Apple Pie Smoothie

It’s the 4th of July so that means apple pie!

But it is too hot to bake and have your oven on…unless we are making a smoothie:

So this recipe I found on pinterest, but originally comes from The Lemon Bowl. I did change it a bit, but not too much.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Apple- Peeled, Cored, and Quartered
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Cup of Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1/4 Cup of Oats
  • 1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Nutmeg
  • 1/8 Teaspoon of Ground Cloves

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Pour into a glass and serve.

Thoughts After Reading:

Make sure you peel the apples. The recipe doesn’t tell you to peel it, so I didn’t. But of you do not peel them, the smoothie does not work.

It was very good, I would definitely make it again.

For more 4th of July recipes, go to Flag Cake

For more smoothies, go to Earl Grey Infused Blueberry Smoothie

For more Pinterest recipes, go to Spinach Tortellini Soup

For more apple pie recipes, go to With the 4th of July comes Apple Pie

Killer Pancake

Happy 4th of July!!!!!

So to celebrate today we are going to feature a 4th of July mystery!

Killer Pancake (Goldy Bear Culinary Mystery #5) by Diane Mott Davidson

Goldy has a new gig doing a low-fat catering job for a very expensive make up line, Mignon’s, show of its new product.

After that she will have a booth at Furman County’s Food Fair, over the 4th of July weekend, and a 4th of July party for a rich and very irritating client.

Between all that she is trying to adapt to married life as she is no longer Goldy Bear, but Goldy Schulz, wife to Tom Schulz of the Sheriff’s department. It’s great having this man in her life as he loves her and loves to cook, but being the wife of a policeman has its rough moments as well.

I’m scared!

Arch has ended his magic phase and has entered into a new love of all things ’60s. Hopefully it ends soon (may the next book he be into something else please!).

Goldy is preparing to say good-bye to Julian as after the summer he will go away to Cornell. He has become a true part of the family and a great help in taking care of Arch and in her catering.

Speaking of Julian, he has a new love interest. A knock-out gorgeous, blonde, Australian: Claire. She’s everything a guy could want and everything girls want to be. She is a sales rep for Mignon cosmetics and the one that got Goldy her low-fat gig.

They head over to where the demonstration will be and right smack in the middle of a group of protestors saying that Mignon is testing on animals and making rabbits go blind. One member and Goldy get into a confrontation, with grilled veggies going everywhere.

To make things shockingly worse, Claire is killed in a hit-and-run that turns out to be murder!

Then Goldy’s best friend Marla ends up in the hospital with a heart attack!

Goldy is visited by her abusive ex-husband, John Richard Korman!

What?!

And reporter Frances Markasian keeps popping up everywhere trying to question Goldy or involve her in her “investigation”.

Goldy tries to help find out what happened to Claire and finds out there is a lot more going on in this case-shoplifting, cooked books, love affairs, peeping toms, industrial espionage, and more. Will she make it to see the fireworks? Or be the next victim?

Thoughts After Reading:

I thought it was pretty good and grabbed you well. You kept reading to find out what happened next and it had quite a group of characters to choose from as to who the killer was.

Hmm…

I figured it out though and thought the ending was missing the extra oomph.

Meh

For more Goldy Bear Culinary Mysteries, go to The Last Suppers

For more on the 4th of July, go to Death by Cashmere

For more industrial espionage, go to Betty and Veronica: Stranger Than Fiction

For more mystery reviews, go to Death by Divorce

Happy 4th of July!

Flag Cake

Thoughts Before Baking:

We reviewed a 4th of July mystery on Tuesday and we have another coming Wednesday, on the actual 4th. I thought the best way to celebrate is with a recipe I made a few years back and really enjoyed. I found it in a magazine and it comes from Betty Crocker.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Box of Betty Crocker or Other Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 1/4 Cups of Water
  • 1/3 Cup of Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 Container of Vanilla Frosting
  • 1/3 Cup of Blueberries
  • 1 Pint of Fresh Strawberries, pits removes and sliced in half

Directions:

  1. Cook cake mix according to box directions..
  2. Cool 10 mins and remove cake from pan.
  3. Cool for an hour.
  4. Place cake on try and frost top and sides.
  5. For flag design, arrange blueberries in the upper left corner to create stars.
  6. Arrange strawberries in rows to create stripes.
  7. Serve immediately. (Store covered in fridge)

Thoughts After Baking:

I loved this cake and thought it was absolutely delicious. You should add it to however or whichever way you choose to celebrate the festivities.

