Bake15: Pear Pie with Red Wine and Rosemary (Pie #1)

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Pie #1 is baked! I found this Pear Pie with Red Wine and Rosemary on BonAppetit, and chose it because:

(1) The flavor was really interesting

(2) The method of pie-crust-making was very different than my normal (grandma’s) method

(3) I have never made a pie where the sauce is made first, and then tossed with the fruit to create the filling

(4) This pie uses the super-intimidating-to-me lattice structure on top that I have never tried before!

So first… This crust!

“Pulse granulated sugar, salt, and 3 cups flour in a food processor to combine. Add butter and shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining.”

I have never made a crust where a food processor was used to blend the dry ingredients with the butter/shortening. But it was awesome! It worked so well. Obviously. Because a food processor is a lot better at blending things by itself than I am with a fork.

Secondly, the egg mixture, which was added after the food processor step, contained apple cider vinegar. Yeah, apple cider vinegar in pie crust.

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It just gets mixed right in there. And apparently it makes the pie crust amazing.

The end result is eventually two disks of dough that need to be refrigerated for at least an hour. Here’s where the filling gets started!

Thanks, CSA, for the huge bunch of pears and for making this pie possible.

After slicing for a million years, the pears can finally be sliced and put aside in a bowl. Then you just have to hope that they are patient enough to wait for everything else to be done.

Because now it’s time to make the sauce. It’s thick. And it smells really good.

While making this sauce with sugar, cornstarch, flour, cinnamon, and wine, one may realize, “Hey – I just opened a bottle of really good wine. I should probably have a glass of that.”

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Which is exactly what I did. So there ya go – wine time. The best part of cooking a pie with wine? You get to drink the wine.

So fast forward 30 minutes to when the sauce is chilled – it gets blended in with the pears to create a kind of odd-looking filling… Probably just because it’s purple.

At this point, your pie dough should have also been chilled for an hour or more. As my lovely mother taught me, you should always roll out your pie dough on wax paper so that you can easily transfer the pie dough to the dish and peel of the wax paper. It’s flawless.

Now everything is finally coming together!! The filling is in, and it is put on a baking sheet for cooking in the oven later. And now is where you might start praying a little prayer that you can make a nice lattice structure on the pie.

Okay, but seriously, making a lattice wasn’t that hard at all. I’m not sure why I thought it was so intimidating! I guess just because it looks pretty fancy.

Then comes the part where the beautiful aromas come out of the oven for an hour and a half and your stomach starts saying, “Hey, I want some pie.”

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Look at that beauty! Okay, so it bubbled through the lattice a little bit, but that’s fine. Whatever. I’m no Bon Appetit baker and photographer; I’m just a girl makin’ some pies.

The worst part about this pie was that we had to wait FOUR HOURS for it to cool until we could eat it. I’m trying really hard to actually follow the instructions, since Mike always yells at me for not doing everything as exactly listed by the recipe. I mean, what’s the fun in that? ;)

The pie review:

Crust: I really liked this crust. It was a totally new way of making pie crust, but I loved the food processor step. The dough was really easy to work with, especially after being chilled for an hour.

Filling: The method of making the sauce and blending with the pears was new to me. But, it worked well to avoid having a runny pie filling. I think that it gave a really great wine flavor to the pie since the wine was boiled and blended with sugar and spices (and everything nice). Have you ever had wine jelly, or any other non-liquid wine products from a winery? The flavor was similar to those items.

Overall: This is a really unique pie, and great for the Fall. I could see this as a perfect Thanksgiving pie with a glass of wine after dinner. The lattice ensures that it’s not too heavy, and you can actually eat a normal-sized piece without feeling like a total glutton.

The pie ratings:

The pie rating scale is a Mike-determined scale from 1 – 10, with a 5 being the “classic, homemade apple pie”, and 10 being the highest rating.

Emily: 7

Mike: 6.5

Not too shabby for pie numero uno!

Bake15: Pies

Alright… I am starting a new project. It’s called Bake15: Pies. Bake15: Pies is a project to ‘master’ piemaking. I have my grandma’s recipe for crust and chart on pie fillings, which have honestly never let me down, but I am ready to branch out and see what other pies are waiting to be made!

