Monthly Archives: October 2010

Free Form Apple Tart recipe

Once you’ve picked your apples and brought them home you can make delicious apple treats. Maybe make something from your country’s cuisine. Or try this simple version of an apple pie!

Free Form Apple Tart

Free form Apple Tart for blog

photo by Gaetan Lee

Pastry – 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, 1/2 cup cold butter cut into 10 pieces, 3 tablespoons ice water, 1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon peel, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice.

Filling – 4 large apples, (about 1.5 pounds) peeled, 1/4 cup granulated sugar mixed with 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 2 tablespoons butter, confectioners sugar (optional).

Directions: Mix butter and flour with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add water, lemon peel and juice. Stir until dough holds together. Gather dough into a ball, flatten, wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate 30 minutes or just until firm enough to roll out.

Meanwhile, peel and cut each apple in half from top to bottm. Remove core and stem ends. Turn halves cut sides down and slice thin. Heat oven to 425 degrees. On lightly floured surface roll dough into a 13 inch round. Edges can be uneven. Transfer to ungreased cookie sheet. Leaving a 2 inch border, arrange apples in concentric circles from outside toward the middle. Sprinkle with sugar-nutmeg mixture, then dot with butter. Fold edges of pastry over apples. Bake 15 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake for 35 minutes longer or until apples are tender and pastry is golden. Slide tart onto wire rack to cool. Before serving, dust with confectioners sugar.

YUM!!! I’m going to make mine today!

October News

Pumpkin photo

photo by Aaron Gustafson

October is the month of hayrides, pumpkin picking and trick or treating on Halloween! Read about the History and Origin of Halloween, Safety Tips, Recipes (you don’t want to miss the Frozen Hand recipe), and more, all on this site.

There are still plenty of apples to be picked and it’s a wonderful activity to gather with your friends/family to go to one of the local orchards to pick your own apples. To find the orchards for your area, visit

Our three clusters can find orchards in their area by scrolling down to the Anne Arundel, Baltimore, and Howard County listings. A few quick suggestions are (Germantown), (Westminster) and (Baltimore).

Helpful Tips for Au Pairs

1. Stay in touch with your Community Counselor –it is the only way he/she will get to know you!

2. Attend cluster meetings

  • Call or email if you cannot come to a monthly meeting
  • Let your counselor know if you will be out of town
  • Call when you need help or advice-your counselor is an impartial listener and will always consider both sides of the situation. Your counselor will  give you an honest opinion.

3. Be a good buddy

Remember what it is like to be a new au pair. Welcome new arrivals. Arrange to meet a new au pair. Take her out. Accompany her to the next cluster meeting.

4. Take responsibility for your actions

No one is perfect. If you make a mistake, take responsibility and try to correct the situation. Speak openly and honestly with your host family when a mistake has been made.

5. Respect the privacy of others

Gossiping about other au pairs and host families can be very harmful. If your friends confide in you, honor the confidence. Do not tell others about what goes on in other host families. Use discretion when posting on Facebook. Remember, host families read it too!

6. Communicate

  • Share your ideas, discuss cultural differences, ask questions when you don’t understand
  • If you have a problem, present it to your host parents clearly and calmly. Suggest a solution to the situation. Listen to what they say and try to reach a compromise.
  • Let your host family know if language is a problem. Admit if you do not understand a word or instructions. Ask questions.
  • Keep in mind that everyone has good intentions. We may just not know what they are. When there is a disagreement with your host family, remember to listen to their point-of-view.  You may not agree with it, but it’s important to listen and hear it.

7. Follow house rules.

The only way you will establish trust is by following rules – even those with which you may not agree.  If you are not sure of the house rule, ask..

8. Be considerate of your host parents.

  • Keep them informed of where you are going.
  • Let them know if you are staying out over night.
  • If you plan on traveling, discuss the details with them and do not interfere with their schedules.
  • Remember that your host parents are tired when they get home from work.

9. Show appreciation – return the favors your family does for you with kindness and generosity.

10. Take initiative – don’t wait to be asked, anticipate children’s needs, offer to help when you are sharing “family time”

11. Let a good example.

  • The children you care for look up to you. Don’t do things in front of the children that their parents would not want them doing.

12.Take care of yourself

  • Have reasonable expectations of yourself – be patient as you learn to adjust to life in America
  • Try to understand and accept cultural differences – that is part of why you came here; learn from the experience
  • If you are feeling homesick or house bound call someone and give yourself something to look forward to
  • Keep reasonable evening hours if you are expected to get up early to work the next day

Talk, Talk, Talk! Communication and an open mind are key to a successful year!