Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Love board

My cousin is marrying the cutest girl in a few weeks and the theme of their shower was "To fill their home". NATURALLY i assumed that meant decor. Apparently I was wrong in that thought :) But, that was included so i didn't totally miss the mark. Anyway, I made their gifts and was so excited by how they turned out! I have a pile of palletts sitting on the side of my house begging to be turned into a picnic table for our back yard. So, I broke of a slat of one of those and got started.

First I cut my pallet into 2 pieces, the size I wanted the sign to be. I don't have a big table saw or anything so i just used a regular hand saw. It went really fast with minimal effort.  I didn't have any nails that fit this project so I grabbed the sturdy wood glue and glued my boards together.

Next I chalked out where I wanted to write. Chalk is nice because it washes off really easily and will always come off. 
I found extra white paint and a foam brush and painted the word LOVE onto my boards. Finally I brushed one layer of stain onto the final dried project, just to add some character. It totally finished the project and i was stoked!

I painted the O in Love a heart and later covered it with fabric rosettes.

 DONE! Easy peasy! :)

Apricot-Almond Crunch Pie

Prepare to have your world ROCKED!!! I'm not kidding, this was amazing! Maybe my new favorite pie. Actually, not maybe, definitely my new favorite pie. MMM! I think I need another one, STAT!

So here is how this pie came to be. A neighbor of mine had a bajillion apricots and i bought a bunch off of her for an amazing deal, thank you Heather! But, in 5 minutes I went from oh let's get some apricots to a 5 pound box sitting on my counter, all ripe and ready to be devoured. 
Que: Pinterest. I searched for every apricot recipe I could find so that I could use them up before they got soft and squishy and gross. To be honest, there were loads of ideas on pinterest but they all sounded OK, nothing life changing. And we needed life changing. Strike One.
Que: The never fail cook book. Better Homes and Gardens, Thank You. Who has that red and white checked cook book?  Do you LOVE IT!!??!!??!!?? I use it for everything and I love it for everything! So, the filling comes from that cookbook and the crust is my grandmas AMAZING pie crust, seriously the best crust ever. It's delicious and flaky and light and oh so fattening. Perfect combo right?

Let's do this...
 Slice up your apricots-- You choose, I left the skin on. Mostly a laziness factor.
Prepare your topping and set aside. 
  Prepare the filling and set aside.

 Prepare and roll out your dough. Lay in pie plate and crimp as desired. I did two (see picture above and below). Fill each pie with filling.
 I used the bowl of a spoon for this design. It's super easy.

 Cover pie with crumb topping. It will seem like there is WAY too much topping, trust me, use it all! Finally top with almonds.

Pre-cooked. Doesn't this look divine?

Bake and feast!

I liked it better cool, my husband thought it was best hot, with ice cream of course :)

*And just a note, something you may want to remember and plan on...I made 2 pies. One for our family and one for my neighbors who were moving. I sadly, (or happily?) admit that pie number 2 never made it to their house. 
Oh yeah, it's that good :)

{CRUST RECIPE} (Makes 2 crusts, you will only need one for this pie)
2 C flour
1 tsp. salt
3/4 C butter-flavored shortening
3 Tbsp. water, chilled (add a few more drops if needed)

Mix flour and salt together. Measure shortening and set in bowl with flour. Set in refrigerator to chill. When chilled, mix together thoroughly with pastry cutter. Stir in water with fork, 1 Tbsp at a time, working dough gently and briefly. Divide into 2 halves, shaping each into a slightly flattened disk, Refrigerate one while you are rolling out the other. Roll out on lightly floured surface and place in pie plates. This recipe makes one two-crust pie or two one-crust pies. If for one-crust pies, prick with fork and bake at 450 degrees 10-12 minutes. 
*note: for ease of rolling out, use a cloth rolling pin cover and roll out on a pastry cloth. Always roll from the center outwards. 

Stir together 1/2 C all-purpose flour and 1/2 C packed brown sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in 3 Tbsp butter till mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

1 recipe Crumb Topping (above)  
3/4 C Sugar
1/3 C all-purpose flour
4 C sliced, pitted apricots ( I left the skin on, if you would prefer to peel them that works too)
2 Tbsp amaretto or 1/2 tsp. almond extract plus 2 Tbsp water
1/4 C slivered almonds

In a large mixing bowl combine sugar and flour. Add apricots and amaretto or almond extract/water. 
Transferr apricot mixture to pastry-lined pie plate. sprinkle Crumb Topping over the filling. Sprinkle with almonds. 

To prevent over-browning, cover edge of the pie with foil. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 20-25 minutes or until top is golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fried Rice

Alright ladies and gents, sometimes you need a side that is delicious but different! do you guys get into the same rut that I do? Steamed veggies or brown rice with EVERYTHING!? Sometimes I don't even think about it, I just grab the rice or veggies and throw them onto the plate with whatever is for dinner. This side is fun, easy, delicious and fast! Our favorite is to serve it with potstickers for a fast dinner on those nights when you are rushing!

*Nothing in this recipe is measured -- it's all estimated, sorry :)

Cook your rice as normal (this recipe uses 2 1/2 C white rice, cooked. brown works too but doesn't get quite as sticky). While rice cooks, cook approximately 2-3 slices bacon cut into small bite size pieces (refer to the picture above if you are unsure) in large frying pan (I use a 12" pan and make enough rice to fill it, it's totally up to you though). When bacon is almost done add 1/4 C green onions (one batch). Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add cooked rice and stir everything together. Mix one egg into rice mixture until all the rice is well coated. Add 1/4-1/2 C soy sauce and 1/4 C water. Stir and cover. If you would like additional veggies, ie frozen peas, add those now. Let sit on medium low heat 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.When liquid is gone and consistency is where you like it, season with pepper and serve hot.

*Note: It will look runny and then pasty after the liquid has been added. Give it time -- it will improve.

Let me know how it goes!!!