Hello, fall: time to make apple crisp

I wanted to make an apple pie because I’ve never made one before. But pies are a tad involved, so I took a shortcut and made an apple crisp instead.

My rhubarb crisp recipe was so successful I just used it as a guide, substituting apples for the rhubarb and strawberries. You could do this with just about any fruit. But it is deeeelish with apples this time of year.

Apple Crisp
adapted from Simply in Season (click here for the exact recipe)

Preheat oven to 350. Peel, core and chop 6 apples.

Heat them with sugar and vanilla until they start to boil.

Then mix up a little cornstarch and water, add that to the fruit, and continue cooking until the mixture is thick and bubbling.

In a big bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, pecans, salt, cinnamon and butter. I used a pastry cutter to get perfect chunks. When the mixture forms clumps in your hands but still separates, you’re good to go.

Spread 2/3 of the crust in the bottom of a greased 9X13 casserole dish. Add the fruit.

Sprinkle the rest of the crust on top. Bake for 40 minutes.

Eat with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

On having my doubts

It’s been a whirlwind lately as I try to figure out my process for buying supplies and making my recycled candles. I also wanted to make fabric-covered button thumbtacks, using the scraps of my grandmother’s vintage fabric I have laying around.

But every once in a while, as excited as I am about the whole process, I look at something and go, yeah, that totally didn’t turn out how I thought it would. Which is only natural — I’ve never done a lot of this stuff before. But it kind of puts a wrench in my plans, and sometimes I’m really not sure what to do. There’s no manual for deciding what your personal aesthetic is or what will absolutely sell when it comes to handmade stuff. Believe me, I’m sucking every bit of wisdom I can out of my Craft, Inc. book but it’s still limited.

Take my thumbtacks, for example. I thought they were so cute (and I still do). But when I looked at what others were selling on Etsy they just didn’t quite compare. I wanted to order 10 sets from other people, and that’s not a good sign. So I went back to the drawing board a little bit.

A random tack had picked up a clock pattern from my fabric. I thought it was cute, so I made 10 more.

But I think the most surprising thing was when I glued on some buttons. I might like these best of all. (Hear that mom? I need more buttons!)

Anyway, when that doubt creeps in I think you have to listen to it. Because going with my gut is what got me here in the first place. But then you just have to quickly move on. Give it the hand, before you start questioning the whole operation. Keep your mind open, and that’s when you get the next great idea. Like yesterday, when I realized the perfect material for my tags was the Grape Nuts box sitting in the recycling bin.

Loving: open-face breakfast burrito

I’ve had this for breakfast the last two Sundays. It’s perfect fuel for all the errand-running you inevitably do.

Just saute some chopped onions in a little butter. Then add two eggs and scramble (I always add salt, pepper and a little milk to the eggs before I whisk them up). Put the eggs on a wheat tortilla, then top with a little shredded pepperjack and chunky salsa.

More vacation photos

A while back I realized I had dozens of photos from our vacation that I never posted. Things have been a little hectic since we got back so I’m just now getting to putting them up (apologies). I can’t remember which ones Mike took so I’ll just say they’re from both of us.

Mike takes on a statue in Boston. And wins!

Mmmm, pastries.

Harbor in Portland, Maine.

More from Maine.

A schooner that passed us on the ferry to Nova Scotia.

A crazy caterpillar we saw on our hike.

White sand beach. I try not to think too much about the fact that I’m not still there.

I just liked this tree. (spoken like a true hippie)

They know how to pick paint colors in Nova Scotia.

At the Anne of Green Gables house, Anne’s room.

Toward the end of our journey, with about 50 million miles under our belts.