1.25.2015

friday pieday // brown sugar pie

so i started a new-to-us tradition for the year of friday pieday
i love baking.  i love pie.  and fridays, for us, are free!  that's right, we don't do school on fridays.  which i love about our curriculum.  it truly feels like we have three-day weekends.  and that is priceless.

this tradition, however flexible our fridays and schedule are, i am following loosely.  i will give myself breathing room if i'm not feeling up to it for whatever the reason may be.  because life happens.  and i want this tradition to always be fun to and bonding for the kids, not hasty and temperamental.  otherwise, what's the point? 

the first week was last week.  and something somewhere really really didn't want me to make a pie that turned out.  something somewhere wanted me to fail miserably and discourage me from this tradition. 


you see, i let julian make a pie with me the first week.  and then i thought i would just alternate the kids every other week.  i pulled out my pie cookbooks and let julian pick whatever one he wanted to.  and he chose a coconut crème pie.  which i had absolutely no qualms with.  coconut crème pie is one of my personal top favorites.  however, i already have a coconut crème pie recipe that i use which is beyond perfection if i can say so myself!  but i thought it wouldn't hurt trying a new one.  this one, perhaps, i thought, may even be better! 
 
and wow, it wasn't.  allow me to make a list of pros & cons:
pro:  everything was going seemingly fine for the first half.  we have a house rule that you can't crack eggs unless you're 8.  now that julian is 8 years old, i let him crack the eggs for the first time.  and he did it like a champ!!  i was seriously so proud and praising the Lord on high that it went smoothly so he would just be confident in cracking eggs in the future. 


con:  i baked the piecrust, which i had to blind bake.  this was only my second time blind baking, and i had definitely learned from the first time.  i poked holes in the crust, covered it with foil, and poured marbles in for pie weights.  and it came out perfectly!  until later that day.  eric was putting my marble pastry board back and accidently spilled our ground coffee into the baked piecrust.  i really tried to salvage it.  but it was difficult getting the grounds out of the little fork-holes in the shell.  and then, as i had it tipped at an angle trying to get the grounds out, it just fell out of the pie pan and crumbled apart.  and i was sad.  and i might have cried a little bit out of defeat.


pro:  i made totasted coconut for the topping and i didn't over-bake it.  which, if you are familiar with baking, you know that is extremely easy to do.

con:  oh, but some coffee grounds got into the tray of toasted coconut, too, and there was just no way of salvaging that.

pro:  the coconut-infused homemade whipped cream was amazing.

con:  i made a second piecrust, which came out beautifully.  and then i poured the filling in, which had been chilling all day long.  and it was.......soup.  i was hopeful that it would set overnight, but nope!  it was soup.  and the crust was soggy.  and that also means i wasted an entire actual vanilla bean.  ugh!!!!!!!


so i just tossed it.  and tried my very best to not be discouraged.  i mean, i slaved over this damn pie practically all day and to no avail.  it just sucked, if i'm being honest here.

*********************

so for this next week i wanted something either easy or tired and true.  and the day before friday, i came upon a recipe for brown sugar pie on pinterest.  i have never heard of this crap but thought it sounded amazing.  i mean, who in the world in their right mind doesn't like brown sugar??!  and upon clicking on it, i found the recipe was easy peasy.  a whopping four pantry ingredients!!  it's just very basic and simple, while also being exciting because i had never tried it let alone even heard of it.  it came out perfectly.  and i made it by myself.  on a saturday.  see what i mean about following this tradition loosely?  yeah. 
brown sugar pie

ingredients
1 pound organic light brown sugar
3 organic, cage free eggs at room temerature
1/2 c (1 stick) organic butter, melted & cooled to room temperature
1 tb pure vanilla extract
1 homemade or store-bought piecrust

directions
preheat oven to 350°
prepare pie pan with pie dough.
in a large bowl, whisk the eggs together until well incorporated. 
add the brown sugar, melted butter, and vanilla extract. 
whisk all ingredients together until completely combined and smooth.
pour into piecrust.
cover piecrust edges with foil.
bake for 20 minutes.
remove foil.
bake for an additional 25 minutes.
remove from oven and cool on cooling rack for 30 minutes.
serve warm with whipped cream!

note:  i usually cut my pies into eighths.  this one, however, is so rich (as you can imagine), that i cut it into sixteenths.  that really is all you need to avoid a sugar-induced stomach ache whilst completely satisfying your sweet tooth.  this one was a big hit for us!

