Triple Berry Pie

triple berry pie-1triple berry pie-2Last night I had an inspiring conversation with my friend, Ashley, where we spoke of our frustration with “keeping up appearances” with our photography, Facebook, Instagram, whatever it is that we somehow feel compelled to keep going in order to please our various audiences (mostly those audiences just include my oversized ego.)  I had said that this blog was suffering because while I have been cooking pretty much every meal over the last few months and some of those meals have been really good (like mozzarella stuffed rice balls rolled in panko and fried), I just haven’t felt like taking our meals’ pictures.  And then she said, “Do it because you enjoy the process…remember life before the internet?”

Remember life before the internet?

Well, I do, even though a lot of “kids these days” don’t. And what I remember is that we just…did things. All the time. And no one knew about it. No one saw it. We did crafts and went outside and ate burritos without ever documenting the occasion. And I seem to remember enjoying life before the ever present, all-encompassing documentation of all the things in life.  No one in their right mind would spend valuable money on film to take a picture of their cup of coffee…every day.

But I WOULD have liked to share recipes I really love. And I would’ve written the recipes down on cute little cards and maybe even take a photo and put it in a book or send it to a friend. That, I would have done and those are going to be the types of recipes I share on this blog.

Like this pie. I had a brief moment of modern-woe yesterday in which I wished I had made it prettier so that I could’ve blogged about it. Shoot. It’s delicious – who needs it to be picture perfect?! I went all hodgepodge with the top crust instead of doing something perfectionist and I put lots of heart cut outs because I have little girls. So there you go. And I was super proud of the results. Perfect juice in this pie – not runny, not dry! No soggy crust – flaky throughout and super buttery and slightly grainy (in a good way).  I used a white whole wheat and added a bit of extra sugar for the crust and it gave the entire thing this hearty cornmeal-esque effect. Loved it. It’s perfect. And I think there was something to using all frozen fruits. So I can’t vouch for this if you use all fresh, although I bet you’d just have to adjust bake time. Whatever you do, try it. And take a picture to share with your friends if you want, but remember to just enjoy the process.

Thanks, Ashley. 🙂

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Eleanor waiting patiently while I did something utterly confusing to her… triple berry pie-4 triple berry pie-5 triple berry pie-6 triple berry pie-7

Triple Berry Pie

3 1/2 cups mixed frozen berries – I used blueberries, blackberries and raspberries
1 cup sugar
3 TBS flour (I used white whole wheat)
1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 sticks of butter (8 oz) cut into tiny cubes and reeeeally cold
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
2 TBS sugar

Deep dish pie plate (if you don’t have a deep dish, you could easily make two small pies with this recipe)

For the crust, combine one cup of flour in a large mixing bowl and add the salt. With the paddle attachment and your mixer on medium, add all the cubes of butter in little increments until each addition stops beating against the side of the bowl. After all your butter is incorporated, add the second cup of flour and the two tablespoons of sugar and mix on low until well incorporated. Add a splash of icy cold water until the dough comes together. If it feels a bit too wet, add in a little more flour. I think I used about an extra 1/8th cup. Divide your dough into two portions with one being slightly bigger than the other and shape into discs, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Roll out the bigger portion and line your pie plate and let it sit in the fridge while you mix up your filling.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Mix the fruit, sugar, 3 tablespoons of flour and cinnamon in a big bowl and let it sit for a few minutes, then stir to incorporate again. Pour the filling into your pie crust, top with whatever fancy shapes, basket weave, self portraits you want, brush with a beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.

Place on a rimmed baking sheet and put on the center rack of your oven. REDUCE the heat to 350 and bake for 1 – 1.5 hours until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. It took mine a full hour and a half because of the frozen fruit, but if you’re using fresh, you may only need 45 minutes until it bubbles.

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Cherry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Cherry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies 2

Cherry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
I’m sitting here after putting my “baby” down for a nap a few minutes ago (praying she’ll go longer than her usual 45 minutes) and Peg and Cat are singing loudly in the background as my very grown up four-year old gets out of taking a nap because I want her to be exhausted enough to go to sleep at nine instead of ten tonight.

