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Monday, October 27, 2014

SRC Reveal: Annies Cornish Pasties

It is that time again, Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day! I love this group(s) of bloggers who reveal amazing recipes every Monday of each month. Groups A-D take a specific week and post recipes from their "secretly assigned blog" on the Monday of that week. It's been a blast. I've had the privilege of being a part for a few years and have found so many new, favorite recipes and blogs. I am always inspired by the recipes people choose to make and usually try to challenge myself a bit when choosing my recipe to make.

This month I was assigned the blog Lavender and Lovage. Karen waAbout Me page.  I just now realized that in her Kitchen Tips section, she has some conversion charts....those would have been handy while trying to "convert" measurements on the recipe I chose. Instead I just googled it.

Karen was born in South Africa then moved back to England where she grew up though she moved several times due to her father's job. She currently divides her time between England and SW France, where most of her time is spent food writing, food styling and photography. How exciting. She is married with one daughter. Her love for food and cooking began at an early age, nurtured by her mother and grandmother. I so enjoyed taking time to discover more about her. Please check out her

Now, a bit of history on why I chose the recipe I did, Annie's Cornish Pasties. Well, first, let me say that I wish my mom was still alive because for a short time my dad was stationed in England (which is where I was born), and I would love to be able to ask my mom about some of the recipes and things they ate while there...not sure my dad would remember. Anyways, about a month ago, I took my youngest daughter to a Portland Timbers Soccer Game (Portland, Oregon's mens MLS team). We were coming directly from her own soccer game and knew we'd be hungry. As we walked through the venue at halftime trying to decide what to have, I saw on one menu "Pasties"...I knew those were a type of "hand pie" and thought "oh, I would love this". I knew they had a European origin and, well, you know how it goes, you have high expectations? Well, I was bummed. I ordered a chicken and broccoli one and the "crust" was a bit soggy and the filling seemed like it was simply frozen broccoli and canned chicken with maybe cream of chicken soup. I remember thinking "I bet I can make these at home". When I received my blog assignment and was browsing recipes I found a few for Pasties...I was so excited and knew immediately that this was what I was making. There were a few others that vied for my attention, but this one won out. Her tomatoes and Twice Baked Potatoes with Cheese and Bacon Gratin . That may still make it to the table at some point.

I was somewhat nervous as I studied her post on these Pasties. First, I had to do a few conversions which were tricky because I'm not the greatest at math and grams don't just convert to cups, so had to go ounces, then cups, which I know, is probably a no-brainer for most of you, but it takes a bit of thought for me. Then I realized that the meat is added to the other filling ingredients "RAW". Oh no! What if the meat doesn't cook all the way. I debated for quite some time as to whether to just pre-cook the ingredients and then just cook entire Pastie for less time maybe at a higher temp.  In the end I decided to suck it up and go with the recipe full on! To me, that's what SRC is...sure, tweak here and there if I have no choice, but otherwise I really try to stay true to the recipe or else find another one to make. I also had to figure out what in the world a "Swede" was...other than someone from Switzerland. Google told me it was a rutabaga so that's what I got.

Now, I made this and it was good, but I think I did some things wrong so I don't think it was as yummy as Karens looked. I will try again though. For one, I think my dough was too dry. It didn't seem like it at the time but as I rolled it out I could tell it was going to be trouble. I managed to make it work (also realizing that in that distraction I forgot to brush the edges before sealing). The inside cooked through but everything seemed dry (could be the cut of meat I used...I just used stew meat because the other cuts were more than I could spend. It could have also been that I didn't add enough water to the dough). Other than that...the flavor was really good and I would totally make this again. Because of the "dryness", I actually made a beef gravy that we poured over the top and that really helped. There were NO leftovers so that should be a good sign. Thank you Karen for posting a recipe that for this American challenged me and I really enjoyed it!

Okay, on with the recipe.

Annies Cornish Pasties

Ingredients:

Pastry:

450g (2 c.) all purpose flour
115g (1/4 c.) chilled butter, cut in to small cubes
115g (1/4 c.) chilled white vegetable fat
1/4 tsp. salt
cold water to mix

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 220c (425F).

2. Put butter, flour, shortening (white fat) and salt in large bowl or stand mixer. I used my mixer. Mix until mixture resembles small peas (fine breadcrumbs according to Karen). Add cold water until dough binds together..if too dry add more water. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge for 30 minutes. I doubled the recipe to make 4 of these.

3. Divide pastry in to 2 halves (or 4 if you doubled it). Roll out to about 6-7".

Filling:

350g (about 1 lb. or so) beef, cut in to small slivers, almost shaved but not minced (she used rump roast, I used stew meat, and I just cut it somewhat small.
2 medium potatoes peeled and either shaved or very small dice
1/2 large Swede (rutabaga), peeled and shaved or finely diced
1 medium onion peeled and cut very finely
Salt and black pepper (I added thyme as well)

Instructions:

1. Combine all ingredients together. She suggests using lots of pepper. I added thyme to mine as well

2. Divide filling mixture up between crusts placing mixture to one side of circle but not to the edge.

3. Brush edge of pastry with egg and then fold in half so edges meet. Now, if you were Karen, your pastry would be beautifully crimped, mine were not. I was just praying they'd stay together. Brush outsides with remaining egg. Place on a greased  baking sheet.

