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Tag Archives: Pie recipes

Raspberry Peach Pie

13 Jul

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The Republican National Convention is about to invade my city in a matter of days.  Politics is in the air and I want to crawl under my bed and hide.  It’s my least favorite subject and I avoid it at all costs.

I’m the mushy middle.  Hopelessly moderate on just about everything political and non-political.

Parenting – I have no strong feelings about organic/BPA/homemade baby food/disposable diapers/sleep schedules….I’m over here like, do your best people.

Food – Equal opportunity eater.  I see the value in organic but I also see the price tag. I would love to eat only local, but I also need to feed my kids and be out the door in 30 minutes. Trader Joe’s will have to do because the lettuce I bought at the farmers’ market is starting to wilt and I didn’t purchase local meat because we had to go straight from the market to baseball.

Philanthropic causes – If you are a cheerleader by nature like me, then you can’t pick just one!  How I wish I had a cause that I was 100% passionate about.  One that I volunteered for and spent my time raising awareness and funds for. But Miss Moderate over here supports everything a little bit, “likes” it on Facebook and sends $100 donations here and there to worthy efforts.

Diet and Exercise – I run…a little bit.  I do yoga…sometimes.  I did the 10 Day Detox…for four days.  I eat clean…when I feel like it. I’ll limit my sugar intake…tomorrow. Vegan, Vegetarian, Paleo, Clean – where is the label for people like me that just do what feels right?  Oh wait, that’s emotional eaters.

All hope is not lost. There are a handful of unrelated things that I am 100% passionate about and do not waiver.

Women – Anything having to do with women, women’s health, women’s equality. You won’t be able to rip me out of my firmly planted views of the importance of raising up women in all facets here in our country and across the globe. The health of women’s lives in any given society (education, physical health, employment, etc.) is indicative of the health of that society as a whole.  See, I have soap box tendencies.

Dancing – I don’t care what I look like or who is watching.  I can’t stop myself.  I’m that sweaty, ridiculous dancer cutting it up to “It Takes Two” on the dance floor. I don’t just sometimes dance.  I always dance. Not matter what.

Pie – What is it about me and pie?  I can’t shake it!  I could talk about it forever!  I find so much value in this highly coveted pastry. I am nowhere near as passionate about cake and cookies.  I’m back in the moderate category when it comes to those.  But pie, the holy grail of baking challenges, is my passion.

And with that, I give you the must-eat pie of the summer.  No moderate opinions on this one.  Raspberry Peach Pie is summer in a crust. Continue reading

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Apple Raspberry Rhubarb Pie

11 May

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From This Mom To Her Village:

Mother’s Day feels like a very linear holiday for a role that is so dynamic.  I celebrate my mom, my kids celebrate me, and so on.  We go to brunch and plant flowers in a domino effect of celebration and admiration for our respective mothers and mothers’ mothers.  To me, Mother’s Day is less about an individual called a “mother” and more about the act of “mothering.”  The verb is more dynamic and to me, captures what raising children and frankly, raising each other, is all about.  For one to be a mother, you need a community of mothering that surrounds you.  This community reinforces the values you are imparting to your children and slowly weaves a world outside of your nuclear family for them to venture out into.

I know I’m THE BEST MOM IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD (see!), but I didn’t get that way overnight and not without a lot, and I mean A LOT, of help.  There is an entire village around me that has helped mold me into the mother my kids perceive me to be. On Mother’s Day, this mother needs to thank her village for allowing her to be the mother she is trying to be. Continue reading

The Unexpected Side of Pie

28 Jan

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And she learned to make pie and lived happily ever after.  The end.

That’s is exactly how I expected this blog to go.  It was going to be about my year of pie, how I learned to make it and offer tips and tricks for others aspiring to become competent pie makers.

What I didn’t expect was my public confession that the blog was disguising a broken heart over a fourth miscarriage that exhausted my mind and extinguished my dreams of a third child. I didn’t expect that my blog would become an occasional outlet to express my thoughts about fertility and loss and that strangers would find me and leave comments or messages of support and gratitude for providing a positive, honest outlook on a very delicate topic.  The unexpected side of pie was that it provided healing not just for me, but countless others.

What I didn’t expect was that a wonderful woman from Sugarland Texas would send me the cookbook she made with her mother, entitled none other than Pie Eyed.  That a short email friendship with a fellow baking enthusiast would result in a gift that is so special and dear to me.  The unexpected side of pie was that it allowed two strangers in two different states the opportunity to bake the same recipes and share with each other a piece of their lives.

