Sour Cream Pie Crust

pie crust

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I can’t believe it’s next week. No really, my husband just told me it was next week. I’m in shock.

I can do without the traditional Thanksgiving meal. To me, it’s all about the pie. Fruit pies, cream pies, whatever. Except mincemeat *GACK*.

Of course, with everything else there is to do, the thought of a homemade pie crust can be daunting. Especially if you’ve never tried it.

It’s tempting to grab a pre-made pie crust from the refrigerated section. I’ve been guilty of that, I’ll admit it.

This crust has changed all that. It is by far one of the best pie crusts I have ever had. And I’ve tried quite a few. It is buttery and flaky and comes together quickly with no food processor. It goes against all the rules of  pie crust making. It doesn’t require you to keep  your ingredients super cold and doesn’t use any ice water. It comes together with the warmth of your hands and sour cream.

If you’ve never made your own pie crust. I am challenging you to give this recipe a try. You will be forever converted. I promise.

What kind of pies are you making this Thanksgiving? I’d love to hear.

Sour Cream Pie Crust


  • 2 cups (260 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar (for sweet recipes, skip for savory)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cups, 8 ounces, 225 g) cubed, not chilled
  • 1/2 cup (115 ml) sour cream (full fat, NOT light sour cream)


1 Place the cubed, unsalted butter in a bowl and set aside for a few minutes to take the chill off

2 In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar (if using).

3 Sprinkle the cubes of butter over the flour. Use your hands to work the butter into the dough until it resembles a coarse meal with some chunks of butter.

4 Add the sour cream to the flour/butter mixture and incorporate with a fork.

5 Gather the pastry dough into a large ball and split in half with a knife. Form into 2 flattened disk, sprinkle with flour and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for an hour of up to a day ahead. To freeze, wrap again in aluminum foil. To thaw, leave in refrigerator overnight.

6  To roll out, sprinkle a clean, flat surface with a little flour. As you roll, lift and turn dough and sprinkle a little more flour so dough doesn’t stick. Roll out to 12 to 14 inches wide, to an even thickness.

7  Place in your pie plate, crimp and blind bake or use as a double-crust pie according to your pie recipe. Before baking, brush with an egg wash. Whisk one egg with a teaspoon of water and brush gently over crust immediately before baking.

This is a great dough for savory pies as well. It makes a great chicken pot pie.

This recipe makes enough dough for a top and bottom crust for a 9-inch pie. If you are making a 10-inch pie, use 2 1/2 cups flour, 2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces, 1  1/4 cup) butter for a double crust, or 1 1/4 cups flour, 1 1/4 sticks (5 ounces) butter for a single crust.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Dough chilling time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Makes dough for 2 single crusts, or 1 double crust

Recipe from Simply Recipes

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Dulce de Leche Shortbread Bars

dulce de leche bars

I love making bars. You really can’t get much easier. As we get into the holiday season, bars are where it’s at! They make great additions to your cookie trays with very little effort.

Here’s another simple, yummy dessert from the Quick-Shop-&-Prep 5 Ingredient Cookbook from Jennifer at Bake or Break.

I had just made some Dulce de Leche, just because I found out how and had to do it immediately to see if was true (more on that later) and saw these in my new favorite cookbook. For real, I have every page flagged. And, I had to make them. I really shouldn’t have. Actually, I really should have given them away, because, well you know why. I didn’t share them like good neighbor or decent human being. Nope! Not this girl! I may or may not have even lied to my daughter and told her they were gross and I had to throw them in the trash.

I spent yesterday at the gym repenting  for my sins.

It was worth it.

These bars of buttery shortbread crust layered with dulce de leche and semisweet chocolate to balance out the sweetness make these bars look difficult, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Very little work for loads of flavor!

These will be a great addition to your holiday table or your own guilty pleasure.

1 c unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 can dulce de leche
9 oz semi-sweet chocolate


Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9 x 13 x 2 inch baking dish. Line the pan with parchment paper so it overhangs the short ends of the pan about 2 inches.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, brown sugar and vanilla until thoroughly combined

reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour and salt, until just combined.

