Mushroom Pot Pie

You guys this recipe is ridiculously good. That’s all I have to say about it really, it’s just so good. The filling is almost like a thick soup and you could eat it with a loaf of good bread if you wanted. Pie crust was my favorite, puff pastry was good but didn’t hold up like the pie crust did. However, it really doesn’t matter because the mushroom gravy, if you will, is amazing alone.

I made this in individual ramekins but you could make this in a pie plate for a holiday dinner, it will get eaten up, I promise.

INGREDIENTS

4 ounces butter, divided

12 ounces mushrooms (I used cremini)

2 cups yellow onion, finely chopped

3/4 cup celery, finely chopped

1 cup carrots (about 1 small/medium), finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons brandy 

2 1/2 cups vegetable stock

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

leaves from 3 springs of thyme

1/4 cup packed Italian parsley, finely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 package frozen pie crust

1 egg, whisked

DIRECTIONS

Heat a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottom saucepan over low heat, then add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the mushrooms along with a pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes, stirring every so often to release their natural juices and soften. Remove the mushrooms from the pan, set aside, and turn the heat down to medium-low.

Melt the remaining butter and add the onions, garlic, celery and carrots and sauté for about for 6 minutes or until soft, stirring periodically.

Stir in the flour and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the brandy, stock, cayenne, and your cooked mushrooms.

Bring to a simmer and stirring often, allow the sauce to thicken, about 5 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and remove from the heat. Add in thyme, parsley, salt and pepper. Taste for salt.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Divide the filling into four 8-ounce ramekins and place on a baking sheet.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the pie crust thin and cut 4 rounds approximately 1/2 – 1 inch larger than the width of the ramekins. Spray the rim of each ramekin with cooking or spray (or you can use your egg wash) and 1/2 inch down the sides. Top each ramekin with the pie crust rounds, folding the excess over and gently pressing it against the ramekins using a fork to help seal it to the dish. Brush the top of the dough with egg wash and use a small knife to poke 3 small holes in the top of each pot pie.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Allow them to cool for a few minutes before serving.

*Recipe adapted from Savory Simple

Spooky

We kicked off the spooky season with my first visit to Knott’s Scary Farm.

We went straight to an amazing looking roller coaster. The lights were all lit up and it looked like a boardwalk. The ride was so fun we did it multiple times. The downside, the exit took us into clown alley. Yes, I know that I am an adult, but I have an irrational fear of clowns…sigh, I am not proud. It took all that I had to not look them, even when they came running at me head on…Otherwise I would have cried.

We had a such good time, rides at night are just better. Parts of the park were very dark and creatures of all sorts would follow us around breathing down our necks and jump out at us. A lot of them had on shoes with metal taps so when they ran and slid at you, it made an awful sound..basically scaring the shit out of us at every corner we turned.

We were walking through a very dark area with fog machines clouding our path when we realized why so many people run in the wrong direction in horror films. You know how we scream at those idiots? Well, we were them…We had a hard time figuring out where we were and where we were headed. If was legit in danger, I would have just fell to the ground and succumbed to my death.

However, it was fun and definitely something to do again.

The girls had fun at the store trying on masks.

We hit the pumpkin patch and we made it easy on ourselves this year. We went to one in Temecula, gave the girls some money, grabbed a glass of wine, and hung out while they did all of the things. Petting zoo, panning for gems, snow cones and all of the other shit that is a waste of money.

We no longer buy our pumpkins at the actual patch which saves a lot of money. We just grab them at a local store on our way home, the girls don’t care.

Then we carve them and then they die. {the pumpkins, not the girls.}

Luckily we got a few photos of our artistry before they wilted 20 minutes later.

The next day we made Oreo bats and I realized that the girls are almost too old for these food crafts. They just want to eat the ingredients rather than create. However, I MADE THEM HAVE FUN!

These are super simple using only 3 ingredients.

Oreos, bite size Reese’s and candy eye balls. We used the oreo filling as the glue for the wings and the eyes. Pop them into the fridge for 10 minutes to set or don’t and just eat them right away.

I think they turned out cute!

The girls have their costumes and we are excited to take them out Monday night, and then go right home to inspect their candy! {aka take all the good stuff}

Just kidding, we will wait until they are in bed.

This is 8

8!

Can you believe it? I can’t.

Smoosh face.

We had family over for dinner, cake and pressies. Celebrating Averi and Aileen who have birthdays one day apart.

