JOY42

What I'm Grateful For

Self LoveHannah Drake2 Comments

Every night, before we go to sleep, Luke and I lie in bed and tell each other everything that we’re grateful for that day. Actually, we say “grapeful” thanks to a typo-turned-inside-joke that happened about two years ago. Our daily ritual has been a great way to reflect on our days together and appreciate all of the blessings in our lives. It’s easily one of my favourite things about our day-to-day life. (And I highly recommend doing it, either with your partner or by yourself.)

Today, though, I wanted to share with you some of the things I’m grateful for this year ahead of Thanksgiving, tomorrow.

I’m grateful for my husband and my marriage. Luke is the best partner I could have ever asked for. He makes me laugh, he holds me when I cry, he’s gentle when I’m harsh, he makes me feel special every day. He has moved mountains to make sure I feel comfortable and at home in England. He provides for me and protects me. He challenges me, supports me, and adventures with me. He cooks and he’s damn good at it!

I’m grateful for my family. I’m sad I’m missing another Thanksgiving with my family, but I’m happy they can still be together—and that hopefully I’ll be able to FaceTime them tomorrow when they’re all gathered together.

I’m grateful for my friends. In the last two years, I’ve had some really wonderful people supporting me through the biggest changes of my life. I’m so grateful for my friends who have worked hard to stay in touch with me, who have come visited me, who have sent me words of encouragement and called just to say hello. I’m so grateful for the people I’ve met here in Birmingham who have made me feel at home and become my family here. I’m grateful they welcome us into their lives and homes and ask me questions about America like “Why do you guys care about fall so much?” and “Do you really send Christmas cards with your faces on them?”

I’m grateful for our home. We don’t currently live in our forever home—or even our long term home—but we have created something really special together in our first home. I love having a place where we can relax and do nothing, where we can cook together, where we can host the people in our lives, where we can sleep in on Saturday mornings, where we can come home after a long day and just be together. Even though we’re likely moving in 2019, our first home together will always be so special.

I’m grateful for this space and the people who choose to be here. Thank you for reading my blog each week, following along, giving me feedback and leaving comments. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to share little snipits of my life with you all and to have a creative outlet that can be whatever I want it to be!

Caramel Apple Pie

LifeHannah DrakeComment

Can I say something that’s maybe controversial? I don’t really care for pumpkin pie. I just don’t like creamy pie filling in flaky pie crust. I’d rather have a graham cracker crust, which is why you can find pumpkin cheesecake on our Thanksgiving menu. But I almost always make two pies. (The night before, while watching Elf in my Elf shirt drinking hot chocolate out of my Elf mug — it’s tradition!)

The last few years I’ve made a caramel apple pie from Sally’s Baking Addiction and it’s truly one of my favourites. Even though this year I’m trying something new with a bourbon pecan recipe, I wanted to share this tried and true dessert. (And scroll down for some pie crust inspo!)

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 large apples, cored, peeled, and thinly sliced (approx 10-12 cups total - use a variety for better flavor, such as Pink Lady, Granny Smith, or Honey Crisp)

  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) fresh lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup (31g) all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon (15ml) milk

  • optional: coarse sugar for sprinkling on crust

INSTRUCTIONS

Read all of the directions that I wrote in this post before beginning the following recipe. It will help you!

Next, make the apple filling as the dough is still chilling: Place apple slices into a very large bowl. Add sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, flour, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Gently toss to combine. Set aside.

Roll out the chilled pie dough: On a floured work surface, roll out one of the discs of chilled dough (keep the other one in the refrigerator). Turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls until you have a circle 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough into a 9x2 inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. With a small and sharp knife, trim the extra overhang of crust and discard.

Fill the pie crust with the apples. There are a lot of apples, but pile them tightly and very high. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of the salted caramel, reserving the rest for topping.

Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).

Make the lattice crust: Remove the other disc of chilled pie dough from the refrigerator. Roll the dough out, 12 inches diameter. Using a pastry wheel, sharp knife, or pizza cutter, cut 16 strips 1/2 inch wide. I always use a clean measuring tape or ruler as a guide to assure the lines are straight. Carefully thread the strips over and under one another, pulling back strips as necessary to weave. Using a small and sharp knife, trim the extra overhang. Crimp the edges of the dough with a fork or your fingers.

Lightly brush the lattice top with the egg wash. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Place the pie onto a large baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Keeping the pie in the oven, turn the temperature down to 375°F (190°C) and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes. If the top of your pie is getting too brown, cover loosely with aluminium foil. The pie will be done when the caramel begins to bubble up. A small knife inserted inside should come out relatively clean.

Allow the pie to cool for 4 hours before serving. Drizzle the pie with the extra caramel sauce to serve. This apple pie is best served on the same day, but it can be covered tightly and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Need some more Thanksgiving ideas?

Click on the photos below to jump to the posts.

A Short Day Trip to London

TravelHannah DrakeComment

A couple of weeks ago, I went down to London for the day. It may or may not have been just to have Chipotle for lunch. But it gave me a good excuse to wander around some of my favourite parts of the city and explore a new area: Hampstead. I was surprised and how many gorgeous floral displays were around the city, but with autumnal colours and blooms. It was almost as good as Chelsea in Bloom in the spring!