Tag Archives: Pie

What’s in the Box? Recipe Roundup #14

What's in the Box?

This summer has been all about traveling.  Whether we were moving, or jet-setting across the Atlantic, it seems like we are always on the go.  And we still have a few more weeks to go until we are home.  But Harper and I are having a blast and enjoying each and every minute of it (minus missing Daddy…that part really sucks).

After coming home from Branson last week, we decided to hop up to Santa Barbara to visit some of our close friends.  Santa Barbara is a special place for us.  It is where we lived for the last 3 years before Freddie took his new job up north.  It is where we found out we were pregnant and where Harper was born.  And most importantly, it is where we have created lifelong friendships with some very special folks.  We are so grateful for the memories that we have in this beautiful town, and it feels good to be “home”, even for just a little while.

Here is a glimpse at what we have been up to in our favorite coastal city…

Greek Festival

For such a small town, Santa Barbara is famous for their summer festivals. This past weekend, we enjoyed the food, the fun and the music of the Greek Festival.

Cute Little Firefighters

The streets are officially safe with these two adorable firefighters on duty

Beach Fun

You can’t be staying a few blocks from the beach without taking a dip. Although Harper was clearly way more excited about the cold water than I was…

We are blessed to be able to visit such wonderful people in such a beautiful place.

But this post isn’t a paid advertisement for Santa Barbara (although it should be…), it’s about the goodness of veggies.  And although I still don’t have a box (but I got one coming next week), there’s more than enough produce at the party to go around.

Last week we had a total of 11 link ups.  And not only were there Fried Green Tomatoes and Buffalo Chicken Pizza, but there was homemade pie, and a collection of blueberry treats!  Man, are we spoiled :)  Thanks for sharing and linking up!  You continue to amaze me with your delicious and nutritious dishes.

As for me, I have been eating my weight in homegrown tomatoes, which is ironic considering I used to not be the biggest fan.  But after almost 3 years of CSA membership, and tons of great recipes linked to the party, I have collected enough scrumptious ideas to change my mind (although I still won’t snack on them for fun…have to draw the line somewhere…).

So in honor of my graduation to an “almost tomato lover”, here are my favorite recipes that utilize the abundance of CSA tomatoes this season…

Chicken with Tomato Herb Pan Sauce

Chicken with Tomato Herb Pan Sauce - In Her Chucks

Cherry Tomato Pesto

Cherry Tomato Pesto - In Her Chucks

Homemade Tomato Sauce

Homemade Tomato Sauce - In Her Chucks

Your turn: What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate your CSA tomatoes into simple and delicious meals?  Looking forward to drooling over your ideas.  

Linking up for the first time?  Click here for more info…and Welcome!

PS:  Don’t forget to tell your readers about the party by linking back to this post and grabbing the official “What’s in the Box?” button at the bottom of my blog.  Thanks!

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17 Months

Pure love. Pure joy.  Pure happiness.  Being a mommy to this little girl rocks!  For 17 months Harper has been making her mark on this big world.  She grows and changes daily and continues to bring a smile to my face.  Toddlerhood has brought on some rough days, but no matter how tough it gets, I can’t help but love her more and more.

Harper’s Firsts:

First Blueberry Picking:  This last month has been filled with lots of fun outdoor activities.  Blueberry picking was definitely one of the highlights.  Even though Harper wasn’t into the picking as much as she just liked to carry the bucket around, it was exciting to do something new as a family.  Good thing daddy was doing all the picking so we could enjoy this pie :)

First Firework Show:  Although this was Harper’s 2nd 4th of July holiday, it was her first time enjoying a firework display.  Last year she was a bit young to appreciate the bright lights and loud bangs, but this year she turned out to be quite the fan.  It was wonderful to experience this moment with her.  It was also another reminder of how quickly she is growing up.

First Dip in the Ocean:  Today, we met our cousins at the beach.  I’m a bit ashamed to admit this, but it was our first trip to the beach since we moved.  We live blocks away but never seem to make our way over.  But after Harper’s enthusiastic response, we will be making many more visit’s to the beach this summer.

Harper’s Favs:

Favorite Toy:  Harper is becoming quite the chef.  She loves to “cook, cook”  and create delicious imaginary meals.  After the lasting success of her picnic basket, I went ahead and picked her up a LeapFrog Cook and Play Potsy and she can’t get enough of it!  She especially enjoys the “gocki” (translation…broccoli) and “soup” (which means spoon).

Favorite Song:  To be honest, Harper seems to be a fan of pretty much every song nowadays.  She will sing along to anything with a melody, even if she doesn’t know the words.  But one song that we catch her singing quite often is Mr. Sun.  I play it frequently in my music classes and she also watches it on her DVD.  It’s the perfect song for summer :)

Favorite Book:  Harper is becoming quite the counter.  She loves to practice her numbers and is learning to count to 12.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Finger Puppet Book is a great way to get her counting.  Plus, she gets a kick out of the “fly” (butterfly) at the end.

Harper Still…

Even though my baby girl is growing up pretty quickly, we are still enjoying some of the same things we did together when she was first born.  As a mother who practices attachment parenting, I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in these activities with Harper even as she gets older.

