Monday, December 30, 2013

Ranch Party Mix

  No comments    

Ranch Party Mix Here it is- I call it the mix. The best and easiest mix for any party or get-together. It is borderline addictive and honestly it is embarrassing how EASY it is. People always ask what’s in it. Well here it is. 4 ingredients. Toss together. No baking. I almost can’t believe how delicious it is. I blame the white cheddar popcorn. If you’re having company for New Year’s, whip this together. We had company on Christmas and couldn’t stop eating this. Enjoy!

Ranch Party Mix:

  • 1/2 bag white cheddar popcorn
  • 1/3 bag Cheez-itz
  • 1/3 bag pretzels (any kind, I like sticks)
  • 1/2 packet ranch powder
Ranch Party Mix

Monday, December 23, 2013

Maple Syrup Pecan Pie

  No comments    
Maple Syrup Pecan Pie

My best pretend internet friends the Pioneer Woman & Ina Garten never fail me. I combined their approaches to pecan pie using Pioneer Woman’s recipe with the idea to add maple from Ina Garten. This pecan pie was amazing with a hint of maple added to the recipe! The perfect Holiday treat (which as you can tell I’ve been making way too many of lately. Help!). But really, I want to hang out with both of these amazingly talented ladies.

Here is the link to Ina Garten’s Maple Pecan Pie and here (as well as below) is Pioneer Woman’s Pecan Pie:

    • 1 whole Unbaked Pie Crust (I used my best homemade pie crust here)
    • 1 cup White Sugar
    • 3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
    • 1 cup Corn Syrup 7/8 c. corn syrup
    • 1/8 c. maple syrup
    • 3/4 teaspoons Vanilla
    • 1/3 cup Melted Butter (salted)
    • 3 whole Eggs, Beaten
    • 1 cup (heaping) Chopped Pecans

I added the maple syrup and kept the pecans whole because Mitch loves it that way, but other than that followed the recipe! It did take a little longer to cook than she said. Just take it out once it’s mostly set (not too jiggly).

Maple Syrup Pecan PieRecipe from Pioneer Woman: First make pie crusts. Roll out into pie pan. Mix sugar, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, maple syrup, butter, eggs, and vanilla together in a bowl.

Pour chopped pecans in the bottom of the unbaked pie shell.

Pour syrup mixture over the top. Cover top and crust lightly/gently with foil. Bake pie at 350º for 30 minutes. Remove foil, then continue baking for 20 minutes, being careful not to burn the crust or pecans.

NOTE: PIE SHOULD NOT BE OVERLY JIGGLY WHEN YOU REMOVE IT FROM THE OVEN. If it shakes a lot, cover with foil and bake for an additional 20 minute or until set. Required baking time seems to vary widely with this recipe. Sometimes it takes 50 minutes; sometimes it takes 75!

Allow to cool for several hours or overnight. Serve in thin slivers.Maple Syrup Pecan Pie

Saturday, December 21, 2013

6 Minute Microwave Caramels

  No comments    
6 Minute Microwave Caramels

The men in my husband’s family love caramel. Caramels, caramel flavor, dulce de leche, turtles, Rolos, Riesens, basically anything with caramel and my husband is no exception. For years his aunt and grandma have made caramels for their family. When we were first married his grandma showed me how to make all her candies (including pecan roll which is amazing!) including caramels. They were of course delicious but took a lot of work, a thermometer, testing the caramel for that soft ball stage of cooking. For a couple years I made these for our family and friends but 2 years ago a friend told me about microwave caramels. And my life was quickly changed (my life isn’t that exciting ;). These caramels taste exactly like Mitch’s grandmas, have the same ingredients, but are cooked in the microwave.  SIX minutes. Six! For the past couple Christmases I’ve made these caramels instead. And we love them! Also I can make 5 batches in an hour and have enough caramels for us and friends. It is a great thing.


