Holiday/Seasonal

Delicious Marshmallow Pie

Yesterday my family and I started decorating for Christmas! The tree is up, pulmonologist the mantle is decorated, the piano has a beautiful village on it, and the hutch shelf thing in the kitchen has villages and snowmen and all sorts of wonderful things! We have lights outside and everything is just shaping up wonderfully. Sigh :)

But school had to come along and ruin my Christmas mood. Grrr school. Today was my first day back from Thanksgiving break and I was not ready to do any sort of work at all. But some great news is that I am a senior and will be exempt from all my exams! This means I can be done with school early and I don’t have to worry about studying. In past years, exams have always been really stressful for me and I’ve spent a lot of time preparing for them. But this year, I can be done with school on December 9th! Yes you read that correctly! That means that I only have 9 more school days left…I think I can make it.

This recipe I’m sharing today is for Marshmallow Pie. I’ve made this pie for Thanksgiving for the past several years and it’s always a hit. The first year I made it, I was concerned that the pie would be way too sweet, since the main ingredient is marshmallow, but the grated unsweetened chocolate in the marshmallow mixture tones it down. It’s one of my favorite pies ever and it’s really easy to make. This would be the perfect pie for a holiday party or even Christmas celebration!

Mmm :) So tasty! I topped mine with mini chocolate chips just for fun but you don’t have to. I actually like eating it better without the chocolate chips! Here’s how you make it:

Marshmallow Pie

Ingredients for Chocolate Coconut Crust:

10 chocolate graham crackers (5in by 2.5 in each)

1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes, toasted

5-6 tablespoons butter, melted

Ingredients for Marshmallow Filling:

34 large marshmallows

1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, grated

Chocolate shavings or mini chocolate chips for garnish (optional)

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375º F. Prepare chocolate coconut crust: Break graham crackers into crumbs, either by using a food processor or by placing them in a large plastic bag and beating them with a mallet (I prefer the second method)
  2. Toast the coconut either by placing the coconut on a cookie sheet and putting it in your oven on broil (be careful because it will burn quickly!) or by putting it in a skillet on medium heat and using a spatula to toss it around until golden brown.
  3. In a 9-inch pie plate, mix coconut and graham cracker crumbs together. Add the melted butter and use hands to press mixture on the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Bake the crust for 10 minutes.
  4. While crust is cooling, prepare the marshmallow filling. In a large saucepan or skillet, heat marshmallows and milk over low heat until melted and smooth, stirring constantly. Remove saucepan from heat and cool the mixture completely, about 30 minutes.
  5. When the marshmallow mixture and graham cracker crust is cool, beat the cream in a large bowl with a mixer at medium speed until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to turn the cream into butter.
  6. Stir the marshmallow mixture, making sure it is still smooth and doesn’t have lumps. Fold the mixture into the whipped cream. Fold in the grated chocolate.
  7. Pour the filling into the cooled crust. Refrigerate pie at least 3 hours, or overnight.

And enjoy!

 

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Hot Spinach Dip

Yesterday I had my first Black Friday shopping experience! But I only went to Joanns…and it was 2pm…so there was a serious lack of greedy, pharmacy angry mobs. Don’t worry, troche I shoved several women looking at fabrics just for the experience.

Just kidding.

I had a 50% off coupon for one item and used it on a donut pan. I’ve wanted one for a while but I didn’t feel like spending the money on one. Finally this coupon gave me the perfect excuse. I’m trying to figure out what donut to make first. I’m determined to use this pan often. I want to make sure I get my $6 worth!

After my excursion at Joanns, infertility my sister and I went to see Breaking Dawn (insert middle school girls screaming here).

Here’s what I thought:

  • Taylor Lautner’s shirt was off within the first 15 seconds.
  • I didn’t notice Kristen Stewart’s rapid blinking during this movie…a huge improvement!
  • Kristen Stewart had emotion in this movie! Woah!
  • Rob Pattinson’s hair is kinda ridiculous…very poofy.
  • Rob Pattinson looks sorta cute when he actually smiles. Who knew???
  • They followed the book closely.
  • Best scene= wedding speeches. Hahaha oh Emmett and Charlie…Remind me not to let anyone give toasts at my wedding.
  • The movie had a good combo of well-done scenes and totally awkward scenes…kept my sister and me interested and laughing.
  • Werewolf scenes=awkward.
  • Taylor Lautner trying to sound angry=hilarious.

I think that pretty much sums it up! All in all, it way surpassed by expectations and I’m glad I went to see it. Will I ever watch it again? Meh it’s a possibility :) I see a Twilight marathon in my future once part 2 of Breaking Dawn comes out.

