Tuesday, August 31, 2010
First it requires preparation. I made these pies last week and went ahead and made an extra batch of pie pastry then. I do that a lot. Make once, eat twice. I might make cook two pork loins but freeze one to eat as a quick meal later. Do the same with pie dough. And take it a step further, divide the dough (one recipe makes two crusts- top and bottom) into individual crusts. Double wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze for up to two months. Defrost in fridge for a few hours before using. Put the effort in one time and reap the rewards for much longer.
I also use frozen fruit a lot. Really with one exception, apples, I am totally peachy with using frozen fruit. I will only ever use fresh apples. But everything else is nearly as good frozen, either from a store or that I freeze myself. You just need to defrost the fruit first. It's as simple as dumping the fruit into a bowl and letting it defrost in the freezer while you are at work.
OK, so now that we know some of my prep ahead secrets, here is how I made this fabulous pie in five minutes.
In medium bowl, mix about 4-5 cups of defrosted or fresh fruit (this is a guess- you can make it as large or small as you want), a few tablespoons of sugar (depending on fruit sweetness- mine was sweet so I only used about two), a dash of salt and about one tablespoon corn starch.
Roll out a single pie crust that you defrosted that morning. (See my step by step tips here.)
Mix up an egg in a small dish. If you don't have an egg, you can easily substitute milk, cream or even water. Brush the folds where the pastry overlaps with the egg. This acts as a glue. Brush the top crust with egg too. Sprinkle damp crust with sugar to give it a shine.
I used a half bag of peaches and a small bag of organic strawberries. A fabulous flavor combination. And while the baking takes a while. It took five minutes or less to roll out one crust, mix the fruit and dump it in the middle. A great summer treat. Especially if you are like me and trying to hold on to every last skinny minute of summer.
Monday, August 30, 2010
It's coming soon! To your local book shelf. And right here with a giveaway! So stay tuned. And pop on True Prep's Facebook page to get the most up-to-date details. I am so excited to finally get this gem in my hot little hands as it promises to be a fabulously fun read!!
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Years ago I was googling something about monograms. I don't remember what exactly but I know I used the word monogram in a google search. And found Monogram Momma. I had no earthly idea what this website was but I was hooked on her great tutorials. I don't think I had any clue what a blog was at that point. I thought it was a craft website of sorts. But then over a week or two, I popped on rather frequently and realized she talked about her life a lot too. What was this mysterious website thingy?! Then I noticed that she had links to other places (or she did back then). Stores perhaps, I thought. I am always on the hunt for fabulous grosgrain ribbon so I clicked on Grosgrain Garage. Assuming it was some sort of magical grosgrain ribbon shop. It wasn't. Still isn't, though she does sell some very fabulous things. It was another website thingy. Honestly I didn't understand what I was looking at. I found Mel and Cloggsy and others, several of whom no longer blog. Eventually I realized these were blogs. It took me a loooog time to figure that out though.
So after reading for a few months, I decided I wanted to play with the cool kids too. Like everyone else, it was slow going at first. I never knew what to talk about and was nervous as all get out. I didn't know anyone who blogged so I figured no one would ever find this thing. I gave it a terrible name if I hoped to stay anonymous though. Ha. So a few months into blogging, I finally confessed of my sins...I tease...but I did finally tell someone. My Bestie. She thought I was nuts at first. But of course read. And got hooked. And started her own blog shortly thereafter. That's how we roll. It was the same way for Myspace- which we have both since abandoned for Facebook of course. Though while that subject is on the table, there were some things I liked a lot better about Myspace than Facebook. Moving on...
The thing about me remaining anonymous was of course a bust after I told Bestie but we both did a fairly good job at keep our blogs between us for a bit. Until eventually some of our friends mentioned that they read our blogs. Which freaked me out. Not that I said anything terrible. But I still felt very nekkid. It took me a long time to come around to people I know in real life reading this little blog. It's so dumb sometimes. And I whine. And I sew. A lot. All of my dorkiest things are displayed on the blog. Geeze, come to think of it, why do y'all even read?! But a year or so ago I came around to the idea and now I don't really care. For the most part. Sort of. No, with one exception (the kids I advise), I don't care. And if they found out, I would probably be fine. I hope. I don't know why they would read anyway. Oh but I also started telling people about the blog. I think all of my friends at least know about it. Most don't read it, even though they know. Which is fine. Except when I have to repeat a story four times. And then I just want to say, please just go read my blog.
I've thought of quitting 100 times. I've thought of going private, starting a new (and truly anonymous) blog, turning off comments and deleting old posts. But in the end, I am still here and still plugging away. I used to worry about writing a fabulous blog post so much that they all turned out flat and boring. Now I just type. Usually add some photos. And still read many of the first set of blogs that got me started. Except now we are all on FB too. And I've met a few fabulous bloggers in person. One has even become a dear friend- like in person friend who I see regularly. That blog post is coming soon. But this blog shows the truth about me. Maybe not the whole truth. A girl has to keep a few things private and personal. And really really wants to avoid the nasty comments that have come her way in the past. But this is me. Win, loose or draw. And I honestly cannot imagine my life without this blog. It's part creative inspiration, part recipe box, part secret shopper, part drug (Lilly Pulitzer) dealer, part circle of best friends, part diary, part mass email to keep my IRL friends up to date in my life and part therapy session. It's a little online sorority where we pop our collars and serve cocktails and make pie in monogrammed aprons that we bought on a budget. I love it here!
