Wednesday, December 16, 2015

"Birthday" Girl P

This is one of those birthday posts that is way overdue so I'm making up for it now.  P is one of my "adopted" daughters, and her birthday was last month,!  Happy!  "Birthday" now!

I don't have many pics of P (something I need to remedy!), but here she is at her "sister's' wedding...

...and here she is at Pie Night 2013...P has never missed one!

I do have one more from Pie Night this year when Auntie P, aka The Baby Whisperer, took the kiddos downstairs to play.  All these kiddos don't phase Auntie P!  She LOVES it!

So this is an overdue birthday post, which means that I am sharing 5 things I have learned from P.  And trust me, P has taught me a LOT, so it was easy to find 5 things that she has taught me.  The hard part was deciding on only 5!

5 - Retail "math".  You may thing 500 + 100 - 75 = 525.  But trust me, it often = 356 and P has taught me to accept such things.

4 - How to read EDI.  If you don't know what EDI means, that's ok.  I don't read it as often or as well as P, but she taught me.  And I can still hold my own.

3 - How to speak P.  "If you were me, and you had been working on a spreadsheet about Germ-X sales in flu season 2007, what would you have called it?  And where would you have filed it?"

2 - Approved stops.  Not all places make the cut.  In fact, very few do for a road trip.  But Flying J always does.

1 - Excel.  Yep, pretty much the whole thing.  I could open Excel and do basic things, but anything I can do beyond that came from P.  And I know I'm not the only one she's taught.  She be good like that.

So Happy!  Happy! P!  Sorry this is so late, but I hope it brings a smile now and makes you feel special today!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Birthday Boy R!

Happy!  Happy!  Birthday to R!


Now before I begin to talk about 5 things that I have learned from R, let me admit up front that this man will most likely never read this, because quite frankly R doesn't have time to read this!  He is currently working 1.x full-time jobs / ministry, plus raising 3 boys, plus being a loving husband.  R doesn't have time for a birthday today much less to read this!  But in case he gets 3 minutes of "free" time, here are 5 things I've learned from or about R.

5 - Gaming is serious business.  Seriously.  R knows games.  He is even helping to develop a game that they hope to take to market someday.  Who does this?  R.  R does this.  Cause he be cool like dat.

4 - Gaming is all about relationships.  R has taught us many games - and done so very patiently.  We would so be gaming rookies for the collection in R's arsenal, but he never even so much as rolls his eyes at us when we are learning.  Cause gaming is about building relationships.  And R knows this full well.

3 - Music is life.  Not just a part of life.  Not just R's life.  Music is life.  Have you ever thought about where music came from?  How it started?  Why our voices (to various degrees of "enjoyment"!) can make music?  Did you know that the Bible talks about God singing over us?  I've heard pastors talk about how God didn't just speak creation into being but sang creation into being.  I like that idea.  It makes perfect sense to me that something as amazing as creation would elicit poetry and song.  It has for centuries by men, so why wouldn't it have done so from the Originator, the Creator?  Yep, music is life.

2 - Give until you have nothing else to give and then give a bit more.  Cause God's supply never runs out.

1 - Trust God.  Period.  He is leading - even if all we see is enough light to lamp our feet.  (Psalm. 119:105)
Happy!  Happy!  Birthday R!  We hope it is WONDERFUL and love you very much!  Like your dad says frequently, we are so proud of you, and I am one grateful lady to know you.  Thanks for letting your kiddos call me Grandma.  Warms my heart more than I could ever express.  Love you all!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Birthday Girl A!

Happy!  Happy Birthday to A!

I said a couple of months ago that I was going to post about 5 things I've learned from each family member on their birthday.  I've missed at least one birthday already, and I will try to make that up in some way.

But TODAY!  TODAY is A's Day!

So here are five things I've learned from this lady that I love dearly.  She has been such a gift to all of us, but most especially to S.  And A has been a most vital part in the gift that Lady L is to us.

5 - God is our ever present help in times of trouble.  Psalm 46:1.  A knows this from experience, and seems almost unflappable at times because she has learned it so well.

4 - Everyone has worth.  A never forgets this.  And lives it.  And not just for a living.

3 - A taught me that while grandsons are WONDERFUL, granddaughters are also WAY SPECIAL.  We got to watch Lady L a few weekends ago and had the best time with her - even if I did dress her wrong on the last day...sigh...Mimi still has much to learn!

2 - God makes beautiful things out of the dust...out of us...

1 - How to give good gifts.  A "wins" Christmas most every year for giving the best relational gifts. And she is teaching S and all of the rest of us about giving.  I doubt that I will ever learn half of what this lady knows about giving.

Happy!  Happy!  Love you Mrs. A!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

As promised and as some have requested!

It may look like a lot, but it's really not hard.  And if you make the filling ahead of time, it's really easy to put it together just before baking, and you're ready to serve in under an hour.  The whole pie can be frozen for 1 - 2 weeks, too, but the baking time would need to increase about another 10 - 15 minutes.

