December 31, 2015

A look back at 2015

2015 has been a great year for us overall. It's the year my husband got a terrific new job and the year we bought our first house. It's been the year where I've attempted to perfect my pie making skills. I still haven't run out of recipes to make and create, which is a great thing because it's what keeps this blog going. As always, I'm so happy to be part of the terrific food blogging community. I love learning from all of you, reading your posts, reading your comments, and sharing in our love of cooking. I hope all of you had a wonderful year and wish you all the best in 2016!

Now, let's take a look back at my favorite recipe from each month of the year and then my husband will do his picks! I always like to see if we pick the same favorites or not.

Happy New Year!
Chinese Kabocha Squash & Sesame Pancakes: These little kabocha squash pancake appetizers were a favorite of mine. Not only were they delicious, they were something completely new for me to make.

December 24, 2015

25 Pies in 2015 - A Review

If you saw my last pie post, you saw that I was lamenting a bit about not completing my 25 Pies in 2015 Challenge that I set for myself. But, I've accepted that 25 pies in one year was perhaps a little too much for both my baking time and our waistlines! (I do usually try to reserve sweet pies for when we are having company.) That all being said, I still managed to make and post 15 pies this year - both sweet and savory. Let's take a look at them!

December 17, 2015

Peppermint white hot chocolate

My posts have been a little sparse this month, and also very short on the usual Christmas cookies and other holiday treats! That's because we are in the process of moving! So, the majority of the kitchen stuff except for what we absolutely need has been packed away. I expect it will be a couple weeks before we get into our new house and settled and I get back into a normal cooking routine. We are moving from a rental into our first house, so we are super happy! But, not having all of my kitchen stuff and props at hand has been a little difficult for me.... Plus, we have NO Christmas tree or any Christmas decorations out. We are really missing our tree this year. Between that and the warm weather, it's not feeling like the holidays at all to me! But, we are so excited to move into our new house. So, after a long day of packing I whipped us up some of this white hot chocolate with a bit of peppermint flavor to help get us into the Christmas spirit. This recipe will make two servings. 

December 11, 2015

Eggnog pudding pie

I think this will be my last pie post of 2015.... meaning that I only made it to 15 pies, not my goal of 25. It was a lofty goal to be sure, but for whatever reason I thought I'd be able to do it! But, 15 is still a respectable amount and I'll be continuing to post pies in the future, of course. My pie making (and crust making) skills have definitely improved through the year. Eggnog pie was high on my list for the holidyas. We always enjoy eggnog, and putting it in a pie seemed like a great idea to me! This pie is super easy because I cheated and used pudding mix in the filling. While I'd usually make the filling all from scratch, this time of year I'm a big fan of some help and shortcuts in the kitchen. So if you and your family enjoy eggnog, this is a nice holiday dessert for you!

December 7, 2015

Chicken, gnocchi, and spinach soup

We aren't having a very cold December here in the Buffalo area, if you can believe it. In fact, we haven't even had a measurable snow fall yet! It's crazy and we've actually broken a record for the latest measurable snow fall. It's been in the 40s and 50s, which is unheard of in December if Buffalo. It doesn't feel like the holidays at all. But, that doesn't stop me from making and consuming cozy warming soups. It's high soup season in my kitchen

Now, as I'm sure I've mentioned before, my husband isn't always a huge soup fan. It's gotta be a really hearty soup for him to feel like it's a full meal. This soup definitely fits that bill because it's full of vegetables, chicken, and little gnocchi pillows - it's a complete meal with a thick and creamy broth. A hearty bread is never a bad idea to sop all the leftover broth at the end! This soup will serve about four people. It's perfect for a wintery evening or afternoon. 

December 2, 2015

Shoofly pie

Shoofly pie is a Pennsylvania Dutch classic. Several years ago my husband (then boyfriend) and I were in Lancaster, PA for a few days and we kept seeing and hearing about Shoofly pie and supposedly this one place had "the best" around that we had to try. We had no idea what to expect, but we went there, got a couple pieces and they were sad-looking. They were really thin and they didn't look super fresh... But we ate them, and felt very unimpressed and let down. We never had Shoofly pie before that day and not after that day until I decided to read up on it and make one for myself to see if it could be redeemed. I didn't have really high hopes for this pie. But, I made it for an extra pie for Thanksgiving this year so that others could test it out too. The verdict? A big win! Most people thought it was good, but others really loved it. I thought is might be too strong from the molasses, but to me it was perfect. It reminded me of a gingerbread almost. Super delicious! I think the flavor profile makes it a lovely pie for the holidays and through the winter.

So I hope I've been able to convince you to give this old-fashioned pie a try. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. This recipe is the one I made after reading several versions. They all have varying levels of molasses, some white sugar and some brown sugar (to me brown sugar would have been overkill), some with spices and some without, etc.