holiday gift idea:

 HOMEMADE PIES

In true Olivia fashion, I always overthink and struggle for days on gifts and end up getting everyone a gift card or a candle out of desperation. This year was different. This year has brought many things: the emergence of a hilarious and strong-willed toddler, exhaustion and a renewed joy of cooking. I attempt provide appetizing meals to a tiny food critic and nothing has ever inspired me more than her approving smiles and ‘yums’.

After some rave reviews at Thanksgiving over my pecan pie, I decided to give family members their own personal pies. I asked everyone for their favorite flavor and hunted down some tried and true recipes. (Don’t worry, I won’t hold out on you. I shared them below.)

BUT MARTHA STEW- I MEAN- OLIVIA, HOW DO YOU DO IT?:

I am definitely NOT a professional baker. I am an enthusiastic at home cook with very little experience or artistic ability. Fortunately, all it takes for a tasteful, meaningful gift is a little time and effort. 

As you can probably see in the pictures, I do not have excellent technique or high tech gadgets, but I do have passion. Passion = good ass food. 

I love food gifts. They are typically delicious and indulgent. They help people really treat themselves. My one hang up about food gifts: they are temporary.

Target helped me out BIG TIME this year with the most ADORABLE seasonal pie plates ever. Everybody gets a yummy pie AND a cute keepsake plate. 

I picked up some festive ribbon and a stamp set to add a special touch. Bullseye’s Playground in Target is the closest thing to heaven I’ll ever know.

Unfortunately, you can only find these IN STORE. RUN!
cutest pies ever

STOP SCROLLING! HERE ARE MY RECIPES (oh and a couple tips from trial & error):

Classic Pecan Pie

Pie Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (cubed & chilled)
  • 1/4 vegetable shortening (cubed & chilled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 6 tablespoons of ice water

Pie Filling:

  • 1 cup of light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups roughly chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (or eyeball it – vanilla is your friend)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup of melted unsalted butter

Directions:

You have to make sure all of the ingredients for your pie crust are cold. This is very important for reasons that I am not sophisticated enough to understand, but trust me on this. Cold ingredients create incredible pie crust. Place the flour, cubed butter, cubed shortening, salt and a 6-7 tablespoons of water in the fridge. Make sure they are chilling in the fridge for at least an hour or two before embarking on your pie crust journey. 

With the ingredients still in the fridge, set up your food processor. When you are ready to rumble, grab the ingredients from the fridge. You need to work fast to keep the ingredients as cold as possible. 

Add the flour and salt to the food processor and pulse a few times to incorporate the dry ingredients. Then, add the cubed butter and shortening. When the mixture forms a pea sized crumb, slowly add the ice water, a tablespoon at a time. 

Pour the mixture out on a very lightly floured surface and knead into a smooth ball or disc. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out. 

Preheat your oven to 350º

After your pie crust has rested in the fridge, turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out large enough for a 9 inch pie pan. (If you check out my photos above, I have a cool pastry mat that helps me out with this. They are very affordable and easy to find online.)

If you aren’t a machine and your dough isn’t a perfect circle: trim it after you place it in the dish. If you have any gaps, use the trimmings to patch them up. 

Place your pie crust inside your pie plate and set aside. 

Scatter the chopped pecans in the bottom of your pie crust. 

In a large mixing bowl, mix the remaining ingredients and pour over the pecans. 

Cover the pie with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, rotate and uncover and continue baking for another 30 – 35 minutes until it is no longer liquid-y in the middle. Don’t worry, It will have a little wiggle. Allow the pie to cool completely before cutting, because trust me, after it sets up, it is pure magic. 

Chocolate Pecan Pie

SAME AS ABOVE 🙂

Add 1 cup of chocolate chips (semisweet) with the pie filling ingredients.

Key Lime Pie

Pie Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbles
  • 1 stick of unsalted softened butter
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar

Pie Filling:

  • 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup of lime juice (I prefer Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice)
  • zest of 1 lime 
  • 2 cups of frozen whipped topping, thawed. 

Directions:

Combine the pie crust ingredients in a large bowl. Empty contents into 9 inch pie plate. Press graham cracker mixture into place. Set aside.

Combine sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, lime zest. Pour into prepared pie crust. Cover mixture with whipped topping. (I used a large piping bag with a star tip, but a spatula works too)

Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Thanks for coming to my pie TED TALK & stay tuned because this blog is getting TURNED UP. I’ll have another post up later this week. 

