Category Archives: Holidays

Recipes specifically for or about any American holiday

Post 300! — Walmart Party To Go

 

WOW how time flies! This is my 300th published post on this blog.

I am amazed that it has kept up, and even gotten better over time. Thanks to all you wonderful people who continue to read, comment, ask questions, and make suggestions. I am always looking for ways to better serve my readers, so if you ever have something you want to see here or know about, please shoot me an email (budget epicurean (at) gmail (dot) com). Again, thank you!

In other news…

A while ago I was contacted by media representatives for Walmart. The company offers a delivery service for anything you order online, called Walmart To Go. Now they are expanding it to the Denver area, and wanted some locals to try out the service and see if it was a good fit for their lives.

I decided to throw a dinner party. Some friends of mine I hadn’t seen in a long while had had a baby, another had just successfully defended his thesis and was awarded a PhD, and another was the only remaining member of our first year class who stayed in PhD school.

Not to mention it is the holiday season, when we want to surround ourselves with joy and make happy memories with people we care about. All these reasons are reasons to party!

Disclaimer: The food and decorations for this party were provided by Walmart.

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I was given a set budget, and challenged myself to come up with the nicest-looking decor and spread as I could on that budget. If you have followed my blog at all, you know that is kind of my thing. I usually am a bargain-hunter with food, but for all other items this would be a challenge.

After I placed my order, I simply waited. The delivery person gave me a call 15 minutes ahead of time to let me know he was on the way. I appreciate that in case you were just about to shower, on the phone with a parent, taking the dogs for a walk, whatever, you know when to expect a knock on the door.

He showed up right on time, with several bags full of goodies. I did not know that the delivery persons are not allowed to enter your home. They must hand your bags through the door to you. That makes sense for everyone, safety first, and they don’t want to accidentally break anything inside the house by knocking it over with a full bag.

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So Thursday night, my kitchen floor covered in food and decorations, I had about 20 hours until the party, and felt mostly prepared already.

You can see that a $100 budget gets you quite a lot of food! I shopped smart, and chose non-name-brand items mostly. The ravioli were $2.79 per bag, all salad fixings were about $6 total, garlic bread for just over $1 per piece.

The large olive oil, beans, and rice cost about $10, but will make tons of meals! A simple beans and rice for a side, or with the frozen broccoli thrown in to make it a meal, and that $10 can turn into 50 cents or less per serving.

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The decoration budget netted: 5 strings of lights, 5 light-up candy canes, light hooks, a rope light, a big red bow for the front door, a wax melter, and a nice tablecloth. The original plan was one light-up reindeer and 2 light-up trees, but I think we ended up with a lot more bang for our buck this way.

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The light-up candy canes were adorable, but they do have a limited stretch of wire between them. If you want more than a foot between each one, you will also need some small extension cords.

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My boyfriend is nuts, and thinks climbing around on roofs is a fun hobby. He didn’t use a ladder, just jumped right up there and started clipping lights to the gutters. All told, it probably took about 2 hours of work the morning of the party to decorate, inside and out. We did run out of lights, and had to go get one more strand.

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The finished product came out really well, I’m very happy with how it looks! You can see our two terriers in the door there wanting to come outside with me.

The food budget covered: cheese and beef ravioli, tomato and alfredo sauce, 2 loaves of garlic bread, spinach, romaine, broccoli slaw mix, ranch and Italian dressings, fruit dip, apples, bananas, strawberries, an apple pie, green tea, beans, frozen broccoli, olive oil, and rice.

I also added in paper plates, napkins, utensils, and wet wipes and spray cleaner for after the party. (You can see in the corner of the photo my homemade draft stopper! This thing is awesome in the winter to keep the chill from the garage out)

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This is proof that you can eat healthy foods on a budget as well. The two apples, strawberries, one pear, raspberries, and dip all cost less than $10 and made a lovely platter with more left over.