  • 1/4 c. butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/2 c. white sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. light corn syrup
  • 1/2 c. sweetened condensed milk
  • Cooking spray
  • Wax paper for wrapping

Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Set aside. Pour all ingredients in a bowl. Microwave for 6 total minutes, but remove every 2 minutes to stir. Mixture should be bubbling when you remove it. Quickly pour into prepared pan and spread evenly. Let cool. Cut into rectangles and wrap in wax paper (I cut out a bunch of wax paper rectangles). Keep yourself from eating too many! *I have doubled it and cooked for 8 minutes, stirring at every 2 minutes and they turned out the same!6 Minute Microwave Caramels6 Minute Microwave Caramels

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Candy Cane Fudge

  No comments    

Easy Candy Cane Fudge

Every year I make two candy recipes for Christmas—easy easy caramels and candy cane fudge. I’m getting the caramel recipe ready now to post as well. I can’t even tell you how easy this fudge is compared to most traditional recipes where you have to boil milk and mess with a candy thermometer and such. This recipe is from Kraft of all places and only gives you a time to cook the fudge rather than a temperature so you don’t need any special tools. My sister introduced me to this fudge about 7 years ago and I’ve been making it every year since! I added the crushed candy canes on top each year for Christmas and if you love peppermint you can even add a little peppermint extract to the fudge right before it cools. I love how buttery and chocolately it is. Also that it was so easy my kids helped me make it. They mixed it and poured in all the ingredients for me. It’s a perfect treat to make for neighbors or if you’re having company for Christmas, make this a day or two before. It keeps well!

Candy Cane Fudge (adapted from Kraft’s Fantasy Fudge recipe here):

  • 3 c. sugar
  • 3/4 c. butter
  • 1 - 5 oz. can of evaporated milk
  • 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (7 oz) jar of marshmallow creme
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • optional: 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract
  • 1/2 package of candy canes, crushed
  • *Note if you don’t add candy canes, it is delicious with a cup of chopped walnuts

Spray a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray. Bring sugar, butter and evaporated milk to full rolling boil in 3-qt. saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook 4 min, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Add chocolate and marshmallow creme; stir until melted. Add nuts and vanilla (and/or peppermint extract); mix well. Pour into prepared pan; spread to cover bottom of pan. Immediately top with crushed candy canes before fudge starts to set. Cool completely. Cut into squares.Easy Candy Cane FudgeEasy Candy Cane Fudge

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Coconut Cream Pie


Coconut Milk Coconut Cream Pie

I love coconut and I love cream pies. Oddly a lot of coconut cream pie recipes I found only had shredded coconut in them or on top, but none in the custard. I love Mel’s Kitchen Cafe and I found this recipe on her site. And I didn’t change anything! It was amazing! There is coconut milk and coconut extract in the custard. Once I saw that I thought it would be great. I opted for he option of no coconut shreds in the custard though you can certainly do that if you’d like, I just prefer a creamy texture. But the toasted coconut on top really is delicious - toasting it makes it so sweet.

Here is the link to the recipe and it’s pasted below:

    Coconut Cream Pie:

  • 1 can coconut milk (can be found in the Asian foods section)
  • Half-and-half or heavy cream (enough to add to the coconut milk to make 3 cups)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flaked coconut, toasted*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 recipe graham cracker crust (below) or traditional pie crust
  • Fresh Whipped Cream, lightly sweetened

    Graham Cracker Crust:

  • 12 whole rectangular graham crackers
  • 1 stick butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 3 tablespoons sugar


  1. For the pie: In a medium saucepan, combine half and half, coconut milk, egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Mixture will become very thick. Remove from heat, and stir in coconut extract and the vanilla extract (at this point you can also stir in 3/4 cup of the toasted coconut, although, I prefer to use it all to garnish the top of the pie). Pour the custard into the baked and cooled pie shell and chill 2-4 hours or until firm. Top with whipped cream and the toasted coconut.
  2. For the crust: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Finely crush graham crackers in a food processor or in a ziploc bag with a rolling pin. Pour crumbs into a bowl and add sugar, stirring to combine. Drizzle butter over the top and mix with a fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened.Press the crumbs evenly in the bottom and up the sides of a 9- or 10-inch pie plate. Bake for 13-15 minutes until the crust is just barely beginning to brown. Remove from oven and cool completely before filling.


*To toast coconut, spread coconut on rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake at 325 degrees, tossing often, until lightly toasted, about 12-15 minutes.

Coconut Milk Coconut Cream Pie   Coconut Milk Coconut Cream Pie

Monday, December 16, 2013

Pioneer Woman’s Chipotle Chicken Chili

  No comments    
categories: , , ,
Chipotle Chicken Chili
You guys. Wow wow wow. I have never made a red chili with chicken before. It’s always white chili with chicken or red chili with ground beef. But honestly. I cannot stop thinking about this chili! Please add it to your winter meal menu. It’s healthy, it’s spicy, the chicken is so flavorful and the chipotles in adobo sauce? Unreal. Can’t believe I’ve never used them before. I’ve started using them in lots of recipes to spice things up.
Here is the original recipe link- Pioneer Woman Chipotle Chicken Recipe (with my notes italicized):
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Onion, Diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut Into A Large Dice
  • 1 bottle (12 Ounce Bottle) Good Beer  I used chicken broth
  • 1 can (14 Ounce Can) Diced Tomatoes
  • 3 whole Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce, Minced (use Less If Desired-Use all 3! These add so much flavor)
  • 1 can (14 Ounce Can) Pinto Beans, Drained And Rinsed
  • 1 can (14 Ounce Can) Black Beans, Drained And Rinsed
  • 1 can (14-ounce Can) Kidney Beans, Drained And Rinsed We don’t love kidney beans and I didn’t have any black beans so I substituted 2 cans of chili beans. They are smaller and have lots of spicy chili flavoring.
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
  • 1/4 cup Masa Harina
  • 1 Lime, Juiced
  • Sour Cream, For Serving
  • Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese, For Serving
  • Cilantro, For Serving
  • Lime Wedges For Serving
  • I served with crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheese, lettuce, and cilantro. Just use any toppings you’d like!
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat then add the onions and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until onions soften. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned. Add 3/4 of the beer, reserving the rest, then cook for a couple of minutes to reduce.
Add the tomatoes, chipotles, beans, chili powder, cumin and salt. Stir to combine, then cover the pot and cook for 1 hour. I simmered in the crock-pot.
Combine the masa harina with the rest of the broth and stir to make a paste. Add this into the chili, along with the lime juice. Stir and cook for 10 more minutes or until thick. Chipotle Chicken ChiliChipotle Chicken ChiliChipotle Chicken Chili    

Friday, December 13, 2013

Breakfast Tostadas

  No comments    
categories: ,
Breakfast Tostada
Whenever I need an easy meal that doesn’t seem too bleh like sandwiches or worse chicken nuggets, I make up some breakfast for dinner. Breakfast meals always seem like so much less work than dinners. When we lived in Utah we loved the breakfast burritos from Beto’s … this is our rendition of that delicious meal.
  • 1 large potato (any kind) or two small potatoes, cleaned and diced into thin hash strips
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • bacon, as much as you’d like, cooked in the oven as I talk about here
  • Oil for cooking
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Corn tortillas
  • Garnish with: shredded cheese, hot sauce, salsa
Before you cook the potatoes, bacon and eggs, shred your cheese and get your salsa and/or hot sauce out. The in a skillet warm 2 tbsp. of oil with the diced peppers and onions. Cook until soft. Once soft add 2-3 tsp. of hot sauce. Stir and set aside, covered. If you haven’t cooked the bacon yet you can start it now. It takes about 15 minutes.
Throw diced potatoes on a non-stick skillet coated with a little oil, over medium high heat. Don’t flip until the bottoms are golden brown. You don’t want to flip or mess with them too much. Also I think the non-stick pan is essential for these. When we were first married I tried it with a stainless steel pan and it was a starchy, sticky mess. I always use my non-stick griddle for cooking potatoes now. Once one side is brown flip over, breaking up clumps. Add salt and pepper while cooking. Once cooked turn heat off and let them stay warm on pan.
Whisk eggs with a small amount of water to make them fluffy. Pour them into a pan coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Cook until scrambled.
Assemble tostada with corn tortilla (we like to use 2!) potatoes, eggs, bacon, onion/pepper mixture, cheese, and then more salsa or hot sauce. It is so good with hot sauce! Or if you prefer a little less sizzle salsa tastes great too. Really fresh. Enjoy! Breakfast Tostada Breakfast Tostada

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Homemade French Bread

  No comments    
categories: , ,
The Best Homemade French Bread
I’ve tried a lot of french bread recipes but I’ve never found one that I LOVED until this one. This one had the perfect crusty exterior but the bread inside was actually soft. Try this next time you need some bread with a meal. It makes 2 large loaves and the leftovers are perfect for making some toasted sandwiches the next night for dinner.
Recipe from A Bountiful Kitchen:
  • 2 Tablespoons dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (yes tablespoon) salt
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 cups flour, divided
  • 1 egg, beaten- for glazing bread
  • Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. In a separate large bowl combine hot water, sugar, salt, oil and 3 cups of the flour. Stir well. Add the yeast mixture to the hot water-flour mixture. Mix together with large wooden spoon or paddle attachment. Add the remaining 3 cups of flour a cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. After all of the flour is added, let sit for 10 minutes, Stir. Repeat 5 times.
    Divide the dough in half. Roll in a 9x12 rectangle on a floured surface. Roll the dough up like a jelly roll (long way). Place the dough on a greased baking pan (jelly roll pan), with the seam side down. Both loaves fit on one pan. Score the bread across the top 3 or 4 times, and brush with beaten egg. Let rise for 30 minutes in warm place. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes in lower half of oven, until golden brown.
    Yield 2 large loaves french bread.
    This was a little different process than most breads I’d made. I actually used the paddle attachment on my KitchenAid which I’d never done for bread. Instead of using that 5 times I just kneaded by hand 5 times, and then let it rise again. This give it that airy french bread texture.

The Best Homemade French Bread   
The Best Homemade French BreadThe Best Homemade French Bread

Friday, December 6, 2013

Simple Caprese Tossed Salad with Balsamic Reduction

  No comments    

Simple Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction

This is one of our favorite salads. It’s just your basic caprese salad but I think making a sweetened balsamic glaze for the top really makes the favors better. It’s a little bit sweet with that kick from the vinegar at the end. Next time you make any kind of caprese dish try this balsamic reduction! I also use it for my caprese pasta salad.


  • 1 large bag of spinach, washed
  • 1 lb. of fresh mozzarella, diced
  • 2 c. fresh cherry tomatoes, diced in halves
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh basil, chopped thin
  • 1 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 c. white sugar

First I like to make the glaze and then let it have time to cool before making the salad. You should probably make the glaze an hour or so before you serve the salad so it’s room temperature for serving. In a bowl combine 1 c. balsamic vinegar and 1/2 c. sugar. Whisk together. Microwave on high for approximately 2-3 minutes keeping an eye on it the whole time. It will bubble up high so you don’t want it to overflow. Once it’s bubbled for 30 seconds it should be incorporated. Remove to make sure there are no sugar granules remaining. Set aside to cool.Simple Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction If you don’t have a microwave you can make this on the stove, but you have to be very careful not to burn the sugar! When we didn’t have a microwave I did it all the time, but you must keep stirring it! Pour mixture into a saucepan over medium low heat. Whisk constantly while it’s warming, wait for it to boil for 1 minute, and then remove from stove.

Mix all other ingredients to assemble salad. Wait to pour the glaze on until right before eating. Toss and serve!Simple Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Steak Carnitas Tacos

  No comments    
Slow Cooker Steak Carnitas Tacos

I love having steak with mexican food but it’s hard to have on a day when you need to prep dinner in the morning or afternoon to be ready in the evening. Most steaks require pan searing right before dinertime and usually that’s the craziest time of my day! I love throwing some meat, veggies, and spices in the crock pot in the morning, smelling their delicious aroma all day, and having dinner ready right at 5:30. Not all days go that well but the best ones do!

I found a recipe online for steak carnitas meat in the slow cooker and altered it slightly. I cooked it the way the recipe called for but it just wasn’t spicy enough—probably because I didn’t have a jalapeno on hand so I use a green anaheim chile which has less kick. It had a great aroma but needed something more. I love spicy and I love lots of Mexican seasonings, so I added some extra (as noted below). Then I served with a homemade pico, some shredded cabbage drenched in lime juice, and corn tortillas. It was simple and delicious!

Steak Carnitas, Original Recipe from Bless this Mess Please - my notes or changes in italics:

  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 lbs flank steak
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • jalapeno, seeded and chopped (I didn’t have this so added 2 tsp of hot sauce instead of the jalapeno)
  • 2 c. water
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • garlic salt (the recipe didn’t call for more but it still needed more salt to me so I added about 2 tsp. more, to taste)Slow Cooker Steak Carnitas Tacos

Homemade Pico de Gallo

  • 3-4 tomatoes on the vine or very ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion diced very thin
  • cilantro to taste
  • chili powder to taste
  • garlic salt to taste
  • Lime Shredded Cabbage

  • 1/2 head of green (or red) cabbage, diced into very thin strands
  • Juice of 2-3 limes
  • Place all ingredients in the top section, for carnitas, in slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 5-7 hours. I think the low setting is important so the meat isn’t tough. This made my meat so tender and it shredded right apart. I also added some water to the bottom of the crock pot to keep the steak from getting dry. Once done and shredded it ended up being the perfect consistency for shredded taco meat with a flavorful sauce. Once cooked shred and leave on warm setting.

    For the pico, dice all ingredients very small. Mix together and chill before serving. For cabbage chop and throw into bowl. Squeeze lime juice over and mix together. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving. The lime flavor with the sweet and spicy steak is so good!

    Warm corn tortillas either in a skillet or in the microwave, then serve with meat, shredded cabbage, and homemade pico. The flavor of the corn tortillas is so good with all the other simple ingredients. 

    Slow Cooker Steak Carnitas Tacos

    Wednesday, November 27, 2013

    Homemade Blackberry Pie {with the Best Homemade Pie Crust}

    Homemade Blackberry Pie with the Best Homemade Pie Crust

    I usually have a queue of about 7-10 days worth of food waiting to post on this blog, so even though I made this yesterday I had to post this recipe today in case anyone needs a perfect, fail proof homemade pie crust for Thanksgiving tomorrow! I used a combination of 2 pie crust recipes and it created such a thick, flaky , easy to roll and use crust, I have to share it. I think shortening is the best substance for a flaky crust but alone it doesn’t taste that great so you need a little butter to give it a better flavor. You can see below there is also a suggestion to use butter flavored shortening, if you have that on hand. I followed Paula Deen’s blackberry pie filling recipe for the insides. And you know, I think I created mine and my husband’s new favorite pie! He was raving about it all night.

    Every time we visit my family in Seattle we head to my parents’ place on Whidbey Island and eat at the best little cafe called Whidbey Pies. These pies are the kind you dream about. They have every berry pie imaginable and they’re just perfect. Fresh farm berries and homemade crusts. Mitch and I love berry pies so for our pie night with friends I had to make one. Substitute any berries you’d like! The lemon zest is the key to bringing a great aroma and really making the flavor of the fruit.

    The Perfect Pie Crust (adapted from A Bountiful Kitchen’s pie crust and Jenny Evans’ pie crust) – my notes or changes in italics:

    • 2 c. flour
    • 1/4 c. butter (chilled, chopped into cubes)
    • 3/4 c. shortening (chilled. chopped into cubes)
    • 1/2 c. cold cold ice water
    • (egg wash for cooking (1 egg + 1 tbsp. water))
    • Mix flour and salt. Cut in butter and shortening with pastry blender or knives. Add water. Stir with fork until flour is absorbed and ball forms. (*Here I formed it into a ball, put it in saran wrap and chilled it in the freezer for about 10 minutes (or you can chill it longer in the fridge if you want to make it a couple hours or a day beforehand.) Dough is much easier to roll and handle when chilled).

