At the beginning of February I met up with two of my best friends in New Orleans, LA to celebrate 17 years of friendship. While the trip didn’t fall on our anniversary (you better believe we have one!), we wanted to make it a celebration of our relationship and strove to create an awesome long weekend of fun, friends, and so much food! Spoiler alert: we were successful! The three of us are scattered in different cities around the United States now (Portland, OR; San Francisco, CA; and Philadelphia, PA) and we picked New Orleans since it was kinda-sorta in the middle.Continue reading “What to Do During a Long Weekend in New Orleans”
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
I’m sharing another recipe from the dishes I served at my birthday party today! Remember the spread? The colorful crostini? Here is something equally simple that you can totally make ahead of time! Boom! Easy! My favorite.
I’ve always just loved mangos. My mom always gave them to us during the summer when I was little. She’d cut them up into little “porcupines” as we called it and we’d use our teeth to scrape off chunks of the delicious fruit, the juices running down our chins until we were sticky messes. Don’t worry, this recipe isn’t anywhere near that messy.
My favorite way to cut mangos — for this recipe and just for eating in general– is to slice the mango on either side of the pit. You should end up with 3 pieces, each about one-third the size of the mango, the pit piece being the smallest. Take each side and slice a grid into the flesh of the fruit with your knife. Then use your fingers to push on the peel side of the piece of fruit until it’s “inside-out” and looks like a series of rectangular projections on a hillside (or a porcupine!). Then use your knife to slice off the projection fruit flesh.
This Mango Mint Salad is easy, peasy. It requires only three ingredients and can be whipped up in a few minutes. It’s a great use for slightly over-ripened mangos and can be stored in the fridge for a few days, then brought to room temperature, before serving. It’s great for a side dish at lunch or breakfast. It’s a great dish to bring to a barbecue on a hot summer day. With organic mangos at Berkeley Bowl selling at 10 for $5.00 in the summers, I’m guaranteed to make this dish another half dozen times this season alone!
MANGO MINT SALAD
Serves as a side dish for 4-8 people
4 – Organic Mangos
3 – Organic Limes
15-20 – Medium-Sized Organic Mint Leaves (freshly plucked from the stem)
Cut the mangos into bite sized pieces no larger than three-quarters of an inch. Place into medium sized bowl. Juice the limes and add the liquid to the mangos. Slice the mint leaves into small pieces and stir into the mangos. Let rest for at least thirty minutes, stirring occasionally, before serving. The rest period allow the mango to absorb more of the lime juice.
Wasn’t that quick and easy? I promise it’s so delicious, you have to try! I made it the day of my party and then again this weekend to bring to a crab feed. It’s incredibly yummy. I even paired it with avocado toast for breakfast a couple days after my party.
Does anyone else have a fruit that just screams summer to them? That’s what mangos do for me! They’re so inspiring, I know as soon as they come to under $1/each in the grocery store, it’s time for sand, sunscreen, and some lazy, hazy days of summer!
Post Saturday and Sunday we were full. Very satiated. Don’t worry, though. We kept eating. Monday morning in Portland. Day three of our trip. We we woke up early. REALLY early. We dropped Scott off at work at 6:40am. Then we went back to the house and saw Nikki off before hopping into Nikki’s car and heading to Pip’s Doughnuts. Why don’t more people talk about Pip’s Doughnuts?! This place is AMAZING! First of all, it’s on the cutest little street. NE Fremont Street looks like something straight out of the 1940’s. The buildings all told a story. We ended up wandering through the surrounding neighborhood as well, the houses were all adorable! They all looked different and were painted fun colors. The cottages and craftsman style homes all seemed so historical and stylish compared with California’s constant stream of ranch style homes painted beige or grey with black trim.
Let’s go inside Pip’s though and get to the good stuff. First of all, they had these cute cans filled with succulents. Too cute!
I’ve always wanted to do something like this! Just need cans that look old, but are still waterproof. Anyways, Nicole and I waited for a short bit, ordered our food, and quickly got a table. We split the Chai Latte Flight and eight doughnuts. We loved every flavor of doughnut we tried, my favorite was the Dirty Wu, but the Meyer Lemon Pear Butter was fresh and delicious, you can’t go wrong with Raw Honey and Sea Salt, or the Nutella and Sea Salt. Basically anything with sea salt is amazing. Nicole loved the Candied Bacon and Maple too. And oh my god. The chai flight. This was my personal heaven, y’all. Five kinds of chai lattes. Each tastier than the next. My favorite was a bit surprising. The Emmylou is non-caffeinated and made from an herbal tea with lavender, camomile, and chrysanthemum. It taste like relaxation and yoga breaths, lazy Sundays and rainy days by the fire. Amazing. My next favorite was the King & I, which was more of a traditional chai. Nicole preferred Ginger Rodgers and Heart of Gold. The former was gingery and spicy, the latter had hints of coconut and turmeric. Neither of us really liked the Smokey Robinson, which, as you may have guessed from the name, had a distinct smokey flavor. We finished the doughnuts as well as four of the chais and left half a cup of the Smokey Robinson behind.
After Pip’s we headed to Alberta which quickly became our favorite little street in Portland. There were so many cute shops and we shopped till we dropped. I bought a cute dog collar at Healthy Pets Northwest for my parent’s pooch who recently outgrew her old one. We both bought tank dresses at Frock which was a cute store with happy colors and lots of cool clothing. We both adored Digs which had a cool mix of home items, gardening supplies, and some clothing. They had so many cool containers and tons of air plants. I fell in love with a Turkish towel bathrobe, but the price tag had me balking.
And, then it was time to eat again. Yup. We ate more. And more. And more. This time we stopped at Pine State Biscuits.
We nommed on The Regina and The Double Down. Lot’s of eggs. Lot’s of gravy. Plenty of deliciousness. Nicole and I were splitting almost every meal at this point. We just wanted to be able to try all the options. It was amazing. Here’s The Regina in all her glory. We gobbled down The Double Down before I could snap a picture.
After gorging ourselves once again, we stumbled outside and discovered two awesome mural walls. One had a fantastic message, which I very much appreciated it.
Of course, we had to take some pictures. We propped my phone up on a bush, then a random car (scaring the owner who was getting a haircut enough for him to send the stylist out to make sure we weren’t doing anything bad to it! Oops! Sorry!) and set the timer.
We had some fun with that. I love how the colors of the mural pop against our black and grey outfits. Sometimes taking a good picture is all about finding the right setting.
After wandering back down Alberta we hopped into the car with the plan to hit up Powell’s Books and the Pearl District before picking up Nikki at her office. Fail. We drove down Mississippi Street and quickly realized we needed to stop and venture into the shops on this cute street as well!
We headed into PDXchange, a fair trade and local store, where I bough a necklace made from a bullet in which a trellis pattern had been melted. Miraculously, at the end of the trip TSA did let me wear this through security!
We stopped for coffee and tea at the Fresh Pot before continuing to pop into every shop along the street. Before long, it was time to pick up Nikki so we headed south towards her office. We actually arrived a bit early so we stopped in at the nearby Goodwill Superstore and ended up buying coordinating silver containers at $3 buck a pop. We plan on planting succulents in them. After we nabbed Nikki, we decided to stop in at Grand Marketplace to oooh and ahhh at all the antiques.
There was lots of silver similar to what we’d just purchased at the Goodwill Superstore, but for 10 times the price, but many other things caught my eye. The displays were so artful and fun! You felt like you were in a bohemian apartment in the 1920’s. It was delightful to walk around the large shop.
One day, I’m building myself a big kitchen island that looks like the above. So beautifully worn, so functional. We managed to convince Nikki to hit up the Motherland while we were some what near by. This is when I got really excited!
No trip to Portland would be complete without a stop at Powell’s Books! I wish I could say I spent my time exploring the entire store, but in truth, I quickly picked up a copy of Wildwood as a hostess gift for Nikki and then dove into the urban agriculture section immersing myself in books on backyard chickens and goats. For an hour. I could have stayed for ten hours in that section alone!
After Powell’s we picked up Scott from their house and headed to the Chapel Pub for dinner. We got a cozy little table right next to a small fireplace. I used my girl scout skills to take the fire from coals to brightly burning flames. I ordered a hot buttered rum for the first time. Literally the best drink I’ve ever tried. My new favorite. So good and creamy! Definitely searching out a local place to try that again.
Then we ate. So. Much. Food. Greek tater tots and Cajun french fries? Yes please. Nikki and I both got veggie burgers. Then we split dessert. We ate and ate and ate. I couldn’t even look at food afterwards. That night we fell into bed, happy, full, and exhausted. Nicole was leaving the next day and we still had things to do!
