Monday, December 14, 2009

Peppering the Pot

Today was a VERY busy day. Not so much at work, but after work I was running around like a mad woman! First there were computers to pick up. We're back to 4 working laptops! YAY! Especially yay given that there are only 2 we like to work on - 1 for Thatboy and 1 for me, and while his is working wonderfully, it was my favorite that was in the shop.

Next came a stop at the library. I love the local library system that lets me "order" books from any library in the county to pick up a couple blocks from my house. BUT, I've been a very fortunate girl to receive quite a few books for Channukah and "just cause" so it was time to drop off the library books I had.

Then there was a run to the grocery store, which luckily also had a bank so I could deposit some money, pick up some fixings for dinner, and of course, the requisite stamps so I could send out our holiday cards.

Things haven't slowed down since I've been home since I got right to work burning some Christmas mix cds. This meant, as usual, that I needed a quick dinner - and if you know anything about me by now, that means chicken! With some bell peppers and onions - kind of like you would normally pair with steak, or sausage...but you may remember I used up the leftover freezer steak earlier this week. So chicken it was!

Chicken with Bell Peppers and Onions
2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 chicken breast
2 Tbsp avocado oil - well, you can use olive oil...we've switched over to avocado oil in Thathouse
1 small onion, sliced
1 small green pepper, sliced
3/4 cup chicken stock

1. Mix flour, 1 tsp seasoned salt and 1/2 tsp lemon pepper in a shallow bowl. Coat chicken with flour, and reserve remaining flour.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add chicken. Cook 6 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through. Remove chicken from skillet. Once cool, slice chicken into strips.
3. Add onions and bell peppers to skillet and cook 5 minutes while stirring.
4. Mix broth, reserved flour, and 1/2 tsp garlic salt. Add to skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer 1 minute. Add chicken back to skillet and toss with bell peppers and onion.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The last baby of 2009

On Friday, December 4, we welcomed Trois into the world. Trois is the third (and last) child of my friend Myrtle. Myrtle claims that Trois was the easiest of her three deliveries, by now she's a pro at this thing. I was thrilled that Trois arrived so early in December because it meant Thatboy and I could meet before our holiday travels.

I'd love to say Trois was delighted to meet us, but she seemed a little underwhelmed by the whole situation. Mostly she did a lot of sleeping. And cuddling with Thatboy. But who can blame her - wouldn't you like to cuddle with Thatboy?

Myrtle on the other hand was wide awake, and looking unbelievably gorgeous. She's been doing a lot of resting though and has some help from the family in dealing with her other two children, both of whom are in love with their new baby sister.

We brought over some food to help the family along, including some groceries Myrtle was running low on. Who would have thought someone could be so grateful for blueberries! And of course we had to bring presents for Un and Deux! (And maybe some alcoholic enjoyment for Myrtle and her husband)

Add ImagePoppyseed Chicken (renamed "Un's Chicken with Ants"
...because there's nothing 5 year old boys like better than bugs. Except pirates of course)

Lentil Soup (or "Deux's Melted Crayon Soup")

Italian Wedding Soup (or Trois's Baby Meatball Soup)

Roast Chicken with aspargus and roasted potatoes (or Myrtle's Wee-licious Roasted Chicken)

Corn Bread (or Wonderland Bread)

Mr. Myrtle's Baby-Q Pulled Pork

And of course, Friday marked the first night of Channukah.

We spent the first night with Thatmom, Thatbrother, and UDubb sharing a dinner and exchanging gifts. It turned into the Thatgirl show since everyone wanted to shower me with gifts. YAY me!

We spent the second night with Thatmom, seeing a movie and having a dinner out.

Tonight we were back home in Thathouse, sharing gifts and eating latkes. We're just sooo predictable this time of year.

And our finished Christmas tree - presents and all:

Happy Channukah to all those who celebrate!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Teriyaki - not just for chicken

I'll be the first to admit it, chicken and teriyaki go together like peanut butter and jelly. And I fall back quite often on making an easy lunch by tossing together some chicken and teriyaki sauce.

But teriyaki works equally as well with that leftover steak you've got in the freezer just begging to be used. Yup, that's right - I'm trying to use up freezer foods again! Mostly because I'm in the process of another "new mom" batch of food and I need all the freezer space I can get. Between making my new mom food, and the fact that TWO of my coworkers have birthdays this week, I'm also falling back on whatever I can make quickly for Thatboy and I to eat. Yes, sometimes we suffer so others can benefit. We're good sports. Although it is easy to be a good sport when you get something warm and filling in your stomach.