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I took the black silverware and wrapped them in white napkins. Then cut 1 inch strips of crepe paper and wrapped it around the bundle for color. Red, green, and white to go with our holiday theme. Boyfriend asked, are we saluting Italy?  =)

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The smaller red plates I put on top of larger white plates, which matched the beige tablecloth on top of a red one. The table has extra leaves, and when stretched out it is too long to fit just one tablecloth. Good thing we had the extra-long red one too!

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The wax melter in the background made the room smell like cinnamon, and the red candles on the table were a nice centerpiece for now. On to the cooking part!

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I boiled all the pasta ahead of time, and then kept it warm in the oven on low. We had beef ravioli and five-cheese ravioli. I also made a box of penne because we had several kids coming and I wanted to be sure there would be something everyone would eat. Sauteed asparagus with Italian dressing was a nice hot side dish.

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Everyone fit just perfectly in this cozy dining room, and there was plenty of food to go around. People loved having the choice of beef or cheese, and which sauce to use. I was proud of my friends for how much of the salad was eaten too!

We actually had so much food that the rice and the bean salad were not needed. And I totally forgot about the garlic bread! No one seemed to mind, and now I have that for a future party.

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We did have one bad experience, halfway through the meal one friend of mine was cutting her ravioli and the fork broke right in half! Luckily the box has more than enough extras so it wasn’t a huge deal. But just know these plastic utensils have a breaking point, and it’s pretty low.

All in all it was a lovely night. We had a great time catching up with each others’ lives, and everyone said the meal was delicious. I ended up with plenty left over too! The delivery eased the stress of having to go to the store, though I ended up having to run out once anyways (for penne and extra lights) but that happens. You can’t plan for everything all the time.

I think I would use this service again, especially for big parties which are planned ahead of time so I know the menu. For everyday cooking, I like physically going to the store, seeing what is on sale, and creating meals in my mind. I’m going to plan another party in a few weeks, for my birthday, and we will see how that goes!

If you want to try Walmart Grocery To Go yourself, click on this referral link: Walmart Grocery To Go.

Creative Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers

 

Since Thanksgiving was already a few days ago, you readers may be tired of turkey sandwiches by now. Or perhaps you went to a potluck and didn’t get saddled with 10 pounds of leftovers, but want to take advantage of steeply discounted holiday foods at the store. Either way, this list of leftover options is sure to help empty that fridge to make room for more culinary masterpieces!

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First of all, Peter at Feed Your Soul 2 has already made a handy list for his Friday Five collection all about Thanksgiving Leftovers. And if you’d like a super simple casserole recipe to use up all the leftovers in one delicious swoop, try Jeanette’s Layered Thanksgiving Leftovers Casserole.

The Turkey

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The golden centerpiece of the Thanksgiving table, the turkey is a classic. And with the deals offered this time of year (0.50 per pound, what?!) you can’t pass that up. Even if you just scooped up an extra on sale and now it’s in your freezer, these recipes are great for using up that extra fowl.

From Gina’s Skinny Recipes, we start our day with a Turkey & Sweet Potato Frittata. You know I’m a huge fan of frittatas for their adaptability and ease. See the ham section.

If you shred up the turkey meat, you can easily replace chicken for this south-of-the-border Meat & Cheese Enchiladas

Likewise, just replace the shredded chicken with shredded turkey in this White Bean Chicken Chili for a new twist

From Southern Living, try some Turkey Tostadas with Cranberry Chipotle Sauce for a double whammy

For a long list of 16 more amazing turkey recipes from around the food blog-o-sphere, check out This List Here.

The Ham

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A classic for a reason, Scalloped Ham & Potatoes is a delightful comfort food great for using up both ham and extra potatoes that didn’t get mashed.

