Sunday, November 27, 2011

Adventures In Pie Making: Chocolate Cherry Pie!

While thinking about pies to make during Pie Month - I realized I needed to find one that incorporated chocolate. I hadn't really had any kind of chocolate pie, but I LOVE chocolate so I figured it couldn't be too bad. Heck, it would probably be pretty darn tasty!

I found a few chocolate pie recipes that don't require baking, but that kind of freaked me out so I keep looking. 

I'd almost given up when I found a recipe in my local newspaper for something called Chocolate Cherry Pie. The picture with the recipe showed a solid chocolate pie with cherry pie filling on top. I decided to make it, but keep the cherries on the side to allow people to choose if they wanted the cherry part or not. 

Enough outta me - I'll show you how to make the pie!

The Ingredients!
1 Cup Chocolate Chips - Melted
2 (8 oz) Packages Cream Cheese - Softened
1/3 Cup Light Corn Syrup
2 Eggs 
1/3 Cup Whipping Cream
1 and 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla
1 Graham Cracker Crust
1 Can Cherry Pie Filling

Beat cream cheese until creamy, then blend in chocolate. 
Gradually add corn syrup, beating until well blended. 
Add eggs and beat until just blended. 
Mix in cream and vanilla then pour into pie crust. 

Bake at 325 degrees for 40 or so minutes... 

 Until it comes out looking like this!!! 

Cool at least 3 hours before enjoying.

I cooled mine overnight, but it was SOOOO hard to wait!

Enjoy alone...

With a little Whipped Cream...

Or CHERRIES like the recipe called for! :)

All in all - the pie was very good. It was quite rich and more like a cheesecake than a pie, but that won't stop me from making it again! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Adventures In Pie Making: Mini Pumpkin Pies

I used to bake stuff and take it into work all the time, but I've been quite busy recently and hadn't brought my co-workers any goodies in awhile!

That is until recently...

Since it's pie month and I'm on a crazy pie making spree, it was only right to make pie for everyone to enjoy! :)

I didn't want to make a simple regular size pie though. Nope, I did not. Instead - I decided to make mini pies, but first I had to track down mini pie tins! I went to multiple places, but finally gave in and went to a restaurant supply store. OF COURSE they had them! I should have gone there first!!!

After finding the mini pie tins, I went to town making the mini crusts.

Make Mini Pie Crusts.

 And Make-Shift Pie Crusts Too!!!

Bake Mini Pie Crusts 5 to 10 Minutes.

Once those were done and chillin' in the freezer, I moved on to making the filling. I didn't use the recipe on the pumpkin puree can though. I've done that before, but this time I decided to be different and use a recipe I found online.

Aside from the time it took to make the mini pie crusts, this is such an easy recipe to make!

Here's how it's done:

Start with the goods!

Separate 2 Eggs.

 Soften Cream Cheese.

 Whip when softened.

 Add Pumpkin Puree
(Photograph Forgotten...I'm Sorry!)

Add Sugar and Salt.
Beat until combined.

 Add Half and Half, Melted Butter, Egg and Egg Yolks.
Mix until combined.


Add Vanilla, Cinnamon and Ginger.
Mix until combined.


 Pour Filling into Pre-Baked Mini Pie Crusts

 Bake 15-20 Minutes until not "jiggly" anymore.

All The Mini Pies!

 With a Lil Whipped Cream on Top.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tomato Plant Update

I know - it's almost the end of November and I'm giving you an update on my Tomato Plants. I'm not posting a late post from this Summer. This is really going on in my garden right now believe it or not!

It's very odd and I cannot believe it myself, but I'm not going to complain because I'm looking forward to what's going to happen as time goes on. 

My tomato plants are both producing again!!!

I first noticed the jalapeno plants doing this a few weeks ago...then the big tomato a week or so ago and just this week I noticed new buds on the cherry tomato plant too!

Cherry Tomato Blossoms

Bonnie Girl Blossoms

Bonnie Girl Tomato Plant
(This is probably the best it's looked since I planted it...)

Are these buds going to be tomatoes?

Are they going to tease me and not really turn into anything at all?

Who knows!

But until something really happens - it's fun watching the process and changes my plants continue to make!

Fall Flowers and More!