Press the mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the prepared dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown. Set the pan on a wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Spread the dulce de leche evenly over the cooled crust and refrigerate 20 minutes or until set.

Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on 50% power in 30-second increments until the chocolate melts when stirred. Stir until smooth and allow cool for several minutes. Then spread evenly over the top of the dulce de leche layer. Smooth with an offset spatula. Refrigerate for 20 minutes until set.

Use the overhanging parchment to lift out of the dish and onto a cutting board. Cut into bars with a sharp knife.

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Squash and Spinach Lasagna

squash lasagna

I was looking through the October issue of Martha Stewart while flying home from Disney world. I had saved it just for the trip. Usually I race to the mailbox, make a cup of tea, grab my post it notes and make a night out of it. So it was tough to put it aside. But I was glad I had something to keep me busy on the flight.

Autumn is my most favorite time of year. I love the assortment of squashes and pumpkins you can find at the farms. They are so colorful and versatile and I was immediately drawn to the squash recipes in that issue. I proceeded to flag every single recipe in the article.

I decided to tackle the lasagna first because I dig layered food. Really, now who doesn’t love a good lasagna,trifle or seven layer dip for that matter. There are so many flavors all layered into one pretty, little, delicious package.

We Are Not Martha dished up another recipe from that article that I debated on trying. It was a toss-up. Looks like I’ll have to try it now though because it looks super delish and healthy. My new job frowns on yoga pants and Halloween hit me pretty hard.

Ok, back to lasagna.

Creamy, rich bechamel with bright, sweet autumn squash, earthy spinach and mild ricotta layered and topped with melted, savory Gruyere cheese was a perfect combination. A comforting Fall spin on an Italian classic dish.

Although there were quite a few ingredients, I was able to do all the prep work the day before assembling the dish. I roasted the squash and prepared the bechamel and filling (omitting the egg), then let each cool before refrigerating and storing in separate containers in the refrigerator overnight. The next day I mixed the egg into the filling, assembled and baked.

All in all it was actually pretty easy. And worth it. Honestly, no one else in the house enjoyed it. But any kind of vegetable sends them running for the hills. So don’t pay any attention to them.

I loved it! So more for me! Since even I can’t eat an entire lasagna, I cut it into individual servings and wrapped each and put in the freezer. I took it to work this morning and let it thaw in the fridge then heated it in the microwave and it was just as good, if not better than day one. SCORE!



  • 1 medium butternut squash (3 1/4 pounds), peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, minced (1/2 cup)
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk, plus more if necessary


  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta
  • 2 cups coarsely grated Gruyere (10 ounces)
  • 2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan (1 1/2 ounces)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 large egg


  • 1 pound lasagna noodles (12 sheets)
  • Coarse salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for baking sheet
  • 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed well to remove excess liquid (1 1/4 cups packed)


  1. Squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, stir squash,  butter and salt and pepper to coat. Arrange squash in a single layer on a baking large baking sheet. Roast until tender (approximately) 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from oven, place in a bowl and mash (not puree). Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.

  2. Bechamel: Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add onion, nutmeg, and 2 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add wine and boil 1 minute. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Gradually whisk in milk and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce to a simmer; cook 3 minutes. (You should have 4 cups; add more milk if necessary.)

  3. Filling: Stir together ricotta, 1 1/2 cups Gruyere, and Parmesan. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in egg.

  4. Lasagna: Cook noodles in a large pot of generously salted boiling water, gently stirring occasionally, until almost al dente, about 6 minutes (or according to package instructions). Drain. Rinse under cold water and lay noodles flat on a lightly oiled baking sheet to drain. (Do not let them touch.)

  5. Spread 1 cup bechamel in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange 4 noodles on top. Dot with one-third of filling. Spread with half of squash, then spinach. Spread 1 cup bechamel over spinach. Top with 4 more noodles, one-third of filling, remaining squash, 1 cup bechamel, and layer of remaining 4 noodles. Finish with remaining filling and bechamel. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Gruyere.

