at a time to make the dough slightly more sticky and then comes the actual mixing and rolling out of the dough to make the crust. Double crust that is.
That part wasn't the easiest for me.  Apparently I made the crust a tad too dry, because it kept cracking on me.  Due to that I believe I made the crusts a little too thick because I was afraid of the crusts cracking in half.
Oh well.

It only took me 2 hours from start to finish. Only.
The end result wasn't necessarily pretty or anything that would make my Nanny proud but it tasted good
(I wasn't the only judge of it....I took it to work and 3 out of 4 of the girls told me it was "very good." And compliments aren't handed out lightly there....)
I've found that everyone has their own version of the "perfect pie" (especially apple pie).  Some like their pie sweet or flaky or dense or tart.  Some like them made by their grannies (ME! Pick me!) or some prefer store made. 
Others do not prefer them at all.
So, If you're interested, here's the very brief rundown of the recipes used for this pie:

(adapted from the retro version of Good Housekeeping Cookbook)
  • 2 1/4  cups sifted all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening (except butter, margarine or salad oil)
  • 1/3 cup cold water (ice cold)
  1. In bowl mix flour and salt.  With pastry blender (or two knives) cut 2/3 of the shortening into flour until it is like cornmeal (for tenderness).  Cut in rest of shortening until like large peas (for flakiness).....OR cut in all shortening at once until it is like coarse meal..It's up to you !
  2. Sprinkle water- 1 tablespoon at a time over different parts of the mixture tossing quickly with a fork until particles stick together when pressed gently and form a dough that clings to the fork.  Use only enough water to do so.  Dough shouldn't be really wet.
  3. Lightly form dough into a smooth ball ( two if making a double crust).
  4. Roll out.
(adapted from the Joy of Cooking)
  • 2 1/2 lbs (5-6 medium apples or roughly 6 cups of chopped apples)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 tblsp fresh lemon juice, strained ( I just squeezed half of a lemon over my apples...and picked out seeds later)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  1. Combine apples with all ingredients and allow to sit for roughly 15 minutes, stirring several times so that the apples soften a bit and will better fit into the crust. 
  1. Heat oven to 435 degrees F
  2. Place first crust into ungreased pie plate.
  3. Pour the apple mixture into the bottom crust and gently level with the back of the spoon.
  4. Dot the top of the apples with 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces.
  5. Brush the overhanging edge of the bottom crust with cold water.  Cover with the top crust then seal the edge, trim and crimp.  Cut steam vents in the top of the crust.
  6. Bake the pie for 30 minutes.  Slip a baking sheet beneath it and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  7. Bake until the fruit feels just tender when a knife is poked through the steam vent and thick juices bubble through the vents for 30 to 45 minutes more.
  8. For the filing to thicken properly the pie must cool completely on a rack for 3-4 hours.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Yikes Stripes!

Since I've actually been doing things lately, I've been running around the house like a crazy person and have forgotten to take photos of some of my "better outfits."
But here are a couple I managed to get-
One is better than the other..I'll let you decide which one is better!

Cardigan: JCPenny; Dress: Maurices; Scarf: Ross; Tights??; Shoes: Famous Footwear

Cardigan: Gap; Tank: Walmart; Jeans??; Shoes: Nine West
 Have I mentioned I like stripes?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Say hallo to my little friends.....

Today marks my three week mark of no purchases from Goodwill.
And this was done with very little strain to my emotional state.

However, to let Goodwill know that I still enjoy all the good memories I've purchased from it, (wish they just gave me this stuff sometimes) I thought I would share with you a couple pictures of my one and only, non-clothing purchase.

Everyone, say hello to my itty-bitty 25 cent port/liqueur/not-so-much-booze-in-this-glass glasses.
(not so sure what their official title is- other than cute little glasses I wanted.)

Aren't they cute?
And for the grand total of $2 I couldn't leave them there on the shelf.
 So I pushed an old lady over to get them because she was reaching for them.  Then I felt bad and let her get up before I reached over her for the other 3.
Just joking, but I do love them a little too much and wonder what I really would've done if that scenario really played out.
I really do wonder.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Zebra Whitney, where are you?

