Jan 20, 2013

My big fat Middle Eastern dinner...

I don't know what it is about "themes", but I seem to love them.  I enjoy theme parties and dinners and even decorating.  Last night, by special request from my brother Don, I served a (belated) birthday dinner for my sister-in-love Marcie that consisted of simple Middle East inspired dishes.  This kind of cooking is not complicated at all, but it does take a little investment of love and time.  For now,  I'm happy with these easy-to-make and tasty recipes which I've collected from several sources.  Perhaps sometime I will expand my knowledge and expertise to include some of the more "mysterious" dishes.

My first introduction to this kind of food came 42 years ago when a friend I worked with, who happened to be Lebanese, would bring yummy spinach pies for her lunch and share them with me. She gave me her grandmother's recipe and I've enjoyed making these myself from time to time.

Fatayer (Spinach Pies)

Two handfuls flour
salt, sugar, yeast, warm water

(I used about 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 tsp. salt, and dissolved 1 pkg. yeast in 1 c. warm water.)

Add yeast & water mixture to dry ingredients, stir together, then knead.  Roll into small balls and put on cookie sheet, covering with a towel and let stand for at least an hour.

In a bowl, mix chopped fresh spinach, chopped fresh parsley, 1/2 tsp. dried mint, 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, 2 Tbsp. oil, salt & pepper, and 1 small onion (grated).

Roll out balls into a flat circle, and put about 2 tsp. of spinach mixture in the center.  Fold dough over to form a triangle shape and pinch edges.  Bake on ungreased cookie sheet.  Brush with a little oil. Bake @ 375 degrees until a golden color.

Dolmades (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

These are a favorite of ours.  We eat them hot or cold and love them.  I've made them about once a year for the last 20 years or so, having been given this recipe at a church event.  

1 jar (8 oz.) grape leaves 
1 # ground meat (beef is fine) * If you would rather make these "meatless", simply double the amount of rice, and use vegetable broth instead.
1 cup cooked rice
1 cup finely chopped onions
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup tomato puree
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
2 cups beef broth

Carefully remove leaves from jar, drain in colander, and remove stems.  Set aside.  Combine other ingredients, except the beef broth.  Mix well.  Lay grape leaves on work surface, shiny side down, and place about 2 tsp. mixture on each leaf, close to the base.

Fold the sections of leaf around mixture and roll to completely enclose, making a neat roll.  Line casserole dish with some of the leaves and layer rolls on top.  Cover layers with a few more leaves and repeat until all mixture is used.  Pour beef broth over rolls.  Cover dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.

Note: Do not be intimidated by the $40/# price of pine nuts! I made a double recipe of these and that translated to 1/8 of a pound, or about $5 worth of pine nuts, and made over 50 dolmades.  You can buy these in very small quantities.  They are the essential ingredient in these delicious treats!

I serve them drizzled with olive oil and crumbled feta cheese


I always feel like I'm eating really healthy when I have Tabbouleh.  The main ingredients are bulgur, a whole grain and high fiber wheat, and fresh parsley.  A friend gave me this recipe years ago and it is the only one I use.

1 cup bulgur wheat, soaked in 2 cups cold water for 1 hour, then drained with a sieve.
1 chopped fresh tomato
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped mint

Mix the above and set aside.

1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
dash cinnamon

Mix dressing ingredients and combine with Tabbouleh mixture.  Note: I use this same dressing recipe for a tossed romaine lettuce salad with cucumbers, tomato, kalamata olives, and feta cheese.  It is delicious!


This recipe came from cooks.com.  I was looking for something quick and easy that tasted like the hummus from our favorite Middle Eastern restaurant, Aladdin's.  This fills the bill!  I made this in my food processor but you could also use a blender.  I like it very creamy and smooth and it is easy to make up ahead of time and refrigerate.  Serve with pita bread.

2 (15 1/2 oz.) cans chick peas (garbanzos), fully drained
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
olive oil to drizzle on top

Lebanese Chicken
(I didn't get a good photo of this, but you can see 
it in a photo toward the end, on the far right)

This recipe also came from cooks.com.  It is the simplest way I've ever made chicken and oh so tender and tasty.  Place boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a shallow baking dish, sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and sweet basil (be generous!) Do not salt the chicken, as the lemon juice makes it unnecessary.  Fill the baking dish to about 1/2 inch deep with lemon juice.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.


