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Not gonna lie, of all the pies I make, apple pies are by far the the most time consuming with all the peeling, coring, chopping and mixing, it probably takes twice as long as a berry pie (even with a peeling machine, which I can’t recommend enough!). But all that work? So worth it!

My baking assistant certainly though the ribbons of peel were fun,and the cinnamon and sugar-covered apple-slices were A-OK by her. And truthfully, after eight years of annual apple pie-making, I’ve got my process down. And so we’ve already eaten one pie, and have the second in the freezer for later this winter.

Want a video of me walking through the pie-making process? Check! Or the recipe? Check!

Book Illustration:  Time for A Hug by Phillis Gershator, Mim Green, with Illustrations by David Walker, a new favorite in our house.

Interested in Children’s books? Me too! As the daughter of a former elementary-school librarian, who currently reads at least 5 new picture books a week (thanks local library!), I’ve started compiling a list our our household favorites with detailed reviews over on my Pinterest Page.

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Little Miss Cleaver is, for the most part, a pretty good eater and if there’s one thing she loves to eat above else it’s fruit (unless it’s honeydew melon, because she ain’t having none of that).

She is, however, somewhat picky about the quality and seasonality of her fruit. Watermelon in July – gimme more! Watermelon in a fruit salad in September – no way. So it’s perhaps unsurprising that her favorite outings seem to be our PYO trips, because fruit fresh off the plant? Nothing better than that!

And I tend to agree, our annual Ricker Hill trip is always one of my favorite days of the year. Beautiful views, fresh fruit, apple cider doughnuts, and Steinbeck gets to come too? And this year they even added a hard cider tasting room.

Its was unseasonably warm this year, but everyone still had a great time (even Mr. Cleaver, who we forgot to get in front of the camera!), but I think LMC had the best time of all!

PS – check out the photos from last year, my little one has gotten so big!

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It’s no secret that I love Autumn in Maine. Fall has always been my favorite time of year and New England has the best Autumns of them all. And this year I get to share it all with Little Miss Cleaver – which makes it even better.

This year we crammed both of the Cleaver Family fall favorite field trips into one gloriously busy week: the Fair (Cumberland County) and apple picking (Ricker Hill). Miss Cleaver was wide-eyed at all the new things to look at (but not allowed to put in her mouth) and Mr. Cleaver and I loved watching her take it all in. Steinbeck was just happy to be there.

For years now, Mr. Cleaver and I talked about how some day we would take our future children on these annual adventures with us and what a thrill it is to be actually doing it now. We met in the fall and married in the fall (6 years this Sunday!), and the return of the season each year serves as a reminder of how this little family, my greatest joy, made its start. Small wonder that Autumn’s my favorite time of year.

PS: Miss Cleaver just turned 6 months old (how time flies!) and mastered sitting the day we went apple picking.
Pumpkin Photostrip

Or should I say, almost mastered?

PPS: Thanks to those of you who voted for the Pride’s Corner Drive-In. Unfortunately they didn’t win a new projector, but another Maine Drive-In (in Saco) did!

My 207 cooking segment airs tonight (Friday) on WCSH6 at 7:00pm. I’ll post the video for everyone tomorrow.

In the meantime, you can check out my experience filming, the recipe, or tips on making cup-pies.

 

Kathy and Me in the 207 Kitchen

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to scratch a big item off my bucket list, appear on 207. For those not from southern Maine, 207 is a nightly local news magazine show, similar to the Evening Magazine shows that are shown  in various US markets. A typical episode of 207 may have a performance by a local or visiting band, interviews with a author, a cooking segment with a local chef or baker, and some other local news story

.At the station

Since it’s inception on our local NBC affiliate, 207 has been hosted by local news anchors Kathleen Shannon and Rob Caldwell. Ever since we moved back to Maine, it’s been part of Mr. Cleaver and I’s nightly ritual to watch the show (followed by Jeopardy!) and so it’s been a dream of mine to be on the show somehow to and to get a 207 mug the guests use on the show.

