Mini Pumpkin Pudding Pies

It’s finally fall, and you know what that means…

Make everything pumpkin!

Here’s a quick and easy way to make mini single-serve “pumpkin pies.”  It’s just a twist on my recent post Mini-Mousse Pies.

Just replace the chocolate mousse with this Jell-o Pumpkin Spice Instant Pudding.  We made the pudding as directed on the box and poured it into the mini pie crusts before refrigerating for about an hour.  Top with a bit of whipped cream if you want (obviously, delicious), and enjoy!  This is so simple, so easy, so quick, and it’s great to have a single-serving option rather than having an entire pumpkin pie tempting me.

It tasted great, though I don’t like the pudding filling as much as real pumpkin pie filling.  If there’s a way to make the pudding a bit firmer so it’s more like pie filling, I’d recommend trying that, too.  Overall, though, this dessert was a great success!

So tiny, so adorable, so delicious!

So tiny, so adorable, so delicious!

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Mini-Mousse Pies

I’ve been working on being more healthy, and one of the things I’m doing is trying to make better, healthier food choices.  I don’t think it’s possible to keep up a fad diet.  But I do think it’s possible to make good choices most of the time, and to make changes that can last. It’s not easy, but getting creative can help!

That being said, sometimes, you just really want something sweet.  This weekend when we were grocery shopping, we came up with an idea that I think solves that problem without totally blowing your calories for the day.  Give these mini-mousse pies a try!

Ingredients:

Mini-Mousse Pies Ingredients

To Make:

  1. Follow the instructions on the chocolate mousse mix box.
  2. Divide the mousse into four of the mini pie crusts. (I just used a big spoon!)
  3. Refrigerate for 2 hours, and enjoy!

See how easy that is?  SO easy!  You only need three ingredients and three steps!  The finished product gives you four single-serving desserts that are under 200 calories… How awesome is that?  Not only that, but if you’ve already got milk in your fridge, the other two ingredients will only cost you about $5 total. (And the mousse comes with two pouches, so it’s enough to make this dessert twice.)  Even better, you can make these however you like.  Feel like topping with some fresh fruit?  Go for it!  Maybe some chopped walnuts, coconut, mini-chocolate chips, or almond slivers… Go crazy!  You can also use different flavors of mousse or even sugar free or low fat pudding mix (though the instructions, ingredients, and nutrition information will change).  So many possibilities, so easy, and so much better for you than going to Dairy Queen!

Do you have any healthy snacks or desserts you love to make?  Please share them in the comments!  I’m always looking for new ideas!

So cute, right?

So cute, right?

Chocolate Mousse Nutrition Facts

Chocolate Mousse Nutrition Facts

Pie Crust Nutrition Facts

Pie Crust Nutrition Facts

Family Favorite Recipe: Pink Applesauce

Two words: comfort food.

My grandmother used to make this for family dinners when I was very young, and my mom made it occasionally growing up after we moved away.  Now, my generation, my cousins and I, make this for family gatherings and for fun.  When I just need something deliciously comforting, this is the best easy thing to make.

The best part is that you can make it the easy way or the REALLY easy way.  For the really easy way, just use all store-bought applesauce and skip all the steps before adding the “secret ingredient!”

What you need:

  1. 2-3 Apples (whatever kind you like best)
  2. 1 jar of store-bought plain applesauce
  3. cinnamon
  4. sugar
  5. 1 package of red hot candies
  6. water
This is all you need!

This is all you need!

Peel the apples and cut them into small pieces.  Dump them into your pot with cold water to keep them from turning brown while you work.

Peel the apples and cut them into small pieces. Dump them into your pot with cold water to keep them from turning brown while you work.

 

pink applesauce

 

Boil and simmer the apples in the water until they are very soft.  Add cinnamon to the mixture and let simmer another couple of minutes to let the apples soak up the flavor.

Boil and simmer the apples in the water until they are very soft. Add cinnamon to the mixture and let simmer another couple of minutes to let the apples soak up the flavor.

 

Drain the water and smash the apples with a fork.  I took them out of the pot I was using so I didn't scratch it with the fork, but you don't have to if you're not using nonstick.

Drain the water and smash the apples with a fork. I took them out of the pot I was using so I didn’t scratch it with the fork, but you don’t have to if you’re not using nonstick.

 

Mix the smashed apples, the jar of applesauce, and the entire package of red hots.  Simmer on low, stirring frequently, until all of the red hots are completely melted and incorporated.

Mix the smashed apples, the jar of applesauce, and the entire package of red hots. Simmer on low, stirring frequently, until all of the red hots are completely melted and incorporated.

 

Add a little sugar at a time, to taste.  You may not need to add any at all, it just depends on the apples you used and the kind of applesauce.  Stir, and viola!  Chill in the refrigerator until it's cold, and it's ready to serve!

Add a little sugar at a time, to taste. You may not need to add any at all, it just depends on the apples you used and the kind of applesauce. Stir, and viola! Chill in the refrigerator until it’s cold, and it’s ready to serve!

 

This cinnamon flavored applesauce is absolutely one of my favorite things in the entire world.  I hope you enjoy, too!  Please feel free to comment with your favorite family recipes!

 

 

Fall Favorites: Apple Pie and Mini Cinnamon Rolls

One of the things that my dad loves to do for the holidays is make (semi) homemade pies.  As the years have gone on, I have slowly added a little more help to the process, and this year, I made my first one on my own!  Being far away from home can be hard.  But bringing family traditions along can really help!

So here’s the recipe that I used.  We found this recipe online and modified it a bit.  (I copied and pasted the recipe from their site and made changes for this post.)

 

Homesick Homemade Apple Pie

Filling Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup sugar (or more to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. apple pie spice (you can also use a combination of cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg to equal 1 tsp. if you don’t have apple pie spice)
  • 3 pounds of 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices of peeled and cored good cooking apples such as Granny Smith, Pippin, Golden Delicious
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Egg Wash

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 Tbsp milk

Crust (Make your life easy, and just buy it.  Or don’t, and use the recipe at the link above!)

Method

1 Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 375°F.

2 Combine sugar, flour and spices in large bowl. Use your hands and mix in the apples so they are well coated, then add vanilla extract.  The reason that you use your hands to mix is so that you don’t break the apples down!  This is actually pretty important.  Also, it’s kind of fun!

Mixing the apples by hand is important AND fun! (And also kind of messy!)

3 Remove crust packages from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Unroll one of the crust disks, and sprinkle some flour on top of the disk.  Roll out a little bit with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12 inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick (you really only have to make sure that the disk from the refrigerator is rolled flat and even, which isn’t always the case when you unroll it from the package).  As you roll out the dough, use a metal spatula to check if the dough is sticking to the surface below.  Add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking.  Gently fold in half. Place on to a 9-inch pie plate, lining up the fold with the center of the pan.  Gently unfold and press down to line the pie dish with the dough.

4 Spoon in apple filling, mounding slightly in center.  I also recommend setting a little of the filling aside and leaving it in the refrigerator for a little while.  It’s DELICIOUS.


5 Roll out second disk of dough, as before. Use a cookie cutter or knife to cut a fun shape out of the center of the dough, or you can later cut slits in the top to allow the pie to vent as it cooks.  I used a knife to cut a star, but you can do whatever you want!  Gently turn over onto the top of the apples in the pie. Pinch top and bottom of dough rounds firmly together. Trim excess dough with kitchen shears, leaving a 3/4 inch overhang.  Set the excess aside. Fold dough under itself so that the edge of the fold is flush with the edge of the pan. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with a fork.

I used a knife to cut a star out of the middle 🙂

pressing the top crust and bottom crust together

 

Okay, so I’m not very good at the “fluting the edges” part. It may not be very pretty, but it still tastes good, I promise!

 

6 Stir yolk and milk in small bowl to blend. Brush over top of pie. Cut slits in top crust to allow steam to escape if you didn’t cut a shape earlier. Bake pie until crust begins to turn golden, about 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F.  Tent the rims with aluminum foil or a pie protector if the edges are browning too quickly (they will, so make sure you do this!).  Bake until crust is golden and juices are bubbling, anywhere from an additional 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the type of apples you are using.   -OR- cover the edges with foil to protect them from burning until the last 5-7 minutes of cooking.  The directions on the website are the first option, the second one is the one my dad and I use.

 

I sprinkled a little bit of sugar on top after brushing on the egg wash. I don’t know, my dad always did it, so I did, too!

 

Use strips of foil to cover the edges so they don’t burn

7  Transfer to rack; let stand 1 hour. Serve pie warm, cold, or at room temperature.

I wish you could have smelled this! Fresh apple pie smells so good!

 

YUM.

 

Okay, so remember the excess crust that you cut off?  You know, the part I told you to set aside?  I hope you listened, because I’m about to tell you something simple and delicious to do with it!

Mini Cinnamon Rolls

1.  Roll the excess crust into a ball.

2.  Use a rolling pin and a sprinkle of flour to roll the crust flat into a rectangular shape.  If it’s not perfect, it’s no problem!

3.  Spread a little butter over the top of the rolled out crust.

4.  Sprinkle a generous layer of cinnamon-sugar on top of the butter.

5. Sstarting at one end, roll the crust into a pinwheel.

6.  Slice into mini cinnamon rolls.

7.  Place on a cookie sheet, spread out, and bake for about the last 10-12 minutes that your pie is in the oven.  (Look!  Multitasking on so many levels!)

8.  Remove from the oven, cool, and enjoy!

All done! You can bake them a little longer if you like them more golden-brown, but be careful because the sugar will scorch to the cookie sheet if you leave them too long!

 

So there you have it!  Homemade apple pie and mini cinnamon rolls, all in one fell swoop!  This was a really fun project for me because it gave me a good reason to keep in touch with my dad, and he was really happy to be able to help.  Baking is something that we have always both enjoyed, so it is fun to be able to bond over it, even if we’re on opposite sides of the country.  Also… the pie was DELICIOUS.  Like… really yummy.  AND the house smelled amazing for days!  I call that a success!

 

What are some of your favorite family fall traditions?  Please share them in the comments!

Toasting with “Sparklers”

Looking for a fun cocktail to celebrate Independence Day this year?  I was lucky enough to find berries buy-one-get-one-free this week, and wanted to find fun ways to enjoy them.  This was one of the first things that popped into my head!

Ingredients:

  • Sparkling wine or Champagne (I prefer Asti because it is relatively sweet)
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries

And it’s just that easy!  Make sure that you wash the fruit before using it.  I try to wash only what I am going to use (you can always wash more as you go) because it helps the fruit last longer if you don’t wash it until you’re ready to use it!  Put a couple of raspberries and a few blueberries in the bottom of the glass, pour the sparkling wine (hence “sparklers”) or Champagne over the berries, and enjoy!

What do you think of the name?  I came up with it myself!

I just love this idea because it’s a super easy way to make a festive and delicious drink to celebrate the 4th of July!  Asti is pretty much my favorite thing to sip anyway, and I adore summer berries, so I am really enjoying this combination!

This is all you need!

These berries look AMAZING!

Looks so pretty already!

Delicious!

Do you have any fun drinks for the Fourth?  Please share in the comments section, I’d love to hear your ideas!

XOXO

 

P.S. Don’t forget to check out my post from last year for more 4th of July ideas!

Friday Favorites

After comlpeting my first final of the semester, I’m happy to be thinking about something more fun!  Soon, I will have successfully completed my 1L year… I can’t wait!

Epic Study Fort! It may not be very practical, but it was sure fun and made studying suck less!

Favorite confidence booster: I have always been very shy and had difficulty in social situations. This was such a great feeling, and I totally kicked social anxiety's ass!

Favorite tailgate game: Corn Hole! You don't have to be sober or drunk to play this one, and its tons of fun! - ALSO, totally in love with Noelle's seersucker shorts!

Speaking of seersucker... I LOVE just about anything seersucker! Click the photo to take you to an awesome blog post about it!

Favorite purchase this week: This Ann Taylor Loft tank! They were on sale for $15 and came in all sorts of adorable summery colors, but I fell head over heels for this amazing teal color. It's even more vibrant in person! I also found my favorite sweater in white and managed to get this tank and the cardigan for less than $30... Love me a Loft sale!

I made s'more of these s'more treats for the Blue and White tailgate last weekend! This time, I made three varieties: the original, some with peanutbutter added, and some with nutella instead of chocolate. (The ones in this picture are with peanutbutter!) Let me tell you, they were ALL delicious and were all a huge hit! I also really loved these pink and white sprinkles, via my most recent care package from my awesome mom!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of Friday Favorites!  Please leave a comment if there’s anything you’d like to see in the next post!

XOXO

Bunny Cake

Since I was little, my mom has made a Bunny Cake for Easter most years.  A couple of years ago, she taught me how to make it.  This year, I couldn’t be home with my family for Easter.  My law school family, though, celebrated together.  It was fantastic!  We had a potluck dinner, and when they asked me what I’d like to bring, this was the first thing that came to mind.  I was so excited to share a tradition with others, especially when it meant bringing a part of home with me!

What you need:

  1. cake mix – I used Funfetti, but you can use whatever you want!
  2. frosting – it works best with plain vanilla
  3. coconut
  4. food coloring
  5. sprinkles
  6. candy for the eyes and nose
  7. either candy or colored frosting for the mouth and whiskers
  8. a really big flat pan or board to build the cake on – I recommend measuring first!

Here are some pictures of the process… I hope you enjoy!

 

Two round cakes. Use one for the face, and cut the other into the ears and the bowtie.

This is what it looks like laid out

We decided on yellow for the bowtie!

Here it is after the frosting!

Ear: pink icing, pink sprinkles, and coconut

Here he is! ❤

 

We didn't have a pan or cutting board large enough, so we used the very thick kind of posterboard. I had some extra Easter stickers, so I used them to decorate the borders. I think it worked!