It is definitely Fall!!!!

I paid a visit to the local orchard.  If you live in the Des Moines Area, you should take a look at Center Grove Orchard This Orchard can be a little bit pricey if you want to go and spend the day.  It is around $10.00 a person to go and see all their attractions. This is the orchard to go to if you want to go and spend the day and have the orchard experience.  I have went to this orchard for the last 11 years and have seen it grow into what it is today.  Anyway, I went to the orchard because I happen to love this time  of the year. 

Caramel Apples were on the menu for Sunday afternoon.  Here is my recipe for caramel apples.


  • 2 packages (14oz each) caramels
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 8 medium Macintosh apples- these happen to be my favorite apple.
  • sticks for apples


In slow cooker, combine caramels and water. Cover and cook on high for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until caramels are melted, stirring frequently.
Meanwhile, line a baking pan with parchment paper.

Wash and dry the apples. Insert a stick into stem end of each apple. Reduce crockpot heat to LOW.

Dip apple into hot caramel; turn to coat entire surface. Holding apple above pot, scrape off excess accumulation of caramel from bottom apple.

Place coated apples on prepared pan. As you near the bottom of the pot, use a spoon to spoon hot caramel over apples. Put the pan of coated apples in the refrigerator to set thoroughly. Use caution if children are helping; the crockpot will probably be quite hot to the touch and the caramel could scald.
Makes 8 caramel apples.


I am mom to a ballerina

It is definitely official.  I am a mom to not only a competitive dancer, but also to a ballerina.  Yes, there are many things a mom can be proud of and becoming a ballerina is one of these.  My eight year old was finally ready to try out for a part for a winter ballet this year.  Well, she went to one of the local auditions and was cast as a cherub in The Snow Queen ballet.  She didn't know anyone in the audition and succeeded.  I am so proud of her.  Now how to fit in more dance practices through the week.  UGH!!  Looks like I will need to find me a few more crockpot recipes as we have practices through the end of January.


Roast Pork with Apples and Onions

Tonight for dinner I made Roast pork with apples and onions.  This is an old stand by recipe that I usually use with pork chops once fall sets in. 

Fall is here in Central Iowa!!!  I woke up this morning to a temperature in the 30's.  Now it is cloudy and cool.  Perfect weather for some fall cooking.  If it is like fall in your neighborhood, then this will be the perfect recipe for you. 

pork sirloin roast
1/2 onion sliced
4 apples peeled and sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
thyme and rosemary to taste chopped (I used fresh)
1 clove garlic

Place roast in roasting pan.  Sprinkle thyme and rosemary over roast.  Mince garlic clove and rub onto the top of the roast. 

Combine apples, sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Place onion slices on top of roast.  Place apples around roast. 

Bake at 300 degrees 2 hours or until roast is done. 


Swedish Beef in the Crockpot

This was pretty good.  Kind of like a stroganoff.  I put sliced mushrooms with mine and served over noodles with some broccoli on the side.  Great easy weeknight meal. 
•2 pounds round steak, cut in serving-size pieces

•salt and pepper

•1/2 teaspoon dill weed

•1 med. onion, sliced

•1 beef bouillon cube, crumbled, or beef base or granules

•1/2 c. water

•1/4 c. flour

•1/4 c. water

•1 c. sour cream


Sprinkle steak with salt and pepper. Place in Crock Pot. Add dill, onion, bouillon cube, and 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours. Remove meat. Thicken juices with flour dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water. Turn control to high. Cook for 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in sour cream and turn heat off. Serve sauce over meat with mashed potatoes or noodles.



I have a dancer, and I have found that dance clothing is expensive.  She is still little, but as she grows dance becomes very expensive.  I have found that I can find material that is cute and make many different outfits for her to wear.  Especially since she wants a new wardrobe every month.  I used less than a yard of material for this cute rainbow outfit.  This was my first attempt at a top to match the bottoms.  I think it turned out very well.

I used 2 different patterns to get the popular dance clothing look.  I used Kwik Sew pattern 3605 for the bottoms and Kwik Sew pattern 3165 for the top.  It was very easy to make and took only 1 day of sewing to complete. 

This is what I spent my weekend working on.  How about you?  Have you sewn anything lately?


Menu Week of September 12

Fall is in full swing around here.  The days are getting shorter and the weather is a little cooler.  I noticed this morning that some of the leaves were starting to turn colors also.  I love fall and can't wait for more beautiful days.

Here is the menu for this week

Monday:  Grilled chicken with pesto pasta

Tuesday:  Sweedish beef (crockpot)

Wednesday:  Pork chops with apples

Thursday:  Garlic Lime Chicken

Friday:  Baked Rigatoni

Saturday:  Leftovers

Sunday:  Nachos



Okay all my frugal friends, if you haven't joined Swagbucks yet I suggest you visit my widget and sign up.  The widget is in the side bar.  I have gotten many free gift cards and also this is what I use to get all my gifts for Christmas.  I save my swagbucks all year and then in October I begin to cash these in.  It has saved me hundreds of dollars.  Join me today!!

Perfect no fail Pie Crust

Crust Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups pastry flour
8 tbsp butter
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
2 ½ -3 ½ tbsp. ice water
1 ½ tsp cider vinegar

Crust preparation:
All ingredients need to be cold. Place flour, salt, baking powder in food processor. Pulse 6 times. Place butter in to flour mixture and pulse until butter is the size of peas. Add water and vinegar until mixture just comes together. Take out of food processor bowl and place on plastic wrap and form into a disc. Chill for at least 30 mins. Roll out crust and place in 9 inch pie plate.

Chocolate Chip Bars

Chocolate Chip Bars


2/3 cup (10 2/3 tablespoons) butter

2 cups + 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour

3 cups chocolate chips; or a combination of different flavored chips, or chips and nuts

Frugal Tip:  I used semi sweet chocolate, white chocolate, and butterscotch chips.  These were all leftovers and a great way to use up those last few bits in the cupboard. 

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan.

2) Melt the butter, and stir in the brown sugar. Add the salt, vanilla, stirring until well combined.

3) Allow the mixture to cool slightly (if it's very hot to the touch), then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl midway through this process.

4) Add the baking powder, and flour, stirring to combine.

5) Stir in the chips or other additions of your choice.

6) Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it to the edges with a wet spatula (or your wet fingers). Smooth the top as best you can.

7) Bake the bars for 30 to 32 minutes, until they've risen, and their top is shiny and golden.

Family Issues

Sorry, I haven't been posting in a while.  I have had "life" happen.  I am now officially the daughter and daughter in law of aging parents.  I was cruising along in my own life and BAM!!  out of the blue a jolt of bad news cruised my way.  My uncle who was only in his early 50's passed away suddenly.  Then the day after his funeral my dad's aunt passed away also suddenly.  I had to kind of wonder whether my family had suddenly had a streak of bad luck.  So needless to say I have been travelling and attending funerals out of state.  I love to travel, but under such circumstances I was not a happy traveler. 

Then after the dust settled from the funerals, my dad was hospitalized with heart problems.  A few days later and he is okay.  He just needs to watch what he eats and start exercising.  A few days after that  we find out my father in law needs to have surgery on his brain.  Not sure when this will happen yet, but I am guessing within the next month or so.  All this has been quite unexpected and my blog has been ignored in the process.  I plan to start posting again on a regular basis until one of life's unexpected adventures pops up. 

Look for a new recipe soon!!