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Friday, February 20, 2015

Pie + Cookies = Pie Cookies

I LOVE to cook. Give me a pantry, and pots and pans, and I will concoct a meal without much inspiration or help. In fact, give me recipe to follow and I'll probably make adjustments along the way. I think of cooking as having fun and using creativity. Every once in a while something goes wrong, but never so wrong it can't be eaten. (knocking on wood)

But baking is a whole other matter. In high school I had two very not so great baking incidences which convinced me for a good long while that I could not bake. Not anything less than I absolutely did not have the ability to bake.

Now it's 10+ years later, I've rescued myself from box mixes as the only option, and I am getting my feet wet in baking. I love making cornbread and cookies. Getting better with cakes and other breads, but I had yet to try pie.

I found a recipe for pie cookies and was intrigued enough to make the decision to stretch a little. Now this recipe calls for pre-made pie crust (2 crusts - one for top and one for bottom) and I could have gone that route, but my mom makes amazing pie crusts and I know how much better from scratch can taste.

So I hunted up a pie crust recipe, called my mom for some advice, and then promptly got cold feet and waited 3 days before diving into the project. When I finally made myself stop bowing to the fear, this is what came out:

Basically mini pies the size and ease of eating as cookies.

And of course I couldn't follow the recipe - I did not go for lemonade pie cookies, I made chocolate and blueberry. The blueberry turned out much better than the chocolate.

Also, the recipe says that with the store bought pie crusts you get about 13 cookies. But if I was going to do all that work, I was gonna get more than 13 cookies. So I quadrupled the crust recipe so I could make two different flavors.

Tips (what I learned making this): DO NOT EVER quadruple a pie crust recipe and try to make it all in one bowl. It does not work well. It throws your water requirements off, takes forever to cut in your fats, and it gets so too much to work with.
roll out the dough way thinner than a normal pie crust thickness or the cookies take too long to bake and there is way more dough to filling ratio that is yummy.

Tips from my mom:
Always use a metal mixing bowl and put it in the fridge to get nice and cold before you use it.
Put your rolling pin in the fridge too
Don't leave the dough in the fridge for too long before rolling out - like 10 minutes
If you decide to take on thir project or you love/hate working wiht pie crust, I'd love to hear your tips, tricks, and stories!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Love Day

Happy St. Valentine's Day!
So this lovely day gets it's name from a Roman Catholic Saint's Day on February 14. Oddly, nothing is really known about St. Valentine, including why he was canonized. Although lots of stories have been made up or attributed to a St. Valentine without any proof.

Geoffrey Chaucer is the reason the date is associated with romantic love. Chaucer wrote in  Parlement of Foules (1382)

For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
Translation: For this was on St. Valentine's Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.

I am a big fan of love. Not just romantic love, but every sort of love there is.

You can love your family, your friends, animals, nature, and strangers. You can choose to act with love. You can choose to think with love. You can speak with love. Love is highly diverse and it really is what makes the world work at its best.

With lots of love to you all!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Hell of a Week

This week was a roller coaster. This week had my head spinning multiple times. This week has way too much going on for a person like me to handle gracefully.

Me - Sinus Infection morphed into double ear infection and by Friday morning my voice was going in and out and my throat was on fire. Let's add in an emotional funk that hit and held on hard for about 48 hours and lots of impromptu crying for no fathomable reason. And missing roughly 2 days of work between sickness and dr appts for me and munchkin.
Liam - Cold with a cough that kept getting wetter. Friday morning brought eyes glued shut from pink eye goop (which of course showed itself AFTER we left his dr appointment on Thursday)
Sean - Was actually healthy until Thursday night when hit with severe nausea. He turned whiter than a sheet within 10 minutes and lost considerable sleep overnight to finally feel a little better by Friday morning.

Me: Baked a new sweet treat recipe that included from scratch pie crust and they turned out pretty well. And for all the illness, actually feel fairly normal, which is totally strange.
Liam - had his Parents As Teachers Assessment (very good results) and has been behaving awesomely. Little meltdowns here and there but he wouldn't be a three year old if there weren't.
Sean: Had a job interview that he thought went well

It's Friday night. This week has exhausted me. Tomorrow is Valentine's Day and they are calling for snow. I can't wait to open the blinds and watch the snow fall with a cup of tea and my two favorite people. And not have anything/anyone demanding anything from us.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Cauliflower is so Versitle

While shopping the other day, I found a great deal on a head of cauliflower, so I picked it up. Now we are firmly broccoli people. We regularly have to tell Liam to stop eating his broccoli and to eat something else on his plate too. So the purchase of cauliflower was met with a little resistance.
Now I know that people do some crazy stuff with cauliflower. So when I went looking for a recipe I was expecting outside the box, but I was surprised. I think the craziest use of cauliflower is as a rice substitute. Never would have thought of that one.

Instead I decided to roast it. It was wicked easy and I even fudged the called for ingredients, well like I almost always do.

Simple recipe
1 head cauliflower - chopped into florets
seasoning you like - I used a Sicilian blend
enough to coat cauliflower - veg oil - i used canola

Preheat oven to 425.
put oil and seasonings in a ziploc bag
put cauliflower in bag with oil, sip and shake (it's like shake and bake)
put in casserole dish (i suggest spraying wiht a little cooking spray to keep it from sticking)
bake for 25 minutes - stirring half way through
top with parmesean and cilatnro and broil for 3-5 minutes

I substituted a mixed shredded cheese blend for the parm and it turned out good. I would stay away from softer cheeses, but anything hard would probably work.
 It was raved about for days and only 1 serving was leftover, which is saying a lot in my house.