Friday, September 28, 2012

Fantasy Food Friday: Wheel of Time Apple Cider Pie

Hello all!

Welcome to another episode of Fantasy Food Fridays! This week, we're taking on an Emond's Field favorite, Apple Cider Pie.

A favorite of the Fall season, Apple Cider Pie can often be found in Mother Al'Vere's kitchen at their family Inn.

Emond's Field, a small village in an area known as the Two Rivers, is very rural- at the beginning of the series, there are no tile roofs at all. Even in the later parts of the series, the Two Rivers retains it's homey, rural appeal.

So this week, Apple Cider Pie:

This recipe is a little more complicated, but is also easy to simplify- my first recommendation is a simpler pie crust- or buy one. (I know, gasp) But this one has a lot of steps. ANYWAY, here we go.


In the Crust:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice and chilled
  • 3 tablespoons cold milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Combine flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt. Add the butter and work by hand into a coarse texture. Add milk and vinegar and mix until dough just forms.  Pat the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic and stick it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and roll it into an 11 inch round. Put it in a 9 inch pie plate. Trim and make pretty and stick it back in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to about 425 degrees. Get our dough back out and put a piece of parchment paper over it. Fill the pie plate with beans or pie weights and start par-baking it- about 15 minutes or until just set.

Remove the crust from oven and remove the beans or weights. Cover the edges of the pie with foil and put it BACK in the oven ( I told you it was complicated!) Bake 15 minutes or until set but not browned. Remove, leave the foil on, let cool. Press the center to keep it from rising.

The Filling:

  • apple cider
  • sugar
  • sour cream
  • salt
  • eggs

in a saucepan, boil the cider to reduce it by about three quarters. stir in the sugar when cool, and then add the sour cream, salt and eggs. Pour the custard into the pie shell (don't remove the foil). Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees, until the outside is set and the inside jiggles. Let cool completely.

The Topping:

  • heavy cream
  • sugar 
  • cinnamon

Whisk the ingredients together until mildly stiff peaks form. Spread the cream over the pie, cut and then serve!

DELICIOUS! A great addition  to a holiday table. The apple flavor is light, but noticeable. If you try it, I am sure you will like it!

As always, if you try it or if you have ideas for a future Fantasy Food Friday, leave me a comment!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fantasy Food Friday: Bag End Apple Bread

Hello, all, and welcome back to Fantasy Food Friday!

This week, we tackled Bag End Apple Bread, found comfy-cozy in the pages of JRR Tolkein's classic Lord of the Rings Trilogy, as well as the Hobbit.

Bilbo's home, Bag End, is in the Shire- rather the midwest of Middle Earth. And, as the midwest edges toward fall, nothing represents us better than apples! (Except possibly pumpkins- but that's soon to come!) And so, this week, I'm pleased to present: Bag End Apple Bread!!

If you're familiar with banana bread, then this is a great recipe for you! It is pretty quick, and very simple.

chopped, skinned apples
flour ( I used half white half whole wheat)
baking powder
baking soda

I replaced the oil in a normal sweet bread recipe with applesaucs- both to fit the theme and make it a tad healthier!

Start by mixing your dry ingredients together (minus the sugar)

in another bowl, cream sugar, eggs and applesauce:

(excuse the huge shadow)

Add the vanilla, and then mix the wet and dry ingredients together.

Then add in the apple chunks!

Fold them in gently, and pour into greased loaf pans. We made one big loaf and three little ones.

Bake at about 350 for between 45 minutes and an hour.

DELICIOUS- and would be great for Teatime... or Elevenses..or even the fabled Second Breakfast.