With no transition whatsoever…here’s spinach dip. I already shared the Pumpkin Pie dip I made for one of our Thanksgiving appetizers so here is the second dip I made. I have been wanting to make this for a long time and am glad that I finally got the chance to make it. Everyone really loved it :)

It’s funny that I like spinach dip because I don’t like most of the ingredients that go into the dip. But I really like it and this recipe was great. For some extra flavor and a bit of spice, I added red pepper flakes to the original recipe. The addition was definitely a good choice.


Hot Spinach Dip

Adapted from Skinnytaste.

Ingredients:

10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed

1/2 cup sour cream (reduced fat works fine)

5 tbsp mayo (light mayo works fine)

1/4 cup Parmesan  cheese

1/4 cup cheddar cheese

1/4 cup chopped scallions**

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 tbsp crushed red peppers

Directions:

  1. Make sure your spinach is thawed (I ended up microwaving mine) and squeeze out all the excess water (I ended up using my hand to get all the water out).
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. Place the mixture in an oven-safe dish (I used a glass pie pan) and bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is all hot and melty.
  4. Serve right away with crackers, chips, veggies, or whatever you want :)

Note: The turkey was already in the oven and was baking at 325 degrees. So I squeezed the dip on the tray below the turkey and cooked at 325 degrees for 25 minutes which worked out fine!

**I went to Kroger late the night before Thanksgiving because I realized that I hadn’t put a lot of the ingredients of this recipe on my mom’s shopping list. I was wearing my polar bear Christmas pjs, teal boots, and a hoodie. Yep…I looked pretty cool. So I was searching for scallions and I couldn’t find them. I called my mom and asked if scallions are the same as green onions and she said no. So I asked this guy stocking shelves if they had scallions. He didn’t know so he went to get a produce guy. That produce guy was new there so he went to get another produce guy. And this guy said that scallions were the same thing as green onions. And he’s a chef so he should know. So I bought the green onions. And I looked it up when I got home. Scallions are actually green onions! What are not the same as green onions are shallots, which was causing the confusion. Then later that night, I had to go back to Kroger to pick up the ice cream I had forgotten. And then my mom realized she hadn’t purchased a pan for the turkey. I refused to go back out to Kroger so my dad went. So feel free to use scallions or green onions in this dip. But not shallots. Yep. I could have said all that in a couple words (scallions=green onions) but I thought you would enjoy reading this paragraph. :D **

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Pumpkin Pie Dip

Oh goodness! Are you guys still full from Thanksgiving dinner? I’m not! I woke up this morning and was huuungry. I was really wanting to eat some of this pumpkin pie dip on a waffle, web but my littlest sister ate the last waffle! Oh well :) Some other time.

How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was really good.I spent the day with my parents, audiologist sisters, and grandparents which was really nice. We made our Thanksgiving dinner and ate around 2:30. We then went on our traditional post-big-meal walk (it was such a beautiful day!) and then we came home and watched Elf and ate pie! Watching Elf on Thanksgiving has become a family tradition and is the perfect way to kick off Christmas. My family loves Elf…we quote it all the time :)

I really enjoyed cooking. I was in charge of the appetizers, a side, and a pie. My middle sister always makes the deviled eggs so I decided to make Pumpkin Pie dip, Hot Spinach Dip, and then we had cheese and crackers, too. I’ll share all the recipes I made (because everything turned out great) but I’m sharing the Pumpkin Pie dip first. I’ll be posting a lot of Thanksgiving recipes the next few days, but you can certainly make them for occasions other than Thanksgiving…they’d be great everyday, party, or Christmas desserts as well!

I settled on making this dip last minute and didn’t know how it would taste. But I really liked it! My family doesn’t really like pumpkin pie, so it’s not a dessert we usually eat, but they all liked this. This dip was super easy to make and was very light and sweet with a slight tang from the sour cream. The blend of spices with the pumpkin make it a perfect seasonal appetizer or dessert. I served it with graham crackers and apple slices which was really tasty.

I got the recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything. I made some substitutions to make the dip a little lower in fat and calories, but it certainly didn’t taste like it! You can certainly use full-fat cream cheese, sour cream, and cool whip if that’s what you have at home (no judging…calories don’t count on holidays, weekends, birthdays, or days with vowels), but I promise the dip doesn’t taste light at all! We have a lot left over so I’ll be enjoying it the rest of the week. Maybe I’ll get another chance to eat it on waffles! I will make this again, perhaps for Christmas :)

Pumpkin Pie Dip

Recipe adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything :)

Ingredients:

One 8 ounce package of 1/3 reduced fat cream cheese

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1 cup frozen lite cool whip, thawed

Gingersnaps, apple slices, or cinnamon graham crackers for dipping

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar.
  2. Add in the cup of pumpkin puree, sour cream, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and ginger.
  3. Fold in the cup of thawed cool whip until incorporated.
  4. Keep it in the fridge until ready to eat!

Makes…umm a big bowl. We had 7 people munching on it and we didn’t even make a dent.

Enjoy!

