Crustations

We need to talk about something.

It’s very important.

It has nothing to do with the fact that I’ve been AWOL from the blog for five months.

Because I wasn’t AWOL.

I knew exactly where I was.

It just wasn’t here.

But I’m here now and we need to discuss something very important.

It’s a rather urgent matter and needs your utmost attention.

Ok.

Here goes.

Pie crust is gross.

Stop it.

We don’t judge here.

But I stand by my opinion.

Pie crust is almost always dry, bland, boring, and a complete waste of calories and stomach space.

Salted flour and crisco is just not my idea of a good time.

And I spend an embarrassing amount of  time trying to scrape every last precious molecule of filling out of the crust.

And then because I’m sad that the filling frotterism is over, I begin to pick at the crust in hopes of elongating the experience.

And then I hate myself.

Because I hate pie crust and I just ate the whole damn thing in minuscule forkfuls until it was gone.

So I decided to skip this whole charade and go right for the jugular.

That’s right.

All filling.

 Pumpkin Pie Filling

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I guess you could call this pudding, if you must.

But this tastes exactly like pumpkin pie filling and I don’t mean the slop that comes in a can.

Nope.

It tastes like real pumpkin pie that came out of your very own oven.

Except this requires no cooking and is ready in five minutes.

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It does require a high speed blender or food processor, though, so go ahead and put that on Santa’s list if you don’t already own one.

I thought I was the genius that came up with this recipe but it turns out I saw it on another blog a few days prior and the idea must have been floating around in my gray matter for a while.

I found the original recipe HERE and made the following adaptations:

PUMPKIN PIE PUDDING

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1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

1/2 cup pecans

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon salt

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

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 Like I said, you can call it pudding.

But I served it with a banana and called it breakfast.

And mixed it into a smoothie and called it lunch.

And ate it by the spoonful for dinner.

And then I slathered it on some pumpkin bread and almost lost my mind.

If you simply must have pie, then I would just dollop this all over a big, fat slice of apple or pecan pie instead of whipped cream.

Just do it.

I’ll look away while you lick the blender blades.

Like I said, we don’t judge here.

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Brownie Points

Sit down.

Seriously.

Sit down.

I SAID SIT DOWN!

Are you sitting down?

Good.

Because this recipe could knock you off your feet.

Brownie Batter Dip.

I SAID BROWNIE BATTER DIP!

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Brownie.

Batter.

Dip.

And it’s healthy.

Are you still sitting down?

Because the ingredients may scare shock you.

There’s only four.

Black beans, cocoa powder, black cocoa powder and pure maple syrup.

You might be wondering what the difference between cocoa powder and black cocoa powder is.

Here’s a visual:

Cocoa powder.

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Black cocoa powder.

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Black cocoa powder tastes like Oreo cookies.

Find some.

I SAID FIND SOME!

Just in case you can’t find any, feel free to use 3-4 tablespoons of regular (i.e. boring) cocoa powder.***

(***UPDATE: After a careful comparison of about 22 spoonfuls of brownie batter dip, it NEEDS the black cocoa powder. Fear not! I will be working on a new recipe for those folks that can’t find the black cocoa powder!).

Hold all your bean biases until you try the dip.

It even passed the pregnant- lady- at- work test.

That means things.

Like, even fetus’ love this dip.

And I don’t even think a fetus has fully developed taste-buds.

BROWNIE BATTER DIP

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1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

6 tablespoons maple syrup (just over 1/3 cup)

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 tablespoon black cocoa powder

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor.

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Blend until creamy and smooth.

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Serve with fresh fruit, pretzels, cookies, or crackers.

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Or just eat it from a spoon like any decent human being.

Feel free to teach the batter to mouth technique to the fetus at a developmentally appropriate age.

*March “Clean” Eating tidbit: This recipe used the last can of black beans from the pantry!

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Date Night

I had a date for Valentine’s Day.

Actually I had a double date.

It was kind of an affair to remember.

Young.

Dark.

Rich.

Chocolate-y.

Everything I am looking for in a hott date with beer and the remote.

My date shamelessly tried to get me drunk.

I got so chocolate wasted that I agreed to a threesome.

We took the party to a bar.

It was so crowded we were practically on top of each other.

We partied pretty hard.

I’m not going to lie.

Things got kind of hazy at one point.

I had my non-blurry eye on someone special.

Sadly, the night came to an end.

We broke up.

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My heart is shattered.

We were a recipe for greatness.

 Date -Night Bark

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate

1/4 cup dates, chopped

1/4 cup dried tart cherries, chopped

1/4 cup almonds, chopped

Melt chocolate in a double boiler on the stove or in the microwave. If using the microwave, be sure to stop and stir the chocolate every 30 seconds until melted.  Spread melted chocolate in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Top with dates, cherries, and almonds and gently press into the chocolate.  Allow chocolate to harden completely and then break into pieces.

