If you expect the unexpected, doesn’t that make the unexpected expected?

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Do you ever come across someone and get that feeling – that certainty – that you’re going to be friends?

That’s pretty much how I felt the first time I met Greta of Not Enough Patience and Never Enough Jewelry.

Although we hang out pretty frequently on The Twitter, we’ve been lucky enough to get together on several occasions in real life and it’s always a good time. (Especially this last girls’ lunch – I can tell you straight up that neither of us has any tolerance for alcohol. One fourth of a Bellini at lunch had me giggling like Piglet.)

When Greta (whom I refer to as G Funk in my head, because you all get secret nicknames) asked me to contribute a post for her Great Expectations series, I got the warm fuzzies. Ok, and also some prickly panic because let’s face it, when you don’t write for awhile, your creative prose muscle starts to atrophy.

If you’ve got a minute, head over to Greta’s place and see what I came up with. Also be sure to check out her four adorable kiddos and then go follow her on Twitter and chat with us sometime.

*Comments are closed so please head over and visit with us at G Funk’s. 

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In the Kitchen: Caramel Apple Pie

I know a lot of people closely guard their favorite recipes. Some won’t even write them down for fear of sneaky pilferers. I have a cousin who makes a great banana pudding and said she’d tell me how if I promised never to bring it to a family function, because it was her thing. (I promise, Jenny, I’ve never served it to anyone you know, and I gave you full credit when I did make it.)

When I decided to share my apple pie recipe, I admit, I felt a little naked. This pie is, along with my praline-filled carrot cake, my thing. But I’d love for you to take it and maybe make it your thing if you’d like. This is me, learning to share.

But first!

You know when you take a stand on something and then later you go against what you said? Awwwwwkward.

Awhile back my friend Denae asked me to write a guest post for her about holiday traditions, but I ended up breaking tradition. Oops.

Follow me here and see how I screwed up.

I was featured on New Mom Adventure

Now on with the pie. Pronounced PAH with a Southern drawl. Get it right. 

Last year, our sweet neighbor had a bumper crop of apples, and he would walk through the neighborhood once a week and drop off huge bags full of fruit.

I had apples in bowls, apples on countertops, apples taking up every drawer in the fridge.

And my husband hates fruit.

Except.

Except if it’s baked in a pie.

Now, believe it or not, I had never made a fruit pie before. I spent an afternoon hanging out on AllRecipes.com reading reviews of different recipes. It was overwhelming.

People are fanatical about their pie, especially apple pie. Nobody makes pie better than mom/grandma/Aunt Sue and don’t you even try to pretend like you can serve storebought crust and call yourself an American.

I was so stressed out that I turned to the bottle.

And then I had an idea.

Instead of soaking the apples in lemon juice, like one recipe suggested, what if I marinated them in Maker’s Mark, then seasoned them, then made a caramel-ish sauce and drizzled it over everything?

And what if I went ahead and bought premade crust at the store, but made up for it by cutting a latticework top?

So I made one. It lasted a day thanks to some visitors with hefty appetites. (Really, my husband ate the whole thing, but he made me write that.)

The next day, my neighbor showed up again with two bags of apples. Peeling and coring all that by hand did not sound like fun, so I went and picked up one of these brilliant things, and spent an entire weekend baking pies.

I sent one to the apple man, one across the street, one next door. Pie for everyone!

I was really looking forward to a repeat performance this year, but my neighbor’s trees did not yield a single apple. Not one. We were very sad.

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of them at the market and even though they’re not free and they don’t taste nearly as good, they’ll still make a pie. Or four.

Mamamash’s Caramel Apple Pie

1 premade pie crust in a pan (freezer section)
1 premade pie crust, rolled (refrigerated section)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup water
8 tart apples – peeled, cored and sliced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons Maker’s Mark plus 1 shot
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 can 7UP

In a tall glass, mix a shot of Maker’s Mark with a can of 7Up over ice. Put your feet up and sip while your husband/kid/friend who owes you a favor peels, cores and slices the apples.

Place apples in a bowl with cinnamon, nutmeg, whiskey and juice.

Melt butter in a sauce pan. Stir in flour. Add white sugar, brown sugar and water; bring to a boil. Reduce temperature, and simmer 5 minutes.

Fill your bottom crust with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a latticework crust.
Learn how to do that here.

Gently, slowly, ever-so-carefully pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust.

Cover the edges with foil or pie crust savers and bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes.