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Star Spangled Apple Pie...

7.04.2014


I've always loved the idea of baking pies but it sounds so intimidating that I've pretty much always steered clear and opted for cakes or cookies instead. That is, until I bit the bullet with this deliciously easy streusel pumpkin pie a few years back. I have been itching to try my hand at another pie since but just haven't gotten around to it. When I heard we were having a company potluck for the fourth, I decided it was ride or die time meaning try and if I failed, I'd be picking up something from Target that morning which I was totally ok with. You guys, this couldn't have been any easier and I'm so happy I went for it! Apple pie is my all time favorite of the pie world (and one of the few desserts I actually like/eat) and it just seemed like the perfect summer/fourth of july/americana treat to bring. My co-workers absolutely devoured it and had nothing but sweet things to say so I'm thinking this was a success! They were especially impressed with the cute little patriotic stars which look like they'd be a nightmare to do but between you and me, were actually super easy! Best trick ever, use cookie cutters to cut out festive shapes from dough and layer over top of any pie to take it to the next level hassle free. Another trick I have up my sleeve when it comes to pie baking, just go with pre-made dough for the crust and save yourself the trouble. Honestly, my co-workers could've cared less and still considered it a home made pie :)

Annie Eats Recipe (which I altered), makes a 9" pie

Ingredients
for crust
  • ready made pie dough to make a 9" pie
for filling
  • 4 small granny smith apples (peeled, cored & sliced)
  • 4 small fuji apples (peeled, cored & sliced)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
for topping
  • ready made pie dough to make a 9" pie
  • small star shaped cookie cutter
  • 1 large egg + 1 tbsp. cold water (for egg wash)
  • cherries or garnish of your choice
Instructions
  • The pre-made dough I got this time already came in an evenly rolled out circle, perfect to fit a 9" pie dish. I just carefully unrolled it and pushed it down into the pie dish with my fingers, making sure all the edges were touching.
  • Cover dish with plastic wrap and set aside in the freezer for 30 minutes. Keep the other dough for the topping in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 F (204 C).
  • In a bowl, combine the sliced apples, sugars, flour, spices and lemon juice. Make sure to toss well to combine, I even used my hands (clean of course) to really get it all mixed good.
  • Pour the apple mixture into the chilled crust as evenly as possible. Pour the remaining juices over the top of the apples.
  • Dot the surface of the apples with pieces of cold butter and in case you don't know what that means (I had no clue) it's just placing pieces of cold butter throughout the top of the pie. I even pushed some in-between the nooks and crannies of the apples.
  • Roll out the other chilled pie dough on a lightly floured surface. Using your star shaped cookie cutter, cut out stars and arrange over the top of the apples. I started from the outside of the pie and worked my way towards the center in a circular motion. I also slightly overlapped my stars but the design is completely up to you!
  • Brush the top and edges of the crust with the egg wash to get the crust nice and golden.
  • Place a baking sheet on the lower rack (I still have no idea why but hey, that's what the recipe called for so...)
  • Place the pie on the upper middle rack and bake until the crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling (about 50-60 minutes). Keep a close eye on your pie to make sure the crust doesn't burn or go too dark too soon. Mine started to look finished 40 minutes in so I just covered the pie with aluminum foil and lowered it a rack for the remaining time.
  • Transfer to a wire rack and let cool down for at least 30 minutes before slicing. I served at room temperature (can also be served warm) with vanilla ice cream and blueberry frozen greek yogurt... enjoy!

***Today I am thankful for another Independence Day to celebrate on home turf... let the festivities begin!***

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A Lovely Month: June Edition

