Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Last weekend I celebrated Thanksgiving early with friends before traveling home. My contribution was an apple pie--my favorite pie recipe of all time. If you're looking for a pie recipe, look no further.




Grandma Ople's Apple Pie (from Allrecipes)
Ingredients:
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
8 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.
2. Place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.
3. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft.

Pie Crust (from Allrecipes)
Ingredients:
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold water

Directions:
1. Mix shortening, flour, and salt together with a fork or a pastry blender until very crumbly. Add as much water as needed to hold together, and mix lightly with a fork.
2. Roll gently on a floured pastry cloth to about an inch larger than pie plate. Fold carefully in half, lift to pie plate, and unfold. Press into pan. For a single-crust pie, trim with a small knife to about 1/2 inch beyond rim. Fold up, and pinch so edge of pie is raised from rim.





Have a marvelous Thanksgiving everyone! I'm so thankful for you all and pray that you will be blessed this Thanksgiving, and be showered with joy in this season. Stay warm, eat lots, and be merry! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Patterns and Beige


Top: thrifted ($3.50)
Skirt: Lou & Grey, from LOFT ($20)
Cardigan: Groupon.com ($7)
 Shoes: Target ($17)

When in doubt, put on a striped maxi skirt with pretty much anything. You'll look like you made an effort when really, you're just being lazy and want to be comfortable. Or at least that's what was going through my head when I put this on....

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Autumn Art

A few days ago a friend shared this idea with me, and being the spontaneously creative, nature loving soul that I am, I tried it out the very next day. Behold, the fall foliage flower:


See this blog post for a fantastic photo tutorial, or this video if that floats your boat.

Have fun creating! I'm going to get a lot of weird stares from sidewalk passerbys in the next few weeks, since I now feel the need to pick up leaves wherever I go...

 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Life is Peachy

I found these glorious sunflowers on the way to work this morning, and it pretty much made my day. Nature is so incredible.


I think if my life were filled with sunflowers and peaches, I'd be pretty content. Peach season is definitely a highlight of my summer. I've probably eaten a record number of peaches in the past month...but I'm not going to think about it, because it's a little alarming how quickly I can consume a whole bowl of them.

Regardless, I made peach cobbler recently and thought I'd share the recipe. These aren't the greatest photographs, because they were taken hastily with a phone before the entire thing was quickly consumed along with vanilla ice cream by approximately 20 college students. It didn't stand a chance.


 I used a recipe from Allrecipes.com. To prepare the peaches, you can boil a pot of water, dunk each peach into the pot for about 20 seconds, and slip the skin right off.

Ingredients:
8 fresh peaches - peeled, pitted and
sliced into thin wedges
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and
cut into small pieces
1/4 cup boiling water
MIX TOGETHER:
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl, combine peaches, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Toss to coat evenly, and pour into a 2 quart baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in butter with your fingertips, or a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until just combined.
4. Remove peaches from oven, and drop spoonfuls of topping over them. Sprinkle entire cobbler with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Bake until topping is golden, about 30 minutes.





Friday, July 18, 2014

Speaking of Apples...



Last week I received a dress in the mail from Shabby Apple, an online women's clothing store that specializes in vintage and classic styles. Having heard of this company before and recalling my positive impression of it, I gladly agreed to do a product review when asked to do so.

Before talking about the dress itself, I want to highlight the fantastic vision of this company. Recently, I've been thinking a lot about the importance of conscious style. There are many aspects of the fashion industry that are far from perfect and embody a lot of injustice and other problems. In addition, the way that we clothe ourselves daily is a huge part of how we choose to reflect ourselves to the world, and that image can often be influenced by trends and styles, for better or worse. Shabby Apple is a great example of a store that is making a visible effort to work against some of these issues, and I have a lot of respect for that.

The company is dedicated to making women's apparel that is both stylish and modest. I love that their clothing is adorable, but might be a few inches longer at the hem or re-envision a strapless style into a sleeveless one. So often I hesitate to order clothes online from mass clothing companies because I know that there's a huge likelihood that it will be too short or low quality. While this is in part caused by changes in social norms, a big part of it is also the clothing industry monopolizing on the chance to use less materials to make something that still sells.

Shabby Apple also donates a portion of their sales profits to charity. Built up as an organization that empowers women, they carry this through to their work culture at the company and also by investing in impoverished communities through international goodwill funds. They're currently partnered up with the Maya Relief Foundation, which empowers people to “work their way out of poverty, improve their health, and to insure a better future for their children and their communities.”

I think that's awesome. Within the greater context of clothing ourselves with a conscience, I have some other thoughts that I'll share in a later post about how we as individuals can care for the world and for ourselves as consumers. But this company is one of more impressive that I've come across in terms of their mission and impact analysis.

Now the dress itself...




I love this style. This dress is a faux-wrap style and has a full skirt, which is one of my favorite things. This might sound silly, but I love things that I can spin around in. Not that I run around doing that on a regular basis...

The material is fantastic in terms of quality. It's a lot thicker and heavier than I expected, but it's really comfortable and is still a stretchy material that fits to your form.

Like I mentioned earlier about their clothing, it's modest but not overbearingly so. I would venture to say that this dress was actually a tad longer than I would typically wear, but it works just fine with a pair of heels! In the photos above, I actually have the hem tucked a few inches shorter, because it works better that way for casual wear with flat-heeled shoes. I also added the bow belt, but I wore it without and at its original length on Sunday with nude heels and loved it just as much.

Two things I would change:

1. Color: I love this color. But I also wish they had it other variations...which might be available in the future. The design reminds me of Kate Middleton's famous navy wrap dress, and I think this dress would be a gorgeous take on that if produced in navy.

2. Pockets: This dress would actually be perfect if they put pockets in it. I'm a huge fan of pockets in dresses. I'm actually kind of tempted to put some in myself...

Otherwise, this dress is great. Now that I've basically looked at their entire inventory, I want to buy half of their items. Yikes. They have a summer sale going on right now, so if you use the code "Summer14" at checkout to get 25% off, you could score a pretty fantastic deal!