Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer Peach & Blueberry Crumble Pie

Last week we had a marvelous 4th of July, as I hope dearly that you all did as well.  To celebrate we had over some good friends for food, fun, and of course fireworks!  Since summer is in full swing, so are some of my favorite fruits and veggies! I found this fantastic recipe for peach & blueberry crumble pie which combines two of my favorite fresh summer fruits! I have to say, it's a really easy throw it together quick and bake in the oven type dessert, which is great when you're hosting people at your house.

Sadly, that's about it for my blog post.  Between having a final last week, going to full eight hour days in Jeff City, and going back to researching, my brain is tired.  What else is new right? Well, right.  But still. I'm tired, and all talked out.  I'll be sure to save up for next time, but here are some pretty pictures until next week's post! Enjoy!

Summer Peach & Blueberry Crumble Pie
Slightly adapted from Food Network
Your favorite pie crust recipe (or store bought like I did) pre-made and pressed into a greased pie dish.

2 T corn starch
1 lb. frozen blueberries, thawed and drained of juices
1 lb. frozen peaches, thawed and drained of juices
1/2 c brown sugar
2 T lemon juice
2 t vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon

1/2 c slivered almonds
1/2 c (1 stick) butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 c quick cook oats
1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c brown sugar
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 9 inch pie dish and place pie crust in it. 

Filling:  Combine everything else together in a large bowl until combined.  

Topping:  Combine everything in a food processor and pulse until it begins forming small chunks.  

Pour the filling into the pie crust and crumble topping over the filling. Bake for 50 minutes, or until top is golden brown.  Let the pie cool 30-40 minutes before consuming. 

* Cook's note, if after 30 minutes the pie crust is already golden brown, cover the crust with pie shield.  If you don't have a pie shield, don't sweat it! Trace a 9" circle onto tin foil and cut out a smaller circle from the center - place that over the pie crust as your make-shift pie shield.  

Monday, July 2, 2012

I'm Back!

Well, needless to say it's been a while and a lot has changed.  No, I didn't quit law school, but I have been super busy.  Also blogger has changed in a BIG way - probably the biggest change that's happened since I last blogged in February.

So before I share a recipe with you, I'll just share some highlights since February:
1. It's summer, if you haven't noticed and it. is. hot. in. Missouri.  I'm talking Oklahoma kind of heat and dryness.
2. I finished yet another semester of law school, and I am happy to say things went much better than the first semester.
3. I am working at the Department of Revenue near the capitol being a law slave research-er person girl.
4. Mike and I have officially registered for the 2013 Disney World Marathon so that should be death fun.
5. Kora is still Kora, doing things like this:

Well, and that's really about it.  Except that I cut most of my hair off.  Yeah, forgot about that.  No, I don't have a current picture; call it camera shy or whatever you want, but I just can't seem to catch a good one yet.  I will say this: it's short. The shortest I've ever had it and let me tell you, I love it.

Okay so, onward to the recipe.  With summer in full swing, it means two things: Mike is running around in circles being busy with youth group activities, and I am just sitting around wondering what to do with myself and all my free time.

So, I concoct things like these:

I call them Chocolate Peanut-butter madness cookies - you'll figure out why when you read the recipe.  It turns out Mike aided me in creating these beauties.  We both love peanut butter M&Ms and once upon a time, I put them in a basic cookie dough recipe.  However,  I didn't really like them that way.  I ended up usually picking out the M&Ms, eating them on their own, and then eating just the dough part.

This time I wanted to put them in either chocolate or peanut butter dough, but I couldn't decide which.  So I just clumsily mixed them all together and out came these goodies.

Seriously, I can't keep my hands off these things.  So, give them a try and tell me if you have the same problem I do.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Madness Cookies
Slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Peanut Butter Dough:
1 cup flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup butter (about 5 and a little T), softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 egg

Chocolate Dough:
2/3 cups all purpose flour
2 T cocoa powder
1/4 t baking soda
6 T butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 T white sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract

1 medium bag peanut butter M&Ms, divided.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peanut Butter Dough:
Mix flour and soda; set aside. Beat peanut butter, butter, sugars and vanilla with mixer until fluffy; beat in eggs. With mixer on low, gradually beat in flour mixture just until well blended. Stir in half bag of peanut butter M&Ms.  Set aside.

Chocolate Dough: 

Sift flour, cocoa, and baking soda into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth but not fluffy. Add both sugars, vanilla, and sea salt; beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture; beat just until blended (mixture may be crumbly). Add peanut butter M&Ms.  

Now here is the very technical part of the recipe: dump the chocolate dough into the peanut butter dough.  Using a large spoon, chop up chocolate dough to distribute throughout the peanut butter dough.  I found a chopping/folding combo motion worked well for me.  You don't want this to be homogeneous; you should be able to distinguish the chocolate dough from the peanut butter.  When the dough is mixed to your liking, take a cookie scoop and place mounds on a greased cookie sheet.  

