Square Life Round World

I'm navigating through this round world while living a square life, and it fits exactly as it should.

Thanksgiving and My Award-Winning Peanut Butter Pie

Happy Thanksgiving!  This is one of my favorite days of the year.  Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, football, food, family, shopping, and the start of the holiday season are just a few of my favorite things about this day.

For most people, Thanksgiving is all about turkey and trimmings, but it’s also all about the desserts.  Judging by my Facebook and Instagram feeds, I think most people would agree.  Get your stretchy pants ready because I’m finally about to share with you a Thanksgiving staple in my family, my award-winning Flutter Nutter Peanut Butter Candy Bar Pie.

Back in January of 2010, I saw a program on Food Network about the Crisco National Pie Championship held each year in Celebration, Florida.  That’s the cute, quaint town right outside of Walt Disney World Resort so naturally, my ears perked up.  The winners all got huge gift baskets.  I wanted a gift basket.  Seriously, that’s how this whole thing got started.  After a little research, I learned the competition was in April and was open to everyone who could submit an original, not previously published, not previously submitted for other competitions, pie recipe.  There was just one problem.  I had never made a pie, much less developed my own recipe.  That didn’t stop me, so I began experimenting with flavor combinations and different types of pies.  After many failed attempts at made-from-scratch pie crusts and fillings, I quickly realized a no-bake pie was my best bet.  After much experimentation, I finally came up with one I liked, and my Flutter Nutter Peanut Butter Candy Bar Pie was born.

The competition itself was really fun.  I chose the bake on-site option, and I had so much fun talking to all the spectators and explaining what I was doing step-by-step, almost as though I was hosting my own show.

Me and my pie at the competition

Me and my pie at the competition

I really didn’t think I had any chance of winning, so my goal was to have as much fun as possible, and I did!

The next day was the awards ceremony.  When I saw all the lovely gift baskets lined up on stage, I remembered why I wanted to do this in the first place.  I realized I really wanted to win.  I can honestly say I was completely shocked when they called my pie as the first place winner of the peanut butter category.  I got my gift basket!  I also got a sweet cash prize to go along with it, but the gift basket!  Be still my heart!

It's a major award!

It’s a major award!

So, here it is.  Now, I realize most food blogs give you a step-by-step explanation of how to do everything in the recipe before giving the recipe itself.  Well, I’m not a food blogger, and truthfully, I usually just look at the photos and skip to the recipe anyway so that’s what I’m giving you.

I do want to toss in a little disclosure here first, though.  As a previous winner in the Crisco National Pie Championship, this recipe is the property of me and the American Pie Council.  It is published in America’s Best Pies, a cook book produced by the American Pie Council.  So, publishing this recipe or producing it for remuneration (money) is prohibited without the written consent of the American Pie Council.

Now that we have that out of the way, on to the yummy stuff!

Really, could anything that starts out with this be bad?  I think not!

Really, could anything that starts out with this be bad? I think not!

Nutter Butter cookie crust

Nutter Butter cookie crust

Next is the Nutella layer.

Next is the Nutella layer.

Chopped up Reese's go on top of the Nutella.

Chopped up Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Miniatures go on top of the Nutella.

Yummy peanut butter mousse filling

Yummy peanut butter mousse filling

Finally, more Nutter Butters and Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures get chopped up to garnish the pie.

Finally, more Nutter Butters and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures get chopped up to garnish the pie.