One other thing - I've allowed for flexibility in the recipe so that you can decide your desired thickness of the sauce.  It tastes yummy regardless of the thickness!  But if you want a perfectly shaped pie wedge, then go with the higher amount of flour to stock ratio.  I'm good to just scoop it with a big old spoon - or skip a serving spoon and bowl and just start digging in!

Hope you enjoy trying this!

Chicken Pot Pie
2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts or tenders
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1 cup diced carrot (about 2 medium peeled carrots)
1 cup diced celery (about 2 celery ribs)
1 – 2 T. dried sage (to taste)
1 – 2 T. dried parsley (to taste)
1 – 2 T. dried thyme (to taste)
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 T. olive oil
2 – 4 T. butter
2 – 4 T. flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 packet chicken enhancer
1 – 2 T. Dijon mustard (to taste)
1 – 2 T. Ranch dressing (optional, to taste)
Dash of soy sauce (optional, to taste)
1 t. brown sugar (optional, to taste)
1 cup frozen peas
Pie crusts for two-layer 9” pie
Egg Wash (1 egg beaten with 1 T. milk, cream or water)
¼ to ½ cup grated cheese (Cheddar, Parmesan, Pepper Jack, etc.)

Cut chicken into ½” to 1” cubes, removing any tough tendons.  Sauté chicken in 1 T. olive oil until lightly brown.  Season with salt, pepper and herbs.  Remove to plate and keep warm. 

In the same pan, sauté onion, garlic, carrot and celery in 1 T. olive oil.  Season with herbs.  Continue to sauté until vegetables are crisp tender and lightly browned.  Remove vegetables to plate and keep warm. 

In the same pan, melt 2 – 4 T. butter, depending upon desired sauce thickness.  Add 2 – 4 T. flour and stir with a whisk 1 – 2 minutes to cook and brown the flour.  Whisk in the chicken stock and cook until sauce starts to thicken, about 5 minutes.  Add chicken enhancer, herbs, salt, pepper, mustard, ranch dressing, soy sauce and brown sugar and continue to cook to desired thickness.  It should at least leave a path on the back of a spoon when a finger is drawn through.

Return chicken and vegetables to pan and stir together.  Mixture may be chilled until ready to bake; sauce will continue to thicken in the refrigerator. 

Preheat oven to 375°.  Roll/place bottom crust in 9” pie pan.  Add frozen peas to chicken mixture and place in crust.  Roll/place top crust over meat mixture and crimp.  Pierce/decorate as desired to allow steam to escape.  Brush top with egg wash.

Bake for 35 minutes.  Remove and add grated cheese to top.  Return to oven and bake another 15 minutes until golden brown and bubble.  Let rest 10 – 15 minutes before serving.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Pie Night 2015!

Pie Night 2015 is in the books!

I wish I could say it was a 100% Success, but alas, I know of at least three failures...

1 - This pic.

Uh, Deb, what pic?

Exactly!  I FAILED to get a pick of the Morrison Family 2015.  GRRRR!!!  Next year, I promise!  I am hereby establishing a new rule.  NO pie will be cut or eaten until the Morrison Family Pie Night pic is taken!

So let it be let it be done.  (Extra credit for those old enough to catch that reference.)

2 - This pie.
This one was for KR...a Banoffee (banana toffee) but we couldn't cut it.  I thought it was the crust we couldn't cut through, but it was totally the toffee.  Long after KR had tried to eat it, I dug into it with my fingers to try and figure out what was wrong and realized that the toffee was like leather.  Can we say "Redo!"  K - I totally owe you a new one!  I've found another recipe that I want to try and send to you by way of SR.  Soon!

3 - This pie...the biggest fail of all.
That's right.  It was a Chocolate Strawberry Tart...a repeat of the one I made for A from last year...but it didn't quite make it to the table.  The floor got to enjoy it instead?  Sorry again A!

Ok, so let's get to the 83.59% successes, starting first with the pies I made for work.  See, we moved Pie Night back to the night before Thanksgiving this I didn't have a work Pie Day with all of the leftovers.

So what else is a girl to do but make a pie for each of a few coworkers?

We had turtle for SR (a different SR than the above SR, just so we're clear!)

And a Combo Berry for D...

plus a Pumpkin for R...

...and finally a Chicken Pot Pie for C.  (I will share the recipe for this one soon, cause it's a keeper!)

I think we had about 20 pies this year...not counting our fails....

Here's another view of the table, anchored by our Thomas Pie.

What's a Thomas Pie you ask?  The brain child of our very own J-man.  However he didn't share this choice with us until about 2pm on Pie Day....what to do?  What to do?  Well, B, suggested using the cookie cutter we had to form some shapes...and before we knew it, we had Thomas!

A little cinnamon sugar for flavor and baking...he turned out rather cute!

In addition to a repeat of the Chicken Pot above, we had the Guinness Shepherd's...smothered in garlic once a year often enough?
No, no it's not.  Sigh.

And now in no particular order, the rest...

...for B-man (you haven't really met him yet...), but he goes with C & D....

(oh and PS - Gingerbread Pie - not so much a keeper...)

...for C (B-man's C) - French Silk!  (I will introduce you to C soon!)

