11.05.2012

Mmm ... Peach Pie just like my mama makes it!

I come from a long line of pie bakers, and I love to make pie.  I even have a few fair ribbons to prove I am pretty good at it.  Once a year, I get to make a whole bunch of pies.  The little church I go to has a pulled pork, homemade pie barbecue each August.  The forty or so of us serve seven hundred or so dinners in a couple of hours.  To do my part, this year I made eleven pies.  Yes.  Eleven.



I've been holding on to this post until now, because most people make pie in the fall for Thanksgiving.  Recently, I saw a roundup of Thanksgiving recipes and plans.  While parts of the dinner have evolved, pie is still the number one finale.  Today, I am posting a recipe for peach pie.  As we get closer to the big bird day, I'll try to post a few more of my favorite pies.

If you are a pie lover, I'd check out Crazy for Crust's Pie Linky Party.  I'll be posting this recipe there, too.

Peach Pie

by Megan Patent-Nygren

Prep Time: 60 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Keywords: bake peaches pie freeze

Ingredients (8 wedges)

    In Advance
    • 6-8 peaches
    • 3/4 c. sugar
    • 2 tbs. cornstarch
    • 1 tsp. almond flavoring
    For the Crust
    • 2 c. all-purpose or pastry flour
    • 2 sticks butter
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tsp. white vinegar
    • 2-3 tbs. cold water

    Instructions

    In Advance

    Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large stockpot.

    Dip peaches into the boiling water for 30-60 seconds.

    Use a paring knife to peel off the skin.

    Slice peaches. Mix with sugar, cornstarch and almond flavoring.

    Pour all contents into a gallon-sized freezer bag. Set in a pie plate.

    Freeze for up to one year.

    For the Crust

    Put flour into the bowl of a large food processor.

    Hint: Move as quickly as possible to work while dough is still cold.

    Cut cold butter into small pieces. Add to flour. Pulse until the mixture resembles crumbs.

    Add the vinegar and egg. Pulse. Add water as needed to form a ball of dough.

    Divide dough into two balls. Flatten into discs. Wrap tightly to prevent drying out. Chill for 30-60 minutes.

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

    Use a rolling pin to roll dough into a circle 2 inches larger than the pie plate. Line a 9" pie plate.

    Set your frozen pie filling into the crust. Dollop with a tablespoon of butter.

    Repeat rolling with the second disc of dough for the top crust.

    Top the pie. Crimp the edges to seal.

    Cut a few slits in the top of the pie. Place on a lined baking sheet.

    Bake for 90 minutes or until the middle is bubbly.

    Allow to cool before cutting to serve.

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    10.20.2012

    First class is totally worth it!

    In my "regular" job, the one that pays a regular salary and has health insurance, I get to travel.  I know that there are lots of business people that travel more than I do, but in my circles, it seems like a lot.  Over the last few years, I have learned a few things I'll sprinkle in here and there in posts as it seems relevant.

    Most of my travel is to deliver full-day trainings so I use the day prior as a travel day.  Even though my goal is simply to get there, I almost always choose the early flight.  The budget people like it because the 6 AM flight is generally cheaper than those later in the day.  Another advantage is that, while I don't like getting up at 3 AM to be at the airport by 5 AM, it gives me the day to do some exploring once I get to my destination and the flexibility to not be stressed out by delays or changes in the schedule.  Traveling to and from Nebraska, I rarely get to fly direct.  Sometimes, I am lucky enough to get to take three planes to get there!

    On a recent trip, I had the 6 AM flight out of Omaha to Dallas on my way to Orlando for a conference. The airline staff at the departure gate asked for volunteers to be bumped in exchange for a travel voucher.  The first offer was $400 and a later flight routing through Miami.  I thought about it.  Getting my husband to come with me on a trip or two has been a goal for awhile and a free or nearly free plane ticket might help.

    The next offer was $500, still through Miami.  More tempting, but I still hesitated.  The next offer was a $500 voucher AND an upgrade to a first class ticket on a later, direct flight.  Yippee!  I was sold!

    I had never flown first class before.  I work for a university and am on federal dollars so we have pretty strict travel policies.  Here is my regular view from the middle back of the plane ...


    Things I loved about first class:
    • Not having to wait to get on the plane.  I'm not impatient, but I'm not really patient, either.  Getting on and getting settled always makes me feel ready to go and being the last one on the plane drives me nuts.
    • The roomy seat and the extra leg room.  Who wouldn't love it?
    • Little things like extra courteous attendants.  I have a lot of admiration for flight attendants and can't say I've ever had an experience with one that was rude or not on top of things, but meeting the needs of a whole cabin full of travelers is a little different than twelve people.
    • The free booze.  Honestly, it would be dishonest of me to omit that I enjoyed the Cape Cod shortly after take-off and the white wine with my snack.
    • Yes, snack.  Food.  In real dishes with real flatware.  A lovely bowl of warm mixed cashews, almonds and pistachios followed by a plate with hummus, mini whole wheat pitas and grapes and one of those little Ghirardelli chocolate squares.
    • Finally, three seat trays.  I tend to have a lot of random stuff and there was plenty of places to put it, even with the fancy snack tray.
    The only negative of first class was my seatmate.  He fulfilled every stereotype of a rude, indulged passenger I could mention.  It didn't bother me that he didn't talk to me.  I had a yummy book to read and new experiences to absorb.  It did bother me that he didn't say "please" or "thank you" during the entire trip.  He complained about the flight attendants and difficulties with our flight - we had to change planes and were delayed because the catering cart hit the first plane and it was deemed unflyable.  He was also less than pleased that the family across from us included an adorable toddler.  She was excellent with only a couple of small outbursts and no crying.  He, not so much.

    If given the chance, I will definitely fly first class again.  Now, to figure out how to go about that ....

    So you can share my first class experience, here is a favorite Cape Cod recipe:

    Cape Cod

    1-2 oz. vodka
    4 oz. cranberry juice
    Lime wedge

    Shake vodka and cranberry juice with ice.  Pour into highball glass and garnish with the lime.



    6.10.2012

    A new favorite breakfast at our house

    Awhile back, I went on a canning spree.  I do this every so often.  This time, I happened to be home with a three day weekend when one of the local supermarkets had their 10# flats of strawberries on sale for $10.  I thought to myself, jam sounds fun, I'm home this weekend, and we only have two weddings and a quilt show. :)

    What in my head was a little project, evolved into cleaning out the washroom/pantry, three trips to said supermarket and over fifty jars of product.  Yes, fifty!  In the process, I cleaned out my stash of previously canned stuff and found about a dozen pint jars of apples.

    When it came time to make breakfast this morning, Anne wanted pancakes.  Anne wants pancakes every morning, but since we had them yesterday, I didn't feel obligated to make them again.  I negotiated an apple coffee cake.  To cut down on fat, I searched for buttermilk apple coffee cake and found a recipe from Cooking Light. I made a few modifications which comprise the recipe below.  The original is linked below.

    Buttermilk Apple Coffee Cake

    Cake:
    • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced peeled Granny Smith apple
    • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
    • Cooking spray

    1. Preheat oven to 350°.
    2. To prepare the cake, combine the first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook 5 minutes or until syrupy, stirring frequently; cool.
    3. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Combine granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well-blended; add egg and extracts, beating well. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat well after each addition.
    4. Fold the batter and apples together.
    5. Spoon the batter into an 8-inch round cake pan coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle topping.  Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
    6. Serve warm or at room temperature.
    Original recipe from Cooking Light, April 2001

    4.06.2012

    Friday Faves 04.06.12

    So, Easter is just two days away. Anne's basket will be overflowing. She had a great egg hunt last week and we will be hitting another tomorrow!


    Dinner on Sunday will be at my Sister-on-Law's so I don't have to clean my house or anything. It is our turn to provide breakfast at church, however, so I need to make 100 or so breakfast burritos tomorrow.


    Some great finds this week:

    4.02.2012

    Monday's Menu - 04.02.12

    This week will be a little quiet with only preparations for Easter to distract from the daily grind. Anne and I hope to dye LOTS of eggs this week!

    • Monday: Sigma Alpha night so no dinner plans.
    • Tuesday: Smoked pork loin with cherry sauce, roasted brussel sprouts, & garlic bread
    • Wednesday: Pinterest Fave Melt in Your Mouth Chicken, roasted potatoes and carrots, and apple wedges
    • Thursday: Dinner out between 4-H meeting and church
    • Friday: Grilled steak and veggie kabobs, brown rice pilaf and orange slices
    • Saturday: Breakfast for dinner - Pancakes!

    Anne loves pancakes. If ever we ask her what to make for breakfast, her answer will always be pancakes. I will try to post the family recipe and my scaled modifications for different sized groups here.

    3.30.2012

    Friday Faves 03.30.12

    This week has gotten away from me. I can't point to anything that got in the way, but I also can't point to a lot of things I've accomplished. I hate those weeks.

    This also hasn't been a week of great inspiration. It isn't that there aren't great ideas out there, I just haven't found too many interesting to me.

    Compilation picture that won't upload here!

    Here goes:

    3.23.2012

    Friday Faves from This Week

    It's spring break at Nebraska so while that doesn't really affect my work life, it does make things really quiet at the office. It also makes our nights a little less busy and a little more at home.

    A few highlights from this week:

    • Anne and I have made it to all of the Lenten services so far this year. Five down, one to go. Our church shares a pastor with another little church and so we alternate sites during Lent. Anne has won over the folks at the other church. This week, one of the guys gave her cookies and another money for the offering plate.
    • I've actually been in the office everyday this week. I've accomplished things. I've also found times when I've sat in my chair at my desk for three or four hours at a time and feel awfully stiff.
    • We got some serious rain. It's been dry. Very dry. While I've appreciated above average temperatures and not having to deal with snow this winter, it does not make the fields very ready for spring planting right around the corner. Nearly a week of slow, steady rain was a gift. Thank you, but I am glad to see the sun again, too.