  6. Cover lasagna with parchment-lined foil and bake until heated through and bubbling at edges, 35 to 40 minutes. Turn oven to broil, remove foil, and broil until golden brown in spots and bubbling, 2 to 5 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living

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Trick or Treat Cookies

TOT Cookies

So, here we are. A few days post Halloween. Kids are coming down off their sugar highs. Costumes have been discarded into a heap in a dark corner of the closet and there is a giant bucket of candy sitting on the counter.

Calling my name.


“You know you can’t resist my chocolaty goodness!”

And I really can’t. They know me so well. Especially those Almond Joys. It takes every ounce of willpower to resist them. I fail most of the time. Just ask my jeans.

That’s why they have to go. Even though I love them so. If you are picturing me as Smeagol from Lord of the Rings, eagerly wringing his hands together, wide-eyed and drooling, I would say that would be an accurate interpretation.

Fortunately, school was having a bake sale and I thought, hmmm I’ll just throw them all in and see what happens. It would be a win-win.

Hershey Bar…good
White Chocolate KitKat…good
Reese’s Pieces…good

All together in a chewy cookie dough…Real good!

I used a basic dough and simply loaded it with coarsely chopped candy bars and the result was delicious. These got rave reviews. They were thin and chewy with slightly crisp edges and loaded with chocolate.

Oh yeh, and I got to say farewell to those bite size diet busters. If you’re a brownie fan, check this one out too. You’ll be candy free in no time.

Trick or Treat Cookies
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp salt
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 c. chopped miscellaneous chocolate candy**

Preheat oven to 350F and line cookie sheets with parchment.
Combine all dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
Beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Gradually add dry ingredients until incorporated. Stir in candy.
Drop by heaping tablespoons onto baking sheets.
Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly golden. Cool on baking sheets for a 2-3 minutes then remove to wire rack to complete cooling.

**I usually press some of the candy onto the top of the cookie before baking. M&Ms and Reese’s Pieces are great for that

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Apple Crumb Bars and a Giveaway

apple crumb bar

I got the bestest cookbook in the mail the other day. The BESTEST! Quick-Shop-&-Prep 5 Ingredient Baking from one of my favorite bloggers, Jennifer McHenry at Bake or Break.

Jennifer and I have become friendly and I’ve got to say, she is awesome. She is so sweet. So helpful and so amazingly talented. I have been a huge fan of her site since like, forever. Her recipes are simple (and you know how I feel about simple recipes) and absolutely scrumptious.

I was beyond the moon excited when she asked me if I wanted to receive a copy of her book to try out. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I had already pre-ordered it but the fact that she wanted to share a copy with me made me swoon.

That being said, here’s the down and dirty tale of what’s been going down around here over the past few months, which I promise will bring you back full circle.

Kay, so we sold our house to a couple down the street. It just so happened that they wanted a bigger home and we wanted a smaller one. So, yup, you guessed it, we swapped. Isn’t that an HGTV show or something? Well, it should be.

So within a month we packed and moved. Two days after the move we left for a week at Disney that I had been planning for over a year. It was a bit stressful, I’ve got to tell but at least the stress of the actual move was behind us and I could go on my vacation without the thought of that looming over my head.

We had a wonderful vacation, but decided to come home a day early to get a jump on the week ahead. The upcoming week was going to be a bit stressful too.

Why you ask?

Well, the week before we moved, was the last week at my job. A job I had been at for over 20 years. I had been looking for something for almost two years and had almost given up when I was called for an interview. Then a second interview. Then an offer. Honestly, I was in shock. The timing of everything was crazy! New house, vacation and new job all in a 3 week period of time. These are three major life issues I was tackling all at once!

I know it was all positive and wonderful changes, but all at once was a bit much! Whilst this was all going on ( I love using the word whilst, don’t you?), there were technology issues. No phone, no voicemail, no email. As if that weren’t bad enough, I actually didn’t know I had these issues. I could receive emails but couldn’t respond to them. Which would’ve been ok (sort of, but not really) if I knew all the emails I was responding to were getting stuck in the outbox and never getting to anyone.

Which leads me back to Jennifer. Told you I’d get there.

