Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Apple Pie & Best Ever Pie Crust

I never get to make apple pie because my husband does not enjoy warm apples, but this year I got to for Thanksgiving. I know, a little late, but here it is anyways. I absolutely LOVED this pie. The filling had just the right amount of sweetness and the crust I used was flaky and perfect. First attempt at making apple pie and it was 5★ all the way!

1/2 C. unsalted butter
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1/4 C. water
1/2 C. white sugar
1/2 C. brown sugar
dash of cinnamon
5 Granny Smith Apples- peeled, cored and sliced
1 recipe for a 9-inch double pie crust (see below)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar,brown sugar, and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.
2. Place the bottom crust in your pan. Reserve 1/4 C. liquid and set aside to brush on top of pie. Mix the remaining liquid with apples and pour into crust, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work crust. 3. Brush the reserved sugar and butter liquid over the crust.
4. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350° F (175 ° C). Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft.

Best Ever Pie Crust

2 C. all- purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 C. shortening
1/2 C. water

1. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water until mixture forms a ball. Divide dough in half, and shape into balls. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
2. Roll out dough on a floured counter. Don't over work it. Use as directed in pie recipe.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief

The description from Amazon.com:

"It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul."

MY REVIEW: Excellent book. Death is the narrator in this book, which I was a little reluctant to read. It was intriguing and very well written. You come to love the main character and feel for her. More adult themed because it does deal with death, but much more fascinating than other Holocaust era books I've read. It has tons of positive reviews on Amazon and I can see why.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Help

Here is the description from Barnes and Noble:
"Be prepared to meet three unforgettable women:

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women-mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends-view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't."

MY REVIEW: Possibly my new favorite book. Yes, it's that good. No, I have not seen the movie but I'm planning on it! Growing up in sheltered Utah, I haven't been exposed to much racism. It totally baffles me that such hatred has and still does exist.That said, I truly appreciate the insights of the author and her ability to write such a beautiful story.

I loved everything about this book. The story was intriguing, the characters were loveable, it tugged at your heartstrings, made you angry, and made you want to never put it down! Excellent read!