Blueberry Pie With Braided Crust

December 14, 2014

Blueberry pie with braided crust

I also call this recipe Blueberry pie with a LOL crust.  My oldest son, Ryan, devours blueberry pies.  If I were to make a blueberry pie - just for him - every day of the week, he would never get tired of it.   I love how easy it is to throw a pie together and have it ready in no time, although I'm still perfecting my crust technique, as shown in the photo above (it's ok, I laughed at it too).

I've described this before when I wrote about peach pie...and apple pie... and even turkey pot pies.  You don't even need to measure things.  Just add sugar and flour to the desired fruit, dot with butter, and add it to the waiting pie crust.  Bake until it tells you it's done.  It tells you when you can smell it...and by bubbling out of the vent holes...and when the crust is golden brown.  It's easy peasy.  Click below to read more.

Sweet Potato Cookies

December 11, 2014

Sweet potato cookies made from leftover sweet potato casserole
Thanksgiving is over, but the memory of beautiful, cinnamony sweet-potato casserole topped half and half with southern praline and oven toasted marshmallows is still fresh in my mind.  It’s aroma wafting through the corners of our house if only as a ghost of Thanksgiving past.   I thought for sure that whatever we didn’t eat on the big turkey day, we’d eat as leftovers.  Sadly, that never happened.  I used up all the turkey in our (Leftover) Turkey Pot Pie, and I just couldn't get the kids to eat the leftovers without the turkey.

With a family of six, I’m always looking for ways to save money.  Beyond saving money, I hate to waste money, and when you get right down to it…food is money.  So I came up with a plan.  I would give the casserole a leftover makeover.   With just a handful of ingredients that I already had on hand, I turned the leftovers into fabulous cookies.  And best of all?  The kids never knew the difference.  

Click below to read more.

American Twist on Julia Child's Potato Leek Soup

December 9, 2014

Potato Leek Soup with an American twist

Potato Leek Soup has been around in some form or another for hundreds of years, but it was made  famous by Julia Child, an American woman who wrote the book on Mastering The Art of French Cooking.  She had several different televised cooking shows in the 1970s and 1980s.  Her version, a deliciously creamy soup dubbed Potage Parmentier, typically served either hot or cold, is famous the world over.

My Americanized version features the heartier flavors of smoked bacon and rich sour cream in addition to the fresh herbs and vegetable base made famous in her soup but is equally delicious served hot or cold.  I also included fresh lime juice to brighten the flavor.  It pairs perfectly with the velvety broth.  So, what's your favorite soup on rainy nights?  Please respond in the comments!  Click below for the recipe.

Pumpkin Pie with Vanilla in Jim Beam Black Bourbon

December 7, 2014

Pumpkin Pie with Vanilla in Jim Beam Black Bourbon

When I was a child, I remember laughing with my family whenever the subject of my grandmother's pumpkin pies came up.  You see, she would add a bit of whiskey to her pumpkin filling, and was convinced that it made the taste smoother and evened out any bitterness that the canned pumpkin might have.  What made us laugh was imagining this tiny, sweet white-haired woman drinking shots of whiskey as she baked.   Of course, that never least I'm pretty sure it didn't.  

As I grew up I continued the tradition of adding whiskey to my own pies, and found that I preferred this recipe to other versions of pumpkin pie by far.  This Thanksgiving, I took that concept and added a little twist to it. 

Homemade vanilla extract using vodka, spiced rum, and bourbon
Earlier this year, I made up three batches of homemade vanilla extract using Medagascar Vanilla Beans.  Each batch was extracted in a different kind of alcohol for about 10 weeks.  I made some with Vodka, some with Spiced Rum, and some with Jim Beam Black Bourbon.  

The vanilla extract in Vodka is most like what you would get if you bought a bottle from a regular market, although commercial brands would be about 35% alcohol and would likely contain high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener, too.

I use my vanilla extract exactly the same way I use store bought, except the homemade version tastes so much better.

The spiced rum and bourbon vanilla extract are a little fancier and I  use them both in different ways.   For example, the bourbon vanilla has some darker flavors with strong caramel undertones, and it makes pumpkin pie stand up and sing.  It's that good.

If you don't have vanilla extracted in bourbon, try simply adding some bourbon separately.  If you like it - or even if you don't, please let me know in the comments.  I'd love to know what you think.  What else do you put in your pies to enhance the pumpkin flavor?