Her publisher had reached out to me to send me a copy of her book before it went on sale. So I enthusiastically said “Oh my God YES! Absolutely! Without a doubt! Gimme, Gimme, Gimme! I can’t hardly wait! Here’s my new address!”

Then I was off to Disney, anxiously awaiting a package on my steps when I returned. But there was none *tear.

I didn’t hear from her, so I waited patiently (not) for my copy to come in the mail. I didn’t want to bug Jennifer, she was a busy new author, traveling and signing books and living in the spotlight and all.

I had ordered my own copy before Jennifer had asked to send me one, so at least I had my own copy to test out. And I certainly have been testing it out. Starting with these amazing Apple Crumb Bars. I really think I ate the entire batch myself. I’m a stress eater, what can I tell you and DANG they were yummy. So buttery and apple-y. And I got to use up a bunch of apples we had picked.

Because I love this book. And because Jennifer is so awesome. And because my life is starting to feel somewhat normal again. I’m going to share a copy of Jennifer’s book with one lucky reader.

Just enter the Rafflecopter giveaway and it might be you!

And just to wet your whistle a little, here is the recipe for Apple Crumb Bars.


Apple Crumb Bars

For the Crust and Crumb Topping
2  1/2 c (300g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c (120g) old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 c (100g) firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 c (226g) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

For the Filling
4 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped or sliced
1/2 c. (100g) firmly packed light brown sugar
2 Tbls (28g) unsalted butter
2 tsp (5g) ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Grease a 9x13x2 inch baking pan.

To make the Crust and Crumb Topping
Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Add the butter, and mix with a pastry blender or a fork until the mixture is combined and crumbly. It should hold together when pinched.

Reserve about a cup of the crust mixture for the topping. Press the remaining crust mixture firmly and evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes and set aside.

To make the Filling

Place the apples, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon in a skillet and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until the mixture is soft and bubbly.

Spread the filling evenly over the partially baked crust. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture over the top of the filling.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the edges and topping are golden brown. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before cutting into bars.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Pizza Sauce


My husband is a gadget guy. I’m sure I’ve told you that before. You need a degree in engineering to run the tv remote  and have to call tech support to get something to print. Luckily, he’s also my own personal  tech support, so that works out pretty good for me.

Well, he recently came home one night with that “cat who ate the canary look” and refused to answer any questions as to where he had been and specifically “What did you buy?!” The fact that my son ran upstairs immediately told me they had definitely been up to something.

I didn’t find out what that something was until the next day when my mom popped over and asked me what that “thing” was in the garage. My husband gave a shout out to my son that he better “Run! The jig is up!” and again he turned around and ran past me to get up the stairs before I could grab hold of the little bugger.

Turns out the “thing” was a pizza oven. And technically it belongs in the garage, as it is the size of a Volkswagen. Truth y’all! A Volkswagen! Alright, maybe a Mini Cooper. But you get the idea.

It looks like a smoker of some sort. It is fueled by propane and heats up to like a zillion degrees and the pizza stone inside spins to cook evenly. If you stand too close your eyebrows will start to singe, for realz!

Honestly though, despite the size, it cooks a mean pizza. Crispy crust, browned cheese, curly pepperoni. There is nothing better than when the pepperoni curls into little cups that hold the grease. Sorry, there isn’t.

Usually by him bringing home some new toy, I am issued a challenge. This challenge was of course to master the pizza. We’ve tried several different crust recipes (will post later) and we have finally nailed the sauce.

Actually, he nailed the sauce. I say this with much pride, as he is not much of a cook. But he is persistent. He is also very methodical. He has to have a recipe and there’s no deviating from it. He enjoys the “science” behind cooking. He loves the Food Network show Good Eats with Alton Brown who explores the origin of ingredients and how and why they do what they do. He’s like Bill Nye the Science Guy, but in the kitchen.

Pizza sauce is different from marinara. It is thicker so as not to soggify the crust. In case you weren’t aware, soggify is a word. You know “to render soggy”. Just giving you a little vocab lesson. It is extremely flavorful loaded with garlic, Italian herbs, olive oil and good quality peeled, crushed tomatoes. Any acidity is balanced out by a few tablespoons of brown sugar and carrot. Kind of strange, I know. But it totally works!