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Things I Am Thankful For This Thanksgiving

I am so incredibly blessed and have more than anyone could hope for. It’s often so hard to remember to take time and just be thankful for all that I have when life gets crazy and stressful things happen. While Thanksgiving isn’t my number one favorite holiday (I’m kinda more of a Christmas person if you hadn’t noticed ;), disinfection it is the perfect time to just pause and give thanks. Here is just a short list of just some of the many things I love having in my life:

1. Jesus- Jesus is awesome. He puts up with me even when I ignore him or say mean things to him. He’s pretty much the coolest. Yep.

2. My Parents- They’re crazy and sarcastic and will spontaneously break out into song (well my mom mostly…Ooooooooklahoma anyone?). But that’s what makes them them. They’re supportive and wonderful and I am very blessed to have them.

3. My Siblings- They’re annoying kinda sometimes all the time…but they’re amazing :) I don’t know who I would be if I wasn’t a big sister. I love them and they make my life much happier.

4. The rest of my family- My grandparents are such an important part of my life and I’m so thankful that we live close to them and that I get to be a part of their lives. I am thankful for all my extended family, ampoule the many people (who may or may not actually be related to me) who love me and are so amazing to me. So many people have been positive influences on me and have formed me into who I am today.

5. Clean Water- Going to Haiti made me even more thankful for all the clean water I have access to. When I was there, resuscitator I had to be careful of all the water I came in contact with, from what I used to wash my hands, shower with, drink, or brush my teeth with. Right now I’m just a couple steps away from the kitchen sink, the bathroom sink, and the water dispenser in the fridge. It’s something I take for granted everyday but I shouldn’t. There are so many who don’t have access to clean water, or water at all.

6. Food- Well food is probably why you’re here at this blog! I am so thankful for all the wonderful food I have access to and my parents who let me cook and bake pretty much all I want. I have struggled a lot with my relationship with food and still have a hard time with my self esteem and eating. But I should never hate the thing I am so blessed to have, that so many have to go without. So on Thanksgiving, a day that is often just as much about food as it is family and thanks, I will be sincerely thankful for the food I have access to.

7. My body- I rarely give thanks for my body but I really am thankful that I have a healthy body that works. I have my health and I should never, ever take that for granted. I am also thankful for medicine and prescriptions and vitamins and everything that helps keep me going.

8. My house- I love my house! And my room. I am so grateful my family has such a wonderful place to live.

9. School- Yes, even school makes the list. I like learning and school can be ok ;)

10. My stuff- I’m really grateful for all the things I have. My laptop, camera, phone, books, bed, and clothes are all things I’m blessed to have and so thankful for.

11. My puppy- My dog, Fenway, is cute, fluffy, and most definitely not a dog. He is allergic to beef but eats chocolate all the time. He’s loud and pees on people when he’s excited, but he really is the sweetest dog ever.

This is just a small list of all the wonderful things in my life that I could not be more thankful for. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and are surrounded by people and food you love. :)

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Christmas Frosted Sugar Cookies

I love my photography class in school. I get to use different equipment (that’s how I get to borrow that macro lens I love so much) and learn about different techniques. One thing I do NOT like, buy however, rx is using strobe lights. I just find them so annoying and restrictive! Not to mention that the ones we have in class randomly decide to not fire when you’re trying to take pictures. Talk about annoying. We are doing a project now on food photography (perfect for me!) and we had to bring in food and props to shoot and use the strobe lighting and diffusers to take the photos. Besides the irritation of the lights not cooperating, I had fun taking my Christmas-themed pictures and they turned out much better than I expected.

I have a confession to make…these are cookies made out of a mix. I know, I’m really ashamed of myself. I’ve never made cookies from a mix before but I had a 7 page essay due the next day and didn’t have time to make cookies from scratch (one of my goals is to make copy-cat Lofthouse cookies..those things are so incredible). These weren’t anything crazy spectacular but they tasted good and looked festive. I gave them to the people in Film Club with me after I shot them in Photography and they seemed to like them :)

I used the cute little snowman mug I got at Goodwill and I think he really stole the show…the cookies really couldn’t compete with him! And the newspaper background is rather random but I think it looked neat. Maybe that’s just me :)

I’m sharing this for the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookie Exchange! While this post doesn’t really require a recipe, you can make these cookies with your kids/siblings/whoeveryouwant and just have fun decorating them. It might be a nice break from labor-intensive baking recipes.

Haha sorry for all the picture, I just thought they were fun!

For these cookies I used this:

Except I didn’t make them into the cookie pop thingies…just plain cookies :) They came out pretty tasty for a kit…if you want something easier that’s fun to decorate, I’d definitely recommend this! I bought my own sprinkles and colored frosting, but they give you colored sprinkles and white frosting in the kit. Happy baking!

And check out all the other bloggers on the cookie exchange. I can’t believe it’s week 8 already!

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