October {What Does It Mean To You?}




October is my birthday month and so I’ve always kind of loved the thought of October!  Even though it means that my precious summer is over, I still go into October loving the whole sound of the name!  I love October here in the South where the Azaleas really come alive in my flower beds!




October is also Breast Cancer Awareness month, which means a lot to me since I am a breast cancer survivor.  As a matter of fact, when I was thinking of this blog post (I always write them in my head first!  Smile!) I had decided to share my breast cancer journey.  But as I began to put it in writing I just didn’t feel like sharing it.  And I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe someday I will.  But this picture above is a picture of the last page in the journal I kept during those months.  The journal that is still really special to me because everything I wrote during that time is positive, and looking back I find that so interesting because most of that year I felt like I was dying! It makes me thankful that even in the hardest of times I tend to think positive.




October makes me think of pies.  I love Apple Pie and back in October of 2014 some of you might remember I wrote a blog post on my favorite Apple Pie.  (You can read that post here.)  This month I’ve been craving Hand Pies.  Have you ever made Hand Pies?  I love that they are the perfect size to pick up in your hand and eat on the go!




They don’t seem like you’re consuming as many calories because one little Hand Pie is quite small!  They are so fun to just grab and go!  Perfect for when my little grand-girls are here!




I’d love to share my step by step recipe with you today and I hope you’ll make some Hand Pies this month and enjoy this gorgeous October.  (And stay to the end as there is a GIVEAWAY!!)




I love to use a butter crust for Hand Pies.  Butter crusts can be a little tricky because if they are over-worked they get tough fast.  However, I’ve learned a few things the hard way and now have the most amazing tender, flaky butter crust down to perfection.  (Just look at the amazing flakes in that crust!)


So before we get started, here’s a few important tips about butter pie crust:

Work with very cold ingredients.  Cold butter and cold flour.  I put my flour in the freezer for about 15 minutes before making the crust.

Don’t leave out the tablespoon of vinegar, even though that seems like a really weird ingredient.  It keeps the gluten in the flour from working and makes for a very tender crust. I promise that you won’t taste it in the cooked crust.  

Do not over-work your dough.  Any kneading or rolling out more than the very minimum can make it tough and leathery.

Don’t rush and skip the step of refrigerating the dough!

If you have a food processor, use it.  If not, cut the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter working as quickly as possible.   




Cut 1 cup of cold butter into large pieces and place into food processor along with 2 1/2 cups of cold flour and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Pulse for about 5 – 10 seconds until flour and butter resemble large crumbs.




Add 1 tablespoon white vinegar (or white cooking wine if that’s all you have like me!) to the mixture.  Pulse 1 second.  Then very slowly begin to pour in 7 tablespoons of ice water just a little bit at a time, pulsing for a second between every couple of tablespoons.




Stop adding water when the dough comes together.  You don’t want it to be sticky, so don’t add too much water.  If after you’ve added all 7 tablespoons, your dough isn’t coming together then add a little bit more water.




Remove the dough to a large piece of parchment paper and wrap it up and refrigerate it for at least an hour.  Do not knead or work the dough.  Literally scoop it onto the parchment paper and wrap it up.




While your dough is in cooling in the refrigerator you can prepare your pie filling.  Because my favorite hand pies are peach and blackberry that is what I’m making today.  But you can certainly use whatever fruit filling is your favorite.  I had fresh peaches and blackberries in the freezer from this summer so I thawed out about a cup of each and cut them into small bite size pieces.  You don’t use much in each pie so you won’t be needing a whole lot of filling – two cups is plenty.




Stir together 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 1/3 cup of sugar and add to your fruit.  I don’t like mine super sweet so I was careful to not add too much.  But you can always use more sugar if you want it sweeter.  Stir well and place in the refrigerator to keep cool until you are ready to begin assembling your pies.


IMG_0187 2


Place parchment paper on your cookie sheets and heat the oven to 425 degrees.  (Parchment paper is only necessary because there will be syrupy juices that will bubble out of the pies.  It makes it much easier for cleanup.)




Once your pie crust has cooled for at least an hour, remove it from the parchment paper and cut it in half with a knife.  Place one half back in the parchment paper and return to the refrigerator.  Transfer the other half to a floured surface.  Roll it out very thinly, working quickly.  It will be a little hard at first since the dough is cold but it will quickly warm.





Using a large round cutter cut as many circles as you can.  Be sure to cut them close to each other to use as much of the dough as possible.




Transfer the dough circles to the cookie sheet.  Place a large tablespoon of filling on each dough circle.




Using a pastry brush, brush water around the edge of each dough circle.  Top each one with another circle of dough.  Using a fork, press around the edge of the circle.  Along with the water, this will help adhere them together.  Using a little paring knife cut vent holes in the top of each little pie.




Beat one egg with a fork with a splash of water and set aside some raw sugar.




Using your pastry brush, brush each pie with the egg.  Sprinkle with sugar and place in the oven.  (Repeat the above steps with the other half of the dough.)




Cook for approximately 15 – 20 minutes until pies are golden brown.  Remove them from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack for just a few minutes before eating!




The only draw back to Hand Pies is that they taste best fresh out of the oven.  They have a tendency to get a little bit soggy if packed away.  My answer to that is to eat them immediately!  I have been known to leave them out on the counter top and eat them throughout the day.  Really.  And oh my word.  They taste so good!


And now for the GIVEAWAY!!!




Our flowers in our flower garden are still producing and we’re still able to put flowers on our flower stand every few days.  We are so thankful for our loyal customers.  I’d love to be able to deliver a beautiful bouquet of fall flowers to you but since I cannot…




…how about a set of notecards with pictures from our flower garden, our work shed, and our roadside stand?  All you have to do is comment below on what you love best about October!  I will pick TWO lucky winners and will announce them here next month.


Happy October friends!  (Go get your Mammogram if you haven’t already!)


Until our gravel roads cross again… so long.



  1. Marlene Capelle says:

    For me October is the beginning of the holiday season. I start making lists of people I want to make gifts for and start asking subtle questions to get an idea of what they want. Well, that I’m capable of giving. I make lists of baked goods I want to make, Ingredients I have to get, and who I want to give platters of goodies too.

    My mother was a 40 year breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed when it was a death sentence and no one talked about it. She had one friend to confide in and it was a hard time for her. So congratulations to you and a long healthy life.

  2. Lori Fresina says:

    Thank you for your honesty. The hand pies look delicious. The flowers are beautiful as are the notecards. Oct. is also my birthday month and we are traveling again early Nov. to TN. to see the Fall there. Enjoy your day as I am.

  3. Cyndie Gray says:

    Oh my sweet friend these little hand pies look so yummy!! I am definitely going to have to try some apple ones as our tree produced abundantly & I have apples in my freezer!!
    What I like best about October…the cooler temps, the gorgeous colors of nature & the recipes!!!! Oh my the recipes: soups galore, bread baking & hot mulled cider…these are just a few of my October favorites!!
    Thanks for another wonderful blogpost Dori!!

  4. Linda says:

    Fall leaves and the cooling days are some of my favorite things, that and decorating for Halloween

  5. Kim Rice says:

    Oh man you make this look so easy and good!!! I have fresh peaches I froze this summer, but no blackberries. Hmmm a trip to the farmers market is in order! Yummm Yummm Dori!

  6. Maxine says:

    October is a bit of a melancholy month for me but I love what October represents. Autumn, my favorite season although way too short where we live. The colors, feel in the air, October skies. Your pictures of your flowers this month are just beautiful! And I know it’s hard to believe but I really have NOT made hand pies before! I am most definitely making them now, a perfect way to use up some of the bazillion apples we picked!