This is also another one of those "fill up with veggies" meals. I was able to use a small piece of steak to feed both Thatboy and I by adding a ton of fresh vegetables into the mix. It's the perfect trick to keep a meal light while leaving you satisfied.

Teriyaki Beef
1 Tbsp canola oil
2 cups of your favorite veggies
1/4 lb sirloin steak, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 tsp crushed ginger
2 Tbsp teriyaki sauce
  1. Heat oil over medium high heat. Add veggies, stirfry for 5 minutes.
  2. Add steak and cook until meat is cooked through.
  3. Stir in ginger and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Stir in teriyaki sauce and cook until the sauce is heated.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Proof that I read into your comments

Well, due to the resounding lack of response to my last post, I'm going to assume that most of y'all aren't really into the idea of a holiday cd mix exchange. However, for the three of you that are, I'll personally send you a mix - just for playing. Jenny - if you could email me your address (contact info on my profile page) that would help.

For the rest of you - I'll get back to what you're more obviously interested in. Food. Growing up in a small town, I didn't have a wide selection of Asian cuisine available to me. We had one Chinese restaurant and one Vietnamese restaurant. But I grew up completely addicted to the Girl Talk series of books. One of my most vivid memories of the book is one of the girls in the group, Randy Zak was cool and from New York and her mother and she ate thai food takeout - straight from the container. First, I ADORE the idea of eating food out of a paper takeout carton. I'm always trying to get Thatboy to bring home cartons we can eat out of with chopsticks. But there are two problems with this. You'd be surprised how few places actually use them anymore, and it makes it hard to eat family style, which is how we usually eat. The other thing I got from the books is the exoticness of Thai food - which I always wanted to try. As soon as I was out of the house, Thai food became a staple in my diet. Luckily Thatboy is equally as interested in Thai food and the first two years of our relationship we had a semi-permanent booth at a local place near our college.

Thai food is one of those cuisines that is a little intimidating for me to make at home, so I usually go out when I have a craving. And it's just so easy because the place a block from our house is fantastic, and the waitstaff all know me. When I do make it at home, I go the easy route and usually use a premade curry which I then add meat and veggies to. But I have been looking for curry paste to attempt to make my own - and a couple weeks ago I found it. (I know, I wasn't looking very hard....I work right beside an Asian market. I just always forget to pick some up when I'm there.)

Once I had the curry paste, it wasn't very difficult to throw together the remaining ingredients. And this way I could add as much coconut milk as I wanted! Some of the Thai recipes I've attempted and featured in this blog are a little labor intensive, but this is insanely easy. Almost a cheater recipe. And while it won't ever take the place of my neighborhood haunt, if you pick up a takeout carton from Michaels you can eat it right in front of the tv!

Shrimp in Red Curry
1/2 can coconut milk
1 Tbsp red curry paste
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 lb shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1/2 cup of snow peas and red bell pepper, sliced
1 Tbsp fish sauce

  1. Heat coconut milk in skillet, just until simmering and stir in curry paste and sugar, sturring until disolved. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
  2. Add shrimp and veggies to coconut curry mix. Cook until shrimp just turns pink.
  3. Stir in fish sauce and remove from heat.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Proof that I read your comments

First, I'll address Amber who requested a post dedicated to my favorite Christmas songs.
In no particular order:

  • Baby I't's Cold Outside - I'm a fan of the original, with Ricardo Montalban and Esther Williams from one of my all time favorite movies. But I have probably 5 different versions of the song. Thatboy and I do a rousing rendition that brings down the house.
  • The Chipmunk Song - The Chipmunks (obviously)
  • You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch - Thurl Ravenscroft
  • Heatmiser and Coldmiser - I have no idea who sings these, but they're from my favorite Christmas movie, "the year without a santa clause"
  • Little Drummer Boy - Bing Crosby and David Bowie
  • Melekelikimaka - Bing Crosby
  • Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt
  • Christmas in Killarny - Bing Crosby
  • God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLaughlin
  • Last year, Thatboy and I went to New York City the first weekend in December and while we were attending Avenue Q, the cast members were selling a cd called "Carols for Cure" to raise money for We purchased one and it is currently my all time favorite Christmas cd. It features the cast of every show on Broadway last year singing a Christmas (or Channukah) song. I love every song on the cd but my two favorites are:
* I Wonder As I Wander - The Broadway Cast of Spring Awakening
* Christmas In My Mobile Home -The Broadway Cast Great American Trailer Park Musical

