Recipe: Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie logo.jpg

It’s the time of the year that my daughters and I love the most – blueberry picking season! We traditionally go on many blueberry picking excursions during this season.  Most of the time, we eat the berries just as they are, but we also enjoy baking them into delicious recipes.  Blueberry pie is a yearly tradition in our home – we make it once each year using freshly picked berries.  We have tried several recipes throughout the years, but this one from Allrecipes.com is our favorite so far.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 pastry for a 9-inch double crust pie
  • 1 Tablespoon butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°
  2. Mix sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon. Sprinkle over blueberries.
  3. Line pie dish with one pie crust. Pour berry mixture into the crust.  Dot with butter. IMG_7014.JPG
  4. Top with remaining pie crust.  Crimp and flute edges.
  5. Bake pie on lower shelf of oven for about 50 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.  Be sure to place a pan or foil underneath it to catch any drippings.

Next time we make this, we are going to attempt to make individual pies rather than one big one.  I will update this post if we are successful.  Happy pie-eating! 🙂

 

 

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Homemade Soup: Tomato with Pasta and Chicken

March 15, 2015 011 homemade soup

Homemade soup was my favorite food when I was growing up.  I used to love it whenever my mom made this.  I don’t make it often, but my family loves it whenever I do.  I’m so happy I’m able to share some of my favorite family recipes with my kids (and you).  I don’t know if this is originally a French-Canadian recipe or not, but my entire extended family makes this…and everyone makes it a little bit different.  Here is the recipe I use (and my mother uses as well.)

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breast halves (with skin & bones) OR 2 cups chopped cooked chicken and 3 ½ cups chicken broth.
  • 1 onion, cut into quarters
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 can Pastene ground peeled tomatoes (28 oz)
  • 2 cups pasta, uncooked (various types.)  I usually fill a 2-cup measuring cup with alphabets, ziti, shells, etc.  Use your favorites.

Directions:

  1. Place chicken breasts in a large pot and add just enough water to cover. Add onion, salt & pepper. Boil about 30-40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
  2. Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente. Strain
  3. Once chicken is cooked, remove it from the broth. Set chicken aside to cool.
  4. Strain 3 ½ cups of the water that you just boiled the chicken in to remove any pieces of skin, bones, etc. Pour the 3 ½ cups of the strained water (broth) into a soup pot.
  5. Add the can of Pastene tomatoes to the broth.
  6. Add pasta to the broth.
  7. Remove chicken from the bone. Chop or tear into bite-sized pieces. Add about 2 cups of the chicken to the broth.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Enjoy! 🙂

New Year’s Eve Traditions

Happy New Year’s Eve!  I want to begin by thanking you for your support since I began this blog less than 4 short months ago.  I have enjoyed the comments and feedback, so keep them coming. 🙂  If you have any feedback on what you would like to see more of on this blog in 2015, please leave a comment and let me know.

Today is a day for reflection and acknowledging all the good things that happened over the past year and all that you have accomplished.

In my family, we have a few fun New Year’s Eve traditions that we all look forward to.  One tradition my family enjoys is getting all decked out in party hats and New Year’s masks and taking a family picture together.  Here is our picture from 2011:

New Year's Eve 2011

Another tradition we have is playing card games and board games together to try to keep each other awake until midnight, and then of course watching the ball drop on television once midnight strikes.  But, my favorite tradition of all is this one:  Each year, I interview each family member on video, and I ask the following questions:

  1. What is your name?
  2. How old are you?
  3. What grade are you in?
  4. Who is your teacher?
  5. Do you like school?
  6. What is your favorite color?
  7. What is your favorite food?
  8. What is your favorite number?
  9. What is your favorite thing to do?
  10. What activities were you in this year?
  11. Which one is your favorite?
  12. What was your highlight of the past year?
  13. What would you like to learn or do next year?

On New Year’s Eve, we also watch all the videos from previous years, and it is fun to see how everyone changes and grows.

What are your favorite New Year’s Eve traditions?

I wish you a 2015 filled with love, health, and happiness.

Peace, love, and blessings! 🙂

Stacy 🙂

Holiday Craft: Fuse Bead Ornaments

One of my favorite things about this time of year is it is filled with so many wonderful traditions.  I love traditions, and we are continuously making new ones in our family.  One of my favorite days of the year is the day after Thanksgiving — Black Friday.  And the reason has nothing to do with shopping.  This year, my family spent the entire day together in our pajamas with nowhere we had to go and nothing we had to do – something that doesn’t happen often enough.

When we woke up on Friday morning, the snow was gently falling outside.  We made homemade french toast from the remains of the bread we freshly baked on Thanksgiving.  We listened to Holiday music, gradually took out our Christmas decorations and ornaments, reminiscing of past Christmases with each ornament we took out, and enjoyed the slow pace of our day and time spent together.  When we finally got the tree and decorations up, we made some ornaments for the tree and then we watched some of our favorite Christmas movies. For me, A perfect day! 🙂

My girls decided to take out their fuse beads and try to make ornaments out of them.  Here is what we came up with:

December 1, 2014 003 crop2

These were very simple, but fun crafts.  My girls had so much fun making these!  To make the heart ornament shown in the tree, you will need:

Supplies:

  • Cookie cutters – any size or shape will do
  • Fuse beads
  • Parchment paper
  • Popsicle stick

Directions:

  1. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet. (Do not use waxed paper.  I tried this, and the beads would not release from it after cooking.
  2. Put cookie cutter on parchment paper.  Fill cookie cutter with fuse beads in a single layer.December 2, 2014 030 crop
  3. Once you have filled your cookie cutter with beads, gently remove cookie cutter, being careful not to move any of the beads.December 2, 2014 031 crop
  4. Carefully and slowly place cookie sheet in oven.  Be careful not to disrupt the pattern.
  5. Put in oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.December 2, 2014 027 crop
  6. Remove from oven.  With a popsicle stick, gently push the beads around the edge of your mold back into shape (if necessary.)
  7. Let cool.  Remove from parchment paper.
  8. Tie riboon, string, yarn, etc. of your choice.
  9. Proudly hang in your tree! 🙂December 2, 2014 034 crop

Alternatively, you may choose to leave the cookie cutter on the cookie sheet when you place it in the oven (if you do this, make sure it is an oven-safe metal cookie cutter.)  However, when I tried this, I had a really difficult time removing the beads from the cookie cutter after it cooled.

Happy crafting!! 🙂

Recipe: Homemade Pizza

homemade pizza

Friday night is usually pizza night in our house.  For several years, we used to order out every week.  Since my daughters each enjoy different types of pizza, eventually it got to the point where we couldn’t agree where we would order from.  For the past year or so, we have been making our own and that seems to have solved the problem.

Everyone is happy because the whole family loves homemade pizza.  The girls especially enjoy rolling out their own dough to the size and thickness they prefer.  We love experimenting with different sauces, and the girls love customizing their personal pizzas with their favorite toppings.

We make this just about every week, and I love that  is very simple to make, it costs a fraction of the price of ordering out, I don’t have to worry about what we’re going to have for dinner on Friday’s, and everyone is happy (a rare occurrence at dinnertime in our house)!  Once you have the ingredients on hand, it really is very simple to make and takes very little time of actual preparation.  It has become a part of my regular Friday routine to take 10 minutes to put the dough ingredients into the bread maker and start it just before the girls get home from school.  Around 4:30, it is ready to roll out and each family member is able to customize their creation and bake it.  By 5:00, we are all eating our hot, cheesy pizza creations loaded with our favorite toppings.

This is one of our favorite family traditions!  When the girls are grown, I hope they have fond memories of Friday night pizza nights. 🙂  Here is our recipe:October 7, 2014 009 crop

Homemade Pizza

  • Pizza dough (see our favorite recipe below)
  • Pizza sauce
  • Freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Toppings you like (pepperoni, meatball, onions, peppers, pineapple, etc.)

Dough Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water (between 95°F and 115°F…use a thermometer to test)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 3 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 – 2 Tablespoons yeast (or 2 packets)

Instructions

  1. Add dough ingredients in order listed above to bread machine. Plug in bread machine, select dough setting, and press start.
  2. When bread machine beeps (mine takes 1 ½ hours), take the dough out and put on a floured surface. Form dough into a ball. Cut off 1/3 of the dough.  I divide the 1/3 dough into 3 equal pieces and give it to my 3 girls to make their own individual pizza creations.
  3. Take the 2/3 dough and roll into a ball.  Flatten into a greased 12” round pizza pan, pushing down and spreading it so the dough is distributed evenly throughout the pan. Take a fork and put puncture holes all over the dough to prevent bubbles.
  4. Add about 1 cup pizza sauce and spread evenly over center of pizza, stopping about 1″ from the outer crust of the pizza.October 17, 2014 042
  5. Sprinkle about 1-1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese evenly over sauce, covering entire pizza.
  6. Add any additional toppings you desire.
  7. Cook in 400° oven on the 3rd rack for approximately 12 minutes.

Here are a few of the different creations my daughters came up with.  One of my daughters likes to fold the dough and make it into a calzone; my youngest likes to make it into a big fat roll with just a dab of sauce and lots of cheese on top; and my 10-year-old just likes to roll it flat and make a regular pizza out of it.  The best part of all is that they are all happy! 🙂  We love Friday night pizza night!

August 23, 2014 005  January 25, 2014 018

Our Thanksgiving Tradition: Counting our Blessings Turkey Decoration

I love Thanksgiving and all that it represents.  It is a day filled with love, family, food, GRATITUDE, and traditions.  It is a time to give thanks for all the blessings in our lives.

This beloved turkey has become a favorite Thanksgiving tradition in our house.  He returns each year around this time to remind us of how blessed we truly are.  This weekend my kids asked if we could take it out, and they were all really excited to help put it up.

Counting our Blessings Turkey

Each year we ask our Thanksgiving guests to fill out a feather and write what they are thankful for.  When we take it out each November, it fills our hearts with love and wonderful memories of past Thanksgivings and reminds us of how blessed our lives have been and all we have to be thankful for today.  Occasionally we are reminded of people or things that are no longer in our lives, but that just reminds us that nothing really belongs to us and we need to take nothing for granted.  Everything in our lives right now is a gift and blessing from God.  We need to focus on the present and try to recognize and appreciate all the gifts in our lives today and every day.

Although this is a fun way to involve my family in practicing gratitude at Thanksgiving, I think it’s important to try to live every day of our lives in a state of thanksgiving.  I believe that the attitude of gratitude always brings happiness.  When we learn to be content with what we have and learn to view every person, every thing, and every situation in life as a gift, we can’t help but be happy.

May you recognize and appreciate the gift of every person, every thing, and every experience you encounter today!  Peace and blessings!  🙂

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances;” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV


To make the Turkey Decoration:

Supplies Needed:

  • Thin Cardboard, not corrugated (12″ wide x 12″ tall)
  • Construction paper or card stock (brown, red, yellow, and any additional colors you choose for the feathers)
  • Scissors
  • Turkey Feather Template
  • Turkey Parts Template
  • Google Eyes (optional)
  • Markers or crayons (optional)
  • Tape or Glue
  • Putty (for mounting to the wall)

Instructions:

  1. Using the 12″x12″ piece of cardboard, trim off the corners and shape into an approximate circle.
  2. Print out Turkey Parts Template.
  3. Color legs and snood red or trace onto red card stock and cut out.
  4. Color neck brown or trace onto brown card stock and cut out.
  5. Color beak yellow or trace onto yellow card stock and cut out.
  6. Using tape or glue, attach the neck to the body.
  7. Attach the legs to the body.
  8. Glue beak and snood onto the neck.
  9. Glue on googly eyes or cut out circles for eyes using cardstock or construction paper.
  10. Attach completed turkey to the wall using putty (this makes it easy to come off without damaging it, so you can reuse it year after year).
  11. Print out Turkey Feather Template.  Trace onto card stock or construction paper using your color of choice.
  12. Begin writing what you are thankful for, and add feathers to the wall as you complete them.
  13. After thanksgiving, store safely with your other decorations.  Take it out each year and let it fill your hearts with love and wonderful memories of past Thanksgivings.