Rose Apple Pie with Bourbon Glaze //

Thanksgiving is undoubtably the most popular pie holiday of the entire year.

And I happen to love, LOVE pie. I love eating pie, but I’m pretty sure I love making it even more.

Here are some tips that I find helpful:

Common Problem: Dough Shrinkage

Dilemma: Have you ever rolled out the most perfect pie crust, crimped the edges to only be super bummed out after it comes out of the oven that the whole thing shrunk??!?!

Solution: Shrinkage happens for two reasons.

The first is too much water in the dough. When you wrap up the dough in plastic wrap, it should never be sticky. If it’s sticky, roll the entire thing in a few tablespoons of flour and knead it one more time AND then wrap it.

The second possible problem is that it didn’t have enough time for the gluten to relax. Most pie crust recipes will tell you to rest it in the fridge for an hour. Well, if you only let it rest for an hour, most likely it will shrink. Ideally it’ll rest for an entire night in the fridge. This also breaks up some of the work and makes pie-making a bit easier.

Butterscotch Pumpkin Pie
Common Problem: Pumpkin (or any custard) Pie Cracking

Dilemma: You make a pumpkin pie (or cheesecake) and it looks perfect when it come out of the oven and then BOOM! A DAMN CRACK! Many people will tell you that you probably baked it too long and this could be true. But if there was no crack in the oven then you probably baked it just right, but it was the drastic temperature change when you took it our of the oven that did you in.

Solution: First of all, cracking isn’t the worst thing that could happen—it’s totally edible and delicious. To avoid it from happening, turn the oven off, prop the oven door open and allow the pie to cool slowly, rather than taking it from the very hot oven to often times chilly (it’s November after all!) kitchen counter. I usually let it cool for about 30 minutes to an hour this way and then take it out and place it on the counter. If you have kids or dogs, have them avoid the kitchen for that time.

Green Chile Chocolate Pudding Pie

Common Problem: Being Flustered

Dilemma: If you’ve never made pie, the first time may stress you out so much that you may never want to make it again. It requires a good amount of steps. There are multiple components. The idiom “easy as pie” could not be further from the truth. But it’s not hard.

Solution: Make the pie crust the day before. This will allow you to concentrate on just the pie crust, which if you’ve never made it before, can be a confusing. You’ll have to have a bit of focus but I swear you can do it!

Make the filling, stick it in the fridge and then roll out the pie crusts. Organization helps a whole lot of pie-making. AND if all else fails, Tweet me and I’ll try and help! Also, if the pie turns out to be not the prettiest, top it with a scoop of ice cream and no one will care!

Rose Apple Pie with Bourbon Glaze //

Now, here are some of my favorite pies to make for Thanksgiving!


1. Rose Apple Pie with Bourbon Glaze – Hands down the most popular pie made every Thanksgiving off of A Cozy Kitchen

2. Butterscotch Pumpkin Pie – Simple and classic: butterscotch and pumpkin chilling together in a gingersnap crust (if you hate making pie dough, this one is for you!)

3. Salted Caramel Apple Pie (with a heart crust) – Sweet and cute and delicious.

4. Classic Apple Pie – Simple but epic.

Thanksgiving Pies

1. Caramel Pear Pie with an Oat Crust – Different and decadent.

2. Black-Bottomed Pecan Pie – Chocolate and nutty goodness. This is on my to-make list this year.

3. Walnut and Agnostura Pie – Slightly weird but not too weird.

4. Peanut Butter Cream Pie – I can’t take credit for this. It’s from Joy’s book and it’s GOOD.

5. Pumpkin Pie, Brûléed – The only thing better than normal pumpkin pie is one with a crispy topping.

6. Classic Sweet Potato Pie – Like a crisp white t-shirt…but sweet.

Just for the record, I’m baking two pies: The Classic Apple Pie and the Black-Bottomed Pecan Pies!


And for the record, I like this pie dish and this post: 101 Pie Crust, can be helpful!

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Warm Caramelized Fennel and Leek Cheese Dip

I used to be one of those psycho people who liked to be really hungry for Thanksgiving dinner. So instead of having breakfast, I’d just power through the day so I could REALLY enjoy dinner. But then that lead to be, like, being mean to people so now I make sure to eat breakfast AND I always have an appetizer prepped.

This is perfect for that because it can be made the day before and then heated up when hanger-vibes strike.