Flutter Nutter Peanut Butter Candy Bar Pie

Ingredients
Crust
12 peanut butter sandwich cookies, such as Nutter Butters
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 T butter, melted

Candy Bar Layer
1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread, such as Nutella
8 miniature peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped

Filling
1 8 oz package cream cheese
1 7 oz jar marshmallow cream
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 8 oz container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Garnish
2 coarsely chopped peanut butter sandwich cookies, such as Nutter Butters
3 coarsely chopped miniature peanut butter cups

To Make Pie
For the crust, process the peanut butter sandwich cookies in a food processor until fine crumbs are formed. Add in melted butter and sugar and process until blended, about 30 seconds. The mixture will resemble wet sand. Press mixture into a 9 inch pie plate. For the candy bar layer, spread chocolate hazelnut spread on top of the crust and sprinkle with the coarsely chopped miniature peanut butter cups. For the filling, blend the cream cheese, marshmallow cream and peanut butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Add in the whipped topping and mix with an electric mixer until blended. Spoon the filling on top of the candy bar mixture and smooth out so that it is evenly distributed. Garnish by sprinkling the remaining coarsely chopped peanut butter sandwich cookies and miniature peanut butter cups. Chill for a minimum of 2 hours. Serves 10.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

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Independence Day Slush

Happy July 4th, everyone!  I don’t know about you, but I’m thrilled to have a 3 day weekend!  I’m also super thrilled with the weather!  It’s July.  In the south.  And there’s actually a chill in the air.  Ahhhhh, bliss!  That’s a far cry from 2 years ago when we were melting with over 100 degree temps!  No matter what the weather is, though, more than anything I’m just so happy to live in a free country where we can celebrate the hard work and dedication our forefathers put into securing our freedom.

Now getting back to that 100+ degree Independence Day 2 years ago, I made up a great slush recipe for that day and I wanted to share it with you.  But first, a little back story.  Here in Memphis, we have a Spring Market every year.  Do you have anything like that where you live?  It’s where vendors can buy booth space to sell merchandise.  It’s mostly clothes, jewelry, monogrammed gifts, dip mixes and the like.  Patrons pay admission to get in and shop.  Yep!  We pay money to spend money.  Capitalism at its finest!  That year, I had bought this drink mix called Wine-a-Rita.  You put the powder in a blender, mix it with wine, vodka or tequila, fill the blender with ice and you have a quick adult frozen concoction.  Instructions on the side of the box also said it could be mixed with Sprite or ginger ale for a non-alcoholic version.  I had bought some of it to take to the beach that year.  When I made it up for the first time, I realized it was really very similar to powdered drink mix like Kool Aid, and the wheels in my head got to turning.

This plus ice is all you need for a quick, frozen slushie drink.

This plus ice is all you need for a quick, frozen slushie drink.

I made a few modifications and the result was the most perfect frozen slushy drink!  I made these for our family July 4 party and they were such I hit that I couldn’t keep enough of them made up!  It’s so simple and you might even already have the ingredients to make it at home.  So, here’s the recipe

Independence Day Slush

1/2 cup powdered drink mix (like Kool Aid or Countrytime)

1 can Sprite or Ginger Ale

Ice to fill blender

Place the drink mix and soda in the blender and blend until drink mix is dissolved.  Add ice, at least double in quantity to amount of liquid in blender.  Blend until the ice is completely broken up and drink is slushy.  Add more ice according to your desired thickness.

The blender blending

The blender blending

 

Just add ice.

Just add ice.

Blend a little more.

Blend a little more.

Just a few moments later you have this.

Just a few moments later you have this.

Yes, that’s it!  I like mine to be pretty thick and frozen so I usually end up filling the blender almost all the way with ice.  However, I add it in stages to help it incorporate better.  I will often use sugar-free soda to reduce the amount of sugar in the slush.  You could probably even try it with sugar-free drink mixes to keep it from having any sugar.  I’ve never tested it that way, so I’m not sure what the quantity of drink mix would be for that, though.  If you give this a try, let me know what you think about it in the comments below.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe 4th of July!

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I’m a Bad Blogger!

