Saturday, September 10, 2011

We Remember September 11, 2001

Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, DC, and Shanksville, PA. I remember that morning clearly, like so many of you do. My family and I were fortunate to be safe in Michigan, only having to watch the horror of the day on television, not in person. I can't imagine how those living and working in all three locations must have felt as events unfolded.

Two years ago my husband and I, along with our three children, visited Shanksville, Pennsylvania. We saw the site before the cement walls were built, and though it was simple and what some would call "plain", I was moved by the things left by those who visited the memorial. I wanted to share some of the pictures I took that day. The last one is of my daughter who didn't want to leave until she created her own message after my husband and I spent time trying to explain what happened that day in terms a child could understand. It was truly an emotional experience that meant a lot to all of us.

By Presidential proclamation, Americans are called on to participate in a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on September 11, 2011. Flags should also be displayed at half-staff in honor of the individuals who lost their lives.

9/11 memorials and commemorations:
New York – The 9/11 Memorial dedication will be held September 11, 2011.

Washington, DC – The Pentagon Memorial is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to allow the public to reflect on those who died there.

Shanksville, Pennsylvania – The National Park Service will dedicate the Flight 93 National Memorial and host a 10th anniversary commemoration.

You can find out more information on all of the events at


Thursday, September 8, 2011

It's Apple Season!

A local orchard messaged me this week that starting Friday the Gala and Honeycrisp apples would be ready to pick, and it made me feel like fall had arrived. Honeycrisp are a little expensive for my taste, but I love Gala apples. They have that perfect blend of tart and sweet plus the crisp, fresh texture.

I know everyone has their favorite apple for eating, and cooking or baking. What I tend to do is buy a selection and the kids and I eat them fresh then as they age I use them in cooking and baking. If you have a favorite multi-purpose apple, let us know in the comments. I'd love to know everyone's favorites.

Today I have a Apple Brown Betty recipe which is a classic, and can be made from scratch easily. Yes, it breaks my rule of avoiding dishes with complicated directions, but once you read through them it's a fairly simple dessert. The brown betty recipe as well as the buttered crumbs and hard sauce are all from my copy of Foods and Homemaking by Carlotta C. Greer, published in 1933.

Apple Brown Betty

Brown Betty is sometimes called scalloped apples.

2 cups soft bread crumbs
2 tbsp. butter
3 cups apples, chopped or cut into bits
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup water
1/2 lemon, juice and grated rind

Butter the bread crumbs (see below). Wash, pare, and core the apples, then chop. Add the remaining ingredients to the apples. In the bottom of a buttered baking dish put 1/4 of the crumbs. Put 1/2 of the apple mixture on top of the crumbs. Add 1/4 more of the crumbs, and top with the remainder of the apples. On top of this put the remaining crumbs.

Bake in a moderate oven of 375 degrees (my oven seems to run hotter so I used 350) for 40-60 minutes until the apples are tender and the crumbs brown. Cover the dish during the first 20 minutes of baking. Serve hot with cream or hard sauce (see below).

Buttered Bread Crumbs

2 cups soft bread crumbs
2 tbsp. butter

Put the butter in a saucepan and heat until it is melted. Add the crumbs; stir to mix. Do not brown the crumbs.

Hard Sauce

1/3 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream the butter. Add the sugar gradually and continue to cream the mixture. Add the vanilla. Mix. Chill the sauce. Use it on HOT desserts.

NOTES: If you've never made your own bread crumbs it's very simple. Below is what to do for 2 cups of crumbs, which is what the recipe for the brown betty needs.

Homemade Soft Bread Crumbs

You'll need:
8-9 slices of homemade or purchased bread

This will make about 2 cups of crumbs depending on how thick the bread is. If the bread is very soft allow it to sit out on the counter uncovered for a couple of hours before cutting.

Remove the crust with a sharp knife, and use for something else, or chop and put out for the wildlife.

Using a serrated knife, or a chopper, cut the crumbs over and over until they resemble crumbs. If you start to do this and the bread is smashing rather than cutting, let it sit out longer and try again in a bit.

It's really simple if you have a good knife or a chopper. Once the bread has been turned into crumbs continue with the buttered crumb directions above.

On OFL we have apple recipes galore: