The finished Nutter Butter Crust, Chocolate Pudding Pie minus the whipped cream topping, cooling in the fridge
recipes

The Best Chocolate Pudding Ever!

I just made the best chocolate pudding I have ever tasted!  and I have tasted a lot..  I was so excited about it, I had to share!

Chocolate is one of my favorite things to eat.. in most forms.. When I was little I really only liked milk chocolate but after having to avoid dairy for a while in my late 20’s I started trying different kinds of dark chocolates.. I had a hard time at first.  A lot of them seemed very chalky.. Slowly my appreciation for dark chocolate grew, and now that’s what I prefer.  In my tastings I came across a couple of dark chocolate bars I love more than others..  If you haven’t tried them, I really do recommend them!

The first one, Endangered species chocolate in the Natural Dark Chocolate (72% cocoa) is my favorite..

My favorite Dark Chocolate bar!

My favorite Dark Chocolate bar!

I keep a bar or two in my cupboard for me to break off a piece every now and again when I want a chocolate fix.. The bonus about that is most of my kids don’t like dark chocolate!  Every once in a while I’ll come across an empty bar when I thought there was a full one.. On the rare occasion, My 2 youngest will sneak into the cupboard and eat it!  Naughty bunnies!  I’ve tried Green & Black and a few other of the “natural” or “fair trade” brands. For some reason I could never really get a taste for them, they seems more chalky or gritty to me.

The second bar that I recently tried and was very happily surprised how good it was, is Theo organic fair trade pure 70% dark chocolate.

as you can see all we have left is the wrapper. My little one's enjoyed this with me!

as you can see all we have left is the wrapper. My little one’s enjoyed this with me!

This was my first experience and I was not disappointed.  I ended up trying it because it was on sale at Fred Meyer for 2 for $5..  good deal for the good chocolate.  I always try to buy a few bars of my favorite when they are on that sale and just stash them away in the cupboard.  I don’t eat them every day, or even every week.  But there is something comforting to me knowing I have some in the cupboard if I want it.  It’s funny, I was the same way with regular chocolate candies when my oldest 2 were little (about 14-10 years ago).  I would always stock up on so much Halloween candy but we would hardly ever eat it!  Just having it there comforts me in some odd way..

I’m sort of the same way when it comes to frozen cookie dough.  I like to make a big batch of it and keep them individually portioned in the freezer so whenever the need arises for a delicious home-made chocolate chip cookie they are ready to go..  And this recipe is so good too!  My mom brought it home from an old theatre she used to volunteer at when I was 17.  I’ve tweaked it a bit here and there to give it my own goodness.  We almost always have frozen cookie dough on hand. When making chocolate chip cookies or any other baking I always use Ghirardelli brand chocolate.. That is my go to chocolate.   I know it’s not organic or fair trade but it is very good quality chocolate and it tastes wonderful.  I even try to buy Ghirardelli brand cocoa powder and baking chocolate squares.  In my cookies I use 1 bag of semi sweet and 1 bag of bittersweet.  I think the variety of chocolate makes it even better!  I will share that recipe later!

Lately I have been really wanting peanut butter, chocolate pudding pie.  The restaurant  (Anelia’s Kitchen and Stage in La Conner, WA  www.facebook.com/aneliaskitchenandstage  if you ever get a chance, go!  really good Polish food!) my 2 little brothers work at (one the head cook, the other a waiter) makes a delicious chocolate pudding pie with a walnut crust.  Between the crust and the pudding is a delicious layer of peanut butter frosting type stuff.  And to top the pie off is a home-made whipped cream, made with real cream.  It is one of the best pies I have ever tasted.  And for a few months while I was working there I got to help make it!  That was my first experience with making home-made pudding not from a box.  It is so rich and delicious.

Well, today, I think I have topped even that.  My pie doesn’t have the peanut butter frosting filling though, so it may not be as wonderful.  Even though I don’t have the peanut butter frosting filling, I did decided to make the crust with Nutter Butter cookies.  I was looking online for different Oreo crust recipes because I knew it would pretty much be the same concept.  But I didn’t have enough cookies.. almost but not quite.  Every recipe I saw called for around 24 or 25 for one pie crust and I only had 19.  But I decided to make it anyways!

My Little Biscuit, Persephone, helped me pulse the cookies in the cuisinart.  She was sad because the 2 middles were outside playing with the neighbor kids and she couldn’t go without an adult or big kid.  So, I had my Little Biscuit help me make a pie!  She put the 19 cookies into the processor and pulsed away.  I put in about 1/4 cup of butter and I had a bit of cream cheese left over from bagels this morning so I put that in as well.  About 2-4 TBS worth.  I also ended up throwing in about 1/4 C of pecans.  We pulsed it up really good until it was thoroughly mixed then I pressed it into an 8″ pie plate, bottoms and sides.  I baked it on 350 F for about 8 minutes then set it on the stove top to cool while I got the pudding cooking.

I was checking out a few different recipes online for home-made pudding and sort of did a combo of a few of them.  I ended up making a double batch of pudding, so we have a pie and another pie plate full of just pudding.  I think I’m going to save the pie for tomorrow night when my mom comes over for dinner and let the kids go crazy on the pudding tonight.  At this point Little Biscuit went to lay on the couch and watch Mickey Mouse while I cooked over the hot stove.

I will write down what I ended up with and then if you want enough for just half, or one 8″ or 9″ pie, just cut the pudding recipe in half.  The crust recipe would stay the same.  Most pudding recipes called for whole milk, but I only had 2% on hand so I ended up using half 2% milk and half Heavy Cream.

Chocolate Pudding Ingredients

3 Cups Sugar

1/2 Cup Cornstarch

1/2  teaspoon salt

3 Cups 2% milk

3 Cups Heavy Cream

8 Whole Large Egg Yolks

1 Bag Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

3 Tablespoons Ghirardelli Chocolate Baking Powder

2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract

4 Tablespoons (1/4 Cup) Butter

Optional

Home made whipped cream for serving

heavy cream, a splash of vanilla, and powdered sugar to taste. whipped with a whisk or an electric whisk (I always use my kitchen aid mixer for this, as it can take a long time!) until light and fluffy

I’ll be adding whipped cream tomorrow before serving!  Possibly peanut butter flavor whipped cream.  Not sure yet.

Start by putting the sugar, cornstarch, chocolate powder, and salt in a heavy sauce pan.  Stir it gently with a whisk, so the powder doesn’t explode all over your stove!

Pour in Milk, Cream, and Egg Yolk and whisk together.

Whisk over Med – Med High heat until the mixture starts to thicken and have a slight boil.  You will want to stir this constantly so the mixture does not burn to the bottom of the pan.  Milk products burn quickly and easily if you aren’t careful!

When the mixture is getting thick remove from the burner and add the Chocolate chips, Vanilla and butter.  Stir it up until it’s all combined.  Pour immediately into the prepared crust and let it chill for a few hours in the fridge.  I always cover my pudding so it doesn’t develop a skin on top but I’ve seen a lot of recipes that say uncovered, so use what ever method you are comfortable with.

The finished Nutter Butter Crust, Chocolate Pudding Pie minus the whipped cream topping, cooling in the fridge

The finished Nutter Butter Crust, Chocolate Pudding Pie minus the whipped cream topping, cooling in the fridge

I tasted the pudding that was in the extra pie dish and I couldn’t believe how insanely good this turned out!  It was so rich and absolutely creamy!

The extra pudding cooling on the counter.

The extra pudding cooling on the counter.

I can not wait to try the pie tomorrow with the Nutter Butter crust and whipped cream on top!  Totally looking forward to that!  For tomorrow’s dinner I think I’ll be making a Green Chile, Black Bean, Chicken Enchilada Casserole.  Since we aren’t vege’s anymore we tend to eat a lot of chicken.  And all my kids  seem to really love that casserole!  It’s super easy and delicious.

