Friday, December 30, 2011

Top 11 of 2011!

Top 11 of 2011!

Hello! I'm back!
I missed this blog of mine, but I had an amazing Christmas and got to spend some much needed time with family and friends. (I also bought a super duper awesome new camera that I'm so excited to take pictures of food with! I'm such a weirdo.) But now, New Year's is creeping up on me! 2011 has been such a crazy year. I've had a bunch of acting work, I got a new day job, dealt with another case of roommate drama, STARTED THIS BLOG, Michael moved here, we got our amazing apartment, and it feels like my life has started this year! (Here's hoping next year sees a ring ;) )

Most of my favorite food bloggers have been doing lists of the top viewed and of their favorite recipes. I love the idea, so here's my round up! First your favorites, then mine. :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ohio for Christmas!

My house back in Ohio (this is only partially decorated). Excuse the old cellphone picture.

Today I am getting on the 12:20 PM Megabus to Pittsburgh (where I will then be picked up by my mom and grandma and driven 2 hours back home.)

I am SO excited-I shall be spending time with my family and very best friends, and just enjoying the holiday.
And let's not forget that Christmas is this Sunday!
(but also- Happy Hanukkah to everyone!)
I'm going to wake up early, open presents, see lots of loved ones and eat!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mini Apple Pies-Take 2: Holiday Recipe Exchange: Week 15 (Pie)

Mini Apple Pies

Now, the moment you've all been waiting for-the ridiculously easy, boyfriend-approved (which, trust me-for apple pie-that's big) mini apple pies!

I made these for Michael for Thanksgiving. I was making pumpkin pies, which he does not like, and I didn't want him to not have a dessert, too! The problem with making an entire apple pie is, if it's just for him, he has a hard time finishing it before it "goes bad". So, I had the brilliant idea that mini apple pies might be just the ticket!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Perfect All-Butter Pie Crust-Holiday Recipe Exchange: Week 15 (Pie) UPDATED PHOTOS

Can I tell you something?

I used to be afraid of homemade pie crust.

I had two reasons.
  1. My mom always ranted about what a hassle it was, and how store bought is just as good without ALL that hard work.
  2. My boyfriend's mom (my Mama Maria) is, like, the queen of pie. Her pie crust is spoken of in reverent tones. So, you know, intimidating.
For my birthday, Mama Maria got me (in addition to a lovely apron) the new edition of The Betty Crocker Cookbook. Until that point I hadn't even bothered to look for a pie crust recipe, because I knew only hers would do. However, she informed me her recipe was in that book-yay!

Fast forward a month (because I got my present early) to Thanksgiving. I was making 3 pumpkin pies for myself (and, I thought, Brandon) and some mini apple pies for Michael (recipe coming soon!). Well, first of all--when I found the recipe for the mini apple pies, it had the crust recipe for it too, and it had a way for me to make it with a food processor, and it was all butter (no shortening-thank God! I hate shortening. I don't have any and I don't want to get any.) So I was pretty excited about that, actually. But, for the pumpkin pies, I had decided to do what my mom did and just buy Pillsbury pre-made crusts.

Baking day came. Everything was ready. I had just mixed up the pumpkin filling. Then I took out the crusts and....realized they were the wrong kind. My mom's instructions hadn't been quite specific enough. So, I was stuck with these two pre-made pie crusts that were in their own little tins (thusly needing no pie plate) and were FAR too small for the amount of filling. I knew I'd need at least one more pie. So-I did what I had to do. I looked in the Betty Crocker Cookbook-but, unfortunately, there was no pie crust recipe that didn't have at least some shortening. I googled, in search for an all-butter pie crust recipe I could use. And I found one. And I used the food processor method I had read about for the mini apple pies to make it super easy! In the end-my oops was a happy HAPPY accident! With that extra pie crust, the filling filled all three pies up PERFECTLY. And after baking it was obvious which pie was the prettiest (and after tasting it was obvious which pie was the tastiest). 

But there was one more hurdle. Michael's the one who likes fruit pies. He's the one who, more often than not, would be wanting the pies that had this sort of crust. Would it compare to his mom's?

Answer=Yes! He proclaimed the crust was just as good! 

Yay! I don't have to use shortening! 

And neither do you--use this recipe. Because, seriously, with the food processor method, I don't know what my mom was talking about. This is in no way difficult, and it is definitely worth it!

(Holiday Recipe Exchange posts: Week 1 Parts 1 and 2, Week 3, Week Six, Week Seven, Week Nine , and Week 10 Parts 1 and 2,Week 11 Parts 1 and 2, Week 12 Part 1 and 2 and Week 14 Parts 1 and 2)

Perfect All-Butter Pie Crust

Very slightly adapted from Food For My Family

Perfect All-Butter Pie Crust

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Caramel Corn-Take 2: Holiday Recipe Exchange: Week 14 (Holiday Entertaining)

Caramel Corn
When you think about nostalgic, classic images of Christmas-one that pops into my head is of people decorating their trees with apples and pine cones and strands of popcorn. Something about popcorn just goes with the holidays (and...admittedly....I just love popcorn always. But I digress.) Up until recently, I wasn't a huge fan of caramel corn. I'm unsure why. I think because I'm generally not a caramel fan, so I assumed. But last summer, while I was filming You Can't Kill Stephen King in Maine, we were provided with free popcorn by Michele's Totally Awesome Gourmet Popcorn. I became an addict. So, when I recently saw this recipe on Sing for Your Supper, I knew it was time to try my hand at making some on my own. It was so amazing I can't even say. Michael had his work friends impressed and he and I couldn't stop munching on this stuff! This is also perfect for holiday entertaining-put out a bowl of this caramel corn, at any party really, and that bowl will disappear within moments. Now go! Make this and do some holiday stuff. I'm currently watching some of my favorite Christmas movies (on right now is a TV movie-"Once Upon A Christmas"). :)

