Thursday, June 30, 2016

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I have been totally skeptical of Strawberry Rhubarb pie for as long as I can remember, because rhubarb is a bitter vegetable that looks like celery. (yes! Rhubarb is a vegetable... which makes this pie healthy, right?) All joking aside, I tried strawberry rhubarb pie this January at a friends house and I fell in love. I couldn't wait to get my hands on some rhubarb from my grandmother's garden and make a pie. Let me first warn you that the expression "easy as pie" now makes no sense to me, because making this pie is anything but easy! The process to making this pie is LONG, but the end result is 100% worth it!!

I combined 3 recipes to make this pie... the crust is the 'fool-proof' pie dough from "The Best of America's Test Kitchen" cookbook. The filling is from Joy the Baker and the crumble on top is the crumble from "The Fannie Farmer Cookbook." I will break down how I used each part for you:

Starting with "The Best of America's Test Kitchen" I used the Fool-proof pie dough for a single-crust pie on page 282. Mix together 1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a medium bowl.
Once the dry ingredients are combined, mix in 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter (this should be chilled and cut into 1/4 inch slices), I pressed my butter in with a fork. Add in 1/4 cup of chilled vegetable shortening cut into 2 pieces, 2 tablespoons of cold vodka and 2 tablespoons of cold water. At this point your dough will not look like pie crust at all and will resemble the consistency of cake batter. Do not fear! Use a lot of flour (A LOT!) when you're rolling out your crust and everything will be fine!
Roll the dough into a circular shape until it will fit the pie dish, roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer it into the pie dish by unrolling the rolling pin over the dish and releasing the dough. Press the dough into the pie plate and cut off the pieces that hang off the edges. Using a fork, poke holes in the bottom of the pie dish and flour generously.
Flute along the edges of the pie crust pie pinching your thumb and pointer finger into the dough gently. Then, set your dough aside and make the filling.
For the filling, I used Joy the Baker's recipe. Start by cutting up 3 cups of rhubarb into very thin slices and putting them in a medium sized mixing bowl (note: I used the same mixing bowl from my pie crust!). Next prepare 3 cups of strawberries by hulling them and slicing them in half (I used frozen strawberries, so they were pre-cut for me).
Mix the strawberry and rhubarb together and stir in 1/3 cup of packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of cornstarch.
Pour the strawberry rhubarb mixture into the prepared pie plate, and use a spoon to make sure the filling is evenly distributed and well packed.
The crumble is from "The Fannie Farmer Cookbook" from the apple crisp recipe on page 717. Using the same medium bowl from before, mix together 3/4 cup of all purpose flour, 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 cup of butter softened and cut into small pieces. Once this all mixed together, crumble it generously on top of the strawberry rhubarb mixture.
Bake the pie at 400°F for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for another 35-40 minutes.

for the crust
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled & cut in 1/4" pieces
1/4 cup vegetable shortening chilled & cut in half
2 tablespoons vodka
2 tablespoons cold water

for the filling 
3 cups rhubarb, sliced
3 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced (or frozen and pre-sliced)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch

for the crumble

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter


1. Mix flour, salt and sugar together in a medium bowl. Press chilled butter and chilled vegetable shortening into the dry ingredients with a fork.
2. Mix in vodka and cold water until just combined.
3. Generously flour work surface and rolling pin, roll dough into a circle large enough to fit in the pie plate.
4. Roll the dough up around the rolling pin and lay it into the pie plate gently. Use your hands to gently press the dough into the plate. Using a knife, cut off the crust that hangs off the edge of the dish.
5. Flour the bottom of the pie crust and poke holes in it using a fork.
6. Flute the edges by pushing you thumb and pointer finger gently around the rim of the pie crust.

1. In a medium bowl, mix together the rhubarb, strawberries, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cornstarch.
2. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie plate.
3. Use a spoon to evenly distribute the filling around the pie plate.

1. Mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and softened butter in a medium mixing bowl.
2. Generously crumble the mixture over the top of the strawberry rhubarb filling
3. Preheat the oven to 400°F and bake the pie for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F and continure baking for 35-40 minutes.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Chocolate Cake Recipe

This is my favorite chocolate recipe of all time! I found this years and years ago and it is always a favorite! This cake is my go-to, I really make for every event and I always get rave reviews!
Start my mixing together 2 cups of al purpose flour, 2 cups of sugar, 3/4 cup of cocoa, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of salt.
Once the dry ingredients are well combined, add in 1 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 1 cup of boiling water. When the wet ingredients are well stirred in, grease a cupcake tin or line it with cupcake wrappers. Fill each cupcake 3/4 of the way full with batter. These cupcakes expand A LOT, so I have even filled the tins as little as 1/2 way full and still had decent sized cupcakes. These bake well as cupcakes and they make around 24, I have also baked this recipe as a cake and it fills two 9" cake pans - it bakes just as well as a cake!
Bake the cupcakes/cake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes. When they are done baking, test them with a toothpick to make sure the toothpick comes out clean. I have iced these with several different types of frosting, and I will share some recipes in the near future!


