Cinnamon Pie Crust Leaves


I consider myself a pretty good pie baker.
But we all have “those days” – eh?

This past Sunday, I decided to bake a cherry pie.  It’s been quite a while since I got my hands on tart red cherries, so when I found some in the frozen food section at our local supermarket recently, I swooped them up with all good intentions of baking a surprise cherry pie for my guys.  Sunday, especially with Fall approaching, is always a good time to have dessert as a special treat.


The simple recipe I found online in a quick search called for using cornstarch as the “thickener.”  I typically use flour, but found a box of cornstarch in the back of my spice cabinet and decided to follow the recipe and use it.

I prepared the pie and baked it (10 minutes longer than the recipe called for because the filling was not bubbling out of the slits on top yet – and Grandma always told me a pie is never done until it bubbles over).  I decided it had to be done, so removed it from the oven, cooled it, and looked forward to serving it to my guys who had been working hard chopping and splitting and stacking wood in preparation for Fall and winter fires.

Well – the pie filling just didn’t thicken.  My guys ate their whole slices like champs, even though they were more like cherry soup topped with crust and vanilla ice cream.

I had a major cherry pie FLOP!

I’m glad I also followed Grandma’s guidance and made cinnamon pie crust treats with the leftover dough that wasn’t needed on the pie.  Grandma typically just cut the leftover dough into strips, brushed with milk, sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar, and baked until brown.  I had fun cutting mine out into maple and oak leaves with cookie cutters to make them a little fancier.

The cinnamon pie crust leaves didn’t make it to the next day.  Glad something turned out right!

Does cornstarch go bad?  Does it loose its “thickening” ability?  I must admit it wasn’t sealed very airtight, and what I used was at the very end of the box.  Or did I just not bake the pie long enough?  I actually put it back in the oven for 15 more minutes after serving the two pieces to my guys wondering if it might thicken up.  No luck.

I guess we all have “those days” right?!

Cherry Hugs,

Classic Apple Dumplings

apple dumpling cover

One of my hubby’s favorite treats this time of year is Apple Dumplings, so after a crisp Autumn morning walk on Saturday followed by a cup of coffee and phone call to catch-up with my BFF, I decided I was going to make some of these classic Fall favorites.  Nothing fancy, just pure nostalgic goodness.

apple dumpling apple

It’s apple time of year in Western Pennsylvania, so the varieties to choose from are plenty.  You can use pretty much any kind of apple you love best.  The only one I NEVER buy and NEVER bake with is Red Delicious.  Never could understand why they are so popular…

apple dumpling apple peeler corer slicer

The apple/peeler/slicer I have from back in my Pampered Chef days sure comes in handy for this job, but you can do by hand if you don’t have one.

apple dumpling apple peels

A fun little tip to make your house smell wonderful for days is to take all of those peelings and cores and throw them in a saucepan with a couple cinnamon sticks (and cloves if you like), cover with water and simmer.  The steam will permeate through your house and leave it smelling cinnamony applicious.

apple dumpling potpourri

You can even cover it and leave it on the stove for a couple days, removing the lid and simmering for a few hours a day just to bring that wonderful Fall aroma back.

I have a funny story from back in the good ole’ Pampered Chef Days.  I had a young lady who was new to the business that I had been training, and I shared this tip with her.  Holly still lived at home with her parents.  One Saturday morning, after practicing some recipes to demonstrate with her apple/peeler/corer/slicer, Holly decided to make some of this Fall potpourri.  She had it simmering on the stove while she went upstairs to take a shower.  When she came down, her Mom had a perplexed, comical look on her face.

“Holly Honey,” she said. “I don’t recommend you make this recipe at your cooking demonstrations.  It just really doesn’t taste that good.”

apple dumpling dough

For my dumplings, I just use my standard pie crust.  Remember the trick to flaky pie crust is to not overwork it.  (You can check out my secrets to successful pie crust here.)

apple dumpling prep

No special dimensions on cutting the dough – just make sure it is large enough to cover the apple completely.

