Saturday, March 14, 2015

Happy Pi(e) Day!!

Today is 3/14...Happy Pie Day! I figured I should join the rest of the world and whip up a yummy pie to share.

First of all...Pie crust and me aren't the best of friends. Probably because I haven't given it a fair chance. I hate to use all my precious better and I don't buy a lot of shortening. Anyway, I can't say that I have tried every pie crust in the world. So we aren't fiends, but it isn't the crust's fault. So usually when I do a pie, it is store bought crust, or some kind of pie that doesn't require a delicious flaky crust, like this one.

With that in mind, today, I am going to share my family's traditional Christmas Pie. We call it Christmas Pie, because that's really the only time we have it, and we ALWAYS have it for Christmas. It is sooo yummy and super easy. I missed out this last year so I figured I'd make up for it today. It starts with a super simple crust...butter and flour. That gets topped with a creamy cream cheese layer, which gets covered with some chocolate pudding. And the pie gets finished off with some whipped topping.

This pie is too delicious to be limited to a small pie pan, but if you only want a small one, it is a pretty simple recipe to cut in half, I'm sure it would fit just fine. But as the recipe is, it fits perfectly into a 9X13 pan (thank goodness...seconds, please!).

Enough talking, lets get to it!

Christmas Pie


10 tablespoons Butter, melted.
1 1/2 cups Flour

Cream Cheese Layer:
1 (8 oz.) brick Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup Powdered Sugar
1 cup Whipped Topping

Pudding Layer:
3 cups Cold Milk
2 small boxes Instant Pudding


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and mix with flour (I use the paddle attachment on my Kitchen Aid, super easy).It will form a soft dough. Press dough evenly into an ungreased 9X13 pan. Remember to poke the dough with a fork to prevent air bubbles. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely before adding the layers.

Cream Cheese Layer:
Whip up the softened cream cheese until nice and smooth. Add the powdered sugar and mix well. Then mix in the whipped topping. Spread evenly onto the completely cooled crust.

Pudding Layer:
Combine cold milk and pudding and mix until smooth. Carefully spread the pudding over the cream cheese layer.

Top the whole thing with the left over whipped topping. 

Chill for an hour or two (or more) to let it set up before serving.

*My Notes*
~My crust took the whole 25 minutes. Start at 20 minutes, then watch it after that. You want it nice and goldeny brown, so watch close after the 20 minutes, nobody wants a burned crust.
~Be sure to cool your crust (including the pan) completely or your cream cheese layer will get warm and not so yummy.
~I doubled the cream cheese layer. If you want what is in the picture, then double the cream cheese layer ingredients. (The ingredient amounts listed is NOT doubled)
~Obviously pudding flavor is up to you. I did chocolate, because chocolate is the best! My family also likes Lemon and Pistachio.
~Don't mix the pudding up in advance. You don't want it to set up and get thick before you get it spread onto the pie, it's easier this way. Just mix it up when you are ready to pour and spread.
~The top whipped topping layer is completely optional (but completely encouraged). We usually start out with a 16 oz container and then use however much we feel like. When we double the cream cheese layer, we pretty much use all of the 16 oz container.
~Whipping Cream can be used in place of the Whipped Topping (it's really good!), but it won't be as thick and it won't keep as long before it starts to break down and get soft and runny. If you want to use Whipping Cream be sure to eat it that day and maybe the next. 
~This pie can be kept for up to a week, covered and refrigerated. But let's be honest, it won't last that long.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Snickers Brownies

I have been trying for two days now to write this post...I'm not sure why it has been so hard. The words just aren't coming. This is my fourth draft, and I have decided to skip the story and get straight to the point.

My mom's birthday was this last Tuesday on the 10th. For those of you who are new around here, she died eight years ago in June. She was my best friend and I miss her like crazy. Her birthday, her death anniversary and all of November and December are really hard. So to help cope and make it a bit better I have things I like to do for each occasion that makes things lighter, and more fun. It helps me remember the good, happy times and it keeps her a part of my life. Sometimes the celebration is bigger than others. For example a couple of years ago it was big. This year it was just small, with some yummy Snickers Brownie ala mode. Mom loved Snickers! We had a little joke that she wanted to be buried with a Snickers in her casket. I remember one time we made these brownies and fought over the last corner piece...the corner brownie is the best, especially when that corner brownie is full of caramely, nutty pieces. So I thought it would be a good birthday treat to enjoy and to remember her. And it was delightful. This isn't a hard thing to make at all and I'm sure many or all of you have done this same thing. But I figure this can act as a tasty reminder. So get your brownie mix and Snickers bars and get baking!

Snickers Brownies


1 Family Sized Brownie Mix and all ingredients to make them
6 fun sized Snickers Bars
Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce (optional but highly recommended)

Mix brownies as directed on box. Cut snickers into chunks (I cut mine into six pieces). Add Snickers to brownie batter. Pour batter into greased pan and bake as directed. Let brownies cool, mostly. Scoop ice cream and pour chocolate sauce onto warm brownies and enjoy. Like I said, easy.

*My Notes*
~I used 6 fun sized bars, but would have enjoyed a few more...personal preference
~I mostly mix my brownie batter and then add the Snickers and finish mixing it up

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Taco Soup for the Tomato Chunk Haters

Has anybody noticed I went missing for almost an entire year? Oops...I guess that's what being pregnant and having a baby does to me. Blogging and everything else takes back seat to throwing up and changing diapers and keeping a toddler entertained. I know there are a lot of consistent mommy bloggers out there, I don't know how you do it!
Here is my little guy, Daxton, born back in December. He is quite handsome, don't you think? I just can't get enough of him!

The last few months have been quite the adjustment period. Adding a baby to the family is hard work sometimes, other times it seems so natural, like he has been with us forever. It has been an emotional roller coaster. I feel guilty I am spending so much time with him and not as much time with Anne and/or Jason. But I love the time I spend with my little man it is hard sometimes to pull away and do the things I need dinner. Poor Jason comes home from work most nights to a dark kitchen, which he correctly assumes means dinner wasn't a priority for me that day. Too often he has jumped right in and whipped up something quick and yummy for us (without complaining). He's a keeper! On the nights that I do cook, easy and fast is all I do. Among them is Taco Soup. I love it because it requires little work; cook some hamburger, open some cans and stir. It is so yummy and it feeds my little family for a whole week, which means I don't have to cook again for a whole week. And it is so good, we don't get sick of it on night three or four or five. Seriously people, this soup feeds us for five nights and we love every bowl!

Let me tell you a little about myself and food chucks, specifically tomato chucks. I hate them. You dish up this beautiful, delicious smelling piece of heaven, you take a bite and...bleh! You get a huge blob of mushyness! So then you spend the rest of the meal picking out the nasty tomato chunks, instead of enjoying the food.
If you are in the same boat as me and avoid tomato chunks that are as big as your spoon like the plague, then you are going to love this soup. Tomato chunk lovers, stick with me on this, I promise, tomato still makes its appearance here.

Super Easy, No Spoon Sized Tomato Chunk, Taco Soup

Taco Soup

1 pound Hamburger, browned and drained
2 cans Corn, including the juices
2 cans Black or Pinto Beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
1-2 cups Salsa
1 (46 oz) can Tomato Juice
1/2 package Taco Seasoning

In a large pan combine all ingredients over medium-high heat until hot. Serve with cheese, sour cream and chips.

*My Notes*
~The amount of salsa and taco seasoning are based on your personal preferences. Adjust to your taste.
~We like to use medium salsa so it has some spice to it.
~Be sure to use Tomato Juice, it is found with the fruit and vegetable V8. I just use the can, but you can get the bottled if you don't want to use it all in the soup. That way it is easier to store the leftovers.
~This recipe is so easy to make a little less or a little more. Take out a can, add a can. Use less juice or more. Whatever you need to do to feed your large or small family! No stressful measurement math!

What easy meals do you have for busy nights?