Homemade Apple Pie

Homemade Apple Pie

We went apple picking this weekend and our youngest decided we didn’t have enough apples in our already full basket. My first thought was applesauce, but neither of the kids LOOOVE applesauce that much. Then I thought apple crisp. Then I thought apple pie. So, apple pie it was!

I’ve made pumpkin pie from scratch and I remember it being, well, an experience. It was a Monday holiday and I only had our youngest home with me that day, so I figured, why not? I have a whole day, right? For some reason I could only find good recipes for the filling OR the crust, but not both combined, so I took what I liked from two I found and compiled them for you here. The crust recipe came from New York Times cooking and the filling recipe comes from Allrecipes.

Crust

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 2 -4 Tbsp ice water, as needed

Directions

  1. In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt. Add butter and pulse until the mixture forms small pieces. Slowly add ice water, 1 Tbsp at a time and pulse until the dough comes together. The dough should be moist, but not wet.
  2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball. Flatten into a disk with the heel of your hand. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

Filling

Ingredients

  • 8 Granny Smith apples (or other tart, firm variety), peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste.
  3. Add water, white sugar, and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.

Preparing Crust, Filling, and Baking

  1. Once the crust has refrigerated for at least an hour, remove it from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out with a flour coated rolling pin to approximately 1/8″ thickness. Roll the dough onto the floured rolling pin, then gently unroll over the pie crust. Cut excess dough approximately 1″ away from the rim of the pie pan. Fold the excess dough under and pinch the crust using an index finger and thumb all around the pan. Combine excess dough together and roll out with the floured rolling pin to 1/8″ thickness. If the dough becomes too warm to work with, refrigerate for 15 minutes or until firm enough to work with. Slice the dough into strips to later create a lattice crust or cut into shapes using a cookie cutter.
  2. Place apples into the center of the pie crust. Allow the apples to slightly mound in the pie crust. Add lattice crust or crust shapes over apples.
  3. Slowly pour filling mixture over the crust and apples making sure it doesn’t overflow, but is covered evenly.
  4. Bake in the oven 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, reduce the temperature to 350 F and bake for 35-45 minutes or until apples are soft and crust is golden brown.
Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant

Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant

I’ve never even given much thought to rubber tree plants, what they looked like, or if they were great plants to have. I happened to see a beautiful variegated plant that had some pink/ruby hues and thought it was one of the prettiest plants I had ever seen-surprise! Variegated rubber tree plant (ficus elastica ruby).

I purchased one from Rooted on Amazon. It arrived packaged perfectly and in perfect condition. I’ll share a few tips I’ve learned along the way about how to care for the Variegated rubber tree plant.

Water: This plant likes to always have moist soil, but not saturated. When in doubt, let it dry out! Overwatering is not good for this plant, so avoid over watering and if you’re not sure, give it a little more time before watering. Overwatering is the most common reason these guys bite the dust, so pay attention to its soil!

Light: The variegated rubber tree plant thrives in bright, indirect light. Variegation, which contains colorless portions of leaves, means that the colorless portions do not have chlorophyll. This means this portion of the plant cannot photosynthesize, so the more light the other portions of the plant can get, the better. Also, the more indirect light this plant receives, the more the beautiful, pink hues will begin to come through.

Yellowing/Dropping Leaves: If your plant’s leaves start to yellow or drop, this could be due to overwatering. Old leaves will also yellow and drop, so check which leaves are yellowing and dropping and check the soil to determine the cause.

Rotate Your Plant: Make sure to rotate your variegated rubber tree regularly to ensure that it receives adequate light to photosynthesize.

Easy Naan Pizzas

Easy Naan Pizzas

This is definitely one of my weeknight go-tos when I don’t have anything thawed or planned. I buy naan when it’s on sale and keep them in the freezer. They go from freezer to oven and bake for 5 minutes. YES… 5 minutes from frozen! You can customize them any way you like-my favorites are traditional and Mediterranean or Greek. You can find mini naan or regular sized naan in most grocery stores in the bread/deli section. The best part about naan pizzas is you can use anything you already have on hand!

Ingredients

  • Naan (frozen or fresh)
  • tomato sauce (I use Basil Garlic pasta sauce because I usually have it on hand, but pizza sauce will work, too)

Toppings

You can use any toppings you typically like on your pizza. Here are some combinations we’ve tried that have become our favorites!

