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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Recipe Review: Perfect Pie Crust

As a Martha follower, I tried her recipe for pie crust, afterall.. I had to try out my new apple corer/peeler/slicer so.. Apple Pie.

It was a great recipe and I think it is totally work the little bit of extra work. So much better than store bought crust..

The link is:

there are 6 pages of instructions w/ pictures so it sounds like a lot, but it isn't! Try it!

Pie Crust

Makes 1 crust; Prep time: 40 minutes; Total time: 3 1/2 hours

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)

2 tablespoons ice water

1. In a food processor, pulse several times to combine 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and sugar.

2. Add 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces remaining.

3. Add 2 tablespoons ice water; pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (if needed, add up to 2 more tablespoons ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time). Do not overmix.

4. Turn out onto work surface; knead once or twice, until dough comes together. Flatten dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

5. Place dough on a floured piece of parchment or waxed paper. Using knuckles, press edges of dough to help prevent cracking when you roll it out.

6. Roll dough to a 14-inch round. Using parchment, lift and wrap dough around rolling pin; carefully unroll over a 9-inch pie plate. Gently fit into bottom and along sides of plate, being careful not to stretch or tear dough.

7. Using kitchen shears or a paring knife, trim dough to a 1-inch overhang; fold under, and seal to form a rim. Crimp rim with fingertips. Prick bottom of pie dough all over with a fork, to prevent it from puffing up or shrinking in the oven. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

8. If prebaking the crust, preheat oven to 350°. Bake until crust is firm and golden, about 20 minutes. Cool completely before filling.


Ah, Halloween, a time of gluttony and chocolate. What better that deliciously fantastic fudge! There is a really easy recipe I found but the results are yummy.

Grease a pan set aside. spread fudge w/grease spatula

cover fudge w/plastic wrap. put in fridge 2 hrs or until firm. cut into 1 inch squares. store tightly covered in fridge for 3 weeks.

Chocolate Fudge:
1 & 1/2 c sugar
1 can (5 oz)evaporated milk
2 T butter
1/4 t salt
1 & 1/2 c mini marshmallows
1 c semisweet chocolate chips
1 & 1/2 t vanilla

combine sugar, milk, butter, and salt in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly w/wooden spoon. boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

remove saucepan from heat. stir in marshmallows with wooden spoon until melted and mixture is well blended.

add chocolate chips & vanilla. stir unil mixture 6 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Peanut Butter Fudge:
3/4 c granulate sugar
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c creamy PB
5 oz evap milk
1 & 1/2 mini marshmallows
1 & 1/2 t vanilla

combine sugar, milk in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly w/wooden spoon. boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

remove saucepan from heat. stir in marshmallows with wooden spoon until melted and mixture is well blended.

add PBs & vanilla. stir unil mixture 6 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Apples! Apples! Apples!

Fall, the perfect time for apples! Recently my mom and I visited Milford, OH and Rouster's Apple House. It's an orchard and really cool. They usually have u-pick but the crop was damaged and so they had bags you could buy. We bought three types: Jonagold, Krispy, and Grimes. All very delicious, my favorite is the jonagold.

So the best invention to accompany the apple is
don't worry, there are pictures to follow!
So I bought it at Linens and Things and it was a deal at $20 it suctions to the counter so you don't have to buy a stand. So it's awesome for making pies b/c it.. cores/peels/slices in about 20 seconds!

Who knew!
Even the husband loves it!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Blondie Brownies

This recipe was provided by my mom, Edie! She swears they are the best brownies she has ever eaten!

