Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Apple Cider Glazed Porkchops with Cream Sauce

I love fall!  It is by far my favorite season.  This fall has been insane weather wise.  Last week, Superstorm Sandy graced us with her presence, destroying homes and beaches and tearing down power lines.  Today we were surprised with a Nor'easter and this is the view from our front door:

The round blob at the top left of the staircase is my pumpkin...  RIP pumpkin! 

One of my favorite dishes in the fall is pork chops.  I love them any way, but they are especially delicious when pan fried.  Enter Apple Cider Glazed Pork Chops with Cream Sauce. 

The ingredients:
Two center cut pork chops
2 tablespoons Montreal Steak seasoning (I use pre-made, but you can make your own)* you may wish to use less, I like lots of flavor and texture.
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon sour cream

1. Heat a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. 
2. Sprinkle the Montreal Steak Seasoning over both sides of the pork chops and place in the skillet. Cover the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes. 

3. Flip the pork chops and fry until they are cooked through.
4. Remove the pork chops to a plate and cover them.  Turn the burner heat to high.
5. Take the apple cider and pour into the hot skillet.  Using tongs or a spoon, de-glaze the bottom of the pan. 

6. Add the sour cream, mix thoroughly and reduce to low heat while the cream sauce thickens, about 3-4 minutes. 

7. Top the pork chops with the cream sauce and serve with apple sauce and carrots, or whatever you would like. 

This meal is relatively quick to assemble, and so delicious.  Mr. Pie Plate loves it, and he is a picky eater, so it is a successful meal!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Canning, Sewing, Baking and Rosin- Back to School for a Middle School Teacher

The beginning of the (school) year is always so very crazy for teachers.  This is true of music teachers as well, and I haven't posted as much as I would have liked.  But, here's some of the things I've been working on:

Chris and I have decided to make all of our Christmas gifts this year!  I'm super excited, although it will mean that the majority of the gift making will be my responsibility.  Bring it on, I love crafting!  I currently have 50 jars of jelly or jam in the basement, and two weeks ago, I turned these beautiful grapes (10 pounds!) into delicious jam!

I also made owl cupcakes for my friend John's birthday.  They were super cute!

And here's me making an owl face:

My husband and I have a side business making rosin for stringed instruments called Rockin Rosin.  We recently made a new shape of rosin:

I've been doing a good deal of sewing in preparation for the holidays and I made myself a quilted camera strap cover (the picture is awful so I didn't include it) and I made my mother in law a key fob.  I love them both!  I also made several pacifier clips, but since they are for a present I won't post them here!  :)


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Meet Mr. Pie Plate (A.K.A. Chris).
He likes skiing, playing the cello, being extreme (check out the avalanche conditions) and me! He also loves chocolate. I have never met anyone in my life who likes chocolate as much as he does. Ever! I think it might be one of his food groups! Now, if I had a little more energy, I would whip up a pyramid of food according to my husband, and it would be awesome, but alas, I taught middle school children all day and am a little tired. I digress...
So Mr. Pie Plate loves chocolate and I love fruit! Sometimes, we disagree on dessert choices, but these cookies are a wonderful combination of the two. They also can be made with all chocolate chips if you have cranberry-phobic people in the house.
The recipe is loosely based on Hillary Clinton's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, which look very good but I can't justify using a cup of vegetable shortening in one batch.
Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies
½ Cup Butter
½ Cup Sugar
1 Cup Packed Dark Brown Sugar
½ Cup Applesauce
2 Eggs
1 Tsp. Vanilla
1 ½ Cup All Purpose Flour
½ Teaspoon Salt
1 Tsp. baking soda
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 Cup chocolate Chips
½ Dried Cranberries

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cream together the first three ingredients.

3. Add the applesauce, eggs and vanilla.

4. Then add the flour, salt, baking soda and oats.

5. When all is combined, add the chocolate chips and cranberries and mix until combined.

6. Drop by tablespoon on to an un-greased cookie sheet or Silpat.

7. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden.
8. Let cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet, than move to a plate.

9. Eat the delicious cookies!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Peach Jam Giveaway Results!

Thanks to all who participated, those jams all sound so delicious and you have all inspired me to make more jam!  I used to "choose" the winner, and the lucky winner is #5, HiLesha!  She loves blueberry jam!  Congrats to HiLesha, and I am so glad so many people participated in the giveaway! 

I love fruit!  No matter what the season, I love fruit.  My favorite fruit changes depending on what fruit is in season.  Right now I'm loving peaches!  I've gone peach picking at Bishop's Orchard twice in the last month, once with my sister and once with my friend Jac (who took these photos)!

The peaches are glorious right now!  They are the most beautiful color and so sweet! I've been eating a least two a day and I have enough peaches in the freezer for two peach crisps or pies.  We'll be able to have a little bit of summer when it's not so beautiful out! 

I've also made four batches of peach jam.  I am in love with this jam and have had it on toast every morning for the past week!  It also has a nice lemon flavor, which I adore.  Since I have 39 jars of peach jam in my basement, and Wednesday was the first day of school (my students are the best, by the way), I'm giving away one 4 ounce jar of my peach jam. 

The Giveaway:
To enter this giveaway, answer the following question in the Comments section of this post:

What is your favorite type of jam? 

One entry per person please.  The giveaway will close Wednesday at noon, EST! The winner will be randomly selected and announced Wednesday night.  Have a lovely weekend and Happy Labor Day!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How to Grill Pizza

We love pizza!  We love living in New Haven because there are so many wonderful pizza places!  We also make a lot of pizza at home.  In the winter, we use our pizza stone and it heats up the house, making everything toasty!  In the summer, it's not so wonderful to cook pizza in the oven, so we grill outside!  The first time we grilled outside, it was quite an ordeal, but now it's second nature.  And it's incredibly easy! 

Pizza Dough
Tomato Sauce
Mozzarella Cheese
Toppings of your choice

You need a pound of dough and pizza toppings.  We get our dough from Modern Pizza in New Haven.  For a dollar a pound, it's a great deal!  We do individual pizza's on our household  because one of us likes veggies (me!) and one prefers meat lovers pies (Mr. Pie Plate!). 

Here are the steps:
1. Turn the grill on to low
2.  Cut the pound of pizza in half, or thirds, depending on how many different pizzas you want.
2. Stretch both halves to a pizza shape.  We use a pizza peal to spread out the dough.  I like when the shapes aren't perfect, like these ones!

3. Cover both halves with olive oil to keep the dough to sticking to the grill.  (I was hoping the oil would show up better in the photo... I'll have to experiment with my new camera a little more!)

4. Put the pizza dough on the grill.  Let it cook until the bottom side is browned.  This is about 5 minutes on my grill.

5. Put the pizza back on the pizza peal, cooked side up. 

6. The top the pizza with sauce and your choice of toppings. 

7. Put the pizza back on the grill and cook until browned on the bottom. 

8. Eat the delicious pizza! 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Breakfast in the Tetons!

Today is day 32 on our adventure and we are back in Wyoming in the Tetons! This is one of my favorite places in the country, and Mr. Pie Plate and I are so happy to be back! This morning we breakfasted under the beautiful mountains and we are about to embark on a hike! It's going to be lovely. Good morning!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Egg and I

Wyoming and Colorado Have many things in common: mountains, kind people, super adorable dogs and The Egg and I! The Egg and I is a diner-esque breakfast place that has great breakfasts! Today I had the Athena scramble: asparagus, feta, eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms! Yum!

Monday, July 16, 2012

My to-do list!

Mr. Pie Plate and I have now been gone from our house for over twenty days. Living in a van is an adventure, but we will both be happy to be home in a few weeks! I have an ever growing list of things I want to accomplish when I get home, including figuring how to make a ruffle hem for an apron. I also learned how to knit in the round from two lovely women at the coffee shop we have been frequenting, and I think some folks will be receiving awesome hats for Christmas! And il hoping my tomato plants are doing well because I want to can! Thoughts of home have been lovely!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Greetings from Colorado!

Mr. Pie Plate and I are in Fort Collins, CO right now. We are both starting graduate work at Colorado State University. We are living in a van, and cooking on a camp stove. Needless to say, I haven't been doing any canning, baking or sewing... But here are some pictures! There is one of our campsite, one of the pretty flowers on our picnic table, and one of me "driving" a tractor, just for fun! I hope you all had a safe and very happy fourth!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A fun wedding shower gift!

1. Take a gift card (that you bought because everything else that was on the registry was only available online) and put it in a cute shower card!  Set that aside.

2. Make an adorable bag out of fabric (I'll post a tutorial soon!) I am very proud of this hem! 

 3. Knit 3 dish cloths and  tie with a ribbon. 

4. Place dish cloths and card in the bag and tie it up!

5. You have an adorable shower gift!  

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Grand Day

Yesterday my friend Jac and had a lovely day! We shopped for fabric at TWO fabric stores ( a 10 for me), we went for a wine tasting, and went to Nunu's Bistro in Colchester, CT. I had the best pasta of my life: Pasta Alla Ruby! It was made with cheese, beats and light cream. It's also my next creation! So delicious!

Over and out!

Friday, June 8, 2012


Since I've been radio silent for about a month, I wanted to give you an update about what's keeping me so busy!  Besides May being concert season (I finished my last concert tonight) and many people I know having children or getting married, preparing for grad school and/or working on our van (more information soon!), Mr. Pie Plate and I have been on a Rosin endeavor:

A good deal of people have not grown up in a house where stringed instruments are the norm.  My husband and I are not among those people!  I started playing the violin when I was three and my husband took up the cello in third grade.  I no longer consider myself a violinist, but I will always be a string player at heart! 

This brings us to rosin.  Rosin is the sticky stuff that goes on the bow hairs to create friction between the string and the bow, resulting in sound!  Hooray for sound!  But, rosin usually is boring and looks like this:
While it works, not that exciting to look at.  Here is where Mr. Pie Plate and I come into play!  Around the beginning of this year my husband started to think that we could make our own, really awesome rosin.  I was doubtful as I usually am, and was unsure of the outcome.  It turns out, I should have listened right away because the outcome is awesome!

Here is one example of Rockin' Rosin:

It's creative, fun and it will encourage students to practice!  And don't you worry, we have less scary shapes too!  Check out our website!  AND, even though the shapes are so pretty, they are not edible! 

Over and out!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Lilacs and a Spring Wreath

I love spring!  The weather warms up, the flowers come out, and everything is reborn!  My asparagus and herbs look lovely, the lettuce in the garden is growing like crazy, and my lilac tree smells wonderful!  I just brought lilacs into the house and there is nothing like having your favorite flower around.  It just makes me happy! 
Yes, that is a cello mirror in the background!  What else would be in the home of two music teachers?

I also made a really fun Springy wreath!  I had leftover felt lying around and so I made a bunch of felt flowers.  I also had recently cut a letter "J" out of cardboard that had no purpose in life and I was ready to throw it out.  I decided to give it one last chance and I wrapped it in yarn and then attached a flower.  When I brought it all together, it ended up being pretty cute.  I wish I had made the J a little smaller, but it's sweet and it brightens up our front door! 

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

Mr. Pie Plate loves my Blueberry Breakfast Cake because it is delicious.  He has nicknamed it "Crack Bread."  I love it because it's really quick to throw together, almost healthy and the day after it is baked, it tastes like a doughnut!  Does life get any better than that?  I usually serve it with a frittata that is loaded with veggies and a fruit salad, making it the perfect brunch sweet!  The recipe is loosely adapted from a "Cinnamon Banana Wake-up Cake" from the cookbook "Keeping Good Company," one of my favorite cookbooks. 

2 Tablespoons of butter, softened
3 Tablespoons of applesauce
1 and 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
1 and 1/4 cups blueberries (I use frozen berries)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Baking Powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tsp. sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon mixed together

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.  Blend butter and applesauce together.  Then add sugar, eggs and water until it isl well-blended.  Add in all dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Then add in the blueberries and stir until combined.  Pour into a greased Bundt pan or a Demarle Silicone mold like this Sunflower Mold.  I received this from my aunt Lisa and it is my most used "pan" and the cake is so pretty when it comes out of the mold!  Bake for 40-50 minutes depending on your oven.  Mine takes around 50 minutes.  Make sure you let the cake cool in the pan.  Enjoy delicious Blueberry Breakfast Cake!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Canning classes in CT

I love the website Food in Jars.  It's a great canning blog and her other recipes are fantastic as well.  She is having two canning classes in CT that I won't be able to attend, but I wanted to let people know about the classes.  Here's the info:

June 30: Spiced nectarine jam and dilly beans at the Greenwich Historical Society’s Vanderbilt Education Center in Greenwich, CT. 1 – 4 pm. Click here to register.
July 1: Rhubarb chutney canning class at the Coventry Regional Farmers’ Market in Coventry, CT. 2 – 4 pm. Click here to register.

Check them out! 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The last month

The month of March has been busy!  I'm directing the musical at my middle school, so although I've been crafting, canning and cooking, I've had no time to blog.  So here's an quick look into what I've been doing. 

First of all, I've been enjoying needle felting!  And I made these cute Pac Man ghosts:

I also made Mint Jelly for the Easter Lamb!  Mr. Pie Plate decided to add some green food coloring, so it's a very pretty emerald color!

I also made some lavender sachets from leftover quilting scraps for my aunt's birthday.  I used rice and lavender essential oil and just sewed it all up.  They are not perfect, but they smell wonderful and they are pretty cute!

Now I'm on to Easter Baking!  Enjoy your holiday!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

My Experimental Apple Pie

Last night we went to dinner with good friends, the Oaks!  They are wonderful and they have two of the cutest kids around!  For Lent, Mrs. Oak has given up processed sugar and I am bringing an apple pie.  An apple pie without sugar?  Challenge accepted!  I am using The Farm Chicks baked pie shell   It's a very flaky recipe, you should try it!
One baked pie shell
9 small to medium apples (I used Gala and McIntosh because that's what I had)
3 Tablespoons honey
1/4 Teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice (I usually use 2 teaspoons cinnamon, but we were out...) 
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 tablespoon butter

1. Make the baked pie shell and place the dough in the fridge for one hour.

2. Roll out the dough, place in a pie plate and cook on 250 for 25 minutes.  I use a bake in pie lifter that is the best, but I can't find it anywhere.  Here is one that is similar. 

While the dough is cooking:
3. Slice the apples and combine in a bowl with 1 teaspoon honey, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon cloves.
4. Make the oat topping by combining 2 teaspoons honey, the remaining allspice, the oats and 1 tablespoon butter in a bowl.  I use a fork, but clean fingers work as well. 
5. Take the pie shell out and fill with apples.  Use your fingers to sprinkle the oat topping on top of the pie.  bake at 350 for 40 minutes, longer if you want darker crust or more tender apples. 
7. Enjoy your wonderful pie!

The pie turned out to be very delicious and my husband told me I should make all of my apple pies like this one...  Overall, it was a huge success! 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Pumpkin Granola

I love all things pumpkin!  Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin lattes... The list goes on and on!  I also like making granola because you really can't go wrong when experimenting.  I stumbled across a recipe for Pumpkin Granola here.  I did make several changes because of what I had in the kitchen. 


  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats

  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds

  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves

  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree

  • 2 tablespoons pear butter (that I canned, you could substitute apple sauce)

  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup

  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries

  •  2 tablespoons golden raisins (I ran out of cranberries...)

  • Directions:
    Heat the oven to 275.  I use a Demarle non stick baking mat to bake my granola.  It is really awesome!  If you don't have something like this, you could spray the baking sheet with cooking spray, but I prefer parchment paper because it cuts down on the oil. 

    Mix the first seven ( dry ) ingredients together in a mixing bowl. 

    Mix the wet ingredients together in a smaller mixing bowl. 

    When they are combined, fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined.  *Do not add the fruit yet!  It will burn! 

    Spread the granola out on the baking sheet and bake for 40-50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.  The granola will continue to harden when it is removed from the oven, so don't over cook it. 

    Let the granola cool for 10 mintues then combine with the fruit in a large mixing bowl.  It is delicous and pretty healthy!   Enjoy!

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    Heartfelt Crafts

    I'm not really one for Valentine's Day. I think it's an over commercialized holiday, but I also love my husband and I really enjoy wearing festive colors. So for February 14, 2012 I made a few crafts, which is something I really love! The first thing I made is a gift bag for husband's candy. It was my first attempt at sewing felt. I think I need some practice, but it wasn't a bad start. I also made myself a felt rose pin. It was super fun and I like it a lot! A tutorial will be coming your way very soon! Happy Valentine's Day!