Traditional

  • Shredded mozzarella
  • Pepperoni (we prefer turkey-it’s less greasy than traditional)
  • Black olives
  • Mushrooms

Mediterranean/Greek

  • Fresh sliced mozzarella
  • Fresh basil
  • Kalamata olives
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Feta cheese
  • Dried oregano

Directions

  1. Preheat oven according to naan package instructions.
  2. Place all pieces of naan on a baking sheet (fresh or frozen).
  3. Add sauce to each piece of naan. Top each piece of naan with desired toppings.
  4. Bake naan pizzas in oven according to package heating instructions or until cheese is melted and slightly browned.
  5. Enjoy!
The Beautiful and Easy to Grow Inch Plant (Wandering Jew)

The Beautiful and Easy to Grow Inch Plant (Wandering Jew)

I’ve seen these beautiful, purple and green (two of my favorite colors, I might add) plants and figured they were difficult to care for. Well, I was TOTALLY wrong! I now have two of these little guys and they have taken off over the last few months. Their color is so vibrant they brighten up a room. They’re very easy to care for and easy to propagate (definite bonus in my book!). I bought one of these from Rooted on Amazon and the other I picked up at Meijer, because… plant section, guys. Plant section. Here are a few things I’ve learned about Inch Plants while caring for them-enjoy!

Light: The plants enjoy medium to bright light. Be sure to keep them out of bright light and avoid dark or low light or they will become very leggy.

Water: These plants don’t like to become dry, but they also don’t like to have continually wet soil. Allow the soil to dry partially before watering again. Water these plants less in the winter, since this is their resting period.

Other Care: Aphids can become a pest issue for these plants. If your Inch Plant happens to have an aphid infestation, remove the infested leaves/stems and spray the entire plant down with water.

Propagation: Inch Plants can be very easily propagated. Cut a 2-3 inch piece of the plant and place it in water. The cutting will produce roots in about a week. Plant the rooted cutting in potting soil and voila! New plant!

Bird’s Nest Fern

Bird’s Nest Fern

I bought this adorable little Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium Nidus) at Meijer for $6. I’ve seen them here and there but never really paid much attention to them, but this one caught my eye in its little terra cotta pot. I thought its color was beautiful, its shape was so interesting, and it would brighten a room no matter where I placed it. So, I decided to put it in the kitchen to add a little homeyness.

I really didn’t know anything about these plants, but I noticed when its potting soil became extremely dry it would lose all of its color suddenly. Pretty handy watering reminder! Here are a few things I’ve found about this plant:

Light: Bird’s Nest Ferns do best in medium indirect sunlight, but will also tolerate low indirect light.

Water: These ferns should be watered every 1-2 weeks. Avoid watering in the center of the fern, but instead water around the base of the fern. Let the soil dry out about halfway down before watering.

Humidity: Bird’s Nest Ferns can tolerate a typical home’s humidity, but come from a tropical environment, so they prefer high humidity.

Size: In a home environment, Bird’s Nest Ferns can grow to approximately 2 feet in size.

If you ever come across a Bird’s Nest Fern, pick it up! You’ll be surprised how easy these little guys are to care for and what a statement they are. No one ever believes that mine is real – they’re that distinct!

Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs and Fall Vegetables

Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs and Fall Vegetables

I have no idea why, but I always forget about sheet pan meals. They’re delicious, healthy, and you can use whatever vegetables and seasonings you happen to have on hand. Today is the first day of fall, sooooo time for fall foods! This recipe is great because you can customize it however you like with whatever vegetables you happen to have on hand. Some great vegetables to use are squashes, brussel sprouts, or even cauliflower or broccoli. You could even use chicken breast or legs instead of thighs. I prefer the chicken thighs because they seem to come out crispy on the outside, but not too dry on the inside. I adapted this recipe from one I found from Flavour and Savour.

Ingredients

  • 8 skin on, bone in chicken thighs (any number will do!)
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into approx. 1 inch pieces
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into approx. 1 inch pieces
  • small golden potatoes (any amount is fine, whatever you prefer)
  • 2 medium shallots, sliced
  • 1 honeycrisp, gala, or other sweet apple, sliced with peel on
  • 1 Tbsp thyme
  • 1 Tbsp rosemary
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste

Marinade

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Add chicken thighs to a plastic Ziploc bag. Whisk all marinade ingredients together in a small bowl and pour the marinade into the Ziploc bag with the chicken thighs. Seal the bag and allow the chicken to marinate in the refrigerator while preparing the vegetables.
  3. Cut all of the vegetables and fruit into uniform size pieces.
  4. Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray. Add all vegetables and fruit to the sheet pan.
  5. Place marinated chicken thighs on top of the vegetables and fruit and pour any extra marinade over the chicken.
  6. Bake in the oven 35-45 minutes or until the chicken reaches a temperature of 165 degrees F. If you prefer even crispier chicken, place the pan under the broiler for a few minutes after the chicken thighs have fully cooked.