As the turkey frittata above mentioned, I love putting anything into scrambled eggs, like this Ham & Greens Frittata

Your Home Based Mom has a great list of tried and true recipes her family loves for using leftover ham

On a chilly winter day, try this comfort food classic of Ham & Potato Soup from All She Cooks. You might even be able to sneak in some leftover mashed potatoes to score a double

The Potatoes

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For adorable, portable snacks little ones and grown-ups alike will love, make these Cheesy Mashed Potato Puffs from The Kitchn

This is a simply brilliant recipe from the One Ingredient Chef: Vegan Lentil & Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Try whipping up a loaf of easier-than-you-think Sweet Potato Bread

Potatoes are a great base for latkes, and you could use any other filler in there, including turkey meat. Or switch it up from fowl and pork and try my Salmon Latkes

Stuffing/Dressing

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Whether you call it stuffing or dressing, made by hand or from a Stove-Top box, Thanksgiving is incomplete without the starchy side dish. If you have a bowl or three in your fridge, try some of the recipes below to revamp your bread bits.

While there are ten great leftover recipes in this post by Trisha, the Stuffing Waffles are by far the most intriguing to me!

Pull off a dinner-party worthy main dish with little effort with my Stuffing-Stuffed Pork Chops

Try this triple-threat of Turkey, Mashed Potato & Stuffing Patties from the Pocket Change Gourmet

Half Hour Meals has a great list of 7 ways to use stuffing ranging from stuffed mushrooms to meatloaf

Cranberry sauce

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There are tons of ideas out there, I’ve been seeing lots of versions of the Cranberry-Grilled Cheese this year. Here’s a great list of 9 different cranberry ideas, I particularly like mixing it into plain cream cheese as a different and delicious bagel topping!

Brittany Angell has a gigantic list of 35 Ways to Use Leftover Cranberry Sauce with a plethora of ideas that might inspire you to use cranberry sauce year-round

Green Bean Casserole

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Kevin here put together this Green Bean Casserole Pasta on the fly, but it is brilliant and the cream sauce just kind of works. Must try.

Similarly Greta puts leftover roasted Brussels sprouts in pasta and claims even kids will eat it!

Chef Pete brings us a Turkey, Green Bean & Stuffing Strudel, as well as a “Thanksgiving Cosmo” drink recipe for excess Cranberry Sauce

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Of course, if you are tired of cooking at this point and just can’t summon the energy to re-purpose those leftovers, the classic Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich will do.

Keep in mind that many of these freeze well, so if you just can’t face the gallon of cranberry sauce or two pounds of turkey breast, stick it in a freezer safe plastic bag or container and wait out the holidays. Perhaps a cranberry brownie will sound better in February, or by Easter you can use up those ham chunks.

Hope all my readers had a delicious and thankful Thanksgiving this year!

 

What do you do with leftovers?

Giving Thanks

 

Happy Thanksgiving dear readers! I am so thankful for each and every one of you.

I sincerely hope that your Thanksgiving day is filled with good food, friends, family, and stories. Laughter and hugs and sore stomachs from wayyyyy too much to eat.

For some light reading to avoid the football madness or post-turkey nap, see my post from last year on how to do Thanksgiving under $20 , or read about the history of Thanksgiving and why it should be “thanks-giving”.

Or check out some more awesome food bloggers’ Thanksgiving ideas and leftover uses:

Chewingthefat Thanksgiving daily
TheSimpleDollar leftovers roundup
FeedYourSoul2 dessert roundup

(This is not permission to ignore your family in favor of your smart phone or tablet! Pay attention to what your Aunt Edna is saying, you never know how many more holidays you have.)

In honor of that train of thought, some things I am thankful for this year:

  • My amazing, supportive family, who love me from far away
  • My amazing, supportive S.O. who keeps me going daily
  • Finally getting a house & a yard! (renting. but still.)
  • Puppies!
  • Friends who keep in touch through big life changes
  • H Mart. Y’all not from Denver, you just don’t know.
  • Flowers
  • A car that keeps working, despite my lack of attention
  • Jobs that are mostly rewarding and fun
  • Cool people with good stories
  • Board games
  • All the lovely people who have read, shared, supported this blog!

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What are you thankful for?

