the baker upstairs

7.26.2017

Perfect Pie Crust

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Homemade pie crust is simple, quick, and easy to make with this fantastic recipe!

Homemade pie crust is simple, quick, and easy to make with this fantastic recipe!

One of the (many) frustrations of my life is that I've never been able to make a good pie crust. I've tried many times, and have always failed. It ends up too thick, or has terrible flavor, or is hard and brittle instead of flaky and tender. I have a lot of recipes on the blog that call for pie crust, and I always use a store-bought crust. They do the job, but they never taste as good as a homemade crust. This summer, I made it my goal to find the perfect homemade pie crust recipe, and this, my friends, is it! I've made it multiple times now, and it always comes out perfectly. It's buttery and flaky, light and tender, and it doesn't get soggy while baking. Best of all, it comes together in just a few minutes and takes almost zero effort to make. It's easy enough for beginners, but tastes better than any pie crust I've had at a fancy bakery. The recipe makes enough for two pie crusts, but you can easily halve or double the recipe if you're making a single crust pie, or more than one pie. I can't sing this pie crust's praises enough!

Perfect Pie Crust

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter
1/2 cup buttermilk (or milk plus a splash of vinegar)

In a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the flour and salt. Grate the cold butter into the flour mixture, and cut in using a pastry blender or the paddle attachment, until the pieces of butter are no larger than pea sized. Add the buttermilk, and mix until the dough just starts to come together. Turn out onto a floured surface and gently work into a ball, handling as little as possible. Divide the dough in half and shape into discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least twenty minutes, or until ready to use. Use within 2-3 days.

adapted slightly from Baking with Blondie

7.24.2017

Strawberry Freezer Pops

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These healthy and delicious strawberry freezer pops have only three ingredients, and are full of strawberry flavor. They're so simple to make, and the kids will love them!

These healthy and delicious strawberry freezer pops have only three ingredients, and are full of strawberry flavor. They're so simple to make, and the kids will love them!

I've mentioned before that my mom didn't give us a lot of sweets when I was growing up. She tried really hard to get us to eat healthy food, which is awesome, although I think that it may account for my overconsumption of sweets as an adult. :) One of the few exceptions was that every summer we would buy several large boxes of Otter Pops. Those artificially colored and flavored frozen popsicles were one of my favorite things about summer vacation! My little brother and sister were born at the end of July, and they often asked for Otter Pops for one of their birthday gifts. We all loved them that much!

Now that I'm an adult, and not quite as thrilled about those artificial flavors, I thought it would be fun to make a healthy homemade version that's just as delicious. These strawberry freezer pops are every bit as tasty as those Otter Pops from my childhood, but way more healthy! They're made with fresh fruit, apple juice, and yogurt, and they are the perfect refreshing summer treat. My kids love these, and actually prefer them to store-bought freezer pops. That's a win, in my book!
Strawberry Freezer Pops

2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
1 cup apple juice
6 ounces vanilla yogurt
ice pop bags (or popsicle molds)

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into ice pop bags, filling to fill line. Close the bags, lay them flat on a baking sheet, and freeze at least two hours.
These healthy and delicious strawberry freezer pops have only three ingredients, and are full of strawberry flavor. They're so simple to make, and the kids will love them!

7.21.2017

Thai Peanut Chicken Skewers

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These thai peanut chicken skewers are so delicious and flavorful! They are a quick and easy weeknight dinner that everyone will love!

These thai peanut chicken skewers are so delicious and flavorful! They are a quick and easy weeknight dinner that everyone will love!

If I want my kids to eat something, all I have to do is smother it in thai peanut sauce. Everyone in my family is crazy about that sauce! We use it to make thai chicken pizza, thai peanut noodles, and drizzle it over steamed vegetables for an easy and healthy dinner. These thai peanut chicken skewers are another fantastic way to enjoy that amazing sauce, and they are fantastic! They're super easy to make, and everyone in my family loved them. I served them with some coconut rice on the side, and they went perfectly together!
Thai Peanut Chicken Skewers

1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon sriracha (more or less to taste)
3 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
juice of 1/2 lime
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into one inch pieces
2 tablespoons chopped peanuts

Whisk together the chicken broth, peanut butter, sriracha, honey, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and lime juice in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thickened and starting to bubble. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Place the chicken in a large ziplock bag and pour half of the peanut sauce over the top of the chicken. Close the bag and toss to coat the chicken in the sauce. Refrigerate 30 minutes, or until ready to cook. When you're ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 400. Stack the chicken pieces on wooden or metal skewers, and place them on a wire rack on top of a cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes, flip, and bake another 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Brush with remaining peanut sauce and sprinkle with chopped peanuts.
These thai peanut chicken skewers are so delicious and flavorful! They are a quick and easy weeknight dinner that everyone will love!

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