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Roasted Broccoli Bagna Cauda with Crispy Shallots

This weekend I accompanied my best friend to look for wedding dresses. When she made the appointments, we both sort of rolled our eyes and shrugged our shoulders. I guess we’re gonna have to do this. Neither of us are super girly so the idea of having to go to a bridal boutique or whatever didn’t sound all that exhilarating…until we got there.

Man, it was way more fun and emotional than I ever thought it was going to be. It was such a happy experience! It made me appreciate all the steps along the way to getting married. It made me happy for her and for me and for her mom, who was so grateful and thrilled to witness every single dress, good or bad.

Roasted Broccoli Bagna Cauda with Crispy Shallots

What did you do?

Are you realizing that Thanksgiving is like a stone’s throw away?! I went to CVS the other day and they just skipped from Halloween to Christmas! JUST LIKE THAT! It’s really intense and aggressive and it’s stressing me out.

Roasted Broccoli Bagna Cauda with Crispy Shallots [click to continue…]


Pan Dripping Gravy |

Gravy is my everything. While I love it on everything from stuffing to slices of turkey to mashed potatoes, I REALLY love it the day after Thanksgiving. You know, when things have dried up a bit and really need that dreaded word we all hate: moisture. Cranberry sauce helps too and so does mayonnaise, which is actually foreshadowing as to what’s to come next week, but for now, GRAVY!

This gravy is thick and smooth and delicious. It starts by using the drippings from yesterday’s turkey. And I’ll say that the drippings from that turkey and its dry brine are VERY salty drippings. But I added a few things to combat that saltiness so no need to not get on this lil’ gravy train (do you see what I did there?).

Isn’t Thanksgiving the best? Even planning Thanksgiving excites me so very much.

Recipe and the rest of the post is on PBS Food.

Pan Dripping Gravy | [click to continue…]


Citrus Dry-Brined Turkey |

For years and years and years, I dunked a raw bird in a wet brine and called it a day. Last year Josh spiced the brine with persimmons and quince and fall stuff like all-spice and cloves. I loved it. But, I also was curious if this was really even needed. I mean, it was kind of a pain. There was a trash bag involved and there’s something inherently weird about putting food you’re going to eat into a garbage bag, even if it’s clean.

So, I did some research. And turns out a lot of people we’re a million light years ahead of me with their hatred toward the wet brine. And some of the science behind why dry brines are best, made complete sense to me. (Serious Eats’ experimentation is super awesome.)

Citrus Dry-Brined Turkey |

I decided to give the dry-brine a go this year and I’m so glad I did. This year it’s all ’bout the dry brine. Says who? Just me.

The brine I made consisted of salt, ground coriander, minced herbs like sage, rosemary and thyme, and zest from a lemon and orange. It’s really actually quite simple. The bird is rubbed with it the day before and the entire bird dry-brines for a good 24 hours.

Citrus Dry-Brined Turkey |

There’s nothing fancy or weird or particularly unusual about this. I mean, it kinda reminds of how I like to roast a chicken. This recipe yielded the crispiest skin I’ve ever had on a turkey, which in my book immediately makes it a complete keeper. I would be completely content if someone served me crispy turkey skin ONLY. Of course, that’d be insane and v Paula Deen of me; not a cute look for me.

For the whole recipe and more pictures and a longer tirade about my love for this recipe and turkey, go to PBS Food!


Citrus Dry-Brined Turkey |
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Twice-Baked Acorn Squash topped w/Maple Butter and Pecans |

Twice-baked potatoes are kinda basic, aren’t they? They are in an endearing way, of course. They’re simple and adorable and I kinda have the urge to pat them on the head and tell them they’re cute. But for this Thanksgiving, I wanted a side dish with a bit of class, so I decided that old favorite of ours needed a bit of a makeover.

This is its classier bigger sister; less cheese, less carbs yet still indulgent and delicious. Also, this is definitely the first time where I’m saying less cheese/less carbs and meaning it as a good thing.

Twice-Baked Acorn Squash topped w/Maple Butter and Pecans | [click to continue…]


Peanut Butter Cream Pie |

Amelia and Joy the Baker have never met. But I know they would get along because they’re both what I could consider “peanut butter enthusiasts.”

Amelia, in her little time on this planet, has tried peanut butter every which way: cheap creamy peanut butter (read: Jiff), all-natural chunky peanut butter, smokey peanut butter, and even peanut butter mixed with honey. She prefers her peanut butter vessels to be human spoons, slices of apple, bananas or even sneakily off the side of a bowl. She does not discriminate.