I didn’t take any photos of the process of the pie making, not a super great thing for the blogging world, but I’m new ;).  I will try to remember to take a photo of the pie all done and with the whipped cream and post it up!  If you love chocolate, please try this pie!  It definitely will not disappoint!  Just make sure to use the awesome Ghirardelli Chocolate.. I think the chocolate is what makes it so lovely!  I also always try to use organic whenever possible or budget allows.  It isn’t possible all the time and with some things I prefer non organic (like peanut butter!) because it just tastes better to me.  Use what you can or are comfortable with budget or taste wise, but I really would not skimp on the chocolate in this one! Often times Fred Meyer will have sales around the holidays (not just winter ones) where you can buy 2 bags for $5 so I always try to stock up when I see that.

If you end up trying the recipe let me know what you think!  I’d love to hear how it turned out for you!

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the finished cape
sewing

Starting but not finishing the girls Regency Dresses and other things

So I started this post in mid June.. but I never got around to finishing the dress/es so here this post sits along with the almost done dress for Persephone and the cut out pieces for Fifi’s dress.  Though, I didn’t finish these I have been busy!  I would say a big part of the reason these sat unfinished is because for 2 weeks we had out of town family visiting from Texas and Denmark.  So I spent a lot of time with them.. doing family things.. taking a trip to Mt. Baker and Nooksack Falls.. having lots of bbq’s.. It was over 4th of July.. Oh yeah.. my cousin, his wife and their dog came up from Portland as well!  It was really nice to see everyone again and have my 2 uncles get to meet my youngest children.  Next time they come around we will have our new little one too..

Well, I got this big giant pattern sheet put together.  That was a little time consuming but not as bad as I always imagined printing out pdf patterns to be.. After printing I trace all the pattern pieces onto interfacing to make cutting out the fabric a bit easier.. It’s easier to work with one smaller piece rather than a whole giant sheet!  Also, the interfacing is much more flexible and it’s just nicer to have one piece rather than a few sheets of paper taped together..

Tracing patterns onto interfacing

Tracing patterns onto interfacing

more interfacing/pattern tracing

more interfacing/pattern tracing

using a sharpie to trace onto interfacing all the markings on the pattern

using a sharpie to trace onto interfacing all the markings on the pattern

Got all my pattern pieces traced onto interfacing and cut!

Got all my pattern pieces traced onto interfacing and cut!

When I finally started to get the pieces sewn together I was so happy with how those cute little sleeves turned out!  I could totally picture my little biscuit wearing this dress.  I ended up lining the whole thing but I think for Fifi’s dress I will only line the bodice as both the fabrics together make the finished dress a bit thicker.. for the summer it would nice for it to be a bit more flowy.. It has been so hot here this year.. Not very pacific north west-y at all!  I miss the rain!

Getting the sleeves attached to the bodice.  I love how puffy they are!

Getting the sleeves attached to the bodice. I love how puffy they are!

I still have to hem the sleeves in and add buttons to the back.. I also wanted to make a white sash for her to wear around her waist.. I made her a size 2 but I probably should have made the size 1.  she seems to be swimming in the top without a sash tied around.. In the photos I just used a piece of scrap fabric I had lying around just to see what it would look like when I actually did get the sash done..  When I make her a smaller bodice I will probably keep the length of the size 2 because I do like that quite a bit!  I really want to get my 2 youngest girls a dress made for xmas this year.. I was going to use these as practice to see how easily they came together before I went and bought the silk for their xmas dresses..  I think I may have mentioned before there is a website http://www.silkbaron.com that sells so many beautiful colors of silk for around $15 a yard, which is an excellent price!  So, I think that is where I will be buying silk for their xmas dresses!

I only came across one problem when making the dress.. I was pretty confused at the bit when sewing the bodice to the skirt part.. and I ended up attaching them wrong.  I was supposed to keep the lining of the bodice free, sew the skirt on to the outside fabric of the bodice then hand sew the bodice lining to the skirt to cover up all the raw edges, but I was really not understanding the instructions so I ended up just sewing it all together at once then zig zag stiching the raw edges.  After completed the dress I realized what the instructions were saying so Fifi’s dress and the subsequent dresses will be done up the correct way!  I have also learned out to use my serger since then so if I have any more raw edges I will be sure to use my serger!  (Thanks cousin Ty for showing me how to use it!!)

I have taken about 4 weeks off from the Farmer’s Market.. yesterday was my first one back.. and although it is a huge pain in the butt to wake up so early.. lug all my stuff up the stairs to the van.. out of the garage into the van… load the van and set up at the Market.. then tear it all down and bring it back into the house.. it is very nice to be out there..  It was so hot yesterday though!  I woke up a bit later than I wanted so I wasn’t quite as prepared as I should have been.. I forgot to bring water!  I think it’s so cool when I get people returning telling me how much they love something I’ve made.. how often they wear it 🙂  or mama’s with little babies who come back and say that an older sibling (of their baby) had this and that of something I made.. There are lots of new people who come stop by and there are quite a few returning people.. it’s always nice to see them and get to talk for a minute or two.. It’s funny I feel that way because I always have been pretty shy and even now sometimes I find it hard to say hi… being at the market has pushed me a bit out of my comfort zone.. but I like it!

I will be doing a few more markets then have a couple weeks off, go back for Labor Day, then I am done for the season.  Percy’s 2nd birthday is mid September so I wanted to take time off before hand to get the house cleaned up nicely for her birthday party.. Then we have Fifi’s in the beginning of October and the new little baby is due in the end of October..  So hopefully I will have enough time to get stuff done around the house before all this happens!  During my couple weeks off in August I’m hoping to drive down to Oregon to visit some family and my close friend.  It’s a very long drive though, 8+ hours, with 5 kids in a cramped hot van does not seem like such a wonderful time!  So I really have to psyche myself up a bit for that!

I got in some fabric recently and made the 2 little girls red riding hood capes.  They turned out super cute!  I used a red linen blend for the outer fabric and a navy blue polka dot for the lining.. Both fabrics are kaufman.

the finished cape

the finished cape

The lining of the red riding hood cape

The lining of the red riding hood cape

I used the pattern from Oliver & S Little Things to Sew.  I made Fifi a cape out of a pink and grey wool last year (or two) when I first bought the book.  She has worn that thing so much!  I had always wanted to make her a red one, so I finally did!  And one for little Percy too.  They took a lot longer to make than I remembered!  I had all the pieces traced out and ready to go one night.. The next day I cut out all the pieces and sewed it all together.. but it took pretty much the whole day to make 2 capes.. I don’t know why it took so dang long!

I’m getting some more fabric in the mail tomorrow to make Salvatore a Robin Hood cape.. this pattern comes from Growing Up Sew Liberated.  I’m going to be using the kaufman linen blend again, this time in an olive green like color and a brown color for the lining.. but his cape will be reversible.  The girls capes are, too, but I sewed my labels on the inside so unless I want to take those out they will only be wearing their cape one way!  😉  I doubt Salvatore’s will get used for anything but play but I’m hoping Miss Fiammetta will want to wear this one to school this year!  She still wears the pink wool one around and she has already gotten a lot of use out of the red one too (when it isn’t too hot!)  The cape pattern from Growing Up Sew Liberated looks way simpler than the one from Little Things to Sew.  So, I don’t think this one will take me quite as long to finish!  I will be making 4 though, 2 to sell at the Farmer’s Market/Etsy, one for Sally, and one to stash away for Christmas for my brothers new girlfriends son.

And this is a long one.. so I think I will end it here!  I want to try to finish up two more Red Riding hood capes today, for the Market/Etsy, and get two paintings done that I have an order for.. so I think it will be a busy day!

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