Why Bake15? I am baking 15 pies. It seemed like a good number – manageable, but not too few where it’s not really a “challenge”. I plan on reusing the “Bake15″ again in the future when the pies are made and I am ready to move onto something new!

Do I have a timeframe or end date? Kind of. Less than a year, and hopefully by next summer. This is probably a project for when I’m stuck inside during the Rochester winter.

Will I eat all of the pies? No; I don’t want to weigh 400 lbs. I will try all of them, of course, with Mike. Pies are meant for sharing and bringing to dinner parties and spending time with your neighbors.

Now, I just need pie recipes!!! (And maybe people to bake with?) So… if ya got ‘em, send ‘em. Sweet. Tart. Fruit. Savory. Meat. Meringue… Send your favorite or a recipe you’ve been waiting to try. In the meantime, I’ll be rummaging through Pinterest and Foodgawker looking for unique recipes. Just remember: no almonds, and no bananas – I can’t eat either!

Oh, and also, I mayyyy have already made Pie #1. And consumed piece #1 right before writing this post. But details on that will come later. For now, leave your thoughts and your pie recipes in the comments!

Toddler Activity: Coloring Letters to Mail

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Some days, I have a lot of work to do. As in, this past week and probably next week as well. While it’s super easy to turn the TV on and plop Caleb on the couch all day (and, okay, it happens probably for an hour or two when I have busier days), I’d prefer if he wasn’t zoning out during his entire wake time! This just means that Caleb needs a few more independent activities to do… And that is totally okay! He’s a pretty independent little guy ;) And kids need some freedom and time to spend by themselves.

Lately, like most kids, he loves coloring. But as a Mom, I can easily get way too many pictures that I wouldn’t be able to display. We do have an art wall for him, but let’s face it – I don’t really want an entire art hallway. Sorry, Caleb.

We’ve found that a great alternative to coloring on a big sheet of paper is to color smaller notecards and send them to friends and family members. That way, you get to share your kiddo’s artwork, and keep the grandparents (etc) happy! ;) Caleb is also happy because he can it by me while I work.

Usually, I let him go to town, then sign and date the cards.

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Voilá! Mini artwork for the fridge, made with love. (Possibly coming to your fridge soon).

Toy for Tot: Pom Pom Ball Sorting

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How to keep your toddler busy in the kitchen while you make dinner, featuring a bowl of pom pom balls and an empty egg carton.

IMG_4876Kids love putting objects into various containers… especially when there are 18 individual little buckets! They also like to try to eat the poms and dump all of the poms out… but that’s the nature of any toddler toy :)

IMG_4883 IMG_4892Sometimes, they may even be able to get a handsome hat as a result of playtime.

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But hey, as long as you can make this delicious garlic cream sauce and get your pizza in the oven, who’s complaining? He’s happy. And all you have to do is spend a few bucks on some pom pom balls! Or find some other object you have around the house to sort. Easy peasy!

Photo Post: Joy the Baker’s Baking Bootcamp (Apple Pie Biscuits)

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I need to work on my photography. A lot. So, every once in awhile, I’ll have a photo post with just a few photos! This is from some Apple Pie Biscuits that I made today from Joy The Baker’s Baking Bootcamp. They were so easy, and we all liked them a lot!

I also kind of like toying around with the faded-photo trend. Although I need to work on that as well.

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But sometimes food pictures just need full color.

 

These were really simple to make and really delicious! Caleb saw them cooling on the stove and would accept nothing less than to have one as a bedtime snack :) I also may have eaten one or two as a bedtime snack…

7 Days of Gratitude

Alright, so I was tagged twice in the “7 days of gratitude” dealio on Facebook (hi, Amanda and Sheila!)… But wasn’t totally feeling it. I do the #100daysofhappiness on Instagram, and that has been awesome for feeling grateful! So instead, I decided to do a little post.

I have so much stuff to be grateful for – holy cow. So I guess I will just list the things that have really popped up over the last week…

Friends who can bake.

My community group and the awesome friendships that have come out of that.

