Archive for Food

Frozen Apples for your Pie?

We have a tiny little apple tree in our backyard.  It’s a golden delicious apple tree, but I think we’ve always picked the apples when they are still green.  This little tree is about 7 years old, and last fall was the first year that we have picked a plethora of apples from our little tree.


We picked all of the apples at one time because we have some lovely neighborhood crows who like to pick the apples for us if we give them the chance.  Since we had a crate full of apples they were not going to go to waste.  I looked online at recipes and ideas for processing the apples and decided to freeze them.  And I also decided that they would be made into apple pie filling based on my googling, researching, and reading.

The recipe I found was  I was looking for a simple recipe that would be quick and easy to put together.  And for my apples I only used 1/2 of the sugar called for, wanting to keep the sweetness to a minimum.  I made a single batch of “pie filling”  each time I was processing the apples.  This just made it easier to keep track of the amount of apples I was peeling, and then mixing in the ingredients after the peeling process.  A certain Travel Man in know was very excited about the prospect of having multiple apple pies at the ready to be baked for desserts when he is home between assignments.

This is  the typical amount of apples that I put in a ziploc bag and then in the freezer.

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 Frozen Apple Pie-

  • 10 cups peeled, sliced & cored apples (use an apple peeler to save time)
  • 1/3 cups sugar (or more if very tart)
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon (slightly heaping)
  • Put in the peeled apples in a large bowl, and add the remaining ingredients.
  • Toss to cover all the apples. 
  • Put in a one gallon freezer bag making sure to scrape the bowl.
  • Flatten bag and freeze. 
  • When ready to make a pie, no need to thaw, just pull bag out. 
  • Make your crust and empty the bag in the crust, flattening to fit.
  • Bake at 425 degree F for 45-55 minutes.

The pie will look like this before you put it in the oven.

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Then once your baking is complete you will have this lovely dessert.

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If you enjoy apple pie this is a super simple dessert you can throw together in a jiffy.  Oh and don’t forget to add the whip cream or ice cream, and enjoy!


Luscious Lemon Squares

Since it’s January, and my lemon tree is over loaded with lemons, it’s about time I share a lemony, delicious recipe with you.  Lemon squares are one of my Mom’s favorite desserts. She’s been asking me when we’re going baking these yummy little goodies.  I think it’s high time we gather some lemons and get to work.

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This is my favorite recipe for lemon squares from The Betty Crocker Ultimate Cookie Book.  I think I got this book from my Mom a few years ago.  Thanks Mom!



  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs


  • Pre-heat oven to 350°.
  • Mix flour, butter and powered sugar.
  • Press into ungreased square pan 8x8x2 or 9x9x2, building up a ½ edge to form a small crust.
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  • Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Beat the remaining ingredients together on high-speed until light and fluffy.
  • Pour this mixture over the baked layer, and bake again for 25-30 minutes.
  • There should be almost no indentation remaining when lightly touched in the center.  A thin crust will form over the top of the bars.
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  • While the pan is still warm sprinkle the top with powdered sugar.


  • Cool the pan completely, and then sprinkle with a second layer of powdered sugar.


I cut the 8×8 size pan into small little squares, and remember the lemon flavor gets better with age.  If you can stand to let these little beauties sit around for a few days they taste better and better each day.  This batch was particularly yummy, and the lemony middle just melted in your mouth.  I have to admit they did not last long, and I made a second batch a few days later.

My next lemony adventure will most likely be a lemony sorbet, lemon poppy seed cake, or maybe a lemon-ricotta cheesecake.  Looking forward to trying the cheesecake this weekend.  Happy baking everyone.  What’s your favorite lemony recipe?

My Menu Planning has Gone Haywire

Menu planning has been a part of  my weekly “to-do’s” for a long, long time.  It makes the grocery shopping easier, fewer trips to the store, and if I have a good reserve of menu items in the pantry and freezer it makes it much easier on my brain to get the meals on the table day in and day out.

However, lately the menu planning structure has not been working all that well in my Domestic Engineering endeavors.  Do you get into cooking ruts? Can’t figure out what to make for dinner? Tired of going to the grocery store? How do you pull yourself out of it?

Our dinner time can be quirky at The Spindle Ranch. Sometimes I’m home by myself,  many times there are just two of us for dinner. If everyone’s home for dinner I’m cooking for 4. If a friend or family member stops by we can have 5 or 6.  Crazy menu planning right? Has your household dinner-time ever run like this?

Not knowing how many people to cook for on any given night can boggle the brain.  It makes for a wacky menu plan. Will I cook too much food, or too little food?  I have my arsenal of weekly “go to” recipes that can handle a crowd or just a few people. My second dilemma arises when I feel like I can’t think of anything new I’d like to try, or my recipe arsenal feels tired and boring. I really do not like to use going out to eat as part of my menu planning for the week. I would much rather be at home sitting around the dining room table having a great meal and good conversation.

My oldest daughter, Naomi totally amazes me with her menu planning.  Every weekend she is trying new recipes, and giving us her pictorial reviews on our family Facebook page. I really have to draw some inspiration from her, and just dive in and try new recipes.  If anyone needs me I will be perusing Pinterest, or maybe The Tasty Kitchen to seek out new recipes for my arsenal of goods.

If your menu planning’s been a little wacky lately can you let me know how you pull yourself up out of the rut?  How do you find that little spark that entices you to try to cook something new and / or different?  I’ll be here waiting to hear from everyone.


We’ve Been on a Cheesecake Kick

The birthday cakes for three of our families’ 2015 birthday celebrations have all been cheesecakes.  We’ve had a couple of the Snickerdoodle variety, and then one Lemon Ricotta cheesecake.  The birthday peeps in my family have been on a cheesecake quest, and we have had some great results.

For my oldest son’s birthday this past December he had requested a Snicker Doodle cheesecake.  We found a recipe on Pinterest that sounded good, and it turned out fantastic!   We topped this cheesecake off with some Cinnamon Whipped Cream. Ooh, la, la.


Then for the January/February birthdays we had a Snicker Doodle repeat because my Mom had not been at the party when the first one was created.  Once again, fantastic flavor great recipe.  I highly recommend it if you’re a cheesecake, snicker doodle, or cinnamon lover, or a lover of all three!

SnickerDoodle Cheesecake Recipe-

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Makes 12-16 servings (depending on how you slice it)

  • 1 10-ounce package shortbread cookies, finely crushed
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • (2), 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 8-ounce carton sour cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  1. Allow cream cheese and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. For crust, in a medium bowl stir together crushed cookies and 1 tablespoon sugar. Stir in melted butter until combined. Press mixture onto the bottom and 1½ inches up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan; set aside.
  3. For Filling– In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sour cream, the 1 cup sugar, the flour, vanilla and ½ teaspoon of the cinnamon with an electric mixer on medium to high-speed until smooth. Using a fork, lightly beat eggs. Stir eggs into the cream cheese mixture.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the 1 tablespoon sugar and the remaining ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Pour cream cheese mixture into crust-lined pan, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place spring-form pan in a shallow baking pan.
  5. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a 2½-inch area around outside edge appears set when gently shaken. Cool in spring-form pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
  6. Using a small sharp knife, loosen crust from sides of pan. Cool for 30 minutes more. Remove the sides of pan; cool cheesecake completely on wire rack. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.
  7. To Store: Place cheesecake in an airtight container; cover. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


For our March birthday celebration I baked a Lemon Ricotta cheesecake for my daughter Hilary’s birthday.  I’m pretty sure Hilary and I also found this recipe on Pinterest.  It was a luscious, lemony, delight and we would definitely repeat this recipe.  The zesty lemon flavor was just amazing.  It is an extremely rich and decadent dessert.


Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake Recipe-


Makes 12 -16 servings (depends on how you slice it)


  • 1 10-ounce package shortbread cookies, finely crushed
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • (2) 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1-¼ cups sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons grated lemon peel (1 large)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 (15oz) container whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 3 eggs

Garnish: (optional)

  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 16 candied lemons


  1. Allow cream cheese and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. For crust, in a medium bowl stir together crushed cookies and 1 tablespoon sugar. Stir in melted butter until combined. Press mixture onto the bottom and 1½ inches up the sides of a 9-inch spring-form pan; set aside.
  3. For filling, beat cream cheese in a large bowl on medium speed until fluffy.  Add the sugar; beat until very soft and creamy.  Add lemon peel and lemon juice; mix well.  Beat in ricotta cheese.  Be sure you are using the whole milk ricotta for that extra special touch of decadence!
  4. Add the eggs, on at a time, beating just until combined and scraping down sides of bowl after each addition. Pour mixture into the crust-lined pan.
  5. Bake for 70-80 minutes or until sides of cheesecake are set and puffed, but center still moves slightly when pan is tapped.
  6. Cool cheesecake in pan on wire rack for 1 hour.  Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight before serving.
  7. Garnish with whipped cream and candied lemons, if you wish.

What cheesecake will we be making next?  I am not really certain, but 2015 could definitely be proclaimed as “The Year of the Cheesecake” here at The Party House.  And by the way the serving of these cheesecakes for our crowd lasted approximately 2.3 minutes.  I’m pretty sure at each birthday celebration within 5 minutes of serving, all of the cheesecakes were devoured.  Let me know what your favorite cheesecake flavor is. Enjoy, I’d love to hear some new thoughts and ideas.


This post linked to the GRAND Social

Spaghetti Etiquette & A Question…

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Travel Man and I have this ongoing discussion each and every time that I make spaghetti for dinner.  Homemade spaghetti is his favorite “first night” home dinner when he comes back from a trip.

The all important question is this- when you sit down at your dining table to enjoy your spaghetti do you cut your noodles, or do you just twirl your noodles onto your fork?

Growing up I was always used to sitting down with my family to a wonderfully prepared spaghetti dinner, and watching and listening to my Dad chop his spaghetti into bite size morsels.  It became almost ceremonial as we got a little older.  My Dads chopping would get a little loud and we somehow started calling the chopping “gaping”.  We would chime, “gape, gape, gape” as my dad cut up his spaghetti to eat it.  What a funny little family tradition.

Travel Man’s opinion of this is that it’s a waste of time to cut your spaghetti.  He’s a twirler.  I repeatedly try to give him a knife with his spaghetti dinner, and he always refuses.

So here’s my curiosity- do you have a spaghetti preference? Is there a story behind your spaghetti preference?  I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

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