Second - I'm using y'all as a sounding board. Inspired by Laura's 560 song mix, I was inspired with an idea. How would you feel about a holiday mix exchange? Different than your typical recipe exchange or ornament exchange, participants would each make a mix cd with their favorite holiday songs and then send it to some one else. What do you think? Would you be interested? And this could be done one of two ways to protect privacy. Option 1: I could collect the names and addresses of everyone who wants in and match them up, then email you with the address of your match to send the cd. Option 2: if it makes you feel safer, you can all send me the cds and then I can send them out to your match. In the comment section let me know if you'd want to participate and whether you'd rather option 1 or option 2.

And for those of you who HATE Christmas music, and only tune in for the pictures and recipes, well I wouldn't want to disappoint you.

Slaw Burger
  • 1/2 cooked brow rice
  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1/2 cup cole slaw
  1. Combine rice, ground beef, and taco seasonings and form into two patties.
  2. Grill patties over medium high heat until cooked through (about 10 minutes)
  3. Top each burger with 1/4 cup coleslaw.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like.....

Tonight after work Thatboy began what will go down in the history books as "preparation for the holidays weekend." Technically I started it earlier when I started creating my "Christmas Mix." It's something I've been known for since college, and although it's never been as large a selection as when I was in college, this year we're at 300 songs. The roadtrip later this month is going to be SO much fun.

Tonight we went and picked out our Christmas tree. The best part about being married to a Jewish girl is that there are no fights about Christmas. I leave it entirely in Thatboy's hands. Thatboy grew up with real Christmas trees, so we have always gone out to get real Christmas trees.

We packed up Thatdog and headed to our local lot (that does free delivery - score!) We love the people here, and Thatdog loves running around the lot.

This is Thatdog impersonating a deer in headlights. We call this his "goat ears" look. I have no idea why he does this with his ears whenever we try to take his picture.

I picked out three trees which Thatboy vetoed. Then he picked out a 9 footer, which I vetoed. Eventually we found this guy! See how the light above looks like a tree topper?

Now look how the light above looks like a Thatboy topper!

All picked out, they wrapped up our tree and we headed home to make dinner and wait for the delivery.

Decorating the tree is a whole event in itself and will be done some night this weekend - complete with movies and hot chocolate! But Thatboy just can't wait and as soon as the tree came he had to put the lights on it.

While he got to work on the tree, I got to work on dinner - the ugliest chicken ever. It's an easy recipe, but yields a less than attractive result. At least it tastes delicious! And it's red - perfect for our pre-holiday festivities.

Salsa Chicken
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 jar of your favorite salsa
  1. Heat oil over medium high heat. Cook the chicken 5 minutes per side, until brown.
  2. Add salsa to chicken and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook for another 5 minutes.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Mango Tango

Have I told y'all my mango story? Thatmom is SERIOUSLY allergic to mangoes, so we never had them in the house growing up. Apparently mango allergies aren't that uncommon as the mango is in the same family as poison ivy and the skin contains the same chemical. And because it's the oil of the mango that causes the problems, Thatmom has had a reaction requiring trips to the emergency room just by having someone who has recently touched a mango, touch her.

So until I was in my late teens, I never hade a mango, and I never knew what I was missing. Then, when Thatmom was out of town for a week, Thatdad did it - he brought home a mango! He had dutifully given them up upon finding out about Thatmom's allergy, but he never forgot their splendor. I remember watching with awed anticipation as he removed the thick, colorful peel and revealed the bright yellow flesh beneath. And I think I can remember my first wonderful bite. I was hooked. From then on, we had a 3 day rule. As long as Thatmom was out of town for longer than 3 days, we'd celebrate her leaving with mango! The three day rule has stuck with me, and I've imparted it on Thatboy - we don't eat mango within 3 days of seeing Thatmom. But otherwise, all bets are off.

I pack mango in our lunches, we have mango sorbets and margaritas, and one of the few times we order dessert out is when mango and sticky rice is on the menu.

This summer when I was ALL over the fruit salsa kick, I whipped up some mango salsa. It was excellent over shrimp, but went just as well with chips when Thatboy brought it into work for his coworkers. I also imagine it would be lovely with fish....if you like that kind of stuff.

