Peach Pie!

Monday, August 31, 2009 by Jen · 2 comments
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Making pie always makes me think of my Grandma--I loved all of her delicious pies! (She actually gave me the glass pie pan above.) So when peaches were on sale at Rainbow two weeks ago (99 cents a pound), I decided to make a peach pie. If the fruit and crust are on sale, it's actually a pretty inexpensive treat. If you haven't made a pie before, it isn't very hard. You should try it! It also helps if you can call your Mom for a few helpful hints--thanks Mom! Read Entire Post for my recipe and tips:

Peach Pie (recipe works for other two crust fruit pie as well)
-7-8 peaches
-Store bought refrigerated pie crust (Pillusbury or store-brand; Grandma would say that it isn't as good unless made from scratch and with lard, but this works for me)
-2 Tablespoons Tapioca (my mom likes this as a thickener better than flour)
-1 to 1 1/4 cups sugar
-1 tsp cinnamon (optional; works better in apple pie)

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Wash, peel, and slice peaches. I slice pretty thin in the hopes that the fruit will cook through--nothing worse than a pie where the fruit is still hard! Depending on the sweetness of the fruit, add 1 to 1 1/4 cups sugar (more if fruit is more tart). You can add cinnamon if you would like--I did add it but would recommend not doing it for the peach pie because it hid the taste of the peaches too much. In apple pie the cinnamon works great!

Take your pre-made, rolled pie crust out chilled. Put on a floured surface and roll out a bit more (thinner crust is better and easier to work with in my opinion). To transfer crust to pie plate, roll it right on to your rolling pin--makes for an easy transfer to pan. Pat it down in your pan with out trimming the edges.

Pour in the fruit mixture and do the same as described above for the top crust and place it on top of the pie. Trim off the excess leaving about 1/2 to 1 inch and crimp and flute the edges. (I wish I could tell you how to do this, but I had to go feed the baby and my husband did it for me --he's a great pie baker.) Check out the link for a video that shows you how to do it. Cut some slits in the top of pie and sprinkle with a little sugar and cinamon if you like (optional).

Put aluminum foil around edges of pie and put in 375 degree oven for 15 minutes (according to my husband, this sets the pie crust). Reduce the heat to 350 degrees, remove foil, and cook for remaining 45 minutes (1 hour total). Make sure you watch pie so crust doesn't burn. My Mom makes delicious pies as well, but they always run over into the bottom of her oven (not sure why--maybe she fills them very full.) You might want to put a cookie sheet on the rack below to catch any drips and to help with cleaning.

Remove from oven and let cool completely. (If you don't, you pie might be a bit runny at first--we know from experience, but it still tasted yummy!) Enjoy with a scoop of ice cream!

Hope my recipe might inspire you to make your own fruit pie! I'm thinking apple season--it's around the corner! Thanks for reading!

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Como Zoo - Butterflies, Butterflies!

by Jen · 2 comments
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If you are looking for a Twin Cities final summer activity, I'd recommend heading over to Como Zoo to their butterfly exhibit--it was amazing! These pictures were actually taken with my camera, and I just had to share them. The butterfly tent was a highlight of the day for us--truly worth battling the crowds of people. I just checked and the exhibit only runs through Labor Day, and it isn't returning to the park, so if you want this free experience, I'd go now!

We had never been in a butterfly tent before, so we were all amazed. There were butterflies everywhere! My 7 year old had tons of fun taking pictures with the camera she brought. I guess a butterfly will actually land on you, but we weren't that fortunate!

While at the zoo, we also enjoyed the other animals, the Japanese Gardens, and the Conservatory. There is a nearby park with a great playground--perfect for a picnic. Parking can be a challenge, especially on the weekend, but they do now have a free shuttle on the weekends--check it out!

Let me know if you make it to the park and/or butterfly exhibit! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did! If you don't make it before Labor Day, perhaps check out the park in September. We often like to take our preschoolers once school has started and the crowds have died down--makes for a very enjoyable fall day! Thanks for reading!

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Great Cub 3 Day Sale: Turkey and Beef

Friday, August 28, 2009 by Jen · 0 comments
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One of my new goals (as you will see in later posts) is to start stocking up on meat and protein when it is on sale. To do this, I will have to organize my budget accordingly, but that's for a later post. I went into Cub yesterday and saw that their Three Day Sale was turkey breast for $.99 a pound and Boneless Beef Roast for $1.99 a lb (same as Rainbow this week), so I decided to stock up. I paid about $5 for each roast and $7 for the turkey breast. Each will make at least 2-3 meals for my family and should make great sandwich meat!

Though I didn't see all of these at my store yesterday, the Cub Forum at A Full Cup reports a few other good deals below. I'm tempted to head back in for the cheese and frozen veggies! Have a great weekend!

3 Day Sale:
$2.98 - Dasani Water 24 Packs .5 ltr btls Limit 3 Please
$.99 - Crystal Farms Chunk Cheese 8 oz pkg
$2.99 lb - Hormel Always Tender Fresh Boneless Pork Tenderloin
$.97 - Birds Eye or Steamfresh Vegetables 10-16 oz. pkg., Selected Varieties

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Last Days of Summer

by Jen · 3 comments
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Summer is slowly coming to a close for our family--one more week left! In MN, most schools start the day after Labor Day, which is late this year. My husband went back to work this week after 4 weeks off. It's great to spend time together, but after 4 weeks (and an entire summer), we all need a little space.