My kids don’t like the texture of the tomatoes, a little too “chunky” for them. You know, like a real vegetable, God forbid! So once it’s cooked, I throw it in my blender for a couple spins and it creates the perfect pizza sauce texture. But feel free to leave it as is if you like a chunkier sauce. Just remember, it is a bit more liquidy (I’m pretty sure that’s a word).

You don’t need a pizza oven to cook up a good pizza either, just the right ingredients and a  super hot oven. This sauce is perfect and a great base for any kind of toppings you want to throw on. This sauce is on the sweeter side, which I am a fan of. Like a “beach pizza” type sauce.

Now I don’t have to order out for pizza. This pie is better than any of the local pizza joints and the kids love making their own pies. This sauce is a total winner and makes up for the lost space in the garage. I can’t wait for the next gadget to arrive.


  • 2 Tbls olive oil
  • 1 (28 ounce) can ground peeled tomatoes (I use Pastene brand)
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion, minced or chopped
  • 12 teaspoon  dried basil
  • 12 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 12 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 14 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cloves fresh minced garlic, or pressed
  • 1 baby carrot pressed through a garlic press or very finely minced ( about a 1/2 Tbls)
  • 2 Tbls brown sugar
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
  1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Add all ingredients, stir and simmer uncovered on low, stirring occasionally for about 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened. It does splatter a bit, I put a cover half-way on to let the steam escape and semi save my stove from being covered in sauce.
  3. Place hot sauce in blender or food processor and give it a couple whirls to get rid of the chunks, if desired.

Note: Sauce can be easily be frozen and thawed before use.

Recipe slightly modified from thanks Iron Mike!

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Tomato Zucchini Strata

zucchini strata

It’s summertime!

DUH! I know I’m stating the obvious here. But summer is so short here in New England that I have to shout it out with joy every day. I am still having nightmares of the winter we just had **Shudder**. As a matter of fact, I think I still have a patch of snow in the backyard.

Ok, shake it off Lisa. Bring it back to summer. Beautiful, glorious, summer.

“Da da… Da
doo bah bah ba baba boo
The hot and the cold are both so intense
Put ’em together, it just makes sense!”

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself! I just love that song. Oh Olaf, you make me smile.

Jeez! I cannot focus today!

Okay so, during the summer I do my standard groceries at the grocery store, but all my fruits and vegetables come from the many farm stands around. We try to eat a little lighter, a bit healthier, which is totally easy to do with all the farm fresh produce. Each week, it’s something different. Whatever is abundant is what I buy.

Right now farmers are putting out their heirloom tomatoes, sweet crisp corn, cucumbers and of course zucchini.

If you’ve ever planted zucchini, you know how much it produces. You graciously bring them to your coworkers or leave them in your front yard for passers-by to grab. Then you’re forced to make zucchini bread, muffins, cookies, cakes, brownies, cupcakes and so on. They can be sautéed, stuffed, battered, fried, baked and grilled. Good gravy the list just keeps going! The possibilities are endless.

Yup, face it. You’re eating zucchini for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Deal. So you better have a few good recipes in your arsenal.

On my quest for yet another zucchini recipe, I came across this strata from Midwest Living. It looked so flavorful and satisfying as a summer meal, I was glad I had just hit the zucchini and cherry tomato lottery at the farm. Let’s not forget how super easy it is to put together. It is best made the night before and chilled overnight in the fridge then popped in the oven to bake the next day, making it great for a brunch item or quick breakfast.

Zucchini and sweet cherry tomatoes are lightly in butter and garlic, layered with hearty French bread and Swiss cheese then soaked in a rich egg mixture seasoned with aromatic fresh chopped herbs. Heaven!

I’ve never been to Italy, have you? If you have I’m totally jealous of you right now. I can imagine this would be a dish one would find there. Which puts Italy back on my bucket list of top places to visit. After Disney of course. DOI! Every place come after Disney.