So last week when I came home from knitting and Mr. Cleaver told me that 207 was holding a contest to be on the show, all you have to do was post on their facebook page about your favorite (original) apple recipe. So post I did:

Every year I turn my big bag of apples into a number of delicious apples pies. I even have streusel topped and cup-pie (mini-pies made in a cupcake tin) options!

I would call myself a 207 super fan and I would love the chance to roll out some dough with Kathleen. I’d even bring some choice samples from my vintage apron collection for us to wear!

Granted, I think there was about four people who posted, but nonetheless, I was thrilled when I got a facebook message from Kathleen asking me to be on the show!

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After getting the details (you have 5 minutes to assemble a pie!), and making my sample pre-baked pie, I went to WCSH6 studio yesterday morning to film my segment. A producer brought me up to the Kitchen set (which lives on the sales floor) and I began to set up.

Some funny things I learned about the set and baking on tv:

  • While everything on the kitchen set works (stove, microwave, sink, stovetop), there is another kitchen for staff’s daily use directly behind the kitchen with a fridge, microwave, coffeemaker, dishwasher, and official cooler. There are some fake cabinet panels that cover the doorway during filming.
  • The cameras are all controlled remotely. So there are no camera guys, but you can see the cameras move.
  • There are some big banks of lights that are hot, but not super hot, and while I was mic’ed, I didn’t have to wear any makeup other than what I walked in off the street with.
  • You actually do it in five minutes, with no editing it down and five minutes goes by really fast! But you just keep working while you talk/ talk while you work.
  • Things go in the little ingredient bowls because a) it goes faster and b) they can’t show any product labels, including generics, less it seem like an endorsement.
  • Kathleen Shannon takes her shoes off in the kitchen segments. So technically, we were barefoot (her), knocked up (me), and in a kitchen.

The set!

Official cooler

All the little ingredient bowls

I have to say that while I was nervous about my first television appearance, Kathleen was a total pro,who made it very easy on me and I had a blast. It was a total bucket-list worthy experience. After our segment was finished filming, Kathleen was nice enough to give me tour of the rest of the studio where I discovered that everything is on different floors (i.e. the weather green screen is no where near the news set) and that all the sets are much smaller than you would think.

Finished product

And I got not one, but two 207 mugs, because she gave me an extra for Mr. Cleaver because we’re such big fans. Earned it baby!

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I’m not 100% sure when the segment is going to air, either Friday or Wednesday, but I’ll try to post a heads-up for locals when I know for sure. In any case, they always post video (and the recipe) online afterwards, so I’ll post the video or a link as soon as it’s available. Fingers crossed I don’t come across as a total goob  and even if I do, it was still super fun!.

Sarah Jarosz Concert

Apple crisp in the making

Yarn swap

First of all, I wanted to thank everyone for their kind words on our big announcement. Mr. Cleaver and I appreciate each and every one. It also appears that March is quite the month for blogger babies, from the number of comments I received from ladies with similar due dates!

In the first of what will be many full Fall weekends, Mr. Cleaver and I caught a cozy Sarah Jarosz show at USM. If you’re not familiar with this bluegrass musician yet, I’d highly recommend you check her out. She has a fabulous voice and is no slouch on the mandolin/banjo/guitar either. Also, seeing her adorable outfit really confirmed my need for a pair of cowboy boots someday.

I utilized about a third of my massive bag of freshly picked apples in a pair of apple crisps. I’m thinking this coming weekend will be the big pie-making event.

One of the crisps went to Bristol’s for our first (massive!) yarn swap. The pile of odd balls in the photo above was already well-picked over by this time, and doesn’t include the three other piles of sock yarn, sweater lots, and 3-4 balls. When it comes to yarn, I managed to leave with less than I came, taking only a Zauberball and a sweater’s worth of purple Blue Moon BFL DK that I want to be a cardigan yesterday. I did however, also come home with a grocery bag full of jersey fabric and a cut of nice wool. I’ve been venturing into the land the sewing with knits and free fabric to practice with is always appreciated it.

Lastly, I had hoped to share my first maternity sewing project with you, but I started guessing on the tutorial instructions halfway through, and had to spend to quality time with a seam ripper this morning, so it’ll be a bit on that one yet.

How are you enjoying these first days of fall? (or spring, for any southern hemisphere readers?)