Simply Mrs. Edwards

{just the life of a new wife}


1 Comment

Homegrown Apple Pie

We spent this past weekend at my parents home in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Their house is built in the middle of a 100+ year old fruit orchard. The original orchard was a huge area of land, but with parcels of land being sold and roads and homes being built, the majority of the fruit trees have either been cut down or engulfed by the surrounding forest. My parents own about 3 acres of the land and have made a point to keep the heritage of the orchard going. They have reclaimed and trimmed back old, abandoned trees and have seen amazing crops in recent years! This weekend we spent some time in that orchard picking apples. Homegrown, organic, delicious, apples. Here are a few photos of our apple picking afternoon…

One of biggest things I admire about my Mom is that she is incredibly talented in the kitchen and genuinely enjoys passing her knowledge on to me. I think it brings her a special kind of joy to see her daughter learning and loving the art of homemaking. This weekend she taught me how to make apple pie. It may sound crazy, but I had never made an apple pie before! A true homemaking crime, I’m sure! We used fresh golden delicious apples from the orchard and a tried and true recipe from my Mom’s arsenal to make the most delicious pie. It was a very simple process and is a recipe that I will be making again, very soon! 

Homegrown Apple Pie

Apple Filling  (my Mom’s recipe)

  • 7-8 medium/large golden delicious apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 3/4 – 1 c. water
  • 1 c. sugar (brown or white)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cinnamon sticks + 1 tsp. cinnamon powder
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves

Pie Crust (adapted from Martha Stewart Living, Nov. 2012 issue)

  • 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 c. ice water

Combine apples, water, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves in a medium pot. Simmer 20 minutes or until tender. Drain excess liquid and set aside.

Place butter pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until hard (15-20 mins). Once butter is hard, combine flour, salt, sugar, and butter in a food processor.

Pulse until mixture is coarse with some blueberry-sized clumps. Add ice water and immediately pulse until water is just incorporated.

Squeeze a small amount in your hand to make sure it holds together.

Lay out 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Empty half the dough onto each piece.

Fold edges of wrap together and gather dough into a disk. Refrigerate or freeze until firm.

Remove pie dough from fridge and partially unwrap. Place disc on a piece of parchment, leaving the plastic on one side. Roll dough into a circle about 1/2-inch bigger than your pie pan.

Press one piece of dough into your pan, leaving edges hanging over the edge.

Cut the second piece of dough into 3-inch wide strips.

Add filling into pan and spread evenly.

Weave dough strips into a lattice pattern over filling and press overhang onto the edge of crust. Trim the edge, fold under, and crimp.

Sprinkle with sanding sugar and bake at 375 F for 30-45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Be sure to place your pie on a parchment lined sheet pan to catch any drips!

Let cool and ENJOY

Homegrown Apple Pie

Apple Filling  (my Mom’s recipe)

  • 7-8 medium/large golden delicious apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 3/4 – 1 c. water
  • 1 c. sugar (brown or white)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cinnamon sticks + 1 tsp. cinnamon powder
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves

Pie Crust (adapted from Martha Stewart Living, Nov. 2012 issue)

  • 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 c. ice water
  1. Pie Crust: Place butter pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until hard (15-20 mins). Once butter is hard, combine flour, salt, sugar, and butter in a food processor. Pulse until mixture is coarse with some blueberry-sized clumps. Add ice water and immediately pulse until water is just incorporated. Squeeze a small amount in your hand to make sure it holds together. Lay out 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Empty half the dough onto each piece. Fold edges of wrap together and gather dough into a disk. Refrigerate or freeze until firm.
  2. Apple Filling: Combine apples, water, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves in a medium pot. Simmer 20 minutes or until tender. Drain excess liquid and set aside.
  3. Remove pie dough from fridge and partially unwrap. Place disc on a piece of parchment, leaving the plastic on one side. Roll dough into a circle about 1/2-inch bigger than your pie pan.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  5. Press one piece of dough into your pan, leaving edges hanging over the edge. Cut the second piece of dough into 3-inch wide strips.
  6. Add filling into pan and spread evenly. Weave dough strips into a lattice pattern over filling and press overhang onto the edge of crust. Trim the edge, fold under, and crimp.
  7. Sprinkle with sanding sugar and bake pie for 30-45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Be sure to place your pie on a parchment lined sheet pan to catch any drips!
  8. Let cool and ENJOY!

