Wednesday, November 26, 2008

easy as pie

Well, last night's pie attempt was not as successful as yesterday afternoon's pie adventure. We did pumpkin and coconut cream (well really a coconut custard). Something went a bit haywire with our crusts and it made for a not-as-delicious situation. But never fear, we've since recovered and have one tasty (but not beautiful) pumpkin pie. The coconut one (which Nate is pretty sure he would be the only major fan of) is good enough for him. However, I am not happy with it so I will not post the recipe (why waste the time of my dear reader(s)?) Our pumpkin recipe is very similar to the Libby's recipe, except we used fresh pumpkin. The pie that still holds some promise though is the Apple and Tart Cherry pie. We decided to just make the filling and refrigerate it. We have the pastry dough already made and chilling in the fridge. We'll bring both components to my mom's house and assemble and bake tomorrow. I'll keep you posted!

As far as making ahead of time, etc., there are many opinions out there. From my research it seems a pie such as pecan and Hershey could be made a couple of days in advance. You always run the risk of a soggy crust, but it is a slight risk and when you are running out of time you do what you've got to do. Let the pies come to room temp and then wrap them and hope the edges of the crusts don't crumble on your 300 mile journey North. If crumbles do occur, its okay. You can either cover it up with whipped cream or realize no one will care because you made them a homemade pie and they are just overwhelmed with joy and will not notice such a blunder.

The baked custard pies should also be fine for a couple of days. We figured by making them last night they would be consumed in less than two days. These pies also should come to room temp (so they sat out unattended last night until Nate got up before the crack of dawn this morning) and then wrapped loosely in foil (because they might get a bit dewy if they can't breathe so much) and stored in the fridge. Then let them come to room temp before you serve them.

With fruit-filled, double-crust pies (like the soon-to-be apple-cherry pie) you can actually assemble the pie and then freeze it (unbaked). You'd put the pie uncovered in your freezer until it is rock hard, then you would double-wrap it with plastic and then a layer of foil for good measure. (Make sure your pie is in a Pyrex pie plate because it can handle extreme so-very-cold-to-so-very-hot temp changes). It will keep in the freezer for at least 2 weeks, but some argue it will last even longer without ill effects. When you are ready to cook it, preheat your oven, then remove the pie from the freezer and toss the plastic and foil wraps. Cook it at the same temp and for the same amount of time as if it weren't frozen. At the end of the cook time (mind you I haven't tried this, I've only read a lot about it), reduce your oven temp significantly, cover the top with foil, and bake about 20-25 more minutes. This will ensure the crust does not burn, the inside is cooked through, and all your pie eaters will be very, very happy you chose to make a pie 2 weeks ago.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everybody. I'll post the pie outcome later. Oh, and did I mention Nate is doing a Rocky Road ice cream pie as well? That makes for 6 (which is the exact same number of pie plates we own...)

Gobble Gobble!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

pies, pies, everywere pies - first entry

Today begins the quest for pie. This afternoon (with a little 'help') I made pies I and II (Pecan pie and Hotel Hershey pie).

First, have your husband make his favorite flaky pie crust (he found a recipe he liked in Cooking Light, doubled the fat content and it is perfect - I'll post that later). Mix up your ingredients and pour into your prepared pie plate. Mmmm, it is so good and gooey.

It looks nice, but wait until you cook it!

See how lovely, its enough to make a young boy smile!

Pie number II is quite similar in preparation and results.

Sadly I'll have to wait until Thursday to tuck in, at least I've got this guy to keep me company!

Nancy's Lethal Pecan Pie Hangover Cure
taken from "Pie Everyday" by Pat Willard, I'm not sure who Nancy is and how this would cure a hangover, but it is so tasty nonetheless...

1 1/4 cups corn syrup (she specifies dark, I prefer light for some reason)
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar (I'm the opposite here, I love dark)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped (throw in a few extra if you like)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Put the corn syrup and sugar in med saucepan set over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Let the mixture boil softly for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and stir in the butter. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until they're light lemon in color (she says to use an electric mixer, but whisking fast by hand works well). Continue beating while adding the sugar syrup. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Place in a prepared 9-inch crust (unbaked). Place the pie on a baking sheet and put on center rack in oven. Bake about 50 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven, just until the filling is set.