I completely enjoyed this dish and so did my guinea pigs *ahem* co-workers. I think the center was a bit runny, as zukes tend to hold a lot of water. But, making sure it is completely cooked through and golden should eliminate that problem.

This is definitely a recipe to hold onto when zucchinis have taken over your life.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, whole
  • 2 cups sliced zucchini
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
  • 8 cups dry French bread cubes*
  • 3 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 8 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


  1. In an extra-large skillet, melt butter over low heat. Add tomatoes and zucchini. After 3-4 minutes, add the garlic and cook for another 5-6 minutes. Don’t let garlic Stir occasionally, or until tomatoes begin to lose their firm round shape; remove from heat.
  2. Place half of the bread cubes in a greased 3-quart baking dish. Top with half of the vegetable mixture and half of the cheese. Repeat layers with remaining bread cubes, vegetable mixture and cheese.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, parsley, basil, chives, salt  and pepper. Carefully pour egg mixture evenly over bread mixture in dish. Using the back of a spoon, gently press down on layers. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
  4. Remove casserole from fridge. Preheat oven to 325 degrees . Bake for 50 to 65** minutes or until puffed, golden and set (160 degrees ). Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.


  • *To dry bread cubes: Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes, using a serrated knife. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Arrange cubes in a single layer on a baking pan. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring once or twice.

Tip #2

  • ** If chilled overnight, baking time will be longer than if only chilled 2 hours.
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Apple Slab Pie

apple slab pie2

Hey there!


If there is one thing you should know about me it’s this. I’m always late. ALWAYS!

“You’ll be late for your own funeral”. 

Ha Ha. Heard it.

“If you’re not twenty minutes early, you’re already late”.

Really? What does that even mean?

Well, just so I wouldn’t let you down, I’m posting a late, great 4th of July treat. I know it was Saturday. Don’t lecture me. This is a great recipe to use all Summer long though, so it won’t go to waste, trust me.

I hope you had a great holiday weekend. I had a much needed long weekend of doing pretty much nothing except sleeping late, hanging with the family, going out to eat and of course taking several trips to the ice cream shop. I really wish I could wear my yoga pants to work. Just sayin.

I did however find time in my lounging schedule to make this amazing dessert. What would the 4th of July be without an all-American apple pie? Warm, sweet, cinnamon-y (it’s a word) tender apples encompassed in buttery, flaky dough served warm with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream.


One problem (as there could be any problems with pie) is your average pie only serves about eight. Unless you’re serving someone like me, then it serves maybe two. MAYBE. It depends on what kind of mood I’m in.

But, that can be a major issue at a big backyard get together. Lots of people standing around holding plates of food in one hand and a drink in the other, which  leads to another problem. Not enough table space. Or not enough hands. Or maybe too much food. OK sorry, that was just crazy talk there.

Whichever it may be, too few hands or too few tables, it’s a problem. Sure you can sit on the ground and spread out your assortment of paper and plastic dinnerware, place napkins under your butt to hold them down against a breeze while you stuff your face with burgers, salads, hot dogs and of course pie, but that’s a bit barbaric for me people. I don’t know about you, but I like to sit at a table, with my plate in front of me, eating one thing at a time, saving the best for last. That being pie, or dessert of any kind. If I’m being truthful, I’ll take down a packet of sugar after a meal if there are no dessert options around. I’m very sophisticated you know. Again, please don’t lecture me. I have dessert issues.

That being said, this baby serves a great big, hungry crowd. It’s also not as drippy as a regular pie so you can hold a slice in one hand and toss a horseshoe with the other. Now really, can you get any better than that? Nope. Now I wouldn’t do that of course. But it’s a perfect solution for those less crazy and rigid than myself.

Of course you can still put it in a bowl with some ice cream if that’s how you feel it must be done. Who am I to stop you?

This pie is more like a giant pop tart or toaster strudel than a pie. As I said, it isn’t as juicy and the dough is super flaky. It’s kind of a cross between a traditional pie crust and puff pastry. It holds up well against the apple juices without getting soggy, yet it is far from dry.

