The Chuck Norris of pies

It is that time of year, people. Apples are ready to be picked. Pies are begging to be made. Caramel for the apples is also begging to be made. It is easy to make and sooooo delicious.

Even people who are not crazy about apple pie will like this one. It kicks all other pie’s asses. Seriously.



2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter

1/2 cup ice water



1 cup sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 pounds apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I used Granny Smith)

1/2 cup carmel apple dip (I made my own carmel sauce)

2 Tablespoons milk or cream



1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter


To make the crust, combine the flour and salt. Work in the butter to make an unevenly crumbly mixture. Add enough water to bring the dough together. Divide it in half, shape into disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.


To make the filling, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Stir in the apples. Combine 2 Tablespoons caramel apple dip with the milk or cream. Toss with the apples.


To make the streusel, combine the flour and sugar. Work in the butter until crumbly.


To assemble the pie, roll one piece of dough into a 12″ round, and lay it into a 9″ pie plate. Spoon in the filling; sprinkle with streusel. Roll the second piece of dough iinto a circle slightly larger than you pie plate. Cut 2″-wide strips and weave a lattice crust. Seal and crimp the edges. I brushed the top with some cream and sprinkled sparkling sugar on top before baking. If you are like me and put way too many apples in your pie, put some parchment on a cookie sheet and put that under that bad boy. Otherwise, make time to clean your oven. It gets messy.

Bake the pie in a preheated 375°F oven for 45-55 minutes, until golden brown. Cool it for 15 minutes, then drizzle with remaining caramel apple dip; warming the dip slightly helps with drizzling. Cool the pie for at least 2 hours before serving.


From: King Arthur Flour


Have you discovered Waterlogue yet?

It just makes the most pedestrian things seem magical to me.


A new school year…

So we got the school supplies and fresh haircuts. I checked the school website obssessively waiting to see which teachers would be teaching our children for the next 9 months.

The stakes were kind of high.

Grand Master H had a slightly rough time last year. He had two teachers last year, a “team teaching/job sharing situation” which is awesome for them. They are both moms and I get the urge to want to work and be there for your children. However, one teacher was calm and cool and the other one was a nervous chihuahua of an accounting type. The Oscar Madison/Felix Unger-style of every week was jarring to Grand Master H. Very early on he started calling one teacher Mean Old “Mrs. Unger” and it pretty much went downhill from there.

There were also bullies and other issues, new friends, science experiments that fired his imagination/curiosity, so I opted not to make his situation worse by going to the mattresses with “Mrs. Unger.” Which, by the way, is not her real name, but really really suits her uptight, rigid, clenched personality. Her career choice is woefully incorrect. Dealing with unpredictable messy first graders really should not have been her career path, but alas, we were in it and made the best of it.

So, at 3:10 when I saw that Famous Baby C would be having her kindergarten teacher again for first grade, I pretty much wept with joy. And then, Grand Master H got Mrs. Wildcard, I wasn’t sure how to feel.

So we went to the pool and had fish tacos and fun on the last official full day of summer vacation.



And the next morning we gathered our 2,413 pounds of school supplies and trundled to school. We found their respective lines and they lined up with old friends, a few old enemies and some people we didn’t know. But we kept it positive, because despite everything, I wanted them to feel good about the new year and I was so hopeful.

And then, Mrs. Wildcard came and introduced herself to every child in her line and every parent. She took almost 30 minutes to talk to each child and each parent. And then she took her freshly minted second graders to her classroom, told them a few basic rules of her classroom, was completely awesome and loving and patient. It was immediately obvious to me that Mrs. Wildcard loves her job and loves these little people. Her passion for her job radiates from her.

And then I went to the car and the patiently waiting Mr. Smith and I wept with joy and relief. I knew that Mrs. Wildcard wasn’t a wildcard at all, she would be so wonderful for Grand Master H and that he would like her. Second grade would be much better than first grade had been.

On Friday, after two days of being in Mrs. Wildcard’s class I asked him what he thought, “She’s a good teacher Mommy, and she’s really nice.”

For. The. Win!!!


Except there is no hula hoop as advertised in the title. Not sure what happened there, but this made me laugh.


In need of a little comfort…

The last two weeks or so have been pretty rough. Between getting The Naked Posse ready to go back to school, personal stuff, current events, work stuff and everything in between. Ugh!

Where did the summer go? I finally had to admit that it is rapidly coming to a close and start hoarding school supplies. There have been a few tears shed and few nerves about the impending new school year. And the kids are a bit nervous too.

When I am in the thick of it, which I very often am, I turn to cooking/baking. It offers me comfort in a way that nothing else does.

And so, I offer you these muffins. My mother used to make these for me occassionally back in the day. I found this version of the recipe last week and it was exactly what I needed to soothe my tormented self.

Doughnut Muffins


1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used Canola)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed firmly

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 2/3 cups all purpose flour

1 cup milk



4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup super fine sugar (or granulated is fine. I had super fine that I am trying to use up)

1 tsp. ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin.

In a medium mixing bowl, cream butter, oil and sugars until smooth.

Add the eggs, and beat to combine.

Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmg, salt and vanilla.

Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is combined.

Scoop the batter evenly into the prepared pan. The cups will be almost full.

Bake the muffins for 15-17 minutes or until they are pale golden brown.

Remove from oven. Remove them from the tins so the bottoms don’t get tough. After a few minutes and you can handle them, dip the muffin tops into the melted butter and roll them in cinnamon and sugar mixture.

Serve warm or cool on a rack. Store them for a day or so at room temperature, but believe me, they won’t last that long. And if you just happen to eat them all in less than 24 hours, that is okay too. I am not here to judge. You do what you need to do.



What’s going on?

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said today, “If you’re the family of a police officer and somebody approaches you within three feet with a knife, I think you have the right to defend yourself and protect yourself. So I think it certainly is reasonable that an officer has an expectation to go home at the end of the night.”

I’m pretty sure Michael Brown’s family and this young man’s family expected them to come home from the corner store too.

You don’t expect to run to the 7-11 and get gunned down in the street by the police. At least I don’t. I am white and female.

Apparently, if you are young, male and African American, the reality is that the police are willing to shoot you. It doesn’t matter if you are armed or not, you are someone to be feared and they will empty their gun into you.

This makes me heartsick and so sad for the future of our country.

Police are armed to the teeth with freebies from the Pentagon. SWAT teams serve search warrants.Two year olds get hit with flash bang grenades while they are sleeping in their cribs.

I appreciate (for the most part) the job that these men and women do. I realize that they are putting their lives on the line to protect the rest of us.

But who protects us from them when they have military apparatus? And we are unarmed and surrendering? Or even worse, sleeping in our beds?


He will be missed…

but this is how I will remember him. His glee, his sense of wonderment and joy.



I have had a ringside seat to mental illness/severe depression my entire life. At some point we as a nation will have to address the total collapse of our mental health care system. Another legacy of the Reagan reign of terror.

I just wonder what it will take for us to finally fix it so that people can get the kind of help they so desperately need.