Recipe: French Apple Pie with Apricots

This has GOT to be my favorite dessert recipe of all time. I make it every year for Thanksgiving and again for Christmas – but rarely do I end up making it any other time of the year. The combination of the tart apples, sweet and tangy apricots, and warm custard make this pie such a special treat! It’s a fairly easy pie to make and everyone should try it at least once! (Trust me, if you try it once, you will definitely be coming back for more!)

I made this pie yesterday for Thanksgiving and it actually went faster than the traditional Pumpkin Pie! I like to lattice my top crust, but you can get as creative as you like with it, as long as you leave plenty of vents for the custard and preserves to bubble a bit during baking! Check out the easy recipe below!

Recipe: French Apple & Apricot Pie
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Recipe type: Dessert
Author: Lakeshore Moms
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 1 hour 10 mins
Serves: 8
Tart, rich, and decadent – this Apple Pie is sure to become a part of your holiday traditions!
Ingredients
  • 2 9″ Pie Crusts (prepared or your own recipe)
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 egg yolks (divided)
  • 3 tablespoons butter (divided)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 pounds tart cooking apples (I like Honeycrisp or Ambrosia apples)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Dash of ground cinnamon
  • Dash of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
Instructions
  1. Prepare pie pastry. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  3. To make custard filling, combine 1/3 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons flour in a saucepan and mix well. Turn heat to medium and stir in milk. Bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring, until thickened, about 1 minute.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat 3 of the egg yolks. Then, beat in a few tablespoons of the hot mixture in to the egg yolks to temper. Then pour egg yolks into saucepan, stirring continuously. Cook about 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and the vanilla. Turn off heat and turn in to a bowl to cool.
  5. Core, pare, and slice the apples. Sprinkle with lemon juice. In a skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and the spices. Add apples and saute until tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  6. Heat 1/2 cup of apricot preserves in a saucepan on medium heat until warmed, about 2 minutes. This will thin the mixture and make it easier to spread.
  7. Roll out half of the pie crust and place in pie pan. Spread custard filling evenly over the bottom, then top with apples, and then the warmed apricot preserves.
  8. Roll out the 2nd half of the pie crust and cut into 12 strips, approx. 1/2″ wide. Slightly moisten rim of pie shell with cold water. Arrange six strips across the pie and press to rim of shell. Then arrange the remaining strips in the opposite direction to form a lattice. Tuck and trim edges and then crimp edges.
  9. Mix remaining egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water. Brush on lattice strips, but NOT the edge of the pie crust.
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until golden brown.
  11. Serve warm and enjoy!

 

I took ALL of my kids’ toys away – and they couldn’t be happier!

This weekend, I took away all of my kids’ toys. I packed them up and some were donated and some were put in bins for later.  Things are changing in the Smith home – the days of huge messes in the living room and kids who are always bored, even with a million toys… they are over. It’s the beginning of a new era! Here’s my plan:

I cleared all of the toys out of the living room. I packaged them up into plastic covered bins, each their own category. Trains, Toy Story, Angry Birds, Hex Bugs, Super Hero Costumes, and stuffed animals all went upstairs while a small bin of LEGO bricks and books remained in the living room . The bins are small enough for the boys to carry. All of the toys stay up in their room except for 1 bin at a time. Since their bedroom is upstairs and away from “every day life” in our house, they don’t play alone in their room. They instead play in the living room during the day. In the morning, the boys can choose a bin that they want to play with until nap time (or quiet time for my 4 year old), THEN that bin must be replaced for nap time and a new bin can come downstairs to play with until bed time. At any given time, only 1 bin of toys is allowed downstairs in the family area at a time. These toys MUST be picked up and brought back to their storage area each night before bed. If anything remains in the living room after the boys are in bed, it gets put into a bin to be donated. To keep from the constant back and forth all day, only 2 bins are allowed to come out for the entire day. (This will probably change as we perfect this for our family… I am thinking that every 2 hours or so might work better for them) The bin they choose in the morning and the bin they choose in the afternoon – so they must choose wisely and agree on which bin they want to bring down and share!

Today is the first day since all of the toys have been cleared out of the living room. This is a HUGE change since we have always had all of the kids’ toys in there since that is where we spend most of our time. I thought that the kids would be upset – frantic for something to play with! Boy was I wrong! The only thing that remained in the living room to always stay was their books and a small bin of their LEGO blocks. Those boys have been reading their books and playing with each other all morning long. No fighting, no fussing, no whining about being bored. It’s amazing!

I don’t know why it is that we think that the more “stuff” our children have, the less bored they will be… but it’s the exact opposite! It seems that the LESS that the children have to over-stimulate them, the more they actually interact and play with what they have! An added bonus – my living room no longer looks like a huge toy bomb just went off anymore! WIN – WIN!!

 

{HUGE “Thanks” to Living Well Spending Less for inspiring me to take this big step by writing “Why I took my Kids’ Toys Away {and Why They Won’t Get Them Back}” – I have felt convicted since I first read it, and finally took the plunge. It was the best decision I have made in a long time!}

Weight Watchers Pineapple Angel Food Cake Recipe

Today, I made the most amazingly delicious and super simple dessert – Pineapple Angel Food Cake!! It’s Weight Watchers friendly and takes only 2 ingredients to make!! Of course, I had to splurge a little and put some whipped cream and raspberries on top, but even by itself this dessert was so tasty! Since it only requires 2 ingredients to make, it’s inexpensive and quick. Makes for a great last-minute dessert! Everyone in the family loved it – I actually had seconds! Hey, I’m eating for 2 now, so it’s completely ok! *wink

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Making Mistakes as Parents… We ALL do it.

Making mistakes as parents… we all do it, no parent is perfect. Some mistakes are small, some are big, but we learn from every single one of them. Our understanding grows and so does our relationship with our families! I wanted to share a little story with you… from way back when my now 13 year old daughter was just a tot.

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The LEGO Movie Blooper Reel

Here’s a little fun for this Sunday morning – check out the blooper reel from The LEGO Movie! This is sure to give you a chuckle whether you have seen the movie yet or not!

 

Jalapeno Grapefruit Martini Recipe

Did you know that February is National Grapefruit Month? Half a medium sized grapefruit has only 60 calories and contains 100% of your daily Vitamin A and C! These vitamins help boost the immune system during the winter months when colds and flu are at their peak. Pink and Red grapefruit also contain Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, which may help prevent certain types of cancer, heart disease and stroke.

You are going to LOVE this delicious and easy cocktail recipe featuring Pink Grapefruit Sparkling ICE; a zero calorie naturally flavored sparkling water with vitamins and healthy antioxidants. Just the right amount of sweet and spice – perfect for Valentine’s day!

Ingredients: 
3 oz.  Pink Grapefruit Sparkling ICE
1 ½ oz.  Vodka
1 oz. lime juice
Lime wedge
Sliced fresh jalapeño
Chili salt for rim of glass (Kosher salt mixed with chili powder)

Directions: 
Use a lime wedge to rub the entire rim of a chilled martini glass, and dip into chili salt mixture.
Combine vodka and jalapeno slices with ice in a shaker.
Strain and pour into the chilled martini glass.
Top with Pink Grapefruit Sparkling ICE.
Garnish with a few Jalapeno slices.

Exclusive First-Look at Dreamworks’ Delivery Man starring Vince Vaughn #DeliveryManMovie

Delivery Man

Have you heard? Delivery Man starring Vince Vaughn hits theaters on November 22nd, 2013 and I am so excited to bring you the very first look at the official trailer for the movie right here on Lakeshore Moms!!

In the film, Vince Vaughn plays an affable underachiever looking for his purpose in life, when he finds out he’s fathered 533 children through anonymous donations to a fertility clinic 20 years ago. Now he must decide whether or not to come forward when 142 of them want to meet their biological father.

This movie looks like it covers all of the bases of a great flick. It’s funny, heart-warming, and has a very unique story! I can’t even begin to imagine… 533 children?Vince seems to handle it fairly well though… and it looks like his newfound fatherhood (533 times over) will transform him into quite a great man! Check out the trailer below!

Make sure to “like” Delivery Man on Facebook and “follow” on Twitter using the handy buttons below!

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My Red Carpet Interview at El Capitan Theatre for Disney’s Oz The Great and Powerful #DisneyOzEvent

Photo Credit: Disney

Last week, I had the honor and pleasure of attending the red carpet premiere of Disney’s Oz The Great and Powerful. This was such an amazing and star-studded event and I still feel like someone needs to pinch me because it was a dream come true! I was interviewed by my fellow bloggers about the experience and wanted to share it with you all!

