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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Tale of the Three Pies

Twas the night before Thanksgiving...and in a small kitchen space...a blogger was baking and wound up with too many cookie crumbs all over the place...
She brushed them off and started on the pumpkin cream, which then transitioned into making the apple pie until the crust glistened and gleamed...

 The pumpkin pie was done and the apple as well. When she started the on the chocolate, things turned into H E DOUBLE ELL...
                                                 This is EXACTLY how I felt

It was around 9:30 pm when the sink started to clog
We plunged and we yelled and I restrained from starting to sob.
The clog wouldn't budge and neighbors had the same problem too
So we stood there silent deciding on what exactly to do
With a big mess of dishes all over the place I trudged on and wiped the frown from my face...

Washing the dishes in the shower wasn't as easy as it seemed
But I kept on baking the crust and created the best chocolate cream!

In the end I was smiling and there wasn't a dish in sight
Just three beautiful pies at the end of an adventurous night.

Apple Pie (adapted from Martha Stewart Living)
1 package roll out pie crust (one for crust and one for top)
6 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored and sliced
3/4 cup of sugar, plus more for top of pie
2 tbsp. flour
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 large egg, beaten

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place pie crust in pie pan and prick bottom with a fork.
2. Mix apples with flour, sugar, zest and juice of lemon, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a large mixing bowl. Pour into pie crust.
3. Lay top of pie crust over pie and crimp edges with a fork. Make small slits in top of crust with a knife. If you'd like, you can make a pretty little decoration like I did for the top of the pie :)
4. Bake for about one hour, until crust is golden brown.

Pumpkin Pie (adapted from Pioneer Woman)
1 package graham crackers
1 package gingersnaps
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 stick of butter, melted
1 box Vanilla pudding mix (Cook & Serve variety)
1 c. 1/2 & 1/2
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 c. (additional) heavy cream
2 tbsp. brown sugar
Gingersnaps, crumbled for top

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Process grahams and gingersnaps with butter and powdered sugar in food processor until crumbly.
2. Press into bottom and sides of pie pan and bake for 10 minutes, cool.
3. In a saucepan, combine pudding mix and 1/2 & 1/2, cream and spices. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick. Remove from heat and add pumpkin. Place lid on pot and allow to cool. When pot is room temperature, place in fridge until it's completely cool.
4. In a mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup heavy cream and brown sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Fold in pumpkin cream mixture until just combined.
5. Pour into pie crust and top with gingersnaps. Refrigerate at least two hours.

Chocolate Cream Pie
For this recipe I followed this Food & Wine recipe exactly.

Happy Holiday Baking!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cheesy Pasta

Being a mac and cheese fanatic, I wish I could have it every day, but obviously that's not the healthiest plan. Tonight, I made something similar, but on the lighter side. Pasta with butter, cheese and parmesan is like an Italian version of m & c. Sooo, I guess you could say this is sort of like that! Mmm...I want to make this again, right. now.

Cheesy Pasta (makes 2 servings)
1 cup whole wheat small shell pasta
1 tbsp. Smart Balance butter blend
1 teaspoon parmesan cheese
1 wedge Laughing Cow Garlic & Herb cheese
1 wedge Laughing Cow French Onion cheese
salt, pepper and chili pepper flakes to taste

Bring water to a boil and salt water. Cook pasta until just al dente (with a bit of a bite). Drain pasta and pour back into pot. Add butter blend and stir to combine add cheeses and mix together. Add salt and pepper to taste. DEVOUR!

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving!

(picture source)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

New Book!

One of my favorite bloggers, Tina, has been veryyy successful with her blog, Carrots 'N' Cake. She has an adorable pug, is a native Bostonian and she creates yummy recipes to boot. She's even coming out with a book! I'm super excited for her and can't wait to pick it up at the bookstore when it comes out. You can even pre-order it on Amazon.

(image via Carrots 'N' Cake)

Green Monstah

When I first started reading food blogs, one of the ones I stumbled upon that I loved was Oh She Glows.
Angela's story is inspirational, and though I don't ever have any intention of being vegan, she as some great recipes on there. She also started the Green Monster Movement. Her idea to mix spinach, frozen fruit and milk together may not sound appetizing, I decided to be brave and give it a whirl.
Disclaimer: Green Monsters always look concoction, even more so.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

I'll admit, I was nervous drinking this, but to my surprise, it was fantastic! I couldn't even taste the spinach, and I'm sure the peanut butter helped a bit too...

Green Monstahhhh
1 cup soy/almond/cow milk
2 cups fresh spinach
1 tbsp. peanut butter
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1 frozen banana/other frozen fruit
 (I used strawberries in the above pic)
Blend until smooth...drink up!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cooking Shortcuts

It's amazing what cooking shortcuts will do for you. Today at the grocery store, I picked up a roasted chicken. I forgot how great these are! After pulling apart the chicken and taking the skin off, I had yummy, moist chicken, ready for eatin'! 
It went from this: 

to this:

Then I took all this: 

And made this:
love the red & green...sorta Christmasy, huh? 

Chicken salad is one of my favorite lunch time staples, but making it is usually a hassle and it can be pretty unhealthy. I looked at what I had on hand, and created this sweet, tangy, refreshing salad. The crunch from the walnuts and celery and the sweetness of cranberries is a winner.

Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
3 tbsp. lite mayo mixed with 2 tbsp. hot sauce, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. garlic powder
3 ribs of celery, chopped
1/2 a large white onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp. honey

Mix all ingredients together and serve over a bed of lettuce, in a wrap or eat straight from the bowl!

I turned it into this:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mom's Sauce

Growing up, my mom's tomato sauce was my favorite dish she made. She'd put it over noodles, chicken, or rice, but most of the time I'd end up simply eating it off of the wooden spoon (granted this was the same spoon I was threatened with when I misbehaved)...ahhh childhood memories.

I would watch my mom simmer her sauce for more than an hour and I would wait impatiently as the scent of basil, tomatoes, wine and garlic wafted through the house. A few years ago, I tried my hand at making my own sauce, and I finally got it right. I don't really measure anything, but since I perfected the ingredient list, it always seems to turn out just right no matter how much I put in. I made it for my mom for the first time a few months ago when she was visiting andddd...she loved it! SCORE!

My version of Mom's tomato sauce:
1 15 oz. of Hunt's tomato sauce (I recently discovered it and it's by far my favorite)
1 8 oz. can of tomato paste
big glug of red wine (any kind will do)
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tblsp. olive oil
1 tsp. italian seasoning
salt, freshly ground black pepper, red chili pepper flakes

*For the salt, pepper and flakes, adjust the amount according to taste.

Heat oil in sauce pan until it ripples, add garlic and saute until golden and soft. Add sauce, paste, wine and seasonings and stir until paste starts to "melt" into sauce. Simmer on low for 45 minutes. ENJOY!

(image courtesy of Tomato Casual)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I found it!

When I was driving down to Florida with family this past Christmas, we made a stop in Blenheim, South Carolina at a rest stop. Looking around for something to drink, I came across Blenheim Ginger Ale. Being a sucker for Ginger Ale, I grabbed a bottle and let me tell you, it puts all other ginger ales to shame. The only problem is, it's no where to be found up here with us Yankees, so you have to order it online...but it's worth it! It comes in Mild or Hot...I had the Mild (only because my family wasn't daring enough to try the Hot), but I'm sure both are equally as good. What local drinks are in your area?

(Image via KegWorks)