Mini Apple Pear Pies

MiniPies2

I love eating pies, however, once a nice big pie is fresh out of the oven, the wholeness of it becomes destroyed by the slice of a knife. Therefore, sometimes I opt instead to make mini pies. They are super easy to make and you can experiment with various flavors, fillings and top crust designs all in one baking batch!

For this recipe, you will need a food processor, cupcake pan, rolling pin, knife (or pizza cutter), large saucepan, measuring cups and measuring spoons.

Pie crust:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup almond meal
1 cup unsalted butter (chilled and cubed)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup ice water
1 tsp. lemon juice (mixed into water)
toasted almonds (optional)

Filling:
One apple (finely diced)
One pear (finely diced)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tbsp. butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla bourbon
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 egg

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a food processor, pulse dry ingredients (flour, almond meal and salt). Manually pulse about 3-5 times until dry ingredients are blended together.
  • Slowly add in ice water, while pulsing an additional 5-7 times. The mixture will look crumbly, however, should stick together when formed into a ball.
  • Remove dough from food processor and form into a large ball on a clean surface.
  • Use a rolling pin to flatten out the dough.
  • Let dough set, while preparing the filling.
  • In a large saucepan, heat approximately 2 tablespoons of butter on medium heat.
  • Add diced apples and pears, stirring constantly, ensuring that the the fruit is being coated in butter.
  • Add brown sugar and white sugar.  Continue stirring.  Add more butter, if necessary in order to keep the fruit moist.
  • In a large bowl combine butter-coated fruit from saucepan.  Add cinnamon and vanilla bourbon.
  • Add cornstarch to create a thickened consistency.

Dicedapples

  • Focus your attention now back to the dough.
  • In a cupcake pan, grease each individual pan with butter. Evenly disperse and place mini balls of dough into each individual pan. Leave 1/4 of the dough behind for the non-lattice top crust.
  • Using your thumb and fingers, flatten each mini ball into the shape of a pie crust.

Minidough

  • Add pie filling to each mini pie.
  • With leftover dough, create lattice (or in my case, non-lattice) top crusts.  Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut out strips of dough. I accidentally ran out of dough, so I also used toasted almonds as a top crust alternative to a few of the pies.
  • Sprinkle some sugar on top of each pie then use an egg wash (aka a whisked egg) to seal each top crust.
  • Bake in the oven for approximately 20-30 minutes, or until the edges of each pie looks golden brown.

Nonlattice

  • Remove from heat and serve immediately with whip cream!  Or save and reheat for a later time.  :)

MiniPies

Stay in School / Summer Campaign

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I’ve just finished my first year of graduate school at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. I’m on the road towards becoming a counseling psychologist and my dream is to help make the world a better place by sitting, serving and walking alongside others.

I’m currently waitressing my way through school and am working my butt off every day/night, however, some unforeseen external circumstances have gotten me off track financially.

I am reaching out for some tuition assistance so I can stay on track and continue school in the fall. I’ve never done a campaign like this before and feel kind of weird about it, but figure there is nothing to lose by trying. If you’re unable to make a contribution, please instead keep me in your thoughts, prayers and psychic energy channels.

Thanks so much. Have a great summer and hope to cross paths soon.

Sincerely,
Kristin :)

p.s. I’m not on Facebook or Twitter. For those that are, feel free to share this link with others if you feel inclined to do so.

Spring Chicken Vegetable Soup (immune strengthening)

It’s one of the worst things to feel “under the weather” on a nice sunny, spring day. However, it’s important to listen to your body when the sniffles start to rise, which usually indicates that an adjustment is needed. Instead of dousing your system with over-the-counter medications that just mask symptoms and push them deeper inside, it’s important to take a look at what’s been happening in your life externally and internally (i.e. stress, non-healthy diet, over-worked, surrounded by others who are contagious, hygiene practices, etc.) that may indicate that restoration is needed. Here’s a simple cleansing recipe that will soothe, strengthen and warm your soul.

