Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Apple Pie & the March Girls!

"Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life becomes a beautiful success, in spite of poverty."
~One of Marmee's life lessons to her girls.

today, beckham asked, "mommy, why does daddy go to work? Is it to buy me a house, and food, and toys?!"

ha. yes, he learned that answer from us, minus the toy part which was added by peyton when she used to ask us that same question. it just stuck. we loved it. we laugh when he says it and assure him that yes, daddy works hard to provide for us the things we need.

at some point, it dawned on me to start teaching the kids about other people that may not have as much as we do. i say that some children don't have the things they need to eat or to keep warm. i am always met with big eyes and many, many questions. i am always at the crossroads of Teaching Them Things about the World and How Much Should I Share with a Three & Five Year Old?

so we try to live our lives doing our small part to help people in need. we could do better.

i watched little women recently. oh, how i long to live in a time that in a lot of ways was much simpler than it is now. a time of hard work and honest living, simplicity, and family values. a time when collecting wildflowers in a nearby meadow was a pastime enjoyed by women and children. a time when picnics and afternoon tea was the entertainment and not the television. when a stolen kiss between young love was the big gossip. a piano and a family full of voices was the 'radio.'

Petticoats, bonnets, crumpets...oh my!

I am sure i am romanticizing this period, as i only know what i know through a few movies and books i love and adore...
i went a little crazy on the images, but i was having fun finding them.

a couple of weeks ago we went to our friend's lake house near jackson, mi. they have worked so hard and just a
couple of weeks after finishing the renovation of their little beloved cottage on the lake, they invited us to share it with them.

they gave us the grand tour, taking us to a famous ice cream parlour and a michigan vineyard. but one of my favorite
places was a farm called, meckley's flavor fruit farm.

i have many photos to post of that lovely weekend with tony & jenn, but first, the little town they stay in that reminds me
of these movies and stories. no, there aren't horse and buggies or women with parasol in hand but there are some
qualities that i admire and long my children to be a part of more and more. there is something about having babies that
makes me want to ditch the city and envelope them in a big field of horses. ha. that cracked me up a little.

homemade pies and freshly baked goods. little towns where people are full of pride for their homes. neighbors that
know and speak to their neighbors. elderly couples sit on their porches and smile at the people on the street.

where little bonfires sprinkled the lake and little italian grandmothers prepare too much delicious food (okay, tony's mom did spoil us a bit),
and a where an early morning jaunt to the fruit farm rewarded our senses with fresh donuts and coffee!

i wish i could share this place with you. when you walk in, sugar and flour, pepperoni, and cinnamon. coffee and warmth
consume you. i felt drugged at the charming barn-like building we were standing it. eye-candy everywhere. i snapped away
not noticing the good people of the town trying to enjoy their cup of joe, but when i noticed some
people looking, i smiled as if saying 'thank you for sharing your place with an outsider like me.' they would
smile back and when the shop owner looked at us, i think i saw the pride on his face as we asked if he
minded that we take pictures of sweet, eighty year-old store.
i am currently intoxicated with small town life and these damn donuts. I think i stopped eating donuts except on special
occasions before i graduated college, but donuts are back in my life...at least when i make my visits to this place.

penny candy buried in original bins and homemade goods hung from the walls.

the pies. oh the pies were divine. there were so many of them and we were told that they would sell out before the afternoon...
can you imagine? i had a bite of a berry pie and it was...heavenly. butter & flour therapy.
and for good measure, they threw in some baby animals that we could feed out of an ice cream cone.
hello, a little heaven on earth here in michigan. we have isle of capri in florida and meckley's in michigan among others.

I URGE you to drive one hour in any direction of your home and find your capri or fruit farm. i know you will find something you love and
you will want to share it with family and friends. in my case, it's the feeling of this little place that i am attracted to. i'm sure we'll only visit
it once a year, but it's something to look forward to. a feeling that recharges who we are or what we want from this precious life. ramble
ending soon, promise!

okay, so non-stop obsessing over baked goods got me itching to make something homemade and new...for me. i didn't have my mom's
crust recipe, so we did it a little healthier and did a graham cracker topping instead. not as good, because there is nothing better than that
buttery and salty flaky crust...but this was still a treat and hopefully didn't contribute as badly to my waistline.

