Saturday, July 28, 2012

Rainy Saturday

Coloring with my adorable niece...... She turned 2 last weekend and changes so much every time I see her.



Thursday, May 17, 2012

Adventures in Baking : Mini Blueberry Pies

So, now that I'm a wife (officially for 27 days now, woo!) I have decided that it's time to get serious and hone my baking, cooking, homemaking, and all around wifey skills. Don't worry modern ladies, I'm not saying it's my "duty". What I am saying is that without wedding planning taking up all of my time outside of work, I have time to enjoy and try new things. Yay! Plus, these types of skills are actually pretty good to have ready in your back pocket.
The cute little heart shaped pocket pie mold below is available at Williams Sonoma and was a wedding gift from my good friend Samantha. I love it! It's so easy to use and adorable.  See below for the How-to...

To start, I found this recipe for the perfect blueberry pie filling. I take no credit for coming up with the recipe.. Only credit for doing it correctly! As for the pie crusts, I bought 3 boxes of Pillsbury roll-out refrigerated pie dough, and followed the dough handling instructions on the back of the Williams Sonoma box (although the Williams Sonoma recipe called for dough made from scratch... Um yeah not today, thanks).
What you will need:

  • pints blueberries (4 cups) - makes enough for about 15 mini pies
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • tablespoons cornstarch
  • tablespoons water
  • teaspoon lemon rind, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 pie crusts (3 boxes of Pillsbury roll-out refrigerated pie dough)
  • 1 Pocket Pie Mold
  • egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp. water (for egg wash)
  • tablespoons sugar, for tops of pies

  • Directions for pie filling:

  • -  Combine 1 cup berries with 3/4 cup sugar in pan.
  • -  Simmer on low heat until sugar is melted and mixture turns to liquid (about 10 minutes).
  • -  Combine cornstarch and water in bowl, then add to pan with blueberries.
  • -  Cooke over medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil and is clear and thick.
  • -  Pour hot mixture into large bowl and let cool until warm.
  • -  Fold in remaining 3 cups of blueberries, lemon rind, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter.
  • -  Let cool completely before adding to pie crusts.

  • Directions for pie crusts:

  • -  On a floured surface, roll out 1 raw pie crust.  Brush off excess flour. (repeat these two steps for each pie 
  •    crust).
  • -  There are two outer sides to the Pocket Pie Mold that act as a cookie cutter to make the heart shapes.  Cut 
  •    out 15 "solid" sides and 15 "vented" sides.  Try to cut the shapes close together so that eventually you will 
  •    end up with enough pieces to make 15 whole pies.
  • -  Open the Pocket Pie Mold and place a solid dough shape into the bottom half of the mold.
  • -  Gently press dough into the mold.
  • -  Fill the center with 1 to 2 Tbs. pie filling and brush the edges of dough with egg wash.
  • -  Top off with one of the "vented" dough shapes and press the top half of the mold down to seal and crimp the 
  •    edges of the pie.
  • -  Remove the pie from the mold and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • -  Repeat with the remaining dough shapes and freeze pies for 30 minutes.

  • To bake:

  • -  Preheat oven to 400F.
  • -  Brush the pies with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
  • -  Bake until crust is golden brown and the filling is gently bubbling (15 to 20 minutes).
  • -  Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

  • Ta da!  Enjoy!

  • Saturday, March 24, 2012

    Light Box-ness

    A while ago I finally made a light box/tent (whatever you want to call it) using this tutorial and have been meaning to post about it.  I've been meaning to make one for a while, but never did even though I had all of the supplies.

    Turns out, it was pretty easy.  Eventually I'd like to invest in some better lighting, but the daylight bulbs and clamp lamps did the job for now!  So, here it is, in all of its cardboard glory....

    I went a little crazy testing out backgrounds (8.5x11 sheets of paper) and photographing different objects.  There had to be about 1,000 pictures when I was done.  Here are just a few below...

    Some antique Italian chandelier crystals that I have sitting around, waiting to be used for something...

    The charm bracelet I will be wearing on my wedding day that my mom gave me for my 18th birthday.  I add charms to it whenever I get to travel.

    My favorites so far are the hot pink and bright blue backgrounds.  It's amazing what you can do with a cardboard box and some lightbulbs!  Oh, and a little bit of help from Photoshop (only a little, I promise).