We can all list our favorite memories from when we were younger. Different memories surface for me as the seasons change. Is that the same for you?

What comes to mind for me during August? So many, many things: Field Hockey practices, back-to-school shopping with my mom, brown grass from the summer heat, pressure washing hog pens on our family farm, learning how to golf with my sister, early morning daily Masses, vanilla coke from Dairy Queen, and the earthly passing of my grandmother.

But I think August especially brings up nostalgia for baking pies with my dad. We had apple trees behind our house where I grew up and we picked those for baking. By this time of the summer, the apples were ready!

One highlight from baking apple pies with my dad (besides the time with him) is having learned together a bit more about Johnny Appleseed (Johnny Chapman). I remember singing the “Johnny Appleseed Blessing” at camp, the one that goes: “Oh, the Lord’s been good to me. And so, I thank the Lord for giving me the things I need: The sun, the rain, and the apple seed; Oh, the Lord’s been good to me.” I knew he wore a tin pot on his head… but I didn’t know much else. So, dad and I watched this child-friendly clip about Johnny. I remember thinking, “wow, we have Johnny to thank for giving us apples throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania!” But mainly, I absolutely loved the interaction between Johnny and his guardian angel. 

Johnny was feeling discouraged. He didn’t think he had what it took to travel west as a real pioneer. He was certain he wasn’t strong enough or manly enough. But the guardian angel, as a guardian angel should, assured Johnny he had exactly what he needed: “You got faith, courage, and a level head.” Johnny kept giving excuses as to why he shouldn’t go west, including not having the right supplies. His angel helps him be creative with the resources God had already blessed him with. Johnny finally sets out on his journey and history tells us that because of that trip the famous nurseryman introduced apple trees to Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois and northern parts of West Virginia.   

In the sweet video clip, Johnny and his guardian angel brainstorm together how many things you make with apples; including apple pie! As you enjoy these days of August, I’d love to hear about your favorite memories! And in the meantime, here’s a family go-to recipe. 

Homemade Apple Pie Recipe 

  • Oil or shortening, for greasing pan
  • 2 cups sliced apples
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons biscuit baking mix
  • 1-1/2 cups water or apple juice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 (14 ounces) can sweeten condensed milk
  • ¼ cup margarine, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)


  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350* F. Lightly grease the bottom of a 10-inch pie pan. 
  2. In a bowl, combine the apples and lemon juice, tossing gently until coated. Sprinkle on 2 tablespoons of the biscuit baking mix and arrange in the bottom of the prepared pie tin. 
  3. In a blender, combine the water and eggs and process on high until smooth. Add the remaining baking mix, condensed milk, butter, almond extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg and process on low for 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully pour over the apple slices. 
  4. Place the pie in the oven and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is lightly colored and golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and serve immediately with vanilla ice cream if desired. 

(More: Great American Cookout by Gregg R. Gillespie)

If You’re Up for Making Homemade Pie Crust

  • 3 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 c. sugar
  • 1 ½ c. butter-flavored Crisco
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ c. cold water
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar


  1. In a medium mixing bowl, put the flour, salt, sugar, and the butter-flavored Crisco. With a pastry blender, incorporate the Crisco into the flour mixture until it resembles small peas and the shortening is mixed well throughout the flour.
  2. In a small bowl, break the egg and add the water and vinegar. Beat this until the egg is liquefied. With a fork, gently pour the egg mixture over the flour mixture and gently toss the mixture until the flour is moistened.
  3. Divide the dough into three balls and press down to flatten a little. Starting in the middle. Roll the dough out to fit a 9-inch pie pan. Fold pie crust over into half and gently place on one side of the pan and then fold the other side over to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. 
  4. Trim dough with a knife but leave enough on the outer rim to flue or design as you want. 
  5. If making a two-crust pie, just trim edges and leave enough to flute and seal the pie. Makes three single crusts or one double crust and one single crust. 

(More: “Pie in the Sky” by H. Diane Vittoria)

How I love baking a good ol’ American apple pie! Don’t you? Joy Seeker, I hope you tag me in your baking photos. I would love to see your beautiful (and yummy!) creations. 


I'm a farm girl from Ohio with an intense love for Christ and His Church. Because I know your relationship with God is holy ground, one of the greatest privileges of this ministry (and my life) is to speak Christ's own words, "Be not afraid," into your beautiful feminine heart. Thank you for being here. 

Before you dive in more deeply... Hello! I'm Amanda Zurface! 

I'm a Certified Spiritual Director, and I have such a deep awareness of your goodness and worth that it both aches and lights me up (it's OK; it's a good ache). 

Forget the junk mail, I’ll send you life-giving encouragement, and resources for ongoing growth, all rooted in the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. Consider every email as a page in your very own spiritual direction manual.

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