Tag Archives: fall is here

It’s a Pumpkin Pie Day

The smells and creations that came out of my mum’s kitchen growing up make up many of my fondest memories. My mum fed people. She still does. She has always had a God-given, generous spirit and often whenever she cooked, some of it left our home to get to someone else’s. I love her example and whenever I cook I often think of my mum. There are things she has made for ages that I have given up attempting because it just doesn’t taste like hers. It lacks her special touch. She’s always tweaking recipes and if she has written the recipe down for me there are notes in the margin that say things like:

“Add celery too”

“Use some half and half” 

“Eyeball it” 

Oh dear! I’m out of my depth! 

This past November when our second daughter was born mum came to help. I remember her washing copius loads of laundry, making meals, cleaning up dishes, mopping floors, and keeping Izzy, our two and a half year old (at the time), a happy camper. What she also did may be one of my favorite adult memories to date. She taught me how to make her pie crust. Her pie crust needs a moment of foodie silence. It’s an all butter crust that is perfectly flaky and crisp, yet somehow manages to simultaneously melt in your mouth.  We ran out of time to go from crust to pie but I ended up with two lovely chilled disks of my mums dough. More importantly I got to help her and learn from her. I felt like I was five again except this time I didn’t have to sit on the counter. 

After she left I attempted the cooking of a filling and the assembly of a pumpkin pie and came to the consensus that I would need a LOT more practice. One thing mum and I agreed on together and giggled about in the process of her instruction was that I have not the hands of a pastry chef. My mom has frigid hands whether it’s 90 degrees or 20. Mine are hot whether it’s 90 degrees or 20. Hot hands and butter that’s supposed to stay chilled are not a happy match. Maybe I can soak my hands in ice water next time or maybe I should just leave the pie baking to my mum. 

Well today as I remembered back to learning how to make pie crust, I ached for the smells of home. My hot hands weren’t up for tackling pie crust so I made some pumpkin pie ice cream instead … And wished mum was here to try it. 

Maybe it wasn’t with your mum but with your dad, grandma or friend, but what are smells or recipes that bring to mind precious memories? I’d love to hear them. 

Vanilla Vanilla Vanilla

My husband sees no need for other flavors when it comes to cake, ice cream or really anything else baked or of a confectionary nature. Being a chocolate lover I could never concede in agreement but vanilla is an unrivaled building block and is indeed quite fantastic when done properly. 

Ever since Alton Brown opened my eyes to vanilla sugar I have gone rather bananas with it. 

In the past couple weeks I have used it in French toast, vanilla ice cream, oatmeal, sautéed apples and pumpkin pie ice cream. It’s just that amazing! It also ends up saving you a bit of money in the long run. I cringe every time I purchase vanilla beans because, as you know, it’s anywhere from $6-$10 for a couple! With vanilla sugar you can nix the vanilla beans in a recipe, replace the sugar with yours, and add a dash of vanilla extract for further fortification. 

My favorite vanilla sugar application this week has been sautéed apples with homemade ice cream. I peeled and sliced up about eight Granny Smith apples. I put 2T butter in a large skillet over medium/high heat. Once melted I threw in the apples, covered them generously with a 1/4-1/2cup of vanilla sugar and gave them a quick toss. I then added a good heaping teaspoon of cinnamon, a dash of salt, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla extract. I didn’t really measure anything so start small, taste and adjust. Let them hang out this way until you start to get a gooey faux caramel happening and turn off the heat. Let them cool until you’re ready to serve.

I know there are weeks where babysitting and making your own ice cream just isn’t gonna happen. Grab a good quality vanilla from the store and do the apples yourself. You’ll still have a deliciously easy dessert that’ll be ready in less than 20 minutes!


Happy Fall Y’all!