7.02.2014

>>>follow along all month here!<<<

Update on the whole calendar situation I had going on last month (in case you care)... you'll be happy to know that the month on display actually matches the current month! Ok, well it will, just as soon as I finish this post and that my friends is progress. June flew by didn't it?! They all seem to be really but I mean June REALLY disappeared in the blink of an eye! This happens every month... every year... and yet somehow, I always manage to be surprised and caught off guard. Anyways, June was a fun one! It was filled with a lot of cocktail hours at the Beale household and I finally sampled Aperol, a new fave of hubs. His proclaimed summer drink, perfect to thirst quench but not too heavy to spoil an appetite. There were also pineapples involved this month, in many forms. In case you've been living under a rock or something, pineapples are huge right now! I'm talking this season's polka-dot, pineapple is the new stripe, this summer's super fruit and what not. Funny how sometimes the most unusual things become so trendy it's like they are re-born all together. There's also this whole donut trend that's right at pineapples' heels (national donut day anyone?) but my money is on the spiky one. Work has been work... a lot of research and switching gears into summer (hence all my trend comments) and me feeling more and more comfortable which is always nice. Beyonce aka my car for those that didn't know (I named her that) got her very first drive through car wash in LA ever and it was about time! She had all kinds of sand (both beach and desert) on her from all the fun we've been having together. But really, it was time. Even hubs was starting to make comments how dirty she was considering what a clean freak I am. Guess you always have something that slips and she was that for me until recently. I do have a good tip for you all, champagne (I think that's her color) cars are the best at concealing dirty hands down. There's this poor white mustang that was just as dirty but looked a million times worse and got all this abuse finger written all over it.

Sorry for all the tangents tonight... it is late and all.

Moving right along, hubs and I had a movie date night at Cinespia which I totally raved about in this post so I won't again... I had some puppy love and some of the sloppiest kisses ever! That up there is Maggie which hubs fell head over heels for and promptly renamed Bacon Bits which I prefer. He is pretty certain we are ready, I however, am still on the fence about this whole puppy situation. I think I may be more of a cat person, who knew?! Another exciting moment this month was attending The Brand Market workshop (post here) which was beyond inspiring. I got to hear from the loveliest of women, each sharing their tips on how to be successful entrepreneurs. One day I'll stop being scared and just do it... which is what inspired the engraved message on my Giving Key- be brave. A simple but important reminder to myself that I wear close to my heart pretty much daily. Oh yea, and there were actual beach days this month too which for someone who lives somewhat close to the beach, I never go. That's one of my goals for July... make more effort to get down there because you know, once I'm sat on the sand with that salty air in my face, life feels so good. And that my friends, is a wrap!

***Today I am thankful for the every day... life has been good lately!***

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The Brand Market LA...

6.20.2014

 ^^^Kelly of Studio DIY sharing her wisdom with us lucky folk^^^
 ^^^getting silly with balloons^^^
 ^^^Caitlin of The Giving Keys is such an inspiration^^^
 ^^^the lovely Katie of Juniper Fancy provided yummiest of treats!
 ^^^finally got to meet long term blogger buddy Anna of In Honor Of Design!^^^
^^^colorful balloons in jars^^^

Last weekend I managed to land a spot at The Brand Market workshop hosted by the super talented Anna of In Honor Of Design alongside Kelly of Studio DIY, and guest speakers Caitlin and Brit of The Giving KeysIt was such a whirl wind of inspiration, creative thinking, and meeting lovely new friends! Firstly can I just say how much I LOVE Kelly's studio! Bright whites and lively colors are her calling card and she has remained true to that right down to her studio's decor. The space is filled with so many fun and sparkly props (her stools have donuts on them!) that it naturally cultivates creativity. I think going forward, we all need a few confetti and balloon jars in our lives don't you think?

Surrounded by props galore, we dove into the story behind The Giving Keys. Caitlin and Brit shared with us their individual journey and how various factors in life, hard work, and determination eventually led them to where they are today. For those of you that aren't familiar with the brand, the idea was pretty simple, yet powerful. They repurpose old keys as jewelry, each stamped with an encouraging word. But the real beauty behind this specific company is that they employ those transitioning out of homelessness, giving them a real chance at employment and the opportunity to better themselves. As someone in the fashion industry, it's really easy to get jaded with all that is wrong in fashion these days. So to me, this was a glimmer of hope! One thing they made perfectly clear, be passionate about whatever it is you want to be doing. When you genuinely care about a cause, you will go the extra mile and people will respond to that. Here's to more dreaming and hopefully one day implementing.

Next up was Kelly and she basically disclosed all there is to know about Studio DIY. Nah, just kidding! But she did say ask what you will and I'll answer... and answer she did! We learned her blog's back story and all the little (and some not so little) lessons she learned along the way. I think the thing she said that struck me the most was- "be your own self imposed filter". What she means by this is deciding on a handful of key factors that are extremely important to your blog/company in terms of aesthetics and philosophy. Her for instance is anything colorful, anything bright white, anything worth celebrating. Only when something meets at least one of those "filters" does she go forward with it be it a blog post, collaboration, etc. If it doesn't quite fit, she just ditches. I think we all simultaneously had an "of course!" moment.

