Monday, August 30, 2010

Pies + Jars = Cuteness + Yumm!

I found this cute cute party favor idea on Etsy and thought to myself, "Self, I bet you can do that!"
Sure, you can always spend $10 to have a cute pie-in-a-jar made for you and shipped overnight, but isn't it sooo much more scrumptious to make it yourself? (Not to mention a little more budget friendly, especially considering the amount of jars my family has around)
In my quest for a recipe, I discovered that they can be frozen before baking, and then pulled out at a moment's notice! What a great idea for single people or empty nesters- no obligation to eat a whole pie. You just bake enough for one and don't finish off more than your share of sugars for the day. So I thought I'd try it out. Originally I was going to freeze it, but then I figured, what the heck. It's not every day I make apple pie. So yummy!
Then over the last week I made a trip over to Brooks, Alberta. My grandma had some of my aunt's famous pie crust in the freezer, and some of her famous cherry pie filling. Now, I am my grandmother's granddaughter, and acquired her sweet tooth, but my grandfather has diabetes. So I whipped up some jars to prevent them from trying to finish off a pie too. My grandmother was thrilled.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sweet Dreams

Check out this neat video. Talk about artistic vision. I would love to be part of a project like this. The detail of her hair is so neat, as well as changing the sheets. Watch out for the jellyfish!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I Gave In

I have made a couple trips to Chapters over the last several weeks. I love bookstores. They are such a safe haven. Statistics show only 50% of people bought a book in 2008. And only 45% of people read a book. (Hmmm....) Luckily for the publishing houses, that low amount buys enough. Some people are book people. I am one of them.

I have enough books- I really do. I should probably start learning to use a library card. Or let go and sell some of the ones I will never read again. They are few and far between, but I know deep down they exist. So I promised myself that I wouldn't buy any more this year (except textbooks). My shelf in Halifax is packed. "No more books!" I told myself before leaving. I've been pretty good about it too.

But I guess I risked temptation one too many times. I left Chapters today with not one but two books! Oh the misery. I'm trying to save! I'm trying to reduce my belongings! But you see.... this book I've been eyeing all last year finally came out in soft-cover. And this other book I found is exactly what I've been looking for (my step-father has declared that I love food. I'm not sure if that's good or bad). I'm determined to make educated decisions about my lifestyle habits, like diet! I'm not sure how school shootings fit into that... maybe a defense for homeschooling. In any case, not only are these 894 pages [total] now calling my name, distracting me from Anna Karenina (which I really would like to finish in the next two weeks), but they are going to be taking up space in my suitcase and on my bookshelf.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I know it seems like I've done a lot of cooking recently, and that is for a couple reasons. First, the rest of my life has been frustrating. For instance, today I drove all the way downtown and then realized I forgot my wallet... which only reminded me that the reason my wallet was out of my purse was because I spent all morning talking to banks on the phone and trying to get my "American" bank network to communicate with my "Canadian" bank network... so I just went back home. Cooking calms me. Just follow the directions. Even if it goes wrong, it's not like the house is on fire (unless it's gone really wrong). Make a note on the recipe and try again another day.
Another reason is I found this adorable blog. I enjoy perusing it, and it in turn inspires me. Bet you didn't know I started a cooking blog once... my dream was something like that one. It never really took off- I just didn't cook enough last year.
And lastly, my mommy likes it. (Hi mom!) :)
Oh, and lastly lastly, I like taking pictures. And food pictures are awesome.

Yesterday, my buddy Rae was talking about the suppers she had made, and on the list was perogies. Not only have I been hoarding the ingredients around this house, wanting to make them, but it's on my 101 in 1001 list. This afternoon, after I drove home from downtown, I decided today was the day.

I used the Canadian Living recipe, which I have used before making it tried and true. By the way, all of you non-Canadians or non-Ukrainians, what are perogies, you ask? They're amazing mashed potatoes, cheese, and onion stuffed into pockets of dough. They resemble dumplings, sort of. You boil them, to cook, and saute them with onion, and serve with a dollop of sour cream. Yumm!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Seafood Linguini

From when I was little, my favorite meal of all time has been what my family calls "Seafood Linguini" (known to the ladies of Best of Bridge as Linguini with White Clam Sauce). It is so rich and the most unhealthy thing my mom would make, boasting a whole block of cream cheese. It is just so good! On our birthdays, we were able to request the meal, and this was always my pick.
I was planning on making it the other night, but I realized my family's conversion from white to red wine has left the selection of white wine downstairs lacking. Yesterday, I stopped by the store in the pouring rain to pick some up. I had debated making it without the wine, but it's an ingredient! And by that I mean, if I want to make it to taste the way my mom makes it, it needs wine. I would rather put it off for a day or two and make it the way I remember, than have it now in an unpure form. :)
Following the recipie
Yummy cream cheese

If you want the recipe, it's is available in The Best of the Best, page 157. Most libraries actually have a good selection of cook books.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pecan Pie

Recently, being at my mom's and not at school, I have had ample opportunity to work on my culinary skills, which I LOVE! I have made sweet potato carrot soup, cream of broccoli soup, broiled tilapia parmesan, banana bread, peach and blueberry cobbler, southwest corn casserole, blueberry buttermilk pancakes, loads of cucumber salad, scalloped potatoes, chicken pesto drumsticks, and tuna stuffed tomatoes (surprisingly my favorite yet!). Tomorrow's plan is Samosas! (phyllo-wrapped potatoes, peas, and ground beef). But yesterday I was craving to cook in the early afternoon- too early to start supper. So I pulled out two pie shells, and after a bit of thought, took a stab at pecan pie.
Something I love about cooking is trying new recipes. I think I inherited this from my mom. Her favorite time to try something new is when she has invited guests over- something that some people find hilarious. I can relate though, in a way. I mean, I like to know it's going to work out, so I pick a recipe that looks reliable, but some of the best recipes (like the tuna stuffed tomatoes) are surprises. Out of all the meals I listed above, there are some I will probably try not to make again (the Canadian Living scalloped potato recipe I used leaves something to be desired, though it was healthier than most variations), but you would never know unless you try.
So, without further ado, here is the simple, yummy recipe I used to make two pecan pies yesterday (yes, I doubled it). Warning: reading the recipe may add an inch to your waist.

1 unbaked 9" single-crust pie shell
3 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup corn syrup
2 Tablesp. butter, melted
1 teasp. vanilla
1 1/2 c pecan halves

In bowl, stir together eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and vanilla; stir in pecans. Pour into pie shell. Bake in bottom third of 375 degree oven for 40-45 minutes or until pastry is golden and filling is just firm to the touch, shielding edge with foil if browning too quickly (mine was in there more like 55 minutes).