Thanksgiving Menu: Pass the Apple Pie! Recipe and Video


Baking Apple Pie?

Like my Pumpkin Pie recipe, this is another always-good Perennial Favorite! If you want to watch my how-to video, click on Apple Pie with a Basket Weave Crust.

 Happy baking, hon.  


Basic Pie Crust:  Double Crust

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup vegetable shortening

1/3 to 1/2 cup ice water

Food Processor Directions:  Insert steel blade in food processor.  Mix flour and salt, then place the mixture in the food processor.  Add shortening and process until mixture resembles cornmeal (about 5 seconds).  Slowly pour ice water through feed tube and process until dough forms a ball (about 5 to 10 seconds).  Chill dough for easier handling.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.


6 cups apple slices (I use a combination of Granny Smith and other varieties)

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

approximately 1 Tablespoon flour

dash salt

1 egg, beaten (used to brush on top of crust before baking)

Combine apples, sugar, lemon juice, salt and spices.  This mixture will give off a lot of liquid so use a slotted spoon when spooning into pie crust, allowing you to spoon the apple mixture without the excess liquid.

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

Split dough in half, form two dough balls and roll out each half into a circle.  Line a 9-inch pie dish with the bottom crust.  Spoon apple filling into the crust and smooth apples into an even layer. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of flour on top of filling mixture.

Basket Weave:  To form the basket weave, cuts the dough into 8 strips.  First lay 4 strips across the filling.  Secondly, carefully weave remaining strips through the dough strips already laying across the filling.  Then press top and bottom crust edges together and flute edges.

Egg Wash:  Without brushing fluted edges, brush top of pie with beaten egg.

Bake the pie at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F  and bake for another 40 – 45 minutes.  Pie is done when top crust is lightly browned, the apple filling is bubbling, and the apples are tender when tested with a sharp knife.

Extra Dough Rolling Tips c/o friend, writer, musician, painter and fellow pie-baker, Ilana Katz Katz:

1) Flour a silicone pastry mat and roll dough on mat.

2) A pastry scraper will help get pastry dough off of the pastry mat if it’s stuck.

3) If getting the pastry dough off the mat proves challenging, put the silicone mat with rolled dough on it into the fridge. Once the dough’s cooled down, it should be easier to peel off.

*This pie freezes well.  Let pie cool completely before wrapping in saran wrap and aluminum foil.  A couple of days before serving, defrost at room temperature.

Serving options:

Serve warm–after removing from oven, let cool about 20 minutes.

Serve room temperature–cool completely.

Rewarm defrosted pie– warm in a preheated 250- 275 degrees F oven, uncovered, until desired temperature.

DIY Paris-Inspired Terrariums

Beautiful terrariums on a table in the Maison Astor Paris.

At our chic hotel Maison Astor Paris, a tabletop arrangement of terrariums inspired me to make my own. I bought large and medium-sized glass globes and succulents to add to the vessels and plants I already had at home. I also picked up small, white rocks, soil and moss. On a walk, I found fallen pine boughs and plan to scatter tiny pine cones around the succulents. Guess what’s doubling as Thanksgiving centerpieces?

Happy indoor gardening, hon!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Graduation Party Theme: Chalkboard

Selfie Station. Cut a window out of a Foam Core Poster, add a chalkboard panel with the year, and provide fun selfie props.

Need a cool graduation party theme?

“Chalkboard” is the theme for the party I’m throwing my youngest. Chalk markers (purchased at Michael’s)and black cardstock are all you need. Find a “chalk alphabet” online to use an inspiration, pencil in letters, then outline with the markers and fill in with hatching.

Candy Bar:

Labels for the Candy Bar: Create small labels for candy containers. Honor Roll for Tootsie Rolls, Coloring for Gummy Crayons, Phys Ed for Chocolate Sports Balls, B-Day Treats for Mini Rice Krispie Treats, and Snack Time for Fruity Chews.


Black ribbon with chalk letters: Wrap ribbon around mason jars and secure with hot glue. I layered the “ABC” ribbon over burlap-wrapped jars I’d made for previous parties. What’s going inside? Yellow Gerbera Daisies.

More party decor and details on the way…

Graduation Cookies

It’s that time of year!

Graduation is less than a week away and there’s so much to do and so little time! One of my daughters suggested that I not bake cap and diploma cookies but, hon, how could I throw a graduation party and ignore those cookie cutters?! They were  calling my name!