Lingonberry-Pear Shots

 

This is something that sounds exotic, but if you live anywhere near an IKEA you can obtain delicious lingonberry extract for about $5. I bet you could find it online or at a local grocery store too, if you look. Or substitute in whatever berry you enjoy instead. Apple, raspberry, pumpkin, cherry, blueberry…

I recommend something red, because the red juice and pear layered is very festive. This would be adorable at a holiday party or get-together.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 oz lingonberry extract
  • 1/2 oz rum
  • 2 tbsp pear juice
  • Small piece of pear

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Step 1: Pour in the juice concentrate. This should be the heaviest, so if you pour the other layers carefully they shouldn’t mix.

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Step 2: Splash in 2 tbsp pear juice. I opened a can of pears and used the juice in there, plus the fruit as garnish.

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Step 3: Carefully pour on the rum, cut a slit in the pear and wedge it onto the glass.

And there you have it! Totally adorable lingonberry-pear shooters. You could also make this into a full-out beverage by using 1-2 cups sparkling flavored water and adding rum, berry, and pear juice.

How to: Make a simple wreath for under $10

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This is a fun holiday craft I took on last year with really impressive results. You will be amazed by how gorgeous a piece you can make in just a little time with things you can find in your neighborhood. Could be a good kids craft or bonding time for couples. Just be careful if using real pine, the needles of some can really be sharp.
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Since you can use real pine branches, this wreath is super cheap. Just make sure you are collecting from a tree you own or are allowed to use… Then embellish with other things from nature, or some cute colorful things you can pick up at a craft store or Goodwill.
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You will need:
  • Several pine branches (real or fake)
  • Super glue/hot glue
  • Craft wire
  • Pine cones or other forest accessories
  • Embellishments, preferably in pretty colors like red, silver, green, or gold. You could go with any color theme you like.
  • Optional: Glitter, ribbons, etc.
Step 1: Begin forming the branches into a circular shape. Just move the branches around and piece it together into what looks best. Use the wire to hold pieces together once you like the look
Step 2: Once the branches are held together well, you can also hot glue them. Then start strategically placing your accessories. Intersperse colors with neutrals, like I did with the red fake berries and the pine cones.
Step 3: Spread glue around, and sprinkle with glitter for a little extra shine. If you don’t have a nail or hanger on your door, you can also now hot glue a thick ribbon onto the wreath to hang it.
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And now you can enjoy your unique, homemade holiday decoration. This would also be a great frugal Christmas gift.

Cinco de Mayo drink: Margarita Spritzer

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

 

 Most people will be celebrating early since the 5th of May is a Monday, so I figured I’d post this early as well. 

As with most holidays, I always wonder how they started and what they really mean. As I dug into the history of this one, I was surprised and learned quite a bit. 

Most people tend to think this holiday commemorates Mexico’s Independence Day, but that is not true. Mexico’s independence day is actually September 16th, not May 5th. The 5th of May is the day a Mexican city won a huge battle with the French. For a great 2-minute video, check out the History Channel

In 1861, Mexico was so far in debt to so many countries that the president Benito Juarez declared that they could not pay back any countries they owed. This made the French super mad, and they invaded. Good cheese isn’t cheap, you know.

So the French rampaged across Mexico, winning battle after battle. Then on May 5, 1862, in the state of Puebla, the Mexicans finally defeated the French, despite being less prepared, not well trained or equipped, and outnumbered 2:1 on the battlefield!

The French quickly regrouped and eventually took Mexico City, but that euphoria of an unlikely victory tasted sweet. Just like a cold margarita. The victory was so inspiring, American generals began using it as “inspiration for the Union struggle in the Civil War”. (*All quotes from the History Channel video mentioned above)

Mexican-Americans, and Americans of all kind, took to remembering that battle every May 5th with food, drinks, parades, dancing, game, and bullfights (from About.com “Cinco de Mayo – the Basics“). Over time, the holiday died down in most of Mexico, except in Puebla where the battle was originally won. However, north of the border we never got out of the habit, and Cinco de Mayo is still celebrated every year with margaritas, Meixcan food, and other festivities. And now you know the “surprisingly American history behind this Mexican holiday”.

So to celebrate these brave Mexican fighters who didn’t want their tacos replaced with baguettes, make yourself a big ol’ pitcher of these Margarita Spritzers! With less “extras” and sugar, this version of the lime classic is lower on calories but big on taste, and how hard it hits is up to how much tequila you pour!

