thanksgiving pie tutorial!

Pie is the unanimously expected Thanksgiving dessert. The meal just doesn’t feel complete without a slice of pie at the end! I’m sure most people would argue that pumpkin is the best pie to serve at Thanksgiving, while others might think of pecan or maybe apple. In my eyes, my favorite Thanksgiving pie is mince — meat-free, please!

I have fond memories of waking up the day after Thanksgiving to grab a leftover slice of cold mince pie for breakfast. My mom never made it from scratch, it was always Sara Lee out of a box, but it was delicious to me!

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Do you err on the side of safety (and your sanity) and go the frozen/store-bought pie route during the holidays? Do you consider your pie crust efforts to be a surefire recipe for disaster? If so, I’m here to help! Pull on your aprons and turn on those ovens because it’s time to make some delicious, gorgeous, impressive pies of your very own! I’ll show you how to make an ultra buttery and flaky pie crust, a sweetly spiced homemade mince pie filling, and three different finishing options — a full top crust, a lattice crust, and a pecan streusel crumb topping! Let’s get started, huh?

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Isn’t Pinterest awesome? It’s not uncommon for me to get sucked in to the Food and Drink section, scrolling through page after page of Mason jar-filled salads, pink and girly vodka punch, crock pot chicken creations, and cupcakes galore. I’ve uploaded all my recipes to Pinterest, and I add new pins every time I write a new post! I post my recipes to the “oven&apron” board, … Continue reading pinned!

an owl cake for randi

20130829_211158Recently, my roommate Ben (whose birthday cake I made back in March) asked if I would make a cake for his girlfriend Randi’s birthday. I agreed, and asked what sort of stuff she liked so I could have something to base the design off of. He replied “Owls and hedgehogs!”. Cute! I figured owls would be easier than hedgehogs when it came to fondant modeling, so an owl-themed cake it would be!

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happy birthday, ben! or, how i made my first fondant-covered cake

My roommate’s birthday was last weekend. Ben’s always been a fan of Alice in Wonderland and especially took to American McGee’s video game adaptation from 2000. He even has a tattoo of that version of the Cheshire Cat, which is pretty sweet cause it’s mostly in blacklight-reactive ink except for the Cat’s grin. So, unless there’s a blacklight nearby to illuminate the body of the cat, all you see is the black outline of his creepy smile!


Ben’s Cheshire Cat tattoo in blacklight-reactive ink

I wanted to make Ben a cake for his birthday, and thought that McGee’s version of the Cheshire Cat would be a perfect subject. However, I had never previously made a fondant-covered cake. Talking to a friend of mine regarding how I should go about creating the cake, she suggested that I make my own fondant because it tastes much better than the fondants available commercially. So, make my own fondant, I did!

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how-to: peel a kiwi (mostly) without a knife

In the years I’ve worked in bakeries and restaurants, I’ve made a LOT of fruit tarts. Those tarts usually required lots of kiwi, and those kiwi must be peeled. I’ve never been very good at using a paring knife to get the fuzzy peel off of a kiwi because I always cut too deep and end up removing a lot of the fruit along with the peel. When too much of the fruit is removed, you end up with weird, faceted-looking kiwi. See?


A former co-worker showed me this trick years ago and I love it. It’s very simple and it’s been mentioned on lots of other food blogs, but hey, what’s one more?

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my best friend

There are many kitchen tools that cooks/bakers find useful and even indispensable. Sure, I adore my pretty blue Kitchen Aid. I longed for one for years and last year Santa (read: Mom) finally got the hint, threw down the cash and blessed me with the blue beauty which graces my kitchen counter (under protective cover of a dishtowel). My immersion blender has saved me the drudgery and mess of pureeing batch after batch of soup in a regular counter-top blender. My trusty old cheapo digital meat thermometer has allowed me to take the guesswork out of “Is this chicken fully cooked?”, as I’m not quite expert enough at cooking meat that I can just press on it with a fingertip and know that it’s no longer raw in the center.

All of these tools are nice, and I couldn’t do without them. There is one, though, that I will choose over any mixer, blender or thermometer (except maybe the Thermapen! *drool*)…

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