My garden has been lacking a lot in the recent weeks and I just couldn't take it any more!!! 

I'd been meaning to plant some "Fall Crops", but other things were more important and I just never got around to it.

I've been missing my fresh herbs tremendously and I didn't want to go any longer without them, so I made a quick trip to Home Depot this weekend.

While there I was lured in by the pretty flowers that can withstand the weather and cool temperatures. I couldn't decide on just one type so I ended up getting two...

Pretty Red Geraniums!

I loved my Geraniums in the past but they were sacrificed to 
save my tomato and basil plants last summer. 
I hope these survive as long, if not longer! 

And these adorable little Pansies!

They are so tiny and cute!  
I was worried they'd really take a beating, 
but they held up in today's downpours so there's hope for the future.

Like I said before - I'd originally gone to Home Depot in hopes to get fresh herbs. I found some of what I was looking for, but not everything so I'll have to make another trip to a garden shop soon!

The few things I DID end up leaving with are things I use very often and I'm happy to have them all back growing in my garden.  

Flat Leaf Parsley



Adventures In Pie Making: Pecan Pie

A few weeks ago my aunt, who's hosting Thanksgiving this year, called to ask if I wanted to bring anything, Of course I said I'd make something - in fact I said I'd make multiple things! :) But this post is really only about one of the things we decided I'd make: 

Homemade Pecan Pie!

Shortly after agreeing - I realized what I did...agree to make a hard pie to make and I'd never made it before!!!

This wasn't going to be a pie seen and eaten by just a few people.  I was going to be making a pie for multiple people without ever making or trying the recipe before.

I mean how hard can it really be...?

Well after more thought, I realized I needed to give the pie a trial run and Westgivingston was the PERFECT time!

I was really excited that I was going to be able to try it out to make sure the pie would be a success.

So a few Saturdays ago I went to town makin' a Pecan Pie.

The Goods

1 whole Unbaked Pie Crust
1 cup White Sugar
3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Corn Syrup
3/4 teaspoons Vanilla
1/3 cup Melted Butter 
3 whole Eggs Beaten
1 cup (heaping) Chopped Pecans

Pie Crust Crimped By Yours Truly!

 Sugar, Brown Sugar and Salt Chillin' in the Bowl.

Add Corn Syrup...

And Melted Butter...

Then give it a stir - making sure all ingredients are combined.

Next - add beaten eggs.

And stir until combined.

Now time for the vanilla!

Place chopped pecans in pie crust and spread out evenly.

Pour mixture over pecans.

With all the mixture and nuts.

The nuts will rise to the top almost immediately!!!

And after baking.

It LOOKED amazing.

It wasn't burned on top AT ALL.

But sadly, it didn't set up correctly and was a little runny/syrupy mess. BOO!

It still tasted good, but didn't hold the shape I'd hoped for.

So after failing, I did a little more research and decided I wouldn't be making Pecan Pie for Thanksgiving after all.

I'd be making something else yummy. What? You'll find out soon! :)

Slow Cooked Spinach & Artichoke Dip

I've loved Spinach and Artichoke dip since the first time I tried it. 

I've had it prepared many different ways, but until recently I had only made a baked version of it one or two times. I knew you could make it in a slow cooker - I'd HAD it cooked in one before, but until a few weeks ago I had never really thought to do it. That is until I had tons of spinach I needed to use up!

So I took the spinach I needed to use up, cooked it and added it to a few other ingredients to make a tasty dip!
Here's What You'll Need...

Slow Cooker and Slow Cooker Liner

The Ingredients!
4 Cups Fresh (Or 2 Cups Frozen) Spinach
1 Can (14 ounces) quartered Artichoke Hearts, drained and chipped
1/2 Cup Alfredo Pasta Sauce
1/2 Non Fat Plain Yogurt
3/4 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Cup Shredded Jack Cheese

And here's the VERY EASY process:

Put Spinach in BIG pot/pan with a tiny amount of water.

Cook over low heat until wilted.

Drain and squeeze out excess water.

Add spinach to remaining ingredients.

Put in slow cooker and cook over low heat for 1 to 2 hours.


This could easily be doubled or even tripled and made for multiple people to enjoy at something like a Super Bowl or 4th of July Party.