Browsing Tag


Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

November 28, 2010

After this past weekend, are you in need of something to lighten you up?

Would you rather just be eating pumpkin pie?

Yeah, I’m with you on that one. I don’t care how many times I’ve had it, I love pumpkin pie and I wish it stuck around longer than just two months.

What keeps my cravings at bay these days? Pumpkin Pie Smoothies.

If you follow any health blogs, you’ve probably seen a recipe or two similar to this sometime in the last couple of months, for good reason.

Though it may sound a little strange, it tastes totally delicious and is completely healthy and safe for every day consumption. One of these smoothies has less than 300 calories per serving, over 1,000 mg of potassium, 388% vitamin A, 40% vitamin B6, and over 25% vitamin C. Of course, this depends on the type of protein powder you use, but it’s a nutrient powerhouse no matter what type of protein you choose.

Give it a try. You won’t be sorry.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
(Printable Recipe)

*1 medium banana
*1/2 cup milk
*1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
*2 tsp. Stevia, Splenda, or honey
*1/2 cup canned pumpkin
*5-7 ice cubes
*1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

*Place all the above ingredients in a blender and blend or process until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Happy Cooking


Holiday Fruit Pie

November 18, 2010

The emotional connection I have with this pie is a little bit ridiculous. Perhaps it’s borderline obsessive.

It was part of the November 2009 “Easy Holiday Baking” feature in Better Homes and Gardens – the first project I worked on while I was an intern at the magazine. And while I wasn’t the creator of the recipe, I did see it through from conceptualization to testing to photography and finally, I wrote the copy to accompany this amazing dessert.

Last December, Joey and I had plans to go on our first real date. And then a snowstorm hit and our plans to go somewhere were squashed. Instead, we ate a dinner I made at home, and for dessert I made this pie. I like to think it was what sealed the deal on our relationship.

I’m pretty sure this pie has magic powers. It’s made with both fresh and dried cranberries, and some golden raisins thrown in for good measure. It pops in your mouth with bright, tangy flavor
that’s just tart enough to keep it interesting. And because it’s tangy and tart, it doesn’t leave you with that sickeningly sweet feeling. Meaning you can eat two slices. Or three.

Holiday Fruit Pie
Straight from Better Homes and Gardens magazine | November, 2009 
(Printable Recipe)

*1 Recipe Butter Pastry, recipe below
*1 (12-oz.) bag  fresh cranberries or frozen cranberries
*2 to 3 tsp.  finely shredded orange peel
*1 cup  orange juice
*1/2 cup  golden raisins
*1/2 cup  dried cranberries
*1 cup  sugar
*1/4 cup  all-purpose flour
*1 egg, lightly beaten
*2 to 3 tsp.  sugar

* Prepare Butter Pastry.
*In saucepan combine cranberries, orange peel, orange juice, raisins, and dried cranberries; bring to boiling over medium heat. Cook, uncovered, 3 minutes. In bowl combine sugar and flour; add to saucepan. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly; cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat.
*Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On floured surface, roll one dough portion to 12-inch circle. Wrap pastry around the rolling pin. Unroll into 9-inch pie plate. Pour in filling. Trim bottom pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge.
*On floured surface, roll remaining dough to 13-inch circle; cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Weave strips over fruit filling in lattice pattern. Press strips into bottom pastry rim. Seal and crimp edge, if desired. Brush with egg and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar.
*Cover edge with foil. Bake 25 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 20 minutes more or until top is nicely browned and filling is bubbly. Let stand at least 1 hour. Makes 8 servings.

*Butter Pastry: In a large mixing bowl combine 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt. Using fork, cut in 1/3 cup chilled shortening and 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter cut into 1/2-inch pieces until crumbly. Using fork, stir in 8 to 9 tablespoons ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough just starts for form. Knead 2 or 3 times in bowl. Divide in half. Form halves into 2 discs. Wrap with plastic wrap; chill at least 30 minutes.

Happy Baking!


Bluberry Galette

July 9, 2010

Whew! I feel as if I’ve been out of touch with the outside world for months when it’s only been a week. I’ve been spending time with family and friends and celebrating a milestone birthday for my dad. And now the list of blogs I have to catch up on reading is a mile long, the laundry is piling up as I write this post, and I don’t even want to think about the state of my eyebrows. I’m not sure what the connection is, but I’m pretty positive good-looking eyebrows and technology go hand in hand.

I’ve taken a brief reprieve from this lack of technology to share with you something I made just before I left. J. and his family stopped by my apartment last Thursday and while they were here, I shared a good portion of this Blueberry Galette. Though I’ve said it before, a galette is probably the easiest variation on a pie. Flaky crust? Check. Fruit filling? Check. The only thing that is missing is the fuss and frustration of rolling out a perfect pie crust with a beautiful, fluted edge.