As always- if you make one of my FFF ideas, please let me know, and if you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Weight Loss Wednesdays: 100 (more) reasons I'm getting in shape

Hi guys-

I posted my 100 reasons back in January, and while some of them have stayed the same, others have definitely shifted. Here's my 100 more reasons for continuing my weight loss journey:

101. because people are watching
102. to KEEP this promise to myself
103. to not settle for mediocre104. for a cute halloween costume
105. for more confidence
106.because I am not mediocre, why should my body be? be able to run a 5k
108. to not feel like a whale in my yoga classes
109. because if others have done it, so can I
110. to keep up with Sherlock!
111. because after everything else, this should be easy
112. because I love my body, now and always
113. because I am a person, not a garbage disposal.
114. to be proud to wear tank tops
115. so that my fitted shirts will become sleeping/work out shirts
116. to be the it girl in the gym
117. because my body is a temple. And a wonderland.
118. because this is living life to the fullest.
119. Because "made in God's image" does NOT mean obese.
120. Because I love ice cream.
121. to pound out the frustrations and fears
122. Because I'm in it for the long haul
123. Because I'm too stubborn to accept any other possibility.
124. Because Winter is coming.
125. for greater flexibility
126. Cause I've got passion in my pants… and I ain't afraid to show it
127. to have enough upper body strength to pull myself up into high places
128. to never, ever feel my fat spilling over the top of my jeans again
129. to show off bare arms
130. for the look on people's faces when I say "I used to be fat"
131. to finally get my headstand
132. because the hard work WILL define me, but my weight won't
133. so that I'll be a good example to any future children
134. to sleep better
135. because if i won't put in the work, someone else will. And they'll be better than me.
136. for better dance calls
137. to beat the disordered eating, forever.
138. so that NOTHING is off limits.
139. to learn to love showers
140. to be able to tie a belt, instead of buckling it
141. to be able to think during a run, and not just about when I'll get to stop.
142. for the feeling of running my hands down my legs… and they don't jiggle
143. to look and feel sexy in my maid of honor dress
144. and bridesmaid dress
145. and every day
146. to find out just what my body is capable of
147. to climb the stairs at Hogwarts
148. so my reaction to my reflection is never negative.
149. to live long and prosper
150. to be able to do ten complete pushups…and not be sore later.
151. to feel better
152. to treat myself the way I deserve to be treated
153. to not feel awkward in the gym, or running down the street
154. to be able to get my yoga teaching liscensure without feeling silly
155. to beat my genetically modified evil twin. ( I know she's out there)
156. so people will ask me how I did it
157. for the cute running clothes
158. to never need a motorized wheelchair/grocery cart
159. to be able to climb trees
160. to never be out of breath at the top of the stairs
161. to feel lime a movie star
162. so I never worry about my skinny jeans fitting
163. to spend less money on snacks!
164. to keep up with my brother
165. to out run the dog
166. to someday finish a 10K
167. to go to bed every night feeling like a champion
168. So Jillian Michaels wouldn't have anything to say
169. for my own personal satisfaction
170. for better games of hide and seek
171. for better head shots
172. and pictures in general
173. no. more. back. fat.
174. to be able to say out loud how much I weigh and not wince afterwards
175. because I can
176. because I can come up with 200 great reasons to do it, and no reasons not to
177. to do what others won't, so I can have what others don't
178. because I want to
179. because I like running
180. so I'll never, ever, EVER walk away from something I love because I'm too fat
181. so that when I start singing, people ask where the sound comes from
182. to be more comfortable on planes and roller coasters
183. to feel more like all my favorite heroines
184. to have those amazing before and afters
185. to say that I got to enroll in the Neville Longbottom school of making puberty work for you
186. to have the self control and discipline to create myself new
187. to want to try new sports and classes
188. to not feel stupid doing it
189. for a smaller fencing target
190. so that when I wear my corset, fat isn't spilling out over the top
191. for cute lingerie
192. for great hikes
193. to NEVER worry at night in a parking garage
194. so I can wear heels without feeling like I might tip over
195. to not need the arm rests at the theatre
196. because I love to swim!
197. to not be jealous of others!
198. for the feeling of accomplishment
199. to see the change in myself
200.because I am worth it

What are YOUR reasons?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fantasy Food Fridays: Game of Thrones Ginger Beer

Hello, all, and welcome back to Fantasy Food Fridays!

If you're just joining us, every Friday I take on a different edible from a fantasy novel, film or TV show and try to recreate it- and I keep you all up to date via the blog! If you miss my other posts- don't worry, they're coming back! I'm easing into it, but I do promise to post more soon!

Without further ado, this week's endeavor: Ginger beer, featured in A Song of Ice and Fire, by George RR Martin (better known as  Game of Thrones) In Martin's kingdom of Westeros, deceit runs hot and treachery hotter. The rise and fall of kings and clans happen faster than you can keep track, but one thing remains constant. Martin's characters eat some amazing sounding food.

So this week, I attempted my first beverage in the series. I hope you enjoy it!

Game of Thrones Ginger Beer:


  • boiling water
  • fresh ginger
  • whole lime
  • cream of tartar
  • sugar
  • yeast
  • rum (optional. we did the virgin version!)
  • bottles or jars that you can make airtight
  • a non reactive (ceramic) container with lid

The How to:

roughly chop the ginger (we used a food scale to make sure it was the right amount. About 6 oz. per gallon of water)

Add the ginger to food processor, and turn into mush:

Then, zest and juice the lime (or two!)

(this is messy) Then add the lime juice, zest & ginger to your non-reactive container:

(we used a slowcooker dish)

Pour over the boiling water, and the cream of tartar (about 2 oz.) and be prepared to wait. Cover the container and stir occasionally. You need to wait until the water is lukewarm. At least 3 hours, possibly more.  Once the water is lukewarm, add the yeast to your mixture. I used about two and a half packets. Then recover and let it sit for 6 hours. No need to refrigerate. (note the super cool lamb planter in the back ground. I know, weird fascination with animals.)

Once your 6 hours are up, uncover and add the sugar. A LOT of sugar. I used almost two pounds.

(Again, food scale)

Stir until all the sugar is dissolved. If you want to add alcohol, now is the time!

(doesn't that look tasty??)
 Pour directly into glass bottles, shut tight, and refrigerate. To serve, strain and put in glass.

We found this recipe to be very spicy, but also oddly refreshing. It won't keep for a long time, and do keep it refrigerated!


Friday, September 7, 2012

Fantasy Food Friday: Elvish Lembas!

Hello, all!!

Welcome to another addition of Fantasy Food Fridays! If you're just joining us, Fantasy Food Fridays is an ongoing series of posts, hosted on- you guessed it- Fridays. Every week, I make a different food item from a fantasy book, movie or TV show, and then post pictures and how-to's here on the blog. Ready? Great!

This week, I tackled Lembas, from JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. It is described as "very nutritious, stays fresh for months when kept unbroken in its original leaf-wrappings, and is used for sustenance on long journeys."

In Peter Jackson's movies, the hobbits nibbled on a kind of unsweetened shortbread. It is brown on the outside and rather cream colored on the inside.

After doing a little bit of reading on Lembas, I decided to buy and use some flaxseed meal in this recipe. Because Lembas is supposed to be highly nutritious and fibrous, I wanted something that would give it that quality, as well as making it a little chewier.

So, anyway, I used
  • white flour (although whole wheat or half and half would be great too)
  • flaxseed meal (look for it in your gluten free or organic portion of the Grocery)
  • white sugar
  • butter
** flaxseed tip: if you do choose to add flaxseed, it needs to make up about a quarter of your total dry ingredients. I used 1 1/2 cups flour and 1/2 cup flaxseed**

I mixed the dry ingredients together and then melted the butter in the microwave before adding it to the dry ingredients.

When that was totally mixed in, I didn't have quite enough moisture in the dough, so I added a tablespoon of water at a time until I had something roughly the consistency of cookie dough. 

I rolled the dough out flat with a rolling pin- make sure you flour whatever surface you work on as it does get sticky!

(doesn't that look nice and healthy? mmmmmm)

And then I cut the dough into rectangles between an inch an three inches big or so.

I scooped the rectangles onto a greased cookie sheet and put them in the oven at 350 for about an hour...

And then disaster struck.

Somehow, I miscalculated the time, and they burned. One whole cookie sheet, black as anything. See?

look at those top ones. Toast, I say, toast.

However, although the others are a little browner than I would have liked, they still taste pretty  good! I especially like them with apple butter on top:

Flaxssed meal apparently browns faster than regular flour, so that might have been part of my problem too.

Things I would change next time:

  • less cooking time!
  • less sugar
  • add a little baking powder or an egg or two so they rise a little bit. These are pretty cracker-y

But that's my Lembas experiment! Enjoy!

Have an idea for Fantasy Foods Friday? Leave it in the comments or email me at charisweible[@] (just remove the brackets!)