Make sure to follow me on instagram for too many pictures of my kid and subscribe to my youtube channel if you are cool. 

instagram: @oliviamilana

https://www.instagram.com/oliviamilana/

youtube: meetthemilanas

http://www.youtube.com/meetthemilanas

Favorites Friday 1.12.18

As you may or may not know, Thalia and I are working on 11 months strong of exclusive breastfeeding. It has been to this day, one of my greatest accomplishments.
Just like many other breastfeeding stories, the beginning was not so easy for Thalia and I. We dealt with clusterfeeding, cracked nipples, latch issues, but we weathered it all and went on this awesome journey together.
In the early days, I remember one of my main fears was nursing in public. Mainly, my questions surfaced about the “logistics”. How do I comfortably and discreetly cover myself and the baby while nursing? Will the baby get too hot under a blanket? Will I be able to use both hands to “situate” myself?
I would fumble with nursing scarves that had awkward buttons. I tried to drape muslin swaddle blankets around my shoulders. I could never find the right solution.
Thankfully, we got an amazing product that CHANGED THE GAME!
I found The Copper Pearl Nursing Cover while wandering into a baby boutique while on vacation.
Why do you need it:
1) It’s super soft
I am IN LOVE with the feel of the fabric, soft, stretchy, breathable. It’s like wearing yoga pants around your shoulders. Yes, it’s that amazing.
2) There are so many adorable patterns
I love that they carry gender neutral patterns that are fashionable enough for mommy to wear them with her Day to day wardrobe, but cute enough to make it a special accessory to make a statement.
3) It’s a multitasker 
Girl, this thing tents over your ta-tas for nursing, covers the car seat of a napping baby and slips over a highchair or shopping cart.
I have also used it as a stroller blanket and burp cloth.
If you plan on breastfeeding, heck even if you aren’t, this product ROCKS and totally worthy of a Favorite Friday!
Visit Copper Pearl’s website to see more of their amazingly cute gear!
https://www.copperpearl.com/
I hope everyone has a phenomenal weekend!
Make sure you check out our vlog to see what we’ve been up to:
See you Monday!

What I Ate Wednesday 1.10.18

We are one week into Keto and I’m happy to report: it ain’t so bad.

Breakfast:

Bulletproof Coffee

It’s simple, it keeps me going and it’s totally satisfying.

Mid-Morning:

WATER WATER WATER

I find that I am especially thirsty while on Keto, I try to fill my Yeti Cup up at least twice before lunch time. It’s not so bad because my little girl finds the Yeti hilarious for some reason. All mommies know, giggles are the greatest motivator.

Lunch:

50/50 Blend Greens + Chicken + Mozzarella + Homemade Bacon Vinaigrette

Bacon, glorious bacon.

It’s a weekly staple for Daniel & I right now. I have to say, I’m not mad about it.

Quite honestly, without it, I would be choking down chicken salad with some basic store bought carb free vinaigrette. This salad BEGGED me to put bacon on her and I was much obliged.

Yeah, we finished the WHOLE BOWL.

The worst cravings I experience are in the afternoon stretch before dinner. This is when Thalia is usually taking her nap and I have idle hands. I was able to control myself and focus on dinner prep. Good thing I didn’t snack today, because dinner got a little gluttonous.

Dinner:

No Crust Pizza Cassarole

I hate using the word “cassarole” to describe it, this dish feels too elegant for that word, but it did totally carry the comfort that “cassarole” exudes, so I’ll let it fly.

I started prep about an hour before I planned on cooking because our little one had one 30 minute nap all day and I had a feeling we were going to be IN for it around 5/6pm (and I was right).

This dish is super simple, but it takes a little time. It is composed of three layers.

1. Ricotta, parmesan, herb and garlic layer

2. Mushroom, Shallot, and red bell pepper layer

3. Fresh basil marinara, mozzarella, and crispy pepperoni

The crispy pepperoni sets this thing OFF. I simply sliced up some generic brand pepperoni, stuck it on a pan on medium heat and waited for the beautiful sizzle.

Baby girl joined us for a little pasta with Mommy’s marinara sauce. We did let her sneak a taste of the un-pizza.

Sauce stains are not my friend, so we let the “no shoes, no shirt” policy slide this time.

We are really getting a hang of this Keto thing and sometimes I forget that we are “dieting”. I can’t wait to see what we come up with next week.

If anyone has any awesome Keto recipes or tips for us we would LOVE to hear them!

Shameless plug: Don’t forget to catch up with us on our vlog! You can find more Milana meals and ordeals every day!

Click here to go to our Youtube Channel!

See you all Friday!