For more 4th of July recipes, go to Happy 4th of July Triple Berry Salad

For more Betty Crocker recipes, go to Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

For more holiday recipes, go to Fajitas

For more cake recipes, go to Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce

For more desserts, go to Chocolate Whoppers

Death by Cashmere

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Death by Cashmere (Seaside Knitters Mystery #1) by Sally Goldenbaum

Thoughts Before Reading:

This was recommended by Goodreads as I enjoyed The Black Sheep Knitting Mystery series.

At the time this post was being written, Anne Canadeo has yet to write any more mysteries, so I figured, hey what the heck! Let’s try it out.

As this book features the 4th of July, I’m posting it the Tuesday before and will post again on next Wednesday, the real 4th of July.

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Plot Synopsis:

Isabel “Izzy” Chambers has returned to Sea Harbor, Massachusetts the town she used to visit every summer.

Izzy had tried being a lawyer, but after a case went bad she left and decided to open her own knitting shop. She, her Aunt Nell, their young friend and lobster fisher woman, Cassie; and older woman rolling in dough, Birdie, finish the group.

The shop does extremely well but both Izzy and her aunt Nell have come in agreement that they would like someone to rent the above apartment and keep an eye out. Enter Angie Archer, an old friend who has just moved back as well.

Angie ran a bit wild after her father died in a quarry accident, but her life at school achieving her B.A. and Masters has calmed her down. Currently she is assisting the Historical Society in putting together an exhibit on the quarry.

One night Angie prepares to go out with Peter, Cassie’s brother; but the night takes unexpected turns as Nell and Izzy spot her fighting with the town matriarch Margarethe’s son Tony.

Nobody is sure what happened next, but the next day Cassie goes out to check her lobster traps and finds Angie’s dead body.

While the cops originally rule it as an accident, it turns out that it is murder.

The knitters start investigating and discover that Angie had a major chip against the town’s bigwigs, was researching into the town’s deeds for more than just the quarry exhibit, and may have had more than a few upset at her.

While they hunt for the truth, someone wants their secret buried and is willing to kill again and again to protect themselves.

Which person in their “no crime” town is secretly a killer?

Hmm…

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Thoughts After Reading:

In a lot of ways this is like The Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries.  You have a person who used to vacation there moving back to live their full time: Lucy Binger/Izzy Chambers. In the knitting group there is an older woman who looks out for everybody and mothers them: Maggie Messina/Aunt Nell. There is young girl to round the group out: Phoebe Meyer/Cassie.  They both take place in a little town near Boston.

However, this book was a bit lacking, to me at least. It took a looong time to get the characters backstories, I’m not sure if the author just wanted to build suspense or what.

The other thing I disliked was the author took a loong time to get to the mystery, I’m not sure if she was floundering, just trying to build tension, or wanted to round out her story?

And the mystery was extremely solvable. It took barely any pages for me to have it figured out yet these “detectives” never even thought to look at the most obvious clue or what else Angie was interested in; instead going after red herrings.

But besides that the book wasn’t bad, but promising that it could be better in later novels. I’ll keep reading to see if the book excel or if they flop.

For more 4th of July mysteries, go to The Hyde Park Murder

For more knitting mysteries, go to The Postman Always Purls Twice

For more mystery reviews, go to Death by Divorce

 

The Hyde Park Murder

Happy 4th of July Everyone!

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Typically I post a recipe, but as I stumbled upon a book that not only takes place on the 4th of July but features a president, I thought I would post on this instead.

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Hydeparkmurder

The Hyde Park Murder (Eleanor Roosevelt Investigates #2) by Elliot Roosevelt

Neighbor Adriana van der Meer comes to Eleanor Roosevelt for help. She was engaged to Bob Hannah, but her parents no longer want her to see him. His father, Alfred Doolittle Hannah, has just been accused of a multi-million dollar stock swindle.

But before the case can go to court, Bob’s father dies by suicide.

Not only are the upcoming nuptials on hold, but Bob is convinced that not only did his father not participate in the scam, but that he did not die by suicide but:

Bob sets out to investigate, going undercover as a lowly employee in his father’s former company. He also gets assistance from a call girl, Miss Moira Lasky.

On the case!

