A year ago today, I started this blog and I can’t believe how quickly time has past (and how many recipes and craft ideas I have yet to share with you–I seriously need more hours in the day!)!

To celebrate this momentous occassion, I made a mini ombre cake.  I promise to post the pictures and recipe this weekend next week.  :)

For now, while you wait patiently, here’s some Red Wine Braised Beef Pot Roast for you to try!  It’s cold out now, and I crave more hearty and comforting meals during the winter season.  Pot roast is on the top of my list.

This is a great recipe that’s  pretty healthy and packed with flavor.  Of course, you can omit the bacon bits if you want it healthier.  ;)

But I prefer to live a little on the edge and bacon is one of my vices.  :D

First, in a dutch oven or 5-6 quart pot, dice and cook a few stripes bacon until they are crispy.

Remove the bacon pieces and set aside.   Reserve about a tablespoon of the bacon grease in the pot and discard the rest.  Add in some olive oil.  When the oil is hot, add the beef chuck and the sear the meat for a few minutes on each side until each side is nicely browned.

Once the beef chuck is nicely seared, remove from pot and set aside.  Reserve the drippings in the pan and add in some carrots, diced onions, and garlic to the pan.  Cook until the onion are the translucent.


Now, this is the fun part.  Add in the wine.  :)

While you’re adding the wine, scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen the drippings.

Simmer for a minute before stirring in the tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, and oregano.

Return the beef chuck back in the pot and add a bay leaf.  The bay leaf will add an extra level of flavor to your pot roast.  Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low and allow the pot roast to simmer for at least 2-3 hours, or until the beef is tender.  The longer you let it simmer, the more tender it will be.

Once the pot roast is done, remove and discard the bay leave.

Remove the beef from the pot and onto a serving bowl.

Now thicken the sauce by letting it simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes, or until the mixture is about 4 cups.  Then stir in some cream and simmer for a minute.

Serve the sauce over the pot roast.  I sprinkled some dried parsley to add more flavor (I would have used fresh parsley if I had some in my fridge).

Sprinkle some of the bacon pieces on top and serve with some greens.  I made some sauteed french green beans with some toasted sesame seeds.  :)

Red Wine Braised Beef Pot Roast

Print this recipe!

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens’ Braised Beef with Red Wine Sauce Recipe
Makes 6 servings

Prep Time:  35 minutes
Total Time:  3 hours


  • 4 – 5 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/2 – 3 pound beef chuck roast
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup baby carrots
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine
  • 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, roughly crushed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, finely chopped, or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream


  1. In a 4 to 6-quart Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Remove bacon onto a paper towel and set aside.
  2. Reserve about a tablespoon of the drippings in the pan and add the olive oil to the pan.
  3. Add beef chuck and sear the meat on all sides until brown, about 10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Remove meat to a plate and reserve drippings in the pan.
  5. Add carrots, onion, and garlic to pan.  Cook and stir until the onions are translucent and brown, about 10 minutes.
  6. Add wine and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen the drippings.
  7. Simmer for 1 minute before stirring in the tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, and oregano.
  8. Return beef to pot and add bay leaf.
  9. Cover the pan and reduce heat to low and simmer for about 2-3 hours until the beef is tender.
  10. Remove beef from the pan and onto a serving bowl.
  11. To prepare the sauce, simmer tomato mixture , uncovered, until mixture measures about 4 cups, about 12 minutes.
  12. Stir in cream and simmer for 1 minute.
  13. Serve sauce over beef and sprinkle with bacon.

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A “surprise” rainbow cake is the perfect cake for a baby shower or a birthday party.  I should know, I made it for both events within the same week recently.  Crazy, I know!  But, it was so much fun to make!  And the results speak for itself.  :)

Yes, I know I typically stick with my cupcakes.  I do have a bias towards those serving-size delicious cuties, but I could not resist trying this adorable rainbow cake I recently saw on Martha Stewart’s site.   Instead of using the normal colors of the rainbow, however, I decided to use pastel colors for mine, which I thought would be fitting for a baby shower and a girlfriend’s birthday.

Shall we make some rainbow cake?

First, let’s start off by making the cake layers.

Make the batter first.  This is a simple white cake recipe, but you could also use any other batter.  Just make sure it’s close to colorless, so that the food coloring will turn out properly.  Some alternatives I think would work well are:  pound cake, coconut cake, lemon cake, poppy seed cake (though, don’t go overboard with the poppy for this cake).   You should have enough batter to make 2-3 normal 9-inch round cakes (~ 12 cups).