  7. Mary Pitman says:

    I love October, because my son and my middle grand-daughter were both born in this month, my granddaughter on the 3rd and my son on the 4th. Also love the cooler weather that comes with such crisp air

  8. JB Dias says:

    My favorite thing about October is it’s my birthday month. But even better is my first grandson is due this month, two days before my birthday! It doesn’t get better than that! God is so good.

  9. Emily says:

    Oh my, those hand pies remind me of the ones my Grandmother made! I’ll have to try your recipe with the blackberries I have in the freezer.

    Thank you for sharing both your recipe and your journey. I admire your strength to endure your illness and stay positive through it.

    By the way, I love October because it’s cooler here in Texas!

  10. Jean says:

    October is a month where God says, Here’s a little bit more beauty before I let creation rest. Colors, cooler air, anticipation of season change–all special gifts from a God who knew what we would love, even before we did!

  11. Kary says:

    Why do I love October? Sweater weather! Apples! Shorter days, but longer nights! An Invigorating chill in the air mixed with the scent of wood burning in a fireplace! More knitting time and longer dog walks … And to make it extra special … The its the birth month of my husband!

  12. Candace Segar says:

    I love October because it’s my husband’s birthday month and also because of Halloween. It’s wonderful to celebrate my husband’s birthday, and I always think of his mom, Alice, who brought him into this world. She was my wonderful mother-in-law. Halloween makes me think of all the crazy, scary costumes my mom, Jane use to make for me as a kid growing up in the 50’s and 60’s. I carry on the tradition, but I’m a little less scary. October makes me appreciate all the love that has surrounded me in my life.

  13. Sandy says:

    I love October! I love the colors of October, the blue sky, the orange and red foliage, the bright green pines against the blue-blue sky! Humidity is low, the ragweed dies (yaay!), I feel better! Temperature is more moderate, not too cold, not too hot. My twin daughters were born on October 14. My husband and I met in October and married the following October. And I love Halloween, everything about it. What is not to like in October?!

  14. Janet Markley says:

    Hi Dori,
    Your blogposts are the ones I always take time to read. Thank you for sharing your story.
    I’m in love with fall as well, although we just had our first big snow here in the Colo. mountains. Hand pies…yum!

  15. Monica says:

    October is my favorite month. Number one – my husband and I just celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary on the 5th. Number 2 – we’re almost always close to being done with harvest (except for this year – rain, rain, rain….did I mention rain? ..LOL) and my nerves can finally unwind. The beauty of the sky against our green grass with our marigolds almost takes my breath away. My hens love when I start to clean my garden boxes as they get to pick at all the old produce that somehow got missed. I start to put my garden to bed for the winter and take a break myself.

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful pie recipe. We have a Cortland Apple tree and I think I’ll use some of my apples to make these and some wild black raspberries that I picked this year.

    May you be blessed with many more years of being cancer free. Blessings to you.

  16. Jennifer says:

    Let me count the ways I love October… many of the best men in my life celebrate their birthdays, like you, in October. My beloved Papa did; we lost him about a year as go, my Father in law Ted, our very good friend Sarge, my sweet nephew, Rowan, and my precious bonus boy, Caleb! In Idaho the trees turn lovely gold and red and orange and the pumpkins are on! I also adore that fly season is over because of the cold snaps and our mountaintops are covered in snow. Sweater time is always delightful and darkly steeped black tea with plenty of heavy whipping cream tastes extra good in this weather. Finally, I get in the groove of the school year and begin to anticipate the Advent of our LORD. September is tough because I love, love, love summer and boating and the relaxed pace. October gets me ready for the joyous cold season!

  17. Irene Shelton says:

    I love october with the cool crisp air and leaves changing. It’s so beautiful. But I cherish everyday. I also keep a journal about my experiences through life’s journey. The Pastor at the cancer center got me interested in doing one. It’s a positive journal. I have myeloma and even with that I am doing everything I did before. Enjoy everyday.

  18. Catherine says:

    Autumnal smells, warm sweaters, crisp air, and a lot more baking!

  19. My “little” sister is a breast cancer survivor. I walked beside her on her journey and sit beside her when walking wasn’t an option. How we laughed the day I suggested she use a lint roller on her head to remove the annoying little bits of hair that would fall in her eyes while she was undergoing chemo! It really did the job. We still chuckle about that.
    My favorite season has always been the autumn. The colors are my soul’s palette. Sweater weather is so much better than sweaty, buggy, humid days. And wood smoke on the air brings up memories of girl scouts, and camping with my family, and firepits under the stars. The summer bounty is safely tucked away, the gardens are nearly sleeping and I can turn to indoor pursuits without feeling as if I’m neglecting my farm chores.
    I’ve never made a pie. Crazy, I know, but I just might have the courage to try it with your lovely instructions. Thanks for your postings and sharing. We’re all better for it.

  20. Marie Fluck says:

    October is such a beautiful refreshing month after the hot humid summer! It’s also my oldest daughter’s birthday! We get to set a pretty fall decor table and enjoy delicious autumn treats with her birthday cake. Fall is my favorite season. All the turning leaves and lovely drives to the Poconos to smell the forest scents.
    Enjoy where ever you are. Life is short.

  21. Denise says:

    October seems to be the start of all kinds of crafts fairs with Christmas type things in them. so it means that I get together with my friends to have fun hunting through them. I put out A LOT of zinnias seeds this year and they did wonderfully and I have enjoyed them so much. So I have a question for you, to save seeds for next year should I cut off the dried heads or what do you find to be the best way to save the seeds? thank you!

  22. shawna matos says:

    Here in southern California October usually means Santa Ana winds & fire season. This year though we are having beautiful fall weather with a few raindrops thrown in. I have been baking & soup making & wearing cozy clothes. We are so grateful to be enjoying fall weather this year & soaking up as much of it as we can.

  23. Laurel Pries says:

    I so enjoy your blog and look forward to it each month. Here in Washington state, we are having a little Indian summer, but most of our flowers are done for the year. I hope I win you beautiful note cards…a girl can’t have too many flowery things!! Thanks for the hand pie recipe, I’m gonna try that crust and those little pies for my Great grand kids!! See ya next month! Laurel.

  24. Heidi Gonderman says:

    As a breast cancer survivor myself, I’d love to hear your story sometime! Thank you for sharing – you are an encouragement to so many . And those pies – amazing!!

  25. Sue Malone says:

    I am not originally from the South and I have to say that October and all of fall have turned into my favorite time of the year because of the glorious colors. I absolutely love it.

  26. Gloria Smith says:

    I love to put out my fall decorations in October. I have quilts, quilted tablerunners and quilted wallhangings that I have made over the years. I also like to decorate with fall flowers and pumpkins. I leave these items out until Thanksgiving day – then it is time for Christmas. I also love the changing leaves, the smell of a wood fire and being able to start wearing my favorite sweaters. I love your blog – you have a beautiful life!!

  27. winnie Jackson says:

    With my sister having stage 4 breast cancer this month (October) is breast month for me and my family as we support this type of cancer. One day I pray they will find a cure for all of us woman. I loved your mini fruit pies. I too make these and they are loved by so many. Fall is a wonderful time of year. I also love the leaves changing color here in New England. We are so bless with the different seasons. Happy Fall to you and your family and to all those who read your blogg. Sincerely, Winnie Jackson

  28. Bernie kemp says:

    Thanks for sharing the writing on your “journey”. The hand pies look delicious! To me October means the end of a very hot , humid summer (which I don’t love) I look forward to the nice cooler days-However in MN this year we have apparently skipped fall and gotten some much cooler/colder weather than usual and already snow in the northern part of the state-this is only the early part of October-hopefully we get some of those nice fall days yet we all wait for!

