Bake15: Ham and Cheese Puff Pastry Pie (Pie #13)

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Surprise, surprise… another Joy the Baker pie!

This was actually a pie I made the day after Pi Day – just a little while ago.

Step one: purchase store-bought puff pastry. Yeah. I know. This pie is already a piece of cake… Although that seems like an oxymoron.

Joy made hers into more of a pie shape – aka a circle – but the puff pastry I found was a rectangle, so I went with it and think that we actually liked it better. It was easy to cut into squares and easy to hold.

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This pie uses a nice layer of whole-grain mustard… which, yes, I was a little skeptical about. BUT – you can’t even feel the ‘funky’ texture after it cooks.

Then the pie is topped with black forest ham and gruyere cheese.

Then the second puff pastry goes on top and slits are cut.

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After baking, it looks PERFECT and is seriously the best lunch ever.

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Cutting the pie into squares made it seem like just a fancy sandwich… Which it kind of is.

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We all loved this – including Caleb! Even he asked for more (regular, with no grains) mustard to dip the sandwich in. I think this is a great go-to lunch to last a few days or for the whole week, depending on the size of your family. While I did use black forest ham and gruyere based on Joy the Baker’s recommendations, I’m sure various combinations could be used to make lots of different puff pastry pie sandwiches.

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: 10

Mike: 10

This pie is a definite winner and is SO easy to make – you should definitely give it a try!

Father’s Day Weekend in Watkins Glen

 

We spent this past weekend camping at a KOA (Kampground of America) in Watkins Glen, and it was awesome! We stayed in a cabin, which was definitely the right choice with a two-year-old. He had his own twin bed to sleep in, we could control the temperature, and there was a miniature refrigerator. I know – not much of a “real camping” trip, but just what we needed with the little guy.

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He said (over and over and over) how we were going to “play outside all weekend” – which is just what we did.

Friday was a (pretty lame) festival at Seneca Lake, but the weather was nice, and the views were nicer, so we enjoyed ourselves walking around, looking at boats, and listening to an elderly folk music group.

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Saturday was the perfect morning. Watkins Glen State Park opened at 8:30am, and we got there around 9am. With temperatures between 65 and 70 F, our walk through the park and up the 800+ stairs was made easier by the moderate weather and lack of visitors to the park.

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We got to stand under waterfalls, which Caleb thought was super cool.

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We hiked to a picnic area to eat lunch and then play on a playground. There is a shuttle to go back to the main parking lot, but we decided to hike back instead since it was downhill and much easier than the initial trip! Caleb walked partway this time (only near the calmer water!). When the water got rougher, Mike carried him and he just passed out… for the next two hours.

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It was a great weekend, and we will definitely stay at a KOA and go back to Watkins Glen in the future!

Pregnancy Pictures

You may remember that when I was pregnant with Caleb I took week-by-week fruit and vegetable pictures showing what size he was (posted here).

This time, I decided to do something a little different: a downward picture from my point-of-view. I think it will be fun as my belly gets much bigger later in pregnancy.

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In each picture, there is something describing that week of pregnancy. This week, it happens to be the approximate size of the baby and also a craving (donuts… I know…).

The new page is here, and I posted the pictures that I have taken since week three. Hopefully updates will be weekly or bi-weekly – probably depending on how crazy my schedule is! Enjoy :)

Bake15: Cherry Pie (Pie #12)

So remember how I said I had a few pies from Pi Day that I hadn’t posted yet? Well, here’s one… Just a little late. It’s a cherry pie. And gosh was it good!

I’ll be honest: I had never had cherry pie before. Seems weird, right? My family just normally made blueberry ones since my Grandparents have 200 blueberry bushes. Mike loves cherry recipes, though… So I figured a cherry pie had to go on my list. There’s a first time to taste everything!

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I used a Joy the Baker recipe for the most part, but also added a little flare of my own ;) AKA a jar of brandied cherries instead of all fresh (or, I guess in my case, frozen) cherries.
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And then we had to add in a little Pi Day to the top crust. You know – just to make sure we made it clear that this post is over two months late and I couldn’t hide it.

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It bubbled over a little – I must not have pressed the crust together well enough there… but that’s what this super mega awesome drip pan is for!

And – voilá! Delicious pie #12.

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Joy’s recipe formed the base – but I left out the almond extract (so I wouldn’t die), and substituted a cup of fresh cherries for a small jar of homemade brandied cherries. I liked the flavor a lot – the brandy wasn’t overwhelming.

This pie was gone before the clock struck midnight. I think that means it’s a win!

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: 10

Mike: 9.5

Grilled Lemon Chicken & Zucchini Skewers

It’s finally warm outside!!! Thank God. Now it’s time to GRILL.

I saw this recipe on Pinterest and thought it looked pretty amazing. So, we changed it up based on what we had on hand, and it turned out really well!

The perfect late spring / early summer meal.

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French fries on the side were perfect. I added a touch of vinegar alongside the normal olive oil that I use to bake the fries and they were so crispy and awesome!! Totally my new go-to way of baking fries.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 zucchini, halved and cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 3 lemons, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 onion, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano

Instructions:

  1. Cut chicken into 1 to 1 1/2″ pieces.
  2. Combine olive oil, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano in a medium bowl. Coat chicken with mixture.
  3. Spray skewers with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Add chicken, onions, lemons (folded in half), and zucchini to skewers.
  5. Grill chicken for about 15 minutes until cooked through.

Bake15: Skillet Blueberry Apple Pie (Pie #11)

I am SO BEHIND on pie posts. Like, three pies behind… Including some from around Pi Day, which was over a month ago. Oops. Better late than never, right?

So I’ll be honest: I made this skillet pie so long ago that I can’t find the recipe I used, and apparently I didn’t pin it on Pinterest. But, it wasn’t the best recipe, so not a huge deal.

I absolutely LOVE the concept of skillet pie. Probably because I am slightly obsessed with my cast iron skillet. If you don’t have one, you need one. Put it on your birthday list ASAP.

The great part about this pie is that it requires one dish: your skillet. You cook the blueberries and apples in a bit of butter, add your spices (in this case, aka why the recipe was horrible, was a TABLESPOON of nutmeg. I thought I’d follow the recipe against my better judgement. Never again).

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So then you end up with this bright purple filling.

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And you literally just lay your pie crust right on top. So. Stinkin. Easy. (Even a caveman could do it!)

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Brush with a beaten egg and place cinnamon sugar on top, and it’s all ready for the oven!

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And then you end up with a super easy-to-make pie. Seriously, the crust was AMAZING on this one. It cooked went on perfectly, cooked perfectly, etc. Unfortunately, that darn nutmeg made this pie not our favorite.

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I do believe that there will be another skillet pie recipe coming, because I love the concept and want to try it again. We’ll see when we get there ;) And I have to catch up on all of the other pies first…!

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: 3.5

Mike: 2 (He REALLY didn’t like the nutmeg)