I guess you’ve noticed by now I’ve been a little MIA lately.  Sorry for that!  Have you ever felt totally overwhelmed with life in general to the point that you can only focus and complete what absolutely has to happen at that particular moment and everything else gets put on the back burner?  That’s been me lately.  Between work, a huge list of things around the house that need attention, and my running woes, I haven’t really had the mental capacity to fill you all in on what’s been going on.  I’ve been doing some fun things that I’m sure you all would love to read about, and if you follow me on Twitter and Instagram you might already know about some of it.  However, when it comes time to share after the fact, I’m already in the mentality of handling what’s next on my it-has-to-get-done-now list.   I deeply apologize and hope you’ll stick with me while I catch you up.

So, here are a few of the things I’ve been doing this year (I do plan to write more in-depthly in the coming weeks about these things).

  • I took a semi-last minute trip to New York in January with a girlfriend of mine.  It was my first time going!
  • My family booked our third Disney Cruise Line trip, which will be coming up next year.
  • I once again registered as a St. Jude Hero for the Memphis St. Jude Half Marathon.  To support me, visit my fund-raising page here.
  • Over Memorial Day weekend I spent 24 consecutive hours in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World for the Rock Your Disney Side 24 Hour Event.
  • I also took some extra time to enjoy some of the special things happening during Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • I finished my first distance event since being injured–the Navy 10 Nautical Miler.
  • I’ve been working with a company called BzzAgent and will be bringing you a Coppertone product review and giveaway soon.
  • I’m also working with a company called Influenster and will be reviewing their Spring Fling Vox Box.
  • I’ve also had a request from a reader to share exactly how I went from couch to half marathoner.  I’ve touched on my story a little bit but I never really shared what happened between point A and point B.
  • Finally, I have developed a summer slush recipe that my family loves and I hope yours will, too.

So, what story should I tackle first?  What are you most interested in?

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Labor Day Stew

I am super behind on all the things I want to blog about.  I hope to get you all caught up this week on what I’ve been up to.  Last week was a holiday week (Happy Labor Day!) and I hope everyone enjoyed their short week/long weekend if you got one.  I certainly did, but that also means a busy week of playing catch up! 

I thought I’d share with you how I spent my Labor Day.  I’m not sure about the back story of this or if it’s even really a “thing” but where I grew up, Labor Day Stew was a tradition.  There was a church close to where I lived as a child (where my parents still live) that would sell stew every Labor Day as a fund-raiser.  The men of the church would get up early and start cooking in kettle pots over an open fire.  This was the best stuff ever!  You had to bring your own container to put it in, and my dad would get a big gallon jug of it.  I’m not sure when they stopped doing that, but for years we missed it and craved it.

Then, probably about 15 years ago, we went to Charleston, SC to visit my college friend, Amy, and her husband, Dan.  We went to Disney World right after that and passed through Brunswick, GA.  I picked up a recipe card there for Brunswick Stew.  My dad tried his hand at making it that fall, and it’s been a hit with my family ever since.  He has tweaked the recipe a bit through the years, though I won’t share his changes.  I’m not sure I even know all of the changes.

We picked this recipe up for Brunswick Stew about 15 years ago, and it's now a family fave!

We picked this recipe up for Brunswick Stew about 15 years ago, and it’s now a family fave!

About three or four years ago, my cousin resurrected the Labor Day Stew tradition at her house, using my uncle’s (her father) recipe. 

My cousin set up tables in her garage for the Labor Day Stew.

My cousin set up tables in her garage for the Labor Day Stew.

She and her husband once again cooked it up in a huge cast iron kettle pot over an open flame, a gas one. 

My cousin and her husband cook the stew in a huge cast iron pot over a gas flame.

My cousin and her husband cook the stew in a huge cast iron pot over a gas flame.

Enough stew to feed a small army!

They invited lots of family and friends over, and we had the stew, sandwiches, chips, cookies and brownies.  Often, it’s a little cool on Labor Day but this time it was almost too hot for the stew.  Regardless of the temperature, it’s never too hot for an old tradition. 

More food to go along with the stew

More food to go along with the stew

Do you have any family food traditions?

