Even though Sam is only 3 months old, I decided it was time that he get used to the great outdoors. His first camping trip is scheduled for August! Here’s hoping he likes dirt and decides to sleep through the night- God bless the other campers, in advance, for putting up with a noisy baby.
Sam oversaw my weeding efforts and Gilligan helped clean up the weeds by throwing them around the yard.
Our poor, neglected garden. Between the heat and the infant, it’s hard a rough go this summer.
Sam worked on his core strength while Gilligan gazed longingly at all the flowers he wanted to trample. His on backyard probation since he ripped Nick’s thriving grapevine out of the ground. Naughty doggie.
I was clearly more amused than Sam by our backyard adventures.
Found out, rather quickly, that someone is not amused by the hose. So we sat on it instead. Take that, hose!
This week I found two coupons for cereal- each for $1 off 2 boxes of General Mills cereals. I combined the coupon with a deal at Star Market that gave $6 off 4 boxes of General Mills cereals. Total cost for 1 giant box of Cheerios, 2 boxes of Wheat Chex, and 1 box of Peanut Butter Cheerios (a girl has to have some fun!)= $16. 47. Price paid= $8.47. Love! While we don’t normally eat a ton of cereal, my sister and niece are coming up next week and I hear wee ones with teeth love Cheerios. So excited to see them!!
I also had a coupon for formula. Despite my best efforts, I wasn’t able to convince them to give me the best deal, but I still saved $5 on 2 cans. And I got to annoy all the other people in the express line while I sent the assistant manager to double check the price! Sorry, folks.
Plus, he already likes carrots!
Since we brought Sam home, we’ve been inundated with delicious food. Honeybaked ham and turkey breast from Nick’s work, homemade sauce from my father in law and good friend, delicious casserole and fruit salad from a friend, bacon pasta and chocolate covered strawberries from Nick’s aunt. We even got a Panera gift card from friends- a virtual casserole dish, indeed!
We’ve been spoiled, but I’m ready to start getting back in the kitchen. Even though I’m not getting a lot of sleep, I’ve been trying hard to maintain some sense of normalcy. The house is (mostly) dog-hair free due to frequent vacuuming and I do at least one load of laundry a day.
Today my mother in law discovered that Sam loves his swing so I foresee some more time to get into the kitchen.
Here are some recipes I can’t wait to try…
And maybe a few from one of new cookbooks, Giada De Laurentiis’s Everyday Pasta.
To get myself back into the cooking spirit, I’ve been reading Crunch Time by Diane Mott Davidson. I love these books- nothing like a caterer/sleuth to keep this cook entertained!
I’m in the process of converting all of my favorite treats to whole wheat/whole grain. I prefer the nutty taste and chewy texture- the health benefits aren’t bad either.
That’s not to say that this is a healthy pie by any means. It has butter and cream cheese and sugar and cornstarch. But, all things in moderation, right?
I’m still working on perfecting the pie and pie crust. The filling in this pie really holds its shape- probably due to the cornstarch. I plan on experimenting with tapioca and flour to see what kind of filling they produce. Plus, I just LOVE tapioca. In any form.
The crust isn’t going to blow anyone away- it’s not overly flaky, but probably could be if you’re a better crust handler than me. I must get a pastry blender!
It has a nice crisp crust, fresh out of the oven, and the nutty flavor of the whole wheat flour balances well against the sweet-tart fruit.
Note: The only difference between this and the Blood of a Terrorist Pie is the top- use a crumb topping for BoaT Pie.
Pie crust isn’t hard, but it does take a little bit of forethought. Combine all of your ingredients in a freezer safe bag and freeze for at least 1 hour before preparing. Some people freeze their bowls and utensils, too. I’m too lazy for that.
Now for the liquid. Some people use ice water, Cooks Illustrated recommends chilled vodka, others use plain milk. I decided to add some flavor with this vanilla almond milk. Plus, I didn’t have any of the others.
Add 4-5 tbsp of almond milk- just enough to bring the dough into a loose ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour before rolling. You could also freeze- if wrapped a bit better, or refrigerate overnight.
To check if your crust is rolled enough, put your pie tin down on top. You’ll want it to be at least an inch or two wider. My pie tin has holes in the bottom to ensure proper browning. It also means you can’t make a crumb crust without some finagling.
Bake for about an hour. Yum.
Mixed Berry Pie Filling
1 16 oz. bag of frozen mixed berries, thawed
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Combine all ingredients and stir to mix and release juices of berries. Fills 1 9-inch pie.
Whole Wheat Pie Crust
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, spooned into cup and leveled
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 oz. unsalted butter, diced into 1/4 inch cubes
4 oz. cream cheese, diced into 1/4 inch cubes
4-5 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Combine all ingredients in a freezer-safe bag or container. Freeze at least 1 hour before mixing.
Remove frozen ingredients from freezer and place in medium bowl. Using your fingers, work butter and cream cheese into flour until there are pea-sized crumbs. Add almond milk until a loose ball forms. Wrap ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Roll out dough on a surface floured with all-purpose flour- make sure to flour your hands and rolling pin, too.
Bake filled pie at 350 for about an hour.
I had some leftover strawberries hanging out in the fridge this morning that were crying out to be used before they left the world of edible food. I made some strawberry cupcakes last week and didn’t use quite the whole 2 pounds. That recipe still needs some tweaking, but this one is ready for you right now. Simple, satisfying baked goods are within reach- even on a weekday morning.
Since it’s just the two of us, I’ve been trying to halve recipes and make sweet treats on a smaller scale. I give a lot of what we eat away, and I’m sure my neighbors enjoy it, but there’s something lovely about just making enough for your family.
If you wanted to make this a simple dessert, you could increase the sugar to 1/2 cup and the strawberries to 3/4 cup. Split and serve these with whipped cream for instant strawberry shortcake! Strawberry season is upon us- enjoy!
Strawberry Buttermilk Scones
Adapted from How to Cook Like Your Grandmother
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup buttermilk (or scant half cup regular milk + 1/2 tbsp apple cider or white vinegar/lemon juice)
1/2 cup strawberries, cleaned and diced
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk to combine. Add the canola oil and stir to create a crumbly mixture.
Add the strawberries and buttermilk and stir until combined. It’s ok if it’s a bit lumpy.
On a lightly greased cookie sheet, use a 1/3 cup scoop to measure out 5 scones.
Bake 15 minutes. Cool on a cookie rack.