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Father’s Day Treat: Bourbon Pecan Pie

One thing I have noticed over the years.  There are cake people and there are pie people.  Well, my husband falls into the latter.  There isn’t a cake around that will tempt him to eat it.  However, put a pie in front of him and he will certainly take a bite!  Among his most favorite pie recipes to devour is my Bourbon Pecan Pie.  I have to admit it is one of my favorites too!  With Father’s Day coming up in a few weeks, there is no perfect time to break out my recipe and share it with you as I promised in my last blog (which can be read here).

This recipe is super easy to make and so super tasty you will wonder where its been your whole life! My hubs will often bring it to work and inevitably it does not last long.  Now, I will let you in on a little secret- I cannot make pie crust from scratch.  I know, I know-  I can hear the pie Gods cursing my name.  But it’s not for the lack of trying.  All butter, all lard, half butter half lard, hand held pastry blender, food processor, cold bowl, frozen bowl, cold counter, frozen butter, cold hands, etc.  I tried all the tips and tricks and still, I can never get the darn thing to roll out easily.

But not all is lost since there are some phenomenal commercial pie crusts available at the local grocery store.  I buy them all the time because as a working mom and wife, I do not have any interest in spinning my wheels on a crust.  Instead, I would rather concentrate on making the inside of the pie the tastiest it can be.  And that starts with some great quality Bourbon.

Now don’t worry about this being a Drunken Pecan Pie leading to drunken behavior.  Although not all the alcohol cooks off, using such a small amount spread out over the entirety of pie, will not cause any issues in that regards.  Only in the case of religious beliefs or allergies will this be a factor.  Choosing the right bourbon is the make the pie or break the pie kind of deal.  The important thing to remember when selecting a bourbon is its taste.  If it is a smooth sipping bourbon with lots of rich vanilla, oak and caramel undertones, then it is the perfect bourbon to use in this pie.

Some bourbons can be very expensive and if you do not typically drink bourbon it may not be worthwhile to purchase a full bottle to use just a few tablespoons.  Therefore, one budget idea is to ask a friend for a few tablespoons.  Often bourbon is part of most home bar set ups and many friends will not have a problem with donating a few tablespoons.  Especially if it means they may be the beneficiary of a piece of this pie!  Another budget idea is to peruse your local liquor store.  There are a few good quality bourbons available in the 50 mls ‘nip’ size.

Second of importance to the bourbon are the pecans.  Now, being from the Northeast, I pronounce it Pee-can.  Understandably, there are a few other regional ways to pronounce the word pecan.  Here is a link to a great article depicting the regional dialects of the pecan pronunciation.  Regardless of how you pronounce it, make sure you have a variety of pecan styles in the pie.

One mistake is to have all halves, all pieces or all whole.  Have a variety of chops to add to the texture and ‘meatiness’ of the pie.  I usually start with whole pecans.  I keep 1/3 whole, chop 1/3 into half sized pieces and the final third into small pieces.  You can use the whole pieces to decorate the top of the pie by laying them in a pattern before baking.  Again, as a working Mom, that is not on my priority list.  It will still taste the same with or without a fancy pecan pattern!

For the recipe, I am including it on a free download available below.

Bourbon Pecan Pie

I hope you consider giving this recipe a try and that you enjoy this recipe as much as me and my family do.

Leave me a comment below on how you pronounce pecan.


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Father’s Day: Planning Early

Every holiday poses a challenge for me.  Not only do I struggle with my time management around shopping and preparing, but I also often struggle with just the art of gift giving.  Especially for my husband.  You see, he is a very independent person who (although spoils the family) doesn’t really give any holiday much thought for himself.  This is true at Christmas, his Birthday, and also Father’s Day!  He never has any wishes or wants when it comes to gifting.
Do you know one of those people?  The type when you ask what they want and their answer is inevitably “nothing” or “I have everything I need”.  Although the latter may make some swoon, it gives me palpitations.   Not the ‘in love’ cutesy palpitations but the kind that leave you freaking out.  You see, I am one of those who want to give a gift and acknowledge the person.  Furthermore, I want the gift to be something they desire and deserve.
The ultimate irony of this whole thing is that every time I do get an idea of what I want to get him, he comes home with it! Yep.
Every.
Single.
Time.
There was the ice fishing shack incident, the trail cam incident, the latest movie incident, and the various tool incidents.  I now just assume he somehow reads my mind and right when I am about to purchase something for him, he pounces first.  We laugh about it.  Well, he laughs and I chuckle to the best of my ability.
So assuming this will happen again this year, I set out on a trek to find something for him and along the way wanted to share some great ideas with you.  I needed to start planning this early so that if I need to make a last minute change, I will have enough time.
Below, you will find some ideas I am looking at for my husband.  He is more of an outdoors kind of guy and so this genre of a gift guide suits him best.
Here are some unique gifts for the career oriented Dad:

Last but not least, here is a gift guide for the sports lover in your life.  There are some ideas in here that cross over to the career gift guide as well.

I hope some of my ideas help you plan what you are gifting for Father’s Day.  So far, I know one thing for sure that my husband will be getting come this Father’s Day.  I will make him his favorite Bourbon Pecan Pie.  It is absolutely out of this world delicious!
I will share that in my next post…

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Easter and April Fool’s: What a combo!!

I am not sure if this has ever happened before but having Easter Sunday and April Fool’s Day celebrated on the same day is a double whammy.  Additionally, since I grew up Catholic it gives me angst to think about practical jokes on the day Jesus rose.  But I digress.  To quote the much overused saying: “it is what it is”.  To that end, my daughter, Ella, enjoys celebrating Easter Sunday as a time to be with family and enjoy her visit from the Easter Bunny.  She also really enjoys April Fool’s Day.  As a matter of fact, she talks about it all year!  Ella still remembers the time she was in her first grade classroom and it was snack time.  Well, it was April Fool’s, so I replaced her Dum Dum lollipop head with a clove of garlic!  It was so realistic looking.  She was truly so excited at what an awesome mom I was for giving her a lollipop for snack!.  Then she unwrapped it.  Yep- the joke was on her.

So this year having both Holidays on the same day, I thought I would show what I am putting in my kid’s Easter baskets.  Additionally, I will share some of the April Fool’s pranks I plan for Ella.

The Baskets

The first basket is for my 22 YO son.  I know, I know- he doesn’t need an Easter basket but it’s fun for me.  Even though he is older, he still appreciates the thought.  For his basket, I gave him some Funyuns, a Nerd-filled Easter egg, a few packs of Juicy Fruit, and some scratch tickets.  He really isn’t into chocolate so I didn’t add any to his basket.  Being that he is older, I just tried to stick to items that he would use in his day to day.  In addition to these, some additional ideas are car air fresheners, gift cards to restaurants, movies or coffee shops, gift certificates to car washes, and even an iTunes card.  Personally, I think you are never to old for a basket!

My daughter’s basket contains quite a bit more candy!  She does love her chocolate (kind of like her Mom).  The big gift for her are some Pokemon cards.  She loves these cards and knows many of the characters, their special talents and even their evolved form.  I know she will love this!  I also gave her Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, Lindt chocolate lambs, a Kinder Easter egg, a Nerd-filled Easter egg, a pack of Juicy Fruit, hand sanitizer, and an Emoji lip balm.  This will definitely make her day!

The actual baskets that I use are the same baskets I have been using for many, many years.  I just store them when Easter is over and get them ready for filling the night before.  I love being able to fill my kid’s Easter baskets with things they like.  This way there is no waste of money and I don’t have to go store to store searching for a basket that already incorporates things they like.  It is a time saver and helps me maintain balance.  In addition, you can get really creative with any age group.

April Fool’s Pranks

If there’s anything you have to know about my Daughter, she expects to be pranked on April Fools’ Day.  I have been doing it every year since she was in Kindergarten -except one year.  That year, I had a business trip and my Hubs just didn’t have the bandwidth for the creativity.  I however, enjoy thinking about this and often scroll Pinterest for some great ideas.

The first prank of the day will be delivered during breakfast.  Here, I took 1 package of Gelatin and some orange juice.  I followed the package directions so that her ‘juice’ will be a solid mass!  This probably won’t take her long to figure out but having it happen first thing in the AM will be a great start!

The second prank has to deal with her electronics.  Back story here.  I have told her multiple times not to leave her Switch or her iPad on the floor.  We have a dog, Oreo.  I don’t want the dog stepping on the devices and I also don’t want the dog to ruin them.  Sometimes, she has a sensitive stomach and does occasionally vomit.

Therefore, I got some Elmer’s glue, some green food coloring, wax paper, and some of my dog’s food.  I mixed up the glue and the food coloring so that it was the color of bile (sorry if this is graphic – being a nurse, this doesn’t phase me).  Once I was happy with the color, I spread it onto the wax paper and placed some crunched up dog food in the puddle.  It takes at least 24 hours to set but once it does I will have dog puke!  My plan is to place these on the floor and on her electronics so that she thinks the dog vomited on her devices.  I am totally setting up my dog for the fall but it is worth it!  Just make sure you use a disposable cup and spoon for the mixing!

 

The last trick that I have planned out is already in motion.  You see, as I stated above, she loves chocolate just like me.  So, I bought some beautiful chocolate Easter eggs and I have already placed

them in the candy dish she made a few years back.  As a matter of fact, as soon as she came home after school today, she saw them and already popped one in her mouth.  Well, on Sunday, these chocolate eggs will instead be grapes! Yep.. grapes.  They are the same exact shape! So Saturday night, I will carefully unwrap some of these chocolates and use that same wrapper to wrap up individual grapes.

All in all this should be a successful day on both the Easter front and on the April Fool’s Day front.  I cannot wait! What items are in your Easter baskets? If you are also celebrating April Fool’s Day, what is your favorite trick?

 

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Easter Prep Sheet

I cannot believe it’s coming up on Easter already.  I feel like we just got through the holidays, because in my neck of the woods, we have had lots and lots and lots of snow!  As a matter of fact, we are still expecting more snow tonight!  I cry Uncle.  With a little over a week left until Easter, I cannot imagine all the snow melting away.  Hopefully, the Easter Bunny has white eggs because any colorful egg surely will be found easily!

Every year, there are a few Holidays that I host for my family: Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  These are the big three in my family.  I luck out for Christmas as I only provide the space.  My sister does ALL of the cooking and schleps it to my house.  But I do the cooking for Easter and Thanksgiving and this usually equates to 13 – 15 people.  So, on top of working a FT job, making sure the house is extra clean, shopping for the big day, and prepping for the Easter dinner, I really need some shortcuts to help keep balance.  This is where my prep sheets come in handy.

I have lists going back three years and they are my life saver.  Just wait until I show all the ones I have for Thanksgiving!  The process of writing everything down in a very particular way started many years ago.  It was a way for me to be able to visualize all I needed to do, purchase, prep and time.  Over the years,  it has now become a plug and play system.  I know which recipes I can rotate and which ones I need to keep making every year.  You know those family favorites!

Easter Prep Sheet

Below are the subheadings I use:

  • Guests 
    • I always include a total number of people
    • This takes away from me having to remember one more thing and I wont have to keep counting
  • Extras
    • This is some of the items I need to do or to remember
    • This may include something to buy or clean or even remembering someone’s allergies or special requests
  • Appetizers
  • Salad
  • Main Meal
  • Side Dishes
  • Desserts
  • Drinks

I also remember to include any dishes that someone is slated to bring.  For example, my Dad is always in charge of bringing the salad because he makes a phenomenal salad- this is an art.  Thus, once the plan is set, I make the shopping list according to the plan.  I sit down with any recipes I may have and get to writing.  I break each section up into a different color as shown in the picture above.  Colorful Signo pens help me keep the different parts of my plan separated and allow me to focus on the various sections.  Plus, they are very colorful!

This is what I do every year and it saves me a ton of time and worry.  I know which dishes are the tried and true.  The ones that I would NEVER remove off the menu for fear of a family revolt.  And I also know the ones that can be changed out and revamped.

To help you get on track, I am including a free printable (based off of the way I like to plan) to help you get your Easter planning started.  Remember to keep these filed year after year, this will help streamline your Easter planning.

Get your free printable here:

Easter 2018 Prep Sheet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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