Dare I say, perfect?

I dare.

This recipe is a teeny tiny bit adapted from the incredibly talented Deb at Smitten Kitchen. Click over and view her photo tutorial and get a ton of pie dough tips.

Apple Slab Pie

3 3/4 (470 grams) cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
3 sticks (340 grams) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small cubes
3/4 cup very cold water

3 1/2 to 4 pounds **apples, peeled, cored and sliced into approximately 1/2-inch chunks (about 8 cups)
Squeeze of lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon table salt

To finish
2 tablespoons heavy cream or one egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon of water

Glaze (optional, but really, who are we kidding?)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon milk, water, lemon juice or fresh apple cider, plus a drop or two more if needed

Make pie crust: Whisk together flour, sugar and salt in the bottom of a large, bowl. Using a pastry blender, two forks, or your fingertips, work the butter into the flour until the biggest pieces of butter are the size of tiny peas. Stir in the water with a rubber spatula, mixing it until a craggy mass forms. Get your hands in the bowl and knead it just two or three times to form a ball. Divide dough roughly in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and flatten a bit, like a disc. Chill in fridge for at least an hour or up to two days or slip plastic-wrapped dough into a freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 to 2 months. To defrost, leave in fridge for a day.

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line bottom of 10x15x1-inch baking sheet or jellyroll pan with parchment paper.

Prepare filling: In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice until coated. Top with remaining filling ingredients and stir to evenly coat.

Assemble pie: On a lightly floured surface, roll one of your dough halves into an 18-by-13-inch rectangle. Work quickly to keep the dough as cold as possible and use enough flour so it doesn’t stick to the counter. Transfer to your prepared baking sheet and gently drape some of the overhang in so that the dough fills out the inner edges and corners. Trim dough to approximately 3/4-inch over the sides of the pan.

Pour apple mixture over and spread evenly.

Place in the fridge to chill while you roll the second of your dough halves into a 16-by-11-inch rectangle. Drape over filling and fold the bottom crust’s overhang over the edges sealing them together. Cut small slits to vent. Brush lid heavy cream or egg wash. Bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbly, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack until just warm enough to touch, about 45 minutes.

In a medium bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and liquid of your choice until pourable. Use a spoon to drizzle over top.

Serve, cut into squares or rectangles, warm or at room temperature.

It will keep at room temperature for at 2-3 days, but it won’t last that long.

**Check out Jane Lear’s Apple Guide for information on best apples to use

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The similarities to being born are uncanny.

Think about it. One minute you’re in a dark, warm, comfy place then all of a sudden you’re being thrust out into the cold, hard world.

My morning routine typically starts with the morning breath of a lively little 8 year old, 2 inches from my face, poking me in the arm and informing me that I need to  “get my stick”.  The stick she is referring to would be the plunger.

Nothing makes my husband laugh harder than the phrase “Mom! Get your stick!”. He could be in a sound sleep and that will still cause him to chuckle. He’s a sick, sick man that husband of mine.

Next, it’s time to get the kiddos their breakfast. I’m big on breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day, you know.

Usually I make pancakes or waffles. Sometimes scrambled eggs and toast or an English muffin and jam. Cereal is dinner in our house. We’re a little backward. I know. This morning I used flour instead of pancake mix. Even fresh maple syrup couldn’t help those things.

Now mind you, while I am making breakfast I am typically dodging dry erase markers that are being hurled at me by an extremely irritable, hungry, impatient cat. This will continue until he is out of markers. Then he moves on to either destruction of property or aggravated assault, which may or may not include biting my calf or slapping me (claws out) as I walk by, just to let me know he means business.

I love my cat.

At that point I’ll feed him so he’ll leave me alone and I won’t have to kill him. But he’ll eat so fast that he throws up. Usually on a carpet somewhere. The house is 99% hardwood floors, yet he will find the one, small carpeted area in the house to vomit on. Did I mention how much I love my cat?

Then carpool. A couple of us parents take turns driving the kids to school. So some mornings I have to load everyone up and head out around 7:15. Andrew is good about not complaining that I drive him and his friends to school in my pajamas. Smart too. Wisecracks will only get them a personal escort to class.

