Monday, May 6, 2013

Brenham and Bloggers

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Oh my goodness, y’all. I had the best weekend EVA! Kirsten from Comfortably Domestic made a little trip to the great state O’ Texas to see Jeanne of Inside NanaBread’s Head…. AND they invited me to meet up with them on a little day trip!

You see, I’m originally from a little bitty town, and Jeanne is in the big ol’ city of Houston, Texas, so we decided to meet up in Brenham, Texas – home to BLUE BELL ICE CREAM (read: bestest ice cream ever).
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I have been to Brenham quite a few times before, but mainly just driving through, so Jeanne played a good tour guide.

We began with lunch at Must Be Heaven – isn’t that the cutest name? Check out their list of pies!!

If you read that list, you’ll see Sawdust Pie, and I’ll be making one of those for you in the upcoming weeks… don’t you worry.

For lunch I had the Turkey Swiss Quiche and HOLY HECK it was good!! Seriously. Like we all raved about it. Perfect crust, cheese was at the bottom, and the eggs! The eggs were light and fluffy and as tall as a mile high meringue.

THAT, my friends, is on my baking to-do list as well.

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We ended up with two Buttermilk Pie slices, and a Lemon Meringue. ALL very good.

Jeanne determined the Buttermilk Pie may have crushed corn flakes or frosted flakes on top to finish off with a nice crunch, isn’t that a great idea? Check! Going to try that.

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Then we began our barrage of shopping. We had the best time going through all the Junk Shops. We use that term affectionately down here, otherwise known as antiques – some female fans of antique shopping even refer to themselves as “Junk Queens” or “Queens of Junking” – I think I just had an idea for another bumper sticker….

Have y’all ever seen an ASTRONAUT CABBAGE PATCH KID?

*I* have not! #childoftheeighties

And there were TWO!

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Brenham has got PLENTY of cute little shops and antiques. So much so, that we became so distracted, we missed the last Blue Bell Factory Tour. Kirsten NEEDS to see it, y’all! Guess it’s time for another trip back girl! *winks*

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Anybody else want to be a Derby Girl? Not roller derby – I mean, I want to do that too (#bucketlist), but I’m talkin’ the rip roarin’, high fallutin’ fun of the Kentucky Derby.

Well I found my fascinator. Only two hundred and seventy-nine dollars. Whew. Good thing I didn’t see the price tag until after I tried it on and made Kirsten take a picture.

All this particular fun was had at BeadBoard UpCountry, which actually specializes in fine Italian linens. *drool*

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Seriously, y’all, this is so much fun. I am NOT a shopper by any means, but I feel like I’m taking all of you shopping with me! And the best part, I didn’t even buy any of this stuff – it’s just fun to talk about!

Next stop was Hermann Furniture – this big, beautiful furniture and antique store. WITH a bridal registry.

All these stores had bridal registries. I had no idea there were so many brides in the land of  Blue Bell.

My favorite was this candle. Holy MOLY, it smelled good.  You can also find them here. My FAVORITE was the Pinot Noir, with scents of fig, cranberry, leather, and earth. They claim it’s their best seller. It smelled FANTASTIC and good quality – I think it’d have no problem clearing my 950 sq. foot house of the fish smell I cooked last week.

Any my favorite part? Uses recycled wine bottles!! WHEEEEEEEEE. #ilovetheearth.

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I’ve been all about cross-bodys lately. It allows for hands-free shopping. Always the safest bet.

This little cutie is a Brighton, called the Piper. AGH! #cutenessoverload. Adding it to my Pinterest Christmas list now!

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And lookie here!!! This magnificent bowl is just like my OXO bowl which I heart dearly, but it’s got this neat AIRTIGHT lid, that is inset, so you could stack more dishes on top!!! It’d be perfect for when I make cookie dough, and put it in the fridge in between batches!! AGHHH!!!!!

Ok, seriously, I need not another kitchen accessory.

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And finally, my favorite store, The Cottage on Square.
I ended up buying these awesome scented wax melts called Scent Chips. They work in my Scentsy warmer, but what I love, is that she had bins of all the different scents, just cubes of the wax, and you fill up a box of your favorite scents. So you can make custom combos!!

I totally realize you can do this with Scentsy too, but you know how there is something about creating your own scent in the store and having it in your personalized little box, that you made all by yourself. #imabigkidnow

I made myself: Clove, Vanilla, Rustic Cabin, Amber mix. Bought myself “Woodstock” and bought mama “Alpine”. LOVE THIS STUFF! Smells really strong too.

And then…. the piece de resistance…. Keep It Gypsy. These are some funky, loud, gypsy-fied bags PERFECT FOR THIS GOOD OL’ TEXAS GIRL!!!!! They are all one of a kind, handmade in Arkansas, and sooooooo *CUTE*!

Santa is going to die when I ask for one…. the combination of leopard print, foo-foo fringe, lace, leather, and flowers is perfect for me-I swear I’m going’ to DIE y’all, I just KNOW IT!!! But they are SO FUN. I’m keepin’ my eye on the wristlet, and possibly the shoulder bag for Christmas.

Don’t you know I’d be the only girl with THAT duffle at the airport! *winks*

I hope y’all enjoyed my virtual trip to Brenham with Kirsten and Jeanne…. hope y’all had a good weekend too…. I gotta get cookin’ on that quiche!

