Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blueberry Pie for Lunch

Tis the season for fresh blueberries and I bought 13 pints of organic blueberries last week at $1.99, which for those of you who shop for produce --especially organic produce - know is a steal. Greg loves blueberry pie, and so I made two of them in honor of Father's Day -- and the fact that I can afford to make a fresh blueberry pie this week, without having to get a second job.

It was so good, and the day so gorgeous here in Colorado, that I had the pie pictured above for lunch today, with spoon of Blue Bell ice cream, savoring every bite in my back yard full of flowers.

There are days when nothing but pie will do for lunch, and this perfect day was one of them.

Here's the recipe, which turned out, like this day, absolutely perfect! Not too runny, not too thick, not too sweet, not too tart.

Becky's Blueberry "Lunch" Pie

For a 9 inch pie (clear, plain Pyrex pans with a nice "lip" are my favorites...)

4 c. fresh blueberries

1 c. sugar

1 T. fresh lemon juice (add a little zest if you like the lemon flavor) OR 1/2 t. cinnamon, which ever flavoring you prefer. I like lemon, Greg likes cinnamon. So I had no choice but to make a pie for each of us.

4 T. corn starch

(If your pan is a deep dish: add 1 more c. of blueberries and 1 more T. cornstarch, and 1/4 c. more sugar)

Toss together in a big bowl, gently, then pour into an unbaked pie shell. Cover with another pie crust with decorative "holes" cut into it, any shape you like. Or make a lattice top if you prefer. Bake at 400 for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Recipe below is for Homemade Pie Crust if you decide to make your own. It had been so long since I made my own pie crust (since Pillsbury refrigerated ones appeared in the stores!) that I really enjoyed getting my hands on pie dough and rolling it out again. Very Betty Crocker.

Pie Crust for Double Crust Pie (or two shells)

2 c. unbleached flour

2/3 c. Crisco shortening (Best if this is chilled. I just store shortening in the fridge. I seldom use it, because too much shortening in your diet will "shorten" your life -- but as I said, there are days when you have to have pie. Preferably for lunch. And Crisco makes great tasting crusts. I like the butter flavor. )

1 t. salt

7 T. ice water

In a food processor pulse flour and salt with shortening until shortening looks like little peas. Add the ice water and pulse again just until it begins to stick together like dough. Secret to good pie crust: keep every thing cold and don't handle it any more than you have to.

Dampen your kitchen counter and put a big rectangle of wax or parchment paper on top of this... it will keep the paper in place. Sprinkle with about a T. of flour and put the lump of dough in the middle. Divide it in half, put one half in the fridge to keep it chilled. Create a ball with the other half, and then flatten with your hand. Sprinkle dough with a light dusting of flour and roll out with a rolling pin, radiating from the middle of the lump until you have a rustic looking circle. Fold pie dough (without creasing) into fourths. (You can lift it with the edges of the waxed paper to fold, to make it easier.) Then put the point of the "dough triangle"in the middle of the pan and unfold, then press to the sides. Fill with berry mixture.

Repeat the process with the second half of the dough to the "rustic circle stage." Lay on top of berries, press the sides of the dough together and flute.

(I got this cute little retro dessert plate at a Dollar Store.... in Holland!)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hotel Survivor "Trail Mix Toast"

I was in a hotel room this week without a car or restaurant nearby. And I was hungry. Thankfully, I could forage from the snacks I astutely brought in my suitcase (The Johnson Family Creed is "Always Bring Snacks.") It was like being on Survivor, The Hotel Version. I felt like McGyver, as I took out a thin bagel, peanut butter, sunflower seeds and dried cherries and cranberries.

Carefully cleaning the iron in the hotel room, I then "ironed" the bagel to a toasty crunch.

Next, I rather awkwardly smeared the bagel with peanut butter, using a plastic coffee stirrer, and sprinkled on the remaining ingredients.

Ta-dum! Trail Mix Toast was born.

To my surprise, I really loved it.

Now that I'm home I toast the thin bagel or Ezekiel bread cut side down in a little butter and olive oil on a hot skillet and leave the iron to... well, sit on the top shelf in the laundry room. Because at home I don't even iron clothes, much less bagels.

And I've also taken to sprinkling my trail mix toast with flax or hemp seeds or wheatgerm. I sometimes use almond butter.

It's fun, it's easy, it's healthy and a great snack breakfast to make on the run for yourself or the kiddos.

Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. And it looks like I've given birth to what I can must humbly admit is destined to become ... a whole new breakfast classic. :)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Energy Green "Shots"

I was telling a friend today about the "energy shots" I serve to myself and Greg, my husband every day. She asked me to share the recipe, so I thought I'd use my blog to do that visually, in case others might be interested as well!

My homemade "green energy shots" provide a quick boost of energy and when you use l-carnitine and fish oil in liquid form, you got a lot of milligrams for your money. (You'd have to take several expensive pills to equal what these liquid forms give you.) And the good news is that both this brand of l-carnitine (Now Brand, 1000 mg., citrus flavor) and fish oil (Barleans, citrus) actually taste great. (No fishy taste or aftertaste at all.)

KyoGreen Brand green food mixes really well, as opposed to some of the "green powders" I've tried that glop up when you try to stir them into liquids. Superfood powders like this keep your body more alkaline than acidic, which helps prevent cancer. It also has anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties, alongside providing natural energy. In addition it is great for skin, hair and nails and is great blood purifier.

L-Carnitine provides natural energy at a cellular level and is excellent for heart health and blood pressure.

Fish oil helps with mood, brain nourishment, heart health and is a source of balanced energy.

I mix 1 T. of the Now brand L-carnitine, with 1 t. of the Barleans fish oil and 1 T. of Kyo green powder. Stir well. Then add 1/4 to 1/3 c. juice -- we like orange juice.

Then bottoms up! You'll be surprised that it tastes pleasant. Follow this shot with a drink of water or green tea and you should feel great soon. My son Gabe and his girlfriend Aleks love these "green shots" and ask for one whenever they come over because it gives them nice, calm energy for their busy days.

I take one "shot" in the morning and one in the afternoon when my energy begins to dip again.