Saturday, July 14, 2018

Grandma's Icebox Lemon Pie

This cake is a staple in my house, and is a must for any summer birthday, party, baby shower... (the list goes on and on). It is simple to make and can be done a day ahead to save on precious time!

Grandma's Icebox Lemon Pie

Why I like this recipe: 

  • You can make this recipe the day ahead of the event you plan on serving the pie. Even better, the pie gets better with time. The flavors even out and have time to shine!
  • This recipe may seem long; however, the actual prep time is minimal. Much of the time is when the pie or crust is cooling. You can slip away to do other important things while the pie does all the work in the fridge!
  • No decorating is needing to make this look fantastic. Simply spreading the whip cream over the pie is the finishing touch, and takes little skill.
  • This recipe was been perfected over generations, and tastes deliciously rich and fresh!
Icebox Lemon Pie

  • 9 graham crackers
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 5 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 cans (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk 
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup and 2 Tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla 
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees with the rack positioned in the middle. 

Blend the graham crackers and sugar into the food processor for approximately 30 seconds. Add the butter and process for 8 pulses, until the butter is fully combined with the crumbs. Put the mixture in a 9 inch pie pan, and press down on the bottom and sides. (I have found hands work best for this step) Bake until slightly brown and fragrant, approximately 15 minutes. Allow the crust to cool for 30 minutes. 
Graham Cracker Crust

Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Place 3 tablespoons of condensed milk and the vanilla extract in a small container and set aside. Whisk the remaining condensed milk and eggs, until it has a smooth texture, about 1 minute. Slowly add the lemon juice to the mixture, and once fully combined, pour over the cooled crust. Bake for 15 minutes. When the edges are set, but the rest is slightly wobbly, take out of the oven and allow to cool for 1 hour. 
Lemon Pie in Oven

Then add the pie to the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours. Right before you are ready to serve take the cream and the condensed milk and vanilla you added to a container into a mixer, and whisk for 2 minutes over high. Once it is whipped cream, spread over the pie, and eat!

Finished Icebox Lemon Pie

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Saturday, July 7, 2018

Paleo - No Really - Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

My husband and I occasionally will go on a Paleo kick, and we really do enjoy the positives of the diet. However, sometimes I just want a damn cookie! This would mean either breaking the diet, (which is a slippery slope once you've re-taste the wonders of gluten) or eating fruit miserably, trying to pretend it is the same thing. Now we have discovered this recipe, and my time for complaining is no more! 
Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

Why I like this recipe:
  • A "Paleo-lite" house could have all the ingredients for this recipe. The first time I made it, I didn't need to run to the grocery store and buy some obscure ingredient. Almond and coconut flour are the special ingredients, and I typically have them handy. 
  • In addition to the ingredients being readily available, they are pretty minimal. Making the prep time complete in a few easy steps. 
  • Measuring out the almond and coconut flour is really for the best results, but it also eliminates measuring cups to wash. Seems like a small detail, but you tell that to the person in charge of dishes! 
  • Now I'm not going to say that these are just like the real thing. The website says realistic, and I plan to stick to it. However, they are pretty darn close! 
  • This recipe has make ahead options in addition to being Paleo! See below for the make ahead options. 

  • 2 cups (200 grams) almond flour
  • 2 Tbsp (14 grams) coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt, preferably sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup pure chocolate chips
Take the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until completely combined. In a small bowl mix together the vanilla, oil, and syrup, then slowly add to the dry ingredients while your mixer is on low (or by hand). Add the chocolate chips, cover, and put the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 

Paleo Dough Mixing

Right before you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Level a tablespoon with dough, and make into a 1 inch ball. Place on a baking sheet with parchment paper, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating sheets halfway. Allow the cookies cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Finished Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

Make Ahead: 
  • You can make the dough ahead of time and put it in the fridge for up to 24 hours. That way right before you have guest coming over, you can pop them in the oven, and serve warm cookies while your house smells amazing!
  • Baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container for a week, or frozen for up to a month. 
Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies
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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Fast and Easy Grilled Chicken Wings

I don't know what it is, I absolutely love wings. I know it isn't very culinary or fancy; however, they just make me so happy. Normally I would have to go out to a pub to get some good wings, but I would leave with a heavy bar tab and not feeling like it was worth the money! Here is my remedy to this situation, and to make it even better, it is fast and easy!
Fast and Easy Chicken Wings

Why I love this recipe:

  • This seems like a silly reason, but I only use two measuring spoons for the whole recipe. Aka...less dishes, less thought: just through in a teaspoon or a half teaspoon of that in there!
  • The grill keeps the heat out of the house on hot summer days. 
  • I also claim I do not know how to work the grill, so my husband does all the cooking. Shhh....don't tell him I really do! 
  • These wings aren't heavy, and the recipe is actually pretty healthy! It doesn't leave you feeling like you will have to run miles to work off what you just ate.
  • They come out so crispy, it is just like they were fried! This way you don't have the oil, and potential fire hazard of frying yourself!
  • You can double, triple, or quadruple this recipe and make it for a crowd! Looks like a lot of work, but it really isn't! If you have an event, it is a cheap way to provide amazing food!
Wings on the Grill

  • ½ cup salt
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 2 pounds chicken wings or drumsticks
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, optional
Mix the water and salt in a large bowl and then place the chicken in the water. Cover and let the chicken brine in the refrigerator for approximately 30 minutes. 