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Peach Blueberry Soy Milk Shake–It’s What’s for Breakfast!

I’ve either written about or given a quick mention to the farmers market a lot lately around here.  It occurred to me that lots of what I’ve written about has been the unhealthy (Black and Blueberry Ice Cream, Rock’n Dough pizza, etc.).  At the same time, one of my favorite things about summer is that the abundance of fresh produce helps me to eat much better and much more cleanly than I tend to in the winter.  So, I thought I’d share with you my very favorite summertime breakfast food, my Peach Soy Milk Shake.  It might sound icky to some, but it is oh, so delicious!

I created my first version of this recipe about 15 years ago.  I was on a diet (as I have been since I was roughly 12, yes, I’m one of them), and I was craving something sweet (shocker!).  I saw a recipe for a mango drink that called for mango, yogurt, milk and ice.  I’ve never really liked shake type drinks blended with ice (frozen adult beverages are totally ok, though) because the ice always tends to water them down.  I didn’t have yogurt, and I didn’t have mango.  I did have peaches because peaches have always been my favorite summer fruit and are almost always on hand in my house when in season.  The thought occurred to me that if I chopped up the peach, froze it, and blended it with skim milk, it might work.  So that’s what I did, and it worked.  I added a little vanilla flavoring, and the result was something that tasted just like homemade peach ice cream.  I think I had one of those every single day that summer. 

Then a few years later, I decided to try light vanilla soy milk in the shake.  I don’t remember why but there was a reason at the time.  I actually liked that version better.  It was sweeter, and the vanilla soy milk amped up the vanilla flavor and made the shake richer tasting.  Soy milk also lasts longer in the fridge so double score!

This year our peaches are much smaller for some reason so my first few shakes were not as thick and frozen as I like them.  In fact, soupy is the word that comes to mind.  I had some blueberries on hand one day and got the idea to add some in with the peaches.  The result was even more delicious!  So I think I have a new favorite going forward.  So, here is what I do.  The night before I’m going to make my shake, I peel and chop up a peach (take the seed out, of course), wash 1/2 cup of blueberries and freeze the peach and blueberries. 

Farm fresh peaches and blueberries frozen overnight

Farm fresh peaches and blueberries frozen overnight

The next morning, I drop the frozen fruit in a blender, add in 1 cup of light vanilla soy milk (I like Silk), 1 teaspoon of vanilla flavoring and blend it until all the fruit is completely blended and it’s frozen, smooth deliciousness. 

Light Vanilla Soy Milk-it's shockingly delicious!

Light Vanilla Soy Milk-it’s shockingly delicious!

Blend the ingredients until it’s a smooth, frozen concoction.

So here I have the complete recipe for you.

Peach Blueberry Soy Milk Shake

  • 1 fresh peach, chopped and frozen overnight
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries, frozen overnight
  • 1 cup light vanilla soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring

Place the frozen peach and frozen blueberries in a blender and add the soy milk and vanilla flavoring.  Blend until all the fruit is combined and there are no more chunks left.  If it is too thick, add more soy milk until it is the desired consistency.  Pour into a cup, add a straw and enjoy.

The finished product--you can see that I like mine really thick.  Add more soy milk or water if you want it thinner.

The finished product–you can see that I like mine really thick. Add more soy milk or water if you want it thinner.

Here’s what it looks like without blueberries, just peaches. Still very delicious!

What’s your favorite healthy summertime recipe?

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Don’t forget to register for my virtual race, Magic Carpet Run 2013 to benefit St. Jude.  For details or to register, click here.

I’m a charity athlete raising money for St. Jude.  To donate, visit my personal fund-raising page here.

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Homemade Black-and-Blue-Berry Ice Cream–A July 4 Treat

I hope everyone had a happy and safe July 4.  For my readers in other countries, I hope you had a good day as well!  I certainly did!

Earlier in the week, I promised to bring you my homemade blackberry ice cream made with farmers market blackberries and farm fresh eggs.  When I went to make it, I realized I needed 2 pints of blackberries and only had one.  I had a pint of blueberries, also from the farmers market, so I decided to make blackberry/blueberry ice cream instead.  I used a recipe I found on Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman blog, which can be found here as inspiration.  I made a few changes, though.  The first, most obvious change being that I used 1 pint each of blueberries and blackberries instead of 2 pints of blackberries. 

Blueberries and blackberries in the sauce pan

Blueberries and blackberries in the sauce pan

I also pureed the berry sauce using an emersion blender before straining.  I wanted to get as much of the berry juices out of them as I could.  I didn’t want to use a blender or food processor, though, because as powerful as those appliances are, I was afraid it would pulverize the blackberry seeds, making for a gritty ice cream.  Smooth was what I was going for, not gritty.  I also used an extra egg yolk than her recipe calls for.  Finally, instead of putting the whole cup of sugar in the half and half to heat, I put half of it in the egg yolks when I beat them.  I think the friction the sugar granules create help to get the eggs light and frothy sooner.  Oh, and one more thing, I added vanilla flavoring after the mixture was cooked.  Her recipe doesn’t call for vanilla flavoring.

I seriously had a hard time keeping my spoon out of this while it was churning.

After it’s done churning, I like to put my ice cream in a plastic container and freeze until it’s scoopable.

Whenever I make homemade ice cream, I also like to make little pizelle cups to eat it out of. 

Pizelle Cups, like waffle cups, only made with a pizelle iron instead of a waffle cone iron

Pizelle Cups, like waffle cups, only made with a pizelle iron instead of a waffle cone iron

I don’t have a waffle cone maker, but I have a pizzelle cookie iron.  Pizzelles are little flat Italian wafer cookies made using an iron with a pretty flower design on it.  They are delicate and crisp, and they are very similar in taste and texture to a waffle cone.  So, I used a basic waffle cone batter, and while each cookie was still hot, I shaped it into a cup using a small ramekin.  It was the perfect vessel for holding 2 small scoops of my yummy deliciousness. 

Pizelle Cups with Homemade Black-and-Blue-Berry Ice Cream

Pizelle Cups with Homemade Black-and-Blue-Berry Ice Cream

So, here are the recipes I used for both the ice cream and the cookie cups.  The ice cream recipe is the one I re-wrote with my adaptations, but if you want Ree’s original recipe, see the link above.  I have no idea where I got the waffle cone batter recipe.  I’ve used it for years, and I just have notes scratched on a piece of paper, so I’m sorry I cannot give original credit.  Hope you enjoy!

Homemade Black-and-Blue-Berry Ice Cream

  • 1 pint fresh blackberries
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  •  juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/4 cup of sugar, divided
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 t vanilla flavoring

Place the berries, the lemon juice and 1/4 cup of sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium low heat for about 25 minutes.  Puree using an emersion blender and strain through a fine mesh strainer, discarding the solids.  Set the berry liquid aside while preparing the custard mixture.

Place the egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Heat the half and half, heavy cream, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium low heat until the sugar is melted and the cream is heated.  Be careful not to boil.  Add a half cup of the cream mixture into the egg mixture and beat to temper.  Then add the tempered egg mixture to the rest of the cream mixture and continue cooking gently over medium low heat until the mixture is thick and coats the back of a wooden spoon.  Remove from heat and add the vanilla flavoring and the berry liquid to combine.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer, just to make sure the mixture is as smooth as possible.  Transfer to a plastic airtight container and place in the refrigerator to chill overnight.  Once chilled, freeze according to your ice cream maker’s manufacturer’s directions. 

Homemade Waffle Cone Batter

  • 3 T melted butter
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 t vanilla flavoring

Place the egg, egg whites, and sugar in a bowl and beat with a whisk until light and fluffy.  Whisk in the melted butter until combined and add the vanilla flavoring.  With a spoon, mix in the flour until combined.  The mixture will be very thick and pasty.  Cook the batter according to your waffle cone iron or pizelle iron’s manufacturer’s directions.  While hot, shape around the cone form or a cup, whichever you are making.  Be sure to work quickly because it will cool and harden quickly.

I cannot tell you how delicious this ice cream was.  I may go so far as to say it is the best ice cream I’ve ever made/eaten.  I see another batch in my future before berry season is over.  If you make it, please let me know what you think. 

What’s your favorite homemade ice cream?

Follow me on Twitter @myglasssneaker.

I am raising money as a charity athlete for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  To make a donation, please visit my fund-raising page here.

If you haven’t already, there is still time to register for my virtual run, the Magic Carpet Run, to benefit St. Jude.  For more details or to register, click here.

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My Guest Blog Post–Grilled Drunken Barbeque Shrimp

I had the privilege this week to be a guest blogger for one of my favorite blogs, Through Heather’s Looking Glass.  Heather Montgomery is an avid Disney fan and runner.  Her blog was formerly known as Running With Sass and was primarily running focused.  Earlier this year she changed it to Through Heather’s Looking Glass and broadened her focus.

I wrote about one of my best recipes, Grilled Drunken Barbeque Shrimp.  It’s one of my most requested dishes.  Here is what it looks like.

Grilled Drunken Barbeque Shrimp

Grilled Drunken Barbeque Shrimp

You can read the entire blog post here

I enjoyed the opportunity to guest blog for her, and because of that post, my blog set a record for the number of visits in one day by almost double. 

Have you ever been asked to write a guest blog?  Would you want to?

Oh, and please feel free to follow me on Twitter.  I’m @myglasssneaker.

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Things I Like Thursday–Konk Cooler

I’m getting ready to go on a Disney cruise aboard the Dream in a couple of months.  This will be my second cruise on the Dream, and lately it’s been on my brain a LOT.  I’ve been thinking about all the things I didn’t get to do last time that I want to do this time.  I’ve been reflecting on what I did last time that I want to repeat.  I’ve also just been reminiscing about the last trip in general.  A highlight of most Disney cruises is a trip to Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island.  For me, no trip to Castaway Cay would be complete without the famous Konk Cooler.  What is a Konk Cooler? It’s only one of my top 5 cocktails (ooooh, future post idea!).  I crave the thing, but it’s über fattening so it’s more of a once-a-year treat.  No, I don’t go on a Disney cruise once a year (I wish).  I have, however, adapted my own recipe from other recipes I’ve found on the internet for it. 

Konk Cooler

1 can of Welches frozen passion fruit juice blend concentrate, thawed

1 can creme of coconut (Lopez is what I use, and it’s on the cocktail mixer aisle)

1 cup orange juice

3/4 cup light or golden rum

3/4 cup coconut or pineapple rum

Blend all ingredients in a blender until well combined.  Pour into another container.  Add a cup of the mixture back into the blender and blend with enough ice to make it your desired consistency.  A cup of the mixture will yield about 2 drinks, and this recipe makes about 5 cups so the total yield is about 8-10 drinks.  The leftover mixture (if there is any) will last in the refrigerator for about a week.

Konk Cooler-aka paradise in a glass

Konk Cooler-aka paradise in a glass

I added quite a bit of ice to this one because I like them extra thick.  I also like to serve it in this fun glass.  I think it adds to the tropical feel of the drink.  One more thing.  I make mine with Tortuga rum that I bought in Nassau on the last trip.  I only use that rum for these drinks.  I use the golden rum, but light would work, too.  The lady in the Tortuga shop who helped me with my purchase told me golden and light rum can be used interchangeably.  Sometimes I use the coconut rum and sometimes pineapple, but honestly, I can’t tell much of a difference once the other ingredients are blended.

Try it out and tell me what you think!  If you’ve had the original do you think this comes pretty close?

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