chxsoup

Ingredients:
boneless chicken thighs (chopped)
organic vegetable broth (low sodium)
carrots (diced)
celery (chopped)
red potatoes (diced)
shallots (minced)
garlic (minced)
olive oil
oregano
thyme
rosemary
cilantro
salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot on medium heat.
  2. Saute minced garlic and shallots for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally (do not burn).
  3. Add chopped chicken breasts. Stir and coat in oil.
  4. Add oregano, thyme, rosemary and black pepper. Stir occasionally. Cover and let simmer on medium-low heat for approximately 7-10 minutes or until the chicken is browned (but not all the way cooked).
  5. Add diced potatoes and carrots. Increase heat to medium and stir for approximately 5 minutes.
  6. Finally, add chopped celery. Simmer for approximately 3-5 minutes.
  7. Add 1 quart of vegetable broth (I used the low sodium Pacific Organic brand).  I know this is not the authentic way to make chicken soup, but sometimes time is of the essence!
  8. Increase heat to medium-high/high to allow the soup to boil. Once the soup reaches boiling, reduce heat back down to simmer (medium/medium-low).
  9. Add salt to taste.
  10. Garnish with cilantro.
  11. Serve hot and let your system be cleansed and nourished!

Click here for another immune strengthening soup recipe.

Top 5 Songs of the Week (theme: transitional shifting)

During the transition from winter to spring, there are often a lot of emotions that come up.  Winter represents a dormant time of rest, stillness, and death; while spring represents a season of birth, germination and an opportunity for a tiny seed to grow into a little bud. Though spring brings new life and resurrection, it can also be a reminder of what has been lost or what needs to be let go of in order to allow space for fresh sprouts to flourish.  As I take inventory of my personal losses and situations I wish could have been different in the past, I also continue to move forward towards a future of unbounded faith, while attempting to maintain an appreciation for every moment that comes my way… in the present here-and-now.

It’s quite easy to get lost in the clouds and dream of “better” days, however maybe the times we all long for are taking place right now; here on the ground and underneath our own two feet.  Perhaps heaven doesn’t exist in a far away land off in the distant sky.  Maybe glimpses can be seen and revealed in everyday moments with ordinary people.  So the question is.. what do you see in your life?  Are you able to see glimpses of heaven or are you living in a personal hell?  Sometimes the pendulum can swing pretty wide, and it’s often not always a black and white scenario.  Shades of gray mainly permeate the air and sometimes it’s hard to know how to navigate.  However, instead of trying to take control of a situation and jump in the driver’s seat to get to the next destination or solve the existing riddle, perhaps allowing oneself to float within the spectrum of overcast pigments can allow room for a kaleidoscope of colors to shine through. 

All this to say that spring is arriving, I’m stoked about it and here are a few songs I’ve chosen to represent this time of transitional shifting and change.

Just discovered these guys. Super sweet song.
Jamestown Revival – Golden Age

Recently went back to re-discover the tunes of this leading lady.
Alison Krauss & Union Station – Paper Airplanes

Our local Seattle hometown heroes.
The Head & the Heart – 10,000 Weight in Gold

This duo is hilarious. That’s all.
Shovels & Rope – The Devil is All Around

Super epic worship band. This is a great acoustic version of this anthem.
Hillsong United – Oceans

Chicken Enchilasagna

Here’s a fun and tasty recipe that’s guaranteed to be a party-pleaser.  I guess you could call it a Mexican spin on an Italian classic.

Enchilasagna

Ingredients
boneless chicken breast (1 lb)
corn tortillas
three-cheese blend
roasted corn
black beans (1 can, drained)
red bell pepper (chopped)
tomato sauce (1 can)
white onion (chopped)
garlic (1 bulb)
chili powder
oregano
cumin
garlic powder
olive oil
vegetable oil
flour
brown sugar
salt
tortilla chips (optional for garnish)

The chicken..

  • In a large stock pot, heat approximately 1 tbsp. olive oil on medium heat.
  • Add garlic cloves and chopped white onions.
  • Add approximately 1 tbsp. of chili powder and oregano.
  • Slowly saute onions, garlic and spices together (stirring frequently).
  • Add boneless chicken, fully coating chicken with oil and spices. Lightly brown, then add 4 cups of water.
  • Cover and boil for 25-30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked thoroughly.
  • Remove chicken from broth and pull apart with two forks. Set aside.

Enchilasagna1

Enchilasagna2

The enchilada sauce..

  • Heat approximately 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil on medium heat.
  • Add approximately 3 tbsp. of chili powder and 1 tbsp. each of cumin, garlic powder, and oregano.
  • Stir together to create the flavor base for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add one can of tomato sauce. Stir on low to medium heat.
  • Add 1 tbsp. of brown sugar and salt.
  • Add sprinkles of flour to create a smooth consistency.
  • You want the sauce to taste sweet with a hint of spice.
  • Keep stirring on low to medium heat (you don’t want the sauce to burn).

