cherry hand pies

Jared and I had a fairly low-key Valentine's Day this year - we had our big date night last Saturday and didn't want to push our luck. So we exchanged cards, had a lovely dinner of pork marsala, and I made these...

Cherry hand pies!! They were so delicious. We nearly burned our mouths eating them because we got too impatient waiting for them to cool. I followed this recipe but halved it to make 4 hand pies. I also added a little glaze to the tops of 2 of them... it was Valentine's Day after all.

They made a perfect Valentine's Day dessert. Jared requested that I make them again next year... and this weekend, and tomorrow.

memorial day desserts

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We went over to our neighbors' for a bbq Sunday, which gave me a much needed excuse to make a couple of the yummy desserts I've found on Pinterest.  The first thing I made was S'Mores Cookie Bars, and they were even tastier and gooeyer than I hoped they'd be (my next door neighbor actually described them as "life-changing.") One thing I recommend doing is spraying your spoon or spatula with Pam before spreading out the marshmallow fluff... it made it MUCH easier to spread.

The second thing I made (because one dessert just wasn't enough) was Peanut Butter Cup Brownies. They're pretty much exactly how they sound - like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, but with the added deliciousness of brownies. These were pretty easy to make, and though my centers didn't fall during cooling, I used the back of a 1/2 teaspoon to depress each one and that worked really well. They might be Jared's new favorite thing I bake, and my sister has made me promise to make them for her when she comes to visit later this month.

Overall, I loved both of these desserts and would definitely make them again. I highly recommend either one for your next get together, baking whim, or pregnancy induced sugar craving.

the bird is the word

Thanksgiving in our house this year was far less stressful due to one essential addition to our appliance arsenal: The Big Easy Infrared Turkey Fryer from Char-Broil.  I was skeptical when Jared first told me about it, but after he tested it out with a small chicken a couple weeks ago, I knew he was on to something.  In addition to cooking perfectly juicy poultry in half the time of a normal oven, using the fryer this year meant one important thing: a free oven ALL DAY.  All of you who've attempted the chaos of trying to perfectly time all of your Thanksgiving dishes without a double oven - put this fryer on your Christmas list.

And here's the delicious turkey Jared cooked:

The seasoning was his Simon & Garfunkel blend of parsely, sage, rosemary, and thyme whipped into butter with crumbled bacon

We tried a new stuffing this year, Tyler Florence's Carmelized Onion and Cornbread Stuffing, and it was a big hit! Easily one of the best stuffings I've ever had. We couldn't find cornbread muffins, so we used an 8x8 tin of cornbread from Whole Foods instead, and it worked great.  Some of the reviews on Food Network said the stuffing turned out too dry, so I added a few extra splashes of heavy cream and stock just in case.

For dessert we had Martha Stewart's Old Fashioned Apple Pie and Sarah brought down a couple dozen of her famous cupcakes as a belated b-day/thanksgiving treat.  The most popular were the carrot with cream cheese frosting, and classic yellow cake with chocolate fudge icing (honestly, if there's a better cupcake on earth I have yet to find it.)  Sarah even made custom cupcake picks for the occasion using paper punches and her own little bird template.  Let me know if you'd be interested in a tutorial and I'll ask her to put one together.

For more food pics from our yummy little Thanksgiving dinner click here.

Thanksgiving weekend coming to an end can only mean two things: 1) running, yoga, and pilates are all very much in order, and 2) I have less than a month to finish a long list of Christmas crafts. Ack!