(Holiday Recipe Exchange posts: Week 1 Parts 1 and 2, Week 3, Week Six, Week Seven, Week Nine , and Week 10 Parts 1 and 2,Week 11 Parts 1 and 2, Week 12 Part 1 and 2 and Week 14 Part 1)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Just Chicken Pot Pie-Holiday Recipe Exchange: Week 14 (Holiday Entertaining)

Just Chicken Pot Pie
I'm apparently hopeless at entertaining. The last two times I tried...well...let's just say very few/no one showed up. Perhaps someday this will change. But for now, I'm resigning myself to just having things for Michael and I. Which, actually, is fine with me :). Anyway, this week for The Holiday Recipe Exchange we're supposed to post recipes for Holiday Entertaining. Since I can't really speak with experience on this, I'll post things that I imagine I could/would prepare if I were to entertain at the holidays. This pie seemed like something that would be really great for just such a thing. I've made this twice now (first with a Betty Crocker mix for the crust and the second time with my new go-to pie crust recipe, which I will share with you soon). Michael and I both aren't huge fans of the traditional pot pie. Maybe it's too many vegetables. I don't know. When I stumbled upon this recipe, dubbed "Just Chicken" Pot Pie-I knew maybe this could be something good. And oh boy it is good! The crust tastes buttery and delicious and pairs perfectlt with this insanely delicious, unmistakably chicken tasting, filling. It's hot and filling and is so perfect for these cold months (that, admittedly, the cold has just now started to kick in up here in NY). I know if you served this at a holiday party/function, all the guests would be in love with you (well...unless they're vegetarians)-and that's a promise!
Just Chicken Pot Pie

(Holiday Recipe Exchange posts: Week 1 Parts 1 and 2, Week 3, Week Six, Week Seven, Week Nine , and Week 10 Parts 1 and 2,Week 11 Parts 1 and 2, and Week 12 Part 1 and 2)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Easy-NO ICE CREAM MAKER-2 Ingredient Ice Cream-Take 2: Holiday Recipe Exchange: Week 11 (Vanilla/Vanilla Beans)

Ice cream is okay.

I mean, it's good. I like it. It's just...
I could have chocolate instead.

Don't get me wrong, sometimes that mood hits me and I really want some ice cream like right that second. But in general, there are desserts I'd prefer (like this or this.)

The boy, however, he loves him some ice cream.
It's a part of that whole "refreshing" obsession he seems to have.

Anyway, I'm becoming a big fan of having as much of stuff I make be as homemade as possible. 

Then I saw something about ways to make ice cream with only 2 ingredients (plus mix-ins). Then I saw it again. I was intrigued. Not only because of the short ingredient list, but also-it requires no ice cream maker of any sort. Which is good, because I don't have one (still holding out on getting that KitchenAid Stand Mixer someday, then the ice cream attachment :P)

I had a recipe for a mixed berry milkshake I had been planning to make for Michael (like the nice girlfriend I am). And I decided that was the perfect time to attempt this ice cream.

I only needed vanilla ice cream for the milkshake (as opposed to the various different flavors I'd read about)-so I decided adding some vanilla extract to the base would create what I was looking for.
It worked!
It's awesome. Doesn't taste different than any other ice cream. 
I'm super excited to attempt the different, fun kinds!

(oh, and the boy approved)

(Holiday Recipe Exchange posts: Week 1 Parts 1 and 2, Week 3, Week Six, Week Seven, Week Nine , and Week 10 Parts 1 and 2,Week 11 Parts 1 and 2, and Week 12 Part 1)

2 Ingredient Vanilla Ice Cream

Easy-NO ICE CREAM MAKER-2 Ingredient Ice Cream

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Supposedly "Right Way To Make" Cinnamon Toast-Holiday Recipe Exchange: Week 12 (Vanilla/Vanilla Beans)

I had a great weekend with my mom :). Spending some time with her made me think about when I was little, it brings me right back to childhood. Whenever I had an upset tummy (or was just in the mood) my mom would make me cinnamon sugar toast. And it always tasted great. It was comforting. Well, fast forward a lot of years to me in my food blog obsession (a phase that is obviously not going away :P) I was going through all of the recipes on The Pioneer Woman (as I always do when I find a new food blog) and found her very passionate post about making cinnamon toast "the right way". She then gave examples of 4 ways you can make it. And her absolute WORST method-was the one I had so fondly grown up with. I was shocked. I had no idea apparently I'd been eating inferior cinnamon toast all along. So I decided to try out her superior method. And....
I's good. There's nothing wrong with it. It's just....
I still like mine the old fashioned way.
But! This is pretty tasty-and since The Holiday Recipe Exchange is featuring vanilla, and that is this recipe's secret ingredient (and one that, in my opinion, was actually a little overpowering in this), I thought now was the time to share my findings with you and let you decide for yourself how you like your cinnamon toast.

And if you'd be ever so sweet to share your opinions, you know I'd just love you forever :)

(Other Holiday Recipe Exchange posts: Week 1 Parts 1 and 2, Week 3, Week Six, Week Seven, Week Nine , and Week 10 Parts 1 and 2 and Week 11 Parts 1 and 2)

Cinnamon Toast "The Right Way"

The Supposedly "Right Way To Make" Cinnamon Toast

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Recipe for a Great Weekend

I know she looks like a teen mom here-but she was 22, I promise. Just looks young :P
 My mommy's here.
I'm so excited.
We're going to go see NYC all Christmas-y.
I hope you have a great weekend too :)
I love this pic of us. 

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I love it when you try & want to share recipes you found here! Please just rewrite in your own words, use your own photos, & always link back to me! Thanks!

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