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until tops are golden brown.  Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Knock You Out Brownies

I think it's safe to say I am enamored obsessed with chocolate.  It's a rare (and abysmal) day if I don't get my chocolate fix.  It just makes the day a little brighter - can I get an amen? Like my daily injection dose of coffee, things just aren't right until I've had some chocolate.  That's why I am completely in love with these guys.

They pretty much are spot on with combining all of my favorite things: marshmallow, chocolate, coffee, and peanut butter.  Sound a little disgusting?  Well, I will admit, I was pretty skeptical at first also, but they won me over with their decadent topping and soft texture.  So try them out before you knock 'em.  I have complete faith that these will knock you out with their amazing-ness.  

Knock You Out Brownies
Adapted slightly from Handle the Heat

2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cups of your favorite cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional, but you really don’t taste it; it’s just there to enhance the flavor)
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
3 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup of your favorite peanut butter (I used crunchy)
1 1/2 cups Rice Crispies

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Add the brown sugar to the melted butter and place in the microwave. Heat until mixture is warm and brown sugar is better dissolved.

Transfer the butter mixture to a large bowl then add the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring to incorporate after each addition. Finally, add the flour and half of the chocolate chips; mix to combine.

Transfer the batter to a greased 9x13 pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle the marshmallows evenly over top of brownies. Return to the oven for 5 minutes more or until the marshmallows are puffed and softened but not browned [watch them like a hawk!]. Remove pan from oven and allow to cool on a rack.

After the marshmallow-brownies have cooled, heat the remaining chocolate chips and peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl in the microwave, stirring frequently, until the chips have melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in rice crispies. Dollop the mixture over the marshmallow-topped brownies and spread evenly. Allow to cool completely before feeding to patient, empty bellies.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Lasagna: Soup Style

I'm not sure if I've shared this with you all, but I love soup.  I mean I am borderline obsessed with the stuff! Give me soup for almost any meal and I am one happy girl.  I love it so much I will even eat it in the scorching summer heat.  I know, I know, I'm such a rebel.

Say hello to my new little friend.  It combines my love of all things soup with lasagna.  How could that ever be wrong?  I especially love it because I can have a lower calorie pasta for carb-loading the night before I embark on my long runs for half marathon training.  That's right people, you thought I forgot didn't you?  Well believe me, my legs and brain are far from forgetting.

In case you're curious (which you probably aren't so I'm sorry) this is what training looks like (for me at least)

Monday: 4 miles normal pace
Tuesday: 3.5 miles normal pace
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 4.5 miles easy
Friday: rest
Saturday: Long run [this week 8 miles] easy pace then I can die
Sunday: DIE rest

So that's a glimpse into my training schedule; so think of me when you're in your bed Saturday morning watching TV because I will be out slowly torturing myself as I run lap after lap after lap in the Rec Center.

Anyhow, back to the soup. It's actually pretty healthy but you probably wouldn't know that from the taste.  I think it tastes a bit like chili, but Mike just thinks it tastes great.  I'll let you all be the judge.

Lasagna Soup
Adapted slightly from

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 pound ground turkey

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 (32-ounce) container chicken broth

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
4 ounces broken whole-wheat lasagna noodles (about 4 noodles)

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick saucepot or Dutch oven. Add the sausage, onion, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is crumbled and browned, 8 – 10 minutes. 

Add the broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors are blended, about 20 minutes. Add the noodles; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the soup thickens slightly and the noodles are tender, 10 – 12 minutes.  Add parmesan cheese to the pot. Dish up into heat proof bowls, top with mozzarella and put under broiler set on high for 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.  [Alternately, you can just dish the soup in bowls and put cheese on top – the heat from the soup will melt it just the same]

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Marshmallow Hearts

Hello all you Valentine's out there! Hope you've all been extremely loved and blessed this Valentine's Day.   In celebration of v-day this year, I made some goodies for the youth group kids.  About once a month we have them over to our house for food, games and lots of good times.  So I made them this:

They are chocolate covered marshmallow hearts and they are delicious.  This was my first rodeo making marshmallows and if I had to sum it up in one word this would be it: sticky.  That aside, they're pretty stinking easy and delectable.  

The kids seemed to like them a lot too.  The process is pretty easy; if you've ever made divinity, marshmallows are divinity's close cousin and just as simple! Beware though, these will definitley more than satiate your sweet tooth, it might just give you a cavity - these babies are sa-weet, but worth the while! 