Eleanor decides to assist, bringing in the Securities and Exchange Commissioner, Joseph P. Kennedy, Mayor Fiorella La Guardia, Supreme Justice Brandies, and congressman Sam Rayburn.

It turns out that what they stumbled on is more than just a con, but masking who is really behind it all; the growing German Nazi Party.

Seriously?

Will they be able to stop them before they take America’s money to fund their war?

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Thoughts After Reading:

It was okay.

I didn’t think it was as bad as the first one, but it was pretty boring and bland.

They go on and on about stock information I really did not care to know about.

 The only interesting character was Moira but she wasn’t in the book enough.

So pretty much:

For more Eleanor Investigates, go to Murder and the First Lady

For more 4th of July posts, go to Happy 4th of July Triple Berry Salad

For more holiday posts, go to Crazy Cantina Chili

For more books based on real people, go to The Alchemy of Murder

For more on mysteries with embezzlement, go to Murder Well Done

God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July Triple Berry Salad

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Happy 4th of July!

Thoughts Before Cooking:

Happy 4th everybody! I don’t know about you all, but where I’m at it is going to be one HOT, HOT, HOT day.

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So I was looking for something that would be tasty and cool to eat/cook.

I got this recipe from The Kitchen is My Playground and the original title is Triple Berry Salad with Simple Vanilla Syrup.

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Ingredients:

  • 6-8 ounces of Strawberries
  • 6 ounces of Blueberries
  • 6 ounces of Raspberries
  • 1/4 Cup of Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup of Water
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

Directions:

  1. Place sugar and water in small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Bring mixture to a simmer (there will be small bubbles), and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Remove from heat and cool for 5 mins.
  4. Stir in vanilla extract.
  5. Chill completely in fridge.
  6. Rinse the berries.
  7. Hull the strawberries and slice into 2-3 pieces.
  8. Place all the berries in one bowl.
  9. Just before serving, drizzle the berries with the vanilla sugar syrup.
  10. Toss gently.
  11. Serve.

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berrysalad

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Thoughts After Cooking:

I thought this was amazing!

wow

I will be making this again and again and again!

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For more 4th of July recipes, go to With the 4th of July comes Apple Pie

For more salad recipes, go to Bulghur Salad

For more dessert recipes, go to Mini Lemon Pancake Cookies

For more Pinterest recipes, go to Grilled Zucchini Roll-Ups

For more holiday posts, go to Where Are You Now?

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Lemon Meringue Pie Murder

Lemon Meringue Pie Murder

Lemon Meringue Murder (Hannah Swenson #4) by Joanne Fluke

So before I even start reviewing this piece, I thought I would point out something I noticed on the back cover:

In her third top-of-the line culinary cozy…” –Publishers Weekly

Third? Third? I guess Publishers Weekly doesn’t know how to count. This is the fourth book. It goes 1)Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder

1.5) Candy for Christmas

2) Strawberry Shortcake Murder

3) Blueberry Muffin Murder

4) Lemon Meringue Murder

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So now to the review!

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So the winter blues have been kissed good-bye, as we now enter the summer months with the upcoming 4th of July.

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Hannah is getting ready to wear her summer slacks, when she finds out that she cannot fit in them.

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That means only one thing, a DIET

Diet

In happier news, Norman calls to let Hannah know that he bought a house! Or rather he bought the perfect land from Rhonda Scharf to build their dream house.

Wedding

While Norman is building the house they designed together, he doesn’t ask her to marry him. This tiny nugget becomes a huge part of the plot as Hannah wonders why Norman hasn’t asked her, but yet at the same time doesn’t want to be asked as she doesn’t want to get married. You know what I have to say on that?

movingOnsherlocknotinterested

Come on Hannah, Norman knows you better than you know yourself and can tell you would say no. Hearing you go on and on about it is completely boring.

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In fact I find the whole Norman-Hannah-Mike love triangle completely dumb and am over it. Please end it. I mean it is clear that Hannah and Mike are only physical and won’t work long term; just choose Norman and put us readers out of their misery.

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Later Jed and Freddy stop by Hannah’s shop. Freddy is a developmentally disabled adult and Jed is his cousin. Freddy’s parents died and Jed has been helping take care of him ever since. The two form a handyman service, one of their regular customers being The Cookie Jar. Along with being paid, Hannah always gives them some treats.

cookies

Hannah notices that Jed seems to be spending quite a bit lately. Wonder where he is getting all the dough?

