Tuesday, February 2, 2016

SnowPie2K16 - 7

I think I've figured out my dilemma with soupy berry pies... Practice makes perfect better.

1 - fresh berries are better than frozen to guarantee consistency

2 - directions are to be followed with exactness or pies turn soupy

Maybe rule #2 only applies to people like me who don't pay attention.

Either way, this week Landry picked blueberry pie. I used fresh berries. I followed instructions. Pie was perfect.



Elaine's Blueberry Pie - Bluebonnet Cafe Cookbook

2 pie crusts
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 cups fresh blueberries
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp butter, cut into small chunks

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl mix the sugar, flour, and cinnamon together. Add the blueberries to the dry mixture, stirring gently. Spray pie pan with non-stick spray. Place the dough on the bottom of the pan. Pour the berry mixture into the pan. Sprinkle the berry mixture with lemon juice and butter chunks. Cover the mixture with the 2nd pie crust and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Make a slit in the middle for steam to escape. Bake for 35-45 minutes.

SnowPie2K16 - 6

I promise this pie was made last week. It was a little crazy up in here and I'm just getting around to posting the recipe. It was delicious, but I'm struggling with the soupiness of some of my pies. It's user error, not the recipe, so go ahead and try this one. Kids thought it was a keeper.


Quadruple Berry Pie
2 pie crusts
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp quick cooking tapioca
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) blackberries
2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) raspberries
2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) blueberries
2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) cranberries
1 tbsp milk
2 tsp sugar

Heat oven to 450. Last one prepared pee crust in 9-in pie pan.

Stir together sugar, cornstarch, tapioca,  and salt; gently stir in berries. Let stand 15 minutes (I forgot this step, probably makes a big difference).

Spoon into crust lined pan. Top pie with lattice top. Brush with milk, sprinkle with 2 tsp sugar.

Bake in oven with cookie sheet on the rack below in case it bubbles over.  Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 375 and cover crust with foil. Bake 40-45 minutes longer. Let stand for 2 hours before serving.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

SnowPie2K16 - 5

This week we finally got around to Cael's choice... Key Lime pie. He's a boy after my own heart. He wears sweaters and pants most of the year and chooses fruity pies over chocolate.

I used the Blue Bonnet Cafe cook book again this week, but exchanged their nutty, shortbread crust with a prepared Graham cracker crust. I also made a coconut whipped cream to top instead of regular whipped cream and berries.

It was delicious, but I can't wrap my head around uncooked eggs. I have a baked key lime pie recipe that I've made before that is just as good without the rush of salmonella. (Totally kidding).

KEY LIME PIE - adapted from Blue Bonnet Cafe

Crust: Graham cracker crust

Pie:
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp. grated lime zest
1/2 cup lime juice

Topping:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1-2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp coconut extract

For the pie: Combine the condensed milk and egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Mix until blended. Add the cream cheese and lime zest. Process until smooth. Add the lime juice slowly, mixing until well blended. Spoon into prepared crust. Chill, covered, for 8-10 hours, or overnight. Whip cream cream, sugar and extract until stiff. Spread over chilled pie just before serving.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

SnowPie2K16 - 4

Bonus edition...

Nope, it's not Monday. Surprise! Guess who had a little extra time and an extra assignment for pie for the husband's business partner?

We posed him the question, which pie would you like for Christmas? Cherry, peach, apple, chocolate, lemon, key lime.... No. Pecan? No, and we live in the South, for crying out loud.

His answer... Buttermilk pie. I'd never even heard of it, which means I'm not even a Southern girl yet. I've only made a couple of pecan pies. Now I've made a Buttermilk pie. I'm earning my stripes.

I found this recipe on BunsInMyOven.com. I looked at half a dozen recipes before settling on this one. It had a real crust, not a baked in one. I like crust. Pies deserve good crust.



Buns In My Oven Buttermilk Pie

2 9-inch pie crusts, unbaked
3 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
6 eggs, beaten
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange pie crusts in 2 9-inch plates.
2. Mix together the sugar, flour, and salt. Beat in the eggs, butter, buttermilk, and vanilla until well combined. Pour into the pie crusts. Bake for 1 hour or until no longer jiggly - check them after about 45 minutes. If the tops are getting too brown (mine were), cover them loosely with foil. Let cool one hour before serving. Good served cold.

**As done as mine look, the probably should have cooked another 5 minutes. It was still a little too jiggly/runny in the middle.

SnowPie2K16 - 3



For our pie this week we were back from the hospital, had a little extra time on our hands, and my daughter Savannah begged to make the Banana Cream Pie that we failed to make for Thanksgiving this year.