Easy Ranch Ground Turkey Tacos

Easy Ranch Ground Turkey Tacos

Taco Tuesday is a weekly occurrence, so there needs to be some variety, right? Sure… variety is the spice of life (yes, pun intended). With grocery costs skyrocketing lately I grabbed the alternative to ground beef for our Taco night staple-turkey! It’s more cost effective, tastes great, and I’m sure our arteries will thank us later. This recipe isn’t short on flavor, but is lighter on fat! Customize these tacos however you’d like! I’ll make a list of what we usually top ours with, but get creative! There are also links to Copycat Chipotle guacamole and corn salsa, homemade white queso, and Copycat Chuy’s Creamy Jalapeno dip. I know you could drink that stuff with a straw… we all could…

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ground turkey (or 1 lb if this recipe is only for a few people or you don’t like leftovers)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning (or make your own using this recipe!)
  • 1 packet ranch seasoning
  • taco shells or tortillas

Toppings

  • taco sauce
  • shredded cheese of choice
  • cilantro, finely chopped
  • black olives, sliced
  • sour cream
  • salsa
  • shredded lettuce
  • diced tomato
  • corn salsa (check out my Copycat Chipotle recipe here!)
  • guacamole (more copycat recipes-check out my Chipotle version here!)
  • queso (here’s a stovetop version)
  • creamy jalapeno dip (of course I had to use a Chuy’s Copycat version!)

Directions

  1. Prepare all toppings. Chop all the things!
  2. Brown the ground turkey on medium high until thoroughly cooked.
  3. Add one packet of taco seasoning and one packet of ranch seasoning if using 2 lbs of ground turkey. If only using 1 lb of ground turkey use 1/2 packet of each type of seasoning.
  4. Pile on the toppings! Enjoy!
Verb – The best haircare

Verb – The best haircare

I’ve tried some great haircare in the past, but nothing has compared to Verb. I guess I have what would be considered “curly” hair. It’s more or less wavy, but if I twist it while wet, it will curl and I can wash and wear with no styling, so I’ll call it a hair win. I’ll tell you what I love about Verb products, give a review of each of the products I’ve tried, where I purchase them and the purchase options available, and provide you with some super low maintenance hair tips. I mean, what mom has time to style her hair? Mom buns get old after a while, guys, let me tell you…

Verb Ghost Shampoo and Conditioner

My love of Verb products all started with my mom (shoutout to all of the amazing moms who know what their daughters want when their daughters don’t even know themselves… you know who you are!). She bought me a Verb Ghost set for Mother’s Day a few year’s ago. I had never herd of Verb and thought “Ooooh-new hair products, niiiiice!”. Little did I know how much I would love these hair products. If you’re not sure what type of hair you have, Ghost products are for you. I have wavy, soft, thick hair, but these products are great for any hair type. They clean hair well and my roots don’t get oily too quickly, but it also doesn’t dry my hair out with regular use. My hair stays soft and shiny and styles very easily. Ghost is great for color treated hair and helps your color last without being too harsh. If you’re not sure where to begin, Ghost products are for you!

Verb Curl Shampoo and Conditioner

After Verb products became much easier to purchase (Ulta and direct from Verb’s website), I decided to try their curl shampoo and conditioner. I’m definitely a believer after using these. My hair seems to maintain curl or wave much better than any regular shampoo, doesn’t get oily, and the roots don’t just lay flat after shampooing, but maintain some volume (win, win!). If you have curly or wavy hair, you’ll love the curl shampoo and conditioner.

Verb Ghost Oil

Yes, it’s an oil… don’t be afraid of it-it’s weightless! Since I have wavy/curly hair I use it after finger combing my damp, microfiber towel dried hair so it doesn’t become frizzy after air drying or styling. A little goes a long way. It’s not sticky and doesn’t make my hair look greasy. I make sure to concentrate on my hair several inches from my scalp to make sure I get some extra non-hair washing days in (yeah… I said DAYS… I’m a mom… give me a shampoo break pass, ok?). If you want to eliminate fly aways or give your hair a smoother look before styling it with curing or straight irons, you’ll love Ghost Oil.

Verb Ghost Mask

I’ve never understood the point of hair masks. My hair usually stays soft, I don’t tend to get many split ends because I never use heat on my hair (not because I’m afraid, but because it’s a time suck due to my thick, THICK hair), and it’s not colored. Verb had a sale on their website for different sets and the set that had curl shampoo and conditioner with Ghost Oil came with a Ghost Hair Mask, so I figured I might as well try it. It is a GAME CHANGER! I never thought I needed a hair mask, but this mask is super easy, super quick, and super effective. Use it once a week after shampooing your hair for 5 minutes, rinse, and voila! Soft, manageable hair!