HMMM

The next day Mike returns from a trip and is mad that Norman is building a house for Hannah and that Norman proposed. All I can say Mike, if you weren’t such a rover maybe you would have the sense to ask Hannah yourself.

But the problem is, you just can’t give up other girls. But Hannah still likes this dude, and assures him she is engagement free. Mike is pleased and tells her “I don’t want to change anything. Everything’s great just the way it is.” Great for who? You. And with that attitude you can’t blame Norman for being a man and trying to move the relationship forward. But enough on that stupid drama.

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Oh yeah, so in this mystery Hannah says that her pies are something she changes up every week. Pie? Funny that was never mentioned in the previous books. And it won’t be mentioned again, until Key Lime Murder.

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So Norman, Delores Swenson (Hannah’s mom), and Hannah head out to the Rhonda’s house so Delores can pick over any pieces she wants for her antique shop before the wrecking balls destroy it.

When they get into the house they discover one of Hannah’s pies covered in ants. She also notices two takeout containers with osso buco. And inside the house are two wineglasses and a Chianti bottle. Sounds like someone had a party.

While Hannah and Norman are clearing things upstairs, Delores heads down to the basement and discovers a dead body, Rhonda’s.

AAAAHHHHH

So Hannah reassures everyone that she will not be investigating.

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Whatever Hannah, you know you can’t help but put your nose into everything.

So while Hannah is “determined” to stay out of it, Delores wants to investigate, and urges Hannah to join her team.

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Hannah tracks down who purchased her pies, three going to Claire who owns the boutique next to The Cookie Jar. There she discovers that Claire gave Rhonda one of her pies, and that Claire is dating the Reverend.

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Later, after catering and other duties, Hannah returns to The Cookie Jar where she runs into Jed and Freddy, looking to get paid for their hard work. Through some very clunky, (and bad), exposition, we find out that Jed used to be in prison. He was supposedly only an outside contractor, and received a huge check which allows him to buy all these things he has been purchasing lately.

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Hannah and Mike meet up that evening for dinner. They talk about the case which then leads into a discussion on Freddy and Jed. Hannah doesn’t like Jed as he introduces “ideas Freddy can’t handle.” Like buying a new truck or getting interested in girls.

Oh no Hannah, the horror! Freddy likes a new truck and will be riding around in it. Next thing you know he will be getting involved in drugs and end up in jail.

seriously

 And girls? Developmentally disabled people can get married and do regularly. Obviously Fluke doesn’t know anyone developmentally disabled. Although we really know why this is introduced, Fluke wants to establish Jed as the villian and killer.

seriously

SPOILER, you say? As soon as they announced Jed used to be in jail it is clear that he is being set up as the murderer. Totally obvious.

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Hannah then goes on the trail of the osso buco, trying to find out who Rhonda’s boyfriend was. One person who ordered take out was the Reverend, Hannah goes over to talk to Claire and finds out that he brought dinner for their night out. She also is told by Claire that Claire wants to be the Reverend’s wife. The only thing stopping her? She doesn’t know how to read sheet music or play the organ.

really?

Now it is things like this that really makes me question whether Fluke is living in the present time. This book is published in 2003, not 1962. Most churches do not have an organ anymore, they have switched to pianos or keyboards. And if they do have an organist, they hire someone. It is not a requirement for a minister’s wife. And how should I know such things? From experience, I’m a minister’s daughter.

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Hannah does manage to track down Rhonda’s boyfriend, figuring out that it is the high school principal. He apparently went there to break it off, not staying very long and Rhonda very much alive when he left. So it it wasn’t the boyfriend? Then who is the murderer.

Freddy comes by The Cookie Jar the next day. He drops off a surprise for Jed, that he “lost” in the trash. Hannah agrees to hold it, once again being clunky thrown in.

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As Hannah is investigating, another mystery crops up. Old bills from a bank robbery about 30 years ago have resurfaced. Who could be behind it? Is it connected to Rhonda’s death?

Hannah returns to Rhonda’s old house and takes some photographs in the basement. When they look at them again they discover that there is something wrong with the jam jars. They are not organized as they should be, with the jam on the wrong shelves. That means someone was over there and there must be something important there.

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There is also this moment when Andrea is planning on making red, white, & blue jello; but in the end can’t as they don’t make blue jello. I distinctly remember eating it when I was a child, and when I looked it up blue jello was invented in 1992. Andrea totally should have been able to buy it.

