March: Blustery, Green, Wet: Recipe

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One of my favorite comfort foods, and perfect for the cold, unpredictable days of March is Sherpherd’s Pie. I have always called it Shepherd’s Pie as has my mother-in-law who is actually from Ireland, but alas over the years I have been informed (many times) that what I make is not Shepherd’s Pie. The last time, in fact, was when I was in Northern Ireland and our cousin, Christine, made this for us one night for tea. Shepherd’s Pie is made from mutton, or sheep. What I make, and what she made for us is better known as Cottage Pie, which is basically the same thing except substituting beef in the place of mutton.

I used to make this with ground beef, but after seeing my mother-in-law in the kitchen, I began to use leftover roast beef, which is traditionally how it is made.

It is a great leftover dish, both made from leftovers and to eat as a leftover, but I’ve yet to have it last more than a meal and a half.

The ingredients I use are:

Leftover roast beef, cut into small chunks or diced. Uniformity is not necessary.

Leftover gravy, 2 TB Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup HP sauce (found in the international aisle of your supermarket) or you can use ketchup.

Leftover sliced carrots, peas, anything really. If you have no leftover vegetables, use half a bag of frozen peas and carrots.

Mashed potatoes.

Cover with cheddar cheese and sprinkle with bread crumbs, although the bread crumbs are optional.

Bake for 45 minutes at 350.

Scoop and eat. It goes well with dinner rolls, Yorkshire pudding, salad.

It is delicious and filling.

50-46 – Sweet Potato Pie

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I met a woman at my first job after college who was from New Orleans. She brought a level of multiculturalism to the curriculum that reflected our clients – the children of the US military. We were in their child development program and I learned more there than I had ever expected.

She held a multicultural night for the staff and we each brought in something from our cultures to share. Food is the best way to come together.

I brought latkes. I have a vague memory of a table filled with fabric covers representing cultures and foods placed carefully on top. What I remember most of all, though was Sylvia’s sweet potato pie. It was the perfect consistency with beautifully browned marshmallows on top and it was amazing. I can practically taste it now.

From that moment on, I made that sweet potato pie for my family’s Thanksgiving feast. The only problem was my mother refused to believe that it was a dessert, and she served it warm and as a side dish. I could never convince her otherwise.

That was twernty-four years ago and it has remained a family tradition. I make it, not only for Thanksgiving but also for Christmas and Rosh Hashanah, sometimes even Passover. It is a family favorite. The last couple of times, I haven’t wanted all the bother of making a pie, so I’ve used the recipe, or my version of it without the graham cracker crust and called it a sweet potato casserole. It tastes just as good.

Warm or cold, side dish or dessert, I could eat this every day.

Here’s my variation of the recipe that I’ve used the last decade or so, and will be making it to bring to my sister-in-law’s on Thursday. This is our first year without my mother-in-law and as tough as that is going to be, I want my kids to have something that they’re used to having at her house.

Cook one large can of sweet potatoes or cut yams. Bring it to a boil and then drain. Mash it smooth and add one stick of unsalted butter. Mix thoroughly.

Mix in about 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Add more if you like it sweeter.

Add cinnamon and nutmeg, about a teaspoon each, although I don’t really measure. I add it directly by grating over a microplane.

Pour into a pie crust or a casserole dish and cover completely with mini-marshmallows. If I use a crust, I use the Keebler graham cracker crust that serves two extra people.

Put in a 350 degree oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes. Take out when the marshmallows are melty and golden-browned.

If it’s a pie, let cool a little and cut with a cake/pie slicer. If casserole, scoop out with a large spoon.

Personally , I like it right side up, with the marshmallows on top. My family doesn’t usually care, and it drives me crazy.

Appley Dappley Foodie

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Pinterest has many great ideas for crafts and food. Most of them are simple, and when you see them you wonder why you hadn’t thought of them first.

That was definitely my response to these two great apple season recipes. I’m sharing the pictures from the Pinterest website, but the recipes I’m posting are my own variations.

Mini Caramel Apples

Pick your favorite kind of apple – my favorites are jonagold and snapdragon – and peel a few. Using a melon baller, scoop out the apple balls and put on a tray covered in parchment paper.

Put a lollipop stick into each ball.

Melt caramel.

Dip the mini apples into the caramel and put back onto the parchment paper.

Let cool. Refrigerate if necessary.

Enjoy!

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Mini Caramel Apples, photo 1 from Pinterest

Mini Apple Pies

Mix your apples the way you would normally prepare them for a regular sized apple pie.

Use a one cup measuring cup to cut out circles from pie crust. I use Pillsbury pie crusts, but you can use whatever you like or make your own.

Press each circle into each section of a muffin tin.

Add the apple mixture with a small pat of butter.

Cover with another circle of crust or cut strips and do a lattice-work on top or use a mini cookie cutter and place a shape in the center of the pie.

Serve on its own or with ice cream or whipped cream, whichever your favorite is.

Oh so yummy!

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Mini Apple Pies, photo 2 from Pinterest

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Mini Caramel Apples, photo 3 from Pinterest

Buttermilk Pecan Pie for National Pie Day

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Happy National Pie Day (I thought that was March 14th.) I can’t remember the first time I had pecan pie. My parents didn’t eat it so it must have been from a friend or my mother in law.

I think my favorite would be apple pie, but even more so Dutch Apple pie. Yum.

Splendid Recipes and More

Pecan Pie

Pecan pie is an American dessert that is native to the southern states  (USA). The history of the pecan pie is not very clear, though pecan pie took off in popularity in the early 20th century. The pie has its place as a dessert at most American dinner tables.

Pecan pie has a sweet, nutty flavor and a custard texture that no other pie can claim. Pecan pie is one of the most frequently eaten pies in the country, next to Apple pie.

The pecan tree is indigenous to North America and grows throughout much of the southern United States. With such wide spread growth of the pecan trees , the early French settlers in the then known Louisiana territory had invented the pecan pie.

Today the southern states harvest over 250 million pounds of pecans each year, with Texas and Georgia pecan groves claiming the majority of…

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Fandom Photos

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These are not in any kind of order, but I will caption them so they can illustrate some of my fandom activity and this is just the tip of the fandom iceberg that so many of us participate in.

As you can see, these are some of the more elaborate activities that we’ve participated in over the last few years. Posting these have brought a smile to my face in that nostalgic way that reminds me of the fun, and is excited for the next adventure in fandom!

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This is my phone lock screen in honor of season 10.

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Our Doctor Who premiere dinner. Scottish food for the Scottish Doctor (and actor Peter Capaldi). Series 8, Fall, 2014

 

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My drawing symbolizing all of the Reboot Doctors (Nine, Ten, Eleven and Twelve)

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Fangirls Night Out at the local comic store

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GISHWHES participation, 2014. Item # 147

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My desktop wallpaper on my computer. Supernatural, season 9. Men of Letters Bat Cave

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Cake on fire

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Zombie Crawl, Denver, 2011 (or when fannish people get together). The baby is not ours. Mom wanted our picture.

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British (Welsh) tea “service” brought to me in bed

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Bison pie while watching Sweeney Todd

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Create a shrine to a CW actor. John Barrowman of Arrow. GISHWHES, 2013. Item # 73

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Sock Monkey. Synonymous with Misha Collins and GISHWHES

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Buying Jiffy Pop because the preview of the episode shows a character eating it.

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Owning (receiving as gifts) ridiculous amounts of stuff. This is a sonic screwdriver from Doctor Who. This belonged to Nine and Ten. I carry it everywhere. It’s a flashlight, and during blackouts we have this and our Green Lantern power battery to help out.

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Participating in an actor’s personal charity. This one does Random acts of kindness and promotes kindness and creativity.

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Supernatural, season 8 finale party. All-American food on a Devil’s Trap tablecloth with Classic Rock music of course!

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Traveling to Williamsburg, VA (twice) for the season 8 finale and the season 9 premiere parties of Supernatural.

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My costume for the LARP (live-action role play) prior to the season 9 premiere party of Supernatural.

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LARP – some of us in costume.

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After the LARP watching the premiere

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Formal dinner set up for the Men of Letters, 1958 – Supernatural LARP

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Party Favor for the LARP. Salt, angel feather, key to the MOL headquarters and leather engraved symbol in a diner salt shaker. Really perfect. My friend, J. made these. They were beautiful.