I want to thank everyone for their kind and supportive comments with our little one--they really brightened my day! The little guy has been doing great, but it all depends on his hemoglobin levels and how his body handles the attacking antigen in his blood. Yesterday, his levels were down to 8.7 (dropped 1.4 points in a weeks time). If they get into the low 7's, chances are he will need another transfusion. We are hopeful that his levels will stabilize and then start to rise. Right now, we are trying to relax and enjoy these last days of summer. Thanks again for your comments -- I know I would continue to appreciate your prayers or positive thoughts for our little one. I'll keep you posted on his progress.

I am so looking forward to returning to regular posts at Cents in the Cities, and have a lot of fun ideas on my mind that I can't wait to talk about soon. Until then, in the next few posts, I thought I would share some of the things I've been doing lately including some cooking and shopping deals.

At the beginning of the summer, my kids and I created this list of things to do. When we were bored or wanted an idea, we would refer to this list--it has been a great resource. (Don't you love my 4 year olds art work? It turns out he had put "boat ride" on the list and we didn't know it.) So hit Read Entire Post if you are interested in a summary of our fun, inexpensive kid and family activities of the summer:

Summer Activities Completed:
-Swimming in our swimming pool (the pool has since died and is heading to the garbage)
-Go to beach and swim
-Go to waterslide park (there are a few in southern MN where we visit family that are a lot cheaper than metro water parks)
-Have a Popsicle outside (see, kids don't need expensive--just fun)
-Have a picnic at the park (we did this at Como Park)
-Play games (Matching anyone?)
-Pick raspberries at Grandma's house (I have two big bags in my freezer--yum!)
-Read 2 books together (we did read tons, but didn't finish an entire 2, why I'm not sure)
-Eat supper outside
-Go on a boat ride (paddle boats at Centennial Lake in Edina was a fun, different experience for us)
-Have friends over to our house
--Go for a bike ride
-Go to Farmer's Market.
-Go to Como Park Zoo (Butterfly exhibit was amazing!)
-Go to Arboretum (always fun for the entire family)
-Go to the National Air Museum
--Go to Happy Joes Pizza (makers of the best Taco Pizza in the world! Does anyone out there know where this is located? Just checking if you are reading my looooooong list ;)
-Go to wading pools (2 very fun wading pools in southern MN that we like to hit)
-Go to a parade (small town parade on the 4th of July--my husband's parents were the Grand Marshals--very fun)
-Run through the sprinkler
-Go to a park
-Go to the library

Summer Activities Yet to Complete:
-Do a craft project (I'm just not crafty, so even though we have a lot of uncompleted projects in our closet, I just didn't get here--maybe this winter)
-Go fishing (I hate to admit that this Minnesota family didn't fish at all this summer--don't hold it against us)
-Make homemade ice cream (since we don't have an ice cream maker, we are going to use Lisa's idea)
-Roast hot dogs and marshmallows (again, can't believe I call myself a Minnesotan and we haven't done this. We are doing it tonight with some friends).
-Go to dad's work/airport (my husband's an air traffic controller so it's fun to go to the tower)

So even though we are anxiously awaiting the start of the school year, we are going to try to appreciate and enjoy these last few days! I'd love to hear what you and your family will do with your last days of summer--so leave a comment! Thanks for reading Cents in the Cities!

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Our Wonderful New Arrival!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 by Jen · 10 comments
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Hello Cents in the Cities readers -- those of you who are still out there! I'm very sorry for my absence over the last few weeks. I should communicate better, but our time hasn't been our own these last few weeks--consumed with lots of different activities, emotions, events. To formulate a concise post has been difficult for me lately, so I just haven't been posting. I am planning a strong return as soon as things settle down for our family.

Our wonderful baby boy was born the 3rd week of July--early as anticipated--during my 38th week. We are all in love with him--just a beautiful baby boy. Trying to make a long story short, early on, we found out that baby's blood was having issues--and was experiencing a rare case of something similar to the RH factor.

So for the past three weeks we have been watching bilirubin levels go up. . . then down -- baby used a "bili-bed" for the first week, but his body now seems to be managing the bilirubin on its own. And we've been watching hemoglobin levels steadily drop. So earlier in the week, our little guy received a simple blood transfusion (blood goes in, no blood goes out) at the Hemotology Clinic at Children's Hospital in MSP (what a blessing Children's Hospital is -- the Twin Cities is so fortunate to have such a top notch facility in our area).

It was a rough day for baby--lots of vein pokes (5 to be exact); it was a rough day for mom and dad--tough to see your baby suffer even though you know you are trying to help him.

Out little guy's situation is scary, but with us taking the right steps, it is not life threatening, and this all will pass in 6-12 weeks. It's just a lot for such a little body to handle, and our emotions have been up and down.

Things are actually at a very good point right now--our little guy is doing better-- so we are hopefuly and thinking positive that things are on the upturn.

Since I talked about baby preparations, just thought I'd share with you where we are at now. Thanks again for reading, and I will see you (meaning regular posts) in a few weeks if not sooner. Hope you all are having an awesome August!


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