Joy prefers her peanut butter on bread with pickles, coupled with bacon, and in smoothies, and in her new book, Homemade Decadence, she puts PB on a bed of buttery chocolate crumbs and tops it with perfectly whipped cream and calls it a pie. An-omg-yes-please-pie.

Peanut Butter Cream Pie | [click to continue…]


Classic Apple Pie |

Do you ever wonder what your legacy will be?

I probably won’t be the richest grandma so I doubt I’ll leave copious amounts of money to a school or hospital; I won’t end up buying a ton of jewelery in my lifetime so there will be no diamonds (sorry, grandchildren); and there’s a good chance I won’t be leaving behind large amounts of land in the hills of Wisconsin (are there hills in Wisconsin?…you get what I mean).

My hope is that my grand kids will tell their friends about how their grandma looked so sweet and small yet she was strong, told sarcastic jokes and had a foul mouth. I hope they tell their friends that whenever I visited, I made them the most elaborate ridiculous lunches and wrote them the sweetest notes for them to find at lunch time. And I hope they tell their friends about how their grandma, with her super veiny hands, made the best pies ever.

My future legacy is what I’m sharing today.

(I’m feeling very emo this week, can you tell?)

Classic Apple Pie | [click to continue…]


Cranberry Thyme Gin & Tonic |

When it comes to the beverage of choice, Thanksgiving has always been about wine. And beer. But mainly wine. Even growing up, Thanksgiving was that time when my parents would bust open the “fancy” bottle of wine a relative brought back from some region of Spain and we all discussed its legs and body like we knew what we were talking about.

Thanksgiving was the time when my parents would serve me a glass of wine at the ripe age of thirteen because that’s what you Latin people do – we give our kids wine! My fellow American friends always thought that was so strange and awesome, but in South America alcohol and kids isn’t that big of a deal. You give ’em a little sip because it’s a special occasion, you know? Sharing is caring.

Now, cooking is different. When you’re cooking it’s a cocktail time…and in this case, thyme. Cocktail thyme! (I’m annoying myself today, too, don’t worry.) I love a good spritzer. It’s because deep down I’m a grandma who loves her spritzers and maybe, just maybe when no one’s looking I put a few ice cubes in my wine, too.

Cranberry Thyme Gin & Tonic | [click to continue…]


DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs //

Wasn’t Pie Week fun?! I kinda miss it already. I’m already scheming for a possible Cookie Week in December? And maybe more pie. Always more pie.

On Wednesday I’m headed up to the Bay Area for a very short trip for Thanksgiving, so I figured some of you might actually be heading to other people’s homes, too. I love hostess gifts that have a nice personal touch, and since this time of year is so crazy, they need to be quick and easy. I looove having winter herbs in my kitchen for cooking and making cocktails. These herbs will all survive a cold winter – they’re considered “aggressive” herbs, or so they say.

Supplies you’ll need to make this lil’ quick and easy DIY:

– 3 small terra cotta pots
– Assorted colors of acrylic paints
– Scissors
– Painter’s Tape
– Acrylic Top Coat Spray
– Winter Herbs: Rosemary, English Thyme, Mint, Cilantro or Sage
– Paint brushs

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs //

Step 1: Brush each pot with two to three coats of paint. Allow ’em to dry completely.

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs //

Step 2: You can do any sort of patterns that you like. I figured it’d be nice to do all an assortment of patterns that all sort of compliment one another. For the first one, I cut out triangles from the painter’s tape and placed them on the perimeter of the pot.

I gave it two coats of metallic light gray paint, allowed it to dry and then removed the tape.

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs //

Step 3: Continue with a different pattern. I chose little hand painted dots.

For the third and final patter, I used a spouncer – which is my favorite tool and word – dipped in paint to make a larger polka dot pattern.

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs //

Step 4: I allowed the pots to dry completely, about 30 minutes, and then sprayed each pot with a clear top coat, which will help protect the terra cotta pots against moisture, weathering and overall handling.

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs //

Step 5: Divide the herbs between the pots and fill with potting soil.

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs //

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs //

And that’s it! Super easy and quick. Tomorrow I’ll show you a cocktail recipe to use with one of these herbs. You know, so you can give your host the gift and then use it to make something. Super classy!

DIY: Last Minute Hostess Gift - Potted Winter Herbs //

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