Saturday, September 15, 2012

Pump-Pump-Pumkin it up!

Getting out of bed is rough.  Especially when the rest of your house is dead asleep, it's pitch black outside, and no one has made coffee for you (Folgers coffee has us living in a pipe dream!!!).  The best part of waking up has always been coffee in my cup, but there has to be something that will keep me from passing out before noon.  Usually I don't have much time for breakfast before 7 am.  Who has this time?  I'd like to meet them and bribe them to make me pancakes.

So I'm trying something.  I like sippable things.  I enjoy pumpkin and fall spices.  But I also enjoy something that I can take with me and not worry about getting egg on my dress or syrup down my blouse.

Enter:  Pumpkin Smoothie.

*angels singing*

This subtly sweet and filling smoothie is rife with pure pumpkin puree, yummy low fat yogurt, oats, and other kinds of goodness.  Oh.  And there's a banana.  Potassium city!  This smoothie is, well, smooth.  It's got amazing flavor and tastes like a pumpkin ray of sunshine.  You could even turn this into a full on milkshake and sub out the yogurt for vanilla bean ice cream, then take out the honey and use maple syrup.  WE ARE MAKING MAGIC HERE.

Seriously, it's changing my morning.  Soon I'll be coming to you with crazy things with kale, kiwi and who knows what else.  Okay... maybe not kale.  I just can't do that.

So let's make smoothies.  Let's toast to our health.  And let's get the heck out of the door before 7am with some form of sustenance!!

Pumpkin Smoothie (makes 1)
From A Beautiful Mess

3/4 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 ripe banana
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground ginger

Combine all ingredients in a blender.  If you need to thin it out because your cute paper straw is too small, add a 1/4 cup of milk and then blend again.  Pour and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Let's just put this out there:  I am a wimp.  Huge baby.  Coward.  Whatever you wanna call it... that's me.  I'm the one sleeping with the covers pulled over her head with one eye and my nose sticking out of the blanket so I can both breath and keep a look out for any suspicious activity (i.e. ghosts/intruders/sneaky kittens).  If you leave me alone in the living room at night before we go to sleep, I'm all, "waaaaaaaaait!!! Don't go without meeeeeeeee," because I'm that scared of my own shadow.

It doesn't help that my fiancee loves scary movies.

Nope.  Not one bit.

And this is the source of my weariness over the past four days.  Since Halloween is just a mere two months off from now, and because the newest installment is premiering around such time, Cori has caught me up to speed on the Paranormal Activity movies.  THIS IS WHY I CAN'T SLEEP.

Have you SEEN these freggin' movies??!!?? They're terrifying!  And what's worse is the tagline for the first film is, "What happens when you sleep?".  GREAT.

holy out of focus, batman...
But I'm game for the next movie.  I'm not saying I'll avoid it like the plague (much as I'd like to).  I'm too invested in the story line not to see the next one.  How will it play out?  Where is Katie and where did she take that boy and ohmygodI'mnevergettingsleepagainbecausethereareghostshereforsure!!!

This has nothing to do with pie.

Except that... pie is safe.  Pie isn't scary.  It won't haunt you (in the same way) night after night.  That is to say... unless it's this pie.   This pie might creep into your brain when you're least expecting it.  But it definitely won't make you throw your scary ass sister into a hidden camera or make the lights swing WHILE YOU'RE ASLEEP.  No.  It won't do anything like that.

This non-scary mermaid pie is lovingly lifted from a much happier movie, Waitress, with Keri Russell.    Probably the biggest influence for my start in baking was Keri's portrayal of Jenna - an unhappy woman creating therapy out of sugar, butter, and a little time spent in the diner she works at.  It's not just Jenna's drive to get out of the situation she's in with her super scary husband that grabs me - it's how she turns her energies toward creating something beautiful and delicious from, well... crap.  Marshmallow Mermaid Pie is the pie Jenna brings to her OBGYN, only to find out she's been replaced with a handsome, yet nervous, new doctor.  He takes the pie and is immediately head over heels in love with Jenna.  Bam.  No ghosts.  Just pie.

Baking is like working out, for me.  When I'm troubled, nervous, anxious, or crazy out of my mind scared, I like to channel that energy into a creative outlet.  My outlet tends to be that of the more fattening variety, but you know what I mean.  It gets me through.  It's clears my mind and allows me to focus.

This pie is so completely simple and uplifting, you'd be a fool not to just want to settle right down and eat three slices in one go.  Melted marshmallows and freshly-whipped cream are folded together with grated chocolate.  Then, nestled atop a crust of toasted coconut and graham crackers, it almost seems to... hover.  Topped off with mini marshmallows to add to the cloud-like effect, and then dusted with a combination of cocoa and espresso powder, the result is a buoyant, angelic pie that tastes like the clouds from Care Bears.  At least, I assume that's what they'd taste like...

Marshmallow Mermaid Pie
Adapted from the movie Waitress

9 graham crackers, broken into shards
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted (oven at 350, toast on cookie sheet 5 minutes, turning over 1/2 way through)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
8 oz marshmallows
1/2 cup milk (the recipe called for whole, but I used skim)
1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 oz unsweetened chocolate, grated on a microplane

*preheat oven to 350 degrees*

In a food processor, combine the coconut flakes and graham crackers.  Pulse until they form course crumbs.  Slowly pour in the melted butter and pulse just until the mixture is thoroughly combined.  Turn out into a 9 inch pie plate and bake for 10 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the filling.  Heat the marshmallows and milk in a sauce pan over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth.  Remove from heat and set aside to come to room temperature (approximately 30 minutes).

Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of a standing mixer set on med-high speed until stiff peaks form.  Fold in marshmallow mixture using a sweeping motion with a rubber spatula incorporate.  Fold in the grated chocolate until just combined, being careful not to deflate the filling.  Spoon filling into the baked pie crust.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

Top with whatever you want.  I used mini marshmallows, cocoa and espresso powders.  But you could use sprinkles, graham cracker crumbs, chocolate curls, or even a chocolate ganache.