      Flour surface and rolling pin well. Flatten dough with hand to make round pancake shape. Roll out from center to about 1/8” thickness (I made mine a bit thicker—I love a thick pie crust). Fold in half, lift onto pie plate. Open and shape to pan. Crimp edges. Cut off excess dough. If baking for single crust pie needing baked shell, bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes, lined with parchment paper and filled with dry beans so the crust retains its shape.

      The more you handle the dough the less flaky it will be. Great tips below from A Bountiful Kitchen-she always has the best recipes!
      -Dough will be easier to handle if chilled for an hour or so.
      -You can cut a circle shape in the dough to make it easier to fit into the pie plate.
      -Try rolling the dough around the rolling pin and then unrolling right onto the plate.
      -Add as little flour as possible to get light crust (while rolling out)
      -Try ½ regular and ½ butter flavor Crisco.
      -Some people like to “cut” the flour in with their fingers.
      -Don’t cut the flour and shortening too much, the pieces of shortening are what make the crust flaky.
      -When making a single crust pie, place dry beans or macaroni into the bottom of the crust to weight the crust and keep it from puffing up.
      -If your pie is getting too brown on the edges, take a piece of foil, fold in half to make a square then cut a half circle out of the middle. Unfold and put over your pie.
      -Brush beaten egg white over your pie dough before filling with pumpkin to avoid soggy crust.Homemade Blackberry Pie with the Best Homemade Pie Crust

    Blackberry Pie Filling (adapted from Paula Deen’s recipe here):

    • 6 7 cups blackberries (I added 1 extra cup of blackberries—I wanted the berries to be really full in the pie, and it was the perfect amount)
    • 1 1/4 cup sugar
    • 3 4 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
    • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
    • 2 batches homemade pie crust (above) or 2 disks of store-bought pie crust (the store-bought ones have a great consistency but they’re so thin. Try to make it if you can—it’s really easy!)
    • (As noted above—egg wash for top: 1 large egg + 1 tbsp. water)
    • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F with a baking sheet on the middle rack. In a large bowl, toss the blackberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and lemon zest. Let stand, mixing and coarsely mashing occasionally, 20 minutes.
      Fit one round of dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim the edges, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Refrigerate while you continue. Cut the remaining piece of dough into approximately eleven 11/4-inch-wide strips.
      Spoon the blackberry mixture into the pie shell. Arrange the dough strips in a lattice pattern on top of the filling and trim the strips close to the edge of the pan; roll up and crimp the edge. Lightly beat the egg with 1 tablespoon water and brush on the top and edge of the pie.
      Place the pie on the hot baking sheet in the oven and bake until the filling is bubbling, 45 minutes to 1 hour (Mine took about 1/5 hrs. to get the bottom all the way cooked. I have a clear glass pie pan so I would look under to check if the bottom was cooked—after 1 hr of cooking loosely place a piece of aluminum foil on top of the pie so it doesn’t get too brown. Then the rest will keep cooking so the bottom is done). Let the pie cool before serving.

      I think pies are best about 4-5 hours after cooking. This one only had about 2-3 hours after cooking and it was still a little warm and gooey. This morning the texture was much thicker. Try to make it early if you can!Homemade Blackberry Pie with the Best Homemade Pie Crust   Just before going in the oven:
      Homemade Blackberry Pie with the Best Homemade Pie Crust

      In the oven, about to put the foil over the top:Homemade Blackberry Pie with the Best Homemade Pie Crust  Homemade Blackberry Pie with the Best Homemade Pie Crust

    Homemade Blackberry Pie with the Best Homemade Pie CrustHomemade Blackberry Pie with the Best Homemade Pie Crust

    Homemade Blackberry Pie with the Best Homemade Pie Crust

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013

    Salted Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats


    Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats There are no words for these. Since a friend told me about the Smitten Kitchen recipe, I’ve made them about 7 times in the past 2 weeks. Just make them. Your family (and you) will eat the entire pan. Or bring them to friends and save 1 for yourself. Just get ready for double the butter of normal rice krispie treats.

    The original recipe from Smitten Kitchen here, shown below with a couple of my notes.