Divide the batter equally into 6 bowls.  You can use a weight scale here if you want to be exact, but I just eye-balled it.  I confess, and please don’t judge me, but I have never been a very exact cook.  I alter, combine and improvise a lot of recipes I find.  To me, that’s part of the fun in cooking/baking.  Plus, I personally think there are very few recipes where you need to be very exact with your ingredients.  With that said, I think anyone can make something delicious, even if they don’t end up following the recipe exactly.  :)

Okay, this is where the fun begins!  Using gel food coloring, make the following colors: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and pink.  I recommend gel food coloring over the regular food coloring because the colors will be more vibrant.  Plus the color of the batter before baking will be about the same color as the final result, which will help you gage how much food coloring to put in the batter.

With shortening, grease the bottom of 6 pans, and then place a layer of parchment inside each pan (I traced and cut 6 out from a roll of parchment).  Grease the top of the parchment.  If you don’t have 6 pans, you can bake the layers one at a time.  I had two pans, so I bakes these layers in three batches.  Pour each bowl of batter in its own 9-inch round pan.  I recommend using an offset spatula to distribute the batter evenly in the pan.  This will ensure that the layers will be as even as possible, which will reduce or even eliminate the need to level the layers out later.

Once the layers are baked, let it cool a little before carefully removing the cake layers from the pan.  You will notice that the parchment between the pan and the cake layer will be very helpful at this point.   Wrap each layer individually in plastic wrap and put the layers in the refrigerator.  These layers can be stored in the refrigerator for several days, so they can be made ahead of time.  Even if you are planning on frosting the cake right away, keep the layers in the refrigerator while you make the frosting.  Chilled layers will be much easier to frost and your cake will be less likely to crumble into the frosting.

Next, you make the frosting.  I used a lemon meringue buttercream frosting, but you may certainty use whatever frosting you prefer.  I think a regular buttercream or cream cheese frosting would work just as well here.  A lighter frosting, such as whipped cream frosting may be a little difficult here because the light frosting will have less body and may not be strong enough to hold the six layers together, which could potentially make a mess.  But, I still think it’s possible, you will just need to be more careful when moving your cake, and I would suggest creating a slightly thicker whipped cream by adding a little more sugar than the recipe may call for.

Now let’s assemble the cake.  On a cake round, lay out some parchment strips, which will be on the bottom of where the edges of the cake will be.  This will make it easier to clean up the surface of the cake round after the cake is frosted.

Let the layering begin …

When the layers are complete, make the crumb coat.  This is the thin layer of frosting around the cake, which will help prevent any loose crumbs from mixing with the top layer of frosting.

Put the cake back into the refrigerator to allow the crumb layer to set.  This will make the top layer easier to frost.

Frost the top layer.  Once everything’s frosted, carefully remove the strips of parchment from the bottom edges of the cake.

I love raspberries and thought it’d look adorable on the cake.

Voila!  So cute!  You’d never guess there was a cuter surprised waiting inside. :)

The perfect cake for a surprise birthday party!

My favorite moment is when the birthday girl cut through the first slice and revealed the “surprise.”  So pretty!  Definitely a crowd pleaser. :)

A slice of the rainbow.

Not only was this cake adorable, it was really delicious.  It’s a must-try if you’re looking for a creative baking project. :)

For the baby shower, I used a little more batter for each layer so that the cake layers would be thicker.  Instead of raspberries, the cake was topped with adorable edible heart-shaped sprinkles.


Surprise Rainbow Cake

Original Recipe from Whisk Kid’s Super Epic Rainbow Cake

Makes one 6-layer 9-inch round cake


Six-Layer Rainbow Cake

  • Vegetable shortening
  • Parchment paper
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/3 cups sugar
  • 5 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, room temperature
  • Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple gel food coloring

Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream

For the Filling and Crumb Coat

  • 9 large egg whites
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure lemon extract

