Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Apple Pies

What's better than Thanksgiving dinner? How about two Thanksgiving dinners? That's right friends, I went to Thanksgiving twice this year, so besides eating two times more food, I had to bake two times the pie! Ever since this whole diet business, I haven't baked much. Lots of low-calorie cooking, but very little baking. So, I was a little excited about getting to bake again. Making pies is fun! Though, it can be quite a time consuming process - especially when you have to bake two.
Making Pies!
I made the crusts the night before, and chilled the discs of dough overnight. That made it a little easier in the morning. I don't have pie weights (yet), so I usually end up with a somewhat sloppy process of fitting the dough into my pie plate, but I think it came out okay? I used a fork to add some texture to allow the top of my pie crust to adhere a little easier.
Pie crust
While the pie crusts chilled in the fridge for a little longer, I worked on the apple filling. Mr B made the process go a lot quicker by helping me peel all the apples! After the apples were all cut, I added some lemon, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, flour, and a few cubes of butter. Then, in the pie crusts they go.
Making Pies!
Next, it's time for the top crust. I always use little cookie cutters for the vents. I almost went freestyle with some autumn leaves, but totally chickened out, since we were a little tight with time. I think the stars worked out just fine though. After adhering the two crusts, I brushed on my egg wash and poured a generous amount of sanding sugar on top.
Making Pies! Lots of sugar on top!
I let the whole pie freeze for about 30 minutes, then into the oven they went. Here is pie number one:
Apple Pie, fresh out of the oven...
And pie number two:
Apple Pie
I got to sneak a taste of each pie, and I do think pie number one was the winner.
I used an actual pie plate to bake this one, which ensured even baking. For pie number two, I ran out of pie plates, so I used a vintage pyrex dish that was somewhat pie shaped. Now, I love my vintage pyrex, but I gotta say, the baking was a bit uneven with this one. I might have to experiment again with an actual pyrex pie plate, but from now on, my little pyrex will go back to making casseroles and looking stylish.
Now, what will I be baking for Christmas....???

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Let The Holiday Baking Begin!

Although baking holiday goods is difficult, while I am on a diet... I can't resist!
Holiday Baking Begins!
I should also mention that I'm still in denial that it's November. November! Already! No! It came way too fast. While I usually have all of my Christmas shopping done by now, this year has been a whirlwind and I've still got lot to shop for. Busy, busy. Did I mention I also got a new job? I'm officially a librarian! It's pretty great! Oh, and there's also that wedding we're planning... and the thought of starting to look for a new home together... it's all very time consuming, but all very exciting!
So, what's in the kitchen today? It's the start of two apple pies! I'm not the biggest pumpkin pie fan, so I'm going with an old favorite. Tonight, I'm preparing the crusts. Bright and early tomorrow, Brian and I will be chopping and peeling approximately 20 apples and making one of my favorite types of pie!
Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! What are you baking this holiday?

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Tuscan Pumpkin Bean Soup

I'm experimenting here. I've missed this blog so much, but have been extremely busy to post. Trust me, I've been as crafty as I have ever been - the amount of wedding crafts to be posted after the wedding is somewhat startling, let me assure you. I am being extremely secretive about all of these project and they have kept me so busy, there has been little time to update. So, I am trying something a little new. I am blogging on the go, via iPhone. Well, not completely just yet. I am at my laptop now (about to go running 7 miles in my marathon training), but have used my iPhone to photograph and upload images of my latest food adventure. Not the best photographs... the iPhone definitely can't do what my little Canon does, but not bad? And at least it makes posting a lot more doable! So, let's see how this goes.
Onions for Tuscan Pumpkin Bean Soup
I was super excited while making this meal, particularly because I got an excuse to use my new 16 qt. All Clad stockpot! And let me tell you... it was love at first saute. Love!
Making Tuscan Pumpkin Bean Soup
After the onions got a little soft, I added chicken broth, white beans, a can of pumpkin, and some spices. I let those simmer for about 15 minutes, then moved them to the food processor to puree, then topped with a tiny bit of Parmesan cheese. I knew Mr. B would not be satisfied with just soup, and since we're on a diet, I tried to avoid the carbs. I ended up getting some turkey sausage, for only 160 calories per big link!
Turkey Sausages and Tuscan Pumpkin Bean Soup
Mr. B was very pleased.