Mango Salsa
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 mangoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 papaya, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 serrano chili pepper, sliced (the more seeds you remove, the less spicy the salsa will be)
  1. Combine all ingredients
  2. Refrigerate overnight to let flavors marry

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Port of Call

Thatboy had to work on his actual birthday, and since it was a weekday, we decided to celebrate the big day with a dinner for just the two of us. I let Thatboy pick what restaurant he wanted to go to, and he nearly instantly responded with "Pizza Port." Pizza Port is one of Thatboy's favorite "after surf" hang outs. Although the pizza is good, Pizza Port is better known for their award winning brews. They've been featured in Bon Apetit, and just took home a bunch of gold, silver, and bronze medals at the Great American Beer Festival in September. They also won best in show at a local San Diego beer festival - which is important because San Diego is microbrew nation.

So naturally, we started off with beer! I went with the Shark Attack - a red that won the gold medal in its category at the Great American Beer Festival. Thatboy went with the Cardiff Cream Ale - which was much better than I would have expected.

To go with our beers we orderd the spicy hot wings. When we ordered them, everyone who worked there made it seem like a bad idea. "Those are REALLY hot" the cashier said. "REALLY HOT" said the young woman flipping dough. Thatboy likes a challenge, so we ordered them anyway. The first wing wasn't so bad, but these things have a SLOW burn. Soon Thatboy and I had eyes tearing up, looking around for something to help.

This garlic bread didn't help at all. It was so garlicy and spicy that it only intensified the wings. We discovered that the best thing was to just keep eating the wings. Once you got a rhythm going, they weren't so bad at all.

No matter where Thatboy works, he ends up with a work boyfriend. Right now, that boyfriend is N. Every day Thatboy comes home from work with a "N did this" or "N said that." They ride the train home together every day, so they get loads of good romantic time. Well, when we arrived at Pizza Port, Thatboy started in with "N said the best pizza is their bbq bacon cheeseburger pizza, so we have to get that." Far be it for me to argue with N. I learned long ago to let those battles slide. Normally I would veto this menu choice, but it was Thatboy's birthday so we ordered it. It was actually loads better than I thought. Because of the bbq sauce, it reminded me of bbq chicken pizza, which I love. And the cheeseburger part wasn't too different than sausage on a pizza.

Given that we were in Vegas all weekend, and I was hard at work preparing Thanksgiving, I consider myself truly blessed that Thatboy's favorite cake is Baskin Robbins ice cream cake. So we came home and did our own cake celebration. Everyone should have cake on their birthday! Happy Birthday baby!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Anatomy of a Surprise

1) Invent a distraction.
- To keep Thatboy from noticing that the dog was boarded and there was a bag packed in the back seat of the car, I unwittingly enlisted the help of H and her husband. H and Thatboy share a birthday, so I suggested we all go out to dinner on the Friday before their birthday. She readily agreed. AND even suggested carpooling to dinner with Thatboy since they work together. Which means I just had to meet them at the restaurant.

2) Make a dramatic presentation.
- After dinner, (and a few drinks on his part) I led Thatboy to the car where there was an envelope with his name on it taped to the passenger seat. It took him a while to read the destination on our boarding passes, but the look on his face when he finally got it was priceless. We were off to Vegas, baby.

3) Create the right atmosphere.
- Thatboy is a sucker for bright colors and modern design, so he was head over heels upon checking in to our suite at Mandalay Bay.

He loved it so much, he decided we wouldn't leave the room at all our first night. Instead we cuddled on the bed and watched trashy tv.

Until we found the television in the bathroom - which meant we could watch trashy tv from the sunken tub!

4) Keep the food coming!
- Thatboy decided he just wanted to grab a quick bite at the hotel the next morning, and I'm not one to argue. So we headed to Red, White, and Blue for breakfast.

My egg, ham, and cheese croissant. The fresh croissant was the best part of this meal, followed by the strawberries.

Thatboy's french toast with creme anglaise.

5) Indulge in fantasies.

Thatboy drooling over his dream car.

6) Enlist accomplices. One of Thatboy's best friends lives in Vegas. We'll call her...Vegas! Vegas and Thatboy have been friends since high school. Actually, Vegas, her husband, and Thatboy have all been friends since high school. And Thatboy hasn't seen Vegas in....2 years? As soon as I started planning the trip, I contacted Vegas to see if she was free to meet up. She was. We planned a fabulous dinner to celebrate Thatboy's birthday. Reservations were secured at Mesa Grill - since of Bobby Flay is Thatboy's favorite celebrity chef.

