Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Natl Pie Day!

So, I really didn't intend to do another 'holiday' so quickly, but it really gives me an excuse to share some of my fun pie creations with all of you. Yay! And, again, I just found out it was Natl Pie Day this morning (and on my dad's birthday too...Happy Birthday Dad!) but that won't stop me from throwing something together for you all!
I myself am not a big pie eater (was that gasping I heard?) but my brother is a pie fiend. Like, he prefers pie to birthday cake. Crazy, I think, but hey, it's his party. I've been wanting to gift him pie for his birthday for awhile now, but being as his lives in another state and gifts have to be sent, that just didn't seem very practical. Then, last year, I discovered Our Best Bites (truly one of my favorite food sites!) and their amazing pies-in-a-jar. Aha...that was it! I just knew it! So, for his birthday this year, I whipped these bad boys up.

Cute, right?!

These are SO easy, people.
1) Dough up the inside of your jar. Use your favorite pie crust or just be lazy like me and buy the prepared crusts. Pull off chunks of dough and press them on the bottom of the jar and along the sides. If you want a topper, use the seal part of your lid to cut out a circle from the dough.
2) Make your pie filling. Use prepared pie filling or just make your own! Very easy!

Here is a basic pie recipe (about 1/2C per jar):
2 C prepared fruit (pitted, diced, peeled, etc.)
2 T sugar- brown or white (use more or less depending on sweetness of fruit)
2 T flour-(again, more if your fruit is super juicy like cherries, less if it’s pretty dry)
1 T butter (divided between the pies to go on top of the pies)
Seasonings/flavorings- cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and almond extract, citrus zest etc

3) Fill it up. Add about ½ C filling per jar. Add your topper (cut a couple
vent holes) & crimp it down, or make a basic crumb topping to go on top instead.
Now you can freeze them, bake them or just give them away!
For the pies I sent to my brother, I baked them ahead of time (I didn't want pie
filling sloshing around and didn't want them to partially thaw on the way there).

4)Bake at 375 for about 45 min. From frozen, bake about 50-60 min.

I made blueberry (from our blueberries we picked during Summer!), apple and pumpkin (I just followed basic pumpkin pie recipe and directions, since it's a little different than other pies).
For the blueberry, I made a lattice pie crust, which I think turned out really cute.

The apple pie, I topped with a crumb topping, yum!

The pumpkin, I obviously just left alone (and this one won't need the pat of butter on top, either).

These were so much fun to make and so easy, that I decided they would make fun Christmas gifts for my son's Kindergarten teachers! He helped me make each of them an apple pie (what's more appropriate for a teacher right?) then we added some cute labels and put each one into a little gift bag. They were so impressed (one teacher had to be convinced it wasn't a candle, haha) and excited. Now, for those, I just gave them un-cooked and un-frozen and left it up to them to decide what they wanted to do. I also made a couple up for my grandma for Christmas, but froze those first. She received, blueberry, blackberry and apple.

Another fun pie idea that I did last year on Pi Day (yep, house full of geeks here, hehe) is to make pie pops!

I didn't follow any specific recipe here; just cut the pie crusts with my 3” circle cookie cutter, added about 1T pie filling (careful not to overdo it or these guys will get messy fast!) pressed a lollipop stick into the dough, then put another circle on top and crimped it down. I brushed some melted butter on, then sprinkled some sugar and voila, pie pops! After they cooled down, we added a dollop of whipped cream and they were ready!

These were a big hit with the family!

And, these little cuties came courtesy of a friend's borrowed pie maker (and,
now I have my own...thanks Mom!).

Since my daughter’s birthday party was horse themed, I thought mini pies would go along perfectly with the kind of rustic-ness of it. I decided to just swap out pies for cupcakes and loved the outcome!

And, for a regular ol' pie, this is my absolute most favorite; Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie.

