Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mixed Berry Missed Husband Crumble Pity Pie.

Turns out, I'm a sap. I thought I was rational and tough and totally capable of managing a measly week without Jordan. It's just not the case. I may be able to blame pregnancy hormones, but it would be a bit of an unfair card to play.
I'm not even alone. I've arranged for babysitters each day and night that he's gone. (In case I go into labor or something) I've been at his parents so far and tomorrow I get handed off to Heika. I hope that will help me snap out of my pity party if this pie doesn't work.
So, tonight I did things to keep my mind off of missing the little punk. For example, I ate some tomatoes and basil and mozzarella cheese (Yes, I'm still on that kick. I think Lilliana is going to be born smelling like basil). I also watched some juice head gorilla's get gully, had a mini crush sesh on the Guy Gaga during the VMAs and played Words With Friends on my phone with a random, my big brother, and then... Jordan. Which put my mind back on it and forced me to make this pie.

I fuzed a few different recipes together, and ended up with something like this.

1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1 bag frozen mixed berries (just over 3 cups) *
1 alligator pity tear
a healing sprinkle of cinnamon
1 pre-made pastry crust

3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup softened butter

What to do:
1. Place your pie crust in a sprayed pie pan and make the edges pretty (do as I say, not as I do)
2. Take a couple tablespoons of softened butter and shmear it around on the crust, creating a fatty shield to keep the berries from sogging it all up. Store it in the fridge.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the egg, corn starch, sugar, berries, tear, and cinnamon leave that out to thaw a little
4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Then cut in the butter until it's crumbly
5. Pour the berry mixture into the pie shell and top with the crumble. Cover the edges of the pie with tin foil and bake at 375 for 45 min. Remove foil and finish baking for 10-20 more minutes or when the crust and crumble is golden brown.
6. Let it set for a while before you either cool it or serve it. Don't just jab your fork in there like an uncivilized oaf and burn your mouth on it. Who would do that? It kinda hurts and then your In laws are going to see it in the morning and realize what an impatient fatty-fatty-no-friends you really are. Embarrassing.

Mine just finished. I feel a little bit better. Aside from the burned tongue (another reminder to do as I say, not as I do). I'm thinking of using this to get him home early.
Me- "Hey babe, I made this pie."
Hubby- "No way! I can't believe I am missing this. Forget Cali, I'm coming home now!"

What do you think? I may have a shot. If not, stay tuned for more baked feelings. They'll be here all week. ;)

-Darla Jean

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cilantro-Lime Hummus

Ever since I bought a food processor, I have wanted, well needed to make some kind of hummus. I stumbled upon this recipe in an App on my iPad (sorry Darla, I'll share it with you). It looked so creamy and delicious, I just had to try it. The cilantro-lime combo also makes a very refreshing summer dish!


2 15 oz. cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Juice and zest of 1 lime
2 cups fresh cilantro
1 tbsp tahini
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup water


In food processor, add all ingredients except for the water.

Pulse for a few minutes, and periodically scrape sides of mixture.

Slowly add 1/2 cup water to mixture.

Pulse until mixture is smooth.

If mixture is too chunky, add a little more water or olive oil to reach the desired consistency.

I made some naan (recipe I will post later) to go with, or you can just enjoy with some chips.

Either way, enjoy!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Homemade Almond Butter


Let me just say that this recipe is easy...delicious...and necessary for all those who are obsessed with almond butter, like me. I mean, why would you go to the store and buy a jar of organic almond butter for like 15 bucks when you could just buy almonds in bulk and make your own.

Think about it. It is a win-win-win situation. How? You save yourself from eating the Skippy's and the Jiff...which is gross. You save money, and who doesn't love that. And if you have self control (unlike me), you can just make small batches, so you never have to worry about binge eating or it going bad.

What you need:
Almonds (both raw and roasted)
Food processor (or blender)

Add 1 cup raw almonds and about 1/3 cup roasted almonds to food processor.
Turn on food processor to chop nuts.
After a few minutes, it should look like this:

Keep the food processor going and periodically scrape the the sides.

When the almonds start forming a ball (the part where the almond oil is being released) keep hanging on because you are in the home stretch. This happens anywhere between 10-15 mins after starting.

Finally, you will see it becoming creaming and looking so delicious.
Now, turn it off and grab your spatula. The almond butter is warm and gooey, making it really easy to put in a jar. Everything should easily fit into a 1/2 pint jar.

Enjoy on a sandwich with bananas, honey, and cinnamon. Or with some apple slices. Or by the spoonful.

Love, Heika

Friday, July 29, 2011

How to Make Your Own Yogurt

Jani Hershberger, Tiffy's sister, inspired me to try to make my own yogurt. It took me 3 tries to get it right. It tested my pride, my patience, and my womanhood. But, I persevered. This morning, I ate my homemade greek yogurt, with homemade toasted almond granola and I was made new.