Back home for the next phase. Getting Nina and I ready to go.

Nina, “Miss Independent” is great about getting herself ready for the day.  She’ll put her lunch and snacks together, get dressed, do her hair and still have time to watch some Sponge Bob before the bus comes at 8:20.

I do have to keep an eye on her though. Today’s lunch consisted of cookies, leftover Halloween candy (I still can’t find her stash), pepperoni, Doritos and a jelly jar of apple juice. I love that girl. She tries. I’ll give her that. This demands a remake or I may receive a call from school nurse to educate me on the importance of good nutrition.

When it’s time to head outside for the bus, I usually send the dog with her to wait so I can get myself together. My dog Bailey reminds me of “Nana” from Peter Pan. She would never let a stranger enter the yard. Ever! You can ask the UPS man. He’ll tell ya. If he ever dares to come back.

I get my breakfast, lunch and snack together while still keeping one eye out the window to make sure that there are no shenanigans going on outside. I make a tea, a coffee and fill my water jug to bring to work. I may be part camel. This morning I pushed the button on the Keurig and realized I had forgotten to put the cup under the spout.

“What the insert curse word here!”

Ever done that? There really should be a sensor of some sort. Keurig, if you’re listening, can you maybe incorporate that on your next model? I’d really appreciate it.


But, oh joy, now I get to go to work. That makes waking up to all this totally worth it. Someone needs to come up with a font called “Sarcasm“. Just sayin.

What’s your morning routine like? Do you get things ready the night before or do you live on the edge like me? I’d love to hear.

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Square Pegs


I have been at this blogging thing for going on four years now.

Every year around my blogiversary I toy with the idea of shutting it down.

“I gave it a real shot! It’s just not fulfilling the dream I had when I started. I’m done!”

So I thought a little harder than I ever had before and realized, in all honesty, I haven’t been true to myself. I really haven’t given it a real shot, especially after reading about some successful bloggers. Dang, they work hard! Success hasn’t just happened to them. They have put in the time, the effort, the sacrifice.

I simply haven’t.

The occasional post, then nothing, then excuses to my loyal readers. That’s what I’ve become. After a couple of months of soul-searching, waffling back and forth, to quit or not to quit and lots of tears about what a failure I am, it finally hit me.

For four years I have been trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

I realized, I had pretty much proclaimed my site a food blog. I mean, I can cook but at this point I can’t compare to some of those amazing food bloggers out there. You know the ones who can dump out a can of dog food and make it look so good you have to run out and grab all the supplies and cook it up immediately and serve it at a dinner party? Yup, them.

Then I read this.

“Too many days are wasted comparing ourselves to others and wishing to be something we aren’t. Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses and it is only when you accept everything you are-and aren’t- that you will truly succeed”.

And thought “It’s ok I’m not a food blogger”. It is something I’m good at, but maybe it isn’t everything I’m good at.

So I compiled a list of my strengths and weaknesses, my goals, my boundaries and my walls and most importantly, my excuses. I put them on paper so I could stare them down and address them.

I always thought time was my biggest issue. Like I don’t have any to spare. I’m too busy being a good mother, a good wife, a good friend, a good housekeeper, a good everything! There’s no time for me.

“When will I find the time to photograph a meal, or ever develop a recipe?”.

Then it hit me! Duh! I’m busy being a good mother, a good wife, a good friend, a good housekeeper, a good employee. I’m not just a cook. I’m all these things! This was my niche!

My time was being spent trying to be something I wasn’t. And all I was doing was spinning my wheels.

Now it’s time to make the changes.

One of my most awesomest (yeah, it’s a word) friends, Danielle at ENJI Daily had written an article about change, which I refer to a lot. She has also reminded me that every failure is a gift, a means of growth. It’s just how we look at it. And that almost no one goes from point A to point B in a linear way, we have little learning curves along the way.

I believe you have to be ready for change. So, for the first time in my life, I’m going to listen to the people around me who tell me I’m amazing and I’m simply going to be amazing.

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