Pecan Pie

Happy Holidays and happy eating!! Pecan pie is one of the easiest holiday desserts to make, yet it's also the easiest to ruin. I remember my first pecan pie...the recipe had minimal ingredients that were just mixed together and thrown into a pie crust. I thought there was no way I could ruin it. Well, it was a runny mess of goop. I ended up attempting 3 different pies into the late late night, and none turned out right! I learned from my mistakes and came up with some true tips along the way. Pecan pie requires more care and patience than what you may have read in the majority of recipes out there. I haven't ruined a single pie since, so I hope these tips posted in the recipe work out the same for you.

I made my own crust, but a store bought crust works out fine for this. Also, many swear by certain syrups for making pecan pie. I'm partial to Lyle's golden syrup, but if you can get your hands on some sugar syrup from New Orleans, go for it. If you can't find either, corn syrup is acceptable.

See Pie Crust Recipe!


Holiday Sugar Cookies

The holidays are near and that means celebrating and indulging in holiday treats. I love spending a day making loads of festive holiday cookies. I haven't always been a fan of sugar cookies in the past. Some are too buttery, too sweet, too crunchy, or too dense. My aunt, and head chef of my family gave me the recipe that I'm posting. These are hands down, the best I've ever had. They aren't overly sweet, and have a really nice soft texture. The addition of lemon zest also gives them a nice twist. The first time I made these, I didn't have any cutouts, so I used the top of my Pam spray can to cut the cookies. Neil was thoughtful enough to surprise me with some cookie cutters as a stocking stuffer that year :) I use the same base recipe to make raspberry thumbprints as well. You'll feel so warm inside making these on a cold winter day. I hope you try these to kick start your holiday indulging!

See Recipe!


Tilapia w/ Lemon Butter Caper Sauce

Here's another easy weeknight recipe for those of you that need to unwind before the holiday food frenzy starts up again. This takes no time to make at all, and you feel good eating it :) It's light, fresh, and simple. I served it with breaded zucchini and cauliflower mash. The zucchini is equally simple to make. I dip sliced zucchini in egg and then coat with a mixture of panko crumbs, parmesan, herbs, salt/pepper. Then I bake them until golden. The cauliflower mash is made by steaming cauliflower florets and then pureeing with whatever you have on hand (i.e., garlic, buttermilk, cream, sour cream, cheese, herbs, etc. )

See Recipe!


Braised Chicken with Apples

So, I guess it's back to work and life today :( I just got back late last night from spending a wonderful Thanksgiving with family in NY. The city is already gorgeous and decked out for the holiday season. Most of us spent the days following Thanksgiving walking around the city enjoying the beautiful holiday markets, spiked cider, mulled wine, and more food :) Neil spent it watching football of course. Only he would find a Hokie bar in the middle of NY city!

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday, and this year was no exception. We stuffed ourselves beyond belief till the very end of the weekend. The insane amount of food we make every year just gets more and more out of hand. My family has way too many phenomenal cooks in the kitchen :) I can't even begin to list off our Thanksgiving menu without being disgusted with how much I consumed. I'm sure all of you would like to forget that as well! So, instead of posting the pies I made for Thanksgiving, I figured that a simple seasonal recipe is more suitable. It's one that's easy enough to whip up on a weeknight after work and warms the heart to keep that holiday spirit going strong.