Every pie crust I’ve ever made, before this one, has contained butter. Buttery, flaky crust is what it’s all about, right? Well Ree, aka The Pioneer Woman, has changed my mind about it all. She provided this recipe for perfect pie crust, made with shortening in place of butter, and boy is it divine. Flaky and light, this crust has it all. And the blueberry filling tops it off, with bright citrus, a touch of sugar, and a little flour to pull it all together, this is pie at its very best and easiest.  

I’m off to continue my vacation, but I’ll be back soon with lots of exciting news!

Blueberry Galette 
(Printable Recipe) 

Perfect Pie Crust
Courtesy of the Pioneer Woman Cooks 
*1 1/2 cups Crisco
*3 cups all-purpose flour
*1 whole egg
*5 Tbsp. cold water
*1 tsp. salt

*Preheat oven to 400*F. 
*In a large bowl, with a pastry cutter, gradually work the Crisco into the flour for about 3 or 4 minutes until it resembles a coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat an egg with a fork and then pour it into the flour/shortening mixture. Add 5 tablespoons of cold water, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir together gently until all of the ingredients are incorporated.*Form the dough into a ball, then flatten slightly into a disc. Put the dough into a zip-top bag and place in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes.
*On a large sheet of parchment paper roll the dough, starting at the center and working your way out into a 12 to 14 inch circle. This circle doesn’t have to be perfect, just in a fairly circular shape. Transfer the dough circle, on the parchment paper, to a baking sheet. Prepare the blueberry filling.

Blueberry Filling
*2 pints bluberries
*3 Tbsp. sugar
*2 Tbsp. flour
*2 tsp. lemon zest
*Juice from half a lemon

*1 egg, lightly beaten
*1 Tbsp. sugar

*In a large bowl, combine the blueberries, sugar, flour, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Toss to coat evenly. Spoon the mixture into the center of the dough circle, leaving a 2 to 3 inch dough border around the filling. Turn dough up around the filling, pinching the edges of the crust together as needed. Brush the crust with the lightly beaten egg, sprinkle with sugar.
*Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until crust is golden brown and filling begins to bubble slightly. Remove from oven and cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. Cut into wedges to serve.

Happy Baking!



Gluten-free Cranberry-Pear Crumble Pie

October 22, 2009

Rainy days and nights. We seem to be having a lot of rainy days in Central Iowa and lately all I’ve wanted to do when it’s raining is to sit inside and hole up under a pile of blankets. I’ve found my happy place. Rainy night and howling wind, I’m hiding under the covers while watching Gossip Girl, drinking coffee, and blogging about pie. Gluten-free Cranberry-Pear Crumble Pie at that.

Disclaimer: I have very little practical knowledge of gluten-free anything. The number of times I have attempted to bake anything gluten free could be counted on one finger. Since so many people have been following a gluten-free diet lately for various health reasons, I figured I would jump on board…at least every once in a while.

If I could, I would give you the recipe for this pie, but since I was just throwing and tossing a bit of this and a bit of that into the filling, I’m afraid I don’t have one. It amounted to something like 5 sliced pears, 1 cup dried cranberries, 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 3 tablespoons of gluten-free flour, and 2 tablespoons of butter dotted on top of the filling. The crumble on top was 1/4 cup gluten-free flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons butter blended with a pastry cutter or fork until crumbly.

But the filling really isn’t the most difficult part when it comes to gluten-free baking. My nemesis? The crust! I picked up a package of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Baking Mix, but I know there are a lot of other gluten-free flours suitable for baking. I followed a basic butter pastry recipe, but substituted my new flour.

The pie baked at 375F for around 40 minutes, or until the pears felt crisp-tender. During the last 10 minutes of baking, I covered the top of the pie with foil to prevent the crust from over-browning. After letting it cool, it was time for the taste test…..

Not bad. Not bad at all. Actually, it was pretty good! The pear-cranberry combination was delicious, as was the crumble on top. The crust was noticeably different in texture and taste. It was a bit more challenging to work with, because it pulled apart easier, and was a bit more cracker-like once baked. Heather Morgan Shott, Senior Food Editor of Better Homes and Gardens online, lives gluten-free and told me the secret to gluten-free pastry is Xanthan Gum, and after looking at a few websites, it seems as if a teaspoon is all it takes to help the pastry roll out better withouth falling apart.

Do any of you follow a gluten-free diet or have you ever done any gluten-free baking?

Happy cooking!

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