For the Frosting

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract


Six-Layer Rainbow Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush six 9-inch-round cake pans (or as many 9-inch cake pans as you have, reusing them as necessary) with shortening. Line bottom of each cake pan with parchment paper; brush again and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Slowly add egg whites and mix until well combined. Add vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. Add flour mixture and milk in two alternating additions, beginning with the flour and ending with the milk. Mix until well combined.
  3. Divide batter evenly between six medium bowls. Add enough of each color of food coloring to each bowl, whisking, until desired shade is reached. Transfer each color to an individual cake pan. Use a rubber spatula and smooth out the batter so that the cake will be as level as possible to minimize the amount of trimming necessary.
  4. Transfer to oven and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, about 15 minutes (working in batches if necessary).
  5. Remove cake layers from oven and transfer to a wire rack; let cool for 10 minutes. Wrap the cake layers individually with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator while making the frosting (below).
  6. Remove the cake layers from the refrigerator.  Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cake layers to make level, if necessary. Place four strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a cake round or lazy Susan. Place the purple layer on the cake plate. Spread a scant 1 cup buttercream filling over the first layer with a small offset spatula so it extends just beyond edges. Repeat process with blue, green, yellow, and orange layers.
  7. Place the remaining pink layer on top, bottom-side up. Gently sweep away any loose crumbs with a pastry brush. Using an offset spatula, cover the top and sides with a thin layer of frosting (also use any of the excess frosting visible between the layers). Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.
  8. Using an offset spatula, cover cake again with remaining frosting.

Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  1. Make the filling and crumb coat: Cook egg whites and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly until sugar is completely dissolved. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; mix on high speed until mixture is room temperature. With the mixer on medium-low, add butter, one piece at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  2. Remove whisk attachment and switch to paddle attachment. Increase speed to high and beat until buttercream comes together, about 5 minutes; beat in lemon extract.
  3. Make the frosting: In a clean saucepan and bowl of an electric mixer, repeat process in step 1.


Up until three months ago, quinoa was never really on my radar when it comes to cooking.  Quinoa is a very healthy edible seed.  It’s not a grain, even though it definitely taste like one.  It’s related to leafy vegetables like spinach and swiss chard, so it’s definitely a great and healthy substitute for rice and pasta.  This was the initial reason I decided to try to incorporate it in my cooking.   Now, I’m hooked!  I cannot believe I’ve been missing out for so long!  I love the fluffy, slightly crunchy and nutty flavor of quinoa!   So lately, I’ve been a bit obsessed with it and making it quite often.  One of the first recipes I’ve tried and continue to make on a regular basis is this Spicy Italian Sausage and Peppers on Quinoa.  It’s so easy to make and keeps well in the fridge, which is perfect for packing it as lunch for work.

You start out with cooking the quinoa.  You can cook it based on the directions on the package.  I like to add some additional flavor to my quinoa, so I include some carmelized onions and used chicken broth instead of water to cook to quinoa.


While the quinoa is cooking, I make the sausage and peppers, which will top the quinoa.  You can use whatever bell peppers you have on hand.  I like the use a variety of bell peppers to add some color to the dish.  Yes, I’m vain – I like my food to look pretty.  :)

First, dice an onion and mince some garlic.  Set aside.

Then, cut the bell peppers into bite-size strips. 

If you like a heat like I do, I add in one chopped serrano pepper with the seeds removed.  You may want to use gloves when removing the seeds because the oil from the pepper will be hot and may sting your skin.  It will also linger, even after washing your hands, so avoid touching your eyes if you don’t use gloves.   (I learned this the hard way once.  Rookie move.) 


Then, cut the Italian sausages into bite-size pieces.  I prefer using spicy Italian sausage instead of sweet, but really, any type of sausage is fine based on your own taste preferences. 

Cook the sausages in a large skillet until all sides are browned.  Then remove them from the skillet onto a plate.     

Next, in the remaining oil in the skillet, cook the onions until they are translucent and slightly brown.  Add in the minced garlic.   Then add in the peppers, cumin and paprika.  Allow the peppers to cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently.  

Then add in some chicken stock and cook until the peppers become tender and the liquid has reduced.  At this point, you can add in the sausage and mix everything together.  Add in some salt and ground pepper to taste. 

By this point, the quinoa should be cooked.   Serve the sausage and peppers mixture over a bed of quinoa, and enjoy! 

Spicy Italian Sausage and Peppers on Quinoa

Print this recipe!

Makes 6 servings

Prep Time:  40 minutes
Total Time:  45 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • salt to taste
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 6 – 4 oz. spicy Italian sausage links, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, cut into thin strips
  • 2 green bell peppers, cut into thin strips
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded if desired
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Stir in the diced onion and salt to taste; cook and stir until the onion has caramelized to a deep brown, about 15 minutes.
  2. Pour in 4 cups of chicken stock and the quinoa; bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the sausage in a skillet on medium-high heat, and continue cooking until browned on all sides and no longer pink in the center.  Remove to drain on a paper towel lined plate, and keep warm.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium, and stir the diced onion into the remaining oil in the skillet.   Cook until the the onions begin to caramelize, 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Add the garlic, and cook 1 minute more.
  7. Stir in the red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, green bell peppers, and serrano pepper.
  8. Cook for a minute before adding in the paprika and cumin.
  9. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes before adding in 1 cup of chicken stock.
  10. Bring to a simmer, then cook until the peppers soften, and the mixture reduces and thickens, 10 to 15 minutes.
  11. Return the sausage to the skillet, season to taste with salt and pepper, and continue cooking until the sausage is hot.
  12. Serve over a bed of quinoa.


Kale Chips

August 25, 2011 · 1 comment

in food,recipe

Kale seemed to be this summer’s hot leafy produce.  Though in the U.S., kale is traditionally used in southern cooking in a braised/stewed form, I have been really enjoying kale in the baked form—kale chips.

Kale chips are super easy to make and you can add your own flavors and twists to it (I personally enjoy mine with a splash of balsamic vinegar and red pepper flakes).

You start out with some chopped kale.  I’m pretty lazy and like the already chopped kale in those ready-to-eat bags.  Coat the kale with some olive oil and toss.


At this point, you can flavor the kale however you want.  But be sure to season on the lighter side because kale shrinks a lot once it’s been baked down, so a tiny bit of seasoning goes a long way.  Super salty kale will not taste good … I made that mistake during my first attempt in making kale chips.

To season, I like to sprinkle a little bit of salt and paprika (did I mention a little goes a looong way!).

In lieu of salt, I also like to pour in a splash of balsamic vinegar and a dash of red pepper flakes.

Place seasoned kale on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes.  Make sure to keep an eye out on the kale and take it out when you notice some browning on the edges.   You don’t want to burn the kale because burnt kale taste pretty bitter, and we don’t want that.

Once it’s done, kale chips will be a delicious salty crispy snack.  Like the much less healthy potato chips, it will be very difficult to have just one kale chip.  But, these are so healthy and good for you that you can have a huge bowl of them without any tinge of guilt.  :)


Kale Chips

Prep Time:  5  minutes
Total Time:  20 minutes
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Pinch kosher salt (or 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar)
  • Pinch paprika (or pinch of red pepper flakes)


1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2.  Discard kale stems and wash thoroughly
3.  Dry kale in a salad spinner or with paper towels
4.  Chop or tear kale into 1.5 inch pieces
5.  In a large bowl, mix dry kale with olive oil and sprinkle a pinch or two of salt or a splash of balsamic vinegar and mix
6.  Spread kale out on a baking sheet
7.  Cook for 10-15 minutes or until very lightly browned

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One of my dearest college friends will be getting married in less than a month and we recently celebrated her “last fling before the ring” bachelorette weekend in Sonoma/Napa Valley, CA.  The weekend was packed full with fun activities (thanks to our amazing event planner, the maid of honor)!

During our first night at the beautiful villa we stayed in, the maid of honor made a delicious dinner comprised of the bride-to-be’s favorite foods (nachos and mac ‘n cheese, yum!).  I made the bride-to-be’s favorite dessert—cherry pie—with a twist:  cherry pie in serving size mason jars. :)

There’s something to be said about pies made in individually-portioned mason jars.  They’re so adorable and make the homemade pie that much more special.  If you don’t like cherry pie, you can use any other pie filling for this recipe.  In fact, this would be a great way to make individual size chicken pot pies (I’ll probably make those this winter.  Stay tuned.)!

Here’s how we make cherry pie in a jar:

You start with the pie crust.  I prefer to make my own because it always taste better.  But if you’re short on time or don’t want to deal with the hassle of making pie crust, feel free to buy the pie crust.  I’ve included my favorite pie crust recipe below in case you’re up to it.  ;)

Place your pie crust on a lightly floured surface and roll it out evenly.

Using the opening of the mason jar to cut out the pie crust bottoms and pie toppers (the top crust covering the filling).

Place a crust bottom in each jar.

Use the remaining pie crust dough to line the sides of the jars.  The dough is easy to mold, so there’s no need to cut out a rectangle that goes around the side exactly.  Just press the dough pieces together until it form around the side.

Now for the fresh cherry filling!  The best cherry pies are made with fresh cherry filling.   If you’ve  had cherry pie and didn’t like it, it’s very likely that the pie was not made from fresh cherries.  Instead, it was probably cherries from a can.  Gross.  You’d be amazing how big of a difference fresh cherries make!   Trust me on this one.

So, lesson of the day, use fresh cherries.  You’ll thank me later for that.  :)

Now, using fresh cherries for the pie takes a little bit more effect than opening a can of cherries in syrup (did I mention, gross!).

First, you’ll need to pit them.  The easiest, although messy, way of doing this is to use the side of a chef’s knife and press down on the cherries.  You should do this 1-2 cherries at a time.  You might want to also wear an apron to avoid getting cherry juice on you (they’re a tough stain to get out!).  Once they’ve been pressed down on, the stem and pit comes out easily.

In a bowl, mix in the pitted cherries with some sugar, cornstarch, almond extract, vanilla extract, water, and salt.  Scoop about 1/2 cup of this cherries mixture in each jar.

If you want to, using a small knife (paring knife will do), cut a design out of the pie topper before placing it on top of cherry filling.  If you don’t want a design, make sure to at least create some slits on the pie topper to allow the steam to vent while baking.

There were 10 of us, which was  perfect:

You can also use a fork to seal and chrimp the edges of the pie.  I didn’t do that this time around.

To add a touch of cinnamon flavor, brush on a mixture of brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon on top of each pie before placing it in the oven.

You can either bake the pies right away or you can put the lid on the mason jars and store them in the freezer to eat later.  This is perfect if you have a craving for pie but don’t have several people to share a whole pie with (or, you can’t eat a whole pie alone.).

When you’re ready to bake the pies, place the jars on a baking sheet and place them in a cold oven.  Even though mason jars are pretreated to withstand heat, letting the jars heat up slowly will ensure that the glass doesn’t break during baking.   and set inside a cold oven.   Turn on the oven to 375ºF and bake the pies until the pie tops are golden brown and the filling is bubbling.

They were really delicious (and really fun to make)!  I think a few tongues were burned that night (including my own) because it was nearly impossible to wait for them to cool down before wanting to dig into them.  Oh, the price one pays for lacking self-control.  :)

Here was my jar 10 minutes later.  My only regret (and grip from the girls) was that I only made 10, one for each girl.

Fresh Cherry Pie in a Mason Jar

Print this recipe!

Makes 10 servings

Prep Time:  1 hour
Total Time:  2 hours


10 1/2-pint wide mouth canning jars

Pie Crust

  • 15 tablespoons (~2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold
  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening, very cold
  • 1/2 cup ice water

Cherry Pie Filing

  • 5 cups fresh sweet cherries, pitted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/4 tablespoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon water

Pie Topping

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted


Pie Crust

  1. Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator to keep it cold.
  2. Place the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix.  Try not to over-pulse, as it can make your pie crust less flaky.
  3. Add the cold butter and shortening.  The colder they are, the flakier your crust will turn out.  Pulse 8 – 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas.
  4. While the machine is running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball.
  5. Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  (Use this time towards making the filing).
  6. Remove chilled dough from the refrigerator and cut the dough in half.  For each piece of dough, rolling from the center to the edge, and turning and flouring the dough to make it doesn’t stick to the board.  Use the opening of the jar to cut out 10 pieces of the dough to make the pie topper.   Do the same with the other piece of dough and cut out 10 pieces of the dough with the opening of the jar lid to make the pie bottoms.
  7. Place the pie bottoms inside each jar.
  8. Use the remaining dough to line the jar sides, pressing the dough all the way to the top of the jar.  Do not grease the jar.
  9. Keep the pie-crusted jars and pie toppers in the refrigerator while you finish preparing the filing.

Cherry Filing

  1. Pit the cherries by using the flat side of a large knife to gently mash the cherry one by one on a cutting board.  This gets messy, so an apron is recommended.  Remove all the stems and pits from the mashed and loosened cherries.
  2. In a bowl, mix the pitted cherries with the sugar, cornstarch,  almond extract, vanilla extract, salt, and water.  Mix well.

Pie in a Jar

  1. Fill each jar with 1/2 cup filling.
  2. Cut a vent or shape into each pie topper.
  3. Cover each pie jar with a pie topper.  Use fingers or fork to seal and chrimp the dough together around the edge of the pie.
  4. In a bowl, mix together brown sugar,  cinnamon, and melted butter.  Evenly brush the top of each pie with the mixture.
  5. Seal each jar with its metal top and place them all in the freezer until you’re ready to bake them.
  6. To bake the pies, remove the lids from the jars and place them on a baking sheet.  Place the baking sheet in a cold oven.  Do not preheat.  Once the pies are inside the oven, turn on the oven to 375 F.  This will allow the jars to heat up slowly.
  7. Bake the pies until the pie tops are golden brown and the filling is bubbling.  This is about 50-60 minutes if the pies are frozen; 45 minutes if they are fresh.