My daughter-in-law, Ellie, passed this recipe on to me.  It is very good, but I have to admit I need a little more practice.  The first time I fried these, I think I used to much oil and they tended to fall apart.  The second time I just put a small amount of oil in a fry pan, but I think I let it get too hot as they were frying a little too fast.  Next time I will try a combination of less oil in the skillet and medium high heat.  But these are very yummy, especially eaten with the tahini-lemon sauce.

Two 15 oz. cans chick peas (garbanzo beans)
4 medium closed garlic, minced
1 tsp. tumeric
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup finely minced onion or 6 scallions, minced
1/4 cup packed minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
a few dashes of cayenne pepper
1/3 cup flour
oil for frying

Rinse the chick peas and drain them well.  Combine all ingredients except flour in a food processor or blender.  Add flour and stir until thoroughly combined. Cook right away OR store in refrigerator for several days in tightly covered container.  When ready to cook, heat a heavy skillet and add about 3 Tbsp. oil.  Drop batter by tablespoons full into the pan, flattening each slightly, like a small, thick pancake.  Saute` for about 10 minutes on each side, until golden and crisp.  Add small amounts of extra oil to the pan as needed throughout cooking.  Place the cooked Felafel on a plate lined with paper towels and if necessary, keep warm in a 300 degree oven until serving time.

Left: lemon/olive dressing (see "Tabbouleh", above)
Right:  Tahini-lemon sauce, especially good with Felafel

Tahini-Lemon Sauce

3/4 cup sesame tahini
5 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 small to medium clove garlic, minced
3/4 ~ 1 1/2 cups water (depending on desired thickness)
1/2 ~ 1 tsp. salt, to taste
a handful of very finely minced fresh parsley
optional:  dash cayenne pepper, to taste

Place tahini, lemon juice, and garlic in food processor (or a blender). Begin to process.  Slowly drizzle in the water, checking every now and then to monitor the consistency.  When it is as thick/thin as you want it, turn off the machine.  Transfer to a small container and season to taste with salt, parsley, and cayenne.  Cover tightly and refrigerate until ready for use.  This recipe also came from Ellie.  I can't wait to try it as a dip for fresh veggies.  It will keep for several weeks stored in the refrigerator in an air tight container.

Tzatziki (cucumber dip)

This is one of the better known Greek recipes, used for fresh vegetable dips or on pita sandwiches.  I copied this from a magazine some years back.  This is a fairly large recipe, and it can be halved if desired.

2 mini cucumbers
8 scallions 
2 cloves garlic
4 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
salt & pepper to taste
large carton of plain yogurt

Blend all together in food processor or blender.  


Last but not least, I use this Baklava recipe I got from my sister Barb many years ago.  I only tweaked it slightly to accommodate the size of the box of Phyllo. This is so easy to make, I don't know why I don't make it more often.  On second thought, yes I do.  It is full of butter and nuts...but well worth a special treat now and then! And there will be plenty to give some away!

1 1/2 # finely ground walnuts (use food processor)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup sugar
3 sticks butter, melted
1 # package Phyllo sheets at room temperature

Mix ground nuts, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves in a bowl and set aside.  Grease cookie sheet with sides with melted butter.  Layer sheets of Phyllo one at a time and brush on melted butter between each. After 10 sheets, spread one half of walnut mixture, then layer balance of sheets in the same way.  After laying 10 more sheets, spread balance of walnut mixture on. When finished layering all the sheets, cut diamond shapes through top layers only.  Bake at 325 degrees for about an hour, but don't burn.  

While the Baklava is baking, make the syrup.  In a saucepan on the stove, boil 1 cup water, 1 lemon slice, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice and 1 whole clove for about 20 minutes.  Discard lemon slice and clove and add 1/2 cup honey to mixture.

When the Baklava is finished baking, pour 1/2 of the above syrup over the top.  Wait 20 minutes, then pour remaining syrup on top.  

I prepared all the food ahead of time except for the chicken.  Toward the end of the cooking time for the chicken, I put the Fatayer and Felafel back into the oven to reheat, as well as some foil-wrapped pita bread.

