Recipe: Grasshopper Pie

grasshopper pie

Hello! I am writing from beautiful Sunny Penticton! My parents rented a house here for a week so IronSister and her husband and Sexy Husband and the Girls and I are all here enjoying the beach and some family time. We’ve had all sorts of beautiful moments doing things we love. There’s something extremely satisfying for me about eating breakfast outside. Sexy Husband and I have gone for a couple of runs together, and the Girls are at the perfect age to be really fun at the beach. Happy Heart.

My Mom and Sister both like to cook like me, simple, fresh, fruit and vegetable focused meals. So we’ve had some great food like that. Lots of homemade salsa and guacamole, corn on the cob, fresh cherries and nectarines. The boys have been on bbq duty and there is no shortage of great wineries around to keep our glasses full.

While in family mode, I thought I would share a recipe that’s a bit of a family “secret.” We all have these recipes don’t we? I know Grandma’s fudge recipe, or her shortbread, and my mom’s lemon squares and yorkshire pudding recipes, are kind of sacred parts of our family history. This one is my Dad’s Aunt Billie’s recipe for Grasshopper Pie. It’s a simple and refreshing dessert, yet still a bit decadent. My Dad doesn’t eat any sugar. Ever. Literally he has not had sugar in almost 2 years(he’s super disciplined that way and makes my diet look like a trash bin). But when I told him I’d made Aunt Billie’s Grasshopper Pie…he almost caved. Usually it’s the sentimentality of these recipes more than even the taste. My only memory of Aunt Billie is eating this pie she’d made and thinking to myself that it was just so beautiful, the perfect shade of green. I cook, and include my Girls in it, in large part so that they will remember all the time spent laughing and talking and learning together. I hope they remember me in the zest of a lemon, the pinch of basil leaves, and the mini magical bubbles of a blackberry.

Grasshopper Pie

Step one: make an oreo crumb crust. I do this with 2 cups of oreo cookie crumbs and a tbs or two of melted butter, pressed together into a pie plate. Bake at 350 for about 10 mins. Remove and cool completely.

Step two: with electric beaters(or in the bowl of an electric mixer, with paddle attachment) beat together 1 block of cream cheese, and about 1/2 cup sugar. Add a bit of green food dye, just enough to make it pale green, and pure peppermint extract to taste. Start with 1/2 a tsp and work up from there. Beat until smooth. In a separate bowl, beat 1 cup of whipping cream with 1/4 cup icing sugar until soft peaks form. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture until smooth. Spread in pie crust and freeze until firm. At least 2 hrs or overnight. Remove from freezer about 5-10 minutes before serving.

** the picture above is one I did for a larger crowd, in a 9×13 dish and added some crumbled cookies on top. Take your liberties!

If anyone is willing to share, I would love to hear what your family secret recipes are!

Think Fresh: Infused Vodka

home-infused vodka

Ok, this turned out better than I’d even hoped!! I noticed in Bon Appetit a month or two ago a comment on infusing your own vodka. I thought that sounded like a fun idea and happened to have 2 almost full bottles of vodka in the freezer for some random reason. I think they were left over from IronSister’s Dirty Martini lingerie shower a looooong time ago. So two weeks ago I pulled them out and poured them into jars and added several blood oranges(pith completely removed to avoid bitterness) to one jar, several sour cherries to another, and a whole bunch of blackberries to a jar of vanilla vodka. I left them in the fridge for 2 weeks, shaking them up from time to time.

With Sexy Husband’s line of work, we have no end of musicians around. I was looking for a particular kind of guest for the vodka sampling occasion. The type of guest who isn’t burdened at my demands to sample my various cocktail creations at 5:30pm.  And I had my dreams come true when a good friend, who I will call Rockstar Scotty, joined us for dinner. We came up with the following combinations. I highly recommend them all!

Creamy Cherry – sour cherry vodka with old fashioned cream soda (I used 1 oz of vodka per drink because we obviously had to have a few)

Bloody Fizz – blood orange vodka with mango soda

Black Vanilla – blackberry infused vanilla vodka with a splash of blueberry juice

I served these all over ice, in martini glasses. Rockstar Scotty liked the Black Vanilla best, Sexy Husband and I both thought the Creamy Cherry was pretty amazing. All were great and a lot of fun!

I’m definitely going to try some other ones: watermelon and nectarine seem like a good place to start. I also have some lychees that might make for some nice drinks. If you get creative and infuse your own booze, let me know what combos you try!

Creamy Cherry

Recipe: Pasta with Roasted Veggies and Pesto

****I canNOT believe I did this, but I typed up the recipe while I was cooking and then we ATE every last bite before I could get a picture. Good news is that it’s that yummy and easy. Bad news is that it’s the brightest prettiest meal ever and I have NO PICTURE. sad****

 

This probably shouldn’t be called a recipe. It’s entirely too easy. Let’s call it an idea. A summery-if-you-need-a-great-easy-super-healthy-dinner Idea. That sound ok? We have been eating a lot of raw and a lot of really healthy vegetable focused meals. Sexy Husband kicked into high gear for triathlon season and I’ve been out running a fair bit and overall it just feels right to be as healthy as possible. I also have been making s’mores in the microwave…so….it’s all about the balance right?

Things I’m working on for you: infusing your own vodka, fresh new cocktail ideas, chilled desserts. Oh and the damn cookbook.

Things I have learned about myself: perfectionist + hyper drive = frustrated graphic designer. I want it to be perfect but I want it to be done fast. Tedious work is not for me. However the beautiful pics and great easy recipes – those are for me:)

Pasta with Roasted Veggies and Pesto

Whip up some pasta, any kind you like. My kids are on a new mini pasta kick, the smaller the better. So we’ve been using tiny little micro pastinis which cook in a nano second. perfect.

Meanwhile, chop veggies into large pieces(like an onion gets quartered, asparagus chopped in half, peppers into 8ths, zucchinis into large chunk and grill on the bbq for a few minutes until golden. No olive oil or anything needed, maybe a bit of sea salt.

Drain cooked pasta and stir in some pesto. Add a little olive oil if necessary. Top pasta with grilled veggies and serve!

Think Fresh: Salsa

Picky Princess eating fruit salsa and crackers

I cannot BELIEVE it! There’s this big yellow ball glowing in the sky and the world feels…warm! Amazing! Summer is upon us and I’m desperately hoping for long sunny days and all the fun they bring with them! Summer food is my favorite. Winter comforty food is great, fresh green veggies of early spring, also wonderful, fall smells of cinnamon and pumpkin pie, always sensual. But summer food: summer food seems to be alive! We eat a lot of raw food in the summer and my food processor is busy busy busy chopping up vegetables and fruit for salsas! I put salsa on bbq’d meat, on crackers or tortilla chips, on salads, on anything! Here are three variations to try this summer. The process is the same for all of them, chop up ingredients nice and small and stir together. I usually use a food processor, but be careful to pulse slowly and stop before everything combines into mush. Usually the flavors blend together nicely after sitting for a while. Which is perfect. Make your salsa early in the day and you’ll be ready for supper that much faster!

1. Every day go-to Salsa: 4 tomatoes, half a sweet onion, little bit of hot pepper, handful of cilantro, dash of sea salt, juice of 1 lime.

2. Tex Mex salsa: 4 tomatoes, 1/2 cup corn kernels, 1/2 can black beans, 1 avocado, handful of cilantro, dash of sea salt, juice of 1 lime.

3. Fruit salsa: 2 nectarines, handful of ripe strawberries, 1/4 of a purple onion, handful of fresh mint, juice of 1 lime.

These are my favorites but there really are no limits! Try a melon salsa! Salsa is a great way to top salad instead of salad dressing, a great condiment for bbq’d chicken, and a great way to eat lots of fruits and veggies.

Recipe: Rhubarb Shortbread

Rhubarb Shortbread

…brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favorite things…particularly if the brown paper package is filled with rhubarb straight from the garden, delivered by a friend, and still with the slightest bit of dirt on the stalks.  Just such a package arrived for me this week from a Beautiful Soul and I’ve had a great time making rhubarb inspired meals. We had rhubarb compote on chicken breasts, strawberry rhubarb crumble, and tonight’s experiment: rhubarb shortbread. This recipe is loosely taken from a Smitten Kitchen recipe that is one of my summer favorites. A few changes and voila. The sweet and nutty brown sugar spelt shortbread with the tang of the rhubarb is absolutely delicious. It all tastes a bit like…summer!

Rhubarb Shortbread

makes a lot

3 cups spelt flour(or regular unbleached flour)

1 cup brown or raw sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 egg

2 cups thinly chopped rhubarb

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 and butter a 9×13 baking dish. Whisk together all the dry ingredients. Add butter and egg and work together with a fork until mixture resembles coarse meal. Tightly press 3/4 of mixture into the baking dish. Sprinkle the rhubarb over the shortbread. Top with remaining shortbread mixture. Bake for about 30 mins until edges are turning golden. Cool completely in pan and cut into squares.

Think Fresh: Portobello Mushrooms

portobello salad

Wow! How did 2 weeks of no blogging sneak past me? I’ll tell you how: cookbook production! The cookbook is coming along at a snails pace but you must know that there is love in every recipe and every microscopic text change.

The girls and I have been walking to the park(in our rain gear, don’t get me started) every day before dinner and one things is clear: it’s bbq season. The smell of bbq’d meat fills the air, competing with the perfumey May Day trees. It means summer must be close. We love to bbq(we as in all of us right?). We bbq all sorts of things, not much of which is meat. We do the odd chicken breast, some sausages and maybe even a steak once or twice a summer. But we do a lot of bbq’d veggies, bbq pizzas and my all time favorite, bbq portobellos. These giant meaty mushrooms are delicious grilled and give the satisfaction of bbqing without the meat. There are many great ways to eat portobellos, like a burger is probably my favorite way. But here’s an easy little recipe for a light dinner, that is filling and satisfying. Enjoy!

Portobello Salad

Drizzle portobellos(1 per person) with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and sea salt. Grill until softened and juices release. Carefully, without spilling the juices, transfer to a baking sheet and slice. Prepare salad: pile up any greens you like, add some thinly sliced pears and some shaved parmesan. Top with mushroom slices and pour juices over as the dressing. So easy, so delicious!

Recipe: Chocolate Covered Strawberry Scones

just going into the oven

I had one of those epiphanies this week, where I thought to myself…Am I insane? Why have I never done this before? There must be some reason. Do I not bake with strawberries for a reason?… Honestly, the entire recipe I kept thinking, these aren’t going to turn out because there must be some reason to not bake with strawberries. But nope, they turned out great and I’m still a bit confused why there don’t seem to be more chocolate strawberry recipes. I always go for raspberries and chocolate! So anyway, these were on the somewhat not-too-guilty-pleasure side of baked goods. They were easy and decadent. My little people gave me dramatic ooos and ahhs and the house smelled too good for words!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Scones

Makes 12

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1/4 cup raw sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

6 tbs unsalted butter cut into small pieces

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 egg

1/2 cup strawberries, finely chopped

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions: Preheat oven to 375. Line 1 baking sheet with parchment paper. Place wax paper on a counter. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, place all ingredients, wet stuff on the bottom, dry stuff on top. Mix on low until dough JUST comes together. Do not overmix or scones will be tough(this is always a rule for scones or muffins). When dough is coming together, and mine felt quite wet, put onto wax paper and press into a 9 inch disk. Cut into 12 pieces and place on parchment lined baking sheet. (you can always flour a countertop and put the dough there, but I find it’s easy to over flour and then you have scones that are a bit too dry). Bake for about 20-25 minutes until turning golden. Serve warm. These scones are definitely best the day they are made, but sufficed for breakfast the next morning too! Enjoy!

dough disk

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