Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Oh's pie!

So, a few moons past, a good friend suggested I join a recipe card exchange. Having a self-diagnosed manic obsession for recipes, I eagerly complied! After all, I was given a full SIX WEEKS to choose, construct, and deliver a mere 20 6X6 scrapbook-style cards. Piece of cake, right? Well, in my typical Defeated Perfectionistic manner, I planned an over-the-top recipe card without actually planning an appropriate recipe. For about eight weeks. Yes, my friend gently reminded me several times to get the cards done and deliver them to her before she left for an extended vacation. And I didn't. I am a master procrastinator, in case you didn't know. I have a rep to live down to.....

In the end, my Friend A left on her trip, (to Israel, lucky girl...), and I eventually threw together a recipe that sounded festive, but in actuality I had never tried, (I swear I don't usually do that....), made a sub-par recipe card x20 that was nowhere near my mental vision, and Friend B, who is Friend A's bestest helper, had to come to my house and fetch my cards so as to include them in the bunch that was by now two weeks late!

I. Am. A. Class. A. Loser.

So, not long after, I received back a lovely stack of cards with some fabulous recipes on them and sadly admitted to myself that I did not deserve to ever be included in a recipe card exchange again.

I tucked my beautiful stack away in my cookbook closet, bringing it out periodically to peruse, mentally adding some of them into my "need to try" file, wondering if anyone had done the same with my submission: Festive Holiday Wraps, and if they were any good....

Time passed.

A lot of time.

Probably three years.
(Okay, I just reviewed my friends blog posts about her trip and discovered that it was just over a year ago that she went to Israel. Am I trapped in a time warp of some sort? Help me out Wendy--when was this card exchange? I swear it's been at least two years....)

Anyway......I digress. The whole point of this post was this:

I ran into Jacquie B. at Macey's a few weeks ago and we began to talk recipes. She brought up a particular pie she likes to make. She reminded me that it was her contribution to the card exchange. I said that it was on my mental "to try" list. She exhorted me to make it straight away! Said it was something about the paper bag that made all the difference. I said it was now at the top of my mental "to try" list because cooking a pie in a paper bag was intriguing to me. We parted company, I checked out my groceries, making sure to add a large paper bag to my pile of plastic-packaged produce (I'd rather trash a land-fill that cut down a tree...), and I went my merry way!

I included this mysterious pie in my list of Thanksgiving desserts this year. Along with a banana cream, and a lemon truffle pie that I am still tweaking before sharing.

This pie was the across the board favorite!! My kids went bonkers over it! Even Chef Jason said it was the best apple pie he'd ever had!

My conclusion? Though I am officially a cream-pie aficionado, I LOVED THIS PIE!!!! It was delicious, it was beautiful, it was fun to make---what more could you want in a pie? Oh yeah---It was also RIDICULOUSLY EASY!!!!

Check it out:

This is the pie after putting the fabulous butter-laden crumb topping on. So scrumptious!!

This is the pie after baking it in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes. (slow & steamy....I can't WAIT!!)

This is me painstakingly peeling the paper bag from the pie while peeking in pleasure at the perfection in a pan!!

Oh. My. Heck. How fetchingly beautiful is THAT?!?? (fetching in the Gone With the Wind sense of the word). I cried when I unwrapped this baby. It was so gorgeous!!!!

I would have so dearly loved to have eaten a slice right then and there while it was steaming hot, but I have this thing about slicing food before its time so I put it aside until it was time for dessert.

And then it was devoured. And if it wasn't against my religion not to serve pie with this: would have been amazing even plain. But it is against my religion, so real whipped cream was the garnish of the day.

And it was perfect.

Perfect Apple Pie.

Perfect Apple Pie Topped With Crumb Crust (baked in a brown paper bag).

Thanks Jacquie.

Perfect Apple Pie Topped With Crumb Crust (baked in a brown paper bag)

Filling: 5 cups sliced (not too thin...) apples ( I used FUJI)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Mix sugar, flour, and spices and toss with peeled, sliced apples. Pour into unbaked pie shell.

Topping: 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cube butter

Mix until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of pie. Place pie in large brown paper grocery bag from Maceys (support your local business man) and seal. (I made sure it wasn't touching the pie and then I stapled it shut). Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes. DO NOT PEEK!!! Bag must be placed in center of the oven-above the heating element.

Serve with real whipped cream. Or not. Either way it's delicious!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

This Little Piggy.....

Awww........Is there anything cuter than little, tiny baby toes? We count them, we kiss them, we make up poems about them.....

They're just so sweet!! I have been guilty of all sorts of tootsie-tickling. I've been guilty of nibbling & yes, even sucking on the darn things! I can't help it!! They only stay this cute for so long!!

Oh, look! there's two of them!! Even better!! So soft and adorable, double the pleasure, double the fun!!

Wait a minute.......what is that I see? I am familiar with every darling dimple my honey-bun possesses--and that ain't one of them!!!

Can you see it?
Let's take a closer look......
What the?!!? HOLY COW! My precious had one of those mythical "hair got wrapped around the baby's finger/toe" hairs wrapped around his finger/toe!!!!!! Can you see it?!? A HAIR WRAPPED ITSELF AROUND MY BABY'S TOE AND TRIED TO CUT IT OFF!!!!!

I was giving Jackson a bath this morning and noticed through the soap bubbles a piece of lint on his toe. Then I noticed that the lint was tangled up in a piece of hair. So I pulled the lint and hair off and saw that a deep crease remained. I rather FREAKED!! I had just had a conversation about this very subject with a group of friends, about how we had all heard of this happening. One friend even described how someone she knew even had to have their baby's finger AMPUTATED because of a constricting hair that went unnoticed!! Sacre bleu!! After running around the kitchen for 6.7 seconds like a headless chicken, I reverted to take-charge mode. After all, discombobulated-ness gets you nowhere...

I called the pediatrician, got a very quick appointment from a concerned receptionist and rushed to pack the three boys and myself into the van.

To make a long story short, it appears as though I initially removed the entire hair myself. My aimless running around the kitchen and very valid, I thought, freaking out was not entirely warranted. Disaster was not imminent, Jackson's toe is saved, he apparently has another case of thrush, and I'm going to chop off all my hair.....

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

getting the hang of the vernacular

Conversation between Nicholas and Sidney this morning:

Nick, after putting on his newly acquired red snow boots:

"Sidney, look! (indicating boots) "These are so gross!"

Sidney, looking at his boots and trying to decide in what way the boots are gross:

"Don't you mean 'sick'?"

Nick, thinking a little bit about his verbal blooper:

"Yeah! Sick! These boots are sick!"

Atta boy.....

Saturday, November 28, 2009

All About the Food

Thanksgiving means a lot of things. Family, gratitude, football, autumn, dog show, & food. I could go on about all the things I'm grateful for, but I suspect that my list would be almost identical to yours. I could brag about how I called all three NFL games, including the Denver/New York game, and how people in my house really should listen to my intuition when they make their Pigskin Pick 'em picks. Autumn kind of came early and left already. So let's get on to the FOOD!!!

I'm always so interested in what everyone else is having for their Holiday/Family get-togethers. Let's face it, food is fascinating. I wish I could have been to all my friends dinners and pick off their plates. Except for the marshmallow sweet potatoes. I won't touch those. Weird stuff, those....

Here is a sample of what we had at my house:

I'm pretty sure I could live by bread least for a few days. I love these rolls. They are so heavenly, they should be in the dessert category. Aren't they pretty?

This pie was sick. And I mean that in the 'teenage vernacular of the day' sense---(I know, parents just embarrass themselves when they try to imitate their teens.....)

We will address this pie in more detail at a later date.

This is a naked banana cream pie. Don't worry, we'll take care of that! Although it is somewhat of a shame to cover up home made vanilla custard....

This is an integral ingredient. Used in no less than four dishes.

Putting the cream on the pie....I love pie.

Mmmm......I almost didn't want to cut into this!

Tried a new stuffing this year. Cornbread in origin. It was good, but somehow I just can't get my mom's stuffing out of my brain.

Jason made the potatoes, gravy (actually made by Jedd), more stuffing (at my request, in case my new version was yuk), and cranberry sauce. These are the dishes that I live for. The sides.

This is Caramel-Apple-Sweet potato-with streusel topping. Not a bad way to get the sweet potato experience. It's pretty dang good.

Lemon Truffle Pie. Something of an experiment. When I get it just right, I'll share the recipe!

Jason also roasted the turkey breast. Just the breast because really, none of us love turkey all that much. There is no way I could incorporate an entire turkey into my meals for a week. But it's so pretty! And it does make awesome gravy, and that's important!

And okay, I couldn't resist adding my most recent reason to be thankful....I'm not sure how I was able to get anything at all cooked when this cutie tried so hard to distract me with his adorable-ness.

Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving! I'd like a copy of all the recipes you used, please....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Jackson Banning Merryweather: The Beginning

Jackson--Name Information
Boy or Girl ?: boy
Origin of name: Scottish
Meaning: God has been gracious; has shown favor. Based on John or Jacques.

Banning--Name Information
Boy or Girl ?: boy
Origin of name: Gaelic
Meaning: Little blond one.

Merryweather--Alternate spelling of Merriweather
English: nickname for someone of a sunny disposition, from Middle English merry (see Merry) + wether ‘weather’ (Old English weder).

It was a dark and stormy night.....okay, it was dark. And I was having some killer contractions and wouldn't have noticed if it were stormy or not. About 10:30 we arrived at the hospital to discover that the killer contractions had been doing their job and I was good to go!

Together with my expert birthing coach, Jason, and his apprentice (and my personal photographer)--Sidney, we moved into a LDR room.

Yeah. Somewhere mid last week my great, big belly turned into an even greater, bigger belly. Never in all my big belly experiences have I ever had such a Great. Big. Belly. It was huge. I mean it. This proves it.

This would be the afore mentioned apprentice and photographer, (and don't forget--Sista #Uno)--Sidney.

Time marched on.

Contractions came and went. This was a big one. It actually peaked at 143. I hardly felt it. It was great.

This was when everything kicked into high gear. I was ready to go. Baby was ready to come. We were ready to meet!

This would be Dr. Merryweather. My personal baby-catching husband. Yes. He is now legit. After years of being the official cord-cutter, Claudia graduated him to the coveted position of baby-catcher. For real. She explained the procedure to him and let him do the job! Except for removing the cord that was wrapped twice around Jackson's neck, he was the official deliverer of his boy! It was pretty amazing! Love MTWC for that!

Props to Sid for the amazing, well edited shot of a seconds-old Jackson! That's Jason holding him!! Right after he 'caught' him!

Right up on mom's belly!

Amazing. Every. Single. Time. I could never get tired of this moment!

Sidney was able to keep the cord-cutting responsibility in the family. I totally love the PGHS stamp and the glitter-blue nail polish along side the surgical implements!

Checking all the vitals. Did I mention I LOVE AF Hospital? They have the best nurses over there!

Yeah Son!!!

Hey! It's my blog....I can post what ever I want!!

Already checking out the world around him!

How cute is this?

I love this. I loved that Sidney came.

So sweet!

Like I said: Nothing in the whole world like these precious moments!

Missed a spot! He was covered in vernix--again, love the blue polish!

I think he is pleased!

Jackson Banning and the hands that delivered him.

The End Part One

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

So Bad, Yet So Good........Like Spike!

Can you think of something off the top of your head that is so enticingly delicious, so irresistible, so mind-boggingly yummy that you cannot resist it? Even though you know that logically it's really quite bad for you? I can. Spike. From Buffy the Vampire Slayer. One of my naughty weaknesses, and hands-down one of my favorite characters of all time, books, T.V, & movies included.

This bread is like Spike. If you indulged too often it would probably take you down. An instant after I took my first bite I knew two things:

#1 I was in Nirvana


#2 This bread could not be made more than 2 or three times a decade. Just kidding. 2 or 3 times a year would probably be acceptable: along with some cholesterol-blocking medication. It is also, however, totally worth it! Just like Spike. I mean it. I love

You start off by mincing your garlic and separating it into four piles.
Cut your loaf of french bread in half, and then in half again the other direction.
Melt 1/4 the butter in a large cast skillet. Add 1/4 the garlic and DON'T LET IT BURN!!! It gets yukky and bitter.
Using one of the bread sections, soak up all the butter and garlic evenly across the surface getting all the garlic bits that you can.
It should look like this. Now set bread aside.

Next, mix your mayo, salt, green onion & cheeses together in a bowl.
Spread 1/4 of cheese mixture onto bread. Repeat with other slices.
Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Slice up and serve. This is a Pioneer Woman recipe. Someone else I can't get enough of. But she's o.k. I mean, you can indulge in PW as much as you want and never be sorry!

Garlic Cheese Bread--from Pioneer Woman

1 loaf french bread
1 cube butter (1/2 cup)
1 1/2 cups colby-jack cheese--shredded
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mayo--don't you DARE use miracle whip or low-fat imposters!!!
4 green onions. white and light green parts minced
dash of salt
4 lg cloves of garlic--minced

Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in large skillet. Add 1/4 minced garlic--DON'T BURN!!! Soak up butter-garlic mixture in one of the slices of french bread. (Remember--cut in half through the short way, then again through the long way.) Mix mayo, salt, cheeses & green onions together. Spread 1/4 of mixture on each fourth of garlic-butter soaked bread. Bake in 425 degree oven until hot and bubbly--about 10-12 minutes.

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