A Cozy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Recipe

A Cozy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Recipe

We’ve been having unusually cold weather here in Southeast Tennessee, so we wanted to make something for dinner that would be seasonally appropriate and also warm us up a bit.

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The Chocolate Cream Pie From “Julie & Julia”

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Have you ever seen the movie Julie & Julia?

It was directed by Nora Ephron and starred Meryl Streep as Julia Child and Amy Adams as Julie Powell, two women who used cooking as a means to express themselves, and to find more meaning in their lives. It is such a cute movie and by the end of it you’re going to be starving for any of the amazing dishes they make in the film.

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One of those dishes, though small and almost overlooked, is the chocolate cream pie Julie makes in the beginning of the film. We’ve always thought it looked so delicious, so we searched until we found a recipe we both agreed seems pretty similar. We decided to make it for Thanksgiving and we can tell you, it was SO GOOD. It’s rich and creamy and sweet and chocolaty and really easy to make.

Here’s what you’re going to need…

Ingredients:

To make the crust:

6 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

(Full disclosure: we bought a pre-made graham cracker crust from the grocery store and it worked just fine.)

For the filling:

3/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups milk

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, in pieces

4 slightly beaten egg yolks

2 tablespoons soft butter

1 tablespoon vanilla

For the whipped topping:

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons sugar

Directions

To make the filling:

1. Mix the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together and set aside.

2. Bring the milk to a boil. Lower the heat and stir in the chocolate and let melt.

3. Whisk the milk mixture into the sugar mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until it starts to thicken.

4. Add the yolks and stir furiously for a very short time. You want the yolks to thicken the mixture even more but you don't want them to start to curdle (like little scrambled eggs). 30 seconds or so of this should be fine.

"By the way," Ephron says, "if the eggs do curdle, pour the pudding mixture through a sieve and throw away all the curdled bits. No one will know."

5. Remove from the heat and stir more. Add vanilla and softened butter. Cover with waxed paper and cool.

6. Fill crust with pudding and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving. For fun, we added some powdered cocoa on top for a light dusting.

To make the whipped topping:

1. Whip cream until almost stiff. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until cream holds peaks. Spread on pie.

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Nora, you and your talent are so greatly missed! Hope you enjoy her delicious chocolate cream pie!

(Julie & Julie picture via here)

The Easiest Pesto Pasta Ever

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Do you have one of those go-to pastas that’s so easy and so delicious that you make it a least once a week? We do, and it’s this pesto pasta with spiral noodles. It’s so rich and creamy and garlicky and all of the cozy, good feelings you want when it’s cold outside and you just want to stay in and make something fast and yummy.

We posted about it on our Instagram a few days ago and we got SO many requests for the recipe that we decided to come up with one real quick. The truth is, we just kind of throw it together whenever we make it, but we do make it the same way every time. It’s very quick, very easy, and very good. Here’s what you’ll need…

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of cellentani noodles

  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped and minced

  • Half a stick of butter

  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • 2 cups of spinach leaves

  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream

  • 3/4 cups of pesto (you could make your own, but we use store bought)

  • 1 cup of baby bella mushrooms, sliced

  • 1 cup of shredded parmesan cheese

  • Grilled chicken for protein (optional)

Directions:

  • Heat a pot of water on high and bring to a boil. Sprinkle a little salt in the water to enhance the flavor. Rinse pasta and set aside.

  • In a skillet on medium heat, sauté the butter and garlic for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Careful not to burn the garlic.

  • Once sautéed, pour in the heavy whipping cream and stir.

  • Add salt & pepper to taste.

  • Add in the pesto and stir for about 30 seconds, or until everything is mixed well.

  • Add in the spinach and stir until it’s fully covered.

  • Let it sit on low to simmering heat for about 5 mins while occasionally stirring.

  • While the sauce is simmering, rinse the mushrooms and sauté in butter, garlic, and salt to taste, on medium to high heat. Cover, and let them cook for about 5-8 minutes.

  • Once cooked, pour the mushrooms and their sauce into the pesto sauce.

  • Add in the parmesan cheese and stir some more. Let it sit for 2 mins.

  • Mix the pasta in with the sauce and stir until it’s fully coated.

  • Garnish with more parmesan cheese.

  • Enjoy!

Like we mentioned, we don’t have an actual recipe for this pasta, and just sort of guess every time, adding more garlic or salt or pesto when needed. Play around with it and make it your own. Those are always the best recipes anyway, don’t you think?

(Photo via here)

The Perfect Fall Day + Beef Stew Recipe

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You know those fall days you look forward to all summer long, when it starts getting chilly outside and the sunlight changes and you have nowhere to be but home? We had one of those days this weekend and it reminded us why we love this season so much.

We spent a lot of the weekend binge-watching Netflix’s new show The Haunting of Hill House. Have you seen it? It’s based on Shirley Jackson’s 1959 book of the same name, though the TV adaptation differs a little from the original book. It’s also been made into two different movies, most recently the film The Haunting in 1999, though, again, the film is pretty different from the original source material.

The show is SPOOKY, and we scream/jumped so loud (twice!) that we’re pretty sure a couple of our neighbors heard us. We wouldn’t recommend watching it alone, but just know it’s sort of a family drama at heart, with chilling situations here and there, but it’s set in this gorgeous old house, so you know we were game from the start.

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PJ had a taste for beef stew, so we went to the grocery store after coming back from visiting our land and stocked up on all the ingredients. He didn’t really follow a recipe, just kind of dumped it all in there. From what we can remember, it included:

Easy Beef Stew

  • 1/2 bag of carrots

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped

  • 1 can of corn

  • 1 can of green beans

  • 1 can of peas

  • 1 large chuck roast

  • 7 gold potatoes, quartered

  • salt & pepper to taste

  • chopped garlic to taste

  • 1 packet of beef stew seasoning from McCormick (though next time we plan on making this seasoning ourselves)

  • 2 cups of beef stock

He dumped everything in the crock pot and put it on high and left it over night to really soak in all the juices and flavor and by lunch the next day, it was ready to eat.

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PJ also has a love affair with corn bread so he whipped some up following the recipe on the back of the Krusteaz box. We didn’t have any milk, so he used sour cream instead and it tasted fine all the same. Does it get better than warm stew and corn bread on a chilly fall day? When there are windows to be opened and scary Netflix shows to be watched? WE THINK NOT.

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Hope you had a good weekend, too, friends.

xx

Breakfast For Dinner: Yes or No?

Breakfast For Dinner: Yes or No?

PJ had a taste for biscuits and gravy last night and we had some biscuit mix that our friend Jen gave us forever ago, so breakfast for dinner it was!

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