Tuesday morning, Nicole woke up early and dropped Scott off at work. When she got back, I woke up, threw on clothes, and then we took Nikki to her office. We then had what we called “dirty breakfast” still half-asleep, partially in last nights clothes, unshowered. We planned to return to Nikki’s to clean up after our meal. We went to Zell’s which was close to Nikki’s office. We ordered Eggs Florentine and a German Pancake with Pear Butter and slices. Nicole and I both make these Germanic style pancakes (recipes courtesy of our Oma’s, mine German, hers Dutch), but this one was puffier than our own. It was fluffy and delicious. Yum. After breakfast (how could we ever eat again?!), we headed back to Nikki’s to clean up before driving over to the west side to visit Washington Park.
We drove through the beautiful park for a while, admiring the stunning forest before wandering out into the wealthy neighborhoods surrounding the park. We spent the next hour looking at houses in the hills before it was time to drive Nicole to the airport. I dropped her off with a hug and a see you at work soon! Then I hit the highway towards Multnomah Falls. Wow, it was a gorgeous drive and when I was arrived it was once again, like walking into a fairy tale. The little lodge looked like a tiny medieval inn, ready to bed down lonely travelers for the the night. The falls? Absolutely stunning.
Everything was misty from the falls, a light dew descending on anything and everything within sight. The damp atmosphere gave plenty of moss the energy to grow, making everything gorgeously green. Moss covered stairs right out of my dreams.
Moss covered stone walls inspired me to pet them. Repeatedly. Seriously, Portland is so green! It’s the place that defines the word lush. Lush greenery abounds.
I climbed up to the bridge to take this shot of the water descending into the first pool. See how the mist is being throw off the falls? It was truly magical.
The water rushed by, roaring from the first fall into the pool, before falling once again, somehow even more violently into the second pool below.
After exploring my way up the path a bit, I turned around hopped back into Nikki’s little Honda Fit. I drove back into Portland, grabbed some delicious Palak Paneer Fries from a food truck, and wandered around the Pearl District for a while, venturing back into Powell’s Books, but still not able to leave the urban agriculture section!
Then it was time to pick up Nikki from work again. We headed back out to her house where we met up with Scott and his friend Josh, then went out again to– you guessed it– eat! We went to Swift and Union. Everything was yummy. Nikki and I split the Tofu Sando and the Beet Veggie Burger with goat cheese. Blow your mind good. I was so full at this point, I was pretty sure I’d never need to eat again after I flew home from Portland. But don’t worry, that didn’t stop us. We hopped back into the car and drove out after dessert. We hit up Portland’s famous Voodoo Doughnuts. At 8:30pm the east side location had absolutely no line whatsoever. We went in and made our selections.
I got a chocolate doughnut with Coco Pebbles. Nikki got one with Oreos and peanut butter. Scott got a Butterfingers doughnut and a Scooby Doo dog one that donated to the local Humane Society. We ate most of them and saved the rest. We were all so so so full!
We got home in full food coma mode and soon hit the hay. The next morning, we were off! After everyone was dropped off at work, I headed back to Washington Park, exploring the rose-less Rose Garden (too early in the year), the Holocaust memorial, and walking along some of the less muddy paths. The camilla bushes everywhere were blooming, sprinkling bright color splashes in the lush greenery.
All too soon, my trip was coming to a close. I filled up the car with gas, headed back to Nikki’s, grabbed my bags, and called my uber. Off to the airport I made it through security and on to my plane with thoughts of adorable and colorful craftsman style homes and a very full belly.
Have you ever been to Portland? What did you do? All I want now is to go back!
I skipped out of work last Friday grinning like a fool in excitement. On Saturday, I hopped on a plane to Portland, Oregon with my good friend Nicole! It was time for an adventure. And time to relax. But mostly? It was time to explore!
I was going to compile a big list of things we did in Portland, but then I realized, we mostly just ate. So instead of a big What We Did In Portland post, here’s a combo, What We
Did Ate in Portland post. Because honestly, no one’s going to care what we did when you see pictures of what we ate!