Who am I and what have I done to myself?
I used to be a strict, black and white, zebra-print-ONLY -kinda gal and could not...WOULD not wear any other type of animal print.
Never. Ever.
But then somehow, some way...something changed.
So I'm not even sure what happened to Zebra Whitney or where she went.
I do still love me some zebra print but now?  Now I'm drawn to cheetah or leopard (I'm up to having a discussion as to the difference in prints here) prints too.
And I'm not so sure how to handle these new feelings.
It all started out soooo innocent.
I kept seeing these quite ordinary cheetah (or leopard) print flats paired with the most unlikely outfits and I liked them.

via Kelly Howard on pinterest

via Gage Shulz/pinterest

I liked them so much I started to want them. A lot.
At first, I figured that I could handle some innocent shoes cuz that's not going all crazy for cheetah, right?
They are just shoes.
But then? Then I started to notice some cardigans out there.
And I started to like those as well.
Now I would like one of these too, please.

via Nikki Yarber/pinterest

via Amy Gregson/ pinterest

But it didn't end there.
Oh no. It did not.  In fact there were little flashes of it here, on a scarf against a smashing green: 
via amanda on pinterest
And then here, on a tasteful blouse:

via Anne Bemis /pinterest

Then here on a little dress:

And then I realized that Zebra Whitney was missing and replaced by Cheebra (cheetah/zebra hybrid) Whitney and that they can both hang together in my closet in peace.

The only problem now is actually finding the understated and simple cheetah prints I so desire to add them to the said closet.
Cuz right now, I have nothing but a crazy fun belt.
And it is lonely.
 On a more serious note, I also need to find Zebra Whitney again because she was fun too (and hello! crazy) and doesn't like to be alone either.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Remember how I mentioned I'm a bit on the lazy side and only several months behind on my projects?
Well I finally finished TWO projects over the weekend.

The first project was completing the sewing of another men's tie.
You see, I had cut out the pattern but never actually got around to sewing it.....
Ay yay yay!
It has been far too long since the first (and last) tie I managed to piece together- quite literally.
I used the same pattern as last time and it still took several hours to sew it, but I'm pretty pleased with the results!

While all of the information of how to sew the tie and which instructions not to follow are fresh in mind I think I'll try to sew a few more and then call it good so I can move on to more projects:
  • aprons
  • PJ pants
  • purses
  • get the idea.
The second project I finally got around to was a coffee scent, sugar based body scrub.
I am one who LOVES the smell of coffee just as much as I love coffee itself and joked one day about the fact that I loved it so much I should just rub it all over my body.
Well, one thing led to the next and I had an AHA! moment.
Thought: I wonder if there is a recipe out there for a coffee body scrub?
Response: Oh yes there is!
Here is the link to the recipe I used.
Of course I did my own variation and decided to use grape seed oil (also to use more than called for) and omitted the use of mint extract.
This scrub smells amazing and is all natural.
And if you happen to get some in your mouth, it doesn't taste too bad either.

I managed to make not one, but two batches of this amazing stuff.

I was able to find another jar similar to the one above at our local dollar store.
The container above is actually an old Gold Canyon candle jar I've had lying around.
I just peeled off the label and removed the trace amount of remaining wax.

So there you have it: evidence that I can do something crafty once in a while.
But not too often.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Hangin' on the apron strings

Is it possible to be behind in your crafty projects before you even begin?
Anything is possible my friends...anything.
And this possibility is most definitely a reality.

My problem is that I'm not just a few projects behind but more like a few years.
There is no shortage of inspiration out there in the big fashion world and I want to do it all.
But with responsibilities and obligations in my little life I find I have little time.  When I do have time, I lack- as the french say- ze inspiration.
I've got no drive.

But let's not talk about that.
Let's go back to the inspiration part.
On our last visit to Seattle my friend and I found ourselves in 'Sur La Table.'
I. Super. Love. That. Store.
I also fell in love with their assortment of aprons
( I do love a good much that I've tried to make them)
but found their prices a little steep for something "I could totally make"- had I the ambition....

