Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pulled Pork

I am from South East Virginia which is right on the North Carolina boarder. One of my favorite foods from this area is barbecue. Since moving to Italy I am in a severe deficit of barbecue intake. Since I have been crock pot happy lately (Check out Crockpot girls on Facebook) I thought I would try out some pulled pork crockpot style. I used a bottle of my favorite bbq sauce, apple wine vinegar and water two weeks ago with a pork loin. The hubby asked if I would try some Carolina vinegar based bbq this week. I found this great post from Savour Fare in 2009 and thought I would share.

It looks so easy!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pom Poms!!!

Have you seen this decorating craze? I tried to make them but mine never quite turn out like these. Check out Simply Nesting HERE.

Offering 10% off your order today only! Use coupon code MONDAY at checkout. If you are planning on decorating with pom poms this fall use this oppurtunity to save!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Paula's Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich on the Food Network

Paula's Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich on the Food Network

I made this the other night. It's definitely a dessert! I left out the butter after cooking and cut back on the sugar. It was plenty sweet and so good! My little one loved it too!

Side note: You can't buy peanut butter in Italian stores. They don't eat it. Crazy right?? I made peanut butter cookies for a few last year. They loved those "peanut cookies".

Monday, June 6, 2011

She's my cherry pie!

Well, as you can see by my last post cherries are in season and as my daughter displays....DELISH! My hubby thought for his birthday instead of cake I should make cherry pie. From scratch. Yes, he requested, from scratch. My heart raced a little but I was up for the challenge. My baker friend Antonetta offered me a great recipe that she had used before so I had my main man pick up 3 kilos of cherries on the way home from work from the lady that sells them out of her car at the gas station parking lot. Now in the States that sounds uber sketchy and you would never do this but here in Italy its the norm.

I started to pit and pit and pit cherries, took about an hour but I think that is because I would pit 10, eat one and so on.

I combined ingredients for the filling and because I am a mother of two wee ones I put it in the fridge over night knowing that tomorrow I could roll out the crust.

I had a bit of trouble with the crust but now I know...flour the board REALLY WELL!

Plus I started to use a trick I saw on the food network to pick it up without tearing it by rolling it onto a rolling pin and unrolling it right into my dish.

I didnt want to make a full cover crust on top and it was easier for me just to go ahead and lattice the tops. Besides, it looks more Martha that way, don't you think?

Well, I baked and they turned out AMAZING! The Mr. told me so :) There I am with my pies. Yes, I know, I look a little rugged but I promise I was up all night with the baby, not the pies! I gave what was left of the pies to my Italian friend today, apparently she has never had cherry pie before, go figure! I'll let you know the verdict from her next week.

Here is a little Warrant to jam out to while you read Antonetta's recipe if you so desire! 1990 was a great year, don't you think? :) Thank you again girl! It was great!

For a double crust pie (including a lattice top) the crust recipe is:

2 2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening (makes crust flaky)
1/2 cup butter (gives crust flavor)
7 to 8 tablespoons ice water
(some people make it with only shortening, some make it with only butter, I like both)

-Place flour and salt in mixing bowl and if using a mixer, put it on stir for 15 seconds. Cut shortening and butter into small cubed pieces and add into flour mixture. Turn mixer back on to stir speed and mix until shortening particles are size of small peas..about 30-45 seconds. If you don't have a mixer, I've seen them use a food processor and mix everything by 'pulsing' the mixture.

-If using a mixer, continue at stir speed and add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time (very important). Keep adding water until all ingredients are moistened and a dough starts to form and hold together.

-Divide dough into two halves. Roll each half into a smooth ball and flatten slightly. Wrap each one with plastic wrap and stick in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. (I usually make one ball slightly bigger to use for the bottom crust.)

*Easiest way to work with pie dough is make sure everything is cold. I refrigerate the shortening and butter then place them in the freezer right before I'm going to use them- for about 15 minutes.