And D had his usual Apple.

P had Apple, was my first venture into gluten-free and dairy-free...I won't say that I was successful at it either.  I did learn one thing...coconut flour browns WAY fast!

We had another Turtle for J...garnished with homemade toffee...

...and Mocha for R...and this time I got it right!  (unlike last year...sigh...)

Let's see...what next?  How about Eggnog for S with a couple shots of bourbon...cause...bourbon...a total cheat like one-night stand hook-up cheat easy.  But it tasted good...which just makes it that much more of a cheat!

SR (the first SR above!) asked for Crack Pie - and I need to try the real Crack Pie sometime, cause we didn't quite get this right either.  It looked right, but it wasn't the right consistency or taste...Yet!

And little TR-man had Brown Sugar - apparently a classic Southern pie, but I'd never heard of it.  S made this one.  Check out that braided crust!

K chose Oreo - always a favorite...

..and S chose a Fruit Tart like I made for K's sister's wedding last spring.  Light.  Simple.  Fruity.

As long as we are on fruit, I chose Peach...

...and we had a Strawberry for a little Lady L who loves strawberries about as much as K-man.

B had her Pumpkin - whipped cream!

...and G chose to combine two of his favorite flavors - Banana and Coconut.  (I liked this one!)

Last but not least, we had our Pie Night Pie...the Grand Marnier Pecan garnished with whipped cream and orange zest.  I love this pie!

You may ask why I do Pie Night?

This!  This is why I do Pie Night!

And this!

And little faces looking for a train to come out of the tunnel.

Even not so little faces like to look for the train...'s all about the little ones and the family.  Failures or successes...if the Morrison Family has gotten together, then that's what it's all about.

It's my goal to share the Chicken Pot Pie recipe this week, so stop by again soon!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Butterfinger Cookies

I first made these last month while I was on a business trip to Tennessee.  That building has a full kitchen in it, including an oven, so I decided to treat my fellow workers there to a couple of things, including these Butterfinger cookies.

(Did you know that spellcheck recognizes "Butterfingers" but not "Butterfinger"?  Well, if you didn't know that before, now you do.)

Also have you ever noticed how many times food bloggers take pictures of stacked cookies?  I don't get what is up with that, but I made a point of trying to take a few pics of these cookies all stacked up.

This stack is before the final garnish.  Here it is from a slightly different angle.

Do these stacks make the cookies look better than laid out, like this?

Or fresh from the oven like this?

I get that the cookie stacks look better than the cookie dough balls before baking...

...I'm just not sure why food bloggers stack cookies.  There must be something that they know that I don't know yet.  Maybe someday I will know.  Or maybe not, and I will be lost in a cookie stacking dark confusion all of my born days.

How morbid is that thought?  So I guess you can say that these cookies are perfect for Halloween!  Am I making any sense here?  I didn't think so either, so let me just share the recipe with you and suggest that you try them.

The first time I made them - while I was on that business trip to Tennessee that I mentioned 43 minutes ago at the beginning of this rambling DD - I used a Krusteaz brand peanut butter cookie mix and mini Butterfingers.  It was a good mix that I found at the Publix there in Smyrna, but I added a bit more oil than the package called for since I didn't want them too crumbly.  I truly recommend this mix.  It was a winner.

Then I tried making them from scratch when I got back home, but I didn't care for them as well, since that recipe was more of the standard peanut butter cookie which can tend to be on the crumbly side.

So I wasn't done yet.  I had to try these one more time, and based my recipe on the Peanut Blossom cookies - the holiday standby of the peanut butter cookie with the Hershey Kiss in the middle.  Or if you are me, a peanut butter cookie with the Dove chocolate in the middle.  Cause Dove doesn't taste like plastic chocolate.  Sorry, Hershey.

If you find these where you are, use 'em!

If not, then you'll want to break up enough Butterfinger candy bars to give you about 1-1/2 to 2 cups of Butterfinger bits,crumbles and dust (allowing for nibbles here and there!)  Once you've got that, you are ready to go!

Butterfinger Cookies
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter*
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar (next time I think I want to use only brown sugar)
2 T. softened cream cheese
1 egg
Splash of vanilla
1-1/2 cups flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
Butterfinger bits
Sugar for rolling
Chocolate for garnish

*I didn't have quite enough peanut butter for 3/4 cup, so I supplemented with a couple tablespoons of Nutella.  Totally worked!

Cream the butter, peanut butter, sugars and cream cheese until smooth, creamy, light and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla.  Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the peanut butter mixture, beating just until combined.  Stir in all but about 1/3 cup of the Butterfinger bits until well combined.

Shape the dough into balls and roll in granulated sugar.  Place on parchment lined cookie sheets and bake at 375 for 9 - 11 minutes.  Cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes and then slide the parchment off the sheet for final cooling.

When cooled, melt chocolate bark or chocolate chips to drizzle over the cookies and then garnish with the reserved Butterfinger bits before chocolate sets.

And then be sure you stack your cookies!

Cause that's the money shot!  Or something...

I hope you try these.  They are a pretty fun Fall treat!