Dessert Emergency!

I had a meeting this week where I was asked to bring dessert for 12-14 people. I TRIED to make these, but the cookies burned to the muffin tin and ended up a crumbled mess. Of COURSE I made the filling BEFORE my cookie fail so…anyone want some lemon pudding?

At work the next day I was trying to figure out what to bring that would be fruity and light and require NO cooking and very little prep work. I bought 2 frozen pound cakes, some strawberries, blueberries, a tub of whipped cream and little plastic cups. Voila! I got so many compliments on it, it was crazy! I will definitely keep this in mind for my next “emergency!”

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Apples Galore!

Mike went fishing at a friend-of-a-friend’s farm pond last weekend. He didn’t bring any fish home but he DID come home with a huge paper grocery bag of apples. The farm pond owner’s wife told Mike dashed his hopes of a fresh-baked apple pie when she told him the apples were not good pie-apples and that she mostly used them for applesauce. Heeding her advice, I peeled & chopped up about a dozen apples and put them in the crock pot on low with a little water, sugar and cinnamon. Two hours later we had warm, chunky applesauce that we spooned over vanilla ice cream and ate with pie crust strips (store-bought pie crust cut into strips, sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar and baked at 350 for about 15 minutes). This tasty little topping only used up about one-quarter of the apples, though. I cut/cooked up the rest tonight and found recipes for an apple cake and apple cookies, so stay tuned!

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Let Her Eat Cake!

But beware if you let her cut her own piece, because this is what you’ll be left with:

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This is chocolate zucchini cake made from a recipe is from my boss’ mother. Audrey resisted trying it for 2 days after I made it for the first time. Then she tried it and realized I wasn’t lying when I told her how good it was. I think this is the 3rd one I’ve made. I brought one on our family vacation and it was devoured (by 6 children) in no time flat.

 

Channeling my Inner MacGyver

My neighbor’s cherry tree had a bumper crop this year. Her husband came to our door one day and said his wife had already made 2 cherry pies (which he had gladly eaten) but couldn’t take anymore. He pleaded with us to go and pick some cherries and share the harvest.

So here I was…standing in the kitchen with 6 cups of unpitted cherries in front of me and no cherry pitter to be had. Then I remembered a friend of mine making a comment on Facebook that she used to use a hairpin to pit cherries. Who has hairpins these days? Not me. I DO, however, have tons of floral wire in my craft closet. It’s amazing the things you hang on to. So I cut off an 8″ length of floral wire and bent it into a “u” shape. Voila! A cherry pitter! MacGyver would be so proud.

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Don’t Judge Me

I decided to make an apple pie to enter in the Johnson County Fair pie contest today. It was absolutely beautiful. The crust was perfectly golden – not too light, not too dark, and was filled with Braeburn apples…my favorite. I didn’t win, though. I wasn’t really expecting to, this being my first attempt and all, but after looking at the other entries my confidence was up. I wish I had taken a movie or pictures of the other entries so you would understand. Anyway, in a moment of self-pity I sent out a Tweet tagging Beth Howard, the pie lady from Eldon, Iowa and author of “Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie.” Six minutes later I received a reply!

She’s absolutely right. Pie isn’t about winning, but about sharing. Screw the trophy. After the contest the pies were all entered into a silent auction to raise money for the Altrusa Foundation, the non-profit group that sponsored the event. I walked by my pie and a woman and her little girl had immediately entered a bid of $15 for it. At least SOMEONE there had some taste!

My apple pie…just sitting there…waiting to be judged.

Concert Substitution

In lieu of going to the Keith Urban concert in Moline tonight, I packed up some pie crust that I had made along with the filling for a strawberry-rhubarb pie and headed to a friend’s house for some girl talk and margaritas. Oh yeah…we listened to a little bit of Keith Urban, too! The pie turned out pretty good. I should have waited until it had cooled a little longer but when it comes to food my patience is not very easily found.