Elaina's Fresh Apple Crumble

*preheat 425 degrees

you will need:
I/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (i crumbed my own in a ziploc bag with a glass cup)
juice from half a lemon (soften the lemon by rolling it on the countertop first)
3 pounds or about 7 cups of thinly sliced apple slices. I used granny smith, but macintosh apples are the kind that i prefer most.
3 (or 5) tablespoons of cold butter cut into half inch slices
3 teaspoons of cinnamon, divided. (sprinkle to taste. I used more than perhaps I should have but i think it needed it as the apples were really
tart. the same rule applies for the sugar.
1/8 of teaspoon of nutmeg
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided.
3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup of granulated sugar ( you can use splenda, about 1/3 cup) again, i used more sugar than i wanted, but my apples were really tart. be sure you
taste your apples. remember, you may serve it with vanilla ice cream which will add some sweetness as well.
8 tablespoons of rolled oats and not the instant version.

In a large bowl, mix the oats, a 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar, brown sugar, graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup of flour (optional), and
one teaspoon of the cinnamon. CUT in the butter using a pastry blender or by using two butter knives to 'cut' or mix it together causing it
to look like like little crumbles.

in a large bowl, toss the apples with the remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon of flour, the remaining cinnamon, nutmeg, and the lemon juice. let
the apples macerate (sweat) the mixture for about fifteen minutes so the juices are pulled from the apples a bit.

pour mixture into buttered dish, put topping on top, randomly put butter slices on the top, put in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes...or longer.
it took mine about 40 minutes.

i baked it until the top was golden brown and crunchy. i served it warm with vanilla bean ice cream. even the hubby liked it and he's
not really into dessert.

peyton and beckham were my little helpers and they did a fab job of cutting the butter in and smashing the graham crackers.
elaina, my sister, did the real job of slicing the apples. i got off easy running after the kids and trying to make them lunch...whew.
baking is not easy to do while trying to run a household. i kinda suck at it, so i was super happy with the help. bottom line:
if your doing this with fresh apples, do it with a friend and give her half of it when it's finished. more fun and easier this way.

jeff and sito took peyton and beckham to their first detroit tiger's game!!!
i can't believe my babies are so big. what amazing little souls i have for kids.
they remind me everyday to take time out and enjoy the day.
like really enjoy it. facials one minute in peyton's spa and rocket ship rides the next with becks.
hello, rocket ship rides! how amazing children are!
thank you for giving me time to work sito and daddy! XOXO
next post, a giveaway!!!


Domestic Diva said...

hey, friend!! a new post makes me so very happy! and your michigan find? loved reading about it. can't wait to see pictures of jenn's cottage ... adorable, i'm sure!

keep on enjoying ... summer is wrapping up ... like you needed a reminder or something, right? ... duh! ... oh how i hate school ... and not the education part, but the part where they think they need my kiddos for so many hours a day ... stinks! ... okay. it's still summer and i've got a vacation to take ... so i'm gonna put those thoughts on the back burner ... but thanks for listening!!!!!!!!!

ps - i'm pretty sure we went with the 28-135 kit. i am so stinkin' excited ... seriously, i'm crazy!!

GraceesMommy said...

every now and then the grass of bigger city living looks so much greener than small town living...and then i find some of the things you mentioned in your post in my little town and it makes me happy. the funny thing about you posting this is that today in my email i got a "breaking news" email from our local paper..i opened it only to find that they fixed the traffic light that was hit by lightning two weeks ago at the the nichols street bridge..it just made me smile because it really is breaking news in my little town!!! my girlfriends were all excited and i just laughed with each comment they posted about that stinking light!

your photos of the food are so good i can actually smell them...add the fact that i started a "DIET" last week and i may be just a tad delirious from HUNGER pains, i may just start licking my computer screen which i am sure will cost me POINTS on this attempt to lose a few pounds.

oh and i know i tell you this all the time but your son is the most beautiful little boy i have ever seen!! those eyes !! that donut he is eating is pretty fabulous looking..HA....man dieting only makes me think of food more! peace to you friend. ♥ is

Becky said...

Yum, everything about this post was delicious! The pics of your babes and the food...equally gorgeous!

Anne of Green Gables!! Actually middle-named my first baby after Anne, seriously, no one knows that's why ;) So bizarre/hilarious/random!