Chocolate Covered Marshmallows
Adapted slightly from here

powdered sugar, for coating pan
2/3 c. water, divided
3 (1/4 oz.) envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
Candy melts, almond bark or your favorite chocolate chips

Lightly spray the inside of an 9'' x 13'' pan with cooking spray. Generously coat with powdered sugar and set aside.
Pour 1/3 cup of the water into the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and stir briefly to incorporate. Let stand for about 5 minutes, or until the gelatin has softened.
In a saucepan, off the heat, combine the remaining 1/3 cup of water and the granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Place the pan over medium-high heat. Clip a candy thermometer on the inside of the pan, making sure it doesn’t touch the bottom. Cook the mixture without stirring until it reaches 240°.

With your mixer on low speed, very carefully add the hot syrup to the softened gelatin. Add the vanilla and increase the speed to medium-high. The mixture will start out clear, but quickly turns very white. Beat for about 8 minutes, or until the marshmallow gets very thick and sticky, and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, it will look stringy.

Spread the mixture into the prepared pan using a lightly oiled spatula. With wet hands, press the batter evenly into the corners of the pan. Just keep rewetting your hands to help with the stickiness. Set aside for at least 1 hour, or until the mixture is firm and cool.

Run a wet knife around the edge of the cooled pan to loosen the marshmallow. Remove the marshmallow from the pan, onto a sheet of parchment paper.

Dip your small shaped cookie cutter (Mine was a little too large for my liking, I would suggest the smaller, the better) into a shallow bowl of water and then cut the slab of marshmallow into heart shapes.  It helps to dip the heart cutter into the water in between cuts. Repeat this process until the whole slab of marshmallow is cut.

In the top bowl of a double boiler, soften chosen method of coating (choc. chips, candy melts, etc.)  Begin stirring the chocolate until melted to a liquid consistency (if using chocolate chips, I would suggest using a touch of shortening to make it a bit smoother; just add it in the pot and melt along with the chocolate).  Dip one side of the marshmallows into the chocolate.  Lay un-dipped side back on the parchment paper until chocolate is hardened.  Repeat until entire marshmallow is covered in chocolate and serve to the ones you love!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Boy Flowers

Every year millions of flowers are bought for Valentine's day, but if you're a girl like me, you often wonder "What can I get the guy in my life? Obviously flowers are so easy to get me, but what is the boy equivalent to flowers?"  Well I have the answer for you.  Finally, after 23 years of life, I have figured out boy flowers.

Ta-da! I give you boy flowers! Inspiration smacked me straight in the face Friday when I was walking through a local grocery store and saw a similar replica.  I thought, "What a genius idea for Mike!" Then I looked at the price tag - $20.  "Yeesh! No way that would break the V-day gift budget combined with what I already got him".  Then a blinding revelation came over me I could make one similar if not better than theirs and cheaper!  And so I did.

It was fairly simply and customizable because it has all of his favorites! Unfortunately, I was so wrapped up in how brilliant I was that I failed to take pictures of the process so I'll break it down for you.

Some sort of boxed item (I chose popcorn but it could be something like snack cakes, etc.)
Something to weight the box down (I had some decorative rock lying around but rice, beans would probably work well too)
tissue paper, 1-2 sheets
hot glue
wooden skewers (lollipop sticks or floral sticks would probably work well too)
CANDY! Lots of candy!

All in all this cost me about half of the grocery store's price.

1. Empty the box of its contents
2. Put weights in the empty box - about 3/4 full
3.  Attach skewers to the back of the candy/goodies you purchsed
4.  Stick skewers into weighted box; adjust height if necessary
(I tried hot glueing the skewers to the side of the box and it was a big fail but hats of to you if you get that to work! You have great hot glueing skills I do not possess!)
5. Insert tissue paper to cover up the skewers that are showing - hot glue in place if necessary
6. Surprise someone you love with all their favorites!

From beginning to finish it took me about 30 minutes! Easy peasy and Mike was SUPER surprised; I've actually never seen him look so shocked! Enjoy all the V-day festivities!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Yet Another Wreath

Well friends, the day is drawing nearer, yes that both beloved and cursed day known as Valentine's Day.  For some it's a great day, some it's a sad day and for others we just don't care.  

I kind of fall into that later category, not because I don't have reason to celebrate, but more so because my husband is so wonderful that I don't need a day to make him pay attention to me, treat me special or give me quality time: he's pretty stinking fantastic at doing that already.  (Yes, cue the sickening awwww's).  All that aside though, I still like to do some decorations for Valentine's day pretty much like all other holidays.

 Voila! Valentine's Day wreath.  I went with just the colors because well, there's a lot of hearts floating around during V-Day and I needed a little cheer without the heart shape.

The close up.  I'll be honest, it was a bit time consuming.  It took me about two nights to do this even with the aid of a circle cutter, but I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.  Especially since when I first began it I kept envisioning a wreath that looked like V-day just exploded everywhere. Thankfully it didn't end up like that.

I normally would try to explain to you how I managed to do this, but honestly, this site does a much better job than I would.  

Whether you love, hate, or are indifferent towards Valentine's Day, you should definitely do something special for yourself or someone you love and enjoy it nonetheless!