Hotel Hershey Pie
This first made its appearance on the holiday menu sometime in my childhood. Its origins are unknown and while staying at the Hotel Hershey (Hershey, PA), my dad asked for a slice of the "famous" pie (at least famous to my family!) and the hotel had no clue what pie he was talking about. Its too bad for them, because this is so yummy....

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
(I use unsalted and then add 1/4 tsp salt)
6 oz choc chips (I like to use the minis)
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Beat the eggs in a medium size bowl. Add sugar and cornstarch. Whisk to blend. Add butter, vanilla, chocolate chips, and pecans. Pour mixture into a prepared 9-inch (unbaked) pie shell. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes or until puffy and lightly browned. Cool pie an serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

For the record, there was a family wrestling match/hiding game/telling on daddy thing going on while I typed this. If this post doesn't make sense, let me know and I'll clarify if necessary.

Monday, November 24, 2008

the bird

I sometimes think I'm a mean mom because I trick my kids into doing stuff they wouldn't normally choose to do. Last year I asked Grace how to make a Thanksgiving turkey because Salsie (her name for my mom) was looking at different recipes. You can click here if you are curious to see what she said. This year I told her Kara needed a new recipe. So Kara, here it is -


3 cup oil

100 pieces turkey

1 pan

2 scoops salt\pepper


Put 3 cups oil in a bowl. Then put in 100 pieces turkey in the bowl. Put them in a pan. Last put 2 scoops salt\pepper in the pan.

Cook temp:


Cook time:

80 minnets

Daddy's Girl

Nate and Grace have had a few bonding moments over the last few weeks. On the last day of the Green rotation (remember, the most dreaded one of the year), Nate came home to find a package on the front porch - his 'loops' (fancy lingo for fancy surgeon glasses).

As you can see 1. He was pretty excited about it,

2. He looks hilarious in them,

3. Grace thinks her daddy is awesome.

They've also been working and planning to create at least 5 pies for Thursday. I came home one afternoon to find a pumpkin mess in the kitchen:

So next time you see these two - know that though they may be cute, they most definitely are up to trouble!

The same goes for these guys as well!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

links to action

Today's post consists of a few unrelated links:

1. We had some "minor" excitement in our neighborhood. I'd like to point out that we really do not live in what some would deem "the 'hood," contrary to what some readers may infer. Please click here to read more. Its a link to my friend Kara's blog who once again writes about a snippet of my life. What she failed to mention at the end of her post is 1. The other exciting thing we saw out the window - a charming man carrying flowers home for his wife who just had her braces removed and 2. When eluding police one should not wear a red jacket (it is just too bright and a dead-giveaway) and one's baggy pants should be cinched up at the waist otherwise it would slow-down your "running away from the cops thing."

2. In honor of my braces being removed, I thought I'd post our favorite way to make popcorn. (Really we stole the idea from Giada deLaurentis). Take a pretty big (like 14 inches in diameter)and deep (maybe 3-4 inches) sauce pan with a tight fitting lid. Put the pan over medium heat, pour in 1/2 cup of Orville Redenbacher kernels (really don't use the store brand, it just isn't as good) and a 1/4 cup of olive oil (yes, olive oil). Put the lid on and wait until you hear some popping. Then every once in awhile carefully shimmy the pan over the heat. When the popping slows down turn off the heat. Carefully open the lid and pour the delicious contents into a very large bowl. Sprinkle with Kosher salt (I don't know why we choose that in particular except we always have it on hand and we like it). Enjoy!

3. In regards to the lasagna hunt from September, here are my final thoughts on the matter. All of the recipes that were sent were great. But in the end I went with a Martha Stewart one (crazy, yes but sometimes the truth seems crazy) that I tweaked to meet my needs. Click here for her recipe and then see below for my changes.
  • I did NOT use fresh lasagna noodles. I'm sure they would have been great, but I did not have the time, patience, nor the counter space to devote to such an endeavour. Instead I used the Barilla no-cook lasagna noodles and they were fabulous.
  • Fresh Mozzarella is good, but the regular kind works wonders. I prefer to have a ball of the regular stuff and then grate it. It has a better taste and consistency than the pre-shredded packaged stuff.
  • I added about 1/2 cup of cottage cheese to the Ricotta. It breaks up the Ricotta some, has a slightly different taste, and makes it all a bit more cheesy (which is a good thing when it comes to lasagna).
  • This is my curve ball - before beginning to make the marinara sauce, I sauteed some finely chopped onion and Chicago-style Italian sausage (sorry to be so geographic about it, but the Chicago-style Italian sausage is incredibly delish and I haven't found anything to substitute for it. I live five hours away from the source as it is; life will sure be tough when we move over 2,000 miles away from it!). The sausage should be removed from its casings and then cooked through. When its about halfway to its goal, add in the garlic. Your house will smell so tasty. Towards the end of your cook time, add enough oregano and basil to make yourself happy and throw in a pinch of rosemary and a teaspoon or two of sugar for good measure. This will help your taste buds rejoice.

