Tuesday, November 30, 2010

pumpkin pie and tree trimming. (and a giveaway or two)

...about 25 phone calls to my mom, later...

i served my first thanksgiving dinner to my family, my small and important nuclear unit, and a few friends and it was beautiful. all that it should have been and more. with a bunch of amazing things to eat in one evening...i'm pretty sure it couldn't have gone any other way but that's just me.

let's just say that i can attach a deep emotion to just about anything: songs, smells, ambience, and of course...food. it's all about comfort and homemade lovin.'

and, i'm not going to lie, because in writing this blog and in just getting older "growing," adapting... i find it hard not to be or try to be very honest about what i choose to write. being authentic in what i share or not sharing it all if i won't or can't. so this pretty much means you get the good, bad, the ugly, and the ugliest parts. i save the ugliest parts for special occasions!

so, i did shed a few tears over the fact that i wouldn't see my family this year and even though i haven't seen my immediate family thanksgiving in years... this year it hurt a little more and i can't explain why. it's just what it is.

however; even now, i find it pleasing to know that that hurt i felt for the absence of my parents and my siblings just means that i totally adore them lots and lots. i miss them and i am thankful for them and i still need them even though i think i'm all grown-up and cool and independent! i love you crazy family! muah!

so, i was thinking that anyone who reads this post could share a little note or phone call to someone they love. someone who would feel like a million bucks for a little love. i believe that that when we feel like we are lucky to be in someone's life or vice versa, we should tell them as soon as possible, before we get to busy and forget. i, myself, am guilty of that.

think i'll call my gramps tomorrow. love that guy!

and if anything or anyone can take me out of a pre-thanksgiving day funk...it's him and her!

my little bakers...


a bowl of butter can't hurt either...






i loved watching her little fingers confidently cover the uncooked crust with pieces of foil so they wouldn't burn. she worked and worked and saw two pies through to completion!

i'm thankful for the pride she feels in herself!
our thanksgiving was filled with traditions that most of share together: the parade over coffee, a busy kitchen, and finally football!

this is a photo beckham took of peyton and i just slipping her first pumpkin pie into the oven!




i'm also grateful for sticky notes! i post them on the cupboards next to the stove with the name of the dish, the baking time and temp. it makes it easy to keep it all straight when it's ready to get the food on the table. i also use them to label the serving dishes with what i want to serve in them. try it out...saves so much time!!!

shielah's sweet potatoes
6 large sweet potatoes, peeled, cooked, mashed!
1/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 stick of butter (it's thanksgiving and we are not afraid of butter...apparently!)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla (optional. i don't use it)

1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup butter

beat eggs. mix together with pots. add butter and sugar and mix together.
pour into greased baking dish and into a 350 degree oven. combine brown sugar, flour, and pecans and sprinkle over pots. pour melted butter over top.

bake 30-40 minutes. serve warm.

these are a once of year kind a treat!

about as good, but healthier...

roasted sweet potatoes with maple syrup. i'll explain later!





orange-cranberry goodness
one bag of fresh cranberries
1/2 cup orange juice ( i used freshly squeezed)
1/4cup-1/2 cup sugar
orange zest

boil until the berries burst. lower heat, simmer a few moments longer. serve warm or cold!



new tradition: michael jackson wii dancing!


it was a perfect evening!

and then,
we dugout, unwrapped, strung lights, and danced. with christmas songs singing in the background and jeff putting in no less than 5 hours into hanging the perfect garland...we decorated our tree. we carefully unwrapped every ornament. we cradled each one, looked it over, and found the perfect spot on the tree!










and peyton twirled!!!




homemade pie crust- makes TWO!
make it! it's worth your time and effort!

i use butter and crisco because that is how i watched my mom do it over the years. however, she has gone away with the butter and uses crisco only. do what you want, but seriously...i'm all about the butter in a pie crust!

8 tablespoons crisco (very cold. stick in freezer for a few minutes)
8 tablespoons butter (very cold " " )
3 cups all-purpose unsifted flour
1 teaspoon salt, kosher
8 tablespoons or less of ice-cold water

keep butter and shortening cold by keeping it in the freezer when not using. first, i dice up the butter and shortening and throw it in the freezer!

in a mixing bowl, combine flour and mix. add the butter and shortening and 'cut' with two butter knives(or a pastry cutter) in a criss-cross pattern until the butter looks pea sized and resembles course corn meal. it's pretty crumbly at this point. work quickly so your butter doesn't become to soft! add ice-cold water one tablespoon at a time. and work with your hands and gently roll it into a dough. if your dough is dry, add another tablespoon of ice water. plan on using between 5 and 8 tablespoons of water! do not overwork your dough. i'm not perfect at this, so practice makes perfect, i guess:)

on a floured surface, roll the dough into a ball and cut in half. wrap in saran wrap and place in fridge for 30 minutes. on your floured surface once again...roll out each half into an 11 inch circle to fit a 9 inch pan.

my crust doesn't look perfect, but that's what i like about it. it looks homemade. but, i'm no pro at crust making. i get nervous and weird and start taking to my dough in sweet, soft, almost begging-like tones asking it to turn out! ha. this is an easy recipe!

(for pumpkin pie, you do not need to pre-bake your crust!)

and if your looking for a good appetizer for your next big gathering, ya know, something for the upcoming holidays...

here is my artichoke dip recipe that is easy and amazing!

hot artichoke dip
(without spinach, but i bet you could add some and it would be just as amazing!)
preheat oven to 375

8-ounce package of cream cheese (not cold)
two 14 ounce cans of, drained but not marinated, artichoke hearts.
3/4 cup of hellman's mayo
2 garlic cloves (i ran out, so i used garlic garlic instead)
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
1/4 cup shredded colby and mont jack cheese
dash or two of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
green onions or chopped basil-optional!

in a food processor or by hand, combine all ingredients. throw in baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes!

enjoy! it's not right how good this is! AND you can assemble this ahead of time!

okay, on to some very special kids. beautiful, sweet, and just so into each other...
always laughing and finding ways to have fun...these little ones melt my heart!


we spent a beautiful evening out and snapped up some holiday cheer which was easy when you have jenn styling them up as sweet as a peppermint candy cane! she did an amazing job.


one of my faves...
real life!

griff, sophie, and spencer...love you guys!
more sneak peeks to come, but finally...
two giveaways...


stella and dot has some beautiful, really nice pieces! even peyton, my little six year-old became a bit enamored with the silk base necklace and the charms. she spent two weeks circling in the catalog with a red sharpie, her choices. ahem... a heart, a cross, a peace sign, and pink birthstone charm. thats all;) well, she didn't get all that, but it is soft and it can be used as a bracelet too!!!

they have vintage inspired and classic pieces alike. eye candy!
check it!

*my friend, trisha , sells the very trendy and celebrity sought-after Stella & Dot jewelry line. you may have seen it on the today show, rachel ray, the O Magazine, instyle, lucky, redbook, US Weekly or on celebrities like penelope cruz. well, i hosted a trunk show and had a fab time with trisha and a few of my friends. so Trisha is offering one reader (chosen from random.org) and commenter of this post a $75 Stella & Dot gift certificate to use with Trisha on her Stella & Dot E-Boutique which you can find at www.stelladot.com/sites/trishadavidson.

**and just to try something a little different...i have been wanting to offer a little something to the 'followers' of this blog. so, i will do a separate drawing where i will have little peyton randomly select from the list of people who follow this blog. you will receive a $30 Stella & Dot gift certificate as well!

i will choose and post the winners here on sunday!

winners must redeem their gift certificates by dec. 31st!

happy holiday season!
and to keep from getting to stressed out with the 'business' of the holidays...
i'm making lists and saying, 'fah get abot it, when i fail at crossing things off. doing my best...all we can do. that and munching on celery and peanut butter sticks seems to help...ha! maybe it's the crunching. g' night! hysterical laughing is about to follow... and maybe some un-funny jokes that i will think are funny, but aren't. that's never funny!


Nicole said...

Aw, love all your family/holiday-lovin'!! The food made me want to start cooking and baking all over again, and could your kiddos be any more sweet?! dancing peyton melted my heart!!

So ready for Christmas, we're getting snow this week, woohoo!!

(Oh, and toss me in that follower giveaway, please!!)


Bunny B said...

Happy Holidays!!! I love those happy photos and baking pics :) Watching children in the kitchen is fun! And the recipes look yummy!

Thanks for the cool giveaway!

Maria said...

Happy Holidays Heidi!
Fun post~well worth waiting for..your pictures, as always, are beautiful. I hosted my very first Thanksgiving at my new house
for family & friends & it was amazing..tons of food, laughter, good conversation,
football & put your feet up
kind of comfort. There's no place like home & yours always looks warm & comfy.
Enjoy the holidays.

iColossus / Monster said...


Miss you, girl.

WOW, that's a lot of recipes, phew. HUNGRY now.

Love your kiddoes, so sweet. And your photography of those 3 siblings....you're so talented, Heids.

And again....miss you!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Another great post.....I wait patiently for your new entries. Love your photos and recipes!
I hope to see all of you sometime over the holidays. Are you coming up to Michigan at all?

Rhonda said...

Heidi, Your recipes are incredible!!! Wow, your family must have been so thrilled!! And all prepared with love!! It must mean the world to them!
I really feel for you being away from your family at holidays, I have a wonderful group of friends, and most are "from away" It breaks my heart to think that they miss and long for their families, but makes me appreciate how lucky I am, to have mine so close!
Your tree is Faboulous!! Watch out Martha Stewart...we have Heidi Darwish!!!

Cheers to a wonderful holiday season!!
Did I tell you that I am obsessed with chunky bracelets and jewelry....LOVE your new giveaway!!


Sallinger said...

Your tree looks awesome! I make a spinach/artichoke dip that's almost identical but also includes sour cream. "It's not right how good it is" is so true :) I never have good luck with homemade pie crusts, but I'm going to give yours a try! Glad you had a good Thanksgiving, even without your extended fam.

Sarah said...

I love Stella and Dot and in fact, am wearing a couple pieces right now!!! I, too, had a trunk show a few months ago. Anna Cate and I love having some matching stuff, and I even got the little bow/band for Molly:)

I adore your blog and of course... I'm a follower!!

Lisa Hewlett said...

I know what you mean - i miss Thanksgivings in Ohio with all my family - but having Jack this year makes making new traditions all the more fun :-) Great tree!

patsy said...

i know...anytime i am cooking i have to call my mom a dozen times atleast!! the pics are amazing as always and the tree looks sooo beautiful! your kiddos are just dolls with those eyes :)

Christy said...

I love seeing the pics of your little girl making the pie crusts...reminds me of my little girl and her traditional pecan pie making! I love Stella & Dot and would love to win!!

Daniele said...

What I love about you is that I think you're as sentimental as I am when it comes to our kids, holidays, family, etc. I always feel like I'm in such good company here in your little cozy corner of the web. :D

J Scheppl said...

Your tree is BEAUTIFUL- as are all the pictures! You rock Heidi! And those fab recipes! Can't wait to try them!

Anonymous said...

I'm in LOVE with Stella & Dot jewelry! Already have a few pieces, can never have enough!!! Pick me!! :-)

(And ps - I love what you do to your black and white photos, seriously, so beautiful).

Proud Mommy Tara said...


Thank you so much for welcoming me a few posts back! You are very sweet and I am still checking your blog now every day looking forward to something new :)
Thank you for the amazing recipes! I am going to use the cranberry recipe and the sweet potatos! I was just telling mom that we need to spice up our dishes on Christmas day and these are PERFECT!
Oh, and I would write a letter to my dad to tell him how much I love him today...I see him just about every day but it seems so fast and rushed as I am picking up my kids from my parents house and rushing home for the night to cook and enjoy the littles. I would thank him for all he does for us and tell him how grateful I am for his love. :) I think I will do that today! Thanks Heidi!


Anonymous said...

Nice site, nice and easy on the eyes and great content too.

Unknown said...

Never had artichoke dip without the spinach...isn't the spinach what makes it healthy ;)

Rosa said...

The best part of our Christmas tree are the handmade ornaments from the kids...and all of our ornaments from Christmas's past. Love it! And also luv the cluster of ornaments towards the bottom :) Looks like our Christmas tree!

Amy said...

Thanks for all the recipes! I might have copied every one of them for future use... :) And thanks for the giveaways. I could get lost in that site. #1 pick would be a cute little dottie necklace for my gal. Fun fun!

Theresa said...

You take such gorgeous photographs and I loooove that you share your recipes!! I'm a recent artichoke convert, and am jonesing to try out your recipe!

Also... the hand print santa ornament? It's exactly what I've been looking for. I've been dying to find a home made Christmas tree ornament that my girls could make (they are 3 and 18 months) and this is it. Exactly what I wanted. THANK YOU :D

Mikaela said...

love ur blog. i found you through kelle hampton's blog, and seeing the friendship you two share makes me treasure my own friends. your thanksgiving looked beautiful!

Patti said...

The first photo of Peyton is so gorgeous- she looks so grown up baking like that!! Love the recipe ideas, as always:)

Anonymous said...

Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

Lorri said...

I love your blog! I found it through Kelle Hampton's. Ummm... could your kids be any more adorable?!?!
Awesome giveaway. Pick me!!

Anonymous said...

love all the pics!! Amazing..luvyou!

Anonymous said...

hahaha...that was me your sister...becuase i have once again forgotten my user and password for this.....luv all the pics and i love you....heather (your womb mate)

Kate said...

Great Post Heidi! I posted a commented a few months ago about how my Husband and I love Guernsey's in Northville and how I dreamed of taking my own babies there some day. That won't be too long now as I'm 10 weeks along :) Love reading yours and Kelle's blog about how fun motherhood can be! You inspire me and make me a little less scared to raise a child! Thanks for the recipes!

Anna Ruth said...

So sweet! I love all the baking and family memories. I started laughing at the Michael Jackson dancing. Does Peyton and Beckham even know who he was? The Christmas picture is beautiful too! They are a lucky family to have pictures taken by you.

Anonymous said...

Heidi once again a lovley post full of family and love. I absolutely love the festive season so it was great to see your Christmas tree pics with the kids. All that yummy cooking inspires me to get in the kitchen right now and whip up something delightful.

Glad to be part of a great giveaway too!!!! Cassie x

Stacy Monaghan said...

I almost want to go to the kitchen and make some pies - now that is an inspiring post!!! Maybe I could get my husband to make me some?

It looks like you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I love your tree and the spontaneous dancing going on underneath it!

Shaams said...

I love holiday traditions! And...being separated from your family is never, ever easy. My husband reminds me of that so often as his live halfway across the world. I don't think enough of how hard it must be for him. Thank you for reminding me. Skype can never replace being in the same room as those you love.
I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving. And....Stella and Dot! I'm in love. I have been eyeing some bracelets there for quite some time!

Have an excellent day, Heidi! You are inspiring!

Tisha said...

favorite part of your tree - the ornaments at the bottom which show how much you love your kids cuz you didnt move them. ;-)

Raina said...

LOVE the holiday photos! I am so excited to decorate our tree and hopefully get some great snaps of my little princess twirling around the tree. I have always loved Christmas but there is something so much greater about the holiday when you are a parent. Now that I have two little ones, I am also VERY excited to start some family traditions of our own. Great Post!!!

Aysha said...

I am definitely using your sticky note tip the next time I host a big family dinner!

Looks like you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I know how hard it can be to be away from loved ones over the holidays, but it looks like you've started some pretty great traditions with your kids. Loved seeing them helping you out in the kitchen. I hope that my two little girls will be doing the same in a couple years!

As always, your photos are beautiful!!!

Aysha :)

PS ... I too am a Stella & Dot lover and could always use a few new pieces ...

P-nut said...

Wowzers! thanks for all the new yummy recipes!!
Your tree looks gorg! And kudos to you for making your first thanksgiving dinner! I love all the decorations and the pinecones on the table! very crafty :)
i'm sorry you missed your family this year... my kids always know how to snap me out of a funk too..

That Fresh Feeling said...

thanks for the recipes. great pics. hope i win the giveaway....i have yet to own some stella&dot.
you rock!

Anonymous said...

OMG! They cook, they bake, they decorate - are there no child labor laws in Florida? It's like Cinderella and her sidekick!

All joking aside - I love the fun you guys have TOGETHER! It always warms my heart to see all the fun and love you share.

And yes....Griffin, Sophie and Spencer are frosting on the cake. Or...peppermint on the stick.

Thank you for all you do. The little peeks into the lives of those we miss so very much is great.

See you this weekend - Love and Kisses -Sito

Sam said...

I am so impressed you have your house all decorated. We are planning to tackle the tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. I love all the photos and can't wait to try the artichoke dip recipe.

Loosy said...

GORGEOUS tree. Miss your posts.

Meghan B. said...

Wow...what a holiday! And so much great food! AND you tree and house and family look amazing. Makes me realize I have a lot of work to do. But I look forward to it!

Hope said...

gorgeous photos! hope you have a great holiday season!

Eva Marie said...

What a wonderful celebration!

I am so going to try this pie crust.. I have yet to make my own and this may have done me in :) I think I can do it

Kelly Hutcheson said...

I love that P&B are little cooks in the kitchen just like their momma! Those candy cane jammied up pictures are incredible!

Tammy B said...

Just wanted to let you know that I am still reading and loving you! xoxo It just seems like my computer time has vanished - I'm not sure where it went!

Glad to see that you are enjoying the season. We are off on Sunday to cut down our tree :)


Colleen said...

Your holiday looks wonderful, delicious and fun. And I love the sticky notes on the cabinets. So something that I would do.

cathy said...

you share THE most wonderful trditions, amazing! Thats what our children will remember. Now I soo my oldest "baby" he is 26, starting the very same traditions in his life that we taught him. Its' like hitting the jackpot!
Enjoy your family, times goes by too quickly. Enjoy the good , bad & in between xoxo

Anonymous said...

My partner and I really enjoyed reading this blog post, I was just itching to know do you trade featured posts? I am always trying to find someone to make trades with and merely thought I would ask.

Heidi said...

so many sweet notes!

donna! we will be back in jan for a few days. crossing our fingers for snow!

tisha...lol, those are my faves too! xoxo

kellylane...yes, but...i have no reason;0 healthy is out the door on thanksgiving for us!

tara...ah, love that the post inspired an extra phone call o your dad!

rhonda...i wish. haha! xo

heather, my womb mate. you crack me up!

anon comments...thank you to whoever you are. so sweet!

anon?? ...i'm not sure what trading posts means:)

cathy...i dream of that time!

all the ladies, wish i could have you all over for pumpkin pie and apple cider matinis!! seriously , wish i could all of you lovely people!


April said...

Oh man, I didn't get my comment in in time (to get a little shout back from you!) haha.

Congrats on hosting your first Thanksgiving dinner! It is a lot of work, but oh so worth it!!

And I have to agree with Tisha, those ornaments touching the floor are sweet.

Happy December, friend ...

Unknown said...

Loving all the photos of your beautiful Thanksgiving!

Awesome to see all the happiness, love, and laughter going on!

Thanks for the recipes, have written a couple down to try!

Anonymous said...


YOU MAKE ME SMILE... and when i am overwhelmed and low on energy... you say just the right thing to lift me up... Thankyou... for not making me feel alone and just thankyou.

Love, Val-Marie

Anonymous said...

pass the celery and peanut butter sticks... pronto... lol ;0) i need a truck load...

Anonymous said...

Love them!! Happy everything to your beautiful family!!


Anonymous said...

you know I think we must be very much alike..I cried this thanksgiving because I missed my family as well! we are not always together on thanksgiving so this is not the first time without them..but it bothered me terribly this year!!!! i just love em' so and that is a good thing friend.

now down to business..actually Gracee's business..she must know where you got the outfit that Peyton is wearing by the pool..she is crazy for it!! doesn't it crack you up when our little ones start sounding like us and coveting other kids clothing!!

The sweet potato casserole recipe is close to the one that my sister makes for thanksgiving..actually it is her MIL's recipe..her MIL was born and raised in the Key's and is one of the coolest people I know and can outcook Paula Dean! Speaking of Paula Dean..I am loved the picture of the bowl of butter..is there anything better than a bowl of chilled butter!?!?!!? ♥

st said...

I love your blog! Your kids are adorable!!

Brandy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brandy said...

I missed the deadline but I could have sure used some jewellery these days, it would distract from the fact that all my clothes are covered in baby puke.

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