We left Saturday morning very early. I set my alarm for 5:15am. I planned to call Nicole at 5:30am to make sure she was awake. The Girl-Who-Never-Sleeps deserves another 15 mins, I figured. But, before I could call, Nicole was texting me. Yay! Both awake. I grabbed some toast with jam, threw on some clothes and called an uber. We we’re going to meet at the 19th Street BART station, but I was feeling lazy and didn’t want to walk to BART. I arrived 20 minutes early instead. Oops! But, really, that’s not atypical for me when I travel. I love punctuality! Nicole arrived with 2 minutes to spare and we took the BART train to SFO and hopped on our flight. We were exactly on time (like Nicole likes it) and I didn’t break out in hives stressing about not being an hour early! So any day that doesn’t begin in hives is a good one. 🙂
When we arrived in Portland Nicole’s awesome, interior designer friend, Nikki, picked us up at the airport. I knew I liked Nikki within minutes because she introduced me to the term “Pet-ophile” when talking about how she and her boyfriend Scott like to stare at dogs at the park and daydream about having one of their own. Which is exactly how I feel about every dog/cat/chicken I’ve ever met. I could tell we were going to be on the same page. From now on I shall refer to myself as a “pet-ophile” whenever possible. Because it’s hilarious!
Nikki drove us back to her house where we were staying and I met her boyfriend Scott who quickly became the funniest person I have ever met. Every other sentence out of his mouth was a joke and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much in my life! Nicole and I put on contacts and then we piled back into Nikki’s car (sans Scott) and headed to Hawthorne Street. We started out in a relaxed fashion, walking down Hawthorne and popping into any shop that caught our fancy like Lounge Lizard (oh my god, thrifting in Portland is so much better priced!), sipping at a mead tasting at Mead Market (oh, yes, now I’m daydreaming of beekeeping!), and wandering further. We considered stopping at Jam on Hawthorne for brunch, but a 45 minute wait had us walking further (though now I’m looking at their menu and my stomach is growling). I wanted to stop at some food trucks, but Nicole convinced me to venture further. We ended up at the perfect place! The Hazel Room was not only adorable, but so delicious! I found this picture just googling it, and now I’m wishing we’d been there in the snow. Look how adorable!
Nikki got the Vegetarian Bee Gees biscuit and gravy (I know, right, she’s also a vegetarian. Like she wasn’t already awesome!), and Nicole and I began the first of many shared meals, splitting the Rose Tea Crepes and Bubble & Squeak with a sunny side up egg.. We almost skipped the former, but we were so glad we didn’t as it was AMAZING. So good, you could really taste the rose-i-ness. Plus it was smothered in whipped cream and anything with whipped cream is my favorite. The Bubble & Squeak was maybe a bit healthier (okay, a lot healthier) with potatoes and veggies, but not nearly as exciting. Once we devoured our meal (literally took Nicole and I less than ten minutes to finish everything), we began meandering further down the street significantly more satisfied.
We stopped at nearly every shop, never buying a thing, but touching everything. It was fun to explore. Portland has some really cute vintage shops, thrift stores, and paper goods stores. We had a blast! We then ventured over to Division Street walking down 37th through a gorgeous residential neighborhood. There we stopped at Artifact which had lots of cool vintage clothes and furnishings. Nicole almost bought shoes. Since we were in the neighborhood, we couldn’t help but hit up the famous Salt & Straw. The Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons was flat out the best ice cream I’ve ever tried in my life you guys!
Then we walked back to Nikki’s car and drove along the Willamette River to the St. John’s Bridge. It was a gorgeous day, but at this point, clouds had started to roll in. We wandered through the shops in St. John’s (while I relived every St. John’s moment from my newest favorite kid’s book Wildwood), before walking out onto the bridge a bit. I snapped this pic of Nicole and Nikki and then we headed down to the park under the bridge.
When we got to the park below, a wedding had just taken place! Naturally, I stalked the happy couple a bit.
But the gorgeous bridge took up plenty of my attention. The architecture was amazing. Modern gothic and bee-ay-yoo-tee-full!
We decided to try and take a few pictures of the three of us while we were there so I propped my camera up on a wooden post and set the time. Fifteen pictures later we got one that was pretty cute.
…as well as some fairly amusing outtakes!
Regardless, we had fun! And we were exhausted. We headed back to Nikki’s to relax after a long day. We stopped by Green Zebra Grocery for cheese, soup, and a baguette before crashing on Nikki’s couch and watching a dolphin documentary on Netflix, Dolphins: a Spy in the Pod. The documentary was hilarious and involved spy-creatures. Everything was “the first time this has ever been recorded” and we learned all about urogenital slits. Yup, you read that right. We headed to bed early.
We woke up the next morning, Sunday, and headed to Milk Glass Market for breakfast. There was a bit of a line, but as soon as we ordered a table opened up. Nicole and I got excited and over ordered: Fig & Anise Panini with goat cheese, Bread pudding with marscapone and jam, a snack hard boiled egg, and a Biscuit with tomato marmalade, and cheese. Scott got a cinnamon roll that he graciously shared. We basically rolled out of there! The decoration of the space was super cute! I wish I’d snapped more than a quick and dirty iPhone shot. Check out their website for awesome brunch space ideas. I just love those bread boards.
After breakfast we jumped into Nikki’s car and drove up to the Pittock Mansion. This was another Wildwood spot and I was excited. I love big houses and I cannot lie, (those other brothers can’t deny). We pulled up and parked. It was gorgeous! The weather was misty, but no rain yet. The views from the Mansion were incredible. You could see the entire city of Portland as well as the surrounding forests and hills.
I loved seeing the ship yards through the trees.
We tried to take a picture of ourselves in front of the view, but it started raining and the water droplets on my lens made Scott a little fuzzy. We managed to squeeze in a semi-normal shot.
The Mansion itself was beautiful too, but honestly, nothing man-made holds a candle to nature.
Inside were gorgeous rooms and furniture. The museum collected furnishings to showcase different styles of the period rather than preserving a moment in time. My favorite room? The pantry!
Outside again, Scott tried to scare us…
…it did not succeed. Then Nikki hopped on his back and they raced Nicole up the hill towards a trail head.
Surprisingly, Nicole lost.
The trail was ridiculously muddy, so we didn’t hike it, but Scott ran down the trail a little ways. Hi, tiny Scott!
The forest was lush, green, and gorgeous here. It looked like a fairy tale forest. I kept expecting Hansel & Gretel or Snow White to show up! As long as we avoided the Big Bad Wolf, I was happy.
After a bit, we once again climbed into Nikki’s little Honda Fit and drove down the hill. We parked on NW 23rd Street and shopped a bit. We only popped into a few stores, compared with the previous day’s visit-all-the-stores! attitude, this was more chill. Which I’m sure Scott appreciated. We soon got hungry, jumped back into the car and headed to Dove Vivi. We got there right when it opened at 4pm. Actually, we arrived at 3:50pm and took pictures of the building across the street to kill time, before heading in. Look how colorful the building was though! I loved that Portland was full of treasures like this.
At the restaurant, we ordered halfs of the daily special Mushroom pizza, the Corn pizza, and the Blue Thyme pizzas.Yum. These had cornmeal crusts, which I don’t recall ever eating before, they were crunchy and mouthwateringly good. We chatted up the waitress, enjoyed our meal, and laughed like banshees at everything. Even when Scott paused in cracking jokes, we found something to giggle over. Like the fact that Dove Vivi classified all their beverages and threw in this at the end:
“Also… Milk” became a bit of an inside joke for the rest of the trip. We would say it randomly, frequently. We did a bit of research following this and discovered that Milk is the Oregon State Beverage. If you think that’s weird, you’re correct, but, as it turns out, more than ten states have milk as their state beverage! So strange!
We ended the night with fruity drinks at The Alibi a tiki bar. A delicious way to finish off a busy weekend! Nikki and Scott had work the next day. Nicole and I were on our own! Time for adventures! I’ll talk more about what we
did ate in my next post.
How was your weekend? Take any trips? Have you been to Portland before? Did you eat everything?? I’m still so full you guys…
Who out there eats the exact same thing for breakfast nearly every morning? Show of hands? I don’t know about you, but both of my hands are high in the sky. What do I eat? Only the yummiest, healthiest, delicious-ist porridge there was! Steel cut oatmeal.
Each morning, I wake up, put on the tea kettle, and bring a pot of milk to boil. Then I add my oats and let them cook while I get ready. When I’m completely ready to go, the oats are done! It’s fantastic timing really.
Why steel-cut oats as opposed to rolled oats? Well, I read somewhere that they were dramatically better for you and less processed. While this article confirms the latter, I’ve yet to see anything else supporting the former. In fact, this one states that they’re pretty much identical in nutritional and environmental impacts. Though steel-cut may have more fiber according to these guys. So really, who knows? What pretty much everyone can confirm though is that oatmeal is pretty dang good for you. So eat it. There.