Dry Rub Spices for Wings

While the chicken is in the fridge, mix all the remaining seasons together in a small bowl. Don't be alarmed that the seasons all together look "pale." They brighten up once you put them on the chicken. 

Wings Ready to Go

Heat your grill accordingly (gas: heat for 15 min on high), then turn down to medium-low. Place the wings skin side up, and cook for 10-12 minutes. Flip the chicken, and let the skin crisp up for 10 minutes more of cooking. Once removed from the gill, cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. 

BBQ Wings for a Crowd

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Levantine Arabic: Week 2 Summary

Arabic: Week 2

Week 2 was great, and went much better than Week one! I was able to study on my commute to work, and used my Memrise app to do additional study and review while waiting for my yoga class to beginning. I really started to feel like I was getting the hang of studying while still holding a full time job, running errands, and maintaining a frantic life.

Some things that helped me are:

  • Using the Memrise app on my phone. I used this when I started to feel like I was memorizing the Mango app. At times I wondered if I really knew this word, or if I just knew what Mango wanted me to respond as. This was helpful to solidify what I had learned. 
    • Helpful tip: For Arabic, it is best to use Memrise on your phone. Occasionally one of the quizzes they give you is to write out a word. It is much better to do on your phone as you get a consolidated keyboard, and it is much easier to find letters. 
  • I also started to listen to music when I wanted down time. At times my head would hurt from trying to think; however, I still wanted to learn. I would listen to music in the car or while gardening, and I quickly realized I was actually picking things up!
    • To listen to music, try my Spotify list of what I started with. This is a mixture of current pop music and even some catchy children songs that really helped me practice my listening skills. 
  • Not giving up when my head hurt. Literally learning another language hurts my head. I get easily frustrated that I can't quickly and easily say what I want, and I especially don't like not understanding what someone is saying. (I don't think anyone does). In the past this would make me give up on my want to learn another language, and I would quickly quit.
    • When this happens, try listening to music and tell yourself it is ok if you "tune it out." Just having the music in the background, your brain is processing what it is hearing, and is actually learning. When you go back to listen to the music, you will remember hearing it once before, and you will be able to pick up words easier! 
I have been able to write about Chapter 2 of the Mango lesson I learned, and feel free to visit it. Or if you are just starting, see my write up on Chapter 1. Happy learning, and keep up the great work. 
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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Learning Levantine Arabic: Do You Speak English?

Arabic Chapter 2: Lesson 4-6

Now we are talking! In this chapter I feel like I am really starting to put together sentences and beginning in the nitty gritty. However now the real work begins. Where I felt like I was breezing in the first chapter, now comes real memorizing and work.

Overview and Tips of Chapter 2
  • This chapter is great for covering cultural notes, and gives a great insight to conversations in Arabic. 
  • In this chapter you will begin to learn conversation starters, and start forming sentences. 
  • Also when starting to form sentences, you will learn how to form the negative version of that sentence. 
  • In this chapter only the first and second person are introduced. 
Grammar Lessons of Chapter 2
It is not necessary to use separate words for I (أنَا) or you (اِنْتَا). The form of the verb changes when you want to specific would the doer is. The word مَا comes before verbs (like it does in English) and can mean not, don't, doesn't, or didn't. Depending on who is speaking, the formation of the verb can change. For example men say آسِف and women say آسْفَة. In Arabic, there are abbreviations like there are in English. For example أمْرِيكَا , is shortened from لوِلايَات المُتَّحِدة الأمْرِيكِيَّة.
Practice outside of Mango:
  • Memrise course to go over and practice the vocabulary used on the Mango app. 
  • Download a list of Chapter 2's vocabulary. 
  • KeefakLite App: The Introduce Yourself course is a great pairing with the Mango Chapter. It introduces additional vocabulary and similar description words than the Mango App. For example, Mango teaches the word bkher for fine, while the KeefakLite App teaches mnih for good. 
  • This is a good time to get familiar with how Arabic sounds. I thought that listening to something without understanding the exact meaning was a waste of time; however, it really works. Familiarize yourself with how people speak Arabic! Try listening to my Arabic playlist on Spotify, has great beginner songs!

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