11.8-10: Weekend Recap

{Friday Night}

get home | large format engagement photos have arrived | dinner | Autumn bath & to bed | laundry | draft holiday card | Grimm | bed

{Saturday}

sleep in until 6:20am | bagels for breakfast | Price goes to Home Depot | Ikea for picture frames and misc party items | Price to a different Home Depot for tool box | brop off rabbit hay and pellets to Libby | Tasty Burger for lunch | Price mows lawn, plants roses, and cleans shed | frame three family pictures | Price gets Frank up and running again (dead battery) | lots of laundry | start watching American Hustle | begin cricut cutting items for Autumns birthday party | bed at 11:00pm

{Sunday}

Price walks Kemper | Price fixes Autumn’s mobile | waffles for breakfast | Price spray paints chairs | Finish 3 of the four cushions for chairs | laundry | acorn squash, roasted broccoli, and meatballs for lunch | nap with Autumn | go food shopping at Costco | Price goes to Home Depot (again!) | Chicken and salad for dinner | Autumn to bed | mug cup-a-cake | work for a few hours | bed

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Cranberry Apple Pie

Cranberry Apple Pie

I’m having a bit of a #FlashbackFriday post.

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I’ve never participated in that or #ThrowbackThursday on Instagram or Facebook but I was trying to think of a pie to do and I thought back to a pie I had done before but felt could use a bit of attention. It needed some new pictures. It could use some tweaking to take it to the next level. It just needed some cuddling and love… actually that was the dog last night. aww

Anyway, I picked my Cranberry Apple Pie to make again since it was so good when I made it years ago and I’ve learned so much about making pies this past year that I could take that baby to the next level.

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And I did!!!! I really did!

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I made a homemade crust. A crust with butter and shortening. All butter crusts are good but this was extra tender and flaky. I’m gonna say it was the shortening. Get it. It’s good.

I increased the amount of the filling. I believe in really full pies.

Then I adjusted the cooking temperature and time to get the thicker, home-made crust just right. Plus, the extra filling.

To finish it off I did an egg wash over the whole top and generously coated it with sugar. That has been my favorite way of finishing off pies lately. It makes it sweet, crunchy, and extra pretty.

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So ta-da! Here is the new pie in all it’s pie glory.

It’s sweet and tart. It’s apple-y and cranberry-y. It’s tender and flake. It’s just such a dang good pie.

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I hope that everyone has a super wonderful weekend. I think that this pie will help you out so be sure to make it since you are guaranteed to have a super wonderful weekend then.

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Cranberry Apple Pie

Makes 1 9″ pie

Ingredients

For the pie crust

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons (about 1/2 cup) ice water

For the pie

  • 7-8 apples, to yield about 5 cups when sliced
  • 8 oz (approximately 3/4 a bag) of fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 Cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • zest 1 orange
  • 2 Tablespoons of fresh orange juice
  • 1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 3-4 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar

Process

  1. To make the crust, cut the butter and shortening into small pieces. Return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture.
  2. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a dough blade and pulse a few times to mix.
  3. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse until the butter is the size of peas and the mixture is crumbly While the machine is running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to pull away from the sides. Dump out on a floured surface. Quickly kneed together, divide into equal sized balls. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. To make the pie, preheat oven to 425. Place your pie plate on a rimmed cookie sheet.
  5. Peel, core, and slice the apples. Rinse the cranberries, pick through them discarding the stems and any bruised berries. You should yield about 8 oz when you are done.
  6. In a large bowl combine the apples, cranberries, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, orange zest and juice, and vanilla extract. Mix well. Add enough cornstarch to thicken any juices at the bottom of the bowl.
  7. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll each ball on the floured surface again. Form a circular disk that is large enough to fit into the 9″ pie plate with some overhanging crust. While you are rolling it out, roll from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough to make sure it doesn’t stick to the board. Repeat with the top crust. Set aside.
  8. Add the filling and cover with the top crust. Fold over the edge of the top crust under the edge of the bottom crust and pinch together. Cut 4 slits into the top of the crust.
  9. Beat together the egg and water. Brush the top with the egg wash and generously sprinkle sugar on top.
  10. Bake for 75-85 minutes If the crust starts to darken add tinfoil around crust or slip on a crust shield.
  11. Let pie cool 15 minutes before serving.

Pie Crust from Ina Garten, Pie from I am a Honey Bee

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Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce with Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs {& a Giveaway!}

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It snowed this past Sunday. #snovember

It’s the first week of November and I’m already over the winter. Done with it. But sadly it is not done tormenting me.

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While I’ve written about how we are trying to eat more Paleo meals- meaning no pasta- I couldn’t resist making a big batch of sauce and some meatballs to enjoy with some – gasp- pasta!!! Sure, we could have had some spaghetti squash but I just couldn’t resist some stick to your bones food on the first day of snow.

And you know, what… it was damn good!!!

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Maybe it’s my Italian half shouting from the roof tops but nothing beats homemade marinara sauce and meatballs. Seriously. Oh man, and to dip pieces of Italian bread into the pot of sauce… bliss. I think I just caught myself drooling a bit.

Side note- Autumn loves pasta and sauce. But I was working on making some garlic bread and gave her some bread that I dipped into the sauce for her. I turned back to my task at hand and .2 seconds later I hear her babbling away. The bread was gone! She just inhaled it and wanted more fast. In the end she ate a decent amount of bread with marinara sauce. Makes a mama proud!

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Well, look no further than this recipe the next time you are craving some spaghetti with meatballs. Grab some Red Pack and get ready for an awesome meal. The marinara takes about 10 minutes of active cooking time and then you get to forget about it for the rest of the time.

The recipe below says to cook it for 6-7 hours total but if you can adjust your slow cooker to go at a lower temperature then you can extend that cooking time to 8+ so that you can prepare it and set it up right before going to work and then it will be ready for you when you get home.

And the meatballs are the coolest! They are stuffed with a mozzarella ball so when you cut them open you get some warm ooey gooey cheese that comes flowing out. Like lava, but you’d like this kind of lava. They might look intimidating to make but they take about an extra 15-20 seconds to make each one compared to regular meatballs. That tiny bit extra effort is so worth it.

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I might just be able to survive this winter.

At least I’ll have some more marinara that I can easily prepare in the morning and it will be all ready when I get home. It will be so delightful to come up to a great smelling house and freshly made marinara.

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 Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce with Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

For the marinara sauce

For the meatballs

  • 2 pounds turkey or lean ground beef (I used a blend)
  • 1/2 Cup instant oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 8 ounces small fresh mozzarella balls
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

Process

  1. To make the sauce, heat the extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Saute the onion and garlic until tender and translucent.  Add all of the sauce ingredients to the slow cooker vessel that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Stir to combine. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours.
  2. When your sauce has 1 hour of cooking remaining, begin to prepare your meatballs. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients besides the mozzarella balls and the olive oil. Divide the meat mixture into 8 equal portions, then take each of those potions and divide into 2 to create 16 equal portions. Scoop up 1 portion, flatten out the ball to form a patty in the palm of your hand, place a mozzarella ball in the center and then evenly close up the meatball mixture around the cheese. Aside and repeat for all the meatballs.
  3. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. In small batches brown all the sides of the meatballs. Be very gentle when flipping as you don’t want to break up the meatballs. Once the meatballs are evenly browned, add them to the slow cooker and continue to cook until the sauce is done.
  4. Serve with 1 pound of the pasta of your choice.

Adapted from Red Pack

This post is sponsored by Red Pack. I received product from Red Pack to make a recipe of my choosing. All opinions are my own.

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And now the GIVEAWAY!!

You can win a Red Pack gift pack that contains (2) 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes and (1) 28oz can of Red Pack sauce, wooden spoon, tote bag and recipe cards.

*You just have to leave a comment to the blog post. Write whatever you want. Simple as that!

To get an extra entry then tweet the following & come back here and leave another comment telling me you did.

“Enjoy!!! Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce with Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs & WIN prize pack!

Also, check out their Facebook page because they are giving away 2 slow cookers every day until Nov 12th. EVERY DAY!!! Plus there is a grand prize at the end too! One lucky winner will win a Slow Cooker grand prize package that includes a state-of-the-art slow cooker, a serving and braising tongs (total prize value estimated at $330).

See, they just really want to have everyone have a slow cooker so people can have a hot meal waiting after a busy school/work day. There are so many great soups, stews and casserole recipes they have on their site that you can enjoy too!

 

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Colorful Asian Salad with Baked Tofu and a Cilantro Lime Dressing {and a GIVEAWAY!}

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Autumn’s first birthday is coming up and her party is now just in 10 days. Cue my freak out moment!!!! ahhh!!

As I continually pack away the clothes that she (very slowly) grows out of, I just want to grab her and hold her tight while whispering not to grow up too quick. But she is. It’s happening in a blink of an eye. One day she was trying to figure something out and the next day she can do it, and then some, with ease. It’s amazing to see them learning.

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With the party fast approaching we are in a mad dash to get the party decorations and food nailed down. Plus, do a major clean up. Dang you dust! All while finally wrapping up moving my craftiness stuff from her room (former office) to the den. Plus, finish projects around the house…you know like the 4 dining chairs we have s-l-o-w-l-y been refinishing this past year. I will be soooo excited to have our dinning chairs all done.

That means our nights and weekends are jam-packed with stuff to do. It feels like we never stop moving. Seriously. I love being busy (and actually organizing stuff!) but it is draining. The last thing I am caring about now is dinner. But it’s important. While I’d love to order some Chinese take-out we are really trying to eat healthy. Plus, who needs to toss money at take-out when they have a party to host!

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The key to keeping my sanity lately are quick, healthy dinners so I am not spending tons of time prepping and cooking. Tossing a spaghetti squash into the oven right when I get home works well but when I have been craving and enjoying the most lately are salads. I think the cold air and shrinking day light has me craving bright, fresh veggies. I have not yet caved to soups just yet!

Salads are great but you still need a protein. While I love steak and chicken it’s yet another thing to cook and another pan to clean. So the fully prepared baked tofu that I have been using in my salads has been a huge help. Life saving!

I used Nasoya’s Organic Sesame Ginger TofuBaked in this Asian inspired salad. Since I wasn’t getting my Chinese food any time soon I wanted to at least have something that reminded me of bright, fresh Asian flavors.

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In September, Nasoya’s launched a brand new product called TofuBaked.  It’s a marinated and fully cooked tofu that is great to toss on salads and veggie stir fries. Even making a vegetarian Bánh mì would be super simple when using TofuBaked. It comes in two  flavors, Sesame Ginger and Teriyaki that are jam-packed full of flavor. Now you don’t have to worry about draining, pressing, marinating, and cooking tofu… it’s all done for you!

It’s great the creating a meal is a breeze but I love how it is a USDA Organic, Non-GMO food. It has 32g Protein per package. If you divide the package into 4 servings, like I did, it makes for 8g of protein from a preservative and cholesterol free food!

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I have made plenty of salads that have lots of chopping involved but I tried to keep that to a minimum with this salad so that I can get it on the table in about 5 minutes. I swear it takes just that long!!! You are mainly tossing together fully prepped ingredients- prewashed kale, grape tomatoes (you can even skip cutting them!) a veggie slaw, and pea sprouts. There is just so fun about the crunch from pea sprouts, plus they remind me of the long bean sprouts that are used throughout Chinese food recipes.

You can’t not make this as it’s so quick, healthy, and flavorful.

Promise me that you will give tofu a try if you have never had it before because this Nasoay TofuBaked is so flavorful that you will have to brush off any misconceptions you have about it. Pinkie swear!

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Colorful Asian Salad with Baked Tofu and a Cilantro Lime Dressing

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 5oz package of baby kale
  • 6 oz shelled edamame
  • 2 oz pea sprouts
  • 6 oz broccoli slaw or a mixture of shredded carrots, broccoli, and even zucchini
  • 1 Cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 Cup Salted Peanuts
  • 1 8oz package of Nasoya’s Organic Sesame Ginger TofuBaked

For the Dressing

  •  1/4 Cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 Cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon minced cilantro (I used Gourmet Garden’s Stir-in Cilantro Paste)
  • salt and pepper

Process

  1. To make the salad, toss together the kale, edamame, sprouts, slaw, and tomatoes together in a very large mixing bowl.
  2. Cut a piece of tofu cross into 4 equal pieces and then again in the other direction, resulting in 16 pieces. Repeat the process for the other 3 pieces.
  3. Sprinkle the top of the salad with the tofu and peanuts.
  4. To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl or a mason jar with a lid, and mix/shake well.
  5. Dress the whole salad or dress each plated portion. Enjoy!

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AND NOW THE GIVEAWAY!!!!

If you would like to win some Nasoya TofuBaked coupons for your own salads, stir fries, sandwiches, and more, then all you have to do it leave a comment on this blog post telling me how you would use tofu in your own cooking.

For an extra entry just tweet the following & then come back and leave a comment telling me you did.

“Give ‘s TofuBaked a try in this Colorful Asian Salad with Baked Tofu and a Lime Cilantro Dressing. yummy!

Contest ends Wednesday, November 12th at midnight.

*While I did receive complimentary product from Nasoya, these opinions are entirely my own.

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Thanks for visiting. Please leave me a comment to provide some feedback. I appreciate all the comments I receive.

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10.31-11.2: Weekend Recap

{Friday Night}

leave work @ 3, missed bus | get home, pump, get Autumn | get Kemper from vet | Price gets home |  Autumn is a mermaid | left overs for dinner | hand out candy to Trick or Treaters | Autumn to bed | pump | Fell asleep on sofa before 9! | Price watched scary shows | pump | go to bed

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{Saturday}

Price up with Autumn at 5.35 | I slept in until 7.50! | overnight oats for breakfast | Autumn naps | finish Autumn’s cornice |get ready | go to Chelsea Library for Family Literacy Day | Walmart | Trader Joe’s | Carter’s | home|  Autumn naps | Price made TJ’s shrimp fried rice for lunch | fold & put away Autumn’s clothes | Price gives Autumn a bath & puts her to bed | sew blanket | make dinner | watched part of Django Unchained | bed

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{Sunday}

up at 4.35 (stupid day light savings!) | made breakfast – overnight oats and ham & cheese omelet | SNL | Autumn & Price napped 7- 8.15, I did blogging work | cut Bunny’s nails. |  shower & get ready | Price & Autumn went to Stop & Shop and Home Depot, I got to cook | lunch | Autumn naps | Price went to Home Depot again | Price cleans the heaters and vaccums upstairs | Autumn has dinner- bread, sauce, cheese | dinner- marinara with meatballs | Autumn to get at 6.15 | reload dishwasher | blogging | watch end of the NASCAR race | Grimm | laundry | pay bills | bed

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