From Edie.
Phil brought this home a couple of weeks ago, and boy o boy! are they good! Blondies
1c.(4oz) pecans or walnuts
1-1/2 C. (7 1/2oz) unbleached ap flour.
1t. baking powder
12T.(1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1-1/2 C. (10 1/2oz) packed light brown sugar
2 lg. eggs, lightly beaten
4t. vanilla extract
6 oz. good-quality white chocolate chips (1C) or 3 oz. each white chocolate, & semisweet chocolate chips.
adjust oven rack to middle position & heat oven to 350 degrees. spread nuts on lg. rimmed baking sheet and bake until deep golden brown, 10-15 minutes. transfer nuts to cutting board to cool, chop coarsley and set aside. 2. while nuts toast, cut 18in. length foil and fold lengthwise to 8in. width. fit foil into length of 13 by 9in. baking pan,pushing it into corners, and up sides of pan. allow excess to overhang pan edges. cut 14in. length of foil and fit into width of baking pan in same manner, perpendicular to firsh sheet. spray foil lined pan with nonstick cooking spray. 3. whisk flour, b.powder, and salt together in med. bowl, set aside. 4. whisk melted butter and br. sugar together in med. bowl until combined. add eggs and vanilla and mix well. using rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into egg mixture until just combined. do not overmix.fold in chocolate and nuts and turn batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with rubber spatula. 5. bake until top is shiny,cracked, and light golden brown, 22-25 minutes. do not overbake! cool on wire rack to room temperature. remove bars from pan by lifting foil overhang and transfer to cutting board. cut into 2in. sq. and serve.
As I said, they are DELICIOUS.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Mom's Apple Crisp

My mom has been making this recipe for years. It is always delicious. We really like the topping and so she has always doubled it or increased it by half. Any way you do it is awesome!!

Apple Crisp Recipe:

In a buttered baking dish, add 4 cups of sliced apples.
Sprinkle with 1 tsp of cinnamon
add 1/4 c H2O (if apples are really juicy, decrease water a little)
Set aside

In a bowl, combine:
3/4 c flour
1 c sugar
1/3 c butter
with a pastry blender cut dry ingredients into butter until well blended.

Turn mixture over apples bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Official Taste Tester Says:
"Needs more crisp, but I'd give it a 10 out of 10"

Chicken Parmesan

This recipe was given to me by Paul at work. It came highly recommended. Rich and I tried it tonite and I think it was great! Very easy to make and quick too!

Official Taste Tester Says:
"Great and enough for left-overs"

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (I halved the recipe and it worked well)
1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 jar/can (26-28 oz) pasta sauce
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Dip chx in egg, then bread crumbs, coating well.

In a glass baking dish, arrange chx. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.

Pour pasta sauce over chx, then top with cheese. bake an additional 10 minutes or until chx is no longer pink. serve with hot cooked pasta.

10 minutes prep time - 30 min bake time

Saturday, October 08, 2005

More fun Halloween decorations!

Again, totally Martha inspired! and again from her Halloween book. These are chiffon "yaking" ghosts. They are made of the paper thin slippery fabric and glued to my window by rubber cement (rubs off windows easily). The template is in her book. The ghosts are challenging to make due to the fabric but well worth it. There are 2 ghosts. The one pictured and another one the next window to the right facing left as if they are talking. I had to hang up black fabric as it was hard to see the ghosts with the lights on.

Fun Halloween Decorations!

Of course this is Martha inspired and I love it! The crows are a template from her Halloween book that I borrowed from the library. Just copy the image, trace it out on black construction paper and tape it on the fence! The fence is made of black crepe (spelling??) cut to a point and the then "planks" of the fence are cut out in different sizes and taped on the wall with double sided tape either straight up and down or tilted. Tape one long piece from one side to the other of the fence to finish the look.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

This recipe comes from the October 2005 issue of Country Living. I make the cupcake version today and decorated them with gummy spiders and worms. The recipe is great not to hard to make and contains many things that you already have in your pantry. The mixture of the orange frosting and the pumpkin chocolate cake is outstanding! YUM!!

The photo shows the cupcakes and also the very fun Martha-inspired fall wreath I made. It originally had little pumpkins on it which were hollowed out and tea lights were placed inside, but there were some issues with that.. it would have worked except I bought pumpkins that were too old...

The recipe:

2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons good-quality cocoa
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon fresh-grated nutmeg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups pumpkin purée
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 recipe Orange Cream-Cheese Frosting

1. Prepare cake pans: Heat oven to 350° F. Lightly butter three 8-inch cake pans and fit each bottom with an 8-inch circle of parchment paper. Lightly butter the parchment paper. Set aside.

2. Make the batter: Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl and set aside. Combine the buttermilk, pumpkin, and vanilla in a medium bowl and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, with an electric mixer set on medium speed, until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until the mixture is smooth and light. Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, blending well after each addition.

3. Bake the cake: Divide the batter among the pans and bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean ‑- about 35 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pan for 20 minutes. Remove cakes and cool. (For cupcakes: Heat oven to 375° F. Place cupcake liners in standard cupcake tins and fill each with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake for 22 minutes.)

