I've been making apple crisp for years and years. It's that time of year when all the apples of every variety and kind are coming ripe. Last week I didn't have any lovely new-crop apples, but I did have an apple crisp kit from Schwan's. I normally don't buy that sort of thing from our Schwan Man, but it was on sale and I thought it might be a nice treat. Well, let me tell you what I learned from the back of the bag!
There were directions on how to bake the apple crisp with either a microwave or with a conventional oven. I read them both and decided for the microwave instructions even though it also included using the oven for part of the baking time. The smart part of the instructions goes like this: you put the apples and the frozen sugary goop into a pie plate and microwave it for 8 minutes. At that point the apples are nice and soft. I stirred the goop and apples around thoroughly and then topped it with the crumble mixture and put it in the oven at 400* covering it with foil and baking it for 15 minutes. After the timer went off, I baked it 10 more minutes with the foil off to brown the crumble more. In the past, the apples in my apple crisps were not always cooked enough to suit me. I prefer them soft and melt-in-your-mouth-like. We call them "boney" apples when they are tough and underdone. The same goes for potatoes which aren't thoroughly cooked -- aka: boney potatoes. But with this method of first cooking the apples in the microwave and then finishing off the baking part in the oven, it was just perfect! I am definitely using this method again with my favorite homemade apple crisp recipe. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?
On the tomato front lines, we did not receive any frost! I covered up the vines in expectation, but thankfully we eeked by it, only dipping to about 36 degrees. Now I have another enemy to defend against. It's either coons or skunk. Most mornings when I go to check on the tomatoes I'm finding that there are bites out of the biggest, ripest tomatoes in the patch. The culprits are crawling under the fence. Argh! NumberOneSon is hunting most nights, so hopefully he will eliminate that problem. In the meantime, I'm picking yellowish-orange tomatoes trying to beat the critters to them. The tomatoes ripen fairly well on the kitchen table.
The past couple of days the Littles have been staying with us on and off. It's great fun having them here at Grammy and Papa's house. They love to work right beside me in the garden or fetch the eggs from the chicken coop. Whatever we are doing, they think it's fun. We have two swings in our willow tree -- one baby swing and one disc swing. The girls love swinging in the backyard and we have a special little song we sing together while they swing. In a sing-song voice we sing:
Swing, swing, swing
We love to swing
Swing, swing, swing
Swinging in the tree
(and then to the tune of Bringing in the Sheaves)
Swinging in the tree, swinging in the tree
We will be rejoicing swinging in the tree....
When our kids were little, they used to think the chorus of the hymn "I Shall Not Be Moved" sung by Ricky Van Shelton went like this:
Oshy Washy, oshy washy woo,
Oshy Washy, oshy washy woo.
Just like a tree planted by the water
Oshy washy woo.
Eventually the song became the song of washing hands under the faucet, and it is so with the Littles now.
Do you have favorite songs that you sing to your children or grandchildren? I do. Lots of them, but one in particular they love is called "Little Sack of Sugar." Do you know it? No? Then take a listen. We don't sing all the verses, but maybe one day we will. Have a happy week and sing a happy tune.