Pumpkin Pie with Vanilla in Jim Beam Black Bourbon Recipe


3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extracted in bourbon OR 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon bourbon
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 15oz can Libby's 100% pure pumpkin
1 12oz can evaporated milk (hold back the volume of the vanilla/bourbon you're adding)
1 unbaked 9" deep dish pie crust


1.  MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. 
2.  Beat eggs in bowl of stand mixer. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk and vanilla bourbon.
3.  POUR into pie shell.
4.  BAKE in a 425F F oven for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350F and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. 
5.  Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. 

(Leftover) Turkey and Cranberry Sandwich

December 4, 2014

Turkey and Cranberry Sandwich on Sourdough Bread
Turkey and cranberry sandwiches have not always been high on my list of favorite foods.  In fact up until about five years ago, I didn’t even like cranberry sauce at all!  But every year I’d try just a little taste of my mother’s homemade version until one day it just happened.   Finally, I realized what everyone else already knew:  cranberry sauce is the perfect accompaniment to roast turkey! 
From the moment I became enlightened, I couldn’t stop thinking of ways to pair the two, and quickly imagined how yummy a turkey sandwich would taste on fresh Sourdough bread with slivers of fresh red onions and this gorgeous Cranberry Raspberry Sauce on top.  This sandwich helps you to make the most of Thanksgiving leftovers and is arguably the easiest and perhaps most satisfying way to use up turkey leftovers after the big meal.
Paired with tart Granny Smith apples and thin sliced cheddar cheese, it makes a perfect lunch for the busy holiday season.

Recipe for Turkey and Cranberry Sandwich

Turkey and Cranberry Sandwich on Sourdough Bread


  • 2 slices sourdough bread (or bread of your choice)
  • 1 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • Red onion, cut into thin slivers
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Cranberry-Raspberry Sauce


  • Arugula
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Sliced tomatoes


1.  Spread mayonnaise on one slice of the bread and cranberry sauce on the other.

2.  Add sandwich ingredients/optional ingredients in the following order, omitting or   substituting however you prefer:  Mayonnaise, red onion, turkey and sliced bread with cranberry sauce.

3.  Serve with sliced apples and aged cheddar cheese.

(Leftover) Turkey Pot Pie

December 2, 2014

(Leftover) Turkey Pot Pie
I love this recipe because it’s a “no rules” kind of meal.  The ultimate in comfort food, it can be made with literally any kind of leftover meat and veggies you have on hand.  In this case, I’m using as many of my Thanksgiving leftovers as possible along with some very basic staples like onion, carrots, celery, and chicken broth and flour.  Even the pie crust is made from the uncooked scraps I had after making my pies this year, which earned it the nickname, Frankenstein Pie.  Don’t worry if you have to piece your pie crust together (just use water to seal any seam).  After it’s baked, it will have a charming, rustic appeal that is impossible to get from store bought foods. 
Gather up your leftovers - you'll need about a half stick of butter, 3 cups of diced meat, 1/2 cup flour, 3 large potatoes diced, one onion chopped, carrots, celery, thyme, rosemary, sage, and parsley, leftover veggies like green beans and fresh corn off the cob, a 32oz box of broth and of course, pie crust.  When using herbs, fresh is always best.  I keep them fresh for weeks at a time using this simple method.

In a large Dutch Oven,  melt the butter and sautee the onions, celery, and carrots until the onions are translucent.  Add the flour to the pot and allow to cook for a few minutes then add broth, being careful to scrape the sides and bottom of the pot to release any of the flour that may have begun to stick.  Add potatoes to the pot, cover, and allow them to boil on medium low heat until they begin to get soft, about 20 minutes.

The broth should be thickened at this point and should coat the back of a spoon well.  Add 2 teaspoons chopped parsley, 1/2 each of teaspoon minced sage, rosemary and thyme.  As a final step, add the turkey, corn, and green beans to the pot.  You're just heating the meat and veggies at this step.  Take care not to over-stir at this point because you don't want to break up the turkey or veggies.  They're fragile because they've already been cooked.

Roll out your pie crust and place into a deep casserole dish.  Piece it together if necessary, just be sure to seal the seams with water.  Fill the crust with the contents of the Dutch Oven, and top with the rest of the pie crust.  The truth about this particular crust is that it's store-bought Pillsbury pie crust.  I had a crust and a half leftover from my Thanksgiving pies, and set them aside just for this purpose.  As you can see, my Frankenstein pot pie, has a spot where the pieces of crust don't quite meet up.  No worries!  This will just serve as the vent.  If yours doesn't have this "feature," make sure you cut some vent holes into it before cooking.

Put the casserole on a cookie sheet and pop it into a 400F oven until the crust is golden brown and the contents can be seen bubbling out of the vent, about 50 minutes or so.

Leftover Turkey Pot Pie
Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs