11.20.2017

Dutch Apple Pie

This Fall, I was on a mission to perfect my Apple Crisp recipe and that mission was accomplished!
I decided that I need to perfect my Apple Pie recipe.
Kevin & Kate's favorite dessert is Apple Pie.
A few weeks ago Kate told me (the night before it was due) that she and her best friend signed up to make a homemade Apple Pie to Girl Scouts since they were working on their Cooking Badge. 
Kate loves my Apple Crisp, but wanted to make a pie since that's what they signed up for.
We decided to make an Apple Pie using the filling from my Apple Crisp & do a crumble topping without oatmeal (Kate prefers no oatmeal in the topping)
The pie that Kate, her friend & I made that afternoon turned out so amazing, I knew I had to blog it.
I have made it every week since...we love it!
Here is what you need:

Filling:
-  1 pre made pie crust
(I like the frozen ones that are in a pie tin. Much easier than the refrigerated ones that you have to roll out) #lazy
5-6 large Granny Smith apples peeled and sliced
3 Tbsp butter, melted
2 Tbsp flour
1Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
Topping: 1/2 cup Flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened & cut into cubes

Directions:
Peel, core & slice your apples. I FINALLY got one of these!!!! What took me so long?!?!
They are under $20  and it's small & easy to store!

It makes coring & peeling a breeze. In fact, I don't even have to do it because my kids love doing it. They fight over who gets to use it. This pie recipe calls for 5 apples, so they each peel one apple and then argue about who doesn't get to peel a 2nd one. LOL.
Get one HERE!
I also love that all the apples are the same thickness because of the slicer!

After you peel & slice your apples, put them in a gallon ziplock bag.
In a small bowl, mix together  combine the melted butter,  2 T flour,  lemon juice, vanilla extract,  brown sugar, ground cinnamon & salt and stir together.

Stir it together.
Pour into the ziplock with the apples, seal it and shake so that the apples are all covered.
I put the frozen pie crust (still in the tin) into my pie dish. I do this because with the Dutch Apple Topping, it can spill and get messy, so this way it doesn't spill in my oven or all over my kitchen, it just stays in the pie dish.
Pour the apples into the pie crust & dish:
Now it's time to make the topping. In a bowl, add the flour, brown sugar, white sugar & softened butter.
***NOTE:  I heat my stick of butter in the microwave for 10 seconds so that it's soft. Don't heat longer than 10 seconds, you don't want melted butter!!!! 
I then cube up the butter and use a fork to combine all the ingredients. Use a pastry cutter if you have that.
You need to make sure your crumle topping is mixed together well & looks like the photo below. I probably spend 3-4 minutes mixing it with the fork. You don't want any big clumps of butter.
Then sprinkle the topping all over the top of the pie:
The apples are stacked up high, but they will shrink down as it bakes.
Bake at 375 for 50-55 minutes.
Such a beautiful pie! 

Let it cool for at least 15-20 minutes before you serve it.
 It tastes best when served a la mode with a scoop of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. If you are feeling really naughty, you can always add some whipped cream as well!
 I hope you love this pie as much as we do! It would be a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table, you can make it a day or 2 before if you need to.
If you need Thanksgiving side dish (or dessert ideas), here are some of our favorites:
 Creamy Corn Bake
Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries & Bacon
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Apple Crisp

See you back here on Wednesday for What's Up Wednesday!
The bonus question for November is "What are your best Elf on the Shelf Ideas"
Usually it's the last Wednesday of the month, but because of the holidays, we bumped it up a week and also will do that for December...that date will be December 20th.

Have a great day!

11.17.2017

Loving Lately // November 2017

It's time for another round of Loving Lately!

 Here is this month's Loving Lately....


//  ONE  // 
I am LOVING the sneak peeks of our family photos that we got taken by Monika a couple weeks ago.
I think they are going to be the best ones yet.
The kids did so well during the photo shoot....it is so nice for them to be at an age where they cooperate & listen for the photos...it's not stressful anymore like it was when they were toddlers and I never knew how they would act!

If you are in the Bay Area/Northern California, I highly recommend Monika.
She has been doing our family photos every year since 2012...Luke was only 2 months old when we had our first family photo shoot with her!

// TWO //

I am obsessed with these Infinite Shine nail polishes.

I bought my first bottle of it almost 3 years ago and now they are the only nail polishes I use because they don't chip!