Photo Credit: Just Jared

What were your first thoughts/impressions when you saw the yellow brick road & Oz Balloon?

I was so excited! I expected some type of fun spin on the red carpet and secretly hoped for a yellow brick road. The hot air balloon was over the top and an incredible final touch that really represented just how big of an event this actually was! I was reading that James Franco actually arrived IN the balloon!

What was your most memorable experience while on the carpet – did anything really stand out? 

There were SO many things to take in when we were walking on the carpet! There were people yelling at the stars and trying to get their attention, cameras flashing everywhere, and security trying to rush everyone through the line. It was a little overwhelming! Seeing the stars on the carpet right in front of me was so amazing. Everywhere you looked, you would see famous faces getting interviewed, posing for photos, and reuniting with their cast members from the film! The day after the premiere, many of us were finding pictures of ourselves behind the stars on all different websites – E Online, Huffington Post, Just Jared, Pop Sugar, and more! I found me and my baby bump in a few great pictures right behind Michelle Williams!

How did you decide on what to wear for the event?

Well, since I was 32 weeks pregnant at the time of the event, my options were pretty limited! As I was online shopping for the perfect dress, I was finding that many formal maternity dresses were slouchy and not very flattering. It took me a long time to find a gorgeous dress that I thought was “the one”. The model wearing it had the perfect bump – but it was a lot smaller than mine. When the dress arrived and I tried it on for the first time, I was disappointed because it didn’t fit very well. I guess my bump was just too big. With only a short time before the event I didn’t have time to select another and have it shipped, so I had to settle. The night before I left for LA, I was going through my closet for clothes for the rest of the event and ran in to a dress that I bought for a wedding at the beginning of my pregnancy that I never ended up wearing. It still had the tags on and everything. I tried it on and it fit perfectly. I couldn’t have been more pleased because it turned out to be exactly the dress I wanted! Funny how that worked out!

What was your impression of El Capitan Theatre? 

I have always wanted to see the inside of the theater, and was so impressed with it from the moment we walked in the doors! I loved our seats in the balcony – it was the perfect view! I think my favorite part though was the giant organ that was playing when we arrived. When it was time for the movie to start, it descended into the floor! It was really incredible.

What was it like being one of the first people to see this movie, right alongside with the stars themselves?

 Oz The Great and Powerful is gearing up to be one of the hottest movies of the year. It was an absolute honor to be able to be one of the first people to see and experience the film and to get to do so right with the stars themselves. I feel like I have this big, important, and incredible secret because I already know the movie while there are so many people just waiting for it to be released next month! I especially loved during the opening and closing credits when the stars names flashed on the screen, there were uproars of applause to show the support and excitement for the stars!

 What about the after-party? 

The after-party was AMAZING. It was at The Lure Nightclub and was just as star-studded as the premiere itself. There were some really neat promo booths set up, lots of yummy food, a giant gum ball machine filled with cupcakes, music, and so much more. The nightclub was huge and everywhere you turned you were nearly bumping up to someone famous. At one point in the night, I was standing back to back with Ashton Kutcher, standing next to Mila Kunis, standing right in front of Rachel Wiesz, and gazing across the room at Zach Braff & Donald Faison, and so many more. It was hard to not act like a fan and to keep myself together!! You know I wanted to run up to each of them and beg for autographs and photos, but I didn’t want to spoil their night or fun, so I kept my cool and just took it all in and snapped lots of mental pictures!

OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL will play at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, CA from March 8th – April 30th in Disney Digital 3D and Real D 3D!

  • For the First 3 weeks only (March 8 – 31) See “Disney Mysteries of Magic” live on stage!  Be dazzled by the artistry of illusion in a magical showcase.  See our expert wizard perform mystical magical illusions before your very eyes!
  • Plus, see an exclusive display of costumes from the movie from March 8 – April 30.

Disney’s Oz The Great and Powerful opens in theaters everywhere on March 8th, 2013!
“Like” Oz the Great and Powerful on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter using the buttons below!


Watch the trailer!

* I attended this blogger event as a guest of Disney with all expenses paid. No compensation was received. All opinions (and excitement) are my own!

 

Bump Day: What’s Happening at 29 Weeks Pregnant?

