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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Apple Picking in Yuciapa

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This Sunday I went apple picking. It was the first time I ventured out past San Bernardino on my own (well, Boyfriend was with me) and it was the first time I’ve ever been that close to orchards. I’ve driven past them on my way to lovely San Fran on the Golden State Fwy (I-5) however this was a completely different experience.

First, we went to Snow-Line where Boyfriend and I stood in line for a good 18 minutes to get the most amazing (and fresh) apple cider cinnamon donuts on the planet! I don’t think the actual flavor is what mattered most here, but the freshness. Being made, right there, in front of our very  (greedy) eyes!

After we had our fill of donuts, although for the rest of the day I wanted more, we wandered around the charming store. It was a mix of orchard store, vintage shop, and mom and pop garage sale. I couldn’t have been happier.

I wanted these most of all!


Next, we drove about a mile and a half to Riley’s Apple Farm. That was a completely different experience entirely. They had a small orchard for families and children that couldn’t handle their bigger, hillier, orchards as well as a lovely and secluded picnic area.




Dogs and cats a like roamed and welcomed visitors!


As we proceeded further into the orchard however I found this (good luck) sign that the apples are delicious. Clearly, someone wanted this apple so much that they forgot to pick it and went right for the flavor!


After a good 30 minutes of walking around looking for Rome Beauties and Braeburn apples we located their top-of-the-hill pumpkin patch and corn! Although it was very small indeed, a bit slimy, thanks to the dewy morning, I had fun attempting to pick one out that was just right.

Sadly my expectations are too high and no pumpkins made the cut.


On our way back we were able to say “hi” to this guy again.

By the way, his name is Tom. Apparently, every farm has an orange tom tabby cat that anyone can come up to and love. That was a great part of the weekend for me personally.

Aside from the lovely cats roaming around me, I went home with fresh apple cider, something called Christmas Jam, and a heaping 6 lbs of apples I picked myself. My hands picked those beauties sitting on my kitchen floor. I feel (a little too) proud.





Caramel Apple Mini Pies for Apple-Picking Sunday

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I know that’s it is very rare for me to post twice  in one day, but I was feeling inspired. I, along with many, many others, follow abeautifulmess blog. Elsie wrote an amazing post earlier today (or was it yesterday) about making lists, sticking to them, on completing projects, and on sticking to personal deadlines.

It applies a lot to me right now, especially since it’s two weeks till the dreaded FINAL, and I’m on such a high procrastination kick that I can’t even begin to make plans on how to celebrate after the FINAL. Ugh! So complex, I know.

I guess it all started with my own list. The big 16  to-do items staring at me. I didn’t start my errands till way after 1pm. However, once I got started, I couldn’t stop! I realized how much I’ve neglected my apartment, my laundry, and my self! To cut a long story short, I was so pleased with myself that I added an extrain item to the list: making these lovely things from Yummly.

They will be perfect for tomorrows apple picking trip. I can imagine it now, starting off with these pies for breakfast, before eating mini apple cider donuts at Snow-Line Orchards… ahh bliss. 

Caramel Apple Mini Pies

  • 3 cups apples (peeled and diced, Jonathan or Granny Smith)
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 package refrigerated pie crusts (I used my own-  Martha Stewart’s!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (my oven is odd, so I baked mine at 350).
Peel and dice apples. Sprinkle with lemon juice.

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl and add apples. Toss to mix. Add vanilla and cream. Melt butter in heavy skillet. Add apple mixture and cook approximately 6 minutes to soften apples.

Remove crusts from fridge. Flatten out one of the doughs on a cutting board.

Gently cut 4 inch circles of dough using a cup, bowl, or cookie cutter with a 4-inch diameter.
Press dough into the muffin tin cups, making a thin even layer on the bottom and around the sides.

Spoon apple mixture into each cup right up to the rim , but no higher.

Roll out the remaining dough and cut out small strips (6 per pie) slightly longer than the width of the top of the pies. Lay strips across the tops in a lattice pattern and attach to edges of pies using the end of butter knife.

Lightly brush egg white over tops of lattice.

Bake pies  for 30-35 minutes or until crust is golden brown and apple mixture is bubbling.

Ragu for Emergencies

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This is my fool-proof recipe for ragu. At least it will be. This is the first time that I’ve made it.  But I am not disappointed.

Today started off a little slow for me. I didn’t really get out of my pj’s till noon, and even then it took a few cups of coffee to really get started. I had a short list to start off, and added to it slowly. First off, I had to make lunch, and enough for leftovers for dinner as well as Monday’s word lunch.  I also had to clean my tub for tonight’s bath, and lastly I had to vacuum (it’s been too long). So I did what any sane person would do. I started with something that was totally off the list!

In the end, I cleaned the kitchen, bathroom, vacuumed, and even took out the trash all in an hour. In the meantime, this ragu was bubbling away on the stove. It’s very simple, but very necessary, especially when there’s a chill in the air. (Granted right now it’s about 78 degrees in So. Cal but I’m a bit under the weather and that’s chilly enough for me!)


  • 1 lb ground chicken (organic if possible)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 can (standard 14.5 oz Heinz) of tomato sauce
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cayanne powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder, or two cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pasta of your choice- cooked
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, to serve
  • dried basil, to serve

Heat oil in a 4 quart pot- or dutch oven (I used my cast iron Lodge).

Add in the chicken and the onion and cook together for about 7 minutes. It doesn’t matter that the chicken isn’t cooked or the onion isn’t perfectly seared. Add in all seasonings aside from chili powder. Add in tomato sauce. Stir and bring to a boil.

Add in the chili powder with the oregano and simmer on low for 15 minutes.

Add in the sharp cheddar, and stir till barely melted. Add in cooked pasta of your choice and sprinkle with basil and parmesan cheese to serve.

Simple, and perfect!