 I am loving this shade for Fall.
I can wear them for a week and my nails still look decent.
Here are my nails on day 6:
Amazing, right?!?
You put on the primer coat, then the polish and then a top coat gloss.
You can get the primer & gloss HERE.
There are tons of colors for the nail polishes..... I have about 10 of them!
Absolutely love & so happy to have nail polish that is durable and doesn't chip!


// THREE //

In the Fall & Winter, I roast a lot of veggies...like Brussels Sprouts.
One of my favorite ways to make them is with cranberries & bacon!
This would be a perfect side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Recipe HERE.

Can you believe Thanksgiving is less than a week away?

If you need more Thanksgiving side dish ideas, some of our favorites are Creamy Corn Bake and Pumpkin Cheesecake.

// FOUR //

The girls and I are heading to NYC next week with my mom and older sister.
The weather is going to be in the 40's....BRRR. That is cold for us Californian's!
I got Claire this adorable Puffer Vest.

Under $10! What a deal!
It comes in 3 colors, but we loved this cranberry one!

// FIVE //

I also ordered this cute beanie for me to wear in NYC when we go to the Thanksgiving Parade!

Get it HERE.
There are over 40 colors to choose from!

They also have ones without the pom pom.
Over 40 colors for these ones as well.
You can get those ones HERE.


// SIX //
I am loving these cords!

They come in 7 colors and they also come in Tall (and petite)
I have them in maroon and also charcoal gray. I've had them for a couple years and they hold up great.
Check them out HERE


// SEVEN //

I am LOVING this cold shoulder shirt I got in my Stitch Fixearlier this Fall.
This is the first cold shoulder shirt I have owned & I am loving it!
Speaking of Stitch Fixif you sign up in November or December, they will waive your $20 styling fee/credit! I have been doing Stitch Fixevery month for years....I LOVE it!
It's like Christmas morning when the box arrives. You don't have to do one every month, you can do it every other month, every 3 months, every 6 months, etc.
Now is the time to give it a try since it's free!

// EIGHT //

How cute are these pj's?
I have the stripe ones, but I am loving these ones for the holiday season.
What I love about these pj's is they are soft & cozy, but they are also long enough for tall girls like me! Yay!
They come in 6 different patterns for these thermal ones. 
If you like flannel pj's, you can check those out HERE and there are 12 patterns to choose from!


// NINE //

I am absolutely loving this dress.
Wouldn't it perfect for Christmas parties?
I have a previous years' version in navy & it is a great dress.
It is comfortable and very flattering.
Comes in 8 colors including black. Check them out HERE.

//  TEN //

This time of year I am loving baking cookies & treats. As we near Thanksgiving & as Christmas season is approaching, these Cranberry Cookie Bars hit the spot.


They are delicious!


So, there you have it....some lovely cranberry things  I have been Loving Lately.
What have you been Loving Lately?

11.15.2017

Show + Tell Tuesday {Serving Others}

Today I am linking up with Andrea for Show & Tell Tuesday & I am really excited about the topic....Serving Others.

Serving Others & Service is something that is near & dear to my heart, I feel like it's so important to give back.

Before I had kids & growing up, I mostly served others with my time by going on Mission Trips.

The first mission trip I went on, I was in 7th grade and our church Youth Group went to Mexico to build houses for a week one summer. It was an amazing experience & I went on the trip again when I was in 8th grade.
My Senior Year of High School, I went on the Mexico Mission trip during Spring Break, but for that trip we didn't build houses, we did a Vacation Bible School for some kids in the Orphanage. 
These kids were amazing...it was so much fun teaching them about Jesus & playing with them. 
Side Note...On that Spring Break Mexico trip, it resulted in one of my most embarrassing moments ever.

I ended up getting lice from one of the kids in the orphanage....we gave them piggy back rides all week & I got lice! I will never forget that trip, the lice was worth it ;)
You can read about that {HERE}

When I was 22 , I had the opportunity to go to NYC after 9/11 with our church to serve the firefighters of FDNY and serve them warm meals & help with relief efforts.
You can read more about that trip {HERE}

In 2006 a few months before I got pregnant with Kate, I had the opportunity to go to New Orleans & Mississippi with our church for Hurricane Katrina relief and build houses for a community in McComb, Mississippi.