All of the amazing friends I made in college whom I can SnapChat ugly faces to and be friends with even from far away.

Caleb. He just lights up my life every day. And I love his laugh.

Michael. Just, everything. All personality traits. His neverending patience and his ability to skillfully do pretty much anything are so, so, so great. His ability to be friends with everyone and love everyone. Everything. He’s the best human of all the humans.

My ridiculous dog who won’t come inside because all of the squirrels are out collecting food for the winter.

My mom, who stands up for herself, gets stuff done, and never ceases to be an outstanding role model… all while putting others first.

My dad, who constantly shows me what integrity means in his hard work and dedication to his job and to our family.

My brother, who is crazy and awesome and can lift heavy things and sing all the bass songs. And who makes pretty darn good decisions for a junior in high school.

For our house and the huge yard we have to run around in.

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Living close to in-laws who love us, and love Caleb and have family parties whenever possible.

A mother-in-law who is willing to go out of her way to help us whenever she can. Despite hip surgery. And a torn retina.

A father-in-law who can literally fix anything – and is totally willing to help us out fixing up our house.

Mike’s little sister Sky, whom Caleb absolutely adores.

The CSA, which gives us enough tomatoes for 271 people for the year.

The network of mamas from MOPS who understand and have been there.

My job, which I have been at for a year! I still absolutely love it.

My co-workers, each of whom is totally unique, amazing, and knowledgable.

Easy access to doctors, who can expedite the whole “getting healthy” process when I’m sick.

You. Because you are amazing and lovely and you mean something in my life and in the lives of many others. (And just the way you are).

Jesus, who seriously has given me such a good perspective on this life and made me realize that everything is something to be grateful for, and that I should be content with where I am at, no matter the situation.

Now that I’m done with my speech, I will accept my award. Thank you.

But seriously, think about how many things in your life are amazing and how many things you have to be grateful for. The end!

This post brought to you by… HTML and CSS!

I can make a paragraph

With different heading sizes

Which is kind of awesome

I can also italicize and bold text.

And I can make a list:

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Or a numbered list

  1. Item A
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And look – a table!

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All of this is made possible by…Girl Develop It
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Oh yeah – I totally coded all of that! Booyah! This is made much easier using the free course materials from Girl Develop It. Great resources if you’ve been thinking of doing some basic coding. I can already do more than I could with the “Visual” side of WordPress – and this is Day 1!

So now you totally get to see everything I do – sorry (not sorry)!

Making my Home: A checklist

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Have you ever thought about the influence you have over your home? How your actions, reactions, words and gestures reflect to the back of the minds of your little ones, your significant other, and your visiting friends?

There is an atmosphere about your house. There is an aura that makes your house a home, and you play a large role in creating that home.

Everything that you do and say either builds up or tears down your house. So, it is vitally important to take inventory of how you are making your home.

Building it up…

-Am I using encouraging words?

-Am I keeping the house organized to meet my family’s needs?

-Am I really listening when others speak?

Tearing it down…

-Am I scrambling to find a dinner recipe at 5pm and creating a stressful environment?

-Am I complaining incessantly and causing strife?

-Am I not making quiet time for myself to feel refreshed and centered?

There are so many considerations, and I can probably put a million reasons under “Tearing it down”, but let’s start with five maximum.

Then, choose one Build it up to expand upon, and one Tear it down to improve upon.

Your home is already looking better :)

Download here: Making my home

Men’s Shirt to Skirt

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I’ve seen tutorials on Pinterest for awhile now about how to convert a men’s button-down shirt into a skirt… and finally decided to try it! Mike had a shirt that didn’t fit quite right, so I used this (incredibly vague) tutorial and pretty much winged it. IMG_4437   For the most part, I like how it turned out! I’d love to try it with a patterned shirt next. IMG_4421 IMG_4426   Although it’s definitely not perfect (and for sure a little wrinkly… ;) ), the color is great and it works for a first “free-handed” try at making a skirt out of a men’s shirt. IMG_4440   I’m convinced that I like this style enough, so maybe the next try will be another Thrift Store Clothing Makeover!