I make this every year for Thanksgiving and try to find any excuse to make other times of the year too. It is so rich and gooey; the perfect pie in my eyes! :)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

20 milk chocolate candy kisses, unwrapped
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 3/4 cups milk
1 (9 inch) pie shell, baked (I use the ready-made chocolate cookie pie crust)


Melt the chocolate with the whipping cream. Stir until smooth, and spread evenly over the bottom of the pie shell. Refrigerate until ready to fill; chocolate should be firm before filling.
Put the dry pudding mix and peanut butter in a heavy saucepan. Over low heat, gradually stir in the milk using a wire whisk. Stir constantly until mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Cool for 15 minutes, stirring often. Pour peanut butter filling into crust. Chill several hours.
Top with whipped topping and garnish with chopped peanuts, Hershey's Kisses, Peanut Butter Cups or Reeses, if desired.

And, here are a few of my favorite pie recipes I've seen around...

This brownie pie looks so yummy!

And, how about this Grownup Pumpkin Pie Milkshake. Yes, one here, please!

Check out these mini S'mores pies! These would be so much fun for a Summertime treat, or even a fun dessert for indoor camping night (we have these every so often and they are quite popular for the kiddos-not so much the adults with bad backs though, hehe).

And, last but not least; these lattice pie cookies makes my heart go pitter pat! They are incredibly adorable and pretty simple. What a 'wow' factor they would be for a fun girls day!

So, how are you celebrating Pie Day? :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy Natl. Popcorn Day!

Okay, I really just discovered it was Natl Popcorn Day about ten minutes ago on Facebook, haha. But, that doesn’t mean there isn't time to celebrate it still!

And, who doesn't love popcorn?! Popcorn is awesome; it's buttery, salty, fluffy. It's the perfect movie food, of course, but also great for kids snacks, and even parties.

I made these fun cones for my son's 5th birthday party; it was a monster theme so I used monster scrapbook paper then filled with green-tinted caramel corn. Yum and fun!

My mom made these adorable mini popcorn ball pops for my daughter's last birthday!

Of course, a personal favorite of ours is to grab a bag while we're shopping at Target. No better bribe to get your kiddos to behave than the promise of Target popcorn, hehe!

In honor of Natl Popcorn Day, I thought I'd share some of the amazing popcorn recipes I've seen on Pinterest and my all-time favorite, personal caramel corn recipe.

Check out this amazing white-chocolate popcorn recipe for a baby shower!

And how about this amazing popcorn cake. Yes, I said cake! How great would this be foe that popcorn lover?!

This white chocolate peppermint popcorn from Our Best Bites is amazing! I actually made some myself for Christmas presents, and it was very well received. :0)


Instead of boring ol' cupcakes at your next party, try these adorable popcorn cupcakes!

And, this one is mine. My take on Harry and David's Moose Munch.

I use my basic caramel corn recipe, which produces THE best caramel corn ever, and spruce it up a little.

Caramel Corn


7 quarts plain popped popcorn (about two 3.5oz bags of microwave popcorn)
2 cups dry roasted peanuts (optional)
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup margarine
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1) Place the popped popcorn into two shallow greased baking pans (I use my turkey roaster pan). Add the peanuts to the popped corn if using. Set aside.
2) Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, margarine and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring enough to blend. Once the mixture begins to boil, boil for 5 minutes while stirring constantly.
3) Remove from the heat, and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. The mixture will be light and foamy. Immediately pour over the popcorn in the pans, and stir to coat. Don't worry too much at this point about getting all of the corn coated.
4) Bake for 1 hour, removing the pans, and giving them each a good stir every 15 minutes (use a long wooden spoon). Line the counter top with waxed paper. Dump the corn out onto the waxed paper and separate the pieces. Allow to cool completely, then store in airtight containers or resealable bags.

To make it into Moose Munch, just separate out some popcorn (use the big clumps) and dip in melted chocolate. Do the same with peanuts, then mix both in with the caramel corn. Voila...instant Moose Munch! Yum!

I hope you enjoy Natl Popcorn Day!! :o)

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