We had some hot mint tea with our meal which I simply brewed with natural peppermint tea bags. And I'll let you in on a secret.  While preparing these recipes, I ran out of fresh mint and so I opened a couple tea bags and used the dried mint and it worked just fine.

And now I'm happy that I have all my favorite Middle East recipes in one place.  Tell me if you try any of them, and let me know if you have some that you would like me to try!

Jan 4, 2013

Filling in the blanks..

I've been missing in action in the blogosphere for 3 months! I've been busy living life without any leftover  time or energy to write about it! But it's a new season and a new year, and with the rest of the world, I've turned a new page on the calendar.  

Before proceeding I just wanted to briefly fill in the blanks...

*For the first time in as long as I can remember, I am happy to say that I fully embraced this past Fall season.  I love summer so much that I usually slip into a little self-pity party when it's all over ~ something like being told to put all my toys away and go to bed.  I don't know why this past year was different.  Perhaps it was a good fruit from my earlier resolve to live each and every day intentionally and to the fullest.  I loved decorating my home more than ever with pumpkins and leaves and good smelling candles, and I also busied myself in my kitchen more than ever, enjoying fall soup making, baking, and just nesting in general. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to have our three SC grandboys stay with us for several days in early November while their parents celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary with a trip to NYC!

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

*My brother Don finally had his stem cell transplant in mid-November.  We are all thrilled that he is recovering well and gaining strength every day.  His numbers are good, and he is back to work on a part time basis again.  PRAYER CHANGES THINGS!

*Thanksgiving was way different for us this past year.  For the first time ever, we had no kids or grandkids around our table.  It was just us and our two mothers.  I still did the traditional Thanksgiving meal, just on a somewhat smaller scale.  We were able to talk in complete sentences, as I like to say when there aren't children around, so it was a special time with our moms.  A highlight of the season was our participation in our church's Thanksgiving basket outreach.

My mom came over the day before Thanksgiving to help bake pies and make the turkey dressing~a longstanding tradition of ours!

*Our Christmas season was merry and bright! So many wonderful things to do in the month of December that have become traditions for us: The annual Christmas tree display at the Knight Center; the presentation of The Nutcracker at the Civic Theater; The Tuba Christmas concert at The EJ Thomas building; our church's annual Christmas concert...Hubby and I took an evening to do a craft together (small "blackboard" signs with names of Jesus to decorate three small pencil trees); much baking and crafting with the grandchildren...I hosted a small but fun afternoon Christmas Tea for my new swapping friends; Hubby played Santa to five families that I chose from among new friends as well, blessing 12 children on one snowy night!  Our annual Lichi family Christmas party was a huge success, with four generations being present; church on Christmas Eve, my favorite day of the year...  And to top it all off, our South Carolina family was here to spend a week with us, and we had 14 here for Christmas Day dinner and festivities. 

*My heart is full, my body is tired, my mind is spinning with thoughts of the new year and all the opportunities, challenges, and possibilities that lie ahead.  I am grateful for God's provision and care of us in the past year.  And I'm looking forward to reconnecting with you here, my friends!  Happy New Year and God bless us, everyone!

Sep 22, 2012

♫ On the first day of Au-tumn ♫

I had picked up a large head of cabbage from our local farmer's market recently that needed to be used, and today a sweet friend gave me two beautiful smaller heads from her garden. I've been in the mood to make stuffed cabbage rolls and today I did!  I'd forgotten how easy this dinner is to make.  Here's how:

I rinsed off the cabbages and peeled away the top layer.  Then I placed them  in a  large pot and covered them with water.  I put a lid on the pot and brought the water to boil.  I turned the heat off and just let them steam for about 10 minutes.  I carefully drained the water off and let the cabbages cool until I could handle them.  I know everyone has an idea of the "easiest" way to do this, but this is my method and I'm content with it! 

 Once I could handle the cabbages, I took a sharp knife and cut a ring around the core, and gently pulled it out.  The cabbage leaves separate easily.

