Sunday, November 30, 2008

Coconut Custard Pie

So Thanksgiving has come and gone and now the Holiday season is officially upon us. I'm not looking forward to the colder weather (ahh, winter.. I hate the cold and snow) I suppose the only good thing about this ridiculous weather is that I can have the oven on and turn the heat down and my apartment smells yummy all the time :)

Today it's been raining.. all damn day and hovering around 37°f so to help ease this monster sweet tooth that I've had since I got up this morning I decided that I would make a coconut custard pie.. all the ingredients on hand and I haven't made one in a really, really long time.. So...

Coconut Custard Pie


  • 1 cup flaked coconut, divided
  • 1 (9-inch) unbaked pastry shell
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 (14-ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
  • 1 1/4 cups hot water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Prep Time: 20 minutes | Bake Time: 48 minutes (total)1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Toast 1/2 cup coconut 5 minutes or until lightly brown; set aside.2. Bake pastry shell 8 minutes; cool slightly. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, beat eggs. Add sweetened condensed milk, water, vanilla, salt and nutmeg; mix well. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup coconut. Pour into pastry shell. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.3. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F; bake 25 to 30 minutes longer or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool. Chill if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.

This was so easy and it baked up absolutely perfect.. it's in the refrigerator chilling right now.. I can't wait to tear into it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


We really like eggnog around here, but I'm not too keen on that stuff they sell in the supermarket.. it just doesn't do it for me.. I've tried many different 'recipes, but just the thought of raw eggs in my drink makes me want to be physically ill... so I've done some research (and since the kid is a Nog lover too and we're non-alcoholic it's very easy to compromise)
I've come up with this recipe, adapted from a few that I've tested.

Eggless Eggnog (or, Just... Nog)


8 cups milk
1 (3 ounce) package jell-o instant vanilla pudding
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  1. In large bowl, mix pudding with 1 cup milk.
  2. When pudding is thick, add remaining ingredients, mix very well.
  3. Chill.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hello Pumpkin! Pumpkin Maple pie with maple pecan topping

When I was a kid I wouldn’t eat pumpkin pie, my grandma always had Entenmanns (Ack! Store bought, mass produced) pumpkin pies at the Thanksgiving table, it looked gross to me, and I wasn’t having any part of that crap.

Move ahead a few years to the first time I made Thanksgiving and the very first time I made a pumpkin pie (because, really, what is Thanksgiving without a pumpkin and a pecan pie on the table?) I wasn’t going to just make any run of the mill pumpkin pie.. It had to be special..with some Ashley Pizzaz..

This is the pie that I made.. And that I have continued to make for the past 12 years

Pumpkin Maple Pie with Pecan topping

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold butter or margarine
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water


1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pumpkin-pie spice
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) pure pumpkin
1 1/4 cups half-and-half
1/3 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/3 cup corn syrup
1-1/2 cups pecan halves

1. Heat oven to 425°F..

2. Combine flour and salt in large bowl; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix in water with fork until flour is just moistened.

3. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface into 12-inch circle. Fold into quarters. Place dough into 9-inch pie pan; unfold, pressing firmly against bottom and sides. Trim crust to 1/2 inch from edge of pan. Crimp or flute edge. Set aside.

4. In bowl, combine sugar, salt, and spice. Whisk in eggs, pumpkin, half-and-half, and maple syrup. Pour into unbaked pie shell, and bake 15 minutes. Turn oven down to 350°F, and bake pie 45 minutes more, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

5. In a large saucepan, combine sugars and corn syrup. Place over medium heat and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until sugar is completely dissolved, about 3-1/2 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in pecans. Evenly spoon over warm pie filling. Place in center of preheated broiler rack. Watch carefully and only broil until the topping bubbles. It will happen quickly! Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Pie can be served warm or at room temperature.

Refrigerate leftovers for up to two days.(HA! Like it ever lasts that long!)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How do you prepare your turkey?

I’ve been making my turkey the same way for years and it’s always been foolproof. The first time I did it I almost passed out because it looked like the perfect turkey straight out of a magazine. My trick? Butter soaked cheesecloth! I didn’t have time for basting every half hour, not when I had a 9 month old to take care of.. So, from the pages of Parents Magazine I took their top turkey tip and, after loosening the skin and shoving globs of sage and pepper seasoned softened butter under the skin I draped it with a piece of butter soaked cheesecloth and then for the last half hour or so I tented it with a piece of aluminum foil. I did have to baste it a few times.. But not that much since the cheesecloth kept it nice and moist.

I don’t stuff my turkey, but I do toss some quartered onions, carrots, turnips and celery in the cavity (and then add those to the stuffing which I make separately)

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is 9 days away.. I’m usually a last minute Christmas shopper, but this year I’ve gotten a lot done. I am not one of those people you see in the stores on Black Friday.. You’ll find me seated comfortably in front of my computer doing my shopping that way. I don’t like crowds and I don’t like standing on line. Patience is a virtue.. But I deal with enough people in one day.. I don’t have the patience for that kind of nonsense Smilies Last year the only store I actually went to was Blockbuster to get a gift card.. Other than that, all my shopping was done online. I am a last minute wrapper though.. I often find myself up at 3am on Christmas eve getting presents wrapped (Now, I know that The Kid doesn’t believe in Santa Claus any more, but I do this to keep the dream alive) I did have to warn The Kid though this year, since he comes home before I do that there will be packages delivered and he is Strictly Forbidden from opening anything (Jeez, it’s not easy trying to keep a secret from a 12 year old)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It's been a chili kinda day

I went to bed last night with a crippling migraine (of all the things I inherited from my mom, I had to get these damn migraines.. yea, thanks mom) when I got up this morning it was cloudy and damp.. and I still had a dull aching in my head. It was not the day full of baking or even really any kind of meaningful cooking like I was looking forward to. Today was one of the few days I was glad that The Kid likes to sleep until noon because I didn't feel bad laying in bed doing nothing but trying to ease this pain in my head.

I felt instantly horrible when The Kid finally got up and went to make some eggs and there were none.. so I got dressed and we took a walk over to 7-11 which is the closest thing to any kind of grocery I've got around here to get some eggs and while I was there I decided I would make some chili.. a pot of Mary's Magic chili was definitely the thing to make this dreary day a little better. It was nice to be able to do very little to have this great smell wafting through my little apartment, the only request from The Kid was "Please mom, no beans" (lol) so it was just a straight meat chili today.. yummy anyway :)

I'm hoping to get some baking done tomorrow.. I'm craving some pumpkin bread.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Venison.. YUM!

One of the ladies in my office has the sweetest hubby who was kind enough to ask me if I would like some venison that he got while hunting when he called to speak to her yesterday.. of course I said yes.. Venison.. Mmmmmmm!

When she came in this morning she handed me a bagWith 2 large steaks and one nice sized tenderloin all vacuum packed.. Oh JOY!!

I’m planning on making some Venison stew tonight, but if any of you have any good recipes you would like to share, I’m all for trying something new. Last year when I got Venison from her hubby I made a huge pot of tomato sauce with one of the packs of cubed venison that I got and it was so unbelievable. We're in for a nasty, rainy day tomorrow, so I might just do that again, or I might try something in the crock pot with the venison. I need some ideas though.

I will post more on my Venison Adventure tonight.


Ugh, well, ya know how they all say The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. I'm on the bus on my way home and I realized I left the Venison in the work fridge.. DAMN! There goes my venison stew.. crap. Oh well.. I have a throbbing migraine, so I fixed up some ground beef with tomato sauce and spices and tossed it with some campanelli and called it a night. (well, I couldn't exactly let the kid starve could I? Free Smiley Face)

Oh well..
tomorrow is another day...

I'm out..

Free Smiley Face

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Scalloped Corn (Another Thanksgiving Recipe)

This is one of those sides that I could eat the whole dang thing.. but I manage to restrain myself, lol.

This is not strictly Thanksgiving.. I do make this during the year when I want something on the side that's a little fancy and substantial.

Scalloped Corn

6 Tbs Unsalted Butter
4 Tbs All Purpose Flour
2 1/2 Cups Milk
1 Tbs Sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
3 (11oz) cans Niblets corn, drained
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 Cup fresh bread crumbs (from 3 slices bread)

1. Heat oven to 350. Lightly grease 11x 13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In a medium saucepan melt 4 Tbs butter over medium heat. With a wire whisk, stir in flour and cook 2 minutes

2. Gradually add milk, whisking until smooth; add sugar, salt and pepper. Cook 3- 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens; set aside and cool 5 minutes.

3. Place corn in a large bowl. Pour white sauce over corn and mix well. Stir in eggs until thoroughly combined. Transfer corn mixture into baking dish.

4. Sprinkle bread crumbs over corn. Cut remaining butter into small pieces; use it to dot the top of the casserole.
(I've also found that you can spray the top with some butter flavor cooking spray and it makes the whole top crispy and delicious)

5. Bake 30 - 35 minutes until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean

Whenever I make this P. totally devours it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

OMG.. it's almost Thanksgiving!

Sorry I’ve been so MIA lately.. Life happens, right.. Nothing can be done about the slight absences sometimes.

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching I’ve been going through the recipe box in my head thinking about what to make for Thanksgiving. I always seem to make the same things over and over, no matter if I’m staying home and it’s just us or going to visit (I still like to have some Thanksgiving foods in my fridge to munch on for the long weekend ;) ) I have a lot of Thanksgiving recipes that I will be posting over the next few days, pics will follow shortly as I'm not making it all as it's being posted.

I made my first thanksgiving dinner 12 years ago when P. was just a little peanut. I made everything from scratch and I was so excited. It was the beginning of a great Tradition for me and the recipes that I used on that first Thanksgiving are the ones that I continue to use today.

One of the things that I’ve always made on my own (and never, ever will buy canned.. EVER) is Cranberry sauce, or in my case it’s more of a relish, chunky and beautifully ruby red and delicious.

(Pictures will get posted soon.. I like to make this a few days in advance to let it get set up nice like a good thick jam)

I will share this recipe with you guys today

Ruby Red Relish

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 (12 ounce) bag cranberries, rinsed and picked through
2 golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon orange zest

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat bring sugar and water to a boil. Add cranberries, apples, cinnamon and allspice.
2. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until cranberries pop - about 8 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and stir in orange peel.
4. This can be made up to 3 days in advance and stays in the refrigerator up to 7 days in a tightly sealed container. (but it never lasts that long, lol).

Monday, November 3, 2008

This is so completely off topic..

I figured I'd give y'all an advanced warning.. this is not food related in any way..

There’s nothing like a good book..

Or a whole freaking set of them in my case.. Sheesh, lol...

For over a year now my best friend has been on my case to read Twilight by Stephanie Meyer so when she told me the movie was coming out I broke down and got the book.. And I read it in 3 days (on the bus in the morning and after work!) I was at her house when I was about to finish it and she gave me the other 2 and then proceeded to order the 4th book as soon as I got home on Saturday afternoon that make up the set. When Patty said it was a book about Vampires I was a little put off, but it’s not the bloody, gory Vampire books that I’ve seen in the past.

This is a true love story, true in that love knows no bounds. I was absolutely engrossed! I finished the 2nd book, New Moon in one day and started on the 3rd, Eclipse yesterday afternoon and I’m already onto Chapter 7. It’s very easy to get into the story line and I’m really hoping that it never ends! After finishing twilight I ran over to Stephanie Meyer’s web site to see the trailer for the movie and wow.. I’m really hoping the movie lives up to the one that played in my head while I was reading the book. It’s like nothing that I’ve ever read before. There is a 5th book coming out, but someone posted a copy of the manuscript online and messed it all up for everyone.. So now we have to wait..

If you haven’t heard about twilight or have interest in fiction books like me, pick this up. I got my copy at Hot Topic for $10 (because chances are the library is out no matter where you live) I’m telling you, you will not be disappointed. If you've already read it.. let me know what you think. Are you going to see the movie? (I am, lol)