I used to buy these steel-cut oats at Trader Joes before I started shopping in Berkeley Bowl’s bulk foods section where they are so much less expensive. Sometimes I will pick up the McCann’s tin at Trader Joes though, simply because I adore the can they come in. I’ve used several to house plants over the years. I’m a sucker for a pretty tin.
I stick to steel cut oats though because of their longer cook time. I know, sounds crazy, right? But really, it’s less time for me in the kitchen. How is that possible? Well when something needs to come to a boil, have grain added, and cook for a while longer and all of that happens in fifteen minutes? You have to be in the kitchen over the stove for that entire fifteen minutes. Right now, I wait for my milk to boil and then add my oats an leave. It’s a five minute process. Making my thirty-five oatmeal takes me less time than fifteen-minute oatmeal. Less time than frying a couple eggs. It sounds crazy, but it’s the truth. So before you judge steel cut oats on their long cook time, give it a try. It might just save you time.
I add chia seeds on top of mine for a little extra crunch and a banana for sweetness. That way I don’t add any sugar to my breakfast and get a little fruit too. If you do feel like you need a little honey in your life, a teaspoon will make this oatmeal completely delish.
Steel Cut Oats for One
1/2 Cup Almond Milk
3 Tablespoons Steel Cut Oats
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Cloves
Dash of salt
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
First put your milk in a small pot over medium-high heat on the stove. Add your dash of salt. When the milk first begins to steam and forms tiny bubbles along the edges of the pan, add the steel cut oats, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir together and turn heat down to a simmer. Stir occasionally. Let cook for approximately twenty-five minutes. Oatmeal and milk should combine into a porridge. Remove from heat and add chia seeds and banana. Eat!
Do you have oatmeal every morning for breakfast? Love it? Hate it?
I absolutely adore pie. Every aspect of it. From the making of the pie crust to the americana, homey feel to the fall atmosphere to the smell of baking pies to the beauty of pies lined up in a row ready to be served. I love pie. I love pie! Pie is glorious. I love making it, I love eating it. There is basically nothing I do not like about pie. Pie always beats cake (unless it’s a birthday, then you obviously have to have birthday cake, it’s in the name, people!). Pie is easier that cake to make look great, fantastic for all occasions (except birthdays, then you have cake, are we getting this?), and generally makes you seem like an awesome baker for something that isn’t difficult to make.
I learned how to make pie from my father when I was very little. He learned how to make pie from cookbooks when my mother was pregnant with me. Why? My mother’s number one craving: homemade pie. Smart woman. My dad learned a great skill and my mother got to feed her cravings. A pregnant woman’s gotta eat what she wants! Growing up, my family focused mainly on pumpkin and apple pies. When I was old enough to have an opinion we branched out to decadent fudge pies. Yum. Pecan pies? Sure thing. Ice cream pies? Absolutely. Anything pie. Anytime. Anywhere. All occasions (except for birthdays, have I been clear about this?).
Now if you want to learn how to make all sorts of pies I highly recommend getting yourself a good cookbook. This one by James McNair is my dad’s favorite. You can only buy it used now though… Tragic. It’s a great book! Once you find a good pie cookbook, whether it’s James McNair or one you pick up from your local bookshop, find some guinea pigs. Anyone will do as long as they will eat pie and give you feedback. Heck, they don’t even need to give you feedback, you can judge for yourself. You basically just need some people to eat a few slices of pie so you don’t eat the entire thing by yourself. Which I’m working on right now with my latest pumpkin pie…. Ooops!
Last year I asked for red pie pans for the holidays and was gifted with three beautiful pans. I love them all, they’re amazing! Each one is just a little different, which I adore. Plus, when I make pie, I rarely make fewer than than three. Heck, I’d take another pie pan too if someone was offering! I have a few glass pyrex ones as well, but I just love the red ones. They’re deeper and wider and gorgeous. A good pie pan is a fantastic thing to have, but you can bake a pie in almost anything, so don’t worry if you don’t have a special pie pan. A cake pan will work, a loaf pan will work, a casserole dish will work. If it holds water, it will work!
Today I’m going to give you my recipe for pie crust. The essential part of the pie. A good starting point don’t you think? You have your recipe, you have your guinea pigs, now it’s time to start baking! Here is how I make my absolute favorite pie crust. It’s the perfect amount of healthy and sweet, flakey and floury. It’s fantastic. Tomorrow, I’ll share the pie filling itself.
