Holidays, 2015

Holidays, 2015
A Winter Scene - red door, a dusting of snow, and a vintage bicycle

Sunday, November 28, 2010

How to Make Pumpkin Mousse Pie - so easy and so so good!


A really long time ago, I found a simple recipe on the inside of the lid of a container of Cool Whip.  

I don't 'love' cool whip by any means, but it does have its place now and then.  
My three daughters have wanted this recipe and I've lost it long ago, but I make it by heart so I thought that since a picture tells a thousand words, 'seeing' it made would be helpful. 

so, let's begin: 

First of all, this 'recipe' is for TWO 'halve' whatever I say here if you want only one. 

You're going to need:

1 large box and 1 small box of jell-o INSTANT pudding mix in vanilla
2 regular containers of cool-whip
2 pie shells- make your own, use ready-made or use a graham cracker crumb crust--all are delicious!
1/3 cup half and half or whole milk
1 1/2 T pumpkin pie spice
1 can pumpkin ( if you use pumpkin pie mixture, then use half of the amount of pumpkin pie spice )

This is a NO-BAKE pie, so it's fast and easy.  

1.  Put your pudding mix into a large bowl----
2.  SLOWLY add the milk or half and may need more or less than this but the 'texture' needs to look like.....

THIS.....thick, really thick......

After you have this pudding all mixed really thick, slowly add in 1 can of pumpkin.  I like to use organic ingredients whenever possible....and yes, I know that Cool-Whip defeats this purpose a hundred times over....but whipping cream doesn't get it thick enough

remember, that if you choose pumpkin pie mixture, it will already have spices in it, so cut the pumpkin pie spice amount in half

There ARE organic varieties of pumpkin pie spice...I just happened to have purchased a brand new jar from Trader Joe's when I was in California with my middle daughter in September.

After mixing in the pumpkin, your mixture should look like THIS:

Don't waste any....get it all out of the can!

Now, slowly add in 1 of the containers of cool whip....don't mix this fast and hard....slowly....even folding it in works for this part of the pie making

Add in approximately ONE HALF of the second container....mix and it should look like THIS:

see how much lighter it can taste it at this point and see if you need a little more pumpkin pie spice....if so, add a 'bit' more now and re-taste

Put half of the mixture into 1 pie shell and the other half into the other pie shell....smooth it out
If you buy ready-made pie shells, bake them first...follow directions on package.  I happened to have bought two organic whole wheat pie crusts from Whole Foods for this demonstration

NOW, you should have 1/2 container of Cool Whip left.....put into a piping bag, add a decorative tip and go to town with it....the remaining will be enough to 'decorate' both pies

And there you go.....refrigerate for 4 hours....cut and's absolutely yummy with pumpkin spice coffee if you're into flavored coffee......our family just LOVES this pie!! Enjoy!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tea Party- the REAL kind!

My granddaughters LOVE to have little tea parties, and I love to dress 'em up, fix their hair and I love to have tea parties, too!! SO, when I had them this week, we went shopping and each of them got to pick out a dress from TJ Maxx ( I LOVE that store, by the way ) and we baked cookies and had a tea party! The dresses were for Thanksgiving dinner to wear, but we put them on 'early' for the tea party!

My older granddaughter said to me, 'Grandma, we're like dolls to you when YOU were a little girl and you accessorize us!" Hmmmmm.....I did like dolls, but I think I miss dressing up my own little girls, so this was fun!  We set the little table kind of cute and they got to use their little 'cups' and a matching teapot....

A 5 year old's tea party smile!

Cream cheese chocolate chip cookies in a 9 year old's smile!

"What shall we talk about?" I overheard

"When in doubt....pinkies out!"

Everyone gets to pour!

Somehow, dressing up always brings out the best behavior

Can you tell that RED is my favorite color??

Why are you standing on the chair grandma?

Grandma had just as much fun taking pictures as they did having cookies!!
What a fun week and so many blessings 
to be thankful for!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I am so grateful

a new friend sent this----what a surprise and a blessing! I put it on my windowsill ( with wet hands, apparently ) so that I can look at it while I work....