This margarita requires NO triple sec, the source of most margarita’s zing and pucker, but it’s also a sugar bomb with calories galore. This is a super simple recipe, with endless customization choices.


Ingredients:

  • 1 oz gold tequila
  • 1 oz simple syrup*
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1 cup soda water (lemon-lime flavor is best)
  • Salt for rimming if you like
  • Fresh lime slices for garnish

Step 1: *Simple syrup – add 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 2 cups water to a pot. Bring to a gentle boil, or at least heat until all sugar is dissolved. Chill for ~1 hour.

Step 2: On two flat plates, pour onto one a tbsp lime juice and on the other some sea salt. Take a glass, and rub the rim in the juice. Then swirl it around in the salt so it sticks.

Step 3: In a shaker, combine (per drink) 1 oz tequila, 1 oz simple syrup, and 1 oz lime juice. Shake with ice until cold.

 Step 4: Pour over ice in rimmed glass, and top with soda water. Stir and garnish as desired.

Try any juice you like in place of lime; cherry, pomegranate, strawberries. I’m a total purist and prefer simply lime over ice, but you can blend it if you must. Check out CookingChannel‘s list of top 20 Margarita Recipes for inspiration.

This 5th of May, raise a glass to those brave Mexicans who kept the French in France and enabled this long tradition of May festivity. ¡Que viva México!


What do you do on May 5th? Do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Do you have any special margarita recipes I need to know about?

 

How to Perfectly Hard-Boil an Egg; & 6 Ways to Dye Hard Boiled Eggs

Happy Easter!!!

I’m guessing not many people will be reading this blog the day of, since Easter is kinda a major holiday. That’s why this is published a little early. There are many great things about Easter.

Egg hunts, baskets of presents and candy, Cadbury eggs, chocolate bunnies, Easter Sunday brunch. If you’re religious, that church part. Since a major part of Easter is coloring hard boiled eggs (or at least it always has been for me), it’s important to know how to properly hard boil an egg. It’s gross when you peel an egg to eat it only to find a grimy green ring around the yolk, or the yolk is still runny.

There are many theories on how to perfectly boil eggs.

First rule though: DO NOT TRY TO MICROWAVE IT.

Seriously. Even thought BuzzFeed claims there are 12 ways to do it right. (Most of those ways don’t involve in-the-shell eggs, so that’s cheating). If you just put a raw egg into water and stick it in the microwave, the steam will build up quickly.

You will spend the next 2 minutes oblivious to the imminent explosion, then the next 10 minutes after that cleaning dripping raw egg and shell shards from your entire microwave.

Not that I know from experience or anything…

How to perfectly boil eggs

1. Place 6-12 eggs in a pan which has a lid. Cover the eggs with cold water, add a little salt, and maybe a tsp of vinegar.
2. Bring the eggs to a boil on the stove. As soon as they start a rolling boil, remove them from the heat and cover.
3. Let them sit in the hot water for 10-15 minutes. Then drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
4. To peel, bang the egg on a hard surface, or roll it in your hands to break the shell. Start at the larger end and pull off shell pieces, running under cold water if you need extra help to get the shell off.

This version from MarthaStewart is actually closest to how we do it at my house. (Should I be upset about that?). This article from SimplyRecipes is also a good detailed explanation. The green ring is caused by boiling water, so the best way is to have the eggs at a rolling boil as short a time as possible.

Fresh eggs are usually harder to peel, so if you have eggs you bought last week rather than this morning, use those. Adding a teaspoon of vinegar to the cooking water may make peeling easier too. This is also a good idea to add if you’re boiling the eggs to dye them. 

Ways to Dye Easter Eggs

First of all, you will want to cover the surface where you are dying eggs with newspaper or cloth to prevent staining your family heirloom table. This can get messy. Then make sure you have plenty of eggs for each person dying, because this is fun and it’s easy to get carried away! Just one more pretty egg, please….
 