~Peace, Love, and Junkin’ Y’all!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Salted Caramel Pie

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It’s time for caramel y’all. My foodie besties and I are celebrating spring and Cinco De Mayo with a CARAMEL WEEK! I’m not sure why, but the timing was great, because I’ve had some major caramel hankerin’s lately.

It came to me in a dream one night, and thus I adapted this pie from my Nutella Pie.

Not really from a dream – well, maybe a daydream.

You know, it’s like I literally have visions of sugarplum fairies (and unicorns) dancing around in my head all day.

I once told my mom inside my head looks like a box of Trix exploded. #nojoke

How many hash tags have you used lately?

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Mama brought me this BOMB DOT COM (that’s right) caramel sauce recently. BY ALL MEANS, if you’re totally an over-achiever, make your own caramel sauce.

But … I’ve had two caramel fails, and feeling a little guilty about wasting so much butter, I decided I’d use this delectable treat.

Fran’s is based out of Seattle, and mom read all about it and ordered us some chocolates and various treats to try. Couldn’t pick a favorite if I had to. Next time I visit Country Cleaver, we’re making a pit stop at Fran’s.

Another good choice is the Salted Caramel from Trader Joe’s, but there are no TJ in Austin.

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This icebox pie is perfect for caramel since it can get so sickly sweet – this way the fluffed up whipped cream brings a nice air to it.

Add more whip cream, and it’s like a mousse.

Layer it with chocolate cookies, brownies, or cake, and you’ve got trifle.

It’s versatility at it’s best people.

Plus, no turning on the oven.

Holla’!

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I made a little extra so I’d have individuals to share with friends, and a whole pie for me!

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Be sure to check out everyone else’s DELICIOUS CARAMEL CREATIONS for our #themeweek.

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~Peace, Love, and Salty Caramel Y’all

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Salted Caramel Pie

adapted from my Nutella Pie

Ingredients:

2 cups crushed chocolate wafer cookies
4 tablespoons butter, melted
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
11 oz. caramel sauce
1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup mini pretzels, for garnish

Directions:

Place chocolate cookie wafers in a sealed bag. Crush with a rolling pin until cookies become fine crumbs. Pour in melted butter, and mix around until thoroughly coated. Press the mixture into a 9 inch pie plate, or individual ramekins, saving a few pinches of crumbs for the garnish.

In a bowl, mix the cream cheese and 3/4 cup powdered sugar using electric beaters, about one minute. Add 11 oz. caramel sauce and beat until fluffy, about three minutes. Don't stop once it's just combined - three minutes adds air, making it nice and fluffy. In a separate bowl, beat whipping cream, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar until stiff peaks have formed - this takes about 3-4 minutes. Starting with 1/3 of the whipped cream mixture, fold the whipped cream into the caramel mixture. Once it's combined, add the remaining whipped cream to the caramel mixture, folding gently until thoroughly mixed. Pour the mixture into a 9 inch cookie crust. Top with mini pretzels and crushed cookie crumbs, or simply a drizzle of hot fudge. Freeze 4 hours or until firm. When ready to serve, let the pie sit out 20 minutes to soften.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Strawberry Jell-O Pie

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Spring is here! Wait, more like summer is here!

Truthfully, in Central Texas you never know.

One day it’s 80, then we’re back to 55 and break out the skinny jeans and tall boots.

Well my strawberry pie transitions nicely for our crazy weather patterns. The first couple times I tried this pie, I was not a fan.

I’m one of those weird sweet tooth people that usually prefers things chocolate. I would eat this pie and dream of adding some gentle chocolate curls on top. Or perhaps it needed a light chocolate layer on the bottom, under the fruit.

Once my mind cleared of its chocoholic haze, I was clear to see the beauty of this pie. Fresh and fruity, with a light fluffy topping.

Very similar to strawberry shortcake, but all neatly packed in pie form, all in one bowl. No syrupy strawberries to get soggy, no biscuits to dry out and get hard, just a perfect piece of pie. Now, don’t y’all get me wrong, I won’t turn down strawberry shortcake made on biscuits with fresh whipped cream any day, but I love me some pie too.

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Anything is better in pie form. You can’t beat a recipe that’s versatile too! Got leftover blueberries in the fridge that you forgot to add to the pancake batter? Throw ’em in! Blackberries leftover from your smoothie? Yup. Raspberries that are on the verge of overripe? Yummy. Mix up your berries in this pie. Use sugar free Jell-O or sugar free Cool Whip if you’re diabetic. And heck, if you need some chocolate, yes, sprinkle some chocolate chips on top. Sure makes me happy.
~Peace, Love, and Pie y’all.

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Strawberry Jell-O Pie

Adapted from Southern Plate

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sugar
1 cup Water
3 tablespoons strawberry Jell-O
1 pint strawberries, sliced thick
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 9 inch pie crust, baked and room temperature
1 container Cool Whip, thawed

Directions:

In a medium pan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and Jell-O mix. Add the water and cook over medium, stirring constantly until the glaze becomes thick and clear. Remove from heat, add the lemon juice, and transfer to a wide bowl and let cool completely. Slice the strawberries into thirds or quarters and fold gently into the cooled glaze mixture. Pour the mixture into the pie crust, and top with Cool Whip. Chill for about an hour before serving.