To get started with this awesome pie, you will start with the caramel sauce first as it takes a long time. There are other ways to make caramel but since you’re in the kitchen anyhow preparing & baking this pie, this is a great time to try this recipe. It does not need a lot of babysitting like most caramel recipes.
To make the caramel topping, place one can of sweetened condensed milk into a double boiler. I just used a medium saucepan with a couple of inches of water in it & then put a smaller saucepan on top of it and added the sweetened condensed milk into the top saucepan. I have a double boiler but son, age 15, puts away my dishes. ‘Nuf said.
Cover and place on medium low heat. Just call me the queen of make-shift. For now you are done. Just keep a spoon handy to stir once & awhile. This will simmer for a total of about 1 1/2 hours.
Yeah, I know. Did I mention that the blade to my food processor is missing too?
For the pie, smear a little butter inside a 9 inch pie plate then line with crust. I used store-bought this time. 😀
Place these ingredients into a medium bowl:
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
Time to check on caramel & give it a stir! Yay! It’s browning nicely!
Back to the pie filling… stir ingredients.
Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the star of the show – pecans – to filling.
Pour pie filling into pie crust & bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Bake another 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
After pie is in oven, check on caramel & give it another stirsies for good measure.
After about 45 minutes, you will have your own lovely like this one. Notice the sugary filling that boiled up over the crust giving it a shiny glazed sheen. I added some more pecans after baking for that extra touch right after I took the pie out of the oven.
I finish up the caramel sauce with about 3 tablespoons of creme de cacao. Just stir it in when caramel is finished browning.
I went a little nuts over this pie. It became dinner. That’s what happens when foodie bloggers get so excited about what they’re blogging. They forget about lunch, finish their work at 5pm and eat dessert for dinner. I’m feeling pretty lucky after this pretty pie. Maybe I’ll find my double boiler and food processor blade.
Sometimes the only thing that warms the soul on a cold, stormy evening is comfort food and family. This parmesan meatloaf is just the answer. It’s easy to make and is even more flavorful the next day, making it the perfect meatloaf sandwich.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Start by crumbling 1 cup of soda crackers or oyster crackers.
After seventeen years of a broken relationship with food processors, I finally appreciate them oh so much. After finished, place cracker crumbs in a large bowl.
Add one package of your favorite dry packaged au jus mix to 3/4 cup milk. Add to bowl with crackers.
Then add 1 cup of grated parmesan, 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and 3 eggs to mixture.
Finally add 2 1/2 pounds of ground beef (or ground chicken or turkey) and then salt & pepper. Combine ingredients well.
Other things you could add to your parmesan meatloaf include chopped celery, chopped green peppers, sliced water chestnuts (which will add crunch) or some canned fried onions.
Place meatloaf makin’s in a pretty baking dish. Bake for about an hour or until center of meatloaf reaches 165 degrees.
To finish off, I used the juices of the baked meatloaf as a gravy start. Mmmm tasty!
This is a recipe that I promise you will be on your rotating dinner menu.
Always make enough for the help. Lesson learned.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find very many pictures of this tree so I will share with you what I could find.
For the topper, I just took various elements of the tree and made them into a top that captured the splendor of a full harvest. Yeah, I know. Those dark blue walls only lasted a few months – just until I got the energy to paint them again.
Papery silk roses and plastic grapes adorned this tree. I was pretty busy around this time, so there weren’t very many handmade ornaments that I can remember.
But I do remember these sweet little numbers which made their home in this tree. I decoupaged little flower pots with pieces of old hymnal pages. Sacred, I know, but I love hymns so much. Dork, I know, but I love them so much that I want them to adorn things in my home.
This way, I can remember my dad singing with the purest of hearts “Fairest Lord Jesus” only for it to turn into a competition with my childhood best friend’s dad in a pew on the other side of the church for the loudest tenor every Sunday. Is it bad to admit that a little voice inside of me always cheered, “Louder, dad, louder!”?
Anyhow, back to the crafty craft. Using a low temp glue gun, I secured a small styrofoam ball inside, covered with a wee bit of moss and then flowers with leaves & pippish (new word alert!) berries. I then made a bow with three loops on each side. I put a dab of glue where I wanted the bow to be and then pushed the knot part of the bow into the midst of the florals by using the eraser end of a pencil & held it there for a minute until the glue was dry.
This was the year that dotter got her very first cell phone. The reason she is looking emotional is because we wrapped it and then called it. She is looking for her new phone which is ringing. Happy memories. Behind the special memories, you can see wicker birds, fancy ornaments, pip berries and grape lights.
Quite possibly her best Christmas ever. Well, that one and the year she got her Macbook. We do love Apples… and grapes.
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Going through this old family cookbook is an adventure. In flipping through, I came across a recipe that I remember well but hated. Yet, I was listed as the contributor of said recipe. Wha…?? I called my mom and we shared a giggle. Grandma had sent in a bunch of recipes and gave each of them a random owner just so our names would make the cookbook. I’m pretty sure none of us girls have ever made the recipes that were assigned to our names.
In the midst of the chuckles, I came across a recipe that I had heard about but never tried… rolls made with smashed tators so I gave it a try. If it’s great, I may put my name on it for the next family cookbook.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
I did make a few adjustments along the way. This is double batch and it filled a half sheet pan. First, set 4 eggs out so they can reach room temperature. Next, clean & peel 4 medium potatoes.