I already have a pattern that I've made a cute apron out of and plan on trying it out again.
But the pattern is not retro as these bad gals and I want to try them out!
Oh the possibilities!

Monday, October 17, 2011

If you hate seafood you probably shouldn't read any further....

However, if you love seafood as I do....keep reading.
Just FYI, this is probably my laziest post yet.
I really didn't feel like typing all of the ingredients and instructions out, so...I took a picture instead!

The recipe is as follows:

The other side says cook an additional 10 minutes and serve over wild or brown rice.
I just didn't feel like taking a picture of the other side of the recipe card.....
I know.
Lazy Whitney.
I should also be the first to point out that I misspelled garlicky.
(Wait! I just googled and according to it I did not.
Google is right about everything.....)
My bad but oh so good!
Give it a try then try to make others eat it because you will be a garlic breathing dragon with no friends if they do not.
And no one wants that.
Not even the delicious little shrimp you are eating.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Just sayin'

I've come to realize that I could be a bit of a blog snob.
Hmm? How so?
The simple fact that I have standards could be one off-putting reason.  But I don't honestly feel that I set the bar too high.  After all, I'm the one reading someone elses blog and no one is making me read it either.
 But alas, standards I have- even if they are medium-high standards and they are this: I expect a blog and the person doing the blogging to stir some sort of positive emotion in me (some days that takes a lot), to make me smile or laugh or to cause me to look at things in a different light.  I really like candid blogs/bloggers that admit their faults, do so graciously and realize they really are a small part of a bigger picture.  I feel it is their job to entertain me, darmit!
See? I don't ask for too much.....

On the other hand, I've found I do not like blogs/bloggers who feel the need to remind their readers that they are a pretty big deal.
You have the number of subscribers and the multitude of comments they leave on your blog to testify to that.
(I have few followers so may not be much of a deal at all....hmm....but I'm okay with that.)
In fact, I've stopped following several blogs/bloggers just because they irritate me.
Case in point:
One fashion bloggist has mentioned several times how she was checked out and has said something along the lines of: "Hello...either I'm married or pregnant...or both.....but still hot...just sayin'." 
Yeah, I know that is really no biggie. However, I tire of people who have to drop the fact that they are checked out or constantly flirted with.
Or even drop dead gorgeous. Beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder and
I don't care.

Then there are several others who have mentioned something along the lines of how they have such an incredible and unique clothing style.  They also find it surprising when they stumble  upon new fashion bloggers and instead of finding trendy fashion babies they find a refreshing "muse" with similar (and no doubt a-maz-ing) tastes.
Again, enough with "anything you do I probably do better."
We can see for ourselves.

Is this the dark side of me taking over and being hyper-cynical and sensitive?
Should I give these girls a break?
Okay, yes.

But it's also me..."just sayin'."


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thursday's thrifty finds

It's been awhile since my last post featuring some of my thrifty finds at Goodwill.
I haven't been thrifting as much as I was.  However I finally picked some of my purchases up from the dry cleaner's.  So I figured while they are freshly cleaned and pressed it would be the perfect time to share them.

First up is that Givenchy vest I found at Goodwill, mentioned here.
When I first bought the vest the poor ol' chap looked like it had been balled up in the bottom of the donate pile far too long so I didn't want to share it with you until it was properly cared for.  I'm pretty pleased with it and look forward to incorporating it into my "weardrobe"!

Then I found two fully-lined wool blend skirts for Fall/Winter.  They were both in great shape, from decent clothing companies AND I wear a lot of skirts so these warm skirts will be a nice addition to my closet in the middle of our long, cold winters.
Jones New York skirt

This Nine West skirt hasn't been cleaned or ironed yet but it looked so lonely in the pile!