So tell me, what brought you to Blogville?
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Oh you thought I found a man a got married? No, no silly gooses! But figuring out technology all on my very own is a mighty big accomplishment for this technology idiot. So, all hope is not lost. It turns out I can do some things in life. And seeing as how I need to print some stuff out, I'm all smiles!
Oh and I also had a great dinner. The salad from Target that has the chicken and dried cherries and walnuts and goat cheese. Have y'all had that? OMG so good. I'm serious. The next time you are running errands, it makes a great lunch or dinner.
This is me focusing on the positive. The happy little things in life. Like Target salad and printing meeting agendas.
Friday, August 27, 2010
This week was a milestone week for me. Not in a good way though. Or not in my opinion anyway. Tick tock tick tock is all I flippin' hear. Loudly. Constantly.
There is not a day that passes lately when I am unaware of the clock. The clock I didn't even know I had until I was 29 years old. But I went from not knowing it existed to being keenly aware of it every waking moment of my day (and some sleeping moments too).
I soft of feel like I am being punished for not wanting to be a mother earlier in life. But come on, y'all know what my childhood was like. It's not like I really knew that kind of love. Plus, coming to this conclusion at this point in my life, seemingly out of nowhere, has to be a sign that it really is from my heart of hearts. Not something I would agree to do to fulfil any sort of role. Though I am totally not the role filling kind of girl anyway. And not that everyone who grew up know they wanted to be a parent is filling any sort of role. I'm just saying that for me, it came out of the blue sky. Ask Bestie. I never wanted kids. And now it consumes me.
Nearly all of my friends have kids. And all but one of my 10 closest friends are married. I have no... not even one... unmarried friends up here. They are all married. And while I can live with the never getting married part (don't want to but I've gone this long so what's the rest of my life?), I feel so left out of the becoming a mother part. I don't know how exactly to make it all fall into place. And plus, who doesn't really want to have "it all?!" I was raised to believe I could have it all and dammit...I want it ALL!
This week was my half birthday. Which means nothing except for the fact that it marked the passing of the two and a half year mark. Two and a half years to what, you ask? Two and half years until I am officially and medically old. Two and a half years until I turn 35. Two and half years until doctors everywhere put me in an entirely new box. (It has taken me days to type this out by the way because I have to stop and cry. Truly that upsetting to me!) It's not the growing older that I fear so much. It's growing older and being alone and never reaching my goals. I was always a great student. But I imagine this is what it must have felt like for the kid who got left back a grade in school and then still had to take the special help classes. I somehow went from promising academic scholar to wearing the dunce cap.
For the record, I write this blog for myself. Not to get pity and certainly not to get rude comments. I needed to unload this from my head. It was heavy and now I can just store it here for a bit and focus on happier topics. But if anyone else has walked in my shoes, I could use some advice this week. Or a good story. Turning 30 was very hard for me but turning 32.5 this week was nearly as difficult.
Damn clock. Stupid age. Why are women old at 35 but men are spry into their 60's? Being a girl is hard sometimes!
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Dad requested two favorites, meatballs and brie. Those are both super easy. For the meatballs, buy a few bags of turkey meatballs at the grocery store, add a jar of your favorite tomato sauce and cook in the crockpot. This is great for meatballs subs or with toothpicks as an appy. Brie is simple too. Unroll a tube of crescent rolls, place wheel of brie in center, add some preserves on top (I used some of my homemade peach seen below that I made a few weeks ago), fold up sides so they pinch together, bake until golden brown and serve with crackers and apples.
Thank goodness for my trusty helper! She sits underneath my feet, always willing to offer up her taste-testing services.
Mine turned out a bit different. But it was super delish all the same. Because I was making five pizzas though, I did much of the work ahead of time. I par-cooked the dough. Rolled them out as usual and baked them as usual. But only for five minutes. Then I let them cool and kept them in the fridge for a day. But I love the idea of doing a few like this and keeping them in the freezer. Then you just add your toppings and bake as usual for another five minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Add the arugula and spinach (I couldn't find just plain arugula in the two stores I went to).
Wilt down. At this point I let it cool and stored it in the fridge for a day. I am all about the prep work so I have as little as possible to do the day of any event. But if you are eating it that day, go ahead and top your pizza and bake.
This was a baby pizza I made for myself after I handed over my handiwork to dad.
I also made stuffed jalapenos (I will find the blogger who inspired them and link). I reserved one for myself and cooked it up tonight. And. I. Hated. It. I am mortified that I sent along 40 of these bloody evil things! I seeded them as directed and they are still hotter than hades on a bad day! I didn't even taste the cream cheese or bacon. My mouth was ON FIRE! So that was clearly an epic fail and I feel terrible that innocent people probably ate them.