I’m winging it this week – Matt is away on a company trip for three days and I’m a few hours in and feeling so, so tired. I have lots of coffee and a good sense of humor, so I’m sure I’ll be fine. But having help from 5:30-9 every night is vital to my sanity. There’s something about getting a fresh set of not-exhausted-yet hands to hold the babies or take them outside and swing them so I can cook dinner in peace. And he is kind of the best there is and the most helpful person on the planet, so it’s extra hard to be without him. So I’m going backwards with my usual routine – I’m cooking lunches this week and keeping dinners simple. Because the last thing I want to do after finally getting both girls in bed is to clean my dirty dishes. I plan on reading a book or doing half of a yoga routine. And while I don’t ever recommend eating your feelings because that’s a silly thing to say and they would probably taste like sauerkraut, anyway – just eat these cookies instead. All eating is emotional eating, after all.

It’s good to be back, friends 🙂

Cherry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies 3 Cherry Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies

Cherry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

  • Servings: about 24 cookies
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1.5 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup softened, unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla bean paste
1 egg
2 cups rolled oats
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup chopped, dried cherriesHeat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir brown sugar and butter until blended. Stir in vanilla and egg until light and fluffy. Stir in oats, flour, baking soda and salt; stir in chocolate chips and cherries.
Onto ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Apple Pie Roses

apple pie roses
So I saw this really fun video circulating on Facebook a few weeks ago and like everyone else, it gave me the confidence to try it out myself! These little roses are so much fun to make and they are so beautiful! I thought they’d make an excellent special occasion type dessert. I did the recipe exactly like the video said and I was pleased with the process but not really the results. I mean, they’re okay, but they are definitely prettier than they are tasty. And I honestly think that’s the point. It was a super fun and easy “cooking craft” to do with Olive and so I’ll give it points for that because not every baking recipe is truly kid-accessible. But I decided to alter the recipe to be as delicious as it is beautiful. Here’s a couple problems the original recipe has:

1. The bake time is long and the thin apple slices burn on top, so we cover them during part of baking.
2.They stick like dadgum superglue to the muffin pan and get ripped apart when you take them out, therefore…
3. I fixed that by removing them from the pan while they were still super hot, but…
4. There’s the problem with eating super-baked tiny shreds of apple peel. It gives it that rose look, however…
5. The apple peel feels like tough strings in your mouth. Not really two adjectives you want for your baked goods.
6. The apples snap in half from the original recipe, so I fixed that by soaking them in hot lemon water instead of cold.
7. They just fall flat, taste-wise, so I added a bit of scrumptiousness into the filling along with the apple slices by adding cinnamon roll type flavors.
8. Also, I’m a pie crust junkie, so I switched to pie crust instead of puff pastry and it was indeed more delicious, but…
9. The falling apartness was magnified with the pie crust, so you fix that once and for all by…
10. Using greased muffin liners to bake these babies in. Voila. Most of the problems solved.

So my suggestion for the final round of 100% deliciousness is to peel the apples. How to fix the “but they don’t look like a rose, anymore!” problem? Add a couple drops of red food coloring to the warm water while the apples soak, OR pomegranate or cranberry juice and BOOM! Red roses. I didn’t do this for my final pics because everyone in my house was getting rather sick of eating these tiny apple roses, BUT I did color some apple slices in pomegranate juice and they were BEAUTIFUL. So I’ll try them like that again and make a special Christmas rose wreath edition of this recipe for those who care. Which I think might be 5 people, total. In any case, I present to you:
apple roses Apple Rose

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies3
Hello there! This is a delightful little cookie that takes no time at all to make and is so much fun for little helpers! I had this idea a while back whenever I saw powdered peanut butter in the grocery store and have wanted to try it out. It took a little tweaking, but I loved the texture of the cookie itself. One word of advice: don’t use jelly! I know, I know, it’s a riff off of peanut butter jelly sandwiches, but use something a little thicker like a jam or preserve. I used grape jelly because it’s iconic and it really ran out of the cookies more than I would have liked. This did not stop them from being utterly addicting; it just kept them from looking super pretty.

Thumbprint cookies have always been a favorite of mine and this version is so fun and really makes you feel like a kid again. With Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner, I think this would be a great recipe to have for a cookie exchange! Drizzle it with a bit of white or dark chocolate to make it even more fancy! Enjoy!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies2

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies


makes about 2 dozen

1 cup salted butter, softened
½ cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar, plus ¼ cup more for dusting
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup peanut butter powder

about 1/2 cup fruit preserves or jam

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, blend butter and sugar until fluffy and light, 2 minutes. Add vanilla and salt, scraping down bowl as needed. Pick up the baby, who has been crying at your knee for the past ten minutes and hold her while you try to measure out peanut butter powder. Let her sneeze into it. Do everything with one arm tied behind your back. Switch to low and gently mix in flour and peanut butter powder, just until combined.

Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls. Create some interest by making some pea-sized and some into the shape of a carrot. Pretend to eat them, but then actually do. Place dough balls on parchment lined baking sheets. Press down the center of each ball with your thumb, making a slight depression, or a hole clean through to where you can see the bottom of the baking sheet.

Fill cookie centers with a teaspoonful of preserves and be sure to lick the spoon between each cookie. Makes it better. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and puffy, but take care not to over-bake. Let cool a few minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to finish cooling on wire rack.

When cookies are completely cooled, eat seven or eight with a glass of milk while singing every song you know in your best cat voice. Cookies can be kept in airtight container at room temp for a few days. Emphasis on “can.”

*recipe adapted from Chew Out Loud

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies

Apple Crisp: Food Memories

Fall Apple Crisp
I’ve done a few posts on food memories from my own family and ones from friends and I love those posts more than any other. They are more than just recipes – they are links to the past and to feelings that can’t be accessed any other way. Food is such a tie to our heritage, to our families and to the love we felt when we first experienced those memorable dishes. I never tweak these recipes because it’s my job to post about and honor the memory, not the recipe itself. My dear friend, Becky, had this picture of her grandmother’s hand written recipe on her Instagram account and when I saw it, I knew I had to make it.

Last year, Becky invited me over to look through her grandmother’s things before they had an estate sale in the wake of her passing. I had the honor of taking home a patchwork quilt she had made. Not only do my girls play on it outside nearly every day, but I used it as a backdrop for the photos I took of the final dish. I hope it makes this post that much more meaningful for my friend.

The recipe itself is completely delicious and comforting and full of the essence of the fall season! I love that it calls for “oleo” – a sure sign the baker lived through the 50s 🙂 So this was the only tweak I made by using butter instead. I also topped the apple crisp with cinnamon horchata ice cream because I was all out of whipping cream. I’m sure if Nana could have tasted the ice cream, she wouldn’t mind the substitution.

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I asked Becky to share a few thoughts about her Nana and this recipe. She also provided this amazing picture and it makes me wish I’d known her. She looked so joyful.

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My Nana (Oma Lee) was the 5th of 6 kids born in 1926 to a generous, kind-hearted family. They took in the homeless, cared for the sick, fed the hungry. They also laughed more than most.

For a couple of years while I was in college, I got to live with her and got to know her on a deeper level. She was a counselor to me, a friend, comic relief, an adult when I acted like a child. We watched Miss America pageants and Hallmark movies together and ate dilly bars from DQ.

Nana shared an apple “pie” recipe with me during that time, and it’s the only apple pie I’ve ever made, because its kinda fool proof (I need that) and darn tasty.

I made it for her once and she went on and on about how delicious it was. When I reminded her it was one of her recipes, she laughed for the longest time then said in a straight voice, “well that’s why it’s so good”. Man, I miss her.

Apple Crisp 2

Apple Crisp

6 cups peeled, sliced apples
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
For the streusel topping:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup butter

Whipped topping or ice cream to garnish

Preheat the oven to 375F. Mix together apples, sugar, cinnamon, salt and melted butter.  Place in a greased 8″ square baking dish. Set aside.

Combine the 3/4 cup sugar and flour and then cut in the butter until the texture is fine crumbles. Sprinkle over the apples. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until apples are tender*. Serve warm with dollops of whipped topping (or ice cream!)

*Becky advised that I brown the apple crisp for a few minutes under the broiler because it doesn’t really get brown during baking.

Roasted Coriander Chicken

Cinnamon Coriander Roast Chicken
This is a fabulous way to revive the same ol’ chicken recipes you’ve been using every week for your family.  We came across this flavor combination years ago from Michael Symon but I’ve done this so many times I’ve strayed pretty far from the original recipe for chicken wings and have adapted it to be a wonderful roasted chicken dish.  Have you ever used coriander seeds in your cooking before?  It’s got this tutti-fruity flavor that reminds me of Fruity Pebbles cereal (don’t be horrified, it’s actually really good).  And combine that flavor with cinnamon and the smokiness of cumin and something kind of magical happens.

If you have a problem spending money on a spice you hardly use, let me be the first to direct you to the Ghandi Bazaar on 34th Street here in Lubbock.  If you don’t live in Lubbock, find a local Indian food market or some kind of ethnic market because they sell spices CHEAP.  Why? Because they USE THEM A LOT.  It’s a staple to most other cultures like flour and sugar is to an American.  We bought a 16 oz bag of coriander seeds at Ghandi Bazaar for $2!  That sure beats a tiny jar for $4.50 at the grocery store.  I don’t think I’ll ever use it up…unless I keep making this chicken…which I need to do this week.
Cinnamon Coriander Chicken

Roasted Coriander Chicken

1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces (or pre-cut, but make sure it’s bone-in and skin on)
1/4 cup crushed coriander seeds
1 TBS cinnamon
2 tsp ground cumin
1 TBS kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a large, ziplock bag, add the chicken pieces and the spices and rub everything around until the chicken is completely coated.  Pour in the olive oil and mush the bag around again, making sure (to the best of your ability) that all the chicken is coated relatively even.

In a 9×13″ glass pan, or on a cooking rack over a rimmed baking sheet sprayed with oil, add the chicken, evenly spaced apart.  Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 165 in the thickest piece. I can’t cook chicken without a meat thermometer, so I can’t tell you an exact time.  I just start taking the temp after 30 minutes and leave it in there if it’s not done. 

*so good I made it twice on this blog 😉 with slightly different ratios this time.  See?  I change it all the time.  But it’s always good!

The Best Appetizer, Ever

warm dates with olive oil and salt
Okay, so it’s not spinach artichoke dip (the best junky appetizer, ever) but I love it. It’s just three ingredients! It’s salty, sweet, chewy, and indulgent all in one! It’s so easy that it hardly qualifies to be a blog post, but I can’t help it because we love it so much we have it at least once a week so I wanted to share it with you.  I present to you: Warmed dates with olive oil and kosher salt. That’s it.  Matt read about this appetizer in a book I got for him for Christmas called Delancey.  We ate at Delancey’s in Seattle when we were there last year and had some of the best pizza of our lives.  It’s a cute restaurant owned by a husband/wife duo and the book is the tale of their beginnings in the food world and how they combined their talents in opening the perfect pizza shop.  He bakes the pizza and she takes care of appetizers and desserts. It’s kind of a fantasy of Matt’s to do the same and own a brick oven style pizza joint. I could totally run the apps and desserts.  Maybe one day we will after our children are old enough to be our waitstaff 😉

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These warmed dates are in that book – just a simple appetizer that are completely satisfying.  I could honestly have these dates with a slice of Matt’s bread and be totally happy for dinner.  It seems weird and too simple, but it just works.  Simply heat fresh dates on the stove in some good olive oil until they are slightly sizzling.  Then, sprinkle with kosher salt and serve warm.  Amazing and easy and spiffs up your dinner in about 15 seconds.  Also, our opinionated three year old loves them.

Warmed Dates with Olive Oil and Kosher Salt

Apricot Cream Scones

apricot white chocolate cream scones
Here’s a wonderful recipe I’ve done countless ways over the past few months and it’s delicious every time.  Quick, easy and amazingly fluffy on the inside while being crispy on the outside – these scones are an amazing way to make breakfast better.  Today I’m sharing with you one of my favorite flavor combinations: apricot and white chocolate.  However, anything you want to add will work. I’ve done cheddar and chives for a savory version, a simple version with just currents and then just plain for the most amazing biscuits! This recipe comes from The Best New Recipe cookbook and so you know the recipes have been endlessly tested and work.  I loved this recipe because I had it memorized the first time I did it.  Four ingredients.  Doesn’t get easier than that.  No cutting in butter – these scones/biscuits/whatever you want to call them have just heavy cream!  I even skip the patting out and cutting into triangle method that Best New calls for and make it even easier by just making these drop-style.

I hope you add this to your arsenal of recipes to whip out when company arrives or a friend drops by for coffee (that still happens in my head, although not so much in reality).  My white chocolate chips got kind of torched, but no scone was left behind.
apricot cream scones

Apricot Cream Scones

10 ounces (2 cups, but start weighing your flour!) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Add-Ins:
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped, dried apricots

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment or spray with oil.  Whisk together the dry ingredients, stir in the white chocolate and apricots and then with a fork, whip in the cream.  It gets super sticky and super hard to stir.  If it seems too dry, add a splash or two more.  I usually add just a bit more.  Then, by the spoonful, drop mounds onto your baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  Brush the tops of the scones with more heavy cream and bake 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.  Serve immediately with butter.

Green Beans with Toasted Pecans and Blue Cheese

Green Beans with Toasted Pecans and Blue Cheese
I’m on a quest to serve up vegetables in a different way each week.  It’s not a New Year’s resolution or anything like that, but just a general promise to be more dedicated to making vegetables enticing.  So often I just rummage through my fridge or freezer and half heartedly throw a vegetable alongside whatever we’re having for dinner.  And I cook them the same way every time.  So every trip I make to the grocery store, now, I grab a would-be-boring vegetable and resolve to make it more interesting than my standard roast-everything method.

Last week I did this with green beans.  I usually boil them in salted water until they are tender (not squeaky!) and then brown a little butter and toss them.  It’s fine.  It’s just what I always do!  So this time, I boiled my green beans, set them aside and then tossed in some toasted pecans and blue cheese crumbles and a few dried cranberries and got everything all nice and warm and it was totally delicious. In fact, it was more exciting than the main course!  The best part – it was quick and easy and shocked us out of the same ol’ routine.  Not bad for a green bean.

Green Beans with Blue Cheese and Toasted Pecans

Green Beans with Pecans and Blue Cheese

  • Servings: 4-6 as a side
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  • 1 lb fresh green beans
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot of adequately salted (that’s about 1/8 cup salt per stock pot.  Or more.  Tastes like the ocean, at least) boil green beans until tender.  Your teeth should not squeak when you chew them! Strain the green beans and set aside.  In a large skillet, toast the pecans until fragrant, and then toss in the green beans, blue cheese, cranberries and a dash of salt and pepper. Add a splash of olive oil if they seem too dry, but depending on your blue cheese, you may get enough oil from it to coat the beans nicely.  Don’t let your cheese burn!

Chewy Dark Chocolate and Apricot Granola Bars

chewy granola
Well, friends, I’m happy to report that my daughter, Eleanor, was born three weeks (almost 4!) ago and she’s doing amazing and we are surviving the sleepless nights and the toddler-sister adjustment without too many scrapes and bruises.  Life is certainly different than it was just a month ago.  But it’s also a billion times sweeter.  Here’s my new family (pics taken by my wonderful friend, Katrina):

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It’s remarkable how little time in the day I actually can get things done, which explains further why posting recipes took a very, very far back burner to everything else.  I also didn’t cook a single thing for two weeks.  It felt weird, but it was nice to have a break. We have remarkable friends who brought us dinner for nearly two whole weeks and then it was Thanksgiving and although we didn’t travel, we certainly cooked!  And a few of those recipes will come in the following weeks.  I wanted to post an easy and satisfying snack for my first post back, because that’s what I need in my new life, now, and honestly, I’m hungry all the time while nursing a baby around the clock.  I find myself insanely hungry when Eleanor wakes up for her 2 a.m. feed but too tired to go to the kitchen to find something and so I fixed that problem yesterday by making some truly crave-worthy granola bars.  Chewy, almost falling apart, no-bake, and filled with my favorite things – namely, dark chocolate, apricots and almonds.

I hope you enjoy these and I am looking forward to getting back in the kitchen around the baking-est time of the year.  🙂

Chewy Granola Bars

 

Chewy Dark Chocolate Apricot Granola Bars
makes about 16-24

2 cups puffed rice cereal
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 cup mix-ins (I used dark chocolate, dried apricots and some leftover trail mix that had almonds and raisins – you use what you can find!)
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Combine the dry ingredients into a large bowl.  In a medium saucepan, combine the honey, sugar, salt and peanut butter and let it come to a boil for about a minute.  Remove from heat and pour over the dry ingredients (if you don’t want your chocolate melting, add it after you get everything else combined.  I didn’t care and it didn’t melt that much).  Stir until fully incorporated and then press in either a 13×9 greased baking dish, or like I did, a rimmed sheet pan (for slightly thinner bars).  Let it cool completely and then slice and store.