Happy Galentine’s Day!

Ah, can you smell that? Mmmm… that’s the scent of chocolate my friends. Tomorrow is 50% off chocolate day, so get ready for some shopping! Today however is Valentine’s Day, or as I prefer to celebrate it, Galentine’s Day!

Since I was about 10 years old I’ve almost always celebrated Valentine’s Day with a group of girls. For me Valentine’s is always about the people you love, not just a single significant other. Luckily, Parks and Rec helped popularize the Galentine’s Day movement! Woohoo! Ladies, gather around, I’ve got chocolate.

This past weekend I threw a Galentine’s Day Party. You may have seen my plate of leftover cookies on instagram! Mmmm. I made a bunch of sugar cookie hearts and whipped up some royal icing which I dyed red, two shades of pink, and a pretty teal blue. I kept plenty of white as well. I like to pop the icing in squeeze bottles like these for easy and less messy frosting. It makes it easier for kids to go at it as well!

Since I’m a pro at over-baking, I had so many cookies left after the party that I ended up spending about 2 hours streaming Netflix and decorating the excess cookies. It was a relaxing way to spend a late Saturday afternoon!

Valentine's Cookies | Land of Laurel

The party was fun and I managed to snap a few pics before everyone arrived. I made a bunch of cupcakes and some biscuits too. A big part of any Galentine’s Day party has got to be the food! I made tons of food – I always do – there was enough for thirty and I had a party of ten! Everyone got to take home leftover though and I even froze some for myself.

Galentine's Day Party | Land of Laurel

I mashed up some re-heated frozen raspberries and added them and their juice to my cream cheese frosting for an simple and natural pink color and a little extra favor. It was so delicious and incredibly easy to get that vibrant pink color! I have half a bag left in my fridge now, so I just might need to bake a cake!

Valentin's Day Cupcakes | Land of Laurel

The raspberry cream cheese frosting could have been a little thicker, but oh well, nobody cared, it was delicious! A bag of Valentine’s M&Ms adds a little party atmosphere. As much as I love fancy chocolate, I have to admit, there is something about M&Ms at a party that is just so right! I cut my biscuit dough into heart shapes as well, because I like to roll with a theme. I whipped some chives, salt, and pepper with some cream cheese for a savory biscuit topping, but I also put out raspberry jam and lemon curd for those with a sweet tooth.

Galentine's Day Party | Land of Laurel

Over all, it was a lovely party and I can’t wait for next year. In the meantime, I’ll just be home drinking hot buttered rum because I over-made the mix for that as well. No harm, no foul there though! There’s nothing I enjoy more than a hot, alcoholic beverage. Mmmm mmmm good!

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? What about Galentine’s Day? I can’t get enough of spreading the love to all my lady friends! The move to Portland has been so wonderful because of all the women I’ve met here. I really couldn’t feel more lucky!

Advertisements

(Golden) Delicious Apple Pie

Apple pie is one of the most classic American dishes. It’s the perfect dessert when you want something a little bit lighter that flourless chocolate cake; which for me, is admittedly rare since I’m a crazy chocolate fiend, but even I switch things up now and again! What I love about apple pie is how super easy it is to throw together. All the ingredients are typically ones you have stocked at home and the recipe is pretty fail proof. It’s easier than pumpkin pie to make and just as delicious!

Killer Apple Pie | Land of Laurel

To me, apple pie means fall and Thanksgiving, it means winter and foggy windows, it means filling the house with the smell of cinnamon and cloves, but most of all it means a gathering of friends or family. I like my apple pies tart and spicy, just like my friends, so it’s pretty much the perfect dessert for a girls night. Ha! Plus, apple pie is the perfect house freshener: put an apple pie in the oven 20 minutes before your guests come over and your whole house will smell like heaven! It’s a multipurpose dessert y’all! Check out the recipe below for a super easy and delicious evening.

Killer Apple Pie | Land of Laurel

Ingredients

1 – pie crust

7 – medium, organic, green apples, granny smith is the classic

1 – medium, organic, multi-colored apple, fugi or gala work well

1/2 cup – organic, brown sugar

1  – lemon, zest and juice

1/4 teaspoon – salt

1 teaspoon – cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon – cloves

1/4 teaspoon – nutmeg

4 tablespoons – organic butter

1 – organic egg

Recipe

Split your ball of pie crust dough in two and roll out half, keeping the other half cool in the refrigerator for later as it will form the top crust. Use your rolling pin to help convey the rolled bottom pie crust dough from your counter to you pie pan, then use your fingers shape the dough inside. Leaving half an inch over the edge of the pan, cut off the excess dough. Pop the bottom crust into the oven to pre-bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Once baked, remove from oven and set aside to cool. Turn the oven to 425° to pre-heat for the pie.

While the bottom crust pre-bakes, begin peeling, coring, and thinly slicing your apples. You want your apples to be roughly peeled, so don’t worry about getting every last bit off. I use this awesome kitchen aide attachment I have and love, and then slice the peeled, cored, and spiral sliced apple in half.  The kitchen aide attachment or counter-mounted version are fantastic because they do all the peeling, slicing, and coring at once, but this isn’t difficult to accomplish with a simple knife alone.

Place the apple slices into a large bowl, add all other ingredients except the butter andegg, and use your hands to toss everything together. Once apples are evenly coated, place in cooled, pre-baked pie shell in a spiral pattern, coating the bottom before placing additional layers. Use small or broken slices to fill any odd spaces. Once you’ve piled your mound of apples into the bottom shell, you will have some excess liquid in your bowl, pour about half over the apples in the pie shell and compost the rest. Cut butter into 8 evenly sized pieces and sprinkle over mounded apples.

Roll out the other half of your pie dough and use it to cover your mounded apples. Pinch the edges into the pre-baked bottom crust and remove any excess. Cut openings in the top crust to allow steam to escape. Coat the top pie crust completely with a whipped egg yolk to give it a deep finished sheen. To make decorative leaves, cut leaf shapes out of excess down, using the knife to carve leaf veins into the tops. Coat leaves with lightly whipped egg white mixed with food coloring and place on pie shell.

Bake at 425° degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350° and bake for another 40 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before serving, refrigerate after slicing. Pie keeps well and can be baked and left on counter up to 36 hours in advance, before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for best results!

*This post contains affiliate links*

Lemon Veggie Wild Rice

Well, it’s officially autumn here in Portland! The leaves are falling, the skies are grey, and it’s been raining a good amount. Autumn makes me want warm food, a hot fire, and a good book. Since I keep my pantry well stocked with yummy grains and non-perishables, I often buy a bunch of veggies to sauté together which I throw on top of rice or lentils or whatever else Fred Meyer’s organic bulk section is stocking. I decided to mix it up a little bit the other day and stumbled into this yummy new dish I’ll be cooking up for years to come. I brought it to my first-cousin-once-removed-in-law’s uncle’s 76th birthday (sometimes it’s easier to simplify familial relationships). I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious this simple dish is! Give yourself some time in the kitchen to get everything going, but then pop it into the oven and socialize until it’s time to eat. Covered after removing from the oven, this will stay plenty hot for 30-40 minutes, so it really is great for taking to a friend’s house or to make ahead for your own gathering!

Lemon Veggie Wild Rice | Land of Laurel

Lemon Veggie Wild Rice

Serves 6-8 as main dish and 12-14 people as a side.

Ingredients

1.5 cups organic, tri-color wild rice

2 cups organic vegetable broth

1.75 cups water

1/2 stick butter or 2 tablespoons olive oil

5 small, organic carrots

4 stalks organic celery

1 small onion (I used a yellow onion, but a red onion would taste amazing in this!)

1 medium, organic leek

6-8 leaves sliced, fresh sage

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1/3 cup chopped, fresh parsley

3/4 cup dried cranberries

3/4 cup toasted sliced almonds

1 organic lemon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

feta cheese to sprinkle

Lemon Veggie Wild Rice | Land of Laurel

Recipe

 

Start by putting the rice, broth and water in a medium sized pot over high heat, bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 20-30 mins until water is absorbed. Melt butter (or heat oil) over medium heat in 4 quart dutch oven (or other large oven safe vessel). Chop carrots and celery and add to pot with butter, sauté for 5-1o minutes, stirring frequently. Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Chop leek, and onions and add to carrot celery pot, sauté together ten minutes, stirring frequently. Test rice, it should be soft with a slight crunch. Once rice is cooked, turn off heat on both pots and add rice to sautéd veggies. Add cranberries, salt, pepper, sliced almonds, and the grated rind and juice of one lemon. Stir together, cover with lid, and place in oven. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove lid, and let rest for ten minutes, then serve sprinkled with feta cheese.

 

Let me know if you try making this! It’s perfect for a fall night, but the easily found ingredients make it a dish that can be served year round.