I'm not a pie snob, but I'm learning, and based on the abysmal performance of instant pudding the week before and the fact that homemade pudding just tastes SOOO much better we went with a "Made from scratch" banana cream pie rather than relying on Jello brand to save the day.

About a year ago we ate at a great restaurant in Marble Falls, Texas. It's right by Lake LBJ and one of our favorite vacation spots. This restaurant is known for it's pies (which are delicious) especially if you're fond of meringue (which we aren't). Their meringues are sky high and beautiful, but I like a little more substance in my pie. When we were leaving the restaurant I snagged a copy of their cookbook for my collection. It's been well worth it. You'll find a lot of the pies we're going to test are going to be from here. It's not a fluke or a coincidence, the restaurant is that good!

This banana cream pie recipe is delicious. It's vanilla pudding with bananas, so it's a better blend than banana cream pudding with bananas.




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BLUE BONNET'S BANANA CREAM PIE

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
3 cup milk
4 eggs, separated
3 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 bananas, sliced

Separate the egg yolks from the whites; reserve whites for another use. (think delicious egg white omelet with cheese, green onions, and bacon...MMM) Combine sugar, cornstarch, salt and milk. Cook mixture over medium to low heat, stirring constantly. After mixture bubbles up and thickens, cook an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Beat egg yolks slightly. Gradually stir 1 cup of the hot mixture into yolks. Return egg mixture to saucepan; bring to a gentle boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla; stir until butter is melted. Pour mixture into a 9-inch cooked pie crust lined with banana slices. Top with whipped cream.

Whipped Cream:

1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat cream at high speed with an electric mixer. As it starts to thicken, add powdered sugar gradually. Add vanilla. Beat until soft peaks form, being careful not to overbeat.

SnowPie2K16 - 2

Did I assume I'd be able to post pictures of my pies every week, on time, accompanied by great posts? No. Did you? I'm so sorry!

I haven't stopped making pies, in fact I'm ahead, an over achiever, because I made a Christmas pie for a friend today! (it's only Wednesday!)

Last week my daughter, Landry, chose a chocolate mint pie. It was the day before her back surgery, we were desperately trying to get packed and prepared to head out of town for the surgery, and I made the pie... no pictures were taken, it wasn't really something we'd revisit... at least not without some variations to the recipe. It was a triple layer pie and it didn't set up right. I'd make it with homemade pudding instead of instant and I'd definitely take more time for it to set up.

Here's the recipe if you want to try. It tasted great, it was just kind of soupy...

TRIPLE LAYERED CHOCOLATE MUD PIE

1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 OREO pie crust
1/2 cup Andes mint chips
2 cups cold milk
2 pkg. (4-serving size) chocolate instant pudding
1 tub (8 oz.) whipped topping (I used homemade) - divided

Mix chocolate chips and condensed milk until well blended. Pour into crust, sprinkle with mint chips.

Pour milk into large bowl. Add dry pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk 2 min. or until well blended. (Mixture needs to be thick). Spoon 1 1/2 cups of the pudding over mint chips in crust. Add half of the whipped topping to remaining pudding; stir with wire whisk until well blended. Spread over pudding layer in crust; top with remaining whipped topping.

Store in refrigerator.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Snowpie2k16

Hello? Anyone there?

The list of things keeping me from this blog is hilariously long, and getting longer. I've been cooking up a storm (hello 3 square meals a day...family of 6...you understand) but blogging hasn't been my priority for a LONG (really long) time. 

However, maybe a theme is what I needed to come back. A Pie theme. So, perhaps, if I can find the time, you'll be a welcome (and hopefully satisfied) guest on my journey for the next year. 

#SnowPie2k16

What?!?!

So I make pies. Every Thanksgiving that's my thing. But we don't ever have enough people to justify as many pies as I want to make/bake/take. So we usually have a pie per person, because who wants to go without their favorite pie, and we don't overlap on favorites.

Lincoln loves cherry, Mom-in-law has to have/make her pumpkin, Shane is the master of chocolate, dad-in-law loves his apple (I actually make him an apple/cranberry with a custard that's to die for), Savannah loves banana cream, the twins eat whatever they can get their hands on, and I like being adventurous (NOT mincemeat adventurous, I meant delicious adventurous). 

So....for the next year every Monday Family Night I'm making pie. We're going to try 50 (ish) different pies and really know the winners for next Thanksgiving.

Sounds like a good plan, eh?

This week's recipe hails from HERE. It was Lincoln's pick, but we wanted Cherry without being just cherry...