Pie Filling:
-4 1/2 cups pitted cherries (a few more or less, depending on how much fruit you want in the pie)
-1 cup sugar (if cherries are pretty tart and you like it really sweet, add a 1/4 cup more sugar)
-1/4 cup quick cooking tapioca (for thickening.. I've seen/read a few times where they've substituted 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour in place of tapioca. just in case you can't get your hands on some.)
-1 tablespoon all purpose flour
-dash salt
-a dash of fresh lime juice (optional)
-1/4 tsp almond extract (if you don't have almond extract, you can substitute w/vanilla extract, but almond is the standard for cherry pie. I've even seen where you can even add a 1/4 tsp of both, if you're feeling adventurous :)

Mix all pie filling ingredients evenly and let stand in fridge for about 10-15 minutes.

-Roll out the ball of pie dough for the bottom until it's about 10 1/2 inches in diameter, or about 1/8 inch thick (this also depends on how big your pie dish is. You're smart, so I'm sure you know how big you need to roll it out for the top and bottom. :)

-Put the bottom crust in pie dish, add cherry pie mixture.

-If using a full crust on the top, place the top piece of rolled out dough on top of the cherries then on the edges, take a fork and crimp the bottom and top crusts together. Cut five slits into the top of crust for venting.

-If you wanna get fancy and do a lattice top, roll out top dough and cut into 8 1/2 inch strips, then lay strips over top of cherries to form the lattice. 4 strips going one way and 4 strips going the opposite way.

-Once the top crust is on, make an egg wash in a small bowl using one egg, 4 tbsp of water and a dash of milk. Beat the mixture together and then brush over the top of the crust. Just brush enough over entire thing so it looks thinly coated. You won't use the entire mixture..just a little bit.

-Place pie in oven at 425 degrees and bake for 15 minutes then reduce to 350 and bake for 30-40 minutes.

** once you start to see the crimped edge of the pie crust getting golden brown, if you don't have a pie ring, cover around the edge of the pie with tinfoil for the rest of the baking time so it doesn't burn.

Also, towards the end of the baking time, when you have about 5 minutes or so left, take the pie out for a second, brush a little egg wash on it and sprinkle a bit of plain white sugar all over the top. Makes it pretty!

If you'd rather have an oatmeal crumble top instead of a pie crust top, do this...

Mix together the following with your hands until it forms little crumbles then refrigerate until ready to use. Once ready to use, just spread out over top of cherries and bake like above:

1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup light brown sugar
6 tablespoons flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
8 tablespoons softened unsalted butter

This really is easy to make if you can prepare for it. Just seems like a lot of steps but trust me, it will be well worth it!

Sunday, May 29, 2011


In Italy it's common to see a truck or van on the side of the road selling whatever produce is currently in season. Right now it's CHERRIES or in Italiano "Ciliege"! I bought this for about Five Euro, or $7.00. I taught Marcella how to use the pitter and well, that was the end of the cherries!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Party Hardy

4th of July is right around the corner! Are you hosting a party? If you want to go all out, get some inspiration from HWTM! I once threw a party for my daughters 2nd birthday with a great spread like this below. There were lollipops sticking up out of m&m's and all sorts of yummy candy. It was beautiful! Problem is that kids do not just stand here as seen below...they try to devour every grain of sugar in front of them. My adult party guests spent about an hour yelling at the kids to "drop it" "thats enough" and "i'm going to count to 3" (my current way of letting my daughter know that my head is about to explode). I finally just removed it all so we could all play. So, party it up, just minimize the sweets or put out appetizers that parents wont mind their little ones shoveling in their mouths.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Flower Power

How adorable are these baby bloomers by Baby Aspen? What a great shower gift! Sure to get you oh's and ahh's. Get the Bunch O Bloomers at Amazon for $25.00!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


HI! My little one is now 3 months old!!! I am feeling like a healthy person again! My little angels also give me almost an hour in the morning of quiet ( if I put Barbie on that is). Time to blog again! I'm going to get my brain in order and pull together some ideas to share. Hope I haven't lost everyone in the process :)

Here is what keeps me so busy these days :)