This pie will most definitely be making an appearance again very soon. I may or may not have eaten pie for breakfast this morning. It’s healthy, right?! My Mom happily told me that I am now in charge of pies for Thanksgiving. With great baking, comes great responsibility apparently…

Eating Pie,
Mrs. Edwards


22 Comments

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I’ve jumped on the bandwagon. Maybe I’ve lived in hippy-country too long, maybe I’m just cheap. Probably both. With a little help from some tutorials (like this and this) and a lot of advice from a friend, I made homemade laundry detergent and it is awesome!

This formula is concentrated, so you only use about 2 tablespoons per load. If my math is right (mind you, I’m no mathematician) we’ll get almost 260 loads of laundry out of this jar. We do around 4 loads of laundry per week, so I’m estimating that we won’t run out until September of 2013 (!!!) or so. I spent just about $19 on supplies, so that breaks down to $0.07 per load. A $12.99 bottle of Tide breaks down to $0.22 per load. The 20ish minutes it took me to make this huge container was well worth the $30/year savings that it offers! Just think of the savings it could offer a larger family who does 8+ loads of laundry a week!

This mixture doesn’t have an overwhelming scent, which is great for sensitive skin (like mine) and dissolves wonderfully even in cold water. Want to try your hand at it and save a few bucks at the same time?

Supplies Needed:

  • Borax- (1) 4 lb + 12 oz box
  • Baking soda- (4) 1 lb boxes or (1) 4 lb box
  • Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda- (1) 55 oz. box
  • 2 bars of Zote Laundry Soap or 3 bars of Fels-Naptha
  • 1 tub of OxiClean- 32 oz. tub, any brand is okay
  • Cheese Grater
  • 5 gallon bucket
  • 1 large, thick plastic bag
  • 2 gallon container to store the mixture in

Step 1: Begin by grating all of your soap with your cheese grater. Be prepared, this takes a while and your arm will be tired. The soap tends to build up on the grater slowing down the process. I rinsed my grater a few different times during this step to get rid of some of the buildup. It helps speed up the process a little. Just make sure to thoroughly dry your grater after you rinse it!

Step 2: Line your bucket with your bag and add ingredients. I added a little of each ingredient in multiple layers to aid in the mixing process.

Step 3: Mix everything together. A friend suggested using a gardening trowel to mix everything together which worked super well (thanks, Tristan!). Towards the end I picked up the sides of the bag (while still in the bucket) and lifted each side alternately. That helped mix it up a little more.

Step 4: Find a large container to hold your mixture. Our jar is a recycled card holder from our wedding. I think my Mom picked it up at Walmart.

Step 5: You’re ready to do laundry! Use about 2 tablespoons per load. Our OxiClean came with a scoop, so I’m using 1-2 of those per load (depending on size and the dirtiness of load).

Not only does this save us  money, but looks cute in my laundry room too! :)

Budget Breakdown:

  • Borax: $4.99
  • Baking Soda: $3.96
  • Washing Soda: $4.79
  • Store brand OxiClean: $3.29
  • Zote: $1.98
  • Total: $19.01

A few updates! (5/30/12)
I’ve had a few people ask me some questions about this and I’ve caught some of them in the comments but thought an update might not be a bad idea! Hope it’s helpful!

  • For those using cold water: Its been brought to my attention that if you use straight cold water the granules may not dissolve all the way! My Mom has a great way to avoid this- fill a cup/measuring glass with hot water from your tap and mix in your scoop(s) of soap until completely dissolved. Then, pour that into your washer. I realize this is an added step, but it may ease your mind a bit about it all dissolving!
  • For those who use a front loading machine: Try the trick above and either pour directly into the drum or through the normal liquid soap dispenser.
  • For those thinking about using Fels-Naptha: The scent may be a bit overpowering to you. If you don’t like strong scents or have very sensitive skin, try Zote. It has a pretty  mild scent. I found mine at The Home Depot.
  • For those having a hard time finding Arm & Hammer Washing  Soda: I had the hardest time finding it! I finally found it at our local Ace Hardware (along with all of the other ingredients needed). I would recommend looking at Ace or your local mom & pop store.

Another update! (6/22/12) I just found ALL of these ingredients in the Laundry aisle at Walmart! Our closest Walmart is about 45 minutes away and the one place I didn’t try…go figure.

Update (12/24/12) I added sizes of each ingredient! Let me know if you have any questions :)

With squeaky clean clothes and a fatter wallet,
Mrs. Edwards