Apple Picking with Xander

hes saying cheese!

he's saying cheese!

Last weekend Xander and I hopped over the Mississippi River into Illinois for some apple picking. We rode into the orchards on a large tractor-pulled wagon. Though the ride was bumpy and Xander tightly held my hands, he appeared to enjoy it. After we were dropped off and informed on the varieties of apples in the orchard, we opened our empty bag and headed toward the Jonathans. At first Xander wanted to pick the apples that were on the ground. I told him they were rotten, ‘yucky’ apples so then he proceeded to step on them and squish the rotten ones. But soon he realized how fun apple picking could be. Xander was a natural and there were plenty of low-to-the-ground branches. We quickly filled up our bag with red apples. We went over to the Golden Delicious section, too, and picked some golden yellow apples too. Soon we had over 7lbs of apples in our bag (way too much!), so we decided to check out the pumpkin patch. Xander loved picking out the green pumpkins that were still ‘rowing’ on the vine. Xander loved picking apples and later, he loved feeding the antelope and cattle. He DIDN’T like the portapotty and refused to go the bathroom until we were home and far away from that weird purple water. 🙂 Later I attempted to make my first, home-made apple pie. And it turned out wonderful. The recipe is below, but my recommendation is ONLY use HALF the sugar.

picking an apple off the tree

picking an apple off the tree

showing off his apple

showing off his apple

I used the Jonathans for the pie--Yum!

exploring the pumpkin patch

exploring the pumpkin patch

feeding the animals

feeding the animals

Apple Pie with yummy flaky crust!

Apple Pie with yummy flaky crust!

Traditional Apple Pie

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup shortening (recommended: Crisco)
  • Ice water
  • Filling, recipe follows
  • Serving suggestion: warm with vanilla ice-cream


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium-mixing bowl cut the shortening and salt into the flour by hand or with a pastry blender hands until it’s the texture of cornmeal. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of ice water over the mixture and mix just until the dough is moistened. Repeat by adding 6 to 8 tablespoons water (one at a time) until all the dough is just moist. Take care not to over mix.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Divide the dough in half and roll into a ball. Roll 1 ball into a circle to fit a 9 to 10-inch pie plate. To transfer the pastry to the pie plate, wrap it around a rolling pin and ease it into the pie plate. Be careful not to stretch the pastry. Trim it even with the edges of the pie plate. Add the apple filling into the pastry lined pie plate. Make sure they are laying flat. Cut butter into small pieces and put on top of the filling.

Roll the remaining pastry into a 12-inch circle. Place on top of the filling. Trim off 1-inch beyond the edge of the pie plate. Crimp the edges as desired. Cut slits to allow steam to escape when baking. Sprinkle a little sugar and cinnamon over the pie.

Cover the edges with foil to prevent over browning. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until it is golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.


  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 to 7 cups apples cut into thin slices (recommended: Green Golden and Jonathans)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter

In a medium bowl combine the apples, with the brown and white sugar. Add flour, cinnamon and continue mixing until they are well coated.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


One thought on “Apple Picking with Xander

  1. It seems like you both had a wonderful day, I wish I was there with you guys….
    I guess daddy was too sick he sounded really bad when we talked to him tonight so we understood that you quarenteed him to the bedroom.. sound like he has the flue , we will call tomrrow Sunday to see how is his..
    bye the way/. Go gators a nice win and good to see Temow back and looking good

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