I've wanted a wool shift for quite some time and even went so far as to buy fabric to make one.  That was over two years ago and the fabric is still sitting in the fabric pile in my office.
No one has offered to sew it for me and I've shown no initiative so I have remained shift-less...
That is until I saw this shift from Talbots. I had to rip it off the rack before someone else did.
It was a desperate/serious situation....
Cute with some red tights, black boots....and a cute shirt of

And last but certainly not least (because really, am I ever NOT excited about each and every one of my thrifty finds?  The answer is no.) is this sweater from J.Jill.
I just really liked it and liked it on even better.
Who knows?  Maybe I'll wear it with the brown skirt above at some time.

So there you have it...some of my heavier purchases as of late.
Who wants to go thrifting now?
I do.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Have you ever....(part 2)

Have you ever had such a terrible day at work that you locked yourself in the bathroom (at work)
 to have a good cry, only to have your friend bring you a care-package like this after work?
This wine is delicious and so is the licorice....word on the street is this is the perfect way to clear up that bad day blues

Me neither.
Just wondering.

Monday, October 10, 2011

An Ode to pumpkin

Oh my sweet pumpkin
how I love thee
I just can not wait
to get you in my belly.
(no one said it would be a good poem now did they?)

I really do love pumpkin and pumpkin flavored anything a whole lot!
It made my day when I heard Pumpkin Spice Lattes were back at Starbucks.  You had better believe I've visited Starbucks several times already!  I even cheered as we drove by Jack in the box and I saw the pumpkin shakes were home at last.
Sad? Or maybe just glad......

So last night I threw out the idea of whipping up some pumpkin bread.
I have cans of pumpkin + we were snacky + it's Fall and I LOVE pumpkin = great idea.

This recipe is super easy and scrumptious -at least I think so.

No good pictures came from this loaf.  I was too focused on eating the bread instead of snapping pics of it....maybe another time?

Here's the recipe if you want to start a food revolution and take a bite out of pumpkin with me!

Pumpkin Bread

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp each of salt, baking soda, and nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ginger OR cloves
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or raisins
Grease bread pan.  Mix all ingredients together except 1 cup of the flour.  Beat for 2 minutes.  Add flour and nuts and/or raisins.  Bake at 350 degree F for 60-65 minutes.  Check the center with a wooden toothpick.
Allow to rest for 10 minutes, then cut into it and devour it with butter slathered on top.
(those are my instructions)

P.S.  As usual I did not have all of the ingredients to this recipe.  Unfortunately I did not become aware of that simple fact until I had already blended everything together.  All that was missing was the eggs.  So, instead of eggs I used 1/4 applesauce per egg needed.  I also substituted canola oil for shortening due to the fact that I try to eat shortening as little as possible. With these changes the bread still came out great.  The only difference is the bread is a bit more dense and moist....but is that a bad thing??

My outfits Monday

About this time last week I said I would find something to blog about.
I hate to be the bearer of no news, but unless you want to hear about my amazing weekend deep cleaning my kitchen I have to tell you that I was wrong in that prediction.
I've come up with nothing worth blogging about. get another Monday where I show you what I wore
(other than scrubs).
Doing this (taking pictures of my outfits) has been quite a learning process.
I've come to see that a lot of my outfits need a little something.
What can I say?  I (and my style) am a work in progress.
Take a look:

When we were in Ireland, I bought this shirt because I liked the colors and the loose, comfy style.
However, I'm not so sure what to think of this outfit. 
All I know is that Aaron has always hated this shirt.
I used to think that he just didn't understand what was in style.
Now I'm starting to think that I don't understand what is in style.
Any ideas what to do with it?
Tuck it in?  Put a vest or sweater over it?
Refashion maybe?
Burn it.....

I love jeans, can't you tell?
I initially wore a skirt with this, but forgot to take a picture.
Then I put on jeans and decided to throw a scarf on.
I actually think this oufit would be cuter with a khaki skirt or pants.
I'll have to try that later.

This outfit was inspired by the blogosphere.
I've seen plenty of summer dresses fall-ized by adding tights and a blazer.
So I did.
I think I 'm okay with this.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


It has been raining here for a couple days now, and every time I hear the rain drops begin this song from 'Bambi' pops into my head.
Get ready, 'cause here comes share time!!

