Sunday, January 20, 2013

Friday is PIE DAY!

There has been a fair amount of pie experimentation going on around here in the past few weeks. It just seems like the new year is fit for diving in and trying some new combinations and techniques. Plus, National Pie Day is January 23rd (yes! it really is!), so I feel the need to bust out some fresh ideas in honor of the day. Of course, this means you will be treated to some Pie Day posts once I nail some of these new recipes!

In the meantime, here is a sneak peek at what has been happening in my kitchen.

Ingredients-dried pineapple, candied ginger,
 dried cherries, dark chocolate, 
and crystallized ginger-
waiting to find their place in a pie
I love, love, love, tart pies, 
so I'm mixing citrus into many of the pies.
Apples, pears, and cranberries peeled and ready to go.
Classic pairings for winter pies!
An assortment of finished pies, ready for tasting!

Any suggestions for pies you would like to see here?
Let me know!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A fresh look.

We often live with things that are inefficient just because that is the way they have always been. Then one day it strikes you that a quick change would make life so much easier. Sometimes, it just takes a fresh look to come up with a better solution. This all sounds like it could be some deep life lesson, but in this case, I'm talking about my cupboards. 
Our kitchen is small and one of my only surfaces is right in front of this cupboard, making the top shelf difficult to reach while I am preparing anything on that board (which is always). After months (ok years) of struggling to reach the things I was using at nearly every meal, I finally realized that simply moving the position of the shelves would solve my problem.
A quick swippy swap of the shelves, and I was ready to rearrange. Now all my everyday oils, vinegars, spices etc are in reach on the bottom shelf, and items I use less often are on the top shelf. Hallelujah.
It is a good exercise from time to time to take a look at the areas in your house that are used everyday.
This could be the kitchen, the coat closet, the bathroom, or a single drawer. Are these areas set up to be most efficient for you? Even the best of organizers can have blind spots, and it's easy to just keep doing what you always do. Small changes can have a big impact!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January reading

January in Minnesota is best seen through with big stacks of books and a long Netflix queue.
I read a lot all year 'round, but this time of year our coffee and side tables groan a bit under the extra weight of winter reading materials. This is the stack currently holding my attention.

Creative, Inc
Meg Mateo Ilasco and Joy Deangdeelert Cho
Recharging my vision and focus for my freelance work this year.
If you are a creative freelancer, this book is a must!
Night Circus
Erin Morgenstern
This was a Christmas gift from a friend. I just finished it, and loved every minute of it.
A little magic, dreaming, and plenty of starry skies are a perfect antidote for winter.
poems by James Cihlar
On my latest trip to the library, I was delighted to find
 this book of poemsby a local writer (and acquaintance!).
 I sometimes forget to read poetry regularly,
so I like getting gentle reminders to do so.
I've just barely dipped a toe into this collection,
and am looking forward to exploring these very personal portraits.
Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner?
A year of Italian menus with 250 recipes that celebrate family
Lisa Caponigri
That is a very good question, and I love the idea
 of hosting Sunday dinners-
whether for family or created family.
 I'm compiling a list of recipes to try,
so maybe you'll get an invitation one of these days.....
Seed Savers Exchange Catalog
Seed catalogs are a staple for winter dreaming and scheming,
and Seed Savers offers a lot of eye candy. 
What will you be planting in your garden this spring?
If you are not yet familiar with Seed Savers,
please take a peek at their website and fall in love like I have.
Once There Were Castles
Lost Mansions and Estates of the Twin Cities
Larry Millet
My hubby and I are both like to geek out on architecture.
He is the one who picked this up on the last library trip,
but I can't stop gazing at the amazing craftsmanship and details in these homes

What are you reading?
Are you in a book club?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Easy trick for your treats.

Halloween is only a week away!
Never fear-there is still time to add some spooky decor to your home,
or pull together a last minute party for the weekend.
These little cuties will add a festive touch to party snacks.
Sprinkle a few around the room, 
or use as individual treat containers at each place setting.
Simply adhere scrapbooking borders to jelly jars,
(glue dots work like a charm)
then fill with seasonal treats.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday is PIE DAY!

On a recent trip to Charleston and Savannah we ate ourselves silly, and sampled many desserts, including a much anticipated stop at Back In the Day Bakery. Still, I only managed to eat one slice of pie. I'm still not sure how I let that happen, and might have to demand a retry. Luckily, the one slice we did find (completely unexpectedly in a small coffee shop) was fantastic-a simple pecan- not too sweet, not too goopy, and heavy on the pecans. Pecans pie is, of course, a Southern staple, but in Charleston coconut cake is queen. I was amazed by the sheer number of coconut cakes we saw on display everywhere we went. Definitely the signature dessert of Charleston.

This pie combines pecans and coconut into one luscious, decidedly Southern treat.
My ode to Charleston.

Charleston Pie

single 9" pie crust

1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup whole pecans
2 eggs
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 T butter, melted
1 T vanilla

-preheat oven to 350 degrees
-layer coconut into prepared pie crust
-beat eggs, maple syrup, brown sugar, butter and vanilla until well blended
-stir pecans into mixture
-pour mixture over top of coconut, being sure to cover all coconut
-bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes

Monday, October 1, 2012


I am an autumn girl.
I might even go as far to say that October is my favorite month.
Its arrival is most welcome here.
Swirling leaves on the patio.
Squash on the front porch.
Apples awaiting their place in a pie.
Asters pleasing the bees.

What does October look like where you are?
Happy Fall.
xo Christine

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday is PIE DAY!

Blue ribbon winner?
Nope. Not this year.
I finally decided to enter a pie in the Minnesota State Fair.
This is said pie.
Category: Apple
Looks like a winner to me.
Ah well.
Try try again, right?

I think there are all sorts of inside secrets to State Fair ribbonista status.
Frankly, I wish I had kept this pie and eaten it.
Who needs a ribbon when you have a mean slice of pie on your plate.

Happy, happy PIE DAY!
xo Christine