What I didn’t expect was that I would chat with a man in California about his lemon trees, that people from 61 different countries would read my blog, that more than 15,000 visits would be logged (14,000 of which I’m certain are my mother) and that I would reconnect with childhood teachers and friends.  I didn’t anticipate that pie would evolve into an offering of gratitude and create a bridge for me to cross into the lives of people such as Ednia Eason, homeless families and even the oil change guy. The unexpected side of pie was that it gave me a portal to the world from my small town Cleveland kitchen.

That’s exactly how I did NOT expect this blog to go.

And she learned to make pie and lived happily ever after knowing that the unexpected side of pie is in the story that unfolds after it comes out of the oven.  The end.

Continue reading

Peach Pie

14 Jul


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Peaches and dreams. That about sums up my experience making this pie. What was intended to be a simple summer pie ended up being a catalyst for summoning some of the best summer memories. As I was preparing my peaches, my mind wandered to the summer I spent working at a local road side fruit stand.

Pa’s Produce was located under a big tent across from a busy gas station at the edge of my small town. I spent that summer learning how to pick the ripest honeydew, stacking watermelons, and unloading boxes upon boxes of sweet corn. When it was time for southern peaches, the owner would hop in her big white pick-up truck and drive through the night to Georgia to pick up cases of peaches. We’d report to the tent and help her unload while word spread that the peaches had arrived. This was the height of the summer – those peaches were amazing. I’d stand at the table, opening the white cases branded with a big Georgia peach, taking each one out by hand so as not to cause any bruising. The smell was intoxicating and the taste was unlike any peach I have had since. Continue reading

Salted Honey Pie

28 Jan

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I’m being forced to get a manicure.  Nail care is not my forte – it never has been.  Other than trimming my nails on a regular basis, I rarely, if ever, think about them.  My friend has embarked on a personal mission to drag me to a nail salon by espousing promises of wine and cuticle conditioning that will change my life.  What she doesn’t realize is that she’s up against a lifetime of non-interest in nail care.  The only manicure I have ever had was when a friend of mine took me to get one the day of my wedding.  Honest to goodness, the thought hadn’t crossed my mind until she scheduled an appointment for me.  I even have vivid memories of my mother yelling at me to do my nails and threatening to not let me walk out the door until my nails were filed.

My lack of interest in doing my nails is one of a handful of intrinsic habits that have followed me my entire life.  Do you ever look at your adult self and chuckle at the habits or traits that plagued you decades ago and are still front and center?  I rarely wear socks unless I absolutely have to, I tend to leave the house without a coat (or hat, gloves or scarf), and I still have a hard time keeping my room clean.

It makes me appreciate the fact that there will be things that I’ll want to change about my children that will be virtually impossible.  If only my mother had known that 20 years later I would still not be doing my nails.  She could have saved herself a lot of angst and energy.

My high school year book was recently unearthed in a raid on my bedroom by 4 and 6 year old boys.  I hadn’t seen it in some time, so I took a moment to flip through.  Initially, I was looking forward to the pictures but was sidetracked by the part I completely forgot about – the signatures.  As I read each signature, I began to wonder if, much like my aversion to nail care, any of those teenage perceptions still held true today:

“You’re a really nice, smart, pretty person.”  Well, at least he ranked them in the order that I deem important – kindness and brains before looks.

“You always make class fun when the teachers make class suck.”  I like to think that I can still infuse fun into the most mundane situations.

“You always look good…”  I’ll bet he didn’t know that I never did my nails.

“I hope you remain the same friendly, smart, sarcastic person you have always been.”  Sarcastic, huh?  I don’t think I’m sarcastic – maybe he didn’t know what the word meant.  I mean, let’s face it, 16 year old boys don’t have the best vocabulary.

And so I put away 1994 and smile, knowing that there are some things about myself that will just always be part of who I am.  My nails might not be done, but darn it I’m smart, pretty and sweet and I make class fun when the teachers make it suck.

Continue reading

Two holiday pies to try

15 Dec

It’s that time of year – bundles of holiday cards are arriving in my mailbox.  Each shiny photo card of friends I love reminds me that I didn’t send any this year.  Not because I was too busy, or because I forgot, but because I didn’t have a card-worthy photo.  How vain of me.   I know.  But if I’m going to send something to the masses, it better be good.  And this year, I just didn’t get that perfect cover photo.  Admit it – we all receive those photo cards that give us pause and leave us wondering why THAT photo was the one. I refuse to be that card.  So I choose not to send any.

2006:  Santa brings comfort and joy.

2006: Santa brings comfort and joy.

The obvious answer would be to send a regular holiday card that doesn’t have my kids’ sweet mugs plastered all over it, but let’s face it – that will just end up in someone’s recycling bin.  And I don’t blame them.  I’m risking getting myself kicked off of multiple mailing lists with this rant, but I find the act of sending holiday cards interesting.  I love hearing from friends, and the thought is certainly genuine and appreciated, but shouldