French Silk Pie

It is Christmas and I wasn’t going to blog today, but the kids are nibbling on their dessert and playing with their new toys. Tony and I are vegging on the couch watching some Scooby-Doo, so I thought, why not?
I started with some of my pie dough that I made a few weeks ago and just thawed out last night. For that recipe, check out https://superstevied.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/a-no-fail-pie-crust-recipe/. This time though, I had to “blind bake” it, which I did not do last time. I rolled out my pie dough and placed it in my pie plate and this time I lined it with wax paper and filled it with dry rice. Then you bake it at 375 for 10 minutes. I removed the rice after the 10 minutes was up and put it back in for a few minutes because the bottom was still a little doughy.
Blind Baking
The pie was an involved process, but it was so yummy that I know I’ll be making again! The original pin was from http://www.whatmegansmaking.com/2012/08/chocolate-french-silk-pie.html so be sure to check that out!
You start by taking 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and mixing it with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes, until it becomes stiff. Think Cool Whip looking! Once you’ve achieved this look, cover and refrigerate until you need it again.
Next step is to combine 3 large eggs, 3/4 cup sugar and 2 tbsp. of water in a heat proof bowl. Place your bowl over a saucepan filled with 1/2″ of water, barely simmering. I started with a hand whisk, but you will want your electric mixer before this is over. Whisk these 3 together until it has thickened, 7-10 minutes. It’ll turn an ecru-type color and be a little fluffy looking. You shouldn’t see any egg yolk color when you’re done. After you’ve accomplished this, remove from the heat and continue whisking until it has cooled to room temperature. This should take about another 8 minutes.
Egg Mixture
Once your egg mixture is room temperature, beat in 8oz of chocolate morsels that have been melted and 1 tbsp. of vanilla extract. The original recipe called for bittersweet morsels, but I prefer semi-sweet, so that’s what we went with!
Once that’s all mixed together, add in 8 tbsp. of butter, 1/2″ pieces at a time. After your butter has all been added, use a spatula to stir in your whipped cream from earlier. Keep mixing until there are no streaks remaining. Scrape the whole mixture into your crust, be it homemade or store bought and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
Chilled and Ready
My pie filling overran the edge of the crust, which accounts for the slightly messy edges. I don’t care though because it tasted delicious! It was like a really rich chocolate pudding. Needless to say, I had an entire glass of milk with my slice! Definitely try this out and don’t forget the whipped cream for the top!
So Good!

Disney’s Frozen

Disney's Frozen

Wow, so it’s almost been three weeks since I’ve seen this movie, but I am still loving on the music, plot-line and characters from it, so what to do, what to do, oh yeah, blog about it! The movie is still in theatres so I feel this blog could still be helpful to some people. Even once it’s on DVD, this may give people a heads up about the movie.
I want to start by saying how amazing the movie was! The previews showed that it was going to be another cute Disney movie about siblings, an adventure and magic. There will be spoilers in this blog, because to tell you about the best part of the plot, I will have to tell how it ends. It’s just so great, I can’t keep it to myself!
I’ve been told by my husband, family and friends that I am too easy when it comes to movies, but Frozen hit me out of left field with how deep some of the story lines went. Let’s be honest, the first several Disney princesses were kind of wimpy! Snow White, accomplished nothing, ran away from her problems and had to be saved by a prince. Cinderella just went along with the status quo, not expecting better, until fate intervened. Sleeping Beauty, well her name kind of says it all, slept through her story and needed a prince to save her.
I was happy all around when Disney princesses got bolder and braver. Ariel wanted something different, so she defied her father to go after her heart’s desire. Esmerelda had a fiery spirit and defied all authority to do what was right. Jasmine ran away from home because she didn’t like the status quo anymore! I could go on and on about the evolution of the Disney female characters, but why don’t I tell you why Frozen has the best ones?
We start with Elsa and Anna, two sisters from the kingdom of Arendelle. They are best friends in the beginning, both enjoying Elsa’s power to create snow and ice. An accident leads to Anna getting hurt and her memories of Elsa’s powers are taken from her during the healing.
The girls grow up, not playing together anymore, because of their parents decision to keep them apart to keep Anna safe. The parents still clearly love both of their girls, but I can’t help but think that hiding Elsa’s powers from everyone and keeping them apart wasn’t the best choice.
When the girls are left on their own, Elsa is eventually crowned as the new queen. Anna, who is so desperately lonely falls for the first guy who gives her attention. This is pretty common in Disney movies, and you start by thinking, oh how sweet and typical!
Elsa’s power is shown to everyone during an altercation between the sisters and Elsa is so worried about what will happen that she runs away. This is the scene of my favorite song in the movie, and possibly one of my favorite Disney songs ever!

Let it go is all about letting go of the past so you can embrace things you didn’t think you could have. Just a really powerful song!
Anna decides to go after her sister to bring her home. She leaves her new fiancé in charge of Arendelle while she is away. She eventually meets Kristoff and his reindeer Sven and they help her combat the elements to find Elsa. Did I mention that Elsa created an unending winter as she ran away?
Once the sisters are reunited, Anna wants her sister to come back home, finally realizing why they were kept apart, but now she thinks they can be friends. Elsa is so worried about hurting her sister again, which of course makes her powers unstable and she hurts her even worse than when they were children.
Kristoff rushes her back home to her fiancé after their troll friends tell them only true love can stop her heart from freezing. After all, in Disney movies, true love breaks all the spells! The biggest shock in my life, came when her fiancé turned out to be a complete tool who was using her for her kingdom. He left her for dead, planning to have Elsa killed for her crimes against her sister, leaving him free to rule the kingdom! I was shocked that Disney had a plot line this serious!
Anna, still worried about her sister, manages to fight off the freezing heart long enough to try and save her sister. Elsa is destroyed, thinking she killed her sister, but when the evil fiancé tries to kill her, Anna uses the last moments of her life to save her sister. Of course, what is this? An act of true love!
Disney has finally made an entire movie about strong female characters! There is a love story, both fake and real, but they take the back seat in this movie compared to the relationship between these sisters. It shows young girls that true love doesn’t solve all problems, love is important, but please don’t wait for your ‘prince’ to come along!
There are characters that I didn’t delve into, really just wanted to touch on the highlights of the movie. We have Olaf the Snowman, the Rock Trolls. It’s just all good. The music is amazing! I downloaded the soundtrack when we got home from the movie. Chiara, my three year old, has fallen as in love with the music as I did! We sing these songs constantly! This movie can’t come out on Blu-Ray soon enough to suit me!

Caramel Sauce Teacher Treats

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I feel a little guilty that I haven’t been posting more because I have been doing a ton of Pinterest-y stuff for Christmas. I used to think that homemade gifts were only cute from kids under the age of ten, but Pinterest has taught me so much! I’ll try to get them all in before the New Year rolls around. Some can’t be posted due to people that may see their gift before they open them. Can’t have that! This one is safe because the kids gifts were already given to their teachers.
The original idea for this pin came from http://www.northerncottage.net/2012/05/teacher-gift-thanks-for-sweet-year.html which had these adorable little jars of caramel with an apple all wrapped in cellophane. I found this a brilliant idea! The original pinner said she cheated a bit and used store-bought caramel, which is fine, but as I had a caramel sauce recipe to try, I decided to make my own.
The caramel sauce recipe came from http://kneadtocook.com/sea-salt-caramel-sauce/ and I found the blogger there to be someone as amusing as I find myself! Be sure to check her out! The recipe is simple, which automatically makes it awesome, you just need to have patience, which I did not! My first batch was an amazing failure and went down the drain, but that second batch…….MMMMMMmmmmmm!
You start by mixing together 1 cup sugar and a half cup of water over medium-high heat, closer to the high side. You whisk and whisk until it’s well combined and let it boil. The patience part comes in here because you have to wait until the water evaporates and the goop leftover turns amber. Keep in mind that if you don’t, you will end up with something like this:
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Weird looking, right? It does taste good, and yes I’m weird for trying it even though it looks gross, but what normal person would want to eat this?
Once your water and sugar has turned into an amber colored goop, add in 6 tbsp. of butter. It’ll bubble up, so be ready! Whisk again until it’s well combined. Once it’s mixed together really well, remove your pan from heat. Then you add in a half cup of heavy whipping cream, beware of bubbles again, and whisk until it’s mixed together really well. Is your arm ready to fall off yet?
Once it’s all a gorgeous caramel color, like caramel sauce should be:
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I divided the caramel between 4 4oz jelly jars so I could gift them and was finally able to use the labels I bought months ago. They were mentioned here: https://superstevied.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/personalized-labels/ and they looked super cute on these tiny jars!
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Once this was all cooled, sealed and labeled, I put a cute green apple on top, put the cellophane around it and tied it off with some of my Christmas ribbon. I threaded a tag through the ribbon before I tied the bow off. Miss Seeholzer, the one teacher I hand delivered to, looked at it like a kid and said, “Oh, I love apples!” I just like the idea of an upgrade on the “apple for teacher” and I think it came out great! Sorry if I didn’t get this up soon enough for you to do teacher Christmas gifts, but this would also work for an end of the year gift, so have fun with it!

Candy Sleighs

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So, I’ve been perusing Pinterest, like you do, and I have filled a board full of fun Christmas ideas. Not surprising with how many cute and fun ideas are available through that source! Sadly, this is one of those that I can’t reference exactly where this pin links too. It keeps sending me to indulgy.com, however I can’t find the actual craft on that site. Maybe I’ll find it the next time I try, if so I will come back and update!
I’m sure it’s come up before, but I work for Wal-Mart. I am an area supervisor and I have a specific team of people that work with me. I’ve never made gifts for my team before, but this year, I took advantage of the fact that I have a team, to make these awesome little sleighs!
The best part about these sleighs is that everything you need for them can be bought in bulk. That’s another reason these are great gifts for teams or large groups of people. I bought myself 4 packs of candy canes, 2 of the giant bags of assorted Hershey’s candy bars, 4 6-packs of Kit-Kat bars, some Christmas-y ribbon and 3 of the 10-pack mini bows, all of which I picked up at my Wal-Mart.
I did initially start out using Elmer’s glue to attach all of the pieces together, and to an extent, that works. I tried super glue as well, but believe me, you will want to a hot glue gun, especially if you have a porous ribbon, as I did.
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It helps to give yourself a plan before you break out the glue. I wanted to keep my layers all one type of candy, so I plotted my sleighs out. Once you have a plan, if you want one, you can use Elmer’s glue to connect your chocolates together. On top of your Kit-Kat, your first layer should be 4 small Hershey’s, then 3, 2, 1. Simple, yes? You’ll end up with something like this:
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Elmer’s glue will get you this far, but now it’s time to move onto a hot glue gun! Next step requires a little finger dexterity, or help from a friend. You need to hold both of your candy canes upright, like sleigh skis, and run a line of hot glue down the top of them. Once the glue is down, place your Kit-Kat on the two candy canes. You do need to move fast, because hot glue sets FAST!
After the hot glue has hardened, you can attach your ribbon. Run a piece under the sleigh lengthwise, then widthwise, including the candy canes in the width one. Once that glue has dried, you slap a bow on top and call it done!
I found it easier to work assembly-line style. I attached all the Hershey’s to the Kit-Kats and let them sit for about an hour. Then you can plug in your glue gun and attach them all to the candy canes. By the time the “skis” are all attached, you’re ready to start on the ribbons. It goes faster that way, and you get a better feeling with how much you’ve accomplished!
*Update* I was showing off to my mom about how I made these cute little sleighs and then I found out she had made something similar for people at her work. Check out her candy sleighs!
My mom's giant candy sleigh
These are cute and fun little gifts, so keep them in mind if you need something cute for co-workers or neighbors!

Homemade Doggy Treats

This was something I found while perusing a homemade gift website. I made a point of pinning it so I wouldn’t lose it! I thought it would be something fun the kids and I could do together while giving the dogs a thrill.
You start off by mixing together 1 cup of flour, 1/4 cup of oats, 1/4 cup of unsweetened, shredded coconut and 1/2 tbsp. baking powder. Once that’s stirred together, add in 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, 1/2 cup milk, 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. applesauce.
Roll it all together until you get a ball that looks a little like this:

ball of doggy treat

ball of doggy treat


Once you have successfully reached this point, roll it out onto a large piece of wax paper until it is about a 1/2″ thick. I determined that was about the depth of my thumbnail to make this easier. As you cut out your treats, you will need to roll it out repeatedly!
thumbnail depth

thumbnail depth


The next step it why it took me so long to make these! Who would’ve thought it would be so hard to find a bone shaped cookie cutter?! Once you have an appropriate cookie cutter, anyone you like will work really, you start cutting out your biscuits and fill up a cookie sheet with your dog cookies.
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Chiara cutting cookies

Chiara cutting cookies


After you have used all of your dough, place your cookie sheet in your 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until they turn a golden brown color.1204131708[1]
Once the treats have cooled down, be sure to put them in an airtight container to maintain the freshness. Think about human cookies, the longer they are exposed to air, the harder they will get.
The dogs loved them, most of this batch was for a gift, but the few I did give to the dogs were quickly devoured! Chiara was a very disappointed that I wouldn’t let her feed the whole batch to the Zuko and Juliet.
If you have some 4-legged friends of the canine variety, I would strongly recommend you try your hand at these. They’re simple and healthy for your dogs. Show the love to them this holiday season!

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

As previously stated, I have never baked a successful pie. I’m slowly building my baking and cooking chops due to my Pinterest obsession and it is working. I felt confident enough to try again for this last Thanksgiving. I recently discovered that my husband loves pumpkin pie. Seven years married and I just found this out. That just goes to show you that you never stop learning about your spouse!

My last post was about the making of the crust and that went really well. Surprisingly easy actually and you can get those directions here: https://superstevied.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/a-no-fail-pie-crust-recipe/

The pie that I put in the crust was just as simple and absolutely delicious! Tony has eaten most of the pie himself! The kids and I haven’t been slouches either. Even Chiara ate her entire piece of pie. New foods usually throw her off, but she couldn’t resist the yummy-ness.

You start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees. While that’s going on, you mix together 3/4 cups of brown sugar, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. ginger and 1/2 tsp. nutmeg together. Once the spices are well combined, you add in 2 beaten eggs and 1 3/4 cups of pumpkin puree. I used my real pumpkin, not from a can. There was a different measurement used for the in-a-can stuff, so be sure to refer to the original website for those measurements. Once the pumpkin mixture is ready, pour it into the crust.
before baking
Bake at the 425 degrees for the first 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes or until you inset a knife in and it comes out clean.
I’ve never made a pumpkin pie, nor have I been involved in the baking of one. I could not figure out why it kept jiggling. The recipe said until the knife was clean, so I pulled it out when the knife was clean.
fresh out of the oven
Sadly, I had to work on Thanksgiving day, so we had Thanksgiving lunch instead of dinner. This lead to a nap before work and no time for pie. Luckily, my husband loves me enough that he didn’t dig in without me. Of course this meant that we had our pie on Saturday! I also had no idea that pumpkin pie settles over time, so the longer it sits, the more the middle sinks in. It still tasted delicious, and the last slice is waiting for me as I write, but next time we’ll aim for more immediate ‘digging in’. Don’t forget the Ready Whip!
time to dig in

Original pin links to http://premeditatedleftovers.com/recipes-cooking-tips/always-in-season-pumpkin-pie/#_a5y_p=1037397

A No-Fail Pie Crust Recipe

I have only tried making a pie once before. It was a cream cheese pie and they were a staple for family holidays while growing up. Sadly, my one attempt at this ended with a gooey mess in a graham cracker crust. That attempt was shortly after I got married and I have never attempted again. We carved a lot of pumpkins this year and I had a lot of pumpkin guts in my freezer. I asked Tony how he felt about pumpkin pie, and he informed me that he loved pumpkin pie……. Nice to know after seven years of marriage!

I wanted to try my hand at a pie for Thanksgiving and I figured if I was going to do this, I was going to go with the motto: Go big or go home! Crust made from scratch too. My mom was impressed with my daring. Pinterest is my friend and I found the “Never Fail Pie Crust” recipe. The recipe creates four pie crusts, the dough can be frozen and thawed to use later, so I have some more to use for other recipes towards Christmas.

You start by mixing 4 cups of flour, 1 tbsp. sugar and 1 tbsp. salt. After it’s all mixed up, cut in 1 3/4 cups shortening. In a separate bowl mix together 1 tbsp. vinegar, 1 egg and a 1/2 cup of water. Once the egg mixture is well mixed, all it to your flour mixture. Stir until you can form four equal balls with your hands.

When you are ready to use it, be sure your surface is well floured to avoid sticking later. Here is where a rolling pin comes in handy. I, sadly, do not have one, so I had to use a wine bottle to roll my dough flat. Tony kept laughing at me, but whatever works! My first attempt kept tearing and, after adding too much flour, I had to scrap that dough and try again with the next ball! Finally I was able to get my dough into my pretty Longaberger pie plate. I did have some holes, but was able to press the dough together and make it work. The edges weren’t as artistic as I had hoped, but it was my first attempt!

I do have some other Pinterest tips to attempt to make it prettier next time! The pie I made, more on that later, was delicious, and the crust itself was light and flaky, a definite hit!

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For the original site where this recipe came from, visit http://www.danamadeit.com/2011/12/day-3-never-fail-pie-crust.html

Next up, I’ll tell you all about the delicious pumpkin pie I put in the crust!