4. I just want to let you know that I ate a piece of licorice with Grace yesterday and it was a joyful experience.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

brace yourself

Toffee, ooey and gooey caramel popcorn, Starburst candy, Heath bars, Skor bars, cashews, peanuts, pecan pie. Mmmmmm. All of these treats are legal now. Its only been 14 months longer than originally planned, but I am brace-free and I am loving it!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tag, I'm It

I've been tagged, twice I think. So I guess its time to give in and do it. 8 is the magic number.

8 TV Shows I love to watch:
Whose Wedding is it Anyway?
Samantha Who?
30 Rock
Design on a Dime
Throwdown with Bobby Flay (love him)
The Fourth Quarter of a BYU game when they are winning
The Rose Bowl Parade

8 Restaurants I love:
Really there are so many this will be a very limited list and not provide much insight-
Aya Sofia
Ted Drewes (totally not a restaurant, but tasty nonetheless)
The Chocolate Bar
Pueblo Solis
Lorenzo's Trattoria
Foundry Grill
Jack Stack
Lou Malnatis

8 Things that Happened Yesterday:
Acquired a Brownie Scout uniform for Grace
Made some delicious Brussels sprouts (not kidding, they were so good)
Enjoyed some Heavenly Hash (marshmallows and almonds smothered in chocolate)
Did "Beads" with Grace (and Nate too)
Watched the CMAs (love that Brad Paisley)
Folded a lot of laundry
Hung out with my friend Kara
Realized there are only 2 days (including today) left of Nate's terrible rotation

8 Things I'm Looking Forward To
Maybe getting my braces off on Tuesday (Please keep your fingers crossed for me)
Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!
Moving to San Diego (well, sometimes I'm looking forward to it)
Nate having more of a normal schedule (like we'll get to see him on a regular basis)
The four of us attending church together, every week (not just meeting up together in the pew)
Living near family
Getting my braces off (did I mention that?)
Oh, and Christmas, Christmas, Christmas!!!!

8 Things on My Wish List
Having a back yard (one that is fenced, preferably)
A couch that is not supported by cardboard and held up by cinder blocks
Nate being around more
Grace and Jimmy living in a neighborhood with lots of fun kids their age
Living in a house where cute Trick-or-Treaters come every year
New make-up brushes
An amazing trip to Hawaii
Okay, I'd like to go to Greece too

8 People I'm Tagging
If you'd like to be tagged, consider yourself tagged. If you'd rather not play, go on and watch from the sidelines.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

new perspective

For weeks and weeks I've been trying to convince Nate we should move the furniture around. For weeks and weeks he's been hoping I'll forget all about it. However, persistence has won this time and Saturday was the day. I love the outcome! I've been feeling like our house and belongings are taking me over and I've been feeling overwhelmed with our decorating style, "Student Special," but a new spin on things makes everything so much better! Sometimes looking at what you've got from a different angle makes you appreciate it a bit more.

Wishing you a Happy Tuesday,
Sarah the Content

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

in the 'hood

It is a beautiful sunny day, in th mid-70s wtih a light breeze. Jimmy and I stroll through the nearby park on our way to the polling place. Our path crosses with two fellow voters from the neighborhood. They greet us with one of them saying:
You goin' to git yo vote on?

Man, I'm going to miss St. Louis.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

tricks and treats

Grace was a Treat in her "Grace the Glitter Fairy" get-up. Jimmy decided it would be more fun to play a Trick and refuse to wear his costume. At least I conned him into wearing an orange t-shirt with "Frankie-stein" on it.

On Saturday we finally carved our pumpkin. Grace oversaw the design. Jimmy tried really hard to get ahold of the knife to carve it himself. I tried to be as carefree as possible, but found it difficult to do so. Wonder if the 2 year old holding the knife had anything to do with it?