These sugar cookies can be baked ahead of time, frozen, then defrosted and decorated or the decorated cookies can be frozen. Tip: Store decorated cookies, with wax paper in between the layers, in a airtight container.

Happy baking, hon!

Basic Sugar Cookie Recipe 


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (I used margarine to make recipe non-dairy)

1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 egg

2-3 teaspoons flavoring such as vanilla or almond

2 1/2 – 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cream together softened butter and confectioner’s sugar.
  3. Crack egg into a separate bowl and add flavoring. Add to the butter/sugar mixture and mix until egg is thoroughly incorporated.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt, then add the dry mixture, little by little, to the butter/sugar mixture. (Tip-a paddle attachment works well. Dough will by sticky.)
  5. If the dough is too sticky, refrigerate until it stiffens.
  6. Roll out on parchment paper to about 1/4 inch thick, using flour for dusting as necessary. Cut and bake for 7 – 8 minutes.

Yield: 2 – 2 1/2 dozen cookies. The recipe doubled will yield approximately 4 -5 dozen.

Notes:  Baking times are approximate so watch the cookies. If they are browning, they’ve been in a little too long.

Royal Icing Recipe


3 3/4 cups confectioners sugar

3 Tablespoons of meringue or dried egg white powder

6 Tablespoons warm water

Beat about 4 minutes by hand. Thin icing, if needed with extra tablespoons of warm water.

Add color in small amounts. (Tip–it’s easier to darken a color than lighten it.)

Related posts: DIY Graduation Party (Party Prep Step-by-Step)American Flag-Inspired Cupcakes and Cookies, Melted Snowman Cookies, Cookie Crazy, DIY Party Favors, Character Driven Gingerbread Cookies

American Flag-Inspired Cupcakes and Cookies, Re-Post

Hostess gifts idea: Bring dessert on a dish the hostess can keep. Wrap them in cellophane for a pretty presentation.
DIY Hostess gift idea: Bring dessert on a dish the hostess can keep. Wrap them in cellophane for a pretty presentation.

Hon, you know what I like about a holiday besides spending time with family and friends?

 The built-in theme!

One of my daughters and I had fun taking the American flag colors to the extreme.  We baked red, white and blue sugar cookies and cupcakes.  Click here for sugar cookie and Royal Icing recipes.  My daughter decorated with flags while I tried my hand at tie dye effects. I used a toothpick to “drag” two or three icing colors from the center out, then swirled with the toothpick to create a tie dye look.

Patriotic Cookies
Patriotic Cookies.
Tie Dye effect.
Tie Dye effect.







Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing.
Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing.
Coloring on cookies.
Coloring on cookies.









Baking Day continued with red, white and blue cupcakes. 

We were inspired by Ziploc Bag’s Patriotic Piped Tri-Colored Cupcakes, but they turned out to be more challenging than they looked.  So, we abandoned our pastry bags and spooned the colored batter into baking cups.  The result?  Still patriotic, fun and delicious.

*Tip:  Wear plastic gloves because colored batter is messy and stains.

1. Start with boxed cake mix. Separate batter into three bowls.
1. Start with boxed cake mix. Separate batter into three bowls.
2. Add red food coloring to one bowl of batter and blue to another, leaving the third bowl vanilla.
2. Add red food coloring to one bowl of batter and blue to another, leaving the third bowl plain.








3. Transfer three bowls of batter into three pastry bags (or Ziploc bags) OR skip this step and spoon colored batter into baking cups one at a time in colored strips.
3. Spoon batter into three pastry bags (or Ziploc bags) OR skip this step and spoon colored batter into baking cups one at a time in colored stripes.



4. Seal pastry bags or Ziploc bags OR skip this step if not using bags at all.
4. Seal pastry bags or Ziploc bags OR skip this step if not using bags.




5. Tape bags together so batter can be piped at once OR skip this step.
5. Tape bags together so batter can be piped at once OR skip this step.


Tri-colored cupcakes after baking.
Tri-colored cupcakes after baking.









6. Frost and decorate cupcakes. We used store-bought icing.
6. Frost and decorate cupcakes. We used store-bought icing.
American Flag Fun!
American Flag Fun!

Shaving Cream Marbleized Ceramic Bowls

When my daughter and I shopped for her new apartment in LA, we searched for cute, little, multi-use bowls and couldn’t find any. Hon, you know what a ceramicist says when she can’t find what she’s looking for? You guessed it…”I can make that!” Combine that with wanting to try a new glazing technique and voilà-shaving cream marbleized ceramic bowls!

Fill pan with shaving cream and then spread shaving cream evenly.
Drizzle different colors of underglaze. Swirl colors together. I wondered about using underglaze versus glaze, but the underglaze adheres to the clay body better, whereas in the kiln the glaze may run.
Roll bisqued pieces in shaving cream/underglaze mixture. Carefully rinse off shaving cream and let pieces dry fully before firing.
Fresh out of the kiln!

I’m definitely going to try this glazing technique again. Now I have to throw some more bowls…

Easy Winter Kids Craft, Felt Mitten Bookmarks

Got kids?

Are they stuck inside because of snow, ice, and the polar vortex? Do they have a case of cabin fever? Do you need an idea for an activityHere’s an easy craft that my K-2 After School Enrichment class made. My list of supplies is a suggestion. Get creative and use what you have on hand.

Ooh–I have another idea! This craft would be a great winter birthday party activity. Pre-cut felt mittens and ribbon. Set up a workstation. Place mini pom-poms, googly eyes, foam shapes, sparkly stars, etc. in bowls. Let the kids assemble, glue and decorate their bookmarks. Fun!

Happy crafting, hon!

Gather supplies.
Measure ribbon and cut out mitten shapes.
Sandwich ribbon between back and front mittens. Decorate. Let dry.
Felt Mitten Bookmarks
  • felt (or a thick fabric), small pieces will do
  • fabric glue
  • grosgrain ribbon (or satin ribbon), about 14 inches per bookmark
  • tiny pom-poms
  • small googly eyes
  • any other things to use for decorating such as glitter glue, thin ribbon, foam shapes, sparkly stars
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • marker
  • craft stick (or cotton swabs)
  • newspaper, wax paper, tin foil, or cloth (whatever you don’t mind getting glue-y)
  1. Set up craft area with newspaper, wax paper, etc.
  2. What size book is the bookmark being made for? A picture book? A chapter book? Measure the book, then add 6 inches to that measurement, which will allow ribbon to stick out of the top and bottom of the book and to be sandwiched between the felt. For example, if a book measures 8 inches, I’d add 6 inches and cut a 14 inch piece of ribbon
  3. Draw mittens on the felt. Cut 4 mittens out of the felt, making sure they are the same shape so that when they’re glued together, they match up.
  4. Match up the felt mittens, figuring out which will be the fronts and which will be backs. Using craft sticks (or cotton swabs), spread fabric glue on the insides of the mitten. Sandwich 1 inch of the ribbon between the fronts and backs. Press to help glue adhere.
  5. Decorate mittens, either one side of each mitten or both, there’s no right or wrong.Let dry.

Tips:  Trim excess felt. Check seams for gaps and, using craft stick (or cotton swab), add extra fabric glue where needed.

Hand Knit Market Bag

I don’t know why, but I wanted to knit a market bag. I guess I figured if it was enjoyable to make, I’d knit more. Finished my first, and started on a second! I found the free pattern for this Double Handled Market Bag on Plymouth Yarn.

Happy knitting, hon.


Yarn: 2 (3) 100g skeins of yarn

Gauge: 4.5 sts=1″ over st st on size 7 needles.

Needles: 16″ circular size 7. 24″ circular size 13.

Finished Size: Approx. 16 (20)” long. Bag will stretch.

BOTTOM: With size 7 circular needles, loosely cast 25 sts. Working back and forth in garter st, knit 46 rows or until square. Bind off loosely, leaving last st on needle. Do not cut yarn. Continuing with the circular needle, pick up and knit 96 its all around the base (24 sts per side). Place marker and join. Knit 1 round.

SIDES: Change to larger circular needle and begin pattern:

Round 1: Knit.

Round 2: *(Yo, k2tog); repeat from* around.

Round 3: Purl.

Repeat rounds 1-3 9 (11) more times until there are 10 (12) sets of “eyelet holes” up the side. End with round 3.

Next round: Change back to the smaller circular needle.

Round 1: Knit.

Round 2: Purl. Repeat these 2 rounds until there are 7 (8) ridges: 14 (16) rounds total. End with a purl round.