And lastly but certainly not least, the social media guru herself, Anna of In Honor Of Design, shared her tricks of the trade with us. We covered instagram, pinterest, twitter... you name it, she had some pearl of wisdom on all if it. I think the biggest standout for me, was assuring us that it was ok to not be so actively involved on all platforms. In fact spreading yourself too thin could be a disastrous thing. Instead she encouraged us to know which platforms we like and which we are good at (usually they go hand in hand) and just focus on those. Phew! That take a loud of me! Here I'd been feeling terrible for not being as active on my facebook page and twitter accounts. We also had the chance to test our creative juices with all the props conveniently hanging around and get guidance on how to improve... because there's always room for improvement. It was just such a great experience and I am fully convinced, I need to to more blogging related stuff because the people involved are usually just lovely. So if you happen to read this blog and happen to be the LA area, let's collaborate! I promise you nothing but fun, silliness, and of course, coffee :)

***Today I am thankful that I was able to be a part of such an amazing workshop!***

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Link Love 6.15.14

6.15.2014

1/ Because my dad is the ultimate Beatles fan that ever did live...

2/ A Cuba Libre is just the sort of thing you'd find my dad sipping on these days...

3/ Some heart felt words that moved me to tears in Letters From Dad...

4/ This Bistec Empanizado recipe is what I'd be making for my dad if I was on the other coast...

5/ Dove nailed it with their latest Real Men advertising campaign and also this video made me cry too...

Feliz dia de los padres papi! Quiero que sepas que aunque estemos fisicamente lejos, no pasa un segundo que no te tengo en mis pensamientos, mi corazon, y mis oraciones. Si pudiera agradecer te por todo lo que as echo por mi hasta hoy, seria perfecto. Solo puedo esperar que te sientas orgulloso de mi y que estoy viviendo la vida que tu tan cuidadosamente imaginaste para tu bebe. Te queiro mucho!

***Today I am thankful for my daddy of course... he is my rock!*** 

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Local LA: Rae's

6.14.2014

 ^^^he looked like a regular^^^
 ^^^her sunday ritual perhaps?^^^
In a true genuine effort to give this crazy place I've now been calling home for over a year a chance (I'm looking at you LA!), I've been making it a point to do more stuff. You know, see... eat... hear... shop LA even! I figure it's a win-win since I need content to blog about anyways and this will force me out around town right?! Hopefully it can help others that are trying to connect with this funny city... or tourists needing a city guide. At the very least it will be a continuation of life as mrs. beale and that suits me just fine.

Anyways... sorry for the rambling and back to Raes! It's a really cute little diner with your typical diner food. It's not gourmet or anything but it certainly hits the spot! A big plus, they serve breakfast all day long so it's perfect for Sunday brunch. As you can imagine, we all ordered breakfast because why else would you go to a diner after 12pm on a Sunday?! It's also ridiculously cheap so how could you not stop in? I'm talking three of us ate for less than $30 ridiculously cheap! Which reminds me, it's cash only so... This also happens to be one of the few authentic diners left from the 50's which is kind of cool. I also really enjoyed people watching while waiting for the food to arrive. There were all kinds of characters in there... everything from what I suspect to be regulars to tourists. A lady sat a booth over from us nearly had her eyes bulge out of her head when she heard hubs and R's british accents. I guess maybe they don't get a lot foreigners? It was so funny and she just couldn't stop herself from staring, even when I caught her eye and smiled. I guess not everyone is used British accents? Another fun fact, a ton of movies have featured this little gem because of it's unique charm. Remember my last post about Cinespia, I mentioned that a certain diner was featured in Swingers... well this was it! After some googling (is that even a word?) I also discovered Rae's has been in many other films like Win A Date With Tad Hamilton, Starsky & Hutch, and The Next Best Thing just to name a few. I would definitely recommend this place to locals and tourists alike!

***Today I am thankful for the perfect little diner that just happens to be cycling distance from ours***

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