We all ordered a round of fancy margaritas. I had the white peach, and Thatboy had their version of the cadillac.

Thatboy's coffee rubbed filet mignon. He love love loved this. He was concerned that the restaurant wouldn't live up to his expectations, but they exceeded his every dream.

My southwestern spiced duck breast with carrot habanero sauce and a delicious chorizo goat cheese tamale. Know why I love Vegas? She KNOWS that goat cheese is a magic word.

Mr. and Mrs. Vegas with us.

The Vegases know everything about Vegas, and they took us to a special balcony at Margaritaville that had been closed for the night, giving us a prime view of the strip. And all the margaritas we could handle. Which was about one each. Mr. Vegas filled us in on all the hotel secrets, including the fact that our hotel was literally sinking since it was built over a river. Mrs. Vegas told us about all the recent shootings done by local police - including the one she eye witnessed. This was brought on by the ridiculous number of bike cops on the strip below us, seemingly running laps.
7) Do things you can't record on film.
- EWWWW. Get your mind out of the gutter! My mom reads this blog! I happened to read that our hotel had something called an "ice lounge" but I wasn't sure what that was. It sounded cool though (har har har). Turns out Minus 5 Ice Lounge is a bar made entirely of ice. And they don't let you bring your cameras inside. Mostly so they can charge you a million dollars for their own photos. Thatboy and I wrapped ourselves up in the jackets and gloves they provided and headed in. We drank vodka from glasses made of ice. We sat on fur blankets atop benches made of ice. We rested our glasses on tables made of ice as we looked out windows made of ice. I stopped Thatboy from licking the ice sculptures, but he couldn't resist smashing our empty glasses.

8) Don't forget you may be surprised yourself.

When we finally made our way back to the room, there was a present waiting for us. Tequila shots and chocolate from Thatmom, Thatbrother, and UDubb.

9) Take in the sights

10) Did I mention to keep the food coming?

On our whirlwind trip to New York last year we didn't have time to get to Serendipity - the famous ice cream shop known for their frozen hot chocolate. I didn't see it as much of a loss since the line there usually wraps around the block and they have a minimum per person order requirement. But since they just opened an outpost in Vegas I thought we should drop in. No insanely long line. No minimum purchase.

Thatboy had the ABC burger with avocado, brie, and chile. And some pretty awesome waffle fries.

I'm not usually a nacho person. Nachoes are UDubbs favorite food. For some reason I really felt like ordering the nachoes, and I remembered why I'm not usually a nacho person. They were generally blah. Thatboy won the ordering game.

And of course, we ended the trip with a frozen hot chocolate. And a couple beers. And some slots........

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pies and More

Thanksgiving is a huge holiday in Thatfamily. Preparation starts weeks in advance. Everyone had their jobs. Thatmom did most of the cooking. Thatdad made all the "weird" dishes - like a turducken, or a specialty turkey, or a new and unique stuffing. I was in charge of all the desserts save three - Thatdad's ice cream and Thatmom's twenty pound cake and apple crisp. Several days before Thanksgiving, Thatdad would start making the ice cream. He had to work in advance, because once the oven got cooking, it would be too hot for the ice cream to set. Two days before Thanksgiving Thatmom got to work on her twenty pound cake and apple crisp. The day before Thanksgiving all the sides got made, leaving the day of for stuffing, turkey, and gravy. Repro and his family brought the green veggie and mashed potatoes and we'd all feast along with whatever Thanksgiving stragglers we had picked up that year - from Thatparents' students, to friends, to new additions to our family.

This year things were going to be a little different, and Thatmom, Thatboy, and I were all a little concerned as to how Thanksgiving was going to play out. Thatmom is naturally distracted more than usual, which means we had the same conversation 7-8 times about who was making what and when. Even the carefully written out list with the guests, who was bringing what, and when we each had to make each dish didn't prevent a phone call about every three days asking what "so and so" was bringing.

Taking Thatboy away for his birthday weekend, and continuing celebration on his actual birthday gave me 1.5 days to prepare before we headed to Thatmom's house to start the holiday preparation there. I had made the pie dough the week before and froze it to give myself a head start. This year I took over Thatdad's role as ice cream maker and made his specialty - fudge swirl with chocolate chunks and wet walnuts. I made that Monday night along with baking the won ton cups. Tuesday night was all about pie as I made the pumpkin apple and pumpkin pie. And of course some pumpkin ice cream, for those who don't love chocolate. (Along with some pecan muffins for our coworkers) Wednesday Thatboy and I took a half day at work and headed up to Thatmom's house where I made the polenta and biscuit dough. And Thursday I just made myself useful - and finished up the other appetizers.

