Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fancy Pumpkin Pie Crust Design

Every year since 2008 I make it a point to bake at least one pumpkin pie during Thanksgiving. I guess it's been instilled in me from home. My dad is a huge fan of pumpkin all year long. But during Thanksgiving is when my mom would bake pumpkin pie and have my dad taste test them like he was judging a pie competition (at least that's how it looked to me). Anyway, I'm working on my crust and pie filling for next year when they can be in the States and hopefully have dinner with us.

My pie recipe is still in the works but the basis of it is from Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe. I just add little more spices to it like my go-to Jamaican Allspice from Whole Foods. As for the crust I used Crisco's butter flavored baking stick's recipe. Very easy to follow.

Last year my crust was just a typical looking crust but this year I got fancy with the pie. My inspiration was the pie slice pic on a Libby's pumpkin can. The pie crust was made up of all these leaves overlapping each other into this beautiful piece of food art. So here is how I replicated that design:

What you will need
  • Unbaked pie dough (try making your own if you haven't, it's pretty fun)
  • Rolling pin
  • Flour to keep rolling pin from getting sticky
  • Sharp, thin pointy knife
  • Egg wash
  • A Christmas Playlist. Preferably with Harry Connick Jr. crooning "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" (Oh why Harry, I thought you'd never ask but I'm already taken by my trumpet playing hubby. Tickling the ivories don't cut it for me nowadays...lol) Okay back to crust talk.
First roll out a thin, not too thin, layer of the pie dough. Next use the tip of the knife and individually cut a simple leaf shape. Then gently press in the veins of each leaf. To keep crust from building up on the knife, you can dab a little corn oil on the tip.

Once the leaves are cut and prepped, press the interior end of the leaf into the crust gently.  Remember to overlap each leaf, press the ends into the crust and repeat until you are back where you started. Brush the leaves with egg wash and pour in pie filling. Bake according to recipe instructions.

I covered my middle boo boo with a couple leaves.
I'm sure you can come up with other creative shapes and I'd love to see them. Send them to Thefulltimewife@gmail.com.  
Stay warm and cuddly!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cinema Sentinel: Tangled

Hi there...how was your Thanksgiving day? Did you get the turkey and pumpkin pie? Or did you go for asian cuisine like my Aunt Ro does every year? Well, whatever you ate hope it was as good as your little hearts anticipated.

My husband and I had a great dinner with kindred new friends (it's so great to meet new people and feel like you were meant to know them). We had fantastic red wines and all the fixins' that make a turkey/beef dinner memorable; plus I also made my pumpkin pie with a little bit of crust decor this time. As you can read...I am truly proud of my artwork. I'll be posting those soon.

But for now I just wanted to share a new Disney film that's sure to become a classic. Ever since I was a little squirt my father made sure we had access to almost all the Disney cartoons despite living in Thailand during the 80s. We were never in lack of great cartoons like The Sword in the Stone, Cinderella, Three Caballeros, Make Music Mine, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White...the list goes on and on. But in every film there was a formula that never failed and it's something that's been hard to find in most cartoons nowadays. There was magic and wonder, good and evil, and good always won.

I think most of us who grew up with Disney cartoons will understand that nostalgia when you hear the reprise of "When You Wish Upon A Star" towards the beginning of a movie as the Magical Kingdom Castle icon appears (80s/90s version, latest version). It is a feeling that can only be evoked by Walt Disney's imagination, vision and collaboration with some of the best of his time.

 Anyway, I can go on and on about this but I wanted to express to you how good it was to watch Tangled and feel like I was a kid again watching Sleeping Beauty for the first time. There was never a dull moment during the film. Each character introduced were distinct and unforgettable. The physical humor was highly entertaining without it being so slapstick. And the parts without dialogue are probably some of my favorite scenes. Bring some tissues just in case because the executive producer of this film is John Lasseter (Wall-E, Toy Story 3, Monsters, Inc., Ratatouille) and the songwriter is Alan Menken (Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas). I mean HELLO?! we're talking about an All-Star production team that only converges once every decade. Can't miss!

Folks, this is a story worth paying to see with family and friends or by yourself because it's that good for me. It truly recaptures all the magical qualities of the Disney we've grown up with and yet keeps it fun and contemporary for the new Mouseketeers out there. I hope you get the chance to see it. Have a wonderful weekend and come back again to see my pie crust artwork (proud mama here).

*Hugs & Warm Desserts*

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Holiday Gift Wraps and More!

My dear friend Monica gave me such a great birthday present last year. She let me choose between a couple of "food" magazines and the one I liked best, she bought a subscription for. Thank you Mo!

Well, yesterday I just received a copy of my Food Network December edition. Oh my goodness, my eyes just feasted on all the holiday goodies and gifts available. Going through the magazine has also started my Christmas wishlist for myself and my loved ones.

Anyway, you must grab yourself a December copy because it is spectacular. I'm talking about 100 Gifts for Food Lovers, Giada's Perfect Presents and Bobby Flay's Coconut Cake recipe (my little heart's about to explode just reading the ingredients). Haha. So one of the things among many other things that caught my attention was their gift wrap ideas. Yeah, no longer the typical red and green for me sir. I'm going creative and fun.  I searched all the sites that were shared and found more things to enjoy and most likely giving this Christmas season.

I'm thinking I might wrap sisters' and girlfriend gifts with this paper from Capri Designs:
The Candy Swirl design
Then for the family members maybe a little Whimsy wrap: 
The Merry Little Something design
And for the men in my life who have been both naughty and nice (mostly nice), Paper Source has just the right idea:
The Gingerbread Men design
Last but never least Food Network introduced me to what I like when it comes to online stores and gifts...FredFlare.com! They showed off their holiday bacon gift wrap but I found something even more special to me:
Cupcake ornaments. How cute!
Oh yeah and one more thing, if your man loves pizza as much as mine then check out this gift from ThinkGeek (love this company):
Food is the Final Frontier!
Thanks for reading and this blog will become more frequented once we get internet set up in our home. For now I've been living off of our apartment's wi-fi and my iPhone. Oh just in time for the holidays. Loves & Hugs!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Holiday Must Try: Libby's Old-Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies

How I love the holidays...pumpkin, spice and everything nice. 
So I had the pleasure of baking my first treat for Fall...Libby's Old-Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies. Believe me folks, this is the real deal!

I'm posting their recipe and how they did it to the exact instructions. The only things I modified was lessoning the nutmeg, using an entire 15 oz can of Libby's Pumpkin and adding a teaspoon of my Whole Foods Jamaican Allspice. It was a good choice knowing how much my husband loves spices and flavor. Oh yeah and I was out of powdered sugar for the glaze so we went without. Other than that, follow the recipe and you are sure to be enjoying this treat in a jiffy (does anyone use this word anymore? Oh well, I will).

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Glaze (recipe follows)

PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees F. Grease baking sheets.
COMBINE flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.

BAKE for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle Glaze over cookies.

COMBINE 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in small bowl until smooth. 

For more recipes like this one visit VeryBestBaking.com
Don't know how to bake a pumpkin pie yet? I made my first pumpkin pie straight from a Libby's Pumpkin can and used my girlfriend's pie crust recipe. I'll have to ask her first to see if I can post her delicious never-fail pie crust recipe. Until then...thank you VeryBestBaking team and Happy Baking to us all!

Proud Aunt Moment: My cute little niece made the candy corn ornament.