Thank you God on this day and every day---my life is blessed by those around me and I feel YOUR presence in my life every day.  Bless the food that we will eat today.  Bless the walls that surround us, keep us warm, and hear our joy.  Bless those who today are without, who are lonely, who are sick, who are longing....spread your light and love upon them. 

There are going to be about 14 people here total today- 11 for dinner and 3 who will wander in afterward....maybe for some leftovers or maybe for dessert depending on when they get here.  I am an only child and my father passed away when I was 20.  My mom is German and most of her family was killed in the war so I never knew any of father met her in Germany and brought her home.  Even though it was not 'cool' to be German at that point in our country, I feel a strong connection to that heritage.  My mom, now in her 80's, is having dinner with a few friends in her neighborhood in Arizona today, but I'll soon travel to visit her for a few days of baking some European goodies to bring back home with me.  I am blessed with three amazing daughters who are not only my children, but also my dear friends.....2 are now married and the middle one has a significant someone who is one of the 'dessert' folks today----the love of my life has two children of his own and they will be here as well.  I've gone from a little girl sitting at the table with my mom and dad and great aunt and uncle to a table filled with laughter......I am tearful just thinking of it.  I will gladly prepare today's feast for this family who fills me with love--those days were truly fun for it was the only way I knew Thanksgiving to be....but now, I know that a table surrounded by children and adults all laughing and passing around bowlfuls of goodies is extraordinary!

For those not with us today....their presence is felt and their gifts are known.

Thank you God for bringing love to my life and joy to my heart.....I am so grateful!
        May your Thanksgiving be blessed and joyful...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Making pies for Thanksgiving with my Granddaughters...

I have three daughters- my oldest daughter is married with two little girls of her own- and this week they are off from school- so her sisters and I are 'sharing' them...

Yesterday ( Tuesday ) we woke up at a reasonable time, had a great breakfast of 'cheese' eggs, pancakes, and fresh raspberries and then we cleared off the table and got things laid out for Thanksgiving pie-baking!
My granddaughters are 9 and 5 and while grandpa was outside getting Christmas lights strung up before the bitter cold weather hits in the next 48 hours, we were inside baking up a storm!!

breakfast in our p.j.'s

pancakes with Vermont maple syrup, 'cheese' eggs, fresh raspberries and juice...each got their own little 'pitcher' of syrup to pour

Some of us eat our eggs with our eyes closed!

OK, let's start peeling apples!! We sliced about 12 granny smiths

After they get peeled, we slice in a 16 'slicer' from Williams-Sonoma....I keep fresh lemon juice on hand to toss in with the fresh slices - keeps 'em from turning brown

The girls love taking turns with the 'ol peeler

Grandpa gives it a try, too!

"Let ME do it, Grandpa!"

It's always good to carry a 'walkie-talkie' while you're making pie!

lots and lots and lots of apples!

Then we add the cinnamon

Next goes the sugar!

Now that 'special' ingredient.....ground almonds! 

and 1/2 container organic sour cream

stir it all together

get out the pie 'pans'....I LOVE these!!

Roll out dough and shape into pans

half of the mixture went into one pie....the other half we added 1/3 bag cranberries to and a few chopped pecans

A little light brown sugar was added to the cranberry apple pie

Now for the top!! Roll out dough on floured surface.....and cut as straight as possible

cut out leaves and acorns....I got this little set from Williams-Sonoma a few years agao

The leaves are then lightly dusted with a cinnamon sugar mixture

Weave the strips, add the leaves and acorns....

Make more for the 2nd pie!

Here's the detail of the acorn up close

then those little hands mixed up and egg/milk 'wash' for the crust

These little leaves are so easy to make

I put the pie on a baking sheet to help my newly-cleaned oven stay that way

I love the little edge protectors- keeps the edges of pie from over baking

Bake at 350 degrees fro 1 hour and 5 minutes

and voila!! Pie # 1 is done!!  Bravo Girls!!!
Cool on wire rack before covering....chill until the 'BIG DAY'!!

They had so much fun doing this---and afterward, I had some remaining dough, so they were allowed to make a 'birdie' pie----roll out the dough...fill with bird seed....and then we put it outside on their favorite feeder......I mean, they have to have Thanksgiving, too!  

Hope you enjoyed that half as much as I did!!