Tammy B said...

hey! I've been missing you. I knew you were busy on vacay - but seems I missed a post in between too! Not sure how that happened. Anyways. Looks like you guys are having too much fun. It's great hanging out with family, isn't it? Your apple crisp looks divine. And I want some of those homemade pies. I was hankering for pie last night actually. Well, it sure has been great chatting with you. Hope you are having a great time. Talk to you again soon.

xoxo, Tammy

Tisha said...

Did you go to, what used to be called, Loud's ice cream? did you have a GINORMOUS banana split? i think 27 scoops. I remember going with kelle and carin. Carin always got a malt (double malt) and I think kelle got a cream puff.

Love the music to go with teh post, so whimsical. i am loving reading about your summer. maybe one of these times your up we could meet for lunch with the kiddos.

loved your post, makes me excited for fall!

Teresa said...

Love all the pics from that adorable little shop/farm. Reminds me of so many places here near our home that sell amazing baked goods. We actually live less than 10 minutes away from an Amazing farmers market. Thanks for reminding me that kids outings and activities can be so simple and still be amazing!!

Teresa said...

So sorry for using Amazing 3 times in one little comment! I will try to contain myself. :)

Becky at lifeoutoffocus said...

um...OMG! All these pies and treats and I LOVED this. And also, I can't tell you how many times I've seen/read Ann of Green Gables. One of my favs!

The Manrings said...

oh what a yummy post...that store with its pies and donuts and penny candy. i want to go there, right now! heavenly!! we just came back from Oregon and experienced the same simple pleasures of being outside or visiting an old store. love it! looks like you are busy busy enjoying MI! great pics as always. xoxo

→Daniele← said...

omg this post made me so hungry! Lily and I made an apple pie last week... it was my first time making a homemade apple pie and I couldn't believe how amazing it was considering the filling contains so few ingredients. We still have a bag of apples left, I think we're going to have to try this apple crumble recipe! :)

Leslie said...

Love the food pics!!
Everything looks scrumptious!

Rebecca MacIntosh said...

I was at one time in my life obsessed with Little Women and Anne of Green Gables... So much so that I dressed in long skirts and carried a basket around with me... Lame, because I was 10... okay 11.... okay, I was actually 13...
I agree that driving one hour away from home will bring anyone to a lovely little place, we have our spot and you've reminded me that I miss it and I NEED a refreshing visit!
I started to read your post earlier, and then chaos erupted and I stopped reading and came back to it when I was relaxed and ready to have a few stolen "me" moments... Thanks for the wonderful read, again :) xo

Amie said...

Love the photos! Looks like something from back in time! How fun! And all the food??? Mouth-watering!

Taylor K said...

I love Little Women. :) My aunt and I often yell to each other, 'Rodrigo! Rodrigo!' No one really understands it but us. Love the photos and Michigan summer updates as usual! Wish I were there instead of hellish Phoenix! Blech.

Sarah said...

I'm totally loving your sentiments on life!! First.. I DREAM about raising kids in a small town. I have decided the ideal small town is one where a college is. I grew up in a very small town (where there wasn't a college). Have you ever heard the country music song, "Everyone's famous in a small town" it made me cry the first time I heard it. I've always run away in a bit but been proud of my small town on the other hand.

Secondly, I dream about that age as well and LOVED anne of green gables as a child, and read and reread that scene between Anne and Gilbert several times, and loved it on screen although not sure it did the book justice.

Lastly, I have a story about the Daddy and job thing. By the way, I am a history teacher and have job, but pretty sure Anna Cate (4) has forgotten I work since I've been on maternity leave since February. Yesterday as I'm feeling sort of proud mommy of myself for preparing a picnic outside for breakfast to celebrate the heat breaking, she says "I wish Daddy didn't have a job. He would probably take me a movie theatre today"
I said, "well don't you like our house, eating, etc" and explained to her about jobs as I've done before a few times. She responded with "well, maybe you could get a job so Daddy could stay home."

I'm so glad I've discovered you and your wise, sweet spirit.

ayshamartin said...

Meckley sounds and looks fabulous! I'm sure you'll make lots of wonderful memories there in the years to come. And the pictures ... AHHH, they have left my mouth watering for something freshly baked and delicious :)

Thank you again for inspiring me to take more pictures of my life with my hubby, my little girls (2.5 & 5-months), family members and of course friends. I have captured so many amazing memories this summer and can't wait to create & capture more.

Wishing you all the best from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada :)

Shaama said...

