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When we got home from England I did two things…

Baked mini chocolate chess pies in my new British pie/pudding pans for my first day back at work…

 

…and took pictures of the random anonymous snowman that was waiting for us when we got home.

Thank you for the snowman whomever built it. He survived a near melt and recuperated during

 “Snowmageddon 2011.”

Sadly, like the tiny pies and the sabbatical, he isn’t with us anymore, but they were all  good while they lasted!

 

 

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Tomato sauce is red, cheese is white…

Every year John and I order a heart-shaped pizza from Papa Johns to celebrate Valentines Day. This typically happens a couple of days before the holiday (we always go to our favorite restaurant Cascones on the actual day) and the past few years we’ve shared our cheesy valentine with friends.

This year Josh joined us for pizza-love and our current Friday night ritual, watching Twin Peaks.

Not the most Valentines Day themed show in the whole world, but Agent Cooper does love his pie!

What was your Valentine’s Day menu? Tell me about it! Comment or e-mail me at thepiesthatbind@gmail.com.

I

 

 

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My friend Megan and I decided to watch Julie and Julia together, so why not make dinner too. We put on pearls and cooked up The Ghost of Julia Child Menu from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Veganomicon. How would Julia feel about vegan food? I know you may find this hard to believe, but I think she would love it. Why? Because it is fearless, challenging, and Julia loved a good adventure especially when it came to her taste buds.

The Ghost of Julia Child’s Dinner Menu:

Sautéed Seitan with Mushrooms and Spinach

Herb-Scalloped Potatoes

Salad

Homemade old world bread

Heart Shaped Apple Galettes

Herb-Scalloped Potatoes

Ingredients
Serves 4


2 lbs. white potatoes (3 average sized) scrubbed & sliced into 1/8″ thick disks
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. nutritional yeast or flour (I highly recommend nutritional yeast for this)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400*. Lightly grease a 9 X 13-inch glass baking dish or ceramic casserole pan

2. Layer the potatoes in the pan, allowing them to slightly overlap. Lay them across the short way first, overlapping a little less than a half of each potato slice. In each subsequent row, overlap the potatoes by about one-quarter of each potato slice. It should look something like this:


3. Pour most of the vegetable broth over the potatoes, reserving about 3 tbsp. (no need to be exact). Pour the soymilk and drizzle the olive oil over potatoes, making sure to coat each one. If you need to use a little more than 1 tbsp., that’s ok.

4. Scatter the minced garlic over everything, then sprinkle 2 tbsp. of the nutritional yeast over all the potatoes. Drizzle the remaining vegetable broth- try not to wash all the nutritional yeast off the potatoes; you just want to get it moist, so drizzle slowly. Then sprinkle with the last tbsp. of nutritional yeast, the herbs, and the salt.

5. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

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Every Wednesday is taco night at our house. Here are some of weeknight fiesta’s from the past few months.

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Prep:

After interviewing Julie about her family’s Christmas ravioli extravaganza I was inspired. I love dough and pasta, then heck, I should make some ravioli’s too!

So it began.

For 2 weeks I made ravioli’s by myself. I made pumpkin which turned out a little too pumpkin-y and chicken sausage, which was good, but I was wearing out. Yes, as I should have learned from the interview, making lots of ravioli might require more hands. I called SOS and my trusty help came running. Thank you family.

 

Cheese filling.

 

Dad picked his own apron fyi.

Ravioli Exhaustion. I owe her yet again.

 

Party:

This was a BYOB party (Bring your own bowl). I did this partly to save on late night dishwashing and mostly because it was kind of fun to tell people. The party started at 5pm and lasted until 9pm. I wanted people to feel like they could drop by and weren’t committed to midnight.

Menu:

Cheese Ravioli

Pumpkin Ravioli

Chicken Sausage Ravioli

Dad’s Spaghetti Sauce (with a little help from Paul Newman)

Dad’s meatballs

Garlic Butter Sauce

Bread

Garlic Butter

Plain Butter

Wine

Champagne

Beer

Sparkling Cider

Diet Coke

Fresca

Water

Desserts: (another bowl friendly item)

Ice cream: Chocolate Fudge, Vanilla, Cookie Dough, and Peppermint

Toasts and celebrating every hour on the hour!

The party was a smash, at least I think so. The best thing about this experience was that I got to talk to almost everyone! This is usually not the case when I’m hosting. Since I decided to serve each person to order from the stove, I had the chance to chat with my guests. Yes, it was busy night boiling for me, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

We had so much fun. The pumpkin ravioli’s turned out to be the big hit! Who knew? Certainly not this hearty eater.

And then there were the toasts. Every hour until all the guests left. I thought people might tire of the toasting, but no one did. In fact I think people liked it even more as the night went on.

Each guest took home one or two individually wrapped cinnamon rolls. I made 60 in total! I love the idea of celebrating the sweetness of a new year with something yummy. (I stole this idea from a children’s book author that I like). For the recipe see my blog about my grandmother’s cinnamon rolls.

With one guest left we invited her to participate in our New Year’s ritual.

That night we received a message that one of younger guests was still requesting dad’s meatballs when he was tucked into bed. People did scrape the bowl looking for more.

Here’s the recipe so you can enjoy them too!

Dad’s Meatballs:

1/2 pound of Italian sausage

1/2 pound hamburger

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

garlic salt and pepper to taste

2 eggs

(dad also tossed in some black olives and chopped tomatoes in some of the meatballs)

Butter for frying (2 to 3 tablespoons)

How to:

Mix all ingredients together (except butter) in a large bowl.

Form golf ball sized meatballs and set aside on a plate.

Melt butter in a deep frying pan. Add meatballs.

Fry in pan until cooked through and brown on the outside.

Serves 10

What an excellent way to start the new year. All that work was so worth it!

 

Thank you Kendra for the use her pictures, Jennifer for helping out at the stove and Roger for answering the front door!

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There is something incredible happening where I work…

a team of co-workers are sampling chocolates almost every day.

We’re not just talking mini Hershey bars here (although there’s nothing wrong with that), but some serious gourmet chocolate.

Yes, I invited myself to one of these “happenings.”

Here’s what went down…

 

 

 

I’ve worked a lot of places, I’ve been on a several close teams, but I have say the way these co-workers bond over chocolate puts to shame any treat day gathering anywhere.

Here’s to you Chocolate Tasters! Huzzah, Huzzah! Keep up the good work!

(and I will be back for more).

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Our first and, possibly only, Merry Mex-Mas!

Time: Noon

Table: Stephanie and John’s Dining Room Table and Den, but that’s later

Who gathered:

*Mom

*Dad

*Lynley

*John

*Grandpa

*Grandma

*Aunt Linda

*Stephanie

The Menu:

Tacos: veggie crumbles and ground turkey with onions and cilantro (Steph)

Spanish Rice (Dad)

Pinto Beans (Dad)

Cumin Roasted Corn (Steph)

Cornbread (Grandma)

Chips (Linda)

Mango Salsa (Lynley)

Guacamole (Lynley)

Enchilada casserole (Lynley)

Tortilla Soup (Lynley)

Cheese Dip (John)

Pomegranate Margarita’s

Beer

Tea

Diet Coke

Water

Dessert:

Peppermint Ice Cream with hot fudge

Vanilla Ice Cream

Lots and Lots of cookies

Dining Topics:

The endless cookies we all baked.

Guessing what Trish and Stan were probably doing in Florida.

The weather in Indiana.

Was our niece Lilly was excited for Santa?

How this Christmas is so much better than last Christmas.

Oops, I forgot to get the corn out of the oven.

Activities for after the feast:

Opening Presents–

Before:

After:

Best gift ever! Posh English Chocolate. Thank you, honey!

Pinata–

Our long-standing tradition of White Elephant Bingo–

That’s when I lost the Betty White Calendar, but really, it was ok.

Feliz Navidad Everyone!

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