I’m not too sad about the break up.

I’ve already got another date lined up for next weekend.

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Just Peachy

Judgement day has arrived.

I was trying not to be anxious and kept reminding myself that it’s all in good fun.

I was also trying not to be a negative nancy (you’ll never win!) and overly critical (this dessert is ok but it’s not amazing) of my recipe for the Peach Festival’s Dessert Contest.

In other words, I was trying to not be myself.

The day started out with a run and some breakfast.

A little PB2 with some peach pie filling for b-fast? Sure!

Then it was time to get my dessert together.

I spent most of Friday night deciding which serving dish to use.

A simple dessert calls for a simple presentation.

But then I remembered that I had this

The Giving Plate!

My grandma sent me this cute platter filled with delicious cookies for Christmas one year. She has since passed away and I figured this was her way of showing her support from heaven. She totally wanted to go to the peach festival with me today!

The plate has that down-home country theme that I thought the old biddies judges would appreciate.

I packed up my peaches, said a little prayer, and boogied on down to the festival.

I pitched a peach tent with toothpicks to prevent damage to the topping. Neat!

 Naturally I scoped out the competition after I made the dessert drop

Part of me hoped no one else would enter so I would win by default because I’m awesome.

Well, now I had four hours to kill, so I checked out the festivities.

Shut the front door.

Peach chai jam? Sounds like this would make an excellent accompaniment to my Iced Chai Tea.

I think it should be mandatory that all peach festival food contain peaches in some format. Peach gyros, anyone?

Cute in the picture. Ca-reepy in real life.

Peach Fuzzie? Oh, I must have you.

Tons of fresh peaches, sugar, lemonade and ice get all blended up to make this peach perfect beverage. It was sweet without being too sugary and was bursting with fresh peach flavor.

I.Need.This.

How tall do you have to be to get on the peach train? Is there an age limit? Oh. This was for the under 27 crowd. I get it.

Free homemade peach ice cream!

Life's a peach

He totally tried to pinch my peaches! What a dog!

Fresh potato chips on plates are pretty

This is not

Get off the stage. There are serious dessert decisions to be made here.

I was getting a little nervous.

There crowd was huge.

Once the crowd woke up from his nap, it was time to announce the winners.

There were 17 entries with prizes for first and second place which included cash and a town flag.

I really wanted a town flag.

Well, she misprounced my name the first time AND she got the name of my dessert wrong.

She announced that Mary had won with her peach cobbler.

Uh, my name is Shana and I made peaches and cream dessert pizza.

Then she messed my name up again!

She said Catherine and her peach cheesecake!

Is the sun in her eyes? Maybe there was a glare.

She then announced the contestants could pick up their (losing) desserts and the judges critiques at the town hall.

What?

How could I not win?

I mean the judges tore up my  dessert pizza

And by tore up, I mean massacred it.

As in, if they could have vomited it back up on the score sheet, I think they would have.

Those judges were harsh!

The four areas to be judged included

Visually Appealing

Good flavor

Proper texture

Appearance when served ( is this not already covered in visually appealing?)

The scoring ranged between

Needs improvement (5 points)

Fair (10 points)

Average (15 points)

Good (20 points)

Excellent (25 points)

My highest score was an 89 and my lowest score was a 50.

A 50?!?!?!

Son of a peach!

Why don’t you just punch me in the face?

Most of the judges gave me a “good” for appearance but some gave me “fair” for flavor

Fair.

That’s not even average.

Did some of you ladies forget to put your dentures in this morning?

Do taste buds deteriorate with age?

A couple of judges thought it tasted “good.”

There was only one comment:

“Hard to cut and crumbled when cut.”

Um, it’s a cookie crust.

Put a little muscle into it.

This was a serious blow to the ego.

I still think this is a delicious dessert.

I sincerely hope you aren’t swayed by the judges lack of enthusiasm for my dessert and decide to make this at home because it really is quite nice.

Peaches and Cream Dessert Pizza

3 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Mix (or all-purpose wheat flour)

*if using GF flour, add 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2/3 cup oil

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, xanthan gum if using) and powdered sugar until soft dough forms. Press into two 8 inch pie pans. Bake for 18 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool.

Ricotta Layer

15 oz. light ricotta cheese

2 tbs. honey

zest of half a lemon

In a small bowl, combine ricotta, honey, and zest. Mix thoroughly. Set aside

Peach topping

4 peaches (peeled, pit removed, and chopped)

1/2 cup peach preserves

juice of half a lemon

Heat preserves in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat. Add chopped peaches and lemon juice. Continue cooking for 15 minutes. Remove from stove and let cool.

To assemble:

Spread one cup of the ricotta mixture on each of the crusts. Top each with 1 1/2 cups peach topping. Sprinkle with 1/4 c. chopped almonds, if desired.