OH! I want to go there, too! I want some of that Yummy apple desert! What a lovely post! I love Peytons shorts too...how fun are they? Would people think I had gone a little nuts if I wore them out and about? Thank you for this awesome post! I loved it! Hooray for Michigan and Hooray for summer! Have an awesomely, fantabalous day! :)

iColossus / Monster said...

Hey girl, beautiful, scrumptious post. I love apple pie and yours looks soooo yummy. I can smell it from here, ha!

For some reason, when I think of living in another time, I think of living in THE TUDORS (especially with yummy Henry, LOL.)

BUT, then I think of the lack of PERSONAL HYGIENE and in my mind I quickly scrurry back to good old 2010. I think most people back then got 2 baths in their lifetimes, at birth and at death, ha! Plus, there was too much raping and pillaging, no women's lib, rampant racism and way too much superstition, like burning witches. Plus, I couldn't read your blog and that would be a jolly bad shame. OK, random tange!

I wish we could hang...it's been MONTHS now. Glass of wine, etc?

OK, I think I'm actually inspired to make a pie soon...I'll give myself a few weeks tho to get 'round to it!

Miss ya madly,


Anna Ruth said...

After all those food pictures I need to go eat something. How exciting that the kids got to go to a baseball game with their Daddy. All the memories of this trip will be hard to put into words, but I can see it on the kids faces they are loving life as you are.

Rhonda said...

Finally a post....I have been going thru withdrawals!! Glad to see you soaking up every moment on your vacation. You quaint little store/bakery is wonderful, I want to go there...But only if you come and visit me first...I live on Prince Edward Island, where the famous Anne of Green Gables is from!! It warms my heart to see your love for Anne and the wardrobe of the times.
I hope you had a chance to watch Regis and Kelly last week..they were on PEI and did a very funny rendition of Anne ;) I will send you the link!
Your recipe looks so yummy, and I will defintley be trying it out!!!
Great post....and thanks for the Heidi fix ;)

Anonymous said...

Ooooh....so hungry now! Love the granny smith apples lined up in a row. Did you and Kelle learn photography together or did one of you teach the other? Both of you are so talented!

Anonymous said...

I would like to exchange links with your site www.blogger.com
Is this possible?

Jen Bacarella said...

Every weekend bababy! Those donuts I love and they call my name...tried a new one this weekend...AMAZING! who else sets their phone alarm on the weekend to 8:20 am as Meckley's opens at 9:00 for warm donuts :-) How amazing it was to share that with your family! Love you and Miss you!

Heidi said...

oh, i'm a slacker. we are in canada on my family vacation and i'm trying to not fall asleep each night before i get my post in. working on new post now!!! i miss my little ole' blog.

april, so excited for you!!!
joy, love that your town celebrates a new traffic light. you have exactly what i was speaking about in this post! xo

becky, love it.
all of these comments are so sweet. love 'em all.

my mom is sitting next to me and asking about all of these people (commenters on my blog) if i know them? how? who are you? it's so sweet. i'm giving her blogging 101 lessons!!!

danielle, try it and let me know how it turns out.

anon #1, kelle has taught me so much and now we love to chat about what works, new ideas. its amazing to have a best friend that 'gets and loves' what i do because she does it and loves it too!

i took photography in high school, so the love of it has been there for years. i have taken a workshop and i google whatever i want to learn. practice is the best way to learn.

anon #2, i'm sorry, i don't understand what you are asking.

ayshamartin, love hearing that. you are welcome:)

to everyone, xoxoox

Anonymous said...

heidi, the boys and are our going to michigan on the 10th-22nd. david is going to heading to his boyne blast golf trip..up in boyne highlands. But i want to take the boys here ..we will be in pentwater with my girl friend in her wonderful beach house..i am sure you will be back here in naples by then..but thank you for this little hidden gem..we will grab a pie on our way up.
xoxo laura D

dig this chick said...

Oh I love that place! I want to go there. Lovely, lovely post. And now I am craving sweet things and it is 12:07....x!

Rhonda said...

Where in Canada are you Heidi....we are having wonderful weather...cant wait to see your pics and read you blog about your vacation!

Shaams said...

I'm missing me some Heidi right about now! I've moved....I decided to start a blog with my good friend who lives on the East. Look for it!

Kelly said...

Ummm, this post is so yummy, I started nom-nom-nomming on my monitor! Then I started eating your kids! Hope they don't mind! So delish from start to finish!!

Anonymous said...

I would like to exchange links with your site www.heididarwish.com
Is this possible?

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