4. Assemble the cake: Trim each of the layers. Place one layer on a cake plate and top with one third of the frosting. Repeat with the second and third layers. (To ensure that the cake layers do not shift, cut three skewers to 1/4 inch shorter than the full height of the cake and insert them before icing the top layer). Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Orange Cream-Cheese Frosting

One 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick), softened
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon orange food coloring

Make the frosting: Blend the cream cheese, butter, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla in a large bowl, using an electric mixer set at medium speed, until smooth. Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and creamy ‑- about 3 more minutes. Add the food coloring and gently stir until the color is uniform. Chill the frosting until ready to ice the cupcakes or cake.

The Best Chili

This recipe comes from the kitchen of the sister, Lori Trzop Schatzel. This is fantastic in a crock pot, slow cooked for hours or over your stove top if you need delicious chili in a hurry.

1 lb ground beef
1 lb mild or hot (depending on preference) sausage
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained (usually, I get the chili kind or the onion/garlic kind)
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce (unsalted is always a good choice)
2 T chili powder
1 & 1/2 t ground cumin (this is the secret to this recipe!)
salt and pepper to taste
1 or 2 cans light or dark kidney beans (depending on how much you want) rinsed & drained

1. Brown beef and sausage in skillet until cooked through, drain
2. Mix beef and remaining ingredients, except beans in a slow cooker (or pot, if using pot, add the beans)
3. Cover and cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. The longer it cooks and simmers the better is tastes or until onion is tender -- you can't cook it too long!
**If you don't use a crock pot, add all ingredients and cook until heated through. Cook for at least an hour and a half until it reaches desiered consistency. Boil at first then simmer the remaining time**
4. Stir in beans then cover and cook on high for 15-20 minutes.

Serve with a dollop (of daisy ..hehe) of sour cream or shredded cheese or oyster crackers or regular crackers or ALL FOUR!!


Friday, October 07, 2005

Pizza Twist

This is a fun "twist" to pizza. It is similar to a calzone in that you dip the slices into sauce. You can add any ingredients you want. Usually I do pepperoni, mushrooms, and pineapple! Yum! It may seem complicated, but it is very easy and delicious to make. Just remember to firmly pinch to close the seams and to do a tight crisscross. I'll post a picture the very next time I make this dish!

The Recipe:
1 pkg pepperoni slices
2 T snipped fresh parsley
1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
2 T all -purpose flour
1 garlic clove pressed ( I usually omit)
2 pkgs refrigerated French bread dough
1 egg
1 t italian seasoning mix
2 T fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 can pizza sauce, warmed

Preheat Oven to 375. Dice pepperoni and other "toppings" finely. Snip parsley. In a bowl combine toppings, parsley, mozzarella cheese, flour and garlic (pressed). Mix well.

Place bread dough seam sides up on smooth side of a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, slice each loaf lengthwise, end to end cutting halfway through to center of loaf, spread open flat. Lightly sprinkle additional flour evenly over dough. Roll dough crosswise creating a well down the center half of each loaf (usually I do this with my fingers)

Spoon half of the toppings mixture down the center of each loaf. Gather up the edges over filling pinching firmly to seal. Place loaves, seam side down in an X pattern on a baking sheet or stone (line the baking sheet with parchment paper). Crisscross ends of dough to form a large figure 8, keeping ends of dough 1 inch from the edge of the pan.

Separate egg, beat egg white and seasoning mix lightly brush over dough using a pastry brush ( a fork will substitute well). Using serrated knife, cut a 3 inch slit in each of the top sections of the twist to reveal filling

Sprinkle grated parmesean cheese over the loaf .

Bake 30-32 minutes or until deep golden brown. Remove to rack and cool 10 min. Cut into slices as desired. Serve with warm pizza sauce.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Mussio's Spinach and Artichoke Dip

This recipe was provided by Maggie. It is a family recipe.


1: melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat
2: ass onion & cook until soft - 5 min.
3: stir in spinach, artichokes, cream cheese, sour cream, 3/4 c monterey jack, 3/4 c parmesan, tabasco & salt
4: stir until well blended & heated through
5: pour mixture into casserole dish & top with reamaining 1/4 c mont-jack & 1/4 c parmesan cheese
6: bake 350 until cheese starts to brown - 10 min.