11.14-16: Weekend Recap

{Friday Night}

leave work earlier than normal | get home | go to the airport to get mom | pick up Autumn from daycare | pump | Autumn gets dinner & a bath | Autumn to bed by 6.45 | get take out dinner | Price gets home | make cake and cupcakes | bed

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{Saturday}

up early | go to Market Basket, Starbucks, & Katz’s bagels | lots of party prep | Autumn’s Birthday Party! 1-6 | Mom & Monica do lots of clean up | some relaxing| bed by 10pm

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{Sunday}

didn’t sleep well + Autumn was up in the middle of the night | finally up at 6am | Autumn has breakfast & plays around | make ham and cheese sliders | Autumn has a long nap | mom gets up at 10am | get ready | go to New England Aquarium with mom | Price goes to work | get home | Autumn has a long nap | mini naps for mom and me | Autumn has dinner | Price gets home | Autumn goes to bed | chili leftovers for dinner | work from home | Price and mom got to bed | bed at 12.40am

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Bourbon Pecan Pie

Bourbon Pecan Pie

Tuesday is Autumn’s first birthday. {Que freak out}

So we are hosting her farm themed party tomorrow.

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There is a very good chance we are gonna have about 30 kids and adults in our tiny townhouse. So we have been cleaning and purging and busting our asses to get the house ready for everyone coming to celebrate. Its been a long 2+ weeks.

It’s fun and exciting and I love to chaos leading up to things like this. I have my lists on what needs to get done broken down in priority and time frame. Like washing the sofa cushions was done last night and the last bit of vacuuming is for Saturday morning. When it comes to food, Price made Rice Krispie Treats last night, I’m making 2 cakes tonight, and I’ll frost them Saturday morning after they have completely cooled. The slow cooker chili is also for Saturday morning. Easy peasy. I think.

Oh, there will be a point when I wish we just decided to do a pizza theme and ordered 8 pizzas and picked up a sheet cake but I live for this organized chaos.

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I like to think of myself as a small scale Regina Charboneau, who I just read about this week in the New York Times. She hosts about 150 people for Thanksgiving so she preps weeks in advance and approaches it in a very organized fashion. I’m not to her level yet, hardly, but one day I’d love to be. Actually I don’t think I even really know 150 people. We’re having about half of that at our wedding.

Wait, what am I talking about…a birthday party, Thanksgiving, our wedding? I dunno. Let’s move on, shall we?

It’s Friday so it time for a pie! Since Thanksgiving is fast approaching, I made this Bourbon Pecan Pie so it could grace your table in about 2 weeks.

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You know how is able to pull off all her massive Thanksgiving dinner flawlessly? She knows when to source out. She has family help pick up things along the way. And she buys pie crusts from a bakery in town.

With so much going on this week, I knew that I didn’t need to add ‘make pie crust’ so I followed the wise words of Mrs. Regina Charboneau and bought a prepared pie shell. Yes, making pie crust is easy but when your to do list has 30+ items on it you don’t need to add another thing.

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Besides the pie is so rich that I don’t think most people would mind that you took that short cut. But, hey, if you have time then go for it.

 

All that matters is that you enjoy this Bourbon Pecan Pie. It’s a slam dunk if you like bourbon. If not, I dunno. Just go home. You’re not wanted here. ha!

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Bourbon Pecan Pie

Makes a 9″ pie

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 Cup dark corn syrup
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 Cups pecans, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons Bourbon
  • 1 9″ pie crust, homemade or store bought

Process

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar and melted butter.
  3. Add the corn syrup, eggs, pecans, and bourbon, and stir until all ingredients are combined.
  4. Pour the mixture into an unbaked pie shell, and place on a heavy-duty rimmed cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and continue to bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until pie is set.
  5. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Slightly adapted from Paula Deen

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Cajun Pork Benedict- Top of the Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

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When we were visiting Raleigh, North Carolina back in September we enjoyed some really great meals throughout Research Triangle area. There are so many wonderful places to eat that we had a blast. One place in particular had an awesome brunch.

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Based upon some reviews and suggestions we went to Top of The Hill in Chapel Hill for brunch. Brunch is one of my favorite meals and obviously, my favorite dish is Eggs Benedict. And Top of The Hill, aka TOPO,  did not disappoint!

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Typically, we would not order a ‘starter’ of biscuits but Autumn can happily eat them so we ordered them. So, of course, we snagged some pieces of the light and fluffy biscuits too. Although they were buttery I felt it was super important to add some butter on top as well. Plus some jelly. When in Rome?

We also did get a cup of fruit ($3.99) for Autumn as well.

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Sweet tea and a sweet baby.

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Price ordered the Chicken and Waffles ($9.99). It is becoming the signature dish that he has been ordering lately.

He thought it was really good as the boneless chicken breast was really tender under all that crunch. The coating was on the sweet side, which went well with the belgian waffle. He remarked that he enjoyed how airy the waffle was. Two thumbs up.

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Sadly, we arrived at right when they open at 11 and they don’t start serving alcohol until noon so we didn’t get to enjoy some brunch cocktails or their on-site brewed beers. The selection looked great so it was disappointing but you just can’t break state law!

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I love Eggs Benedict but I love when restaurants change things up and play on the components of it. Which is exactly what TOPO did when they created the Cajun Pork Benny ($8.99). Their version included 2 cheesy grit cakes, Cajun pulled pork, 2 poached eggs, a beer cheese sauce, which were served on a bed of arugula, and lastly topped off with fresh salsa.

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Each element was executed really well. I loved the spice and seasoning in the moist pulled pork. As well, the creamy, thick beer cheese sauce has a really nice spice to it. Of course it was made with theitr own beer. That went really well with the pepper arugula. I typically look forward to homefries but the arugula was nice instead as it added some nice crunch to each bite.

The best part of the Cajun Pork Benedict were the cheesy grit cakes. They were cheesy, creamy, and crunchy. Imagine croquettes but 10x better. The grits were cooked perfectly and they were formed into the cakes and gently fried. Be still my heart. I made sure I had a bit of the cheesy grit cakes with ever bite.

My eggs were bright and runny but just a tad over cooked.You might even say it was barely noticeable, but I do take note. However, I would always choose a slightly over cooked egg than under cooked so it wasn’t such a big deal. Plus there was enough of the cheese sauce to balance out some of the cooked yolk.

Rating

Grit Cakes- 20/20 pts

Pulled Pork- 18/20 pts

Poached Egg- 20/25 pts

Cheese Sauce- 23/25 pts

Arugla & Salsa- 8/10 pts

Total: 89/100 pts

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 And post brunch pics of elation and exhaustion.

Top of The Hill

100 E Franklin St #3

Chapel Hill, NC 27514

(919) 929-8676

Brunch is served from 11-2pm on Sundays

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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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