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Hannah gets caught up in a storm and finds herself at Beatrice’s and Ted’s apartment complex, the place that Rhonda rented from. Hannah comes in to call and let her family know she is safe. Beatrice offers to give her Rhonda’s clothes. Hannah uses that time to snoop and discovers a letter to Rhonda’s great-aunt.

The letter is from a prison inmate, Speedy. He talks about a treasure hunt they would go on and her peach jam.

suspicious Hmm

The 4th of July comes and everything seems great. That is until they find a bludgeoned Freddy. Luckily they get him to the hospital in time. There Freddy is in a coma, but will be brought out. Jed is disheartened, and Hannah tries to cheer him up telling him about Freddy’s surprise.

Hannah heads to the bakery the next morning to work on some dough. As she does she starts thinking about the note, Rhonda, etc and puts it all together. Speedy hid the money in Rhonda’s house, the one that used to belong to her aunt. Rhonda found it when she was cleaning things out. From there Jed found it and is the murderer as he he is spending a ton of money.

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To me that seems like an awfully big leap.

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Jed comes to get the “surprise”, but Hannah manages to beat him to it. He then locks her in her cooler. He admits it all, just as Hannah figured it out. Hannah tries to get out, becoming some super electrician and figuring the right wire to cut that will make someone investigate. How does she know such complex things?

What?

At least when Nancy Drew did it, she always explained where she got such knowledge from, and how she has done it before. Not just a casual conversation with her father 20 years ago.

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In the end Lisa and Herb get engaged and Hannah discovers she switched pants with Andrea. She never had to diet after all.

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Thoughts After Reading:

As you can tell I didn’t really care for this mystery. There were a lot of plot pieces left out, such as how Jed figured out about the money. And some things didn’t make any sense. To be completely honest, to me it seemed like a slapped together, overly complicated mystery.

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For more Hannah Swenson mysteries, go to Blueberry Muffin Murder

For more midwestern mysteries, go to Thorns of Rosewood

For more reviews, go to The Princess Plot

 

With the 4th of July comes Apple Pie

applepie

With the 4th of July tomorrow, I thought I should do some recipe that honors the day. As I was pondering this, the answer came to me. Apple pie. The perfect dish for America’s birthday. 

Thoughts before cooking:

Now this was a mysterious dish four years ago when I entered a pie bake-off. I searched the internet for the perfect apple pie, and found this recipe. It sounded simple and I risked it. I didn’t win (there was a gazillion pies) but not only did I think it was amazing, but everyone else did too. This recipe is from the food network and was posted by Sandi Anderson from Tyler’s Ultimate. Of course I have tweaked it over the years to suit the way I like it.

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Ingredients

Pie Crust:

  • 2 Cups of All-Purpose flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 3/4 Cup of Shortening
  • Ice Water

Filling:

  • 1/2 Cup – 1 Cup of All-Purpose Flour
  • 6-7 Granny Smith Apples peeled, and cut into slices
  • 1 Cup of White Sugar
  • 1 Cup of Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons of butter

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, mix up the shortening and flour. Add in water a tablespoon at a time until dough is more malleable. If you add to much and it is to liquid-y, then just add a bit more flour to firm it up.
  2. Put dough aside.
  3. When cutting up the apples, make sure to remove the hard pieces where the seed grows along with any spots or blemishes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375°
  5. Combine the apples, with the brown and white sugar.
  6. Add the flour and cinnamon, mixing them all together.
  7. Divid the dough in half and roll into two balls.
  8. Take a cutting board and put a little flour on the surface, rubbing it. Rub flour on your rolling pin as well.
  9. Place the dough down and roll it into a large circle.
  10. Place the dough in a cake pan.
  11. Lay the apples down on the dough in the pan.
  12. Put the two tablespoons of butter on top.
  13. Repeat step 8.
  14. Place the second ball of dough down and roll it out into a large circle.
  15. Place it on top, to be the top of your pie.
  16. Cut a small incision on the top of the pie to allow steam out.
  17. Add a dash of cinnamon and sugar on top.

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Thoughts after baking:

Best pie I ever made and sure to be the crowning achievement to any 4th of July celebration. At least until the fireworks come out!

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For more recipes, go to Best Guacamole Ever! (Plus Make Your Own Tortilla Chips!)