Monday, September 27, 2010

A photo shoot with Jacob

Jacob likes to have his picture taken. He's not really a ham, but he's very interested in the camera. So, I suppose it's not so much having his picture taken, but he likes it when the camera is out. Here is how a normal photo session with Jacob starts and ends.

Catching him in the act of being cute. Like any kid, he loves it when someone pays attention to him. We can usually get about two or three of these type of shots. After that, it's all down hill.

Can I see that?

Why can't I see it? I just want to look!

Give me the camera!!

Why are you so mean? I just wanted to look at your fancy toy.

And, this is how nearly every session ends. Keeping in mind that the photographer is constantly walking backward to keep those cute little baby hands off of the lens.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I'm only three weeks late

Christine started school (awhile ago). She loves her teacher and enjoys being back in school. I couldn't be happier about her luck with getting her teacher. Our school had two first grade teachers, but that put the class sizes for them at 27 and 28. Thankfully, the day before school started, we got a letter saying that there was a new teacher, and Christine would be in his class. To be honest, I wasn't thrilled with the original teachers. I'm hoping that having some new blood will inspire the other first grade teachers. Mr. T (what the kids call him) is energetic, has lots of ideas, and seems to enjoy his class. We are very excited for this year.

Emma has been waiting since Christine was in preschool for her chance to go to school. She is in the same preschool that Christine went to and already has lots of friends there. She was able to start last Monday and loves it. We know that Mrs. Smith is perfect for Emma, she's lovey when needed, but her class definitely knows she means business. When Emma gets dressed on school mornings, she picks things out that she knows, "Mrs. Smith will love." She has already achieved sainthood in Emma's eyes, and we know Emma will have a great year too.

Jacob is busy with rodeo school. He rides this horse like no one's business. On the three glorious mornings that Emma is in school, Jacob takes a nap. I really enjoy my "referee free" mornings.

The other two occupants of our house are still alive and well. We're not quite through with filling rentals, but the end is in sight. I don't think I've ever been so excited for winter (people just don't move during the winter). Hopefully since things are starting to slow down here, my blog will receive a little more attention - no guarantees though.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Oh my

I have a new love. I've always had a weakness for a good apple crisp. Of course the apples are important, but they are a tasty vehicle to my true love of crumb topping. This is my new favorite crumb topping. There is a little more salt in this version than most, but it really makes it. I doubled the cinnamon in the topping, simply because the topping bowl and the filling bowl were side by side, and I added the cinnamon to the wrong bowl. It was a divine mistake, which I will make again.

Skillet Apple Crisp

Serves 6 to 8
If your skillet is not ovensafe, prepare through step 3 and then transfer the filling to a 9x13-in baking dish. Top the filling as directed and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Use Golden Delicious apples, though any sweet, crisp apple such as Honeycrisp or Braeburn can be substituted, I used Gala. Do not use Granny Smith apples in this recipe. I am normally a proponent of toasting nuts before I add them to things, except when they're used in a topping. They will be plenty toasted without going to the trouble of doing it before hand. Serve the apple crisp warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. This recipe is adapted from Cooks Illustrated.

¾ cup (3 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ cup pecans , chopped fine
¾ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup (3 1/2 ounces) packed light brown sugar
¼ cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (I doubled)
½ teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter , melted

3 pounds apples (about 7 medium), peeled, cored, halved, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
¼ cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1 cup apple cider
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. FOR THE TOPPING: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine flour, pecans, oats, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl. Stir in butter until mixture is thoroughly moistened and crumbly. Set aside while preparing fruit filling.
2. FOR THE FILLING: Toss apples, granulated sugar, and cinnamon (if using) together in large bowl; set aside. Bring cider to simmer in 12-inch ovensafe skillet over medium heat; cook until reduced to ½ cup, about 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer reduced cider to bowl or liquid measuring cup; stir in lemon juice and set aside.
3. Heat butter in now-empty skillet over medium heat. When foaming subsides, add apple mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until apples begin to soften and become translucent, 15 to 20 minutes. (Do not fully cook apples.) Remove pan from heat and gently stir in cider mixture until apples are coated.
4. Sprinkle topping evenly over fruit, breaking up any large chunks. Place skillet on baking sheet and bake until fruit is tender and topping is deep golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack until warm, at least 15 minutes, and serve.

I wanted to show the syrup that forms in the pan. I took the picture of the crisp in the bowl a little too soon. We spooned this yummy goodness over the top of our ice cream. And now you know what I'll be eating for breakfast, that is if I can fight Michael off.