Monday, April 22, 2013

Strawberry Jell-O Pie

strwb pie

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.

strwb pie1

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.

strwb pie

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Strawberry Jell-O Pie

Adapted from Southern Plate


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


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.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A camping we will go….

photo 1


My closest friends have RVs, so they all decided to go camping at Lake Georgetown this week. Lucky me, I got to tag along. This was pretty much our view for 3 days.

Texas weather looks like yoga pants in the morning, and shorts and tank tops by 2:00.

We all got our first sunburns of the year! (YAY)

And I was the camp nerd in my big lifeguarding hat, because I’m afraid of wrinkles and age spots.

But I’ll tan my legs all I want, ha.

photo 2

Aaaaand this was our view by night.

Not much difference, huh?

Complete with s’mores.

Real s’mores.

And marshmallows in the shape of easter bunnies.

The kids LOVED that.

We also took the kids on scavenger hunts, led leaf and glue art projects, and laughed as the kids teased and chased the boys at the campsite down the way. *sigh* It was just like The Wonder Years.

I’ve become a sort of camping weenie, but RVing it is sooooo convenient. Because, you know, you can use the commode  and wash your face, and brush your teeth, all without a hose. AND escape the wind, or heat.

photo 3

Here was our breakfast out on the range!

And yours truly, The Hill Country Cook herself, didn’t do a lick of cooking! I just leaned back and took pictures.

Our camp chef made eggs and sausage on a disc.

As in, a tractor disc.

photo 4

Here it is, on it’s stand. It’s the BEST way to cook eggs for tacos while camping.

Down in Texas, breakfast tacos are what it’s all about.

My favorite is eggs, beans, bacon, and cheese, all wrapped up in a soft flour tortilla. At our local taco shack here in town they call it The Bud Light.

Can’t wait till it warms up, and I talk them all into camping again, and next time we can get IN the water!

photo 5

THEN, the last hoo-rah!

On Friday, my friend Amy, who is the girl to talk to when it comes to the local music scene and fun Austin outings, let me tag along on a SXSW outing.

SXSW, in case you’ve lived in a cave, is South By South West. Or now commonly referred to as “South By.”

As it began in 1987, it’s grown every year, and has outlets for film, music, and technology. It’s the event to attend in Austin.

All of my seven years here in Austin, and I hadn’t been yet. So I begged and pleaded to Amy to take me to something.

Well BOY did we have a great night.

We started by stopping at the UT (read: University of Texas, Austin [longhorns]) baseball game. This is her regular weekend hangout and she had to say hi to the peeps.

Well, this is a pretty awesome tailgate if I’ve ever seen one. School buses and bread trucks painted burnt orange, complete with rooftop balconies.

You (read: me) climb up this really, really steep and scary ladder, and then try not get blown off, fall off, slide off, or jump off the roof of the bread truck. All while watching a baseball game.

After I relaxed, it was PRETTY AWESOME.

photo 2

THEEEEENNN, we drove down to San Marcos to see Diamond Rio play for SXSW.

That would’ve been pretty cool by itself to see a Country Music Icon like that, but of course, Amy knew the guy who does all the booking at this venue, Texas Music Theater, so HE BROUGHT US BACKSTAGE to hang out with the band!!!!!

OH, also, Six Market Boulevard opened for Diamond Rio, and they were awesome as well. I’m downloading their songs tonight on iTunes.

Anyhow, so we chatted it up with Diamond Rio, and talked to the keyboardist Dan Truman about these cool essential oils his sister sells, DoTerra, anyone know anything about them? I kinda want to try them!

AND we each caught a guitar pick!


*sigh,* Back to reality tomorrow.

~Peace, Love, and South By Y’all.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cream Cheese Pound Cake…. and other news

I don’t even like pound cake.

But add cream cheese? I’ll chew on a rubber tire for that!

Yeah, maybe not a rubber tire, but you know, like at least old stale bread.

Cream cheese pound is the baking god’s answer to me. Still sweet, but a tender, fine crumb.

Creamy and dense, waiting to soak up some berry juice.

Or peach juice.

Or to be toasted and topped with ricotta, grilled peaches and balsamic reduction.

Y’all just go and make some, I borrowed this recipe from Ol’ Martha; I know you must have some bridal shower, baby shower, or ladies luncheon to make it for.

My word to the wise, I would suggest making it in a bundt pan; I used two loaf pans, and it’s difficult to keep the edges from burning while the middle cooks.

Then this tidbit. I BOUGHT A JUICER! From my best friend, CraigsList – you know, the online “classifieds.”

It’s a Breville, the entry level model. And I’m excited. Sooooo excited.

Juice #1, pictured above, was 2 carrots, one large honeycrisp apple, and ginger.

I also made some beet, sweet potato, apple, and then sweet potato, apple, pear.

It’s so interesting and fascinating to me, it’s like MAGIC.

And then yeah, all super healthy and stuff to.

Aaaand lastly, heard of LikeTwice? I read about them when I discovered Leslie’s blog And Her Little Dog Too.

She did a 3 day cleanse and has some really great juicing recipes, and then mentioned this site in another post.

I totally got lost in her site and was reading everything! LikeTwice is an online second-hand store based out of San Francisco, my sorta other half-stomping grounds.

You can sell clothes to them too, and they send you a bag to fill, or you can just shop!

They carry mainly higher end brands, which is music to this little BargainGirl’s ears!!!!!

Check it out, if you use that link above, I think you receive a $10 credit, if I did it correctly.

Oh, and fo’ reals, if y’all have any great juice recipes that I just HAVE to try, tell me. I’m making a list, and LOVING THIS!!!!

~Peace, Love, and Pounds of Juice Y’all…. (see what I did there?)

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Cream Cheese Pound Cake

adapted very slightly from Martha Stewart


1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 bar (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon fiori di sicilia
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
Nonstick cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar; beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. With mixer on low, add flour and salt in two additions, beating until just combined.

Generously coat two 8 1/2-by-4 1/2- by-2 1/2-inch loaf pans (1 1/2 quarts each) with cooking spray; immediately pour in batter (pan will seem full). Tap pans on work surface to eliminate any large air bubbles.

Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out almost clean, 60 to 75 minutes (if the tops begin to brown too quickly, tent with aluminum foil).

Cool 10 minutes in the pan. Turn out the cakes; cool completely, with top sides up, on a wire rack.