  29. MS Barb says:

    I LOVE the fall colors (I live in a 4 season state!) & like not needing the air conditioning or the furnace on…I enjoy apple cider (hot or cold!) and the smell of a bonfire!

  30. Judith S says:

    Thank you Dori for the recipe. Like others, I remember my Grandmother and Mother making hand pies. You have inspired me to grow cutting flowers for which I am grateful. The cards are just so pretty. Thank you again.

  31. Marilyn says:

    October to me is enjoying the crisp,clear air and blue skies, the beautiful display of the leaves as they turn gorgeous colors. October also means several types of food and the tasty pumpkin spice flavor. I also lope to buy pumpkins and lovely Chrisanthemums. Halloween is another plus in October. Seeing all the decorations around the neighborhood. I also enjoy curling up with a good book[preferably a Christmas read] under a blanket.Thank you for the giveaway.

  32. Michele D Yates says:

    What do I love about October? The (finally) cooler nights, windows open, purchasing pumpkins to scatter around the house and yard, sitting on the screened porch, a trip to my beloved mountains for some fabulous fall foliage. Ahhh, smiles!
    Those hand pies look delicious…..I might try them!

  33. Carol says:

    First of all, Dori, Happy Birthday! Secondly, congratulations on being a cancer survivor. I believe being positive is so important. I am battling lymphoma at the moment and always try to be upbeat. I love your little Hand Pies! What could be better to make for the grandkids? My favorite thing about October is the cooler weather! Happy Fall Y’all!

  34. Judy from Maine says:

    October in Maine is the best month of the year. I live very close to the border we share with NH, so early October I get to see the splendor of fall leaves in all their colorful glory in the White Mountains of NH. Than in the latter part of the month, I take a trip to the Maine coast to view the brilliant colors bordering the rocky shoreline. Oh and did I mention the incredibly blue skies and big puffy white clouds of October? It is indeed a wonderful month, a gift we get each year, before our winter sets in.

  35. Jodie says:

    October is a favorite month for me. I love the colors of the tree, the hues in the sky, the last remaining flowers doing their things. I love the feeling of winding down after a busy summer. And the air…it just smells different. Refreshing. Full of life.

    Thanks for the handpie recipe. They look/sound delicious. I’m gonna make me some.

    What a beautiful reflection on your breast cancer journey! Thank you for sharing that last page. Enjoy the rest of your October. And happy birthday!

  36. Ruth says:

    October! Even the sound of the name! Anyone remember the song ‘October Gave a Party’? Crisp air, blue, blue skies, taking a walk and crunching through leaves or piling them up to lie in (I no longer jump in them), and the fabulous smell of those leaves just shouts “Fall”, glorious colors, cinnamon smells throughout the house, setting out fall-colored decor, spicy cider, the sound and sight of combines in the fields and their lights on as they work into the night, the golden fields all harvested, pheasants gleaning in the harvested fields. I could go on and on! What is there NOT to love about October?! I grew up in Illinois but we live in Peru where our seasons are dry and wet so my Pinterest board ‘Gorgeous’ has lots of pins of fall foliage with fall lanes that beckon you to come for a walk.

  37. Kathy D Blue says:

    Oh my, those hand pies look wonderful – – thanks for the tips and recipe. Loving October happens for me every single year – – love the cool off from steamy summer – – being able to work outside and plant fall bulbs and move some plants without roasting in humidity. The sound of geese, the colors at evening, crisp need for a wrap, happy energetic pups – – its all good. I am 11 years out from my BC diagnosis, doing well. I have never felt the “pink ribbon” crush that goes on in October, for me, it is small quiet room to reflect on what I went thru – – and the tremendous humble thanks to God I feel for His presence – – my mantra thru diagnosis and treatment was “Be Still and know I am God”. In all things and in every season He is my strength.

  38. esther deakins says:

    it is hard to pick just one thing about October. Picking apples and taking them home to make applesauce! Racking leaves and jumping in them with my grandson! Camp fires! Football! I could go on and on. It is the best time of year.

  39. Sandi King says:

    Hi Dori, so glad to see your post. I love the Fall weather, cooler, less humid, great for night time bonfires, Halloween decorating, and both my sons birthdays this month. I think there is an Apple Festival this month also. I have to try your hand pies as apple pie is one of my favorites, and yours look so good. I love that you leave them out and snack on them all day long – sounds like something I would do. I think bouquets of flowers are so pretty and yours I have seen in previous posts are amazing. Your friends and neighbors are so lucky to be able to purchase them. Your personal story is personal and I am sure we all support your decision and are so glad to have you here every month to keep us entertained with your wonderful blogs. It is an inspiration to all of us to try doing something we have never done before. Please keep blogging and giving us a look into what is possible. I look forward to reading them every month. Thank you for being you and being here.

  40. Karen says:

    October…being in the Deep South, I cannot speak of cool, crisp days, but I can speak of the occasional dip in temps from the 90’s to the high 70’s which usually means a cooler morning temp. That always gets me in the Fall frame of mind!
    October is also our church convention month. Having started thinking about conventions in June (up in the northeast), I’m so ready for our convention when it gets here in early October.
    Those hand pies look scrumptious and I just happen to have peaches and blackberries in the freezer!
    Your notecards look darling. I almost made it to Tennessee this summer to see your flower stand. It’s going to happen one of these years!

  41. Lynne Ward Wallace says:

    I love so many things about October besides it being my birthday and wedding anniversary month. Lots of our family have birthdays and other events in October. I love the cooler evenings and then days, I love the cooking and baking that starts to happen, I love the kids back in school and starting new school years but mostly, I love the family time we spend together to celebrate each other.

  42. Rebecca says:

    Thank you so much for the recipe. It looks delicious!

  43. Vivian Monroe says:

    I love October because that is when the state fair starts in La., and also the weather finally starts cooling…I always freeze my butter too when making crusts, or biscuits, or scones…I grate mine with a big cheese grater, so it comes together more easy. thought I would share…I forgot where I got that idea I believe from a scone recipe.. 🙂 Happy October. Neta.

  44. Gail Summerlin says:

    October is my favorite month because I’m so ready for summer to be over, watch the leave change, take many trips to the Blue Ridge Parkway, enjoy the cool temps and curl up by the fire . I believe my favorite foods and drinks are in the fall.

  45. Susan says:

    My favorite thing about our October is spending time in the Tennessee mountains visiting our family and enjoying the beauty of the Smokey Mountains.

  46. Cathy R says:

    Happy Birthday Dori! Have enjoyed your Facebook posts about your flowers, etc. this summer. Wish I were in the neighborhood to enjoy the real thing! That stand always makes my heart smile. Love October in north-central Idaho. Cool temps, beautiful fall colors and gorgeous sunsets. Thank you for sharing your life with us and an opportunity to win a sweet giveaway! FALL BLESSINGS!

  47. Marci Dodd says:

    I love the sunrises and sunsets in October. They have been especially gorgeous lately. The smell of wood smoke and the changing leaves.

  48. Denise Ross says:

    It’s springtime for us here in Australia, so I love being able to sit outside for dinner, with beautiful days and cooling breezes and enjoying the longer days that October brings. In October we also begin watching all the Christmas movies, since the season swings by so fast and it is one of my favourite times of year. I’m so happy You’re a cancer survivor, that’s Brilliant to hear.
    In October we have my grandmother in laws birthday and she is 40 years older than me to the year, so I never forget her age. She is such a special lady, and as I’ve never known my own grandparents, they all passed before I was born except my mothers mum and she passed away when I was three, so I didn’t get to know her.
    Thank you for all your delightful and heartwarming posts, they are always a delight to read. Your cards sound like beautiful gems well worth sharing. By the way, have you done anymore runs lately, I loved reading those posts too and seeing your growth in this area,
    Gods blessings to you and yours

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *