food

Valentine’s Day Recipe: Strawberry Hearts

Here, have a heart. These little heart pastries are so easy to make and I bet you, you couldn’t eat just one. The nice thing about this recipe is that you can make it your own by filling the pies with whichever type of filling your heart desires.

Recipe adapted from The Sweetest Occasion.

What you will need:

  • Pie dough (I use the pre-made Pillsbury dough but you can also make your own).
  • Strawberry Jam (or filling of your choice)
  • A heart cookie cutter
  • 1 egg
  • Flour
  • About 2 tablespoons of sugar

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Preheat your oven for 350 degrees.

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Sprinkle flour on your surface to keep the dough from sticking. Roll out the dough and begin cutting out little hearts.

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Once all the dough is cut into hearts, put about a spoonful of jam on every other heart. Be careful, if too much jam is used it will ooze out during baking. It won’t affect the pastry but there will be a lot of scrubbing after the finished product.

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Next beat the egg with a splash of water to create an egg wash. Using your finger or a pastry brush, paint the outside rim of the heart with the jam to create a seal for the top heart. Once the egg wash is added put the top crust on the hearts. Using a fork, pinch the two edges together while also creating a fancy design.

Paint the top heart with the egg wash. Then sprinkle some sugar over the egg wash. Place the hearts on a greased cookie sheet and bake them for about 20 to 30 minutes. Check them every 15 minutes.

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These give a new meaning to “eat your heart out!”.

Keep your head held high.

Weekend Recap: Shopping, Birthdays, and Tamales

One more week until that glorious day: CHRISTMAS. When I think about it, it’s a little scary since I still have a lot to do before then, like getting through the work week without becoming Scrooge, finish shopping, wrapping, baking, party planning, and cleaning. Crossing my fingers I find enough hours in the day for all this.

Despite my holiday stress this past weekend finally put me in the Christmas spirit. Friday I got a chunk of Christmas shopping done and I didn’t go broke! I still have three more gifts to buy, one is for my brother who is the hardest person to shop for God, help me.

Saturday was spent cleaning which was disgustingly overdue. Then we headed over my great- grandma’s house to celebrate her 96th birthday! She is one of the greatest women I know with a huge heart and still a very sharp wit. At 96 she is still moving around gracefully, has the best selection of blue sweaters, and is one of the fastest people I’ve seen with a fly swatter. Everyone in the family is very blessed to be around her and I cannot wait to spend another Christmas with her and the rest of my family. Cousins from up North, hurry up and get here!

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Sunday was dedicated to a family tradition. My mom gathered us together to make green chili chicken and red chili pork tamales. Although she had us slaving away spreading the masa and wrapping the corn husks just right, it was so great to see my brother and Ashley. I missed his stupid humor.

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And now it’s back to work. Thankfully it is already Tuesday, but the clock is ticking away for all the things that need to be completed in a week. I hope everyone has a wonderful week and a very minimal amount of holiday stress.

Keep your head held high, and let the “To Do Lists” writing begin.

Recipe: Mini Pumpkin Pies

As promised in my little update post, here is the mini pumpkin pies recipe. I was a little doubtful about my baking abilities since I have never baked a pie, ever. But, I proved myself wrong and I should have made double the amount because everyone loved them.

So, if I can do it. You can do it. I am hoping to make these for Christmas as well to perfect my skills and make them look a little prettier. Here it goes, bake away.

Mini Pumpkin Pies

Makes 12 mini pies

What you need:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2  eggs
  • 1 can (15 oz.) 100% pure pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.)  evaporated milk
  • 2 nine-inch pie crust dough premade or make your own
  • bowl or round cookie cutter 4 inches in diameter
  • muffin/ cupcake tin
  • whipped cream

What to do:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

For the pie filling:

In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves. In a larger bowl beat the eggs. Then, stir in the pumpkin and sugar and spice mixture from the small bowl. Lastly, gradually stir in evaporated milk.

For the dough:

Roll out your pie dough and using a bowl or 4 inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles. Place each circle into a greased muffin tin. And I mean grease the heck out of that thing. I learned the hard way that you really need to grease the pan or you’ll be stuck scraping you pies out for hours. Learn from my mistake. Next, poke holes in the bottom of dough to keep the crust from bubbling. Lastly, pour the filling into the tops of the dough.

100_2173Bake the pies for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Then turn the heat down to 350 degrees and them for about 25 to 30 minutes.

IMG_0013Let the pies then cool on a wire rack for about 2 hours. Top with some whipped cream and you have some pretty amazing mini pumpkin pies.

Sorry for the lack of great pictures, but once I make them again I will supply better photos.

Enjoy!

Food and Wine: Asparagus and Balsamic Pasta

You know in Everybody Loves Raymond how Debra makes her infamous lemon chicken.. and that’s all she makes. Well Kenny jokingly referred that episode to this recipe. Not because that is the only thing I can cook, excuse me while I toot my own horn, but because this recipe is amazing and we always want to make it.

Asparagus and Balsamic Pasta

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Even though asparagus is not in season, it doesn’t stop us from making this dish, you can even substitute the asparagus for broccoli. Recipe adapted from melskitchencafe.com.

What you will need:

1 pound fresh asparagus spears
1 tablespoon olive oil
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon light or dark brown sugar
1 pound penne pasta
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces (original recipe called for 4 tablespoons but I reduced it to 2 for a lighter dish)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and snap the tough ends off the asparagus. Cut the asparagus into 1 inch pieces. Place the asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet and toss them with the olive oil and ¼ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ of the pepper. Roast them for about 10 minutes or until they are tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.

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While you are roasting the asparagus, place the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for about 5 to 10 minutes. The vinegar will be reduced to about 3 tablespoons. Stir in the brown sugar and the remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper. Remove from the heat.

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Cook the penne in a large pot of boiling salted water for about 11-13 minutes. Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Stir the butter and vinegar mixture into the cooked pasta. Toss to combine well. Add in the asparagus, Parmesan cheese, and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Toss it all together until it is mixed well and serve. 100_2165

Add more Parmesan cheese on top as desire and serve with a bottle of wine. Our selection of wine was Dave Matthew’s Dreaming Tree Cabernet, which we repeatedly quote the following line from the movie Just Go With It. ” Don’t pour over me! Don’t pour over me! I’ll bring my glass to you”. View the clip here if you don’t know what I’m talking about Ha!

100_2158100_2160The pasta also goes well with steak; Kenny’s expertise. 100_2168

And there you have it, an easy meal that is pretty amazing. Kenny and I recently made a pact: cut back on fast food and eat healthier, which means hopefully more cooking success stories and new recipes.

 Do you have a signature dish?

Keep your head held high.