Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Goodbye November


 I LOVE autumn!  I love the colors, I love the smells, I love running through the leaves every morning.  It's still officially autumn, and since I live on the central coast of California, I won't even really see much of a change in the weather as it turns to "winter" here.  But our front yard and house are now covered with Christmas lights, our Christmas tree is standing in all its glory in the living room, and the autumn decorations are disappearing.  Denver wore a Santa hat to school today... with a skeleton shirt so it was a bit like sending Jack Skellington off to school.  Maybe he's a little torn on the season change as well?

Don't get me wrong:  I LOVE Christmas and I'm super excited as we pull out all of our decorations.  Bailey is playing Winter Wonderland on the piano right now.  I'm just a little sad to see autumn go.  So here is my farewell post to autumn.

I made the above chocolate autumn leaves for my friend, the carefree Cari.  Carefree, because she visited family for Thanksgiving and her assignment was cookies.  These were a change of pace for me and I really liked how they came out.  And the chocolate?  mmmm I made a couple extra entirely for quality control purposes.  I'm committed like that.  It took about 5 cookies to get a definite conclusion because I am dedicated to culinary perfection.  ummm, did I mention that 4 of those cookies were in cookie dough?  Ahhhh, sometimes life as a cookier is hard.

Speaking of Thanksgiving... we had a fabulous time with friends and family.  All told we had 20 people here who shared delicious food and conversation.  The one snag in our day:  Mr. John is my turkey man and he woke up early to stuff the bird and get it roasting.  Well, he found it half frozen still... after 6 DAYS of thawing!  He made a run to the grocery store and luckily they had a fresh 24 lb bird and everything turned out beautifully.

So, you ask, "What happened to that other ginormous turkey that has probably thawed by now?"  So glad you asked.  We made that turkey last night and plan to be eating turkey the rest of our lives.  Actually, we invited some friends over and we made a good dent in it, but guess what is for dinner tonight for the 6th day in a row?  Surprisingly I'm not tired of it yet, but the turkey fatigue is setting in for the kids.

 
And here is the latest contribution to the Dessert of the Month gift that I have been giving to my father in law this year.  I would post a link to the pecan pie recipe, but I really guessed here while making these.  I roughly cut down the recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and then added melted chocolate chips to the filling.  Sadly, one mini pie did not survive the evacuation of the muffin tin and I HAD to eat the crushed pie.  Once again... challenging times for me, but I do what I have to.  If you love pecan pie, try adding some melted chocolate to the filling.  You will not be sad.

I will post the recipe for the pie crust because I love it so much and it is all I ever use because it is awesome for everything from pies to quiches and it makes a ton!

MaryJo's Pie Crust
I don't know Mary Jo, but this is the recipe my mom has used since forever and when she shares the recipe she always calls it MaryJo's Pie Crust.  I bet my mom has made it more than MaryJo by now and it should be called Daphne's Pie Crust, but I digress... 

With electric mixer, mix:
6 C flour
3/4 tsp salt
3 C shortening 

In a 2 cup glass measuring cup:
1 C water
3 eggs
1 TBSP vinegar

Buzz briefly with handmixer to blend liquids, then add to the above flour/shortening mix, stirring together.
Separate into balls of dough about softball size.  Keep out what you need to use and freeze the rest in a ziplock bag.  Freezes nicely.  Makes about 5-6 balls of dough.  Roll out for pie shell.  Bake about 350* for 15-20 minutes.

These are all my mom's terms by the way.  I love how unfussy this recipe is.  No chilling, no fancy ingredients.  One thing to keep in mind:  I once tried butter flavored shortening, thinking that would be a yummy idea.  DO NOT DO THIS!  I don't know what is different in the butter flavored shortening than regular shortening, but it was a complete disaster!

Now that I've said goodbye to autumn, I'm ready... bring on winter!

5 comments:

  1. Heehee that recipe is going to make some interesting crust - 6 cups water?! I am sure you meant flour! I love autumn too. It smells like potpourri outside in the woods where we live with all the leaves fluttering around.

    Jan J.

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  2. Liz, Your Thanksgiving tables look so cozy, warm and inviting:)
    My dinner (week, actually)for 18 ended up kind of disorganized and hectic, much to my dismay. Since it has happened so many consecutive years, I guess it is just part of my make-up, unfortunately.
    Maybe next time it will be a little closer to the dinner of my dreams!
    P.S. Your little pecan pies are darling!

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  3. aaaah! Thank you Jan for catching that :D That would have been a bigger disaster than using butter flavored shortening that's for sure! ewwwww!
    Our dinner was plenty disorganized as well Sue! It was loud and a bit crazy, but I don't think I'd have it any other way.

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  4. The cookies are stunning but the pie caught my attention! sounds sooooo yummy!

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  5. You were lucky to find a 24 pound fresh turkey on Thanksgiving! I'd be in heaven with all the leftovers from the first one :) Love your little jars of fresh flowers on your tables and dessert sidebar and your Fall Leaf Cookies are beautiful. Your FIL is probably hoping to get another Dessert of the Month gift next year. I know I certainly would be. Those tarts look amazing.

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