CHEESECAKE CHERRY PIE

TOTAL TIME: 
PREP: 
SERVES: 12

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box refrigerated ready-to-bake pie crusts
  • ½ c. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 bricks (8 oz each) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese (Neufch√Ętel)
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp. Almond Extract
  • 1 can cherry pie filling
  • White from 1 large egg, in a small bowl
  • ⅓ c. Sliced almonds

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Have ready a 9-in. pie plate
  2. Fit 1 crust into pie plate. Unroll or unfold remaining crust on a cutting board; cut in 1/2-in.-wide strips. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate
  3. Mix sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Add cream cheese; beat with mixer on medium speed until smooth. On low speed, beat in egg and extract until just blended
  4. Spread batter evenly in crust; spoon pie filling evenly over top. Beat egg white with a fork until foamy. Brush on pastry strips. Arrange about 8 strips evenly spaced across pie filing. Place 8 more strips diagonally over first strips to form a lattice (discard remaining strips). Trim and press ends to bottom crust. Brush rim with egg white; press on almonds
  5. Bake 50 to 60 minutes until crust is golden brown and cherries bubble. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm, at room temperature or cold.


Pictures will get better throughout the year. We just really wanted to jump into this one. It was great! Maybe a little less cheesecake and a little more fruit next time. It did bubble over a little, but set up well. 

One down...many to go!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Healthy(ish) Cooking

Carrot Muffins
 
 
It is that time of the year! We are making/buying fudge, cookies, candy, and all the goodness of the holiday season. Normally I have no problem with nibbling chocolate chip cookies and drinking hot cocoa topped with heavenly whipped cream while watching Miracle on 34th Street but every now and again I need a break.  In order to keep up the energy for late night caroling and even later night present wrapping I make these:
 
Carrot Muffins!
 
Okay, so they are still a muffin which isn't exactly a spinach soy smoothie but with lots of modifications over time from a recipe I got 14 years ago they are a spiced filled yummy snack that won't send you into a sugar induced coma!
 
1 cup flour
1 cup wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 scant teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1/4 cup oil
3/4 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup coconut
2 cups shredded carrot (or carrot pulp from your juicer!)
Optional -  1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 cup pineapple bits, or 1/2 cup nuts
 
Mix together flours, baking soda, baking soda, and spices. Make a well in the middle (my kids like that part)
Mix sugars, eggs, oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Add to the well and mix. Fold in coconut and carrot with a spatula.
 
Line 12 muffin tins and add 1/2 cup to each (we like big muffin tops)
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.  These muffins are going to be denser then a cupcake (not awful, I can't eat these dense but you do get the feeling that you ate something)
 
This morning we juiced the about 6-8 carrots and saved the pulp for our recipe, then juiced 5 mushy apples that were not quite bad but no one was going to eat. We made the muffins, put pecans on top half so they would be toasty, drank our juice and felt like we were ready to conquer to day!
 
 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Lunch Ideas

Yesterday I posted my most tried and true breakfast ideas. Today let's talk about lunch.

I homeschool my three youngest kids. Lunch is really easy, most days it's leftovers pulled out of the fridge. But in case you need ideas (because seriously, who doesn't...I mean there are days leftovers just won't appease the 6-9 year old crowd) here is a list of ideas.

Sandwiches - duh. I have one child who would eat PBJ every day, every meal. I have another who won't touch PB with a ten foot pole. Seriously. Sandwiches are versatile like that, no one has to have the same thing as someone else. Our family favorites are roast beef with horseradish, PBJ and turkey, cheddar and ranch with veggies. I actually prefer a pita stuffed with sprouts, avocado, cream cheese and season salt...and maybe some turkey.

Macaroni and Cheese - blasphemy, I know. However, it is one of my kids favorite. I usually try to make it from scratch with cheddar cheese and noodles, but I'm not ashamed to admit I have boxed stuff in my pantry. I'm busy, people!

Ravioli's - not only Chef Boyardee...though the kids do like that stuff (natch), I like the refrigerator kind with my homemade marinara on it.

Quesadillas - Flour or corn tortillas, melted cheese and maybe some left over chicken or beef cut up inside. Preferably served with a side of homemade tomato soup...mmm, mmm, good.

Noodle stir-fry - Cook up some noodles, add some left over veggies from the fridge, a splash of something saucy...even my pickier ones will eat this.

Homemade Hot pockets - I make biscuits, fill them with cheese, meat and veggies and bake. These actually work really well for sack lunches for the oldest too. Very versatile and delicious.