I want this for you. I want this character building process. This challenge. This trial. But mostly, this success. It may not be yogurt for you. It may be cinnamon rolls, it may be sewing, or it could be almond milk. (keep on truckin' Heika!) Whatever it is, work for it. You'll be glad you did.

This is the best system I compiled and developed from different sources. Mainly

You'll need some gear*:
a double boiler
a thermometer
a heating pad
a towel
a wooden cutting board
a strainer

You'll need some ingredients**:
1 half gallon of milk
2-3 tablespoons of plain yogurt to "pitch"

* If you don't have a double boiler, you can make a water jacket using two different sized stock pots. Fill the bigger pot about halfway with water, and then add the second pot. When the milk is in the second pot, the water from the first should be hugging it. It should sit just about even, not too much water so it floats, but don't skimp on it or the milk won't heat evenly.
You could just use a regular pot, just make sure you're watching it and stirring it, and don't let it burn.
*If you don't have a heating pad, be creative. You just need to keep the milk at 110 for 7 hours. maybe an oven with a light on. Maybe a crock pot. Whatever works for you.
*Cheese cloth. At Jewel it's in the baking stuff. At Wal Mart it's in the craft aisle or the home projects section. It's confusing, but you need it.

**I just used skim milk. One guy said he likes milk with more fat. Mine turned out SUPER thick and creamy with skim
**I may or may not have broken the rules and pitched my yogurt using Dannon Greek Vanilla. It's what I had around. it turned out fine though

Ok. Are you ready?!
First, fill the bottom of your double boiler with water and get it bubbling. Then add your top pot and your half gallon of milk. Stick your thermometer in and heat to 185 degrees. Then hold it there for 30 min. This will make your yogurt thicker and creamier than just stopping it at 185.

Next, Fill your sink about 1/4 way with ice cold water. When your milk has held 185 for 30 min, move your top pot to the sink and let it take an ice bath. Bring it's temp back down to 110 stirring occasionally.

Once your milk is at 110, "Pitch" your 2-3 Tbsp of yogurt and stir well to incorporate.

Now it's time to set the mood for yogurt making. I set a wooden cutting board down, then a heating pad, then an end of a towel. After the yogurt reaches 110, move it to your 7 hour time out spot. Cover it up and keep an eye on the time.
My heating pad shuts off every 30 minutes for safety, so I just keep and eye on it. I turn it off and on to make sure it stays right around 110.

7 hours later, you should have a yellow/greenish liquid on top and your yogurt should be firming up.

(if you just want regular yogurt, you would stir vigorously, then chill overnight)

Dump as much of the liquid out as you can. Then whisk it all together and chill it for a few hours.

When it's cooled, take a strainer, a bowl, and 4 layers of cheesecloth and strain the yogurt overnight. You can save 2-3 Tbsp of it for the next time you make yogurt. It will save in the freezer for 2-3 months.

Next, all you have to do is put the yogurt left in the cheese cloth in a jar or container. You can keep it for 2 weeks (if it even lasts that long!)


Friday, July 1, 2011

Casey's Yummy French Toast Casserole

It's been too long. I'm sorry. I just had a lot going on. I didn't stop baking! I just stopped telling you about it.

Here are some important and unimportant things that I can share.

I'm pregnant. I am 32 weeks and 5 days pregnant to be exact. My body has changed a lot in the last 32 weeks and 5 days. And here are some notes on that.

I now know that you can't just sneeze whenever you feel like it. You have to get ready. Cross your legs, cross your fingers, close your eyes and say a prayer. Or else, you will probably pee... enough to have to re asses your wardrobe.

I can't zip my pants. I can't complain. At least I can still wear some of my pre-preg pants. But, sometimes people want to rub your blooming belly and they can totally feel the top of your pants wide open.

I'm never bored. I always have a little friend with me. When I feel bored, I just wake her up and try to figure out where her body parts are. I can't tell if she likes it or it bothers her, so I just assume she likes it like I do. She's just already cute.

Earrings make you feel pretty. Wear them camping. Wear them with sweats. Where them when your body is huge or when you need to get your eyebrows threaded.

You can wear pretty shoes, but you can't buckle them.

Those are just a few. There are more things, but that's not why I'm writing.

I'm writing to tell you about Casey's Yummy French Toast Casserole.

It belongs to Casey.

I've borrowed it from Casey multiple times. It's great for when you're hosting a group of people overnight; or if you have hungry boys. One time, she measured and combined all of the ingredients for me and all I had to do was put them together for Melissa's wedding morning breakfast. It's that great. She's that great.

Preparation time: 15 min

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Servings: 6 (maybe more) (maybe less if you have hungry boys)


I cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter or margarine (=1stick)

2 tablespoons Light Corn Syrup

12 slices of bread (torn up in pieces) (texas toast, or french bread that is about to be too hard)

1 3/4 cups of (2%) milk

7 eggs

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon of salt


in a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup. bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened. Pour into the bottom of a 13x9x2 baking pan.

Arrange bread (torn) on top.