Averi’s cake was chocolate with vanilla frosting but I apparently I added too much lemon zest (said the girl who loves lemons) and they didn’t like it.

For fucks sake.

Aileen got a Julien apple pie, she is much easier to accommodate.

The girls went to bed and the adults played a fun game, before we knew it, the night was over.
Happy birthday ladies.

Mother’s Day

We spent Mother’s day on Saturday to avoid the chaos that Sunday would have brought. Brunch was in Old Town and in typical fashion, everyone ate too many chips, but the margaritas were delish.

After brunch we took the girls swimming, you know, to tire them out. We finished the night watching A Christmas Story with pizza.

I was spoilt.

This egg cooker is AMAZING. Hard boiled eggs in less than 10 minutes, soft boiled in even less. AND no “watched pot never boils” situation.

It came with a mini griddle. I used it Sunday morning to make pancakes. I was blown away. Easy, perfect little pancakes, no mess and the kids ate them up.

But then, while getting sugar out of the pantry we realized that ants had invaded THE ENTIRE PANTRY. There was no solution aside from taking everything out and spraying, so happy Mother’s day to me, I now had some real fun ahead of me.


Half a day later, I ordered groceries via InstaCart, because taking the kids to the store was just too much.

So much work….. but it looks so much better.

Once I was done I took the girls to the pool. They were begging to go all day and guess what, they lasted less than an hour. I mean… of course they did.

Tzatziki

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When I was younger, Trader Joe’s Tzatziki was a staple in my refrigerator. As I have gotten older and really learned my way around the kitchen, I found it’s much more delicious homemade. As most things are.

A creamy greek yogurt sauce with garlic and cucumber, its a great partner to a lot of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. Or to just dunk a warm piece of pita bread in.

I used this as a topping to some chicken shawarma pitas. Easy to make there is really no excuse to buy it, sorry Trader Joe’s.

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INGREDIENTS

3/4 English cucumber, peeled and grated

4 to 5 garlic cloves, peeled, finely minced

1 tbs lemon juice

2 tbs chopped fresh dill

1 tbs GOOD Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 cups Greek yogurt

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Directions

After the cucumber is grated allow to sit in a fine mesh strainer, sprinkle with a dusting of kosher salt and let sit, this will bring out the moisture in the cucumber.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt,  garlic, lemon juice and dill. Season with salt and pepper. Chill.

Squeeze as much liquid out of the cucumber as you can using cheese cloth, dish towel or aheavy duty paper towel. Add to the yogurt mixture and combine well. Chill until ready . Drizzle with olive oil before serving.

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Tomato Galette with Honey, Goat Cheese and Caramelized Shallots

I have made a few versions of a tomato tart but I have to say that as much as I love puff pastry, it’s hard to beat a good pastry crust. Now….don’t freak out and go buy a refrigerated pie dough. It takes less than 10 minutes and you have everything you need in your kitchen. If you don’t have flour, butter and salt on hand, then maybe you shouldn’t be making a recipe with the word “galette” in it, you catch my drift?

Galette is a French word describing a free form pie or pastry, basically saving you time and effort of fitting the dough perfectly into a pie tin. Also allowing you to pull off a fancy yet rustic and mouthwatering dish without much effort.

These ingredients all together make the perfect meal to kick off summer. Don’t forget your glass of wine.

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Ingredients

PASTRY DOUGH

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 to 5 tablespoons ice water

FILLING

4 Shallots, diced (about 1 cup)

2 tsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil + more for drizzling

8 oz Goat Cheese

2 – 3 Tbs Honey

3 – 4 Heirloom Tomatoes, sliced

1/2 tsp Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

2 Tbs Fresh Thyme

1 Large Egg, beaten

Directions

Blend together flour, butter, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender  just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps.

Drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water evenly over mixture and gently stir with a fork until incorporated.

When the dough begins to hold together (If it doesn’t hold together, add more ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring  until incorporated, then check again)  turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface.

Gather the dough and gather into a ball and then shape into a flattened disc. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least one hour.

While the dough chills, in a skillet combine shallots and 2 tsp of olive oil. Saute over medium-high heat until shallots are lightly caramelized (about 10 minutes), then remove from heat to cool.

Preheat oven to 375F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper, sprinkling the top with a touch of flour.