In a large bowl, I mixed the following:

2# ground chuck
1/2 c. uncooked regular white rice
1 Tbsp. finely chopped onion
1/2 c. water

Then I put about a tablespoon of the meat mixture on each leaf of cabbage, rolled them, tucking in the sides, and placed them seam side down in an oven proof crock or pan.

To make the sauce, I heated 2 Tablespoons of Crisco in a saucepan and added a Tablespoon of finely chopped onion.  When the onion started to get soft, I added one Tablespoon of vinegar, one Tablespoon (Wondra) flour, a tsp. garlic salt, and a 48 oz can of tomato JUICE. I brought this to a boil and poured it on top of the stuffed cabbages.

Lastly, I covered the oven proof pan and baked the cabbage rolls at 375℉ for 1 1/2 hours.  I actually doubled this recipe which yielded a pan for us, a pan for the freezer, and a pan to give away!  

It was a good day for comfort food, just like Mom used to make!

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1

Sep 17, 2012

Sin and the kitchen floor...

Recently we decided to take some money my hubby earned and give it to Lowe's in exchange for a new kitchen floor.  The one we had was really pretty over 17 years ago when it was very white and shiny.  I worked hard to keep it that way too for a long time. Eventually however it lost it's no-wax feature and became a real source of aggrevation as I struggled to make it look as clean as possible.  But no matter how hard I tried, time, kids, and wear and tear had taken its toll and it just never looked really clean anymore.  

So we went from one extreme to the other, this time choosing a darker laminate that has a random pattern that looks something like stone.  It's amazing how I don't spend nearly as much time cleaning the new floor.     It just doesn't "look" dirty.  I gleefully posted on Facebook: "So, if you change out your all-white kitchen floor for a darker, patterned one, the same dirt accumulates, but you don't see it, right?  works for me!"

A friend commented: "When the sun shines in and shows all the dust I thought I'd cleaned, it helps me remember that in God's light, I'm more sinful than I appear!"

Now isn't THAT the Gospel Truth!

And it is actually something I've been thinking a lot about lately too.  I know I am more sinful than I appear. And I bet you are too.  Just like there are areas of my home I keep hidden from visitors, there are hidden places in my heart that are messy at best, but when God shines His light on them, they are exposed for what they are...dirty, sinful rooms that need a makeover.

God's shining light is a good thing. I'm thankful He cares enough about me to show me where my thoughts, words, or deeds are not expressing His pure nature~areas that He wants to clean up and replace with something new, clean, and beautiful.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
See if there be any grievious way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting!"
~Psalm 139:23-24~

Sep 6, 2012

Where am I?

More than a few years ago now, our younger son was a new driver and out on a date with his then girlfriend, now wife.  We were at home in bed, though of course not asleep.  It was nearing the time that he should have been home, and the phone rang.  My husband answered it, only to hear our son's near frantic voice:  "Where am I?"  As it turned out, he was on his way home and a fire truck was blocking his normal route and traffic was redirected, causing him to become disoriented in an unfamiliar neighborhood in downtown Akron.  His father talked him back onto the right roads that would get him safely home.  We've had  tons of laughs over the years at this memory and it's sure to be a funny story passed down through the generations.  

There have been several times in my own life when I've stopped to ask myself the question, "Where am I?"~not because of being lost while out driving late at night, but because circumstances beyond my control sometimes make me feel lost and disoriented.  Roadblocks I never planned on appear out of nowhere, and I'm forced to move in a different direction or to think in a new, better way. 

Most of us like to feel settled in to what becomes comfortable and familiar in our lives.  We like predictability, whether it is knowing a paycheck will be deposited into our account every couple of weeks, seeing our spouse go off to work and come home around the same time every day, or just doing the things we enjoy that become happy traditions for us.

Getting older and feeling it is an unexpected change that can be difficult to wrap our arms around.  The energy we had just a few years ago is gone and we find we don't have the stamina or strength to do many of the things we used to do at the pace we used to do them.  On days like that, I find myself wondering "Where am I?" along the continuum of life ~ will I live to be an old lady telling stories to my great grandchildren from a rocking chair, or am I already almost at the end of my journey here?