Breastfeeds:  Harper is still very interested in nursing.  We usually start our day with a long feeding session in the morning.  It seems to be the morning brew that sets her up for a successful day.  If she skips her morning nursing, she tends to be a bit fussy and cranky.  Harper is eating more and more solid foods every day, so she doesn’t seem to be using nursing as a snack much anymore.  She still likes to nurse down for her naps and bedtime.  I am also still feeding her a few times throughout the night.  I have been trying to offer her other ways to settle but she becomes adamant that she wants “milp” (her version of milk) and even remembers to use her manners (“peeese!”).

Co-Sleeps:  There is nothing better than snuggling up to my little girl.  And she is quite the cuddle bug.  She tends to sleep closer to her daddy (although he has recently discovered that he gets a better night sleep if he sleeps in the guest room) but she seems to be happy as long as she is touching someone.

Likes to be carried:  Carrying Harper is getting harder as she is getting bigger, but it is still her most preferred way to travel.  Even though she is now walking…more like running….everywhere, I find it safer to carry her as she isn’t the best at holding hands quite yet.  There are days that I wish she would go in a stroller, to ease the pain on my lower back and allow me to take her on long walks, but I am quickly reminded that I will probably only be able to carry her for a little while longer, before she becomes big enough to carry me!  (For the record, my mom, who happens to only be 5’2”, carried my brother, who is now over 6 feet, until he was 7…so I think I have it in my genes!).

Life just keeps getting sweeter and motherhood is quite lovely.  Believe it or not, I still have to remind myself that I am a mom.  It hasn’t quite sunk in yet.  And when things get busy and life is flying by, I have to take a moment to admire my “Harper Do” and be grateful to have her in my life.  She is my little buddy and my darling sunshine.  And is still growing up way too fast…

Happy 17 Month Birthday Love!  Mommy and Daddy love you :)

Ps:  Harper broke a new tooth this month…but it’s so far back in her mouth, it’s almost impossible to snap a picture of it.  So you’ll have to take my word for it.  Which means, we are now up to 7 teeth!

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The Best Blueberry Pie

Nothing completes a 4th of July BBQ quite like a homemade piece of berry pie (a la mode of course!).  But this isn’t just any berry pie.  According to Cook’s Illustrated, this is the BEST Blueberry Pie.  And with the addition of our handpicked fresh blueberries, this pie just got even better.

If it weren’t for our over abundance of berries, I may have never considered making this pie.  Like I have mentioned before, I rarely have the heart to bake or cook with my fresh fruit.  I love it so much that it is it is hard for me part with it.  But with blueberries coming out of our ears, I had no problem putting them to good use in this delicious pie.

When it comes to baked goods, I rarely get this fancy.  I have made many pies in my lifetime, and have even made my own crust.  But to be honest, nowadays, if I can get away with using store bought crust, I will usually take advantage of the short cut (no shame in my game…).  And while we are in the midst of confessions, I planned on using store bought crust for this pie too.  Especially since I was pressed for time and coming down with a cold.  But my neighbor (who had recommended this recipe and had made his own pie the day before) offered to help me.  So this pie ended up being a joint effort :)


Foolproof Pie Dough

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

1 teaspoon table salt

2 tablespoons sugar

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces

1/4 cup cold vodka

1/4 cup cold water

Blueberry Filling

6 cups (about 20 ounces) fresh blueberries

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated on large holes of box grater

2 teaspoons grated zest and 2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon

3/4 cup (5 1/2 ounces) sugar

2 tablespoons instant tapioca, ground

Pinch table salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces

Egg Wash

1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water


1.  FOR THE PIE DOUGH:  Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about two 1 second pulses.  Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds; will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour.  Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade.  Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses.  Empty mixture into medium bowl.

2.  Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture.  With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together.  Divide dough into 2 even balls and flatten each into 4 inch disk.  Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

3.  Remove one disk of dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up 10 1/4 cup) work surface to 12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick.  Roll dough, loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand.  Leave dough that overhangs plate in place; refrigerate while preparing filling until dough is firm, about 3o minutes.

4.  FOR THE FILLING:  Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 400 degrees.  Place 3 cups berries in medium saucepan and set over medium heat.  Using potato masher, mash berries several times to release juices.  Continue to cook, stirring frequently and mashing occasionally, until about half of berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 8 minutes.  Let cool slightly.

5.  Place grated apple in a clean kitchen towel and wring dry.  Transfer apple to large bowl.  Add cooked berries, remaining 3 cups uncooked berries, lemon zest, juice, sugar, tapioca, and salt; toss to combine. Transfer mixture to dough-lined pie plate and scatter butter pieces over filling.

6.  Roll out second disk of dough on generously floured (up 10 1/4 cup) work surface to 11-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick.  Using a cookie cutter of your choice, cut shape from center of dough.  Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll over pie, leaving at least 1/2 inch overhang on each side.  Cut slits in the top using a sharp knife.

