Sunday, December 22, 2013

A wonderful announcement....

If you aren't immediate family or friends with me on facebook, you may have missed the announcement....

Nate & I are having another baby!!

I am 8 weeks; due July 24th. 

We are extremely excited, and I have been doing excessive amounts of baking and cooking so far, so when I am feeling good, you can expect lots of fun recipes!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Perfect Pumpkin Pie

With all the things I enjoy that have pumpkin in them, it may be a surprise that I don't like pumpkin pie. I think it's the texture. I don't mind the taste, the texture is just... weird.

However, since plenty of people in my family do enjoy pumpkin pie, I started making it for the holidays a few years ago. (And it's slightly hard to make a recipe when you can never judge if there is anything that needs to be changed about it....) Apparently, it's quite awesome.  I'll take their word for it, because I've tried it and thought "meh, it's still pumpkin pie." 

So, if you haven't decided on what to make for dessert for Christmas.... everyone (but me) loves pumpkin pie! This is exceptionally easy to make, too. I haven't seen or played with other recipes, for the simple reason that this is so easy and I never get any complaints or "maybe you should try doing x" comments.

One thing that could be fun to do (and I did this with my apple pies too) is use cookie cutters to make pretty designs around the edge. Obviously, for pumpkin pie, I wanted cookie cutter pumpkins on top! I wish I had some smaller cookie cutters, but since no one wants small cookies.... I don't. ;)

Remember, comments are love! 

(Oh, and I apologize profusely for the picture. I made this one for Thanksgiving, and forgot to take a picture til I got to Mama's. At that point, I didn't have the camera; just my cruddy camera phone. The shine on the top of the pie was some slight condensation; I had to put the warm pie in the carrier for the trip. Oops.)

Perfect Pumpkin Pie

  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 Cups all-Purpose flour
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/3 Cup shortening
  • 4-5 Tablespoons cold water
  • 15 Ounces canned pumpkin
  • 14 Ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Redi-whip

If using a store-bought crust, skip the first 5 ingredients and steps 2-5, and prepare crust as directed.
  1. Heat oven to 425°. 
  2. In a medium bowl stir together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are pea size. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over part of the flour mixture, gently toss with a fork. Repeat moistening flour mixture, using 1 tablespoon of the water at a time, until all the flour mixture is moistened. Form pastry into a ball.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, slightly flatten pastry. Roll pastry from center to edges into a circle about 12” in diameter.
  4. Wrap pastry circle around the rolling pin. Unroll into a 9” pie plate. Ease into pie plate without stretching it.
  5. Trim pastry to ½” beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra pastry. Crimp edges as desired.
  6. Whisk pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices, and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Pour into crust.
  7. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°; bake an additional 35-40 minutes or until knife inserted 1” from crust comes out clean. Cool. Garnish as desired.
Serves: 8 Yields: 1 pie
Prep Time: 15 Cook Time: 50

Source (for original): Taste of Home for the pie itself, Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook for the crust

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Sugar Cookies

I think that my favorite thing about this time of year is the baking, candy-making, and sharing. I've made 2 batches of peppermint bark, 6 batches of hard candy, 3 (successful) batches of fudge, 1 batch of buckeyes, and 1 batch of Christmas Sugar Cookies. We are keeping some of each for our house, but most of what I have made has been parceled out to family & friends, and I love it!!

These are on my baking list for every Christmas, and have been on the list since before I was the one doing the baking! I can't remember Mama ever getting to Christmas without making at least one batch. (And when the three of us kids were younger, I remember at least a couple years where the cookies were gone long before Christmas, and we would beg for another batch...) 

To me, these are the perfect Christmas cookie. They are slightly crunchy if you don't frost them, but frosting them makes them perfectly soft! 

Remember, comments are love! And may get you on the cookie-tray list next year. ;) 

Christmas Sugar Cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups butter-flavored Crisco
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tubs store-bought frosting (or homemade if desired) (And I know, everyone's first comment when I say that it's Betty Crocker or whatever is "Serena, you use storebought frosting???" But, that's the way Mama has always done it, and I honestly don't think the storebought tastes any better than any homemade recipe I have seen for frosting like this. If you find a frosting recipe for cookies like this that you insist is way better than the can, share it with me!!)

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs; beat until fluffy.
  3. Stir together dry ingredients; add alternately with milk to creamed mixture. If dough is too sticky to handle, add flour. 
  4. Roll 1/4” thick on well-floured surface, cut with cookie cutters.
  5. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 8 minutes. Cool on rack; frost and decorate as desired.
About 75 cookies
2-3 hours (including decorating)
Source (for original): Mama (and I don't think she even knows where she got this one)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Grandma Mickey's Buckeyes

Originally published 12/12/13, updated 12/14/16.

Sorry for the lack of posts.... I've been slacking for awhile. Between being busy with various things, and then the 3 of us have been feeling pretty cruddy for a week or so... sorry! 

To make up for being lazy, I'm sharing an AMAZING recipe today. Have you ever had buckeyes? (Some people just call them peanut butter balls, too.) Sweet peanut butter goodness dipped in melted chocolate.... it's absolutely amazing. One batch makes two extra large cookie sheets full of buckeyes... that's a lot of peanut-butter-chocolate-amazingness. And I'm fairly certain that my Grandma makes the best buckeyes ever. You think I'm biased, and I am, but that's also a true statement. I have had completely unbiased people tell me that I make the best buckeyes they've ever had, and since I make them just like my Grandma.... I'm sticking to my "best ever" theory.

However, my Grandma is a lot more brave than I am. When my cousins & I were kids, she would have us over to make buckeyes before Christmas. I don't remember how many cousins could usually make it, but there are 12 of us total, and even if only half of us were there.... that's a big mess. I think she might be a saint.

This is what happened when Gabriel was 'helping' me during the rolling stage...

(I had measured out the powdered sugar, and got a little on the table. That's what he proceeded to do.) 

Since Nate was at work the next day when I went to dip them, I wasn't brave enough to have Gabriel around to help with that too... I did it after he went to bed. Maybe next year...

Anyways, on to the recipe! If you've never had these, I strongly suggest trying them!! They are heavenly. :)

Remember, comments are love! 

Printable Recipe
Grandma Mickey’s Buckeyes

  • 3 pounds powdered sugar
  • 2 pounds peanut butter
  • 1 pound butter, softened
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 12 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 1 bar paraffin wax
  1. Mix together powdered sugar, peanut butter, and butter. (Note: You will not be able to do all of this with your mixer. I mix together the peanut butter & butter, then slowly add in the powdered sugar until I am afraid it's going to kill my mixer. At that point, I mix by hand.)
  2. Roll into small balls; refrigerate overnight. (Or freeze for a couple hours, if you want to do it all in one day.)
  3. Melt together chocolate chips and paraffin wax, preferably in a double boiler. Dip balls in chocolate mixture using toothpicks to spear. Drop on wax paper. Chill.
Approx 100
45 min + cooling, then another 30-45 minutes

Nutrition Facts *I calculate nutrition facts for reference only, this is not done scientifically


Source (for original): the best Grandma ever ;)