Then there are the times I try to take a personal spiritual assessment test.  "Where am I?" in terms of my eternal relationship with God and my relationships with people?  Am I resting in the knowledge that God is "for" me and that whatever might be a surprise to me in life was no surprise to Him and He is weaving this tapestry into something very beautiful? Am I always looking to make and keep peace with friends and family,  so that I can look forward with confidence and back without regrets? 

When my brother got his cancer diagnosis ten months ago, one of the first things he wanted people to understand was that eventually all of us will be thrown an unexpected curve ball in life, and when that day comes, we will need an internal compass to help and guide us through difficult times. 

Friend, don't wait till the turmoil comes.  Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to the Father but by Me."   God has provided that Compass for us and we don't have to live our lives in fear, despair, or anxiety, no matter where we find ourselves or what our circumstances may be. Even when our world is turned upside down, our heavenly Father will show us the way to go and lead us safely home. 

Aug 17, 2012

I'd rather wear out than rust out...

Years ago my grandparents were in a fun local seniors band and that was their slogan.  I've sort of adopted it as my life's theme.  It's another way of saying something else I often repeat: "I want to live till I die."  

Yesterday I wanted to do something special with the grandchildren, since there is only one more week until school starts.  I knew I was on my own with three of them, and I was at a loss to come up with a plan for the day.  We've done a lot of the usual already: the zoo, the local parks, hiking, swimming, the library, baking, crafts, a lemonade stand, the flea market, and playing in Grandma's park (our backyard).  

Before they arrived yesterday morning, I did something I often do when I feel a lack of direction for the day ahead.  I prayed.  "Lord, I need you to order my day.  I know for sure there are two things that you have promised to give for the asking:  forgiveness and wisdom.  I need both.  Please give me an idea of something fun to do with the kids today."

It wasn't very long until I thought about taking them to Ohio's Amish country, located in Holmes County and a little more than an hour's drive away.  It would get us out of town and into the beautiful countryside, and I thought they would love tasting the cheese at Heini's.  But could I handle three of them on my own for such a venture?  I'd never gone there by myself before, but I knew I kept a detailed map of Amish Country in my car. And I had Dora, my faithful GPS, plus a stroller. Confidence rose and I felt my prayer had been answered.

When I finally got everyone dressed, fed, and buckled tightly into their carseats, I pulled out of the garage and stopped.  I announced to the kids that whenever grandma and papa go on a trip, we always say a prayer first.  So I prayed out loud for a safe and fun day and gave thanks for the beautiful weather and our special time together.  Simple and to the point. A teachable moment too.  

There were many more teachable moments, especially once we got off the highway and onto the country roads.  We took turns spotting grazing cows, baby goats, lots of horses, beautiful farms and rolling hills.  We started counting how many horses and buggies we saw until they became a common scene.  We looked for houses without any electrical lines attached to them, and we saw lots of clothes being dried outside in the breeze.  I pointed out several small Amish school houses.  We talked about some of the differences between the Amish and the Mennonites, who also populate the area.  In answer to my granddaughter's question, I explained that even though it is called "Amish Country", that we were indeed still in the United States!  We talked about the difference between being "in the country" and "in the city".  

Our first stop was the Ashery Country Store. Located in Fredericksburg, Ashery's is a bulk food store I've enjoyed going to since my own kids were young.  I was pleasantly surprised at how much the store has expanded and the grandkids loved that there were free samples throughout ~ candy, pretzels and dips, even sassafras tea.  When I was looking for a certain item, I inquired to a woman I recognized had been there for probably 20 years! Even though the store had changed slightly, it really did seem like time had stood still here!  People were so friendly too, stopping to chat and admire the grandchildren. There are some interesting facts at the Ashery website, found here.

Ten minutes farther down the road is Heini's, where cheese-making operations have been going on for 75 years.  It takes a little time to walk around the store and sample every cheese they sell.  And behind large glass windows we could see the workers cleaning out the huge vats where they had made cheese earlier in the day.  We paused to watch part of a video which showed the process.  

On her own, Elylah decided to keep a little scorecard of ranking her favorite cheeses!

 Ethan: "Grandma look! Mouse cheese!"

Some unusual varieties included rainbow fudge cheese.

