31 March 2016

cherry custard crumble pie (and a new netflix obsession)

What is better than a fun show to binge on? Binging while you eat an amazing piece of pie.
That's my theory anyway.
My friends and I often text each other,"Ok, what do I watch next?" We share our latest favorites, debate over what is actually watchable, and dish on how we feel about characters that have stolen our hearts. One show that we've all fallen for is the Great British Baking Show, which has one season available on Netflix right now. It seems kind of ridiculous to love a reality show about baking, but it really is pretty charming. 
The only trouble is the intense desire it gives you to bake up something sweet, and this pie will do the trick.


The recipe starts with these cherries - they are my favorite for everything from baking to cocktail making. But frozen cherries also work beautifully for this recipe.

The custard is almost cheesecake like, and so delish. Between the custard and the crumble and the sort of sour cherries, your taste buds are going to dance (as my 6 year old likes to say) - and the best part? It all comes together quick and easy, which is always my favorite.

Cherry Custard Crumble Pie
one prepared pie crust (I like Trader Joe's because it's just like homemade with no additives)
2 cups jarred or frozen cherries, drained
1 cup sour cream
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour 
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup butter, melted
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 375.
Mix together sour cream, sugar, egg, flour, vanilla and salt until smooth. Gently mix in cherries and pour into unbaked pie crust.
Bake for 25 minutes.
In another bowl, mix together remaining ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of the pie and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove pie from the oven and allow to cool. After trying it both room temperature and chilled, we loved the chilled version best. But sometimes it's hard to wait, so warm is okay, too!


29 February 2016

a post that's not really about politics

Here is the truth: I really do care about what happens in presidential elections and who the next leader of our country will be. I am not very excited about any of the potential candidates in the race, but I am pretty staunchly against a couple of them. I would be lying if I didn't say that I was downright nervous about what was going to happen this fall. But I'm not here to talk about that. Let's talk about fictional presidents instead, mkay? Because I think we will all still like each other afterward.

I am obsessed with Madam Secretary. Soon after I binge watched some hgtv and a British baking competition show, I put it to facebook and twitter: "I just added Sherlock and Madam Secretary to my queue - what should I choose first?" It was a resounding SHERLOCK. You people are passionate about Benedict Cumberbatch (I mean, I can see why). But I like to go against the grain a little and I jumped on board with Tea Leoni. And I loved every minute of the first season, which is on Netflix

Not only is it good political drama, but her relationship with her husband is so refreshing. I want to be them, minus the weekly endangerment of their lives. Plus, she's just kind of a badass, determined to change the world. Can you admire a fictional political leader? Because I so do. With my current real life options, I think I'll stick with Elizabeth McCord. 

11 February 2016

a donut recipe that's just a little too easy

You know those 30 second recipe videos that pop up on your Facebook feed all the time? Mostly I scroll right past them, but then... donuts. This recipe appeared and it looked really easy, so I decided to give it a try. Why do I do that to myself.

These really were super easy and basically foolproof, so I'm sharing them with you. You know, right as we enter into Lent. I'm nothing if not timely. I'm planning on making these Sunday morning, covered in pink and red sprinkles, for my six valentines. Donuts are their love language, and I am happy to provide.

Here's the recipe, adapted from Tasty. Perfect for you and your favorite someone(s)!

Sour Cream Old Fashioned Donuts
makes about a dozen
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon (we prefer the latter)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons room temperature butter
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup sour cream 
oil for frying 

3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp corn syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1/2 cup hot water

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl and set aside.
Mix butter and sugar on medium-low speed until light and fluffy. Add in the egg yolks and mix until combined. Add half of the dry ingredients and blend. Mix in sour cream. Add in remaining dry ingredients and blend until well combined. Wrap your dough in plastic and chill for at least an hour.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface until it's about 1/2" thick. Cut into rounds using a glass or a pastry cutter that's about 3" wide. Find a smaller glass to cut center circles (donut holes!). Lightly score each donut three times, like a triangle around the center hole.

Heat your oil to 325 in a small pan, so the oil is deep enough to submerge 2-3 donuts. Carefully place your donuts (I did two at a time), scored side up in the oil using a slotted spoon. Once it floats to the surface, gently flip and fry for 90 seconds. Flip again and fry for about 60, until the donuts are golden brown. (Cut your time in half for donut holes.) Remove from the oil and rest them on paper towels to soak up excess grease. Repeat with remaining donuts.

Mix all of your glaze ingredients together in a small bowl. Dip tops of cooled donuts in the glaze, one at a time, and set on a cooling rack to dry. 

Now go brew some coffee, pull up a chair, and enjoy. These melt in your mouth goodies just might ruin you for the store bought version. Happy sugar high!

31 January 2016

how i geek

We went out to dinner with all six kids and my parents and grandpa last night. We don't do it very often because that's a lot of wrangling. But it seemed like a good night for burgers, so we all squeezed into a little booth and chatted over fries and color crayons and toddlers. There were two televisions on in the restaurant.: one was showing a basketball game and the other was tuned into HGTV. Whoever is managing that restaurant is a genius.

My eight year old saw that there was a show on about a house remodel, turned to me and asked, "Have you seen this one, mom?" Because he gets me. Especially since having Eloise, my go to channel surfing always lands me on some home makeover story. I love watching them demolish and rebuild, pick out tile, rip up carpet, open up doorways, choose flooring... I am a geek when it comes to all that. 

So when Netflix started streaming Fixer Upper, I promptly binge watched the entire first season and then needed to remodel my entire house. Except, six kids. Not just a typical remodel show, I love the way they feature Chip and Joanna's relationship and family life in such a natural light - it just adds even more enjoyable layers while you watch. Plus, her design style is so lovely, I'm always inspired in some little way after each episode.

A big cup of tea, snuggling my baby, and a good before and after, and I have found my perfect afternoon.

16 January 2016

my little duo

Because I never want to forget the precious, hilarious, silly, sweet conversations between these two. Frances and Ivah, 3 and 2, are quite the pair, and we marvel at them pretty regularly.

Overheard this week:
As Frances hung her freshly colored picture of Elsa on the refrigerator, Ivah said: "Oh no, where is my pitcher of Anna?" 
Frances, distraught: "It at the babysitter, Ivah. I so so sorry."
Ivah, sniffing sadly: "It ok, Fance."

As Ivah leaned over the car seat to kiss Eloise and make sure she had her pacifier, as she does about 38 times a day, Frances came up alongside her and put her arm around her shoulder. She whispered, "You da best sister in the whole wide world," and Ivah whispered back, "I wuv you, Fance." And then a kiss.

As they sit down to breakfast or lunch together, Frances always begins with, "So, Ivah..." with nothing in particular to follow it up.

Watching their love for each other grow, become best friends, look out for each other, wish to share every experience - it's more than I ever expected or dreamed. And I pray it keeps growing closer and closer as time goes on. They have their moments of high pitched squeals and a desperate need for the same toy at the exact same time, and have taken to wrestling on occasion (I credit their three big brothers for that one), but mostly, it's true love. And now that they have a third sister to add to the mix, doting on my little Eloise all day every day, I pray it multiplies all the more.