For ease of reference, we'll divide the meal into three courses. Each course took up an entire table of food.

Course 1: Appetizers. Knits and I were in charge of these, but since it's my blog I just have pictures of what I made.

Salad in won ton cups

Polenta squares with goat cheese - these were good as is, but even better when I repurposed the leftovers for breakfast:
goat cheese polenta squares topped with black beans, sunny side up eggs, and salsa

The hit of my appetizers was the baked brie with cranberries and apple. This went over so well, that I'll probably make it again for Christmas with the inlaws.

Course 2: Turkey Dinner

How gorgeous does Thatmom's turkey look? After Thatboy raved about my turkey last year, Thatmom let me brine this 24 lb bad boy. We're not normally briners, but we will be from now on. Everyone agreed this was the moistest turkey they've had. The turkey is stuffed with Thatmom's famous chestnut stuffing. Then I used the turkey drippings to make the gravy - which Repro described as "strong." I'm also now the official gravy maker of the family, which is fine, because I think it's the easiest part of Thanksgiving.

My not to be missed biscuits. I call them cream biscuits because they have 1 cup of cream in them. I actually ran out of cream after the ice cream and almost made them with half and half. Thatboy decided we shouldn't mess with perfection.

The spread and the crowd. We turn the kitchen island into a buffet of good foods. Two tables, and 14 people from across the county gather to enjoy. This is also the best vantage to see Toxicesq's cranberry relish and Repro's famous mashed potatoes (both the guilt-free and guilty versions), and broccoli.

Multiple plates of turkey and stuffing so no one has to wait too long to fill their plate. My favorite - candied yams, and Thatmom's favorite - cranberry relish. Because you can never have too much, we require two of every dish.

Course 3: Dessert - not pictured are Thatmom's twenty pound cake and apple crisp. And the baklava that my mom's sister sent from New Jersey.

Nissan brought pumpkin cheesecake from the Urth Caffe.

My pumpkin apple pie. Thatbrother, Thatboy, and Thatmom were very skeptical of this pie, but it ended up being a hit.

My take on Thatdad's fudge swirl ice cream with chocolate chunks and wet walnuts. Mine ended up having a lot more chocolate in it. Who would've guessed?

Bass LOVES pumpkin pie. (I'd like to say he loves my pumpkin pie, but I'm fairly sure he'd eat just about anybody's). He made a special request this year that I make a graham cracker crust instead of my usual pie crust. GOOD SUGGESTION! The pumpkin pie with graham cracker crust was a hit. Everyone loved it. Even Thatmom loved it and ate it two days in a row - and she doesn't like pumpkin pie! She declared it the best pumpkin pie ever.

This pumpkin pie ice cream from also raised some eyebrows. Then Petman tried some and declared it "awesome" and soon the rest of the family followed suit. I heard murmurs of "did you try the pumpkin ice cream yet" from everyone. And each person who tried it fell in love.

Pie recipes:

Pumpkin Apple Pie
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3/4 Tbsp flour
3 granny smith apples
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin
5 oz of evaporated milk

1. Preheat oven to 425. Line a 9 inch pie pan with unbaked dough. Mix 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour in bowl.
2. Peel, core, and slice the apples and toss them in the sugar/cinnamon mixture, coating well.
3. Heat 1/4 cup sugar in a small pan on medium heat with 1/16 cup of water, stirring until dissolved. Allow to cool.
4. Combining remaining sugar, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in medium bowl.
5. Add egg and beat with a whisk.
6. Add pumpkin, evaporated milk, and cooled sugar water and mix well.
7. Spoon apple mixture into pie pan. Pour pumpkin mixture over apple mixture. Bake 15 minutes.
8. Reduce temperature to 350 and bake 40 more minutes.

Pumpkin Pie
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 6 ounces)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 425. Mix the graham crackers with sugar and melted butter and press into bottom and sides of 9 inch pie pan. Chill while preparing filling.
2. Whisk pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt in bowl.
3. Pour pumpkin mixture into graham cracker crust and bake 15 minutes.
4. Reduce oven temperature to 350 and bake for another 40 minutes.