It’s been a couple year’s since I’ve made pie (and this pie specifically), but it literally does not get any better than this.  Homemade crust with a layer of warm gooey chocolate topped with a coconut pecan caramelizing mixture.  I made this for Thanksgiving, but it’s also a good one for Christmas!  I can’t take the credit for this one (thx Rachael Ray), but if you make it, let me know what you think!

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German Chocolate Pecan Pie
From Rachael Ray

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick chilled unsalted butter cut into small pieces, plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (separated)
1/4 cup ice water
2 large eggs
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 1/2 cups (about 10 ounces) pecan halves, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup sweetened flake coconut
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a food processor, pulse the flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the chilled butter pieces and pulse until coarse crumbs form, about 5 seconds. Drizzle in the ice water and pulse just until the dough comes together. Wrap in plastic wrap; flatten to form a disk. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.
  2. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch round; transfer to a pie pan. Cut the excess dough to leave a 1/2-inch overhang. Using your fingers, roll the dough edge under and crimp. Prick the bottom of the pie shell with a fork; refrigerate for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees .
  3. Line the shell with foil and pie weights or dried beans; bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and beans, reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for another 12 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the eggs. In a heavy, medium saucepan, whisk together the remaining 5 tablespoons butter and 1/2 teaspoon salt with the brown sugar and corn syrup over medium heat until melted and smooth. Whisk the sugar mixture into the beaten eggs. Stir in the nuts and coconut.
  5. Spread the chocolate chips in the pie shell. Pour in the filling and bake until set, about 25 minutes. Let the pie cool completely before slicing.

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On Saturday, after our 12.5 mile run, Elisa and I linked back up for an afternoon of baking. She — a pumpkin pie for her friends giving, and me — a recipe utilizing her overabundance of persimmons. We found this recipe for Ginger Persimmon bread. Although her persimmons were Fuyu and not Hachiya, and not the type recommended for baking, this recipe still turned out great. We decided to make these as muffins for portability and sharing reasons.

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Persimmon Spice Muffins
Adapted from Joy The Baker
INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
2 large Fuyu persimmons
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup water

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.
  2. Line a muffin tin and set aside.
  3. Peel persimmons and puree in a food processor. Reserve 1/2 cup of this persimmon puree.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together flour and salt.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together persimmon puree and baking soda. This will thicken the
  6. In a medium bowl whisk together sugar, oil, eggs, spices, and water.
  7. Once well incorporated, whisk in the persimmon mixture.
  8. Pour the wet ingredients, all at once, into the dry ingredients. Fold to incorporate.
  9. Once no flour remains, evenly distribute into the muffin tins and place in the oven.
    Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the muffins comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes.
  10. Serve with butter or almond butter :-)

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Hola!  Happy Cinco de Mayo!  I’ll keep today’s post short because lately I feel like I’ve been on blog overload.

Last month I was making a ton of tacos.  Because they’re so easy, and pretty much anything works!  These are all vegetarian and vegan but I loved the challenge and creativity “all veggie tacos” posed.

photo 3-4 Quinoa, pinto beans, romaine and avocado

photo 3-3Butternut squash, roasted corn (from Trader Joe’s/Whole Foods frozen section), spinach and avocado

photo 2-6Melodious Mix (lentils & garanzo beans – from Trader Joe’s frozen section), romaine and eggplant hummus

photo 1-7Roasted eggplant and zucchini (from Trader Joe’s frozen section), roasted chickpeas, romaine and avocado

photo 1-6Roasted cauliflower and avocado

photo 2-7And the “man’s meat” taco I end up making for my bf when all of my veggie combinations scare him:
ground beef, mixed bell peppers (from Trader Joe’s frozen section), romaine and avocado

Tell me!  What are you eating tonight?

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So the holiday season has come and gone, but as long as it’s still cold, I’m still going to be enjoying the holiday flavors.  And lets just face it, I’ve become a complete wino this break; from Christmas Eve, Christmas, my brother’s continuous 21st birthday celebrations, wine tasting in Napa, purchasing and drinking wine from Napa, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day…the wine, the bread, the cheese, is never-ending.  So lets just keep it going with this sparkling mulled wine concoction.

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Sparkling Holiday Spice Sangria
Mulled Wine recipe adapted from Ina Garten

INGREDIENTS:
4 cups apple cider
1 (750-ml) bottle red wine, such as Shiraz
1/4 cup honey
2 cinnamon sticks
1 orange, zested and juiced
8 whole cloves
1 orange, for garnish
1 bottle sparkling wine or Bon Affair Syrah wine spritzer
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine the cider, wine, honey, cinnamon sticks, zest, juice, and cloves in a large saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and chill for an hour.
  4. Once the mulled wine has cooled, fill a wine glass half way.  Top with champagne or Bon Affair Syrah.  Garnish with an orange slice.

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** Don’t forget today’s the last day to enter the Bon Affair Giveaway! **

Welcome to the day my voice is finally exposed on the blog!  Today I am sharing my first vlog, a recipe, and a giveaway.

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This is a lightened white sangria spritzer, using Bon Affair’s Sauvignon Blanc.  This wine spritzer is made with purified water, electrolytes, grape seed extract, zero added sugar, 6.5% ABV and 1/2 the calories of regular wine….basically, it’s like the “best sparkling water ever” because it’s got wine!  Enter the giveaway for your chance to try it out for yourself and maybe make some of the White Sangria Spritzer featured below!

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White Sangria Spritzer
Adapted from Marshall’s Abroad
INGREDIENTS:
1 750 mL bottle Bon Affair Sauvignon Blanc Wine Spritzer, chilled
1 bottle Sauvignon Blanc, chilled
1 bottle Sparkling Apple-Cranberry Cider, chilled
1 navel orange, sliced
1 honey crisp apple, chopped
4 oz. fresh pomegranate arils
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix everything together in a large pitcher or serving bowl.
  2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until ready to serve.  Enjoy!

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Giveaway ends midnight Saturday, January 4. **Must be 21 or older to enter**

To enter the giveaway just follow: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post or hosting this giveaway.  Through my blog ambassadorship with Bon Affair I received bottles to sample.  As always, all opinions are my own.  

December – Thing Three: Make a holiday cocktail.
See: Three Things – December l December – Thing One l December – Thing Two

Grocery shopping and looking for last minute gifts, holiday treats and/or stocking stuffers?  I know that could be me…After stopping like 50 billion times, competing for parking spots, dealing with crazy drivers, honking my horn (which I never do!) and trying to avoid accidents, I’m to the point where I’m looking for a one stop shop.  So here’s a round-up of some great gift ideas from Whole Foods Market that anyone (<< insert *me*) would be excited to receive.

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Silly Cow Farms Hot Cocoa // Whole Foods Market $ // Crunchy Chocolate NuttZo // Califia Almond Milk Eggnog // French Macarons from the WFM Bakery Dept. // Zumbo Kiss Peppermint Lip Balm // Mighty Leaf Tea Top Brew Mug

Now here’s your chance to win one of them (the Whole Foods Market Ca$h MOnEy!).  Giveaway ends midnight Saturday, December 21.

To enter the giveaway just follow: a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for hosting this giveaway. The amazing people at Whole Foods Market Del Mar were kind enough to provide the gift card for me to giveaway.  

Last night we had our running club holiday party, complete with a White Elephant gift exchange.  I didn’t know what direction I wanted to go with my gift (gag or serious).  So I decided to go with alcohol and a little touch of homemade. image-3

I gifted a bottle of vodka, bloody mary mix, rimming salt, and fun holiday straws.  Here’s how to make your own DIY Bloody Mary Kit:

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Homemade Bloody Mary Mix
From Almost Makes Perfect
INGREDIENTS:
6 cups tomato juice
6 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoon prepared horseradish
2 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoon tabasco sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a blender combine the tomato juice, lemon juice, lime juice, horseradish, worcestershire sauce, garlic, and hot sauce and process until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a nonreactive container and add salt and black pepper, to taste.
  3. Refrigerate overnight.

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Homemade Bloody Mary Salt
From Julip Made
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup coarse kosher salt
1/2 Tbsp. ground Chipotle pepper
1/2 Tbsp. celery seeds

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix all ingredients together and store in an air-tight container.

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Materials

  • For the Bloody Mary Mix: 32 oz mason jar
  • Bloody Mary Salt: 8 oz mason jar
  • For the labels: kraft paper, red stamp pad and chrome letter stamps (you could also use regular letter stamps, but I just used what I had on hand).
  • For the accessories: raffia and paper straws from Michael’s and Target

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Last night I attended “A Holiday Tasting for Our Favorite Bloggers” at Whole Foods Market Del Mar.  It was a preview of what Whole Foods Market will have available during the holiday season for simple already-made side dishes, last minute pickups and holiday catering.

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I have no objections to eating Thanksgiving food more than one time a year 😉 Especially when I don’t have to cook it.

Holiday dishes included:

  • Turkey with a mushroom gravy
  • Farro with pomegranate seeds, celery and all-spice vinaigrette
  • Stuffed acorn squash
  • Delicata squash filled with yams, celery root and apple
  • Brussel sprouts and pancetta
  • Cheese plate with cranberry cheddar cheese and triple-cream brie with cranberry chutney

Seriously, if you would rather not slave away in your kitchen all day, definitely consider these options (or similar) from your local Whole Foods Market.  It will make your life a whole hell of a lot easier, and I promise it will taste – <–that far from homemade.

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I also met Jayla, the creative genius behind Bon Affair.  If you know me, you know I don’t drink a lot.  I hate the feeling of being unproductive the day after drinking, so I just never do.  And, well that was the thought process behind Bon Affair.  It’s a very light wine spritzer, with no added sugar, and half the calories of regular wine.  It’s basically wine infused with purified carbonated water, with added electrolytes and grape seed extract.  It has 6.5% ABV and a refreshing crisp taste.  I can already see a holiday sangria recipe in the near future!

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Stay tuned for some more Whole Foods Market Del Mar holiday fun coming soon!

 
 
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