You can read more about that trip {HERE}

That was the last mission trip I have gone on because life has gotten busy with 3 kids and even though I love going on Mission Trips, I know that I am in a season of life right now where that isn't going to happen. I would love to go to Africa on a Mission Trip and I would love to have us go as a family to serve, but I know that won't be until my kids are a lot older.
For the past 10 years, my mission field is my kids & my family and I am focusing on serving them and raising them up to be nice people and hoping that they have a heart to serve others.

If you ask my kids what I tell them the most (besides I love you) is the phrase:
"It's nice to be nice"
This is our family saying.
We want to raise kids who are kind and nice to others & who aren't jerks.
Kids who grow up to be teenagers & adults who think before they speak and who have compassion & servant's hearts.
I don't care if they aren't the smartest, the most talented or most athletic, I want them to be nice, kind people.

One thing that I think is so important is to do things as a family to serve others.

 Here are awesome organizations that we support :

Charity:Water - a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. 100% of public donations fund water projects. Charity:Water is the organization we used for Project 320 in 2009 & 2010 & we were able to fund 3 wells in Africa. Kevin's high school small group funded a well in the Spring through Charity:Water during our church's Kingdom Assignment Outreach.

Heifer Project (donate an animal to give a family a source of food for a year. A few years ago, one of my students donated a goat in my name.Best Christmas present from a student. EVER.


Compassion International - sponsor a kid for $38 a month to give them food, shelter, education, health care and the opportunity to learn about Jesus in a neighborhood church program.
Kevin and I have sponsored Compassion children since before we were married. We currently sponsor 3 Compassion kids, 2 girls and a boy. The girls have the same birthdays as my girls and the boy has the same birthday as Luke. If you search the Compassion website you can pick your own child to sponsor & search by birthdate. My kids love that their Compassion kids have the same birthday as them :)

Team World Vision:  My older sister Elyse has run several marathons & races for Team World Vision. 2 years ago, I ran a Half Marathon with Team World Vision raising money for Fresh Water wells in Africa.
Water changes the lives of children in Africa.

They have better health, improved nutrition, and can go to school instead of spending the day fetching water. Through World Vision’s comprehensive and sustainable water projects across Africa, $50 will provide clean water for one person for a lifetime.
It was such a great experience.
As a family, every Spring we also participate in Team World Vision's Global 6K walk/run on World Water Day.
Your race entry is $50 and the run/walk is a 6K....3.72 miles  is the average distance children in Africa have to walk daily for water.
It was a great lesson for my kids to do this event, the photo of the child on their their bibs that we supported have to walk 4 miles each day to get water & sometimes that isn't even clean water.
We let them know that now the kids on our bibs who we sponsored & ran for will have access to clean water for the rest of their lives.
 Every Spring Team World Vision hosts a Global 6k around the US and world...you can check to see if there is one near you!

One of my VERY favorite things to do with the kids is to make Blessing Bags.
Every year we go to San Francisco during December to check out the Christmas decorations & go ice skating.
 If you have been to SF before, you know there is a big homeless population. So, when we go, I bring "Blessing Bags"
You can put whatever you want in your Blessing Bags.
I fill them with a $5 gift card to McDonalds, a granola bar, peanut butter crackers, fig newtons & a juice box & a new pair of socks. (You can also put in gloves/bottled water, etc)
 A little thing for us to do & a big difference to those who receive it.

My kids LOVE helping put these together & they make cards to include in the Blessing Bags.

We mostly give them out in December, but Kevin and I also keep one in our cars so that if we see a homeless person at a stoplight, we can give them a Blessing Bag.
We also keep a few on hand for when we go to SF during the year we have a couple more Blessing Bags to bring.
You can read my post HERE on how to make Blessing Bags.


2 years ago I started taping this note to my front door along with Starbucks Gift Cards


I do 99% of my Christmas Shopping online, so I have a lot of packages that get delivered. I appreciate all the hard work of the UPS, Fed Ex & USPS workers!
You can download the Free printable HERE

We also like to do Random Acts of Kindness throughout the Holiday Season. 
Here are some fun things we like to do:
Tape a dollar on the Red Box machine so that someone could get their rental paid for.

Buy lotto tickets & tape them to the gas pump.
 

Add money to a vending machine so that someone would get an unexpected free soda.

 You can see other Random Acts of Kindness ideas HERE and HERE

There are so many little ways you can serve others, especially during the Holiday season.
Adopt a Family, Make a Blessing Bag,
 Angel Tree, Operation Christmas Child,  Donate cans to a Food Bank.
I am always looking for new ways that we can serve others in big or small ways, so I would love to hear what you do serve & give back!

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