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Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie

Well, our family from Michigan is on their way home, Rob is back at school, and I am doing some fall cleaning and Christmas decorating this week. Everyone was here for supper Monday night and we were able to get a picture with the whole family. We had hoped to do this the day of Nora and Topher's wedding, but Mark and Katie were busy at the hospital. 🙂

picture of Loach Fam 112911

Several weeks ago Rob and I were out shopping and saw this lovely nativity set and purchased it to replace a small one we have used for many, many years. I'm trying to find the best spot to display it. I think I like it best here on top of the piano.

picture of New Nativity

I mentioned in my last post that I had tried a new pie for Thanksgiving--this Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie. One of my faithful readers, Deb from Virginia, asked if I would post the recipe. A few years ago while I was on an unexpected delay at the Detroit airport one day I purchased a copy of Midwest Living magazine and this recipe was in there. I ran across the recipe in a burst of organization a couple of months ago and put it aside to try this fall.

We all enjoyed the recipe. I did not make the nut pastry or the nut topping since our other pie was a Pecan Pie and one of our family members does not care for nut desserts. It does sound good though and I would like to try it some time.

picture of Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie

Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie

Nut Pastry (recipe follows)
Pie Filling:
1 15 oz. can pumpkin
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup apple butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
2 Tbsps. soft butter
2 Tbsps. flour
2 Tbsps. brown sugar
Sweetened whipped cream or Cool Whip for topping

Prepare nut pastry or pastry of your choice.

Prepare filling:
In medium bowl combine pumpkin, 1/2 cup brown sugar, apple butter, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Whisk in the two eggs and the egg yolk. Blend in the whipping cream. Pour into prepared crust.

Loosely cover the edge of the pastry with foil to prevent overbrowning. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 mins. Remove foil and bake 20 mins. more. Meanwhile combine the nuts, butter, flour and the two tablespoons of brown sugar. Sprinkle over the pie and bake for 15-20 mins. more or until the pie tests done with a knife.

Cool on a wire rack and refrigerate before serving. Garnish with whipped cream.

Nut Pastry
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp. salt
2/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup ground pecans or walnuts
8-10 Tbsps. water

Stir together the flour and salt. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender. Stir in the nuts. Sprinkle in the water a tablespoonful at a time until dough forms a ball. Divide into two portions and chill for about an hour if possible. Roll out dough to fit 9 inch pie plate. The other half of the dough can be used for another pie or to make decorative cut outs for around the edge of the crust.


A day of thankful anticipation

We are experiencing beautiful spring-like weather here in South Carolina today with temps in the low 60's. Rob did a little shopping this morning and worked in the yard a bit while I baked a couple of pies (pecan and a new one--pumpkin apple butter.) The turkey is roasting in the oven now and I just finished up a jello salad. I want to make a pan of cinnamon rolls for in the morning and then all I will have left to do tomorrow is the corn pudding and to shape and bake the dinner rolls.

Nora and Topher are hosting the meal this year. It's rather nice to have adult children who can share in the meal preparation. 🙂 Megan, Jim, and Drew are on their way and hope to arrive by late this evening. Mark, Katie, and Ryan will be celebrating with her family this year, but we all plan to get together for at least one meal before Meg and Jim head back home.

Rob and I drove up into the mountains about a week and a half ago to get one last bushel of apples before the orchards closed for the season. When we arrived at our favorite place they were actually giving away pumpkins and squash. We picked out a large hubbard squash which I split with Nora. Have you ever eaten hubbard squash?

picture of Hubbard

They are huge and rather hard shelled (Rob cut it in half for me with a saw!) but delicious. I cooked my half and used some of it to make this soup.

picture of Corn and Squash Soup

Corn and Squash Soup
6 slices of bacon, cooked until crisp and diced
1 small onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 Tbsp. flour
1 cup chicken broth
3 cups mashed cooked squash (butternut, acorn, hubbard, etc.)
1 can cream style corn
1 cup evaporated milk
salt and pepper to taste
minced fresh parsley for garnish

In a large soup kettle cook bacon until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels. Set aside. Reserve 1 Tbsp. drippings. Saute onion and celery in the drippings until they are tender. Stir in the flour. Stir in the broth. Bring to a boil and then cook two minutes until slightly thickened. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat through and serve. Makes 4-5 servings.

I hope all of you will have a very blessed day of Thanksgiving.


Cauliflower Soup

picture of Cauliflower Soup

You can often find nice big heads of snowy white cauliflower at a good price in the fall and winter. If you get tired of eating raw cauliflower, this soup is a delicious alternative. I have been making it for many years following a recipe from an old Farm Journal cookbook. One year after Rob had dental surgery I tried pureeing it in the blender. We actually prefer the creamy consistency of the pureed soup, so now I do it the easy way with the immersion blender.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

1 medium head cauliflower, cut into small flowerets
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup chopped onion (one small)
2 Tbsps. flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk (can use evaporated skim)
1 1/2 cup cooking water from cauliflower
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
fresh chopped chives or parsley for garnish, if desired

Cook cauliflower until tender. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups of cooking water. In soup kettle melt butter and cook onion until soft. Add flour and blend in. Slowly add broth and simmer until mixture comes to a boil. Add cooking water, milk, and cauliflower. Bring back to a boil. Puree at this point, if desired. Add cheese and allow to melt. Serve up and garnish with chives or parsley. Enjoy this delicious soup!


An abundance of eggs

Have you noticed how expensive eggs have gotten lately? I stocked up a few weeks ago when one of our local stores had them at a dollar a dozen and then our friend Dallas shared some of the beautiful fresh eggs that his hens have provided. Here's a picture of some of the colorful eggs:

picture of Colorful Eggs

With this bounty on hand we've been eating egg dishes such as scrambled eggs and deviled eggs and this week I remembered this colorful quiche recipe from Taste of Home magazine. We still have green onions in our garden and I have the last of the cherry tomatoes in the garage so it was a perfect recipe to utilize things on hand. The cornmeal crust is quite tasty, but you could use a pre-made crust to make things easier.

picture of Tomato Quiche

Years ago when I was teaching home economics I went to a demonstration put on by the South Carolina Egg Board showcasing eggs and how versatile they are. They even blindfolded one audience member and had her prepare an omelet to show how easy egg cookery can be! Eggs are very versatile and nutritious. They also can be prepared quickly and can be used in place of meat or to add protein to meatless or nearly meatless dishes such as Fried Rice or a chef salad.

Do you have any favorite egg dishes?


A day in the life of Ryan at Grandma’s house aka: Shameless Grandma Post

It's been a couple of months since Ryan has been coming to spend the day with me while his parents are at school. It's hard to believe that he's already seven months old. I've been meaning to post some pictures of our day to day activities for quite a while now. This week one of my blog readers asked to see some pictures of him, so that spurred me on to work on this post. These are just some of the cute pictures I have snapped over the course of the last few months.

Typical scenes at our house these days:

There are several diaper changes:

picture of Ryan Diaper 9-11

There's lots of play time in the exersaucer--a favorite!

picture of Ryan Saucer

There's generally some rocking--sometimes Grandpa gets to enjoy this.

picture of Ryan Rob Sleeping

He loves to play on the floor and is just on the verge of crawling.

picture of Ryan Floor 2

Sometimes he plays on the bed although this is a limited activity now that he's nearly crawling.

picture of Ryan On Bed

Eating is a favorite activity, especially when it involves carrots or squash.

picture of Ryan Carrots

Can you tell we are having lots of fun together?