    • 1 stick unsalted butter
    • 1 10-ounce bag marshmallows
    • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
    • 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal (about half a 12-ounce box) *Just a note… I’ve tried this with Kellog’s brand Rice Krispie cereal and generic brand and the Kellogg’s brand really is better. I hate to say it because I almost always buy generic, but trust me. The Krispies are thicker and don’t get as overpowered from all the butter ;)
    • Cooking spray for pan

    Butter (or coat with non-stick spray) an 8-inch square cake pan with 2-inch sides.

    In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Don’t take your eyes off the pot as while you may be impatient for it to start browning, the period between the time the butter begins to take on color and the point where it burns is often less than a minute. (A light brown color with some darker brown bits on the bottom.)

    As soon as the butter takes on a nutty color, turn the heat off and stir in the marshmallows. The residual heat from the melted butter should be enough to melt them, but if it is not, turn it back on low until the marshmallows are smooth.

    Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the salt and cereal together. Quickly spread into prepared pan. I liked to use a piece of waxed or parchment paper (*I just saved the wrapper from the stick of butter, sprayed it with cooking spray and used that to press it firmly into the pan. Pressed firmly they taste better!), that I’ve sprayed with oil to press it firmly and evenly into the edges and corners, though a silicon spatula works almost as well.Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispie TreatsSalted Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats

    Monday, November 25, 2013

    Chicken Chow Mein

      No comments    

    Chicken Chow MeinI love a good Asian stir fry. When I saw this recipe floating around for easy chow mein I had to try it. We had it last week and devoured it. Even the small amount of leftovers was gone the next day. Such a great dinner and so good leftover too. The secret is chow mein noodles which you can find at almost any grocery store in their Asian foods section. They are so thick and eggy. The recipe can be found here.


    • 1 Tbl oil
    • 2 cups shredded cabbage
    • 1 cup shredded carrots
    • 1/2 bunch sliced green onions
    • 1 lb fresh steamed thin chow mein noodles*
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 1/4 cup sesame oil
    • 1/4 cup lo mein sauce (I substituted with Hoisin sauce)
    • *I also added 1 lb. of cooked chicken breast

    In a large colander, run (scalding) hot water through the steamed chow mein for about 30 seconds, (I did it about a minute until they were really soft) separating the noodles and removing the excess flour. Set aside. In large wok or pan, heat oil and add green onions, cabbage and carrots. Stir fry for about 2-4 minutes, or until the cabbage is wilted. Add the chow mein noodles and 1/2 cup of chicken broth. Cook stirring and tossing constantly for about 30 seconds and then add the remaining chicken broth. Cook for another minute or so or until all the liquid is dissolved.

    Add the remaining ingredients, soy sauce, sesame oil and lo mein sauce, and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.

    Chicken Chow Mein Chicken Chow Mein

    Thursday, November 21, 2013

    3 Ingredient Coconut Milk Ice Cream (Dairy Free, Egg Free)

    Coconut Milk Ice CreamThis homemade ice cream is so easy you’ll almost wonder why you’ve ever made it another way! And honestly it is the thickest, creamiest, best consistency of any homemade ice cream. Most homemade ice creams freeze too fast so they can end up icy, but the coconut milk is so thick and creamy the texture holds up to freezing really well. Even after days in the freezer it’s creamy and delicious. And this is healthy too! No dairy, no eggs.
    I made it recently for a friend who can’t have dairy while nursing. She hadn’t had ice cream in ages! This is the best replacement. Here’s how to make it:
    • 2 cans coconut milk
    • 1 3/4 c. sugar (can substitute agave nectar too)
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    Shake up coconut milk cans, then open and pour into large bowl. Whisk in vanilla and sugar. Whisk until smooth and then pour into ice cream maker for 20-25 minutes.
    Easy. Delicious. Healthy. What more could you ask for in a dessert?Coconut Milk Ice Cream

    Wednesday, November 20, 2013

    Roasted Orange Rosemary Turkey

      No comments    

    Orange Rosemary TurkeyIn preparation for Thanksgiving I thought I’d post my favorite roasted turkey recipe—orange rosemary roasted turkey. I’ve made it 4 years now for Thanksgiving and it always turns out delicious! I have the gobs of butter rubbed on the skin to thank for that… oh and it smells amazing! The onions and oranges along with the rosemary roasting all day are heavenly. Also this is EASY. Honestly I think making turkey is the easiest part of Thanksgiving… just get it in and let it cook all day. You just need to get your hands a little dirty first ;)