2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

1. Preheat oven to 350°F, prepare two 9" cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring or prepare cupcake tins by greasing or by lining with cupcake liners.
2. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a medium sized mixing bowl and stir until well combined.
3. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla and boiling water, mixing in between each added ingredient. Once all ingredients are added beat with electric mixer or whisk for 1 minute to add air to the batter.
4. Distribute batter evenly between 2 prepared cake pans or between 24 prepared cupcake tins.
5. Bake for 30-35 minute until a tester comes out clean


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Salt Dough Starfish

I found this idea on The Desperate Craft Wives and I was so excited to give it a try! Start by mixing together 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 cup of salt and 1/2 cup of water in a medium sized bowl. (This is not the salt dough recipe used on The Desperate Craft Wives but I chose to stick with a salt dough recipe I have used previously)
Once the salt dough is combined form circles about the size of your palm and 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. (I didn't flour my surface at first and ended up struggling to pull of the first few starfish)
Once your palm sized circle is formed, press a toothpick into the dough to form the shape of a starfish.
I used a bench knife to cut out the starfish, but you could easily use a regular knife. Once the starfish is cut out, smooth out the edges and round the five points using your fingers.
Transfer the starfish onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and use a toothpick to make 5 lines starting at the center and extending to the end of each point. Then use a toothpick to make little holes along the sides of the starfish. I chose to make some of my starfish into a garland, so I used a straw to make holes on one point of each fish.

I let the starfish air dry overnight, then baked them at 200°F for 3 hours. But you could bake them for a longer period of time, instead of allowing them to air dry overnight.
Once the starfish were cooled I coated them with Modge Podge and strung them on twine. They turned out beautiful and perfect for summer. If you choose not to make yours into a garland, they also make great little decorations for around the house!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Mantle Tour

I mentioned in a previous post that a beach theme had sort of taken over our house. It started with the egg carton sea turtles in the kitchen and slowly traveled to our fireplace mantle. Our fireplace mantle very rarely changes, so this beach theme is exciting!!
This is the left side of the mantle. Once I decided on a beach theme, I hunted around my house for beachy items. I found this jar full of shells in one of our bathrooms and coiled some string lights around the sides. The jar is a little treasure from a garage sale and it's filled with shells/coral/sand dollars from various beach trips. The string lights are from IKEA and I have just hidden the switch to turn them on or off behind a picture frame. The 2 big shells are from a table centerpiece we use during the summer. The pink shell is from a little shop in Florida and the starfish is handmade.
This is the right side of the mantle. The sign is from Florida and the little far is from HomeSense. I've filled the little jar with sand from the beach in Anna Maria Island, Florida and some little starfish, shells and sand dollars from a little beach-side shop.
I mentioned the handmade starfish above, come back tomorrow to see how I made the little banner of starfish!


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Teacher Gift Idea

Hello end of school year! Tomorrow is officially the last day of school around our house so teacher gifts are being put together! This little beach bag is an idea I saw on Pinterest and it was easy to put together but still so cute!
 I started with bags like this, which I found at HomeSense (Canadian equivalent to HomeGoods). They were big and perfect for carrying to the beach.
Next, I spotted these beach towels at Old Navy and there were only two left! I was so glad to get the last two because they were a perfect addition to the bag and the price was right!

My next stop was Chapters (this also only exists in Canada, the American equivalent would be Barnes & Nobles). At Chapters, I found a magazine for each teacher based on their interests and the little drink cup pictured above, which has a pineapple on it and says "Savour the Day."
Finally I stopped in at the grocery store to pick up some sunscreen and this iced tea mix.
I arranged all of the above items in the beach bag and tied this label on with twine. I made this label in a word document and printed it on regular white cardstock. I was impressed with how fun the end result is!

See you tomorrow,

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Bag Full of Sunshine

Yesterday, was the first official day of summer!! This is a perfect gift for a birthday during the summer. I gathered yellow items from a little all over the place... so I'll do a little wrap up for you.
I have spoken about my love for dry shampoo before, it's fantastic but I wouldn't have ever thought to give it as a gift. That is, until I was desperately searching for all things yellow and this Coconut & Exotic Tropical Batiste Dry Shampoo came into view. I got this from Winners, which is a Canadian company, but it is similar to a TJ Maxx or Marshall's in the US.
My next stop was Bath & BodyWorks because I knew I would find something yellow there and I hit the jackpot! I found this "I Love the Beach" hand Sanitizer, which I was so excited about and I had to use serious restrain to avoid getting one for myself because it smells exactly like the beach (and I love the beach)!! I also found this Love & Sunshine body wash which made me do a little happy dance because it was perfect for this bag and it smells AMAZING!
My next stop was LUSH cosmetics! I spotted this yellow bath bomb from outside and I knew it had to go in the sunshine bag! I have never personally used any of the LUSH products, but I have heard great things about them and this was a great add to the bag.

My last stop was the grocery store, and this was where I scored big time. I picked up some Juicy Fruit Gum, some Golden Oreos, and Peanut M&M's. I love this little bag of sunshine so much because it includes some practical things (dry shampoo/hand sanitizer) but it also includes some fun things (bath bomb/oreos).
I gathered all of the items into a yellow gift bag and made a label that says "A Little Bag of Sunshine" and it looked so cute all put together! Some other things that were on my radar while I was shopping include: yellow nail polish (I scared away from this because I didn't know how useful it would be), a yellow chocolate bar (Coffee Crisp/Oh Henry/Butterfinger/Toblerone/Mr. Goodbar), yellow hair ties, a yellow drink (lemonade)...

I would love any other yellow suggestions to add to the bag, because I foresee a few of these being given out this summer!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

[the best] Blueberry Pancakes

These blueberry pancakes are THE BEST I have ever tasted and I love them even more because they are so easy to make.
Mix together 1 1/3 cup of all purpose flour, 3 teaspoons of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/3 cup of sugar, 1 egg, 1 cup of milk, 3 tablespoons of melted butter and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla in a large bowl. I think you are supposed to mix dry and wet ingredients separately, but I dislike having to do more dishes than necessary, so I just mix all of my ingredients in one bowl.
Set batter aside and rinse 1 cup of frozen blueberries in warm water for about 1 minute. Don't mix the blueberries in with the batter, because they will turn the whole mixture purple. Instead set them in a bowl near the stove. You could also use fresh blueberries, if you prefer.

Use a quarter cup of batter for each pancake. I use a measuring cup to measure out the batter and I am able to fit three in a large skillet. Once the pancakes are poured into the skillet, drop some rinse blueberries into each pancake before they become too cooked. I don't have a specific measurement of blueberries that I use for each pancake, I typically do it by eye.

Let the pancakes cook on medium-low heat for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, then set aside and repeat this process until there is not more remaining batter.


1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
~1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries

1. Mix ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl.
2. If you are using frozen blueberries, rinse them in warm water for about 1 minute before adding them to the pancakes.
3. Put 1/4 cup of batter into greased skillet and drop some blueberries into the uncooked batter. Cook pancake to 3 to 5 minutes (until bubbles begin to form) then flip and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes.

Come back tomorrow for a fun gift idea!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Key Lime Bundt Cake

This recipe is originally from Life in the Lofthouse. I have been on a bit of a bundt cake kick lately and my family especially loves the citrus ones I've made, so I was excited to find this key lime one!
Start adding 3/4 cup of softened butter to a medium sized bowl. I usually soften my butter by putting it in a warm glass dish or by microwaving it for 5 seconds at a time.
Mix in 1 3/4 cups of granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons of lime zest. Note: 1 Lime will produce about 2 tablespoons of lime zest.
Beat in 3 eggs, one at a time and stir in 1/4 cup of key lime juice. The original recipe calls for fresh key lime juice, but I used bottled key lime juice and didn't have any problems. Finally, stir in 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk.
Stir in 3 cups of all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk.. Then pour the cake batter into a greased 12 cup bundt cake pan. Bake the cake at 350°F for 50 to 60 minutes, until a knife comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool for 10 to 20 before removing it from the pan and transferring it to a cooling rack. Allow the cake to cool completely before pouring the glaze over it.
For the glaze, mix together 2 1/2 cups of icing sugar, 3 tablespoons of key lime juice, and 1 tablespoon of milk. Drizzle this mixture over the cooled bundt cake. I halved the glaze recipe, because I had a feeling it would make a lot and I ended up having enough with half, but if you like more glaze then go for the whole recipe!

for the cake:
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons Key Lime Zest (or regular lime zest)
3 eggs
1/4 cup of key lime juice
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 buttermilk

for the glaze:
2 1/2 cups icing sugar
3 tablespoons key lime juice
1 tablespoon milk

1. Cream together butter, granulated sugar and key lime zest.
2. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in in Key Lime Juice, flour, baking soda and buttermilk.
3. Pour batter into greased 12 cup bundt cake pan and bake at 350°F for 50 to 60 minutes.
4. Let the cake cool for 10- 20 minutes before removing from pan. While the cake is cooling, mix together the icing sugar, key lime juice and milk in a small bowl. When the cake is completely cool, drizzle the glaze over it.