For the Love of FACS

Easy As Pie!

Today, January 23, is National Pie Day, so I thought I’d share the recipe I used to introduce my beginning foods students to the art of making pastry.  It’s a very simple recipe that my students were able to master on the first try, building their confidence for attempting a traditional plain pastry recipe.

Strawberry turnovers

Strawberry Turnovers

1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

1/3 cup shortening

2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

9 tablespoons strawberry jam (1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon)


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Sift flour into mixing bowl.
  3. Using pastry blender, cut in 3 tablespoons shortening until the mixture looks like cornmeal.
  4. Cut in the rest of the shortening until the particles are the size of small peas.
  5. Add cold water, one tablespoon at a time, mixing with a fork until the mixture forms a ball.
  6. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured board.  Dough should be 1/8-inch thick and 12 inches square.
  7. Cut square into nine 4-inch squares.  (Will look like a tic-tac-toe board.)
  8. Place a level tablespoon of jam in one corner of each square.
  9. Moisten the edges of squares with cold water.
  10. Fold the square from one corner to the opposite corner.
  11. Seal edges with a floured fork.
  12. Prick the top of the turnovers with fork.
  13. Place on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
  14. Bake 15 minutes or until turnovers are golden brown.

Yield:  9 turnovers

Drizzle with Powdered Sugar Glaze, if desired.  In a mixing bowl stir together 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons milk to make frosting of drizzling consistency.

Pastry Pointers to share with students!

  • Overmixing and overhandling pastry will make it tough by developing the gluten in the flour.
  • Add only enough water to pastry dough to bring the dry ingredients together.  Too much water will make the dough sticky and hard to roll out.
  • Pastry dough layers must be moistened to ensure that the layers are sealed together.
  • Using a pastry blender to combine fat and dry ingredients produces layers in the dough, which makes the pastry flaky.
  • Using very cold water when making pastry dough will keep the fat firm and produce a flakier product.

A couple of words of caution:

  • Provide rulers for students to use to measure the thickness and dimension of the dough.
  • Students should let turnovers cool for a few minutes before sampling because the jam will be hot enough to burn right out of the oven.
  • Caution students to use only a level tablespoon of jam in each turnover because excess will run out on the pan and burn.

Happy National Pie Day, Everyone!


This recipe is included in our resource Cooking Up Success, which features 200+ classroom-tested recipes for the FACS foods lab.

Cooking up Success
Best-Selling Foods Curriculum


For the Love of FACS

Where Did the Time Go?

It hardly seems possible that it’s been nearly an entire year since I last posted to this blog!  It turns out that time really does fly when you’re researching and writing a new FACS classroom resource!  Particularly when that project is based on incorporating engineering into the FACS curriculum!  As a FACS teacher, I really never expected to include engineering in my classroom instruction.  However, with the current emphasis on the STEAM initiative, it seemed like a FACS instructional need that just had to be addressed.

So I set about educating myself on the subject of engineering and its relationship to FACS.  Color me astonished when I discovered that FACS and Engineering are a perfect pairing!

icon full - greenLight bulb moment!

The end result of this epiphany and many months of work was the creation of FACS: Full STEAM Ahead, Engineering A Design For The Future, a series of 20 lessons applying STEAM concepts based on 21st century FACS careers.  It includes tons of support materials so that you don’t have do your own research.  (You’re welcome!) Check it out on our website at

FACS: Full STEAM Ahead has become more than the title of our latest resource, it’s become our theme for 2018!  We plan to update two of our most popular existing resources incorporating STEAM concepts and the FACS Engineering Design Process that we’ve developed.  Cooking Up A Cool Career and Cooking Up Success will be the first Fresh FACS resources to receive the STEAM treatment, but they won’t be the last!

STEAM cool career cover image

We will also be publishing our first-ever magazine/catalog in 2018!  This exciting and useful publication will include activities and information that you can use in your FACS classroom and best of all it will be FREE!  Follow Fresh FACS on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for information on how to receive your FREE copy or go to our website and add your name to our mailing list today.  We anticipate that the magazine/catalog will be ready to mail in late February or early March.

2018 is going to be an exciting year for Fresh FACS!  We hope you’ll join us on this STEAM-powered adventure!

Wishing all our FACS friends the very best in this New Year!


FACS Careers, FACS Engineering, For the Love of FACS, Historical FACS, Home economics, National Women's History Month

Architectural Visionary

Hearst Castle has attracted thousands of visitors since opening to the public in 1958.  Although most have probably heard of William Randolph Hearst and his publishing empire, famously fictionalized in Orson Welles’s film Citizen Kane, the architect who designed his Central Coast mansion remains largely anonymous.

Julia Morgan

Julia Morgan

Julia Morgan, California’s first licensed female architect, was the design and engineering genius behind Hearst Castle as well as many other famous buildings.  Over the course of her 47-year career, Morgan designed more than 700 buildings in California alone.  Morgan, broke up the boys club of California architects and earned her status as an architectural visionary.  She didn’t just remodel kitchens or build women’s clubs, but she also built radio towers, zoos, hotels, hospitals and hundreds of private residences.

After graduating with a degree in engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1894, Morgan continued her education at the world’s most prestigious architectural school, the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.  Upon her return from Europe in 1902, Morgan began her architectural career in the San Francisco area working for the designer John Galen Howard on buildings for her alma mater.

Morgan opened her own office in San Francisco in 1904.  Her earliest commissions included a bell tower at Mills College in Oakland that withstood the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906, landing her the commission to rebuild the severely damaged Fairmont Hotel.

Julia was given the commission to create William Randolph Hearst’s home at San Simeon, California in 1919.  It is actually a complex of domestic buildings, each eclectic in style.  The commission was a difficult one as Hearst constantly changed his mind about details related to the design, yet Morgan’s patience and resolve carried her through the project.

Julia Morgan paved the way for women in the field of architecture.  Her career is a tribute to her education, talent and distinctive personal style.