Pumpkin Paradise

These days, way before you smell the crisp fall air, see leaves turning, or start wearing long sleeves, you are smacked in the face with the arrival of the pumpkin. This popular gourd signals autumn before anything else whether it be in lattes, baked goods, or home decor. But who’s complaining?! 

The thing that immediately comes to my mind though, is always, pumpkin pie. (And pumpkin soup, but that’s another post for another day.) 

Baking and family history are two of my most favorite things so I’m elated today to combine the two with this delicious pumpkin pie recipe, made in my husband’s late great aunt Louise’s pumpkin pie dish. It’s so seasonal and so simple you’ll love it. The men in my life wouldn’t even let it cool before they dove in; the (homemade, anything else is just a sin) whipped cream was melting all over the top. I prefer it a little more room temp but either way, it’s pretty delicious. Here’s the recipe.

Beauty & The Butcher’s Pumpkin Pie


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can organic pumpkin (make sure you get plain pumpkin not pumpkin pie mix that has all kinds of seasonings already in it)
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 unbaked pie crust (I like to use Pilsbury pie dough and form in it in the pan myself but you could use a pre-baked pie shell, ooh graham cracker might even be good!)
  • Whipped cream (I’d say OPTIONAL but it’s really not, what’s pumpkin pie without FRESH whipped cream?! If you’ve never made your own it’s very simple, just mix about 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream with 1/3 cup powdered sugar and with a whisk attachment beat the daylights out of it until it’s firm and full of little peaks. But don’t over mix, that’s how you get butter!)


  • Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin, sugar, and spices. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
  • Pour into pie shell.
  • Bake in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°F; then bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours (or two minutes in my house) Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before devouring…er, serving. 

I’m going to be honest, yours might not taste quite as good as mine unless you also have an heirloom pumpkin pie dish and a crate & barrel plate that says “easy as pie” to serve it on. But you can certainly try! 


yogurt and cookies…

I don’t know who comes up with these nonsensical national days but they’re silly and fun, and who doesn’t need a little bit more of that in their life?! So I’ve decided to dedicate July to some of the silly national days this month and I’ll be featuring a couple each week starting today. Obviously it’s the second and I missed yesterday so we’ll start with that first. It was….drumroll…National Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day! If you’ve never made your own ice cream, do not be scared it’s actually extremely simple and cost-effective, even the ice cream maker itself (I recommend this one) is inexpensive! One of my favorite things to make in the summertime is Greek gyros with all the fixings like roast lamb, tomatoes, homemade tzatziki, and my Greek quinoa salad (see the recipe here). And what’s a better Greek dessert than baklava?! I do make a pretty mean baklava if I do say so myself. But with all the hungry men I feed, that measly little pastry square wasn’t going to cut it. So, for a twist on the traditional pie and ice cream, I decided to make an ice cream that would go well with the baklava and came up with…Greek yogurt ice cream!


The result was a deliciously light, fresh, and delightfully tangy summertime dessert. Here’s the recipe…


1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugaR
3 egg yolks (save the whites and make meringues!)
1 cup whole-milk Greek-style yogurt
a little pinch of salt

Combine heavy whipping cream, milk, and 1/2 cup sugar in medium saucepan. Bring mixture to simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves. Whisk 3 large egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in large heatproof bowl until blended. Gradually add hot cream mixture to yolk mixture and whisk until blended. (make sure you do it slowly, we’re making ice cream not scrambled eggs!) Return mixture to saucepan and stir over medium-low heat until custard thickens slightly and coats back of wooden spoon, about 3 minutes (do not boil). Pour custard through strainer set over medium bowl. Place bowl with custard in larger bowl filled halfway with ice and water. (it helps to have the bowl of ice already prepared) Whisk until custard is almost cool to touch, about 5 minutes. Remove bowl with custard from ice water. Whisk yogurt and pinch of salt into custard. Refrigerate custard until well chilled. Transfer custard to ice cream maker and prepare according to manufacturer’s directions. Transfer ice cream to freezer container. Cover and freeze until ice cream is firm. Can be made 3 days ahead, if you think you can last that long!

Now, onto today’s post. Normally I would have just written the greek yogurt ice cream post and called it a day. But I just could not ignore what National Day July 2nd is…National Anisette Day. Anisette is an anise-flavored liqueur that is consumed in most Mediterranean countries, mainly in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and France. But in our family, an anisette isn’t something you drink, its something you eat. Its an Italian cookie flavored with anise seed extract and its delicious. The recipe we use was my husbands great Grandma Mary’s and if I gave it to you, I’d have to kill you. But I’m sure you can find a recipe online that will be almost as good. We haven’t done it lately because of life’s many complications but in times past, we’ve had a family cookie contest. Each female representative of the different families made their version of Grandma Mary’s cookies and we presented them for a blind taste test simply marking them “A-D”. The men and children (is there a difference haha) line up, cup of milk in hand, taste each cookie, then thoughtfully place their vote. Here’s some pictures of a quite momentous year because the winner just happened to be…me!
My favorite part about the contest (other than the actual cookies which disappear almost as quickly as they are prepared and then we start haunting each other to see who has a hidden stash of them) is the way the votes turn out. Despite it being a blind taste test, each man and child unknowingly votes for his own mother/wife’s cookie. This is just so neat to me because a) I love social experiments and b) we know what we like and there’s nothing like home cooking, especially when it’s from our own home.

“W” is for…Waistcoat

At first glance these pictures may look exactly the same, but if you look closely at the bottom of the butcher’s vest, or waistcoat, you’ll see the difference. A few weeks ago a friend of ours came up up my husband and complemented him on his “sharp suit” but she then looked down at his waistcoat, tsk’d, and unbuttoned the bottom button. (she’s an, um…”older” friend of ours which is the only reason why I didn’t smack her hand away haha!) “You’re supposed to leave that open”, she said. Now, to my credit, my husband is usually pretty well dressed (complete with matching pocket silk) but this was totally new information to me! It got me thinking about waistcoats and whether to button or not to button. So like any good blogger, I went straight to the internet. I found an article that satisfied my curiosity. According to Robert Johnston of GQ Magazine, there are, in fact, four possible answers. Johnston says, “All four would be equally acceptable as there is no definitive explanation as to the origin of this sartorial quirk. The four theories are: first, that when the future Edward VII was Prince of Wales he became so fat that he couldn’t do up the bottom button on his waistcoat so court followed suit to make him feel better about his body image. Secondly, that there was a time when young dandies would sport two waistcoats at the same time so left the top waistcoat’s bottom button undone so that you could see the one underneath. Thirdly, that it is all to do with comfort while in the saddle and to stop the waistcoat rising up the chest while riding. Lastly, that it was an affectation of members of Pop, the exclusive club at Eton, that was spotted and adopted by Savile Row as these spoilt young bucks tended to grow up to be good customers. I personally lean towards the first one, as there is nothing so weird as court etiquette.”
So there you have it, are you a “young dandy” or will you go against the grain and button all the way down?