Where to Find Verb Products

Verb products were a little difficult to find for a while and could only be purchased in some salons or on Amazon from an authorized salon. Now their products are easy to purchase directly from their website and yes, they have sales… GREAT SALES! I like to purchase their package sales because they tend to create packages with products you’ll actually use. Shocker, I know! If you’d like to try several of their products I suggest waiting for one of their sales and purchasing direction from them. They also have great sales on larger bottles of Verb products. So, you get the advantage of a discount due to a bulk product AND a great sale on top of that (usually around 20% when they have their large product sales).

If you prefer to walk into a store and purchase Verb products, Ulta has a great selection. They don’t typically have sales on any of their Verb products, but you can purchase for pickup online and walk into the store and take your products home that same day. You can also have them shipped if you’re like me and the thought of walking into a store is too much to bare any longer. Bonus? ULTA POINTS, GUYS… ULTA POINTS. Ulta also usually has a $3.50 coupon or some type of promotion going on with samples, so there’s always that.

Effortless Hair Styling Tips

Like I said earlier, I have wavy/curly hair that is soft, but SUPER thick. I have found the most effortless way (besides the mom bun piled on top of my head) is to let my hair air dry, but frizz, guys… frizz. Here is my process for frizz-free waves/curls:

  • Shampoo and condition hair as normal.
  • Use a hair mask once a week to help lock in moisture and shine.
  • Finger comb wet hair to remove any knots, then towel dry briefly with a microfiber hair wrap like this one from Amazon. Don’t have one or want to purchase one? Use an old t-shirt!
  • After briefly drying with a microfiber towel or t-shirt, twist some strands of hair to encourage curl. Apply a small amount of Ghost Oil on all hair, concentrating mostly on the ends and scrunching to encourage curl/wave.
  • Let hair air dry.

Let me know what your favorite Verb products are so I can try some new ones!

Alocasia Polly – Why are you dropping your leaves?!

Alocasia Polly – Why are you dropping your leaves?!

Alright, this post isn’t ENTIRELY about alocasia pollys losing leaves, but more about their general care and things I find fascinating about them. I bought my alocasia polly from Amazon… yes, Amazon! The convenience always gets me and the price was fair for the convenience ($18.99 for a 4″ pot and $31.99 for a 6″ pot). I’ve purchased several plants from the Rooted company on Amazon and the plants have always arrived in excellent condition and have thrived since they arrived carefully packaged on my doorstep. In fact, most of them have had new leaf shoots or leaves ready to unfurl when they’ve arrived.

Ok, anyways… back to alocasia polly care. Since I’ve never had an alocasia polly, I had to do a little research. They can trick you into thinking they’re dying, but I promise they’re not! Here are a few care tips and some things you might find fascinating about your alocasia polly:

Water

These guys are a little strange when it comes to water. They store all of their water in their large stem or base. This means you should only water your alocasia polly when it is completely dry. They store all of their water in their stem and use the water from their stem, so they don’t like to have constantly moist soil. Water them when they’re completely dry only, usually every two weeks.

Unfurling Alocasia Polly Leaf

Light

Alocasia polly leaves tend to burn, so they don’t care for bright, direct light. While they love being in a well lit room, they thrive out of direct light. If your alocasia polly’s leaves are starting to become crispy, it might be in too much direct light.

Unfurling Leaves

Alocasia polly’s leaves unfurl similar to a monstera. It’s one of the reasons I LOVE this plant! I love watching them sprout new leaves and unfurl.

Dropping Leaves

Alocasia polly don’t have many leaves at one time. If your alocasia polly begins dropping leaves, don’t panic! It could be growing a new leaf or it could be going into its dormant winter stage.

Dormancy

Alocasia polly go dormant in the winter. Some alocasia pollys lose all of their leaves in the winter months. Water them less than you typically would and don’t feed them with fertilizer as much.

I’ve learned so much about alocasia polly and it’s definitely one of my new favorite plants. Remember-indirect light, water only when its soil is COMPLETELY dry, and it’s not dead, it’s just dormant! If you want to learn a little more about this variety, check out some more info from Plant Care for Beginners!

Easy Copycat Chipotle Corn Salsa

Easy Copycat Chipotle Corn Salsa

I’m copying all the things lately and there has been no shortage of Chipotle duplications in this house. Corn salsa is one of those sides that’s a hit with kids and adults in our house. You can keep it sweet or turn up the heat and make it a little spicy. Either way, it pairs great with some copycat Chipotle Guacamole, stovetop queso, or Copycat Chuy’s Creamy Jalapeno dip, so check out those recipes while you’re at it!

Ingredients

  • 1 can sweet corn, drained well
  • 1/4 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 jalapeno, finely diced (more or less to taste)
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • salt, to taste

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients and refrigerate for at least an hour to help flavors combine.
  2. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!