April 30, 2010

Donuts To Die For

It is my personal opinion that Oram's Donuts, located in Beaver Falls, PA, makes THE best donuts and cinnamon rolls!

William and Lilliam Oram opened their donut shop in 1938. They knew they had a great recipe for donuts and the success of the store proved it! People would drive from miles around just to get a taste of these yummy little treasures.

In fact, loyal customers today, will still go out of their way on a Friday morning to pick up cinnamon rolls for work. Coffee breaks in Beaver County are just a little big longer and a little bit sweeter when these freshly baked, soft rolls, show up in their break room.

As you can see by their display case, Oram's has never claimed to have a large variety of donuts. I think that is one of their cornerstones of success: making a few recipes and making them well with quality ingredients and attention to detail.

William and Lillian's foster son Tom Bradshaw took over the business in 1960. Fast forward to May 1995, Tom unfortunately had to close up shop due to an illness. The store along with it's original recipes, was sold to Jon and Vickie George reopening just 3 months later. Customers were thrilled to see Oram's back in business, and producing the same great donuts they had come to love for generations.

My personal favorite is their chocolate topped, cream filled donut. With a wallop of chocolate frosting "shmeared" (not a typo) on top and a heavenly cloud of sweet cream hiding inside, it can take me to places far above the tree tops! If you've never had an Oram's donut, I suggest you get in your car and go. Now! Go early in the day. It's not unusual for them to sell out! They are not open on Sundays and that is nice to see in this day and age! Hours are Mon thru Sat 5 am to 2 pm, and of course, closed on Sundays.

April 28, 2010

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

Spring has brought us a couple of chilly days resulting in cravings for a little bit of comfort food. Looking in my freezer, I found two boneless skinless chicken breasts. Looking in my produce drawer in the fridge, I found a few carrots and an onion. What's a girl to make?? Flipping through my library book, The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond, I spotted a most delicious looking chicken pot pie! Bingo! We're on to something here! The only thing I had to pick up at the store was celery! I had never made a pot pie before, and was ready to give it a whirl. I am happy to say, it turned out FANTASTIC!!
Here is the end result!!

And here is the recipe:

Chicken Pot Pie

Prepare double crust pie recipe...
this makes enough for two, 8 or 9 inch pot pies
you only need the top of the pie covered with crust.
(*see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Chop 3 stalks celery, 3 carrots, one medium onion and 1 cup green beans.
Sauté veggies in melted ½ stick of butter and 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil until softened.
Add 2 Cups chopped cooked chicken.
Sprinkle ¾ cup flour over chicken and veggie mixture, mix well and cook 3 minutes.
Add 2 cups chicken broth and 1 crushed chicken bullion cube to mixture.
Stir in 1 cup heavy cream or half –n- half creating creamy gravy.
Mix well.
Season with salt, pepper and 1 tsp. dried thyme.
If gravy is too thick, add ¼ cup water at a time to thin out.
Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
Evenly divide filling into 2 unlined pie pans.
(no need for a bottom crust)
Place pie pans on cookie sheet to catch spillage during baking.
There will most likely, almost definately, be some bubbling over!
Cover each pot pie filling with unbaked pie crust.
Seal edges of pies by crimping with a fork.
Cut four slits into top of pies to create steam vents.
Brush top of pies with milk or half –n- half.
Sprinkle top of pie with salt and pepper.
Bake @ 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes.
Crust should be a golden brown when done.
Let pie rest 10 minutes before serving.

*double crust pie recipe double-crust-pie-recipe.html

April 27, 2010

Ham & Potato Nests

I made the most amazing dinner the other night. You've got to try this recipe! It was so cheesey and yummy! and easy! I call it "Ham & Potato Nests".

I was inspired to make this recipe from a picture that my nephew, Michael, posted on Facebook. He goes to culinary school in upstate New York and sometimes posts his wonderful, creative dishes.

This is Michael.

And this is the photo he posted that made me go "ga ga"! It just looked so tasty and homey!

So...without further delay...here is my version of Michael's dish.

First...enlist a cute little helper to peel about 5 or 6 potatoes.

Cut potatoes into cubes.

Place cubed potatoes on baking sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until fork tender.

Chop some nice chunks of ham...about 1 1/2 cups. This works great with that leftover ham you have in the freezer from Easter.

Beat 6 eggs in a bowl.

Shread 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese.

Spray several ramekins with cooking spray.

Divide roasted potatoes and ham amongst ramekins.

Pour beaten eggs onto potatoes and ham. Fill ramekin about 3/4 full.

Sprinkle with all that glorious, freshly shredded cheese!

Place all filled ramekins on the same baking sheet you used to roast potatoes.This will save on dishes!!

Bake for 50 -60 minutes. The smaller ramekins will cook much faster than the larger ones. You can pull them out at about 40 minutes. Take a knife, insert into middle of ramekin to check for doneness of eggs. It is helpful to cover larger ramekins with foil during last 10-15 minutes of baking to hold in the heat and get those eggs cooked. It really will depend on how much egg you have in the larger ramekin, check periodically towards the end for doneness.

And finally, aaahhh! Stand back and admire the beauty of these babies. The melted gooey cheese!!

Everyone will love, love, love you for making this for dinner!! It will be a nice break from chicken, chicken, chicken every other night! If making this for dinner, pair it up with a nice tossed salad. For a Sunday morning breakfast, how about accompanying it with a simple, fresh fruit salad.

If you give this recipe a try, let me know how it goes. I would love to hear your comments!

April 26, 2010

Today I entered my very first photograph contest. The contest was through the blog http://thepioneerwoman.com/ She has contests fairly often and I've been inspired to enter!
This is the photo I entered. I took this shot in February the morning after we got 18 inches of snow!! It was truly a winter wonderland! When I looked at the photos that were submitted so far today, I was awestruck! I was so proud of my photo...and still am, but geez!!! I don't think I stand a chance! But that's ok, it's just fun to be a part of it! When I last checked, there were over 60,000 entries!!

April 25, 2010

A Perfect Gift

There is nothing more satisfying than peeking into the hen house and finding a beautiful, perfect, pastel colored egg. I am especially thrilled when the egg is still warm. What a perfect little comfort. What a perfect little gift from nature.
Sometimes, if the egg is still warm, I can't resist touching it to my cheek just ever so slightly. Some may think "eww" but the egg is perfectly clean, and I haven't died yet! I am in awe of animals that produce food. If you look to the earth and all it's plants, animals and water, you will find everything you need to sustain your body.

April 24, 2010

Yummy Strawberry Raspberry Pie Recipe!

As promised, here is the recipe for the strawberry raspberry pie I made for Easter. As you can see on the recipe card, this is a recipe for strawberry pie, which...you can use to make several delicious creations by just adding a large handful of raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries. I have noted in the directions at what point you should add the berries. Click here for my double crust pie recipe. crust-pie-recipe.html This is a tried and true recipe that always gives me great results! Once you've mastered a homemade crust, you will never go back to store bought again!! Also, you've got bragging rights when your pie is 100% homemade, from scratch, the real deal, the way it was made in the olden days. Also, check out my "tips" for making a pie. Definitely helpful!! One last note: If you're new to pie making, don't be afraid...pies are fairly forgiving...with a combination of fruit and sugar and yummy crust, how can you possibly go wrong. No matter what it may LOOK like, in the end, it will be, by far, the most delicious thing you've ever pulled out of your oven! Your family will come running!

Here's some tips for ya!
when adding tablespoons of ice water to flour mixture, you MUST use ICE water for best results... just "cool" water won't do the trick. I find putting ice cubes in a coffee mug full of cold water and spooning tablespoons from that works best!
2) work quickly with the dough, the less time your warm hands touch the dough, the better...dough will become too soft to roll, become sticky, and you will find yourself adding more flour, and that is NOT what you want..too much flour means too crumbly and the dough won't hold together.
3) cover edges of pie with strips of foil before baking. This will prevent your lovely crimping pattern from burning and looking horrible! Remove foil strips during last 10 minutes of baking to allow edges to brown slightly.
4) place pie pan on baking sheet to prevent any bubbling over "goopiness" from dripping down into your perfectly clean oven.
5) before baking, brush pie crust with milk or half n half and sprinkle with white sugar. Don't be shy with that sugar!
6) if you don't own a pastry brush, make the $2.00 investment and pick one up on your next trip to the grocery store. It will make your life so much easier while brushing milk onto your pie crust. (wadded up paper towels dunked into milk serving as a brush don't work as well as one would think) hee hee!
7) Relax, and enjoy the whole process, after all, it's JUST a pie! and you can do it!!

April 22, 2010

It's All About..

This is a blog about doing things the old fashioned way...from baking a pie from scratch to growing your own food. Anything that tickles my fancy will show up on this blog. Anything that I am passionate about... quilting, gardening, sewing, baking, and cooking ...will show up on this blog. I am a beginner blogger, so bare with me. I am in the learning process and will be making improvements as I go. Stay tuned...who knows what adventures will show up here! I can't wait! I have been inspired by so many wonderful blogs, maybe I can inspire you too. Here's a pic of a pie I made for Easter this year. It was strawberry, raspberry...and it was oh so yummy! I will be posting the recipes for every bit of food I feature on this blog, but being as this is my first post, I just wanted to introduce myself and give you a little taste of what I am all about. The full recipe for this pie will be posted very soon!