The stuffed mushrooms were fabulous though. And easy. Core mushrooms, fill with desired filling, bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.
Filling I used:
Make ahead tip. I actually made both the peppers and mushrooms a week ago. Then I set them on a cookie sheet in a single layer and stuck them in the freezer. Once frozen (a few hours later), I tossed them in a baggie and back into the freezer. A great idea to keep emergency appetizers on hand or to make ahead. You don't need to defrost to bake them. Straight from freezer to cookie sheet to oven.
I also made my squash bruschetta. And three strawberry galettes (a rustic pie). Here's a chance to use your pie skills, friends! No pie dish necessary. I altered the recipe a bit but the inspiration came from this blogger.
As they were cooling I noticed they were not as "pretty" as I had hoped. The berry shine baked right out. So I again used my homemade preserves, this time strawberry. Heated a few tablespoons in the microwave to warm up and brushed them on the berry part. You can see the difference in these photos.
This one is half glazed- can you see the difference between the left (glazed) and right?
And here we go, fully glazed. It only takes a few seconds and a tiny bit of jam but it really makes a big difference.
I made my whipped cream different from her recipe too. I dumped a big thing of heavy cream in a large container a few days ago and stuck in a bunch of basil. Then today I poured the cream through a strainer. Whipped the cream and added some sugar. The hint of basil give it a really wonderful flavor. It's not overpowering but enough of a difference to make you notice (though my dad just called to give me the report and he said he didn't actually notice but liked it all the same). Try it. I promise you'll love it!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
* Connecticut Charm
* Europa Fox
* Cori (I forget her blog name- it was a long name- she and her hub were adopting the 3 daughters of her late cousin and she had the most fabulous sense of style)
* Magnolia Belle
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Now I don't live in the boonies but it is a relatively small area. We make do though. And really truly appreciate when new establishments make their way this far north. People are still thrilled about the LL Bean that arrived years ago. We are a grateful people. Tehe.
So a year ago when it was announced that The Fresh Market would be coming to my area- actually down the street from my regular grocery spot- it was beyond thrilling! I don't think I have ever actually been to this particular brand of store but I knew it was along the lines of Whole Foods/Sutton Place/Trader Joes. And I was counting down the days. The sign has read September for months. Imagine my delight when I drove by today and saw the parking lot full of cars and people. I made a quick turn into the lot and had to park forever away - it was packed. A great sign if we want more stores like this to come to our area!
Only a blogger would take photos of a visit to the grocery store! I mean, I'm ridiculous!
The place was packed. People everywhere. Which is not my thing. Normally I would turn and leave immediately. I don't do crowds. Especially when grocery shopping, something I dislike to begin with. But seeing as how I had been waiting with baited breath for this store to open, I grabbed a baby cart (love them!) and made my way for a viewing. I need to take a photo to show you one of my purchases. Okra chips! So fun! I can't wait for schools to start so I can go back. I figure shopping on a Tuesday evening will be better once the kiddos are back to early baths and bedtimes.
Some of the bulk items! My favorite thing about these stores! Plus I love how pretty everything looks. Things are efficient but not at all pretty in Price Chopper (equal to a Publix or Kroger for those down south). I will still do the bulk of my shopping at the PC of course. Better prices and more options. But I am thrilled to bits to have The Fresh Market's produce and prepared foods and bulk grains sections just down the road.
This was my favorite part in the whole store. Or what I saw of the store with a zillion people and children mucking about (read: in my way and bugging me on such a special day in my store!). This fabulously organized unit is full of spices. Totally fun and gorgeous. I love how organized it looks with the colors and labels and whatnot. You know you're a goober when a spice rack is the best part of your day!
Friday, August 20, 2010
This is the shelf in the front foyer. I had actually removed about 1/3 from the before photo too. But this is the after. Again, not my chosen shelf. It was there already. But I think I did a good job editing down. I bought out two Wallmarts worth of those plate/frame stands. They really make a big difference in display areas. The middle shelf (with the flag) is dedicated to a sister who passed away several years ago as an undergrad. Very sad but nice they still do a good job remembering her. The red compote dish is inexpensive glass from a thrift shop. I just needed something with a punch of color on there. It can be seen from the living room just to give you a reference.
This is the mantle in the dining room before. Could they fit more fake flowers up there? I had actually removed about five candles before I remembered to take this shot. This mantle is not original to the house, though it is in the old part of the house. I think it was likely added in the early 1900's though. The white doorway to the left leads to the living room so this actually cannot be seen from the foyer or the living room. The three wood letter tiles originally had plaster tiles with the fraternity letters in them. They removed them and made those wood tiles. They are quite clever in person but challenging because there is tiny writing on each of them.
Mantle after. Because of the tiles, I could only justify a few bolder pieces. The green leaf plate was a Big Lots purchase. I like the shape and color it adds.
Star before. Baby blue. Bought on sale at Big Lots. I just liked the size of the thing.
Silver thanks to spray paint.