Stromboli - (portable pizza) This one is usually what I make on Saturdays for our busy household. Roll out your pizza dough into a big rectangle, cover with your favorite toppings minus the sauce and then roll up (think cinnamon rolls) bake until dough is cooked, slice and serve with or without marinara sauce. When my kids are running around to different activities this is the ideal lunch!

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Breakfast Ideas

Recently I've had a handful of friends (and acquaintances) balk at our families morning routine and the fact that I make a hot breakfast 5-6 days a week. I certainly didn't have the same opportunity growing up with a working mom and really early mornings, which may explain my love for cold cereal, but Shane and I decided it was something we definitely wanted to do with our family.

Don't get me wrong, there are definitely mornings (especially Sundays with 9:00 a.m. church) where we pull out the cold cereal, and there are mornings when (gasp) I stop at the donut store on my way home from picking Lincoln up at seminary (waaaaaay too early). But most mornings we really enjoy sitting around starting our day together at the table over something hot.

Our mornings start early, and our days end late. The early mornings certainly make it easier to make something hot before the kids head to school, but some of these ideas would be easily made beforehand and just heated up in the morning. These ideas are just the base of breakfast, I usually have either bacon or sausage, or eggs (scrambled, fried or poached) and a fruit or juice to go along with it...not usually all though, we'd weigh 500 pounds and that'd be overkill.

Pancakes/waffles - I make homemade buttermilk pancakes that are amazing (it's not me, it's the recipe) but we make variations like cornmeal, wheat, blueberry, and chocolate chip pancakes/waffles to shake things up a bit.

Crepes - typically this is NOT accomplished on a school morning, it's way too time consuming for me before eating at 7, but it's the kids favorite, so we work them in on the weekends a lot!

German pancakes (also known as dutch babies or puff pancakes) - These are a close second for the most requested breakfast at our house. I've taken to making them in muffin tins instead of the typical 9x13 baking dish because they are sooo much easier to serve that way.

French toast - Again, I shake things up every so often with different kinds of breads, or adding different spices/extracts in with the eggs. My favorite? Sliced homemade French bread with vanilla and orange juice in with the eggs...so delicious!

Cinnamon rolls - let me clarify...this is basically a cheat day for me. I totally buy the refrigerated cinnamon rolls 95% of the time, because seriously, "ain't nobody got time for that"...except when I really want to enjoy them and then we make them from scratch...on a weekend...for brunch.

Biscuits and gravy - Hello, I live in the South. People here live for their biscuits and white sausage gravy. I'm just learning to love the stuff. It helps when I use my Texas shaped biscuit cutter...

Monkey bread - you know that lovely cinnamon-sugar-y goodness? Delightful with some scrambled eggs and juice...

Gorilla bread - Monkey breads cousin...on steroids. And oh, my gosh, It's delicious. Basically it's monkey bread but instead of just quartering the refrigerator rolls you don't cut them, but roll up cream cheese inside... it's worth the calories and time.

Omelets - I love these...the kids (namely one of them) can't stand eggs so we rarely do these, but they are very versatile and easy, and healthier than Gorilla bread.

Hashbrown Frittata - Hashbrowns, veggies, eggs and cheese baked in my cast iron pan...really good with salsa...

Quiche - (see omelets) I love quiche, I have some kids that HATE it. It's a rarity when I'm sick of little attitudes...or it's my birthday.

Breakfast burritos - Lincoln's favorite. Cook up some hashbrowns, add some scrambled eggs, some sausage or bacon, warm tortillas and shredded cheese. And salsa.

Baked Oatmeal - I swear by Our Best Bites. They are amazing and this recipe does not disappoint. I've posted it on this blog before and it's worthy of revisiting. Nothing is better on a cold morning. Plus it has grain, eggs, fruit and dairy...what?

Other hot cereals - yes, I'm lumping them all together. Oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, Grits, Germade, and hot Quinoa...all good for cold mornings. All equally hated by one of my kids...

Muffins - I have a great recipe for bran muffins that keeps in the fridge for months. I can bake enough for breakfast and throw it back into the fridge for another day. I usually serve muffins with fruit and yogurt.

Bagel sandwiches (or Muffin Sandwiches - but I have a child who will not eat English Muffins...) - Warm up bagels in oven, layer with cheese, fried egg, and bacon/sausage/turkey/etc. Very easy and filling.

Sausage in a blanket - Roll link of sausage in crescent rolls. Bake. Dip in honey mustard/maple syrup mixture...it's delightful.

Those are my go to breakfast ideas. I decide before I go to bed what I'm going to make so I don't have to stand around my pantry for 15 minutes deciding in the morning when I'm dead tired.

Oh, and my favorite on-the-go breakfast when I'm on the run? Plain yogurt and homemade granola, It's the best!