Cut into equal pieces and boil in a pot of water until a fork is inserted easily and slides out of a potato quickly. Drain.
In a large bowl, place 4 packages of yeast and one cup of sugar. Heat 1 cup of milk to 100 degrees (test with cooking thermometer) and add to yeast & sugar mix. If milk is too hot it will kill your yeast and if it’s too cold it will not activate your yeast. Stir and allow to rest for a while to begin the leavening process. Mixture will get a little bit foamy.
While waiting for foaminess, mash the potatoes with a fork or potato masher. Allow to cool from hot to very warm.
Add mashed potatoes to yeast mixture & stir. Beat the eggs in separate bowl and then stir into yeast mixture. Add 4 teaspoons of salt and stir again.
Have you ever made baked goods that taste empty? That is what happens when there isn’t enough salt in the recipe. The good news is that you can usually add a little extra salt and enhance all the flavors within the recipe.
It was at this point I noticed there was no flour listed on this recipe. As you can see in the picture above, this did need flour. More giggles… thankfully my name wasn’t on this recipe.
According to my detailed and calculated view of the world, I tossed in flour until it felt right. It ended up being about 8 cups. I was able to stir it in with a fork and then use my hands for kneading in the last bit of needed flour. If using a mixer, begin using the dough hook attachment when dough begins to firm.
After the magic of flour took it’s course, the recipe called to let dough rise. I let it rise until it about doubled in size under a warm, damp towel.
While dough rises a second time, melt 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter.
In a separate bowl, mix together 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of brown sugar and 4 tablespoons of cinnamon.
After dough has doubled, smear about 1 cup of flour onto counter. Place dough on flour and use the flour to make sticky dough manageable and roll out to about 12 inches by 36 inches, adding a little more flour if needed.
Now for the fun part! Slather melted butter all over the top of the dough.
Next, sprinkle cinnamon & sugars mixture over the butter. For good measure, I like to smear it together with the butter. Oh momma.
Starting from the bottom of the 12 inch side, begin rolling dough upward. Brush off excess flour as necessary as you go. When finished rolling, cut rolls about every 1 1/2 inches.
Place cinnamon rolls spirally side up upon a baking sheet that has been sprayed with baking spray.
Since I can never leave out my own personal touch, I came up with a little number that added something special to these rolls.
Cream Cheese Topping
Mix in blender:
- 1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
Pour over cinnamon rolls before baking. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes then turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake for about another 15 minutes or until done in the middle.
The cream cheese topping is not to be skipped. It is goodness gracious good & becomes a tiny bit crispy on the top. The cinnamon & sugar mixture melts in your mouth and where it drips down to the bottom of the pan, well, it gets perfectly chewy. Perfect for our B&B guests.
Finish off with basic powdered sugar icing.
Wait. What? Who?
Dear Grandma in Heaven,
I’ll be happy to place my name on this one. With butter. And a cup of coffee, please.
I have been digging through my iPhoto archives to find the trees of Christmases past to share with you. While I do that, here is another recent tree for us to indulge in. I hope it inspires you to have some fun with your tree this year.
I chose some softer, unique colors for my French country tree. Notice how the pillows add so much? Yet they were so, so easy to make. The details are in the fabric chosen (see cherubs) and the lace & jewels which match the stockings.
These floral balls are easy to make and add great dimension to a Christmas tree. They are also fun to hang in other places to tie the rest of your decorations in with your tree theme.
To make, just purchase some styrofoam balls from your local craft store. Take a piece of wire and bend in half. Insert the wire into the balls so that you can hang them. To make sure it stays secure, use a low temp glue gun. Using the low temp glue gun again, glue flowers of the same kind all around the ball. Simple as that. If you like, you can add a matching ribbon to the wire hanger so that you can hang them from different lengths around your home. These are beautiful year round if you choose colors that compliment your home decor.
You won’t find “Where’s Waldo” in my trees but you could probably play “I spy” with all of the little oddities that I enjoy hiding amongst the typical ornaments. You never know where you will find them either. We have a few of these precious faucets that we bought for our first home. We never got around to using them so I have carried them in my craft supplies ever since. They make me happy, especially when I find creative ways to use them.
More oddities that make me happy.
Another tip… shop out of season! I bought these sweet cherubs after Valentine’s Day for 90% off. Perfect for this tree. Love.
I love to collect small things. Small things don’t take up a lot of room but can be just as lovely as clutter that would drive you and everyone else crazy. I pulled these pretties out of one of my button jars.
The velvety stockings were made by my mom and I decorated them with furs, lace, buttons and such. It was a fun project to do. Together. At 11:30pm the night before my tree had to be set up. Crazy.
See the sweet little wooden threads? I collect those too. I covered the thread on them with ribbons which matched the colors and style of the tree. Joy.
Finally, I grabbed some moss off the trees on our road and started the tree by shoving it into the fake tree to give it some umph… or life (It was messy but worth it). There is nothing worse than a wimpy Christmas tree.
I just won thirdsies this year but it’s always fun to be creative no matter which place I take…. I keep telling myself that this year especially because there were only five trees. 🙂 I have a confession. When this happens, I just stand by my tree for awhile and listen to the gasps of fair attendees who disagree with the judging and then I feel better.
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