May Days

Happy Memorial Day to you!!! I had to work today so no lake time or cook-outs for me but that is fine. That is not the reason we recognize Memorial Day. It is to take time to honor our fallen soldiers.

We have been having Whip-poor-will winter here in the south. If you missed my post describing the times of the different “winters” that we experience here in the south you can check out my blog post about them here. Whip-poor-will winter is usually around the end of May. It is when you first start hearing the whip-poor-wills late in the evening or early mornings. True to form Whip-poor-will winter arrived Friday morning and it was only about 45 degrees F. All weekend we enjoyed the cooler temps.

It is so hard to believe that May is coming to an end and June is here. Almost half of the year is gone already. Christmas will be here before you know it!! O.K. I will reign it in. I mentioned Christmas at work today and got a couple of angry glares. It’s not that I am rushing the seasons or anything but this year is marching right on by at an alarming rate.

I had a bit of a crazy week last week. I took my little mother in law out for a ride for the first time in almost a year and a half. She lives in an assisted living center and they have pretty much been on lockdown since March of 2020. We have been able to visit lately but only last week did they tell us that we could take her out of the facility. She always loved going to get a hamburger and take a ride. So that is what we planned for our first outing.

We planned the trip for Tuesday evening. It was about 90 degrees and blistering hot. I arrived at the center at around 4:30 to pick her up. It was a bit of a nightmare. We had to use her back door which involves using her walker on concrete and that really slows it up and her down. It also made her quite frustrated and hot with the stifling temps. We got to the car and I had trouble getting her into the car. It was almost like she had forgotten how to maneuver herself into the car. And she probably had, like I said it had been well over a year since we did this. After much sweating and praying we got her into the car. She didn’t like her seat adjustment and I told her I couldn’t change it until we got to the drive-in where we were getting a hamburger. Once we were there it took 30 minutes to get the burger. She did not want the car running while we ate so I turned it off and we sat in the evening sun while sweat dripped into places it shouldn’t have. After the burgers we went for a short ride. She just didn’t seem to enjoy it like she used to. It was disappointing and scary to realize just how much frailer she had gotten during quarantine. But we will plug along and try it differently next time. I am not sure what we will do different but if she wants to go we will make it work. She is 87 years old and if she wants a hamburger and a ride we will find a way.

Wednesday night we took some pictures of the “Flower Moon”. It was beautiful. The night sky was clear and for just a brief time the moon turned a pinkish color. Luckily it happened for us about 9:30 PM and we caught it just before going to bed. We also sent the drone up but not very good pictures with it.

Later in the week we had major internet issues at work. Our online ticketing went down and as one of my co-managers said, we were dead in the water. We finally got it resolved and all was o.k. but a very stressful day.

So when Saturday rolled around I was ready for some down time. I picked up groceries on my way home on Friday. I watched some movies and crocheted on the afghan I am working on. I did some laundry and me and the babies took some walks. It was wonderful. I finished up the weekend making a Birthday cake for my niece and baking some bread for co-workers and my nephew. Mark had to work all weekend so it was just me and the babies.

I think our rain gauge has seen better days but it is one that Mark’s dad used for years and years and we just can’t part with it.
My co-workers have come to love my sour dough bread and now expect it regularly. Ha Ha!!!

Have a great week and always remember

Love your day your way!!!!

Goodbye Winter

Can you believe it is spring of 2021? Remember this time last year when the pandemic was just starting to make a difference in our worlds? I think spring almost slipped by without notice. As many things did of course.

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts spring is definitely in the air. Trees are blooming, buds are popping out daily, the grass is getting greener and mowier. But I have to give winter it’s due diligence. Winter I love you. I love you for many reasons: I don’t have to bare a lot of this super frighteningly white skin. I feel more secure in layers. I can wear my stretchy pants and boots and I look somewhat stylish. I can pull a toboggan or hat over my staticky hair and it still looks fine. I can spend more time indoors, it is cold after all. Knitting is much more fun in the winter months when it is cold and you have yummy warm yarn resting on your lap and legs while you knit. Hot coffee and warm banana bread on a cold morning is just heavenly. Walks with the babies while I am bundled up and breathing the cold air is invigorating. I don’t sweat as much. I love wearing boots but in the south it is just too hot to wear boots all year long, winter is best for boots.

So you can see my love for winter is pure and true. I could go into some of the yucky winter things like icy roads, I’ll stay at home. Hibernation, I am the queen of that thank you very much. Boredom, I have never been bored in my life I can always find something to entertain me. Having to bundle up every time you go out, see the paragraph above and you will understand. No I can’t think of a lot of reasons to dislike winter.

Spring arrived yesterday with sunny skies and a slight breeze ruffling the trees. The air was soft and sweet like it is before the hot temps and humidity set in. It was a great day. I took the babies on a couple of walks and they seemed to enjoy being outside sniffing the grass and anything else they could plant their little noses into. It was so nice being outside and enjoying the sunshine and spring air.

So goodbye winter until we meet again and if you are from East Tennessee you know that could very well be next week, HA!!! It isn’t actually spring until we go through all the winters in the south. I know I have mentioned these a few times but here is a few that I swear by:

Redbud Winter – Mid-March to early April, when the redbud trees bloom.


Dogwood Winter – Mid to late April, when the dogwood trees bloom. Often a heavy frost falls in dogwood winter.


Blackberry Winter – Early to mid-May, when the blackberries are in full bloom. In the Tennessee mountains, this often coincides with the last frost of spring, which can kill new plantings on the farm.


Whippoorwill Winter – Mid- to late May, when the whippoorwills can first be heard in the twilight of evenings and before dawn.

There are a couple of others but these are the ones I grew up with. I would often hear my parents say its’ “Blackberry Winter, the black berries are blooming.” I knew that summer would soon be arriving but for a little while longer we would have to add an extra blanket on the bed.

My husband makes fun of me for believing in these different winters but that is what a lot of farmers use as a guide for planting different things. I can assure you they happen year after year. Who am I to question nature. Plus it gives me a little more of winter to enjoy. Now where did I put my sweater???

No matter the season,

Always remember,

Love your day your way!!!!

Making Fried Apple Pies

Happy Monday friends,

The weather here has been HOT!!! Temps have been in the upper 90’s with a heat index making it feel like it’s over 100 degrees!!!!

Oh what a perfect time for our air to go out. Yep, I came home from buying groceries on Saturday and heard Mark talking to someone on the phone. Turns out it was the man who services our heat and air unit. To tell you this man, Wayne, is wonderful would be such a gross understatement. And not just because he came out on a Saturday afternoon and serviced our unit but he has been there so many times for us, and for many of my family members.  First of all the unit was put in over 20 years ago when we built the house.  You know that most units these days don’t last that long. 

Wayne is not the type of repairman that will tell you that you need a new unit just so he can make some money. He is fair and honest. Anyway he had the air back on within two hours and I barely broke a sweat.

What does this have to do with making fried apple pies you may ask. Not really anything except if we hadn’t gotten the air back on I would not have been heating the stove for anything!!!

In all my days of cooking I have never made fried apple pies. WHAT??? I always wanted to try them. I don’t know if you follow Brenda Gantt on Facebook but she is a true southern cook from Alabama.  Check her out. I just love her.

So I went by Brenda’s recipe for the dough. All she uses is plain flour, buttermilk and solid crisco shortening, you know the white stuff in the tin can. My mama always had some when we were growing up.

Brenda doesn’t use much of a recipe so I watched her video on Facebook and went by that. Here is what I did:

I used 3 Granny Smith apples. I peeled them and  added about 3/4 of a cup of sugar, a half cup of water and sprinkled some cinnamon on top of the apples and cooked them down until they became soft and mushy and syrupy.  I used a heavy sauce pan. 

I put some plain flower in a mixing bowl and added 1/2 cup of the solid shortening and some buttermilk. I didn’t measure the buttermilk I just kept adding the buttermilk until I could form a small ball of dough. I then divided the dough into several pieces and sprinkled them with flower. I rolled them out, using a dough roller, in small circles about 4 inches in diameter. The dough cannot be sticky. Add a little flour to keep it from sticking.

The cooking time in the oil will vary depending on what kind of pan you use. The cast iron pan took 2-3 minutes on each side. They cook really fast.

They turned out really well. Mark had his with ice cream. I took what was left over to work and my fellow employees made short work of those.

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I love using this Cast Iron Cookware by Lodge. It is perfect for frying.
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Granny Smith apples are the best for these pies.
The apples tasted yummy I could have eaten them just like this. Actually I did.
I added powdered sugar to these.

I hope you have good luck with your fried apple pies.

Always remember love your day your way!!!

Southern Apple Stack Cake

This is one of my “Southern Secrets”  It is a secret way I have of making a really yummy treat.

When I was first married,  I remember my mother in law knew a woman in town who made the best Apple Stack Cakes you have ever eaten.  An apple stack cake is just what the name says.  It is a stack of cakes with apple filling in between.  The higher the stack the better, but most recipes call for six layers of the cake.  Now keep in mind the layers are very thin, that is one of the tricks to the Apple Stack Cake.  I am going to tell you the basic four steps for preparing the Apple Stack Cake and then I am going to give you a secret recipe that is unbelievably good.  You may already know about it. It doesn’t even involve baking.  What?? You won’t believe it!!!   Please know I am not trying to downplay the Apple Stack cake and the original way to make it.  It is a true labor of love and shouldn’t be taken lightly. If I could buy one or make one every week I probably would.  But I know I don’t have time for that and you probably don’t either.

But back to my original story.  When I was first married my mother in law knew a woman and her husband who made stack cakes at Christmas.  They had several apple trees and they would harvest the apples in the fall and peel them and dry them for Christmas time to be made into the cakes. They dried bags and bags of them.  This was a big deal for them.  They did it to earn extra money for Christmas.  They were both retired and lived very modestly.  When Christmas came around everyone knew this was the place to get your stack cake.  Many many cakes were made daily.  They even delivered them to you for the outrageously low price of $12.00.  I know!!!   I think the first year I knew about them they were $10.00 and then the price of the ingredients went up or maybe the apple crop didn’t do as well and they had to increase their price.  If you ever happened to stop by their house during the stack cake preparation, you would see a flurry of activity coming from that sweet couple.  You would find it hard to believe that only two people did all of the work that went into all of the cakes.

My mother in law always got one for Christmas dinner.  You had to put your order in early because they only made so many and when the apples were gone they were gone.  After I got married I got on the list so that I could have a cake for my mom and dad’s house when we went there for Christmas.  Two of these awesome cakes at Christmas, well it was just about the best thing you can think of.

The four basic steps for making your Apple Stack Cake:  I am not including an ingredient recipe you can google it or you may even have one from your grandmother or aunt Gene.
Here is one that I found that looks pretty good http://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/8012/apple-stack-cake

1. You make the apple filling.  You are making the applesauce from dried apples by simmering them with water and spices and a bit of brown sugar.  Once the dried apples become soft and pliable you will put them into a food processor to be pureed.

2. Make your cake batter.  You can use a basic cake batter but you must chill it so that you can spread the cake batter very thinly for baking.  Some people put the batter directly on parchment paper and bake the layers (you must have at least six layers, I don’t know why but you do)  but my mama always used a cake pan and just spread the batter really thin along the bottom of the cake pan.

3. When the layers of cake are cooled you put one of the layers on a plate.  Spread the filling on top then add another layer continue with this until you get to the last layer.  Some people spread the filling on the top and sides.  I think this makes it really messy.  It also makes it hard to wrap it later.  Once you wrap the cake the delicious apple filling will seep into all of the cake and make it really soft and yummy.

4. Top the cake with waxed paper and wrap in plastic wrap.  Let stand at least 12-24 hours before cutting.

 


Doesn’t that look delicious?

Now I will tell you my little cheater way of doing this.  A friend told me about this years ago and whenever I get a craving for an Apple Stack Cake I just fix one of these:

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You will need a jar of reaaaallllly good apple butter.  This is the apple butter I bought at the Mennonite market a few weeks ago.  It is so good. You will also need a pack of graham crackers.  I use the regular kind. I guess you could use the cinnamon ones.

Spread the apple butter between each of the graham crackers and start layering the crackers.

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This is what it will look like when you finish.  I may have gone a little crazy on the apple butter but it is just so good!!!!

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You then wrap plastic wrap around it and put it in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours. Actually waiting 24 hours makes it even better but it’s so hard to wait!!!  The crackers absorb the apple butter. They will no longer taste like plain graham crackers.

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This is what it will look like when you cut it.  You will get about 3 servings out of this because it is really dense.  It is soft just like a cake and it tastes yummy.

Like I said I am in no way telling you not to make a “real” Apple Stack Cake. But if you don’t have time and you want a treat that brings back a lot of memories, try this.  Let me know how it goes.

Always remember,

Love your day your way!!!

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