How To

How To: Tzatziki Sauce

tzatziki-sauce-with-pita.jpg.839x0_q71_crop-scaleI have come to love making my own sauces for things, whether it’s ranch or barbeque and this homemade Tzatziki sauce is no exception. It was perfect with the gyros and I will definitely be making it again. One note I did have is the amount of sauce made by the recipe will far outstrip the amount of meat in the recipe as written so next time I will halve the recipe. Courtesy of

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup diced or shredded cucumber, seeded
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill or 2 tablespoon fresh dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper

Cream together all of the ingredients until well combined. Serve with your favorite Greek dishes.

How To

How To: Cream Cheese Frosting

downloadThis next post is another entry in my how to series. I use this for basic frosting or garnish recipes that can be used for any recipe. Cream cheese frosting is delicious on some many different desserts: carrot cake, pumpkin muffins, banana blondies.

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, or to taste

Cream together the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla and mix until incorporated. Gradually add in the powdered sugar until you reached the desired sweetness. I tend to use less powdered sugar than most recipes call for, but be sure to taste as you go so you can make it just how you like it.

Dessert, How To

How To: Stabilized Whipped Cream

I love a homemade whipped cream, but they can be pretty fragile if  not eaten right away. That was the problem I was looking to solve this past week when I had 3 pies needing whipped cream that weren’t going to be eaten for several hours. After much internet scouring, the consensus seemed to be adding gelatin to the whipped cream to help it last. After trying it I can say without doubt that it was successful.  The cream still tasted great, and held up beautifully.

  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (like Knox, found near Jell-o in the baking aisle)
  • 4 teaspoons cold water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place cold water in small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over it. Let sit for 5 minutes. While it’s sitting, place heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or in a mixing bowl if using an electric beater. Once gelatin is set, place bowl in microwave and heat until gelatin turns to liquid, about 10 seconds. Turn mixer on to start beating cream. Let it run for about 1 minute and then with the mixer on high, very slowly pour the melted gelatin in, in a small steady stream. Continue beating cream until you reach medium-stiff peaks. Spread or pipe whipped cream as desired.

How To

How To: Graham Cracker Crust

I was laying in bed last night trying to fall asleep and I started thinking about my website and how I could use a section of how to’s. Staple recipes for crust and things that could be used throughout different recipes without having to go back to a specific one. Well, here is the first one: Graham Cracker crust. This crust can be used in so many different desserts, from cream pies to cheesecake to icebox pies. You could also sub out graham crackers for vanilla wafers 1:1.

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10 sheets)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 7 tablespoons melted butter

Use a food processor to grind up the graham cracker sheets (or use pre-made crumbs). Combine them in a bowl with the sugar and melted butter, then press them into your greased baking dish. As you can see in the picture, I recommend using a flat-bottomed glass or measuring cup to make sure you have an even layer in the bottom of your dish. All that’s left as this point is to bake per your recipes instructions.

Dessert, How To

How To: Flaky Pie Crust

This was the second homemade pie crust I have made at Thanksgiving and I was so pleased with how it turned out. I used to be terrified of making my own crusts, but with practice and step by step directions it has gotten much better. Not to mention I truly believe the pies taste better with a homemade crust. This one differs from the other on my site in that it uses shortening and butter, instead of all butter. Next year I’ll have to make a batch of each and see which one I like better. Recipe and photo courtesy of

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, scooped and levelled
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 1/2 cup ice water

Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter and shortening. Using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut the butter and shortening into the mixture until it resembles coarse meal (pea-sized bits with a few larger bits of fat is OK). Measure 1/2 cup  of water in a cup. Add ice. Stir it around. From that, measure 1/2 cup of water– since the ice has melted a bit. Drizzle the cold water in, 1 Tablespoon at a time, and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon after every Tablespoon added. Do not add any more water than you need to. Stop adding water when the dough begins to form large clumps. I always use about 1/2 cup of water and a little more in dry winter months. Transfer the pie dough to a floured work surface. The dough should come together easily and should not feel overly sticky. Using floured hands, fold the dough into itself until the flour is fully incorporated into the fats. Form it into a ball. Divide dough in half. Flatten each half into 1-inch thick discs using your hands. Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (and up to 5 days).

When rolling out the chilled pie dough discs to use in your pie, always use gentle force with your rolling pin. Start from the center of the disc and work your way out in all directions, turning the dough with your hands as you go. Proceed with the pie per your recipe’s instructions.




Dessert, How To

How To: Buttery Pie Crust

This Thanksgiving I finally forced myself to tackle the one baked item I usually buy from the grocery store: pie crust. I had tried to make pie crust one other time years ago and was frustrated by how finicky the recipes all seemed. Well, this year I found this recipe and let me tell you, I will never buy store-bought pie crust again. It was flaky and buttery and amazing. So, don’t be scared by the fact that everyone always says how you need to use cold butter, ice water, minimal kneading/handling and on and on. This recipe couldn’t be simpler and will not let you down. Recipe and photo courtesy of

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks of cold butter (12 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons ice water (approximately)

Place flour and sugar in a food processor. Pulse. Add about half of the butter. Pulse.  Add the rest of the butter. Pulse until the mixture turns into coarse crumbs. Through the feed tube, slowly add the ice water and pulse until the dough gathers up into a ball.  If it doesn’t after a few seconds, add a few more drops of ice water until it does. Take the dough and flatten it into a disc and place it on a sheet of floured plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before rolling.

*If you don’t have a food processor you can easily use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dry mixture.