Using  a floured rolling-pin, roll out the chilled dough into a 1/8″ thick sheet, then transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet. Crumble goat cheese in all over the rolled-out dough but leaving a rough 2 inch border along the edges. Drizzle a good serving of honey over goat cheese, then evenly top with caramelized shallots. Layer the sliced tomatoes over the goat cheese and honey and then liberally season them with salt and pepper. Give a good drizzle of additional olive oil over the tomatoes, and then sprinkle with the thyme.

Fold up the edges of the pastry dough around the tomatoes, then brush the crust with the beaten egg. Bake galette for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the crust is golden and the tomatoes have begun to char, then cool for 10 minutes before serving.

 

 

 

 

Israeli Style Hummus

I love hummus, we all love hummus. I pay way too much on store bought brands so I started making my own. As much as I love to make meals from scratch, avoid the big chains, drink local coffee and support small businesses, I am also human. I have been using gasp canned garbanzo beans for my hummus. Okay, canned is still better than say, Sabra’ right? I even used a packaged hummus mix that had everything but the beans and it was pretty darn good. This time I wanted to really make hummus, legit Israeli hummus.         I used Bon Appetit’s recipe found here.

It’s no more work than using canned beans and it’s cheaper, win win!

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I am not sure it tasted too much different than using canned beans but it was definitely creamier. No reason to look back, no reason to buy store bought. Next time I am going to throw in cilantro and a few serrano’s, actually I am going to do that now.

Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments

This was my go to recipe for years when I was teaching. Each year I would make a couple batches, let the kids choose their cookie cutter shapes, decorate them and then send them home for a little Christmas gift for mom and dad. My classroom smelled good the entire month of December.

Now that Kaili is old enough, she can pretty much make these on her own. She enjoyed the glitter the best, they always do…the messier the better.

If you are going to make these in your classroom and don’t have access to an oven, they will air dry, it will just take a few days. (Hint-make them on a Friday)

Also, if you don’t want to make ornaments you can turn them into magnets by hot glueing a small magnet on the back once they are dry.

1 cup applesauce

1 cup cinnamon

cookie cutters

glue or paint

glitter or glitter glue

skewer, straw or chopstick- something to make a hole for ribbon or string.

Mix the applesauce and cinnamon together until a dough is formed.

Sprinkle cinnamon on workspace and then roll out the dough.

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Cut dough into desired shapes.

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Cook in preheated oven at 200 degrees for 2 hours (or let air dry for a couple of days)

Once cool, decorate your little hearts out. Once dry, add a ribbon or string and voila, a lovely smelling ornament.

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DIY Insect Repellent Candles

We spend a lot of time in the backyard during summer but the flies are out.of.control. Last year we bought some fly repellant candles from Home Depot. Instead of tossing them and getting new ones we decided to make our own.

Michaels crafts should have everything you need but the candle making items were scarce when I went. I ended up finding some oil at Sprouts and ordering wicks on Amazon, but it should be a one stop shop…should.

I used Citronella and Lavender oils because that is what Google told me flies hate the most.

I also forgo the wick holder and used my husbands hand but in all actuality the wicks stood up on their own, so it wasn’t a problem.

What you need

Wax bits- Soy, Beeswax or leftover candles

Wicks

Container for your candles

Essential oils

Wooden spoon

Glass bowl

Wax or Parchment paper

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Making these was a lot easier than I thought. All you need to do is…

Melt the wax in glass bowl over a double boiler.

While the wax is melting, put the wick in the container you are going to use.

When the wax is completely melted, remove from heat and stir in your essential oils. I used about 4 drops of each.

Pour wax into container being careful not to knock over the wick.

Continue until you have made all your candles.

Allow to cool until completely solid. Now you are ready to ward off those nasty bugs.

* I bought some lavender leaves to sprinkle on top as a decoration but they pooled together, not exactly what I was going for.

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Kid Food, Will They Eat It?

After an evening Costco run I found myself running around like a crazy person trying to get all the crap put away, and the artichokes prepared and cooking then it dawned on me I probably needed to feed the kid. She wasn’t going to gnaw on a pork chop so I rummaged through the fridge to see what I could pawn off on her. I saw a lonely turkey hot dog and remembered an idea I saw on Pinterest ages ago. Get ready to be blown away.

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Who ever came up with this was either brilliant or totally bored. I pushed the dry spaghetti noodles through cut up hot dogs and threw them into a pot of boiling water. 9 minutes later…

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Voila! I was pretty sure Kaili wasn’t going to eat this but I felt a sense of accomplishment for even attempting it.  She picked at it but was much happier with her artichoke. Maybe in another year?