Now that I’m 27 and can no longer fit into the jeans I wore in high school (hello, hips!), I’ve been on a mission to fill my wardrobe with American-made jeans. I absolutely want my dollars to count toward ethically-sourced cotton and fair-wage practices, but I’m not going to pay couture pricing. Some companies really jack up their prices unnecessarily. After a little bit of hunting, I found 10 pairs of jeans made in the USA priced under $100.
I’m not really a pie person, but when my Dad asked me to make dessert for Thanksgiving three years ago, I knew it had to be pie. What’s Thanksgiving without pie?! So after binge watching Pushing Daisies for the millionth time, I decided on Chuck-inspired apple cup-pies with Gruyere cheese baked into the crust. My issue with pies has always been the crust-filling ratio. There needs to be more crust! Cup pies — mini pies baked in cupcake tins — totally solve that for me. And with apple season in full swing, I finally got around to making them again so that I can share them with you (and my grateful co-workers ;)!
Apple Cup Pies — Makes about 12 mini pies. Recipe adapted from Cave Cibum.
5 cups flour
1 tbs sugar
½ tsp salt
3 ½ sticks (28 tbs) salted butter, frozen
5 oz Gruyere cheese, grated
1 cup cold water
1 tsp vanilla (optional, but it’s what Chuck would have done!)
4 apples — peeled, cored, and chopped into cubes. I recommend Granny Smith, Gala, or Honeycrisp.
1 ½ tbs sugar
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 ½ tsp flour
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 egg, beaten
sugar, for dusting
1. Let’s cut up all of that butta before it melts! Chop it up into nice, little cubes.
2. Combine your flower, sugar, salt, and butter in a large bowl. Because the butter is frozen, you’re going to need to push it into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until clumps begin to form. Then, mix in the grated Gruyere cheese.
3. Add vanilla and water and knead until you’ve got a nice soft dough. If it’s too dry, add more water. Divide the dough in half and pat each half into flattened disks. Wrap these discs in plastic wrap and store them in the fridge for at least an hour, or up to 2 days.
4. While waiting for the dough to chill, chop up your apples…
5. Add in your sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, and vanilla and mix them into the apples until they’re fairly evenly coated.
6. Once your dough is chilled, remove one disk from the refrigerator and roll it out onto a floured surface until it’s about ¼ inch thick.
7. Use a large cup, biscuit cutter, or old Wonton Soup container (yes, that’s what that is) and cut out 12 circles.
8. Grease alternating cups in two cupcake pans, and place your 12 circles into each greased cup. Push them in with your fingertips so they fit into the bottom and sides of the cups. If you don’t have two pans, you can take turns with the one you have, but when you bake the second batch, grease and use the unused cups.
9. Generously fill each pie with apple mixture. It’s okay — preferable! — if it’s overflowing.
10. Roll out your second dough disk and use a smaller cup or biscuit cutter (about 3 1/2 inch) to cut 12 circles. Top each pie with these smaller circles and press the edges together to seal. Brush the top of each pie with beaten egg and dust with sugar, then cut some small steam holes in the tops. Get creative with your steam holes! I gave this heart one to Stan ♥
11. Bake for 15 minutes at 425°, then reduce the heat to 350° and bake an another 15 minutes, until the dough is golden and the filling begins to bubble up.
11. Eat ‘em up! I like them best paired with vanilla ice cream.
I have long been a fan of polka dots, but I think this outfit really captures my polka fever. We’ve also been a little bit polka dot crazy at work, but I can’t tell you why just yet; it’s a secret! ;)
Speaking of work, I think my multicolored Timex Weekender SLip-Thru with a white strap goes pretty well with this outfit, yeah? Especially when I throw on my Yellow-So-Cute Coat from ModCloth. They don’t have it for sale anymore, but here’s a similar peacoat that’s a bit more suited to the season.
How perfect is this yellow bow belt? Hand’s down my favorite belt.
Oh and here’s me walking away from the super nice yellow car in our parking lot (no idea what kind), Dave chasing me with his iPhone and pretending to be the paparazzi. (We have fun!)
A few weeks ago, my Dad mentioned these slightly sweet rolls his paternal grandmother used to bake when he was younger. “Bulla bread!” He said. He had never mentioned them before, but I’m always up for a baking challenge! His 50th birthday party this past Sunday was the perfect time to try my hand at them.
Bulla’s origins look to be Finnish, but are made across Scandinavia. My great-grandmother was Swedish and Danish so this recipe was most likely engrained in her brain. (Kind of like Red Velvet cupcakes are for me). Take a dinner roll, add sugar and cardamom and that’s basically it. You can add raisins or cinnamon too, but having never made them before, I went for a basic recipe. I loved making them for my Dad, and watching he and his siblings reminisce while eating them. They made yummy breakfast treats the next day too!
Bulla Bread — makes 32 rolls. Recipe adapted from Snovej.
2 cups + 2 tbs milk
2 packages of dry yeast
1 cup sugar + 1 tsp, divided
2 tsp ground cardamom
5½ – 6 cups flour
14 tbs (1 ¾ sticks) butter, room temperature or melted
1. Microwave the milk for about a minute and pour it into a big bowl. Dissolve the yeast in it, then stir in one egg and 1 cup sugar, and the salt and cardamom. Mix well.
2. Add flour 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly between each addition. After 4 cups, mix in the butter, then more flour until you have a nice dough that no longer sticks to your fingers. (This was about 5½ cups for me).
3. When you’re satisfied with the consistency of your dough, cover it with a towel and let it rise in a warm place.
4. After 1-2 hours, it should have doubled in size. If not, let it rise for longer.
5. When it’s risen, pour the dough onto a floured surface and knead it, adding more flour if necessary.
6. Divide the dough into four equal-sized balls.
7. Roll each ball into a log about 8″-10″ long.
8. Slice each long into 8 equal pieces. I slice it in half first, then quarters, then eighths.
9. Lay out your sliced dough on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Let rise for another 30 minutes or so.
10. Make an egg wash with your other egg and 1 tbs of sugar, and lightly baste your dough, then cook at 450º for 8-10 minutes.
2. Eden Scarf via FashionABLE. I love FashionABLE’s scarves and their mission to create sustainable businesses in Africa. For that, this fall accessory is a win-win.
3. Skinny Skinny Jeans via Madewell. I just bought a pair of these from Uptown Consignment — brand new! — for $18. They are the most comfortable jeans I have ever owned. They will be well worn this season.
4. Madden Girl Elsiee boots via Zappos. I love cognac-colored boots. If I didn’t just buy a pair earlier this year, these would be all mine.
5. Chai Tea via Simpson & Vail. As soon as it starts falling below 60 degrees in the morning, I make my own chai tea lattes before work with Simpson & Vale’s chai tea mix, soy milk, and a little bit of agave nectar. (I’ve also made an iced version.)