Enchilasagna3

The casserole…

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a 9 x 14 baking pan or casserole dish, coat bottom of pan with a layer of enchilada sauce.
  • Take the remaining sauce, and mix it with the pulled chicken in a large bowl. Make sure the chicken is fully coated with sauce.
  • Cut corn tortillas in half. Layer the halves on top of the sauce in pan.
  • Add one package of roasted corn, one can of black beans and a layer of chicken.
  • Add another layer of tortilla halves, enchilada sauce and chicken.
  • Add chopped red bell peppers and a layer of cheese (3 cheese grated blend).
  • Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes.
  • Let cool for 5-10 minutes, slice and serve! Also stores well for leftovers the next day.
  • Optional: garnish with tortilla chips around the border and call it good.

Enchilasagna4

Enchilasagna5

Enchilasagna6

An Ode to Hopping on Another Reflective Bandwagon of the Year.

DarkHole
Dark Hole in a Tree Trunk, Olympic National Forest

As a new year begins, one can’t help to reflect on the year that has just passed. What a wild ride.  I’m not a resolution type girl, because I feel making new years resolutions can place one on a dangerous path of unfulfilled and unmet expectations, especially if and when things don’t pan out.  For more about why resolutions are problematic, click here.

Of course one must live with hopes and dreams, however, in most cases, maybe slow and steady “wins the race.” Perhaps it’s not about how you’re going to accomplish something, change your lifestyle and become someone better, but instead accept what has been given to you and work what what you have, while still keeping a glimmering flame alive for those moments of joy, beauty and peace.. however few and far between they may seem to come.

This article is an ode to hopping on another reflective bandwagon.  It’s so cliche.  I suppose I could have tried to think of a more “original” idea or attempt to come up with something new and innovative, but I like to recycle and compost.  How can one literally turn manure and decaying matter that’s been thrown your way into fertile soil and organic material that can be used to plant further seeds of cultivating blossoms?  It’s like the age old saying, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.  How annoying.  What if one doesn’t want to be a stiff, solid strong rock?  Sometimes it seems easier to wither and float away. It seems more appealing to be a leaf that changes colors like a chameleon, or drifts from one tree to the next.  Rumi, the legendary Persian poet, Islamic scholar and Sufi mystic states, if you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?  So the question then is are we meant to be shaped and polished and who is doing the polishing?

Apparently there are a plethora of various polishing techniques.  When one polishes something, perhaps a jewel, a sculpture, or a car, sometimes a piece of paint needs to be completely scraped off, a piece of metal needs to be burned at extreme temperatures or a piece of wood needs to be rubbed harshly with sandpaper.  How painful.  However, without taking these necessary steps, how can the process of enhancement and ultimate refinement continue?  One can “gloss over” and continue to paint thicker and thicker layers on one’s walls in order to hide the festering mold and holes, but the underlying matter still remains.  Sometimes we have to be stripped.  Stripped savagely.  And it sucks.

As I continue on my reflective bandwagon, the common themes of my year have been related to loss, renewal and deep questioning.   I started off the year stranded in the snow in a four car pile-up, and ironically I ended the year in a t-boned car accident that’s left me stranded without a car.  In addition to addressing my health care needs due to these accidents, I’ve also had many other transitions throughout the year.

  • completed a contract assisting a music school, which resulted in a publication of a music textbook.
  • ended a job at an Italian bistro I worked at for 2 years, due to the restaurant closing its doors.
  • was a part-time teaching assistant at a private preschool working with 4 and 5 year olds.  They were so cute.
  • started a serving position at a prominent and upscale Trattoria in downtown Seattle.
  • hosted my first annual chili cook-off (my team won!)
  • said good-bye to old roommates and hello to new ones.
  • became more actively involved in volunteering at my church.
  • started graduate school, working towards a Master’s in Counseling Psychology.

Wishes for 2015..

  • Take some time to travel, if possible.
  • Spend more time with old friends and deepen my current friendships.
  • Go on real “dates.”
  • Participate in an intimate and fruitful relationship with someone who holds a common shared vision.
  • Continue my post-accident health care journey.
  • Continue to grow in my faith and remain hopeful.. wherever the path shall lead.

——–
by Kristin Bach
Copyright 2015