Wow – it’s been quite a while since I have posted a baby bump update here! With Christmas and all of the other holidays, as well as just plain ol’ pregnancy exhaustion and very rambunctious children… well I just haven’t had much time or energy to post any updates and for that I apologize. Things are going well – I am now 29 weeks along… I can’t believe in less than 3 months I will be meeting my baby girl!!

Baby is constantly kicking and doing what feel like backflips in my tummy. She’s full of spunk already! I didn’t think it was possible for this baby to be more active than my boys were, but she has definitely been competition! I love it though, even though it does keep me up some nights. (some nights it even wakes me up from sleep!) I wish there was a way to record this feeling – so when baby is here and growing up and I am thinking back on these fond memories and missing them so dearly, I can remember exactly what it feels like to have her growing and kicking in my tummy.

Pregnancy symptoms I have been feeling lately… well, my belly is getting pretty big, so I am feeling kinda off balance lately. I have also had a great deal of sciatic nerve pain. Heartburn has started to rear its ugly head my way, but not nearly as bad as I remember it being towards the very end of my previous pregnancies – I would have heartburn without even eating anything – so I expect the worst is yet to come. I find myself waking up most nights unable to get back to sleep. But when I am sleeping, I have crazy vivid dreams! My hormones have been going CRAZY too. It’s so different than when I was pregnant with my boys. I am way more emotional and moody – extra hugs to my hubby and kids for putting up with me!!

Cravings?? I have still had this insatiable craving for apples. ALL THE TIME. It’s really funny! No strange cravings though really. With my boys, I was always wanting hot and spicy but with baby girl my heartburn gets pretty bad when I eat anything even remotely sour or spicy! I am wondering if that means that she’ll have more hair than her brothers did?? One of my not-so-good-for-me cravings? Nutty Bars. Oh my goodness – this week I have not been able to get enough of those peanut buttery treats. LOL!

How did you feel in the final trimester of your pregnancy? Comment below – I’d love to know!!

Noon Years Eve Celebration with Radio Disney!

If you have little ones at home, involving them in the New Year’s Eve celebrations is pretty tricky. We like to adhere to our bedtime schedule/routine but on special occasions we do let the kids stay up later. That being said, even if I let my little guys stay up till midnight for the countdown, they’d never last! Before they passed out from exhaustion, both of them (and myself) would be extra crabby and no one would have a good time! I was pretty excited to hear about “Noon Year’s Eve” from Radio Disney! It’s a fun celebrations just for kids!

Hosted by Radio Disney’s local stations, the “Noon Year’s Eve” events feature the best songs of the year from Radio Disney’s “Top 50 of 2012,” interactive entertainment and prizes. Many of the events will also feature resolution writing, balloon drops, juice toasts and a special countdown.

Milwaukee has two different locations and times for Noon Year’s Eve celebrations:

Milwaukee, Wisconsin – 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Mayfair – Center Court with AM 1640

Milwaukee, Wisconsin – 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Family Friendly New Year’s Eve at Winterfest with AM 1640

Other locations:

Chicago, Illinois – 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
MB Financial Park with AM 1300

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Noon Year’s Eve Party at Blue Cross RiverRink with AM 640

San Francisco, California – 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose with AM 1310

Boston, Massachusetts – 1:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Boston Family Fireworks Celebration with AM 1260

Atlanta, Georgia – 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
The City of Smyrna Community Center with AM 590

Houston, Texas – 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Mall of the Mainland with AM 1590

Detroit, Michigan – 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Toledo Zoo with AM 910

Seattle, Washington – 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Zoo Year’s Eve at Woodland Park Zoo with AM 1250

Phoenix, Arizona – 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Tempe New Year’s Eve Block Party with AM 1580

Phoenix, Arizona – 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Phoenix Zoo with AM 1580

Tampa, Florida – 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo with AM 1380

Minneapolis, Minnesota – 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Como Park Zoo and Conservatory with AM 1440

Miami, Florida 6:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
New Year’s Eve at Bayfront Park with AM 990

Cleveland, Ohio – 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo with AM 1260

St. Louis, Missouri – 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Saint Louis Science Center with AM 1260

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium with AM 1250

Salt Lake City, Utah – 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
The Manor at Shops at Riverwoods with AM 910

Salt Lake City, Utah – 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Eve at The Gateway – Family Festival area with AM 910

Albany, New York – 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Colonie Center with AM 1460