    • 1 whole turkey (or a chicken works too) – any weight (cooking time will depend on weight)
    • 1 stick of butter, very soft
    • 4 tbsp. rosemary, chopped to release aroma
    • 2 c. olive oil
    • 2 whole onions
    • 3 large oranges (also zest of these oranges)
    • salt and pepper
    • water
    • tools: roasting pan, lots of paper towels, basting tube, meat thermometer, string for tying legs (I use dental floss!)

    I start by chopping and measuring everything, before I’ve even touched the turkey—this helps keep your kitchen and hands as clean as possible.

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Get out your roasting pan.
    2. First zest the skin on all of the oranges. I like lots of orange zest but do as much as you’d like and toss it into a medium sized bowl. Rough chop the onions and oranges (leave skin on oranges) into chunks. Dump into the bowl and add olive oil, rosemary, and a couple pinches of salt and pepper (you pretty much cannot have too much salt on the turkey skin!). Mix oranges and onions to completely coat with oil and zest and rosemary. Set aside.
    3. Now it’s time to prep the turkey. Get out three plastic grocery bags. One will go over your hand to pull out the turkey innards, and the other two layer together and set next to the sink. This is where you’ll put all the trash.
    4. Next to your sink place the extra plastic sack, paper towels, roasting pan, string, bowl with oranges and onions, and butter.
    5. Clean out both sides of your sink. Put the trash bag sacks on one side of the sink. The turkey will go in the other. Get your turkey out of the refrigerator and cut off the packaging and stick the packaging in the trash bag in the sink. Put the extra plastic bag over your hand, stick your hand into the turkey and pull out the innards—sometimes they are in a bag and sometimes they are loose. Pull your hand out, pull the bag over them and toss them into the trash sack. Now turn on cold water and rinse off the turkey. You’ll need to fill the inside with water too and turn it upside down to get all the blood off.
    6. Next look to see if there is a neck still attached at the top of the turkey. If so you need to snap it off and throw it in the trash sack. Give it a good rinsing and then pat it dry with paper towels and set it in the roasting pan.
    7. Take the oranges and onions and stuff as many as you can into the cavity of the bird. Reserve the seasoned oil in the bowl. You’ll need this for coating the turkey later. Any extra oranges and onions set in the bottom of the roasting pan. These make delicious gravy drippings.
    8. Next grab a knife and just above the cavity opening where you stuffed it, pull the skin up and cut it slightly so you can slide your hand under the skin, onto the chicken breast. Grab a chunk of the softened butter with your hands and rub it all over the chicken breast (under the skin). Rub butter underneath all the skin on top and then rub butter on the outside of the skin too.
    9. Grab the remaining olive oil from the orange bowl and rub the olive oil/rosemary mixture all over the turkey. Rub in on the top, bottom, and sides too.
    10. Grab your string and tie the legs together as tightly as you can to hold the shape of the turkey and keep it together.
    11. Place roasting pan in the oven and use the chart below to determine cook time based on weight of turkey. Once golden brown, baste occasionally to keep juicy.

    (From These times are based on placing the whole turkey on a rack in a roasting pan, and into a preheated 350 degree F (175 degrees C) oven.

    Cook the turkey until the skin is a light golden color, and then cover loosely with a foil tent. During the last 45 minutes of baking, remove the foil tent to brown the skin. Basting is not necessary, but will promote even browning. The only true test for doneness is the temperature of the meat, not the color of the skin.

    • The turkey is done when the thigh meat reaches an internal temperature of165 degrees F. To get an accurate reading, be sure that your thermometer is not touching the bone.
    • If your turkey has been stuffed, it is important to check the temperature of the dressing; it should be 165 degrees F (75 degrees C).
    • When the turkey is done, remove from the oven and allow to stand for 20-30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, and makes for easier carving.

    image    IMG_0328 IMG_0330