Drip, drip, drop
Little April shower
Beating a tune
As you fall all around

Drip, drip, drop
Little April shower
What can compare
To your beautiful sound
Beautiful sound
Beautiful sound
Drip, drop, drip, drop

Drip, drip, drop
When the sky is cloudy
Your pretty music
Will brighten the day

Drip, drip, drop
When the sky is cloudy
You come along with a song right away
Come with your beautiful music

Drip, drip drop
Little April shower
Beating a tune
As you fall all around
Drip, drip drop
Little April shower
What can compare with your beautiful sound

Drip, drip drop
When the sky is cloudy
You come along, come along with your pretty little song
Drip, drip drop
When the sky is cloudy
You come along, come along with your pretty little song

Gay little roundelay
Song of the rainy day
How I love to hear your patter
Pretty little pitter-patter
Helter-skelter when you pelter
Troubles always seem to scatter

Drip, drip drop
Little April shower
Beating a tune
As you fall all around
Drip, drip drop
Little April shower
What can compare with your beautiful sound

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Nanette

Before I decided to jump into my own blog, I experimented with some posts on google's "BUZZ."  For those not familiar with it, it's like a mini blog that can be seen by all those in your e mail group...if you use google's mail system..... ( I think.)
Anyway, I stumbled upon this post about my grandma, always known to me as "Nanny" and thought I would share it again because this little lady is worth reading about. 

"A little known fact some of you may already know about me: I enjoy many "creative" hobbies, yet do not really "Martha Stewart" any of them. However, one hobby I enjoy, nay, LOVE is..TA-DAH: cooking. My love really started with my Nanny (aka Marjorie / the little lady in pic # 1.)

This must be where I learned to pose in pictures...

Growing up she has always been, at 4'11, a major figure in my life. I can't remember a time when I didn't go over to her house and experience what really good food meant (and the art of being spoiled.) You name it, she's cooked it and perfected it. Flash forward to my married days. Nanny bought me my first cookbook "The Joy of Cooking." Before getting married the only things I knew how to cook was the basics and I didn't even like doing those. And now? LOVE it. Can't find enough cookbooks to satisfy me (see pic #2). The harder to find, the better.

All of my remaining cookbooks.  I had to release a few back to the wild.

Anyway, in reading Julia Child's book ( pic #3 and cue screaming) about her days in Paris and learning the art of French cuisine, I found someone else who loved cooking and all the gastronomical results that ensued. It has actually been a joy to read."
Still haven't finished this book.  Dont' tell my Nanny- I borrowed it from her!
So that was my flash from the past, as far as posting goes. 
Now I must go explore my cookbooks for some good, old fashioned comfort food!


Monday, October 3, 2011

My outfits..... Monday, Monday

Let's start this Monday with a little music from the Mamas and the Papas, shall we?

Now that we have that going, I thought I would share some of my random outfits from the past couple of days as I really have nothing else to post
(as of yet)
Rest assured, I will eventually find something to blog about.

Necklace and Cardigan: Maurices; Tank: Old Navy; Skirt: Gap; Shoes: Famous Footwear

This skirt may look familiar as I posted about it and the tragic slashing it went through.
Alas it survived enough to make it into an outfit before summer left us.
And in case you are wondering what the blazes I'm doing in this photo I am wondering just as much.
Okay, for realsies...I was doing my Barbie pose but ended up looking like a little tea pot instead.
Oh well, a girls gotta have fun.

Top and Cardigan: Loft; Necklace: Thrifted; Jeans: Levis; Sandals: Ross
This was my relaxed-going-out-for-dinner outfit.
I was relaxed.
That's it.

Shirt and Vest: Eddie Bauer; Jeans: Old- Old Navy; Shoes: Dockers from Fred Meyers
Today I woke up to colder overcast weather.
Do you know what that means?
Fall is officially here!!
So I dug through my closet for my comfy and casual clothes
(this is usually how I like to dress....being girly all the time is tough stuff).
This is what I found and this is what I shall stay in for the remainder of the day!