Beat milk, eggs, vanilla, and salt in medium bowl. pour over bread, cover and refrigerate over night.


Preheat oven to 350

remove cover from pan, and bake for 50 minutes, or until set and golden brown. Serve immediately.

Serve with some fresh fruit on the side or on top. Serve with a dash of cinnamon (it never hurt anyone) Serve it with a fork and eat it right out of the pan.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Coconut Chai Cutie Cakes

I walked into Heika's bedroom and saw a tin. It was a Tea Tin. It was called Coconut Chai. I smelled it and thought, "I wish I could eat this." Then Heika walked in and I shared my idea. "Heika, smell this. What if we baked this?"

What happens next? This recipe. True friends come together and create things. That is exactly what we did.
Well, first we ate indian food and bought pants and shoes.

Anyway, the concept and science of the recipe is based off of a carrot cake recipe.

Coconut Chai Cutie Cakes.
1 lb sweetened coconut shavings
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups coconut oil (or veggie oil)
3/4 cups applesauce
1/3 cup coconut milk mixed well (you can use buttermilk if you don't have it)
1 1/2 coconut extract (vanilla is fine, I guess)
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice

8 oz. Cream Cheese
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1/2 cup toasted coconut shavings

1/2 cup toasted coconut shavings for garnishing

** if you're shopping, buy two bags of sweetened coconut shavings.
add one bag to the mix. Preheat your oven to 350 and spread the rest of the coconut shavings on a baking sheet and toast for 10 min. Keep an eye on it and mix it around once or twice so it toasts evenly.

Preheat oven to 325
Combine first 7 ingredients and mix well. It's not going to be very runny, it's going to be kind of chunky and pasty. Don't worry.
In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients.
add dry ingredients to wet and mix just until moistened.

heavily coat a mini cupcake pan with cooking oil. Drop mixture into tins and just about fill each one. Bake for 14 min or until a toothpick comes out clean.

while they're baking, whip together cream cheese, powdered sugar, cinnamon and coconut extract until smooth. Fold in a fistful of toasted coconut shavings.

After the Cutie Cakes have cooled, frost each one and garnish with toasted shavings to be fancy.

Please don't be intimidated by the seemingly complicated and long process. It's so worth it and not as hard as it seems. Just grab a friend and bake some memories!

I brought these Cutie Cake creations to my friend Melissa Walsh's (soon to be Karner!) bachelorette party this past Saturday. Well, I had to make another batch because I left the first batch at the lake house on accident. Either way, I was proud of them and excited to share them with my friends :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Texas Caviar

This recipe is one commonly requested by Jordan, my Dad, and Dante.
It's mostly assembly and it's not a strict recipe, but it always turns out great.

4 different color peppers (red, green, yellow,orange), diced
1 vidalia onion (white or red work just fine too), diced
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can garbanzo beans
1 can black eyed peas. (any four to five cans of any beans are fine), rinsed and drained.
1 can shoepeg corn

1 cup sugar
1 cup white or apple cider vinegar

To make: assemble all ingredients in a giant bowl. Then, in a small sauce pan, bring vinegar and sugar to a boil until dissolved. Pour the sauce over the other stuff and let it chill in the fridge until it's cold and saturated (about 1 1/2 hours minimum). Serve cold with tortilla chips or on a bed of lettuce and enjoy!

I know what you're thinking, "Darla, this is like 5 gallons of texas caviar". Will you just trust me? I made this one night and it was all gone by lunch the next day. My dad eats it in a bowl with a spoon. He calls it bean salad. It's good for you. It's delicious. Just give in. Worse case scenario, you have to share with a neighbor and they love it and you become friends forever.

what do you have to lose?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Maple Syrup Married Bread

I'm a married woman. I have resolved to post more recipes after the wedding, so here I go.

What do you bake when you're married? Well, my husband wants bread. That has been his only request so far. Oh, and Leftover Chicken-Chicken Salad sandwiches, but I'll make that tomorrow.
So I made bread.
Well, I'm making bread right now. I'm listening to my awful bread-maker as I type this. That sound and my wedding reception playlist. I am a sap.

This recipe is hardly new. It's just bread. Made with Maple Syrup that Heika gave us from vermont. She also gave us blackberry jam that we're going to put on our maple toast tomorrow.
Mmm. I would love Vermont so much more if it didn't hold her hostage for far too long.

Anyway, here's some bread. Toast it. Sandwich it. Pinch pieces off of it and nibble them (and don't count the calories). Do whatever you'd like. All I ask is that you remember me as you make and enjoy this recipe.

Maple Syrup Married Bread.

1 ½ cups Milk/Water

1 1/3 Tbs Vegetable Oil

2 Tbs Maple Syrup. (don't be shy)

1 tsp salt

4 cups flour (I did 1 cup whole wheat to ease my binge guilt)

2 tsp yeast

You know the drill. Pile it all in there in order and press start. Then go read parenting books while your husband plays call of duty.

Darla Jean Innis.