1.20.2015

marshmallow milk and cold days

ok. so molly, the chocolate qa-ueen, doesn't like hot chocolate.  seriously molly?!  melted warm, creamy, rich chocolate?!  sounds like a must for chocolate-lovers.  i digress.

so i have to get creative with her.  kind of.  i didn't make this up.  but i cannot for the life of me remember where i originally heard of this.  so, sorry to whoever invented this; i cannot give you the credit! 

but anyway, you can make this vanilla or chocolate or strawberry.  sounds so neapolitan, no?
marshmallow milk

here's what you need:
1 c 2% milk
1 spoonful of marshmallow fluff
1/2-1 tsp vanilla extract or
1-2 tb chocolate syrup or 
1-2 tb strawberry syrup

here's what you do:
heat the milk in a microwave-safe mug or glass for about one minute.  this will make the milk barely warm (perfect temp for kids). 
scoop a spoonful of fluff into the warm milk.
add whichever syrup your kids want!  if it's vanilla, to make it even more rich and flavorful, you can even add a splash of french vanilla coffee creamer.  YUM.
grab your handheld milk frother.  don't have one?  a small whisk will do.  or, here's where you can buy a frother (for cheap!). 
froth (or whisk) away until the fluff is incorporated.
garnish with mini marshmallows.
finished!
pop in a movie, make some popcorn, and sip this on a cold day.
or enjoy after coming in from playing outside.


p.s.  have you seen this that world market has this right now?!  i've gotta get there.  it's special for valentine's day.

1.19.2015

us lately

gaming.

these three crack me up.  dawson (on the left).......doesn't he look like chris farley's mini-me?!

tree hugging, daydreaming hippie babe.

they made a trail of food for dan the cat.  you'll never guess whose idea that was.

one-on-one time with my beauty babe.

at the stove making coconut cream pie.  new for us this year:  friday pieday.

bed crasher.

snow-fort building with the cous'.


working hard helping eric paint the kitchen shelves.

getting ready to leave to work on the next project:  a headboard for our bed!

meanwhile, molly and i made double chocolate cupcakes!



for this, there are no words.
 

1.18.2015

new in the kitch


so whilst stalking cooler-than-i people on instagram, i came across a scene of a cute little boy washing his feet in a kitchen sink.  behind the sink were windows that had a shelf across the middle of each.  i just love shelving.  it's such a great, cheap way to:
1)  add more storage space, and
2)  display your beloved crap
and i thought, we can do that!  so i showed eric to see what he thought, and he agreed.  so he got right on that.  no really, he did.  within a few short days he was finished.  swooooooon.

every morning i wake up, make my way downstairs, and i stop in my tracks once i reach the kitch.  the windows face east so the sun is shining through said windows in all its glory.  and i fall more in love with these shelves every time.


and now i think he's found a new hobby.  carpentry. 

1.16.2015

this just cracked me up

the kids were trying to one-up each other at lunch today:

julian:  "mom, all i want for Christmas is my two front teeth."
molly:  "mom, all i want for Christmas is YOU."
julian:  "all i want for Christmas is to bless people."
molly:  "all i want for Christmas is for everyone to love each other."
julian:  "all i want for Christmas is to celebrate Jesus' birthday."
molly:  "all i want for Christmas is everything."
julian:  "all i want for Christmas is my butt."

wow, that sure took a turn for the worse.
old picture from fall 2012

1.15.2015

a new obsession: body scrubs

so i mentioned a few posts back that my friend makes me hand scrubs and adds them to my Christmas gift bag every year.  and i just love them!  she always gives me great loot, but these are always my favorite.  last year she made a peppermint & epsom salt scrub.  this year was peppermint coconut oil & sugar scrub.  i loved last years so much i made a couple more jars to last me through the winter.  they really do make a difference and make my hands so smooth and soft.

as you can imagine, there are scrub recipes all over pinterest.  as i was recovering last week, i got a hankering to make some body scrubs for molly and myself.  molly gets keratosis polaris pretty bad in the winter.  so body scrubs are a necessity for her when she bathes.  they exfoliate and moisturize which is exactly what she needs.  and even if you don't have skin issues, i think everyone suffers with dry skin in some way in these dreadfully dry, cold months in the north.

here are my two favorites:
vanilla lavender chamomile scrub
(makes about one cup)

ingredients
1 c organic turbinado sugar
1/4 c grapeseed oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
5 drops doterra serenity essential oil blend

directions
add all ingredients to a bowl, and combine with a fork. 
spoon into a glass jar. 
and just like that, you're done! 
keep in the shower, on the bathroom vanity, or kitchen sink. 
rub into dry skin in a circular motion, and rinse. 
follow up with lotion for even more moisture for particularly parched skin.

cinnamon vanilla oatmeal scrub
(makes about one cup)

ingredients
1/2 c oats
1/4 c organic brown sugar
1/4 c organic turbinado sugar
1/2 c organic extra virgin unrefined coconut oil
1 tb olive oil
1/4 tsp organic ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

directions
in a food processor/blender/magic bullet/nutribullet, pulse oats until coarse/grainy texture.
heat coconut oil in a glass measuring cup in the microwave until melted (about 1 minute).
mix all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.
spoon into a glass jar.
*resist the temptation to spoon into your mouth!  this ends up smelling like a warm oatmeal cookie.*
store in the bathroom cabinet. 
this concoction will keep for up to three months.

let me know what you think!

1.14.2015

some things

i made a list of some of the things we've been up to.
 
 















 
 
1.  new year's eve we hit up ikea and the mall of america.  we all had a great time.  exhausting, but great. 
     new year's day we went to see into the woods.
2.  we got home in time to have a little family shin-dig.  we played jenga, wore party hats, blew noisemakers,
     listened to mexican fiesta music, ate chips and salsa, and drank champagne.
3.  i got a fresh face mask at lush when we were in the cities!  it's so fresh you have to keep it in the fridge. 
     kinda cold going on, but i loved it!
4.  watching my kids sleep never gets old.
5.  the assortment just kills me:  pocahontas, a couple cats, some sea life (including a treasure chest), and a
     teeny tiny purple mouse.  they all have a purpose in someone's world!
6.  beard bibs at culvers.
7.  my sunday errands buddy.
8.  silly bedtime stories are the best.
9.  my boy is also a book worm.
10.  molly in an oversized frozen shirt.  oh, my heart.  she's practically a teenager.  yes, she is always more
       than my heart can take.  especially in her brother's trucker hat.  even at 10:30pm.  taking an entire
       eternity to pick up her room.
11.  candyland is a Godsend when you can't do anything but sit and lay down.
12.  dan the cat.
13.  date nights.
14.  reading school books.
15.  micro machines from circa 1986.
16.  an alice in wonderland inspired tea party.  it just so happened to be all of our un-birthdays.
17.  our happy places.
18.  julian always holds the door for me.  even in -2° weather.  such a gentleman.
19.  molly:  makes my stuff hers, draws pictures of me and my bff.
20.  it's awfully cold here. 
21.  shipping etsy orders!
22.  and last but not at all least:  both of his front teeth are gone, just like that!  such a sweet little milestone.