STRAPS: On next round: BO 14 sts, K10, BO 14 sts, K10, BO 14 sts, K10, BO 14 sts, K10. Working back and forth on these last 10 sts only–knit every row until total length of strap is 11 (14)”, ending with a WS row. Pick up the 10 sts from the opposite side (1st set of knit sts) and holding and right sides together, work the 3 needle bind off–attaching the 2 sets of sts.

Reattach yarn to second set of 10 sts with WS facing. Knit every row until total length of strap is 11 (14)”, ending with WS row. Pick up the 10 sts from the opposite side (3rd set of knit sts) and holding the right sides together, work the 3 needle bind-off-attaching the 2 sets of sts.

Weave in all ends.

Abbreviations: K=knit, p=purl, st(s)=stitch(es), RS=right side, WS=wrong side, yo=yarn over, k2tog=knit 2 sts together, BO=bind off, st st=stockinette stitch

DIY Chocolate and Sprinkle Covered Pretzels


This was supposed to be an easy project. I’d seen camouflage chocolate pretzels online and I’ve made chocolate-covered pretzels before. Although the semi-sweet chips melted beautifully, the white chocolate chips didn’t melt–they just got stiff. In the past, the same thing happened when I tried to melt white chocolate disks. So frustrating. Mental note to self–don’t try to melt white chocolate again! I was about to scrap the project when I had a brainstorm. I put the chocolate-covered pretzels in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Then I rolled them in blue sprinkles. Voila! The pretzels weren’t pretty but, hon, they were sweet (and salty).

Chocolate Covered Pretzels


pretzel logs

chocolate chips

vegetable oil


wax or parchment paper


Line baking dishes with wax or parchment paper so finished pretzels can dry. Pour sprinkles into a dish with sides.


  1. Melt chocolate chips over double boiler. Add vegetable oil to melting chips, approximately a teaspoon at a time as needed, to help make the chocolate creamy in consistency.
  2. Spoon melted chocolate pretzel logs.
  3. Let chocolate cool a minute or so, but while still warm roll pretzels in sprinkles or spoon the sprinkles on top of the chocolate. Rolling is more efficient, but the melted chocolate drips into the sprinkles and makes the sprinkles globby.
  4. Line pretzels on baking dish to dry.

After all the pretzels are decorated, refrigerate them until the chocolate has hardened. Store pretzels in an airtight container. I made these about a week ahead of time and kept them in the fridge until needed.

Related Post:

Light As Air Bias Loop Infinity Scarf

Light as Air Bias Loop Infinity Scarf

What is it about infinity scarves? 

I love knitting infinity scarves and made this one for my cousin’s 25th birthday. This Wool & Grace  pattern is easy but it suggests binding off using kitchener stitch, a stitch I’d never used before. I got the hang of kitchener stitch, a way to bind off that creates an almost invisible seam, by watching a tutorial online (see link below). My advice when binding off this way is to adjust the tension as you go because you don’t want to do it at the end (trust me!). Next time a pattern calls for this bind off method, I’ll be prepared.

Happy knitting, hon.

Light as Air Bias Loop Infinity Scarf

Yarn: 1 skein Madeline Tosh Merino Light (Yarn A) and 2 skeins Rowan Kidsilk Haze (Yarn B) {I used one color for the whole scarf but knit from 2 skeins.}

Needles & Notions: US 10.5 circular needle, Size J Crochet Hook, extra 10.5 straight needle, Darning Needle, Smooth waste yarn

Gauge: approximately 14 stitches/4 inces

Abbreviations: K=knit, P=purl, KFB=Knit into the front and back of the same stitch, RS=Right Side, WS=Wrong Side, STS=Stitches

Instructions: Using crochet hook and waste yarn, chain 86 stitches and fasten off. With knitting needles and two yarns held together, knit into the bumps on the back of the chain 82 times (82 stitches cast on).

Row 1 (RS) K1, KFB, K to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1

Row 2 (WS) Purl

Repeat Rows 1 & 2 until approximately 42″ ending with a purl row. Cut yarn leaving 5 yards for grafting.

Carefully unravel your crochet chain from your provisional cast-on and place stitches on extra needle. Place two ends of the scarf with WS together. Cut yarn leaving tail 24″ long. Join beginning and end to your work and join using kitchener stitch. Click here to watch a video on how to bind off using kitchener stitch. Weave in ends and block as desired.

Source:  Wool & Grace