We left Heini's and drove a few more miles down the road to "downtown" Berlin.  Main Street is full of tiny little primitive looking shops and I knew of a restaurant where we could get some lunch.  I didn't try to take the kids inside any of the shops (I'm not THAT crazy!) but we enjoyed strolling up and down the street a little.  I did take notice of lots of "new" shops that weren't there the last time I was in Berlin, and I'll go back to check them out another time when I can freely browse!  

We waited about 15 minutes in line to go into Boyd's, a great sandwich shop in the heart of things.  Again I was stunned to realize a waitress was someone I recognized from more than a decade ago.  The place was just as busy as always, filled with visitors from all over.  The kids wanted home made chicken noodle soup, and I had a half-order of a hot roast beef sandwich, my favorite when I go to Amish country. Apologizing for the mess we left, I gave the waitress a good tip.  She chatted with me for a minute, and we were on our way.

The timing worked out perfectly and I drove the kids directly home.  They slept the entire hour.  I'm still glowing with memories of this perfect, gifted day.  God is good.  And I thank Him!

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given." 
James 1:5

Aug 12, 2012

The World Needs More Pie...

Anyone who knows me knows I do love to bake pies.  I have my own favorites:  peach, apple, cherry, lemon meringue, pumpkin, chocolate, peanut butter, and vegetable/meat quiches.  On my to-do list is finding time to experiment with some other varieties.  

If I lived near The American Gothic House in Eldon, Iowa, I would beg Beth M. Howard for a job at the Pitchfork Pie Stand, where she has made peace with herself through making people happy with her pies.  In fact, she has written a book chronicling her journey into pie making: Making Piece, a Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie.  It just sounds like so much fun!  She and her team have actually traveled to third world countries to teach pie-baking.

I saw a recipe a few months ago in a magazine for "hand pies" so I've tired my "hand" at it a couple of times recently.  I just use the same pie crust recipe I always use, and so far I've only used an apple filling.  I have found I can get about 6 hand pies from one pie crust.  These are great when you want to just take a little treat to someone.

One time I was asked to make 5 cherry pies for a Valentine's Day appreciation dinner our small group put on to thank our church's youth group leaders.  That was really easy since my pie crust recipe makes 5 crusts, and I just needed to make 2 batches.

I have made the pumpkin pies for our family Thanksgiving celebrations for years.  I just use the recipe on the Libbey's pumpkin can and double it to make four large pies.

I've posted the pie crust recipe before, but it is the one I use exclusively, so here it is again.  My aunt Mary Ann gave me this recipe back in 1967, 45 years ago, so why would I change now? Sometimes I even make the pie crust one day, divide into 5 equal sized balls, wrap individually and either refrigerate or freeze them.  When ready to use, I let them come to room temperature before I start rolling them out.  

Never-Fail Pie Crust

5 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 tablespoon vinegar
cold water
Combine flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Add shortening and work into the flour with two knives until course, about the size of peas, (or use a pie crust cutting tool.) Into a one cup liquid measuring cup, break one egg and beat slightly with a fork. Add vinegar, and then enough cold water to make one cup liquid. Add this to the flour/shortening mixture and mix into a good consistency for rolling.  Note:  In recent years I have been using a very finely ground flour...like cake flour.  I have found that I can eliminate 1/2 cup of shortening when I use the fine flour.  Roll the crusts out one at a time on a floured surface, being careful not to over work the dough.

For a great apple pie, here's what I do:

First I have my pie crusts ready and the pie plate lined with the crust.  Then I take 6-7 medium sized granny smith apples, peel, core, and slice thinly.  As the apples are being prepared, I put them in a bowl with a couple tablespoons of lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.  To all the sliced apples, add 3/4-1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg.  Toss gently and fill crust-lined pie pan.  If I remember, I might add 1-2 Tablespoons of butter on top of the apple mixture.  Then I cover with the top crust.  I take my kitchen scissors and cut the perimeter of the crusts so they just barely hang over the pie plate and they are even.  Then I carefully tuck the upper crust in under the bottom crust, then flute the edges with my fingers.  Then I make about 6 small slits in the upper crust.  Lastly, I brush on a very thin coat of milk on the upper crust and sprinkle the whole top with a mixture of sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Bake the pie for about 50 minutes at 400℉.  

There is no question that I fully agree with Beth Howard, The world needs more pie! How about you?