1. Food coloring or Kool-Aid
You can use plain food coloring to dye cooked, cooled eggs, no need for expensive store-bought kits. Just add 20 drops or so to 1/2 cup water and 1 tbsp vinegar, then leave them in the water until they are the color you want. Or add one whole packet of KoolAid (NO SUGAR) to 1 tbsp vinegar and 1/2 cup water. Adding more vinegar or leaving it in the color longer will give more and more vibrant colors.
2. Decorations
There are a lot of ways to decorate your egg, just be sure you do so before you put them in the dye. You can add stickers, draw on them with a crayon (anywhere the wax is, there will be no color and it will stay white) or wrap with rubber bands to create stripes. Then place in bought dye kits or food coloring.
3. Layering
Starting with the lightest color, dye the egg. For example, yellow. Then, use wire, a spoon, or string to dip the egg into the next color only part of the way, leaving part of the egg unsubmerged. For example, blue. This will make the overlapping areas green. If you don’t dip it all the way in the yellow, you can have a yellow-green-blue egg. You can do this multiple times to create many layers of color.
4. Sponge painting
If you intend to eat these eggs, make sure you are using food grade dye and paint. If these are just for show, go crazy with whatever. Using a small piece of sponge (kitchen or makeup kind) dip into paint, and dab across the dyed or non-dyed egg surface. You can use multiple colors to create works of art.
5. Swirled/Marbelized
Once you are SURE you don’t need a dye color alone, add a tbsp vegetable oil. Where the oil sticks to the egg will dye lighter or not dye at all as compared to the color you add it to. But be sure, because once you add the oil you cannot remove it! This creates beautiful swirled eggs.
6. Cracked Dye
After you cool cooked eggs, break the shells just a bit on purpose by banging them on a hard surface once or twice. Then dye as usual. When peeled, the egg will have spidery dye patterns of color! Use food grade dye if you intend to eat them.


Once you’re finished with the fun of dying eggs, put on a baking rack or back into the carton to dry and set.

Have fun decorating, hiding, and/or eating your eggs this Easter!

What’s your favorite part of Easter?

 

Pi Day: Blackberry Pie

Happy Pi Day!

Since it is March 14 (or 3.14) it is international Pi Day, the day to celebrate the number pi. The Roman symbol above is how we write pi in math class. It is defined as the circumference of a perfect circle divided by its diameter, or the distance around the outside divided by the distance perfectly halfway across.

Conveniently, Albert Einstein was also born on March 14th. But as for the number, possibly it’s biggest (and only) claim to fame is that it is infinite. There is quite literally no end to the digits if you calculate it out exactly. 

The digits of pi have inspired people to memorize strings of thousands of numbers, competitions, “the million digits of pi”, create poetry and music with these numbers. There is even a PiDay organization with a website that has all kinds of fun facts and stories about Pi.

There is a video of a Pi Rap by Amy McConnell. Several businesses jump on any excuse for a holiday with special Pi Day Deals. There’s even a trainer to help you memorize more digits of Pi!

If you want to know more about how Pi Day began, and how Americans celebrate, check out CNN’s article “How America celebrates Pi Day“.

A clever t-shirt showing how “PIE” in a mirror is 3.14 Pi!

In honor of this unique number I’m posting a special recipe, for pie of course!

Because blackberries were on sale this week, that is the fruit I chose. However, you can use any berry or fruit you like, including frozen.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pie crusts (I cheated and store-bought. If you’re baking-savvy or brave, you can try making your own pie crust, like this one from Pioneer Woman)
  • 4 cups blackberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp butter (or Country Crock)

Step 1: Let the dough thaw for 10-20 minutes on the counter top, if it broke at all smush it back together with your fingers.

Step 2: Combine all ingredients but butter and milk in a large bowl to coat the berries with flour and sugar. Pour into your bottom crust. Place little chunks of butter around on the top.

Step  3: Place the other crust on top, and make sure to cut some hole to vent. I of course had to go full-nerd and cut “3.14” into the pie.

Step 4: Brush the top with milk (or egg) to make sure it gets nice a golden. Bake on a baking sheet in the middle of the oven at 400 for 12-15 minutes, until nice and bubbly and golden.

 Cut yourself a nice slice along the radius and enjoy!


This is so amazing warm out of the oven, topped with vanilla ice cream or cool whip. It’s warm and sweet and melty… MMMM! It is also amazing as breakfast with a cup of hot coffee. =)

And because you desperately need to know the millionth digit of Pi:

3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510582097494459230781640628620899862803482534211706798214808651328230664709384460955058223172535940812848111745028410270193852110555964462294895493038196442881097566593344612847564823378678316527120190914564856692346034861045432664821339360726024914127372458700660631558817488152092096282925409171536436789259036001133053054882046652138414695194151160943305727036575959195309218611738193261179310511854807446237996274956735188575272489122793818301194912983367336244065664308602139494639522473719070217986094370277053921717629317675238467481846766940513200056812714526356082778577134275778960917363717872146844090122495343014654958537105079227968925892354201995611212902196086403441815981362977477130996051870721134999999837297804995105973173281609631859502445945534690830264252230825334468503526193118817101000313783875288658753320838142061717766914730359825349042875546873115956286388235378759375195778185778053217122680661300192

Just kidding. But if you really do want to know all one million go here


Are you doing anything to celebrate Pi Day?

I CHOOSE YOU! Red Velvet PokeBall Cupcakes

 

When I saw these online somewhere, I knew they HAD to happen! I wish I’d kept the original website I saw these on. Anyway, anyone who grew up roughly in the 1990s-now knows all about Pokemon, and these aDORable poke ball cupcakes will bring back fond memories and warm fuzzies.

These would be perfect for a Valentine’s Day party or gift, or any kid’s birthday party who is obsessed with Pokemon, or Pokemon GO. Complete with “I choose YOU” accents, these would steal the heart of any geek! #GeekLove 

Ingredients:

  • 1 box red velvet cupcake mix (or whatever kind you like)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • White frosting
  • Red food coloring
  • Marshmallows (mini)
  • Chocolate icing or black icing

Step 1: I cheated and used a box mix. Sorry, but a girl’s gotta pass classes. Make the cake mix, and pour into a greased muffin tin or use cupcake liners.

Step 2: Bake at 350 for 14-18 minutes, until cooked through and springy to the touch. Cool fully.
Step 3: Spread white icing all over the cupcakes. Then put a dot of red food coloring on one side, and smear it carefully over half of the icing to make the two-toned look. (This makes the red vibrant, if you mix it into the icing it will turn out more pink).

 Step 4: Put a mini marshmallow in the center, then pipe chocolate or black icing down each side to separate the white and red halves. There you have it, an edible, adorable PokeBall.

 

 You could also pipe the words “I choose you” onto a few to make sure the not-quite-as-geeky get it. Just put some icing in a ziplock bag, and cut a tiny corner off. No need for expensive pastry bags.

Seriously. Dying with the cuteness level of this.

These are competition-winning cupcakes too!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Dark Chocolate Cherry Truffles

 

This is a recipe I tried in preparation for a Valentine’s Day baking contest. Everybody loves truffles, I know I do. And my boyfriend loves anything cherry. Therefore I decided to try making some chocolate cherry truffles to share. They were very simple to make, and I’m sure could be customize to whatever dried fruit or flavor you desire. Have fun, and make sure to make enough to share and to keep for yourself!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup vanilla vodka
12 oz dark chocolate (mixed kinds)
Powdered sugar
Cinnamon sugar

Step 1: Soak the cherries in the vodka for at least 30 minutes. They will absorb the flavor and the alcohol.

Step 2: In 30-second bursts, slowly melt the chocolate until smooth. Mix in the soaked cherries.

 Step 3: Form into 1 inch balls and refrigerate until solid. Roll in topping of your choice.

These would also be delicious and adorable if covered in milk chocolate or drizzled with colored white chocolate. In fact, truffles are great anytime, not just for a holiday. Share the love.

What is your favorite chocolate treat?