Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

September 30, 2011

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

For the last few years, instead of buying pumpkin pie spice at the store, I've been making up my own concoction based on the flavors I'm really looking for. I make a large enough batch to last through the autumn months, and not just for pumpkin pies, but for apple pies, apple butter, spiced hot chocolates and teas as well. I usually roast the spices whole before grinding them into a powder, but sometimes I don't. Either way, making this at home has given me the opportunity to use the freshest spices available to me, and it really affects the flavor.

This is the ratio of spices that I used this year, but you can tweak the amounts (or omit a spice you don't like) to suit your taste. I'm giving these measurements in powder form because whole spices vary in size, but this is about how much powder was yielded from my whole spices this year:

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Mix well until all of the spices are evenly distributed. Store in an airtight container, and use within two to three months for fresh results.

Apple-Honey Custard Pie

September 28, 2011

Apple Honey Custard Pie

Matt's parents gave us two buckets of apples over the weekend, so I've had apple butter on my mind. But before I started the process of coring, peeling and chopping, I wanted to make an apple pie! Or two.

So yesterday I was flipping through my cookbooks, and came across a recipe for Apple-Honey Custard Pie. I was a little skeptical at first because sliced apples in custard could potentially be a textural disaster, but I overcame my fears because the recipe looked so incredibly simple: slice a couple apples into small bits, toss the rest of the ingredients into a blender, pour over the apples, chuck it into the oven and bake! Easy, right?

Apple Honey Custard Pie

It was. And the texture? Kind of amazing, especially with a layer of chopped pecans on top. I really think this pie could contend with most other holiday pies, it's that good. And it goes especially well with a nice, hot mug of homemade spiced chai

Warm Spiced Chai

Have I mentioned that this is my favorite time of year, food-wise?

Apple-Honey Custard Pie
Your favorite pie crust for a 9" pie.
2 cups peeled and thinly sliced tart apples
4 large eggs
3/4 cup honey (I used 1/4 cup honey + 1/2 cup maple syrup)
1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Handful of chopped walnuts, pecans or almonds (optional).

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a 9" pie pan with your favorite pie crust. My favorite recipe for pie crust is here. Spread the sliced apples evenly on top of your pie shell.

Add the rest of the ingredients to your blender, and blend until well combined. Pour the contents of the blender on top of the apples. Sprinkle the chopped nuts on top (optional), and bake for 45 minutes, or until the center is solid.

Allow the pie to cool to room temperature before slicing and serving.

Recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen.

Dish Scrubbies

September 26, 2011

Tulle Dish Scrubbies

These dish scrubbies have been really fun to make. I memorized the pattern after making the first one, so the rest have been mindlessly crocheted while watching my favorite fall shows this week. So far, I've made about ten 3-inch scrubbies, and have enough tulle to make another ten or so in this color. Fun stuff!

If you find yourself in a mess of tulle and want to try making yourself some scrubbies, click here. You may have to register with Ravelry to access it, but it's free and awesome, so you totally might as well.

Balls of Tulle

September 23, 2011

Balls of tulle.

I am currently tackling the giant pile of tulle Matt and I used for decorating the arbor at our wedding. I've been slowly working away at it over the last few days, cutting long strips and rolling them into little balls so I can crochet them into dish scrubbers over the weekend. We'll see how it goes!

Have a good weekend, and a happy first day of fall!

End of Summer

September 21, 2011

When Matt and I left Portland for our honeymoon, it was 90°F outside. I don't know why we hadn't thought to pack proper beach attire, especially because we're both familiar with the weather on the Oregon Coast, but once we arrived, we hopped out of the car and immediately pulled extra clothes from our bags to bundle up.

Having a whole week to ourselves at the beach was so very needed and appreciated, and such a great way to end the summer. And then our week was up, and it was time to head back to reality. It seems we took the beach weather home with us, though, because it was cool and rainy when we got back into town. It truly feels like the end of a season, which is a little sad because this summer has been really special to me, but I'm definitely ready for fall.

Dilly Beans

I have few snippets of what the end of summer looks like around here, such as cracking open our first jar of dilly beans. The flavor isn't totally ripe (it takes about two months to fully ripen), but they're still so, so good, and I'm left wondering if 99 pints is really enough.

Autumn Apples

And apples from Matt's parent's apple trees. Speaking of apples, there are two apple trees on my walking route that never seem to get picked, but because they're in the middle of the street, I don't know who I could ask about gathering the apples for myself. I think I'm going to have to figure it out, though, because it's such a colossal waste of delicious apple butter waiting to happen.

Dried Tomatoes

And experiments with the food dehydrator. This year, I've made dehydrated cherry tomatoes and peppers, both of which are really tasty on top of homemade pizza. I'm thinking I might try dehydrated garlic next for homemade garlic powder.

Anyway, Matt and I are glad to be back. Fall is always such an inspiring season for me, so I'm very excited for things to come.

Tomatoes

September 9, 2011

Tomatoes!

Finally! We've had ripe tomatoes for the last week or so, but we've been too busy with the wedding to enjoy them. I really hope the plants are still healthy by the time we get back from our honeymoon...

Current Pickle Count:
-99 pints of dilly beans
-26 pints of bread & butter pickles
-19 quarts of dill pickles

Also, Matt calculated that we have 40.75 gallons of pickles total.

Hope you all have an awesome weekend/week! I'll be soaking my toes in the sand, and eating lots of seafood. :)

Wedding Wednesday!

September 7, 2011

Wedding Flowers

The Arbor

Matt

Vow exchange

Bridal Bouquets

Signs

Reception Area

The Champagne Barrow

Reception Area

Gone Fishin'

The dessert table.

Cutting the "Cake"


Matt and I

There are a few things I definitely should have known:
1. I would not have time to take photos.
2. I would start crying halfway down the aisle once I saw Matt playing his guitar.
3. The generosity of everyone involved would make the whole day one of the most amazing and unforgettable experiences Matt and I have ever had.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

The Day Before

September 2, 2011

Signs

We had our combined bachelor/bachelorette party last night. We had dinner at Swagat (I'm eating leftover biriyani for breakfast!) followed by karaoke in a private room at Voicebox with lots of good company. It was so fun! Of course, my vocal cords are completely shot after a group round of Bohemian Rhapsody...

Signs

Today we're off to rehearse the ceremony, followed by a barbecue with family and friends. But first, I woke up extra early this morning just so I could have an hour or two to myself with my morning cuppa joe.

Tissue Paper Pompoms  Tissue Paper Pompoms

It's all finally happening! We're gettin' hitched, and I'm so excited! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I know I will. :)