And if it doesn’t, you can always use scraps of dough to patch and “glue” with water.  No perfection needed in my kitchen!

apple dumpling pre oven

Bake them for 30 minutes without the sauce.

apple dumpling sauce

And then for 30 additional minutes with the sauce.

apple dumpling post oven

If you don’t (want to) eat them all at once, Apple Dumplings freeze well.  It is nice to freeze them individually with a little sauce for a sweet treat when you want it most.

apple dumpling single top

Marty was a pretty happy camper when he saw what I was baking.

And I kinda thought he deserved it after publicly professing he thinks I’m cuuuuuuute!  🙂

The old bugger is losing his eyesight a bit…  Isn’t it nice how that happens as you age and grow old together?!

Cheers & Hugs,


Classic Apple Dumplings

Pie Crust Pastry:
2 c. flour
2/3 c. shortening
Dash of Salt
3/4 c. water
5-6 med-large firm apples (Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith)
1 can Mountain Dew or Lemon Juice
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp.  cinnamon
1 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. butter
2 c. water
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Roll out pie dough, and cut into 5-6 uniform squares.
Peel and core apples, but leave them whole.
Pour the Mountain Dew or lemon juice over peeled, cored apples in bowl to keep from browning while assembling.
In another bowl, combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon.Place apple in center of square pastry.   Sprinkle all over with cinnamon sugar mixture.Fill each apple cavity with approx. 2 Tbsp. brown sugar and 1 tsp. butter.Pull the pastry squares up over the apples and twist on top.  Seal well, using water if necessary as “glue.”Place in an greased 9x13x2 inch baking pan or stone.Bake for 30 min.While apple dumplings are baking for first half of time, combine sauce ingredients in saucepan over high heat. Bring to boil and continue boiling for 1 minute.After the dumplings have baked for 30 minutes, pour the sauce over top and bake 30 minutes longer, basting occasionally.Serve hot with cream or vanilla or cinnamon ice cream or cold – however you like best!

It’s My 100th Post! How Long is a Jiffy?


It’s my 100th Post @!

Woohoo!  sounds like a reason for cupcakes with sprinkles – eh?!  🙂

What a joy this has been so far to share with all of you, and I am looking forward to another 100 or so if yinz all don’t mind.

Instead of letting the stress of what to say “special” in my 100th post, I just went with what was in my head and heart today – nothing extra special…. just random stuff from me…. at… Life in Between.

I must say, this first 100 posts and days sure flew by in a “jiffy!”

Back In A Jiffy_thumb[6]

Did you know a “jiffy” is an actual unit of time?

I didn’t…

I did know, however, that a pinch of salt is six shakes – did you?

It was one of the (ahem) very few Trivial Pursuit questions I got right back in the day – and you know how I knew?

When my mother-in-law taught me to make pie crust years and years and years ago – the recipe was:  1 cup of flour, a heaping 1/3 cup of shortening, 6 shakes of salt, and enough water to make dough.

That recipe is ingrained in my head, and I always smile when I make it and shake six times and think of my mother-in-law.  She loved to play games, and I loved that she loved to enjoy life and have fun.

Here are some more amazing (and mostly useless) facts* I thought were so interesting…


  • More than 50% of the people in the world have never made or received a telephone call.
  • The sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” uses every letter of the alphabet.
  • The “sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick” is said to be the toughest tongue twister in the English language…try it!
  • No word in the English language rhymes with month.
  • Shakespeare invented the words ‘assassination’ and ‘bump’.
  • “Stewardesses” is the longest word typed with only the left hand, ‘lollipop’ with your right.
  • The name of all the continents end with the same letter that they start with.
  • The words ‘racecar’ and ‘kayak’ are the same whether they are read left to right or right to left.
  • TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters from only one row of the keyboard.
  • There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: “abstemious” and “facetious.”
  • There is a word in the English language with only one vowel, which occurs five times: “indivisibility.”
  • The only 15-letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter is “uncopyrightable.”
  • A “jiffy” is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.
* From a Weekly e-Newsletter I receive from Boyd & Nicholas Now Simione Healthcare Consultants that I always enjoy!  If you would like to receive it, you can sign up here.   Disclaimer:  None of these “factoids” have been verified.
Source:  Welcome to TIPS for Extraordinary Living”
Written & Published by Philip E. Humbert, PhD


You never know what you might find here, but thanks for stopping by!

Cheers & Hugs,