4. Bake at 450 for about 20 minutes then lower oven temp to 160c, which I did about 325f for another 40 minutes. This is what will ensure that the meat cooks all the way through. Smaller ones will take less time. Eat hot or cold.

Then like I said, because it was a bit dry, I made a beef gravy to pour over the top. No picture with the gravy since that didn't look very pretty.


With Joy UNquenchable,

Friday, October 24, 2014

31 Days Living Inside Out: Give yourself Permission



As I was just sitting here thinking about what to post today, and not really feeling like posting because My neck is tight, it's that time of the month, I realized I WON'T be sleeping in tomorrow and well, I just am not feeling it, the thought popped in my head "give yourself permission". Permission for what? I have no idea. But you will. You will know what you, yourself, personally need to give yourself permission to do or to feel or to think. I'm sure as I go through my day, I will know what this means for me.

It is now the end of the day and I almost didn't finish this post because I was busy looking at soccer videos.

And yes, I did give myself permission...permission to enjoy the beautiful fall leaves, permission to spend the evening at home because I wasn't feeling great instead of going to a birthday party, permission to not get the million things done that came to mind, that I couldn't do because my nails aren't dry...lol, true story though (I need to go to the bathroom, I have a load of laundry in the wash, dishes in the sink and a few other things I know I was supposed to do).

So don't be afraid to give yourself permission, in whatever degree you need to for the moment!

With Joy UNquenchable,

Thursday, October 23, 2014

31 Days Living Inside Out: Holiday Expectations, Part 2



Do you feel like you're getting a handle on your holiday expectations? Are you able to finally breathe and say "you know, such and such doesn't really matter, it's the relationships and memories that really matter". Still not quite sure? Start out by making a few lists.

1.  A list of traditions:

  •      If you are married, ones handed down from both sides of the family and ones you might want to start for yourselves. 
  • If you are single but maybe living on your own or with roommates you can do the same, or you can think of a new tradition you want to incorporate in to your family or with friends.
  • Traditions would include things like:
    • When do we get a tree
    • What kinds of goodies get made
    • When do we open presents
    • Fill in the blanks.....


2.  A list of expectations:

  • Meals: Who will host, what will be served, who will bring what, who to invite
  • Gifts: Will names be exchanged throughout all extended family on all sides, gifts for just immediate family, gifts for friends, how much will be spent.
  • Decorations: Full on Better Homes and Gardens Cover Issue, simple yet meaningful, or not at all.
  • Family participation: Do you expect everyone to jump on board with your plans (do they even know your plans)
  • The entire house needs to be decked out in lights..I don't care what it costs.
  • Fill in your own blanks
Now, go through that list and decide what is realistic and what can be put in the "round file", even if it's not a permanent round file, you just realize that for now, this isn't going to work. I truly believe we can lower our expectations without compromising quality, memories, tradition. It just means we're willing to make adjustments for the good of everyone around us.

Here are some things that we have done:

  • We had decided that once we had kids, we wanted to spend Christmas morning at our own house. Now, this wasn't set in stone and sometimes we changed that, but it was important to us so we made plans to travel to visit family later that morning.
  • We also decided that we didn't HAVE to celebrate with family on those specific days, we could celebrate the next weekend or whenever it worked for everyone. 
  • My mom used to always do seafood on Christmas Eve, but hubby isn't as huge of a fan and it's spendy so we changed it up and now I make Clam Chowder for Christmas Eve
  • We used to buy gifts for everyone in the extended family (parents, siblings, nieces/nephews) and friends. Over the years we've had to adjust that as finances change, and if we do buy gifts for others we don't break the bank. We don't break the bank anyways.
  • Every Christmas morning I make cinnamon rolls. I don't know how this one started, but somewhere along the line it became our tradition and it has stuck.
  • While my hubby's family used to open all their presents on Christmas Eve, I just couldn't do it, so sometimes we open one on Christmas Eve and the rest in the morning.
  • As much as I love to host holiday, my Mother In Law really loves it and prefers if we have the holiday at their house. I decided I was okay with that and always make sure I bring several dishes to share. We usually head to their house early and spend the day. 
  • Every now and then we do a Christmas Card, but that can get expensive so sometimes I've done an email letter, or we've done a FB video or something creative and not as expensive.
  • When money is tight I cut down on the baked goods I make (because I usually cannot remember to buy things a little as a time in the months leading up to the holidays).
So you see, sometimes you just need to adjust your expectations in order to more fully enjoy the holidays. The above are just a few things we've done. Your expectations will look different than mine, or your sisters or someone elses. Just go with your flow and enjoy yourselves. 


With Joy UNquenchable,

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

31 Days Living Inside Out: Holiday Expectations Part 1


Yesterday we talked a bit about gearing up for the Holidays. Sometimes our emotions can get in the way and circumstances can get our eyes off what is really important. We set unrealistic expectations for ourselves and those around us and pretty soon we're dreading the holidays. Just this morning, my youngest daughter said "the next few months are my favorite: I mean, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, yummy food!" I just chuckled to myself thinking of all the work that means for me but so much fun for her. Don't get me wrong...it's a lot of work, but I thoroughly enjoy it. I have had to learn, however, to lower my expectations and just enjoy the moment.

As you look back on Holiday's past, were you relaxed and "in the moment" or were you silently stressed and on to the next thing in your mind? Different seasons of life can cause us to re-evaluate our expectations. If we fail to re-evaluate we will be met with disappointment upon disappointment. Why? Because we based those expectations on the circumstances of the past years and found the current moment sorely lacking.

Whether you are single, newly, married without kids, married with kids, new to an empty nest, divorced, etc..you have expectations of what the holiday's are supposed to be. Hallmark commercials blare perfection, family traditions run through your mind (and if you are married, you are marrying your husbands traditions as well), Newspaper Ads bombard us with everything we supposedly "must have". Social media is filled with stories of what everyone else has planned, what their home and tree looks like, the 20 course meal they are serving (and making all on their own). Blogs are filled with so many ideas. Pinterest is jam packed over the top decorations and recipes. It never ends.

Where do your expectations fit in with all of this. Maybe there are even "wars" in your own home about what should/should not be done, who should be invited, what we are eating, how much to spend on gifts, who to buy gifts for, etc....Just the other night my hubby had the audacity (lol) to suggest we didn't need a tree this year for Christmas....we almost put him out in the dog kennel.

What are some of the expectations you've had over the years?

What are some of the expectations you have for this year?

Are they realistic? Are they peace inducing?

Are you holding on to these expectations at the expense of joy and happiness just for the sake of "this is what we've always done", or "this is what is expected".

Is your family on board?

Our expectations will look different from the next persons, and that is completely okay. Please don't compare.

Tomorrow we'll go a little deeper and I'll share some of my own experiences.



With Joy UNquenchable,

Monday, October 20, 2014

Living Inside Out: Gearing Up for Holidays

It's the end of October, and just around the corner is coming YOU.KNOW.WHAT! Yes, the holidays...Halloween (which many go all out for), Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and for us two birthdays! YIKES! Who in the world managed the creation of the holiday schedule? Oh, let's just lump the major ones all in a few month time frame!

Holidays can wreak Havoc on someones ability to Live Inside Out. No other time does the Outside scream louder for our attention. Tomorrow I'll talk about expectations but today lets just chat about gearing up our minds and emotions for the next few months. I believe that if we can gear up our emotions and our minds (thoughts), we can place appropriate expectations on the months to come. As the days go on, we'll see more Pinterest Holiday Pins, more blog posts, more FB posts that can begin to make us feel less than adequate in our abilities to pull off the perfect holidays. Been there, done that. Not only that, but the weather is a bit (or a lot) gloomier so our moods may tend to be a bit more on the down side.

The key to heading off disaster early is to recognize our own mental and emotional fragility when it comes to these times. By now, as adults, we are more than aware of the things that make us tick and the things that make our "bombs" go off. We take so much time getting physically ready but rarely do we take time to prepare our hearts, minds and emotions. From year to year circumstances can change which will ultimately impact how the upcoming holidays will take place. Maybe a job change, a death in the family, additions to our families with new expectations, stress in relationships, physical limitations, the state of world economics, the list could go on. The question is, what are you going to do to make sure you do not fall apart trying to make everyone else happy?

For me, personally, it's important to remind myself that the physical, tangible things are not the core of what these holidays mean for us as a family...yes, they are fun, but that is not what I want to hold on to. I love decorating for the holidays, but this year things have been so busy and my emotions have been a little wonky so I just did not have any desire to decorate for fall. I decided that I'd rather not decorate, then feel the stress of climbing up in the attic of my pumphouse to pull down my tubs, only to take them down a month later for Christmas. I chose to choose my battles. For me, it would also be turning my thoughts towards who I am and the fact that my Papa God is not moved by anything on the external, but by my heart of love for him and His heart of love for me. Spending time contemplating my oneness with Him and love for my family and others helps me keep a proper perspective during these times. I am already aware that my own personal emotions are more sensitive than they were last year, so I need to have a plan, I need to realize and remember to breathe....often...inhale, exhale. It's all okay. It doesn't have to be what everyone else says it needs to be. It just has to be what fits our family. That's it!

What can you do to prepare your heart, mind, emotions for the upcoming months? Maybe keep a journal, maybe turn off Pinterest, maybe sit the family down or send out an email if everyone is crazy busy and share your heart (because if they don't know what you're feeling or your heart, then we can't expect them to be on board with us).

Tomorrow we'll tackle some expectations. I'll leave you with a few quotes about holidays.


  • Holidays are about experiences and people, and tuning into what you feel like doing at that moment. Enjoy not having to look at a watch ~Evelyn Glennie
  • Holidays are all different depending on the company and time in your life. ~Dominic Monoghan
  • The Holidays stress people out so much. I suggest you keep it simple and try to have as much fun as you can. ~Giada DiLaurentis




With Joy UNquenchable,

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