7.  Using kitchen shears, trim bottom layer of overhanging dough, leaving 1/2 inch overhang.  Fold dough under itself so that edge of fold is flush with outer rim of pie plate.  Flute edges using thumb and forefinger, or press with tines of fork to seal.  Brush top and edges of pie with egg wash.  If dough is very soft, chill in freezer for 10 minutes.

8.  Place pie on heated baking sheet and bake 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until juices bubble and crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes longer.  Transfer pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours.  Cut into wedges and serve.

Recipe slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, Issue #93

I wouldn’t consider myself a pie girl.  I might indulge during Thanksgiving or Christmas but for the most part, I save my calories for other sweet treats.  But this pie has a magic about it that had me going back for more.  The blueberries might be the star, but the crust is pretty awesome too.  Slap a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top and you are in 4th of July heaven.

Even though the festivities of Independence Day are winding down, this pie is a dessert that can be enjoyed throughout the summer and beyond.  So the next time you have 6 cups of blueberries lying around, give it a try.  I bet you will agree that it is indeed THE BEST Blueberry Pie.


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No Bake Banana Pie

When I was doing my Thanksgiving shopping a few weeks ago I came upon some pre-made pie crusts.  I didn’t happen to need any, and they weren’t on my list either, but I couldn’t help but sneak them into my basket.  I had seen the graham cracker crust before but they also had shortbread and chocolate!  I felt inspired.

The other day I came across the crusts in my pantry and decided I needed to make one.  I went digging for some recipes and happened to find this.  Yum!  I threw it together in minutes…which means no fuss, no hassle and instant gratification :)


1 6 oz pre-made shortbread crumb crust (like this)


1/2 block (4 oz) of cream cheese, softened at room temperature

1/4 cup of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

1 1/2 cups of sifted powered sugar (sift then measure), set aside 3 tablespoons

1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

4 small bananas

Juice of one lemon


1 cup of heavy whipping cream

The 3-tablespoons of reserved sifted powdered sugar

1/4 – 1/2 cup of chopped pecans to garnish

Hershey’s syrup, to drizzle


Set aside 3 tablespoons of the sifted powered sugar.  Beat together the cream cheese and butter until creamy.  Mix on medium low, adding the powdered sugar (except for the reserved tablespoons) and cream, beginning and ending with the powered sugar, until mixed in well.  Stir in the vanilla; set aside.

Cut the bananas in to thin slices, about 1/4 inch, and toss very lightly in a small bowl with the lemon juice.

Place half of the cream cheese mixture into the bottom of the fully cooled pie crust and carefully spread it out all over the bottom of the crust.  An offset spatula works especially well for this.  Using a slotted spoon to drain, transfer bananas and add them to the top of the cream cheese mixture.  Place the rest of the cream cheese filling on top of the bananas and carefully spread it out into an even layer.

Beat the whipped cream in a mixer until it begins to foam up.  Gradually add the reserved powered sugar and beat until fully whipped and soft peaks are formed.

Spread the whipped cream topping evenly over the top of the second cream cheese layer.  Sprinkle the top with chopped pecans and then drizzle with the chocolate syrup.

Recipe slightly adapted from Deep South Dish

When the pie was finished I went outside to take some pictures and…

Which turned into…

And continued with…

But ended in…

And to be honest…nothing else that I have to say after that matters…Harper said it all :)

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Cheesy Tomato Pie

I have never been a true tomato fan.  I order my Double Double with no tomatoes, I pick out the tomatoes in my salads and I prefer my turkey sandwich unaccompanied by tomatoes.  I do enjoy tomato sauce and will occasionally take pleasure in a fresh Caprese salad or sandwich.  I think my main issue with tomatoes is when they are mixed up with other stuff.

As a recipient of a weekly organic produce box, you don’t get to choose what they bring you.  They deliver whatever is in season.  And in the summer that means tomatoes every week.  So in an effort to be resourceful, I took to Pinterest and found some creative ways to utilize my fresh tomatoes…mostly in the form of homemade tomato sauce…but you can only eat so much spaghetti!

A few months ago I got an email from Buns in My Oven, a blog I follow.  The recipe was for Tomato and Corn Pie.  I was so excited because I had just received corn and tomatoes in my weekly box.  I had never had a savory pie before.  I showed my husband the recipe, as I always do before I embark on a new culinary adventure, and he agreed to try it.  I gave him a small slice, and he went back for seconds and maybe even thirds.  I decided to make another one for a mommy potluck I attended and I received so many compliments on it.  I was happy to find a yummy new way to use my tomatoes.

I received another batch of tomatoes this week.  I had just made the Tomato and Corn Pie the week earlier and wanted to try a different tomato pie recipe.  I started searching and found this, Tomato, Cheddar and Bacon Pie.  I was sold by the word Bacon alone, I mean, really, who doesn’t love Bacon!  After reading the recipe further I was disappointed to find out that it’s actually not part of the pie at all, but rather a suggested protein to be served alongside the pie.  But the recipe still looked promising and I needed to get rid of these tomatoes so I gave it a shot…and the result…was delish!

I choose to serve it without the bacon, because I already ate some with my french toast this morning :)  The pie was a yummy side dish to our main course and my husband is excited to bring the leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

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