    Here are some of my favorite finds of the week:

    Saturday is free so hopefully I'll get to tackle a few of these great projects! I hope you have a relaxing weekend!

    2.12.2012

    Home!

    OK, so I've been a little sidetracked with two big trips for work ... Nine days in Alaska and four days in St. Louis. The trip to Alaska was a first, and I did find a little time to have some fun. I'm saving that for another post.

    Since I'll be home for a bit, I thought I would get back on a menu planning path. This week:
    Sunday: fajita stir-fry over rice
    Monday: quilt guild night
    Tuesday: breakfast for dinner - pancakes & bacon
    Wednesday: slow cooker pork roast with sauerkraut
    Thursday: work meeting night
    Friday: date night
    Saturday: Nebraska FIRST LEGO League Championship Tournament

    I also need to make twelve dozen cinnamon rolls this week for the FLL Tournament. In addition to being the judge advisor, I am in charge of volunteer hospitality. Coffee, rolls, fruit, snacks for morning and afternoon. Yumminess for our awesome volunteers!

    1.16.2012

    A little late with the menu this week ....

    This week's post is a day late.  I work for a university so for me, this weekend was a three-day weekend.  It is also the first weekend in awhile that we didn't have a work, extended family or some other commitment that ate the whole weekend!  I love hosting FLL tournaments, and all, but it is nice to have a weekend!

    On Saturday I took Anne to her first tumbling class.  What a blast!  She can be a little shy so it would not have surprised me if we spent the whole session standing in a corner observing, but she dove right in, literally.  At the end of the half hour, it was a good thing I had a trip to the small town bakery for doughnuts and the library up my sleeve.

    Yesterday was free after worship and the church's annual meeting.  We spent the day reading, playing with the Minnie Puppy and hanging out on the Big Girl Potty.  Today, we are off to the local children's museum.  I know, it will be crazy as many local schools are off today and so are lots of parents ....

    This week is a little bit of quiet before the storm.  On Saturday, I get to fly to Anchorage.  Yes, Anchorage, Alaska.  I am so excited!  I get to be there for a little over a week, mostly training a new site for work, but I hope to get to do a little exploring along the way.  Because of crazy airfares, it was cheaper, a lot cheaper, for me to fly in on Saturday rather than Sunday so I get one whole day to explore!  It will also be the only explore day I'll have during daylight hours.  This week is pretty quiet with a regular work schedule and only one night activity.

    To give you the full week's menu plan, I'll start with last night.  Last week's plan was mostly from Pinterest. This week, I've got a couple of sources, but a couple of meals are coming from what has become my go-to cookbook the last few years, Rachel Ray's 365: No Repeats.
    Have a great week!  I am posting this to Good, Cheap Eats Pantry Challenge.

      1.08.2012

      dinner this week ...

      Many of the blog and Facebook posts I've read over the last few weeks have focused on deep winter purging. While parts of my house, especially the toy room, could benefit from this, I am choosing to focus January on the pantry and freezers - yes, freezers. We have three. The itty bitty one above the refrigerator that holds mostly opened things like bags of frozen veggies, the current toaster strudel box, batteries, etc. The hand-me-down little chest freezer that lives in kitchen room #3 (another post for another day) with a lot of flours, grains and I don't know what in it. And, finally, the big beast that came with the house. It is by far the most organized, inventoried as it is, at times, empty. Recently, it has been the primary home of meals I have prepared for easy microwave nights, bags ready to dump in the slow cooker and some supplies for an upcoming work event. So, my goal in January is not only to cook more than eating out or eating cereal for dinner, but to go shopping in my own freezers and pantry for the bulk of my supplies.

      So, with the week's calendar in mind, here is my plan for the week of January 8, 2012:

      Sunday >> Pappardelle alla Bolognese with a tossed salad and baked apples
      Monday >> I have quilt guild and George has to work ...
      Tuesday >> Shrimp Fra Diavolo with a tossed salad and oranges
      Wednesday >> I have a dinner for work and George has to work ...
      Thursday >> Quick and Easy Leftover Chicken Fajita Melts with black bean and corn salad and baked apples
      Friday >> Blackened salmon, baked potatoes, steamed veggies and oranges
      Saturday >> Braised Pork and Cabbage with warm chocolate pots de creme
      Wow, this process always makes me hungry. It is good that dinner is coming up soon!

      I am linking up to Good Cheap Eats.

      Dinner Tonight: Huli Huli Chicken

      It's been a bit since I've posted. Life has been its usual crazy with school beginning to wind down, spring volleyball coming to an ...