Thursday, July 4, 2013

An American craft

Americana Luminaries

We ended up with a lot of cooking project this week.  So while the kids are waiting for the fireworks to start here is a little easy project for them to do.  I will admit it started out as a different project that I saw on Pinterest- let's just say don't believe everything you see on Pinterest.  They were supposed to be painted jars with little peekaboo stars......FAIL! 

The paint looked all streaky and the stars didn't look like stars at all when we peeled the stickers off the jars.  So I removed the painting step and just kept the stickers.  What's that saying? K.I.S.S.- Keep It Simple Stupid.  I hate that word "stupid", let's pretend it's Keep It Simple Silly.  Here's the project!

Light up the Night Luminaries
For the project you will need:
  • clean glass jars
  • stickers (pref. red, white, blue)
  • small candles (with adult supervision)
1.  Put stickers all over the candle.  We spelled out USA to make it extra American-y.  We used up ALL the red, silver and blue stars out of the pack of stickers!


2. Put a small candle in the jar, light it and enjoy your very special 4th of July candleholder!! 

Enjoy your evening!! 

As American As...

Apple Pie!!

Happy birthday America!! 
It's the 4th of July and the whole country is celebrating today!  On July 4, 1776, our forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence and proclaimed that we would henceforth be pursuing our own life, liberty and happiness and no longer be under the rule of the British or anybody else for that matter.

We will have picnics, parades and festivals to celebrate our love of America and then tonight, all over the country, there will be amazing fireworks displays lighting up the sky.  Just as the forefathers planned.  :)

So for today's post I made the most American of desserts - the humble Apple Pie.  This was a recipe that I have eaten many times but never made myself.  But making pie is easy, right?  I mean we have that idiom- "easy as pie".  Well, I soon was up to my elbows in flour, cursing whoever came up with that dumb phrase.  It turns out that making pie is NOT that easy!  Or maybe I was just doing something wrong - that happens.  Anyway, it turned out pretty delicious so maybe it was worth the mess after all.  Here is the recipe - try it for yourself :)

All American Apple Pie
For the recipe you will need:

Crust ingredients-
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 6 Tbsp room temp butter
  • 6 Tbsp shortening
  • 6 Tbsp ice cold water
  • pastry blender
Filling Ingredients-
  • 5 tart apples, peeled and  sliced and soaking in water mixed with 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1. In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt and sugar.
2.  Using the pastry blender (or a fork?) cut in the butter, shortening and water until the dough looks incorporated but still crumbly.
3.  Put the dough onto some plastic wrap and form it into a ball. Wrap it in the plastic and put in fridge for about 30 mins.
4.  After it's chilled, divide the dough in half.  Roll the first half out into an 1/8" thick circle about an inch larger than your pie pan.  This was where I had trouble- flour everywhere and it was still sticking to the roller and parchment paper.  Maybe because it was like 95° today?  Or because I don't know how to make pie crust?  We made it work though- perseverance is the American way, right?

5.  Transfer the rolled out crust to your pie tin and smooth it out and patch any hole with extra dough.  Then poke a few deliberate holes with a fork on the bottom.

6. Now make the filling.  Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl.  Add the drained apples and sprinkle the dry ingredients and vinegar on top.  Toss it all around so it's all combined and then dump it in the pie shell.
7.  Roll out the other half of the dough and put it on top of the filled pie shell.  Make the edges look pretty- another "easier said than done" moment.  We ended up with a good old pressed fork design and threw on a couple of stars to hide some rough spots :)

8. Cover the edges of the pie with strips of aluminum foil so they don't get too brown.
9.  Bake in a preheated 400° oven for 50-60 minutes.  After 45 minutes take the aluminum foil off the edge of the crust and brush with some egg white if you want a shiny crust.  Oh! Be sure to put a baking sheet down under the pie as it's baking because it might leak out a little. 

Voila!!  That was "easy as pie"!!  Yeah right, whatever.  I'm taking a nap now before the fireworks start!  

Happy Birthday America!