Start with the crust. I always make crust for two or four pies and freeze the extra dough. You almost always make crust for two bottom crust pies (or one pie with top and bottom crust). It’s just how it’s done. And don’t cop out and buy store bought crust, it’s just not as good. Plus you miss all the fun part. Making crust is fun!
2-3/4 cups finely milled organic whole wheat flour ( try 1/4 cup less if your flour is not so finely milled)
1 tsp salt
2 sticks organic butter
1 cup ice water
Add when appropriate:
2.5 Tbsp organic brown sugar
1 Tbsp organic cinnamon
1 tsp organic cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
Savory pies –
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbsp rosemary or thyme
Since I am planning on pumpkin pie for my dough, I made mine with the sweet pie recipe. First get a big bowl with lots of extra room. This can get messy. Then combine the flour, salt, and spices in the bowl, mix well. Then add the sugar. Once these are well stirred together, cut the sticks of butter into slices 1/4″ thick. Add them to the mix a few add a time. Then get one of two things, a pair of forks or a handy pastry cutter like this one:
A pastry cutter is ideal for the next part, a pair of forks will work. If want to do this entire process in a mixer, that will also work, but when you cut in the butter by hand (with the forks or pastry cutter) you get a better tasting, flakier crust. A machine just can’t duplicate this.
So! You cut in the butter. This is basically mashing the butter into the flour mix. You want there to be some pieces of butter in the mix, you don’t want to blend them to smooth. Make a rotating movement with your wrist to mash in the butter if you’re using a pastry cutter and it you’re using forks, give it everything you got, ’cause it’s probably going to hurt!
Once all the butter has been cut into the mixture, start sprinkling the ice water over it teaspoon by teaspoon. Be very careful you do not add too much water. You will most likely not need the entire cup of ice water, so go slowly. You really just need the dough to start clumping. Once the dough clumps a bit, hold off on the water and dig in with your hands. If you can shape the dough into the ball, you’re done! That’s all the water you need. Sometimes the dough at the bottom of the bowl doesn’t get quite as much moisture as the rest, but you can usually roll this into the middle of the dough ball.
Guess what? You just made pie dough! Yay! The not so great part? It’s not ready for rolling into a crust yet. Put it into the fridge for a few hours or into the freezer for twenty minutes or so. You need the dough to be cold and slightly hard to the touch before you can roll it out. Hard like the resistance of your thumb pushing into a muscle, there is some give, but it’s pretty firm to the touch.
Once your dough is cold and firm, you’re ready to roll! You will need a rolling pin, but if you don’t have a rolling pin, a wine bottle will work too. Can you tell I’ve made a pie in a dorm room before? I know all the tricks. Yes, fancy cooking tools help, but you can totally do this with or without them, it just takes a little more effort.
Sprinkle flour over a large flat surface, the bigger the better! 😉 Place your cold, firm dough in the middle of your flour. Sprinkle a bit more flour over the top. Then, using the part of your palm that meets your wrist, carefully push the ball of dough outward from the center in a gentle motion until the dough is not longer a bowl, but rather more flat and about 3/4″ to 1″ thick. Now it’s time for your rolling pin. Put about a tablespoon of flour in the middle of palm and run the rolling pin through it until it’s covered. Then place it in the center of the dough and, applying pressure, push outward. Move the pin back into the center and pull the rolling pin toward you. Continue starting from the center and rolling the dough outward, alternating the direction you are rolling. You may want to occasionally flip the dough over and sprinkle with more flour to prevent it from sticking. You will want the dough to be thin, about 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick.
When your dough is thin enough, get your pie pan and place it close to the dough. Then carefully roll the dough over the pin and use it to move the dough, centering over the pie pan. Then cut off the excess and bunch the dough edges to form your crust. Take your egg and scramble it with a fork and use a pastry brush (or your hands!) to brush over the crust edges and sides (not the bottom).
You’re done! Now time for the filling. Your pie is going to be delicious. Your crust is going to be flakey, golden brown, and wonderful, just like this guy below.
Stay tuned for tomorrow when I share my recipe for the absolute best pumpkin pie ever! Do you have any pie secrets? Great recipes? Or are you the kind of person who would rather just buy a pie?