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Another beautiful beach… Trunk Bay, St. John

Another beautiful beach... Trunk Bay, St. John

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Breakfast!

Breakfast!

This picture does NOT do this breakfast justice.

My breakfast this morning consisted of a spinach, blueberry, banana and apple smoothie alongside my slight twist on Giada DeLaurentiis‘ apricot oat bars.  Both were so good!

Smoothie Recipe (which I swear is delicious and so good for you)

8 oz water
1 C baby spinach (easier to process in the blender than regular spinach)
1 C blueberries (I used frozen)
1 medium sized banana (bananas help to smooth out the texture; avocados do also), sliced
1/2 medium apple, chopped

Mix all ingredients in a blender until, well, smooth!  Adding the water into the blender first helps to get the ingredients circulating.  Feel free to add ice if you like your smoothies ice cold.

Giada’s apricot bars are one of my favorites snacks.  My husband recently took a batch on a trip to climb Denali and his teammates loved them.  You can find the recipe here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/apricot-oat-bars-recipe/index.html.   I changed the recipe up this time by using a homemade blueberry jam in place of the apricot preserves and left the dried apricots out altogether.

Hope you’ll try both and share your feedback!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Good Morning!

Most all of my mornings begin with a little Yorkie in my face sneezing up a storm; yes, in my face.  It’s just some silly nervous twitch he has (one of many).  After a ring of the bell (he rings a bell when it’s potty time) and before my coffee, of course, it’s off for a potty walk and then a little playtime.  When it is finally about me, I relax with a coffee at my vanity and start getting prettied up for work.  On this particular morning, someone decided that perhaps I didn’t need make-up after all, or, more likely, decided that it wasn’t quite “about me” time after all.

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Mmmmm….it is that time of year again! Apple pie season!

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Now, I have to admit that I cheated and used a ready made pie crust for this particular pie.  I am in the middle of testing gluten free pie crusts and didn’t have time to make both (and couldn’t run the risk of using a not so good crust on this pie and having an extremely unhappy husband!)  Making a crust is not a scary as it sound, though.  The secret is using very cold butter.

The hardest part about making an apple pie, in my opinion, is peeling and coring the apples. I might suggest purchasing one of those corer/peelers all in one devices, but the gadget I use for coring and slicing (see above) also works nicely. You'll need about 7-9 apples, depending on the size of the apples.

The hardest part about making an apple pie, in my opinion, is peeling and coring the apples. I might suggest purchasing one of those corer/peelers all in one devices, but the gadget I use for coring and slicing (see above) also works nicely.
You’ll need about 7-9 apples, depending on the size of the apples.

Combine the sliced apples with one cup of sugar and one teaspoon of cinnamon.

Combine the sliced apples with one cup of sugar and one teaspoon of cinnamon.

You'll need 2 pie crust to fit a 9 inch pie dish.  Place one crust in the dish and fill with the apple mixture.  Cut the butter into 1/8 inch pads and place around apples.  Cover apples with second pie crust and pinch the edges to seal.  You can play with the edges to make them fancy, if you'd like.  I just pinched the crust shut and then made indentations with my fingers.

You’ll need 2 pie crust to fit a 9 inch pie dish. Place one crust in the dish and fill with the apple mixture. Cut the butter into 1/8 inch pads and place around apples. Cover apples with second pie crust and pinch the edges to seal. You can play with the edges to make them fancy, if you’d like. I just pinched the crust shut and then made indentations with my fingers.

Slice the top crust in the middle about an inch to allow the steam to escape.  Lightly brush the top of the crust with a little bit of milk and then sprinkle a little surge over the top.  This is completely optional but makes for a pretty pie.  Place the pie on a cookie sheet to avoid a big mess if the filling oozes out while baking.  Bake in a preheated, 425 degree over for about 50-60 minutes.   I would check on it 3/4 of the way through and if it looks like the edges are starting to brown too much, consider putting foil around it.   Finally, enjoy!!

Slice the top crust in the middle about an inch to allow the steam to escape. Lightly brush the top of the crust with a little bit of milk and then sprinkle a little surge over the top. This is completely optional but makes for a pretty pie. Place the pie on a cookie sheet to avoid a big mess if the filling oozes out while baking. Bake in a preheated, 425 degree over for about 50-60 minutes. I would check on it 3/4 of the way through and if it looks like the edges are starting to brown too much, consider putting foil around it. Finally, enjoy!!

Aside

Heavy hearted tonight so I thought writing some of my feelings out might help.   Earlier this year, I learned my brother in law has ALS.   ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that effects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.  More information about ALS can be found at http://www.alsa.org but the bottom line is that it is a horrible disease that ends in an early death for most people.   things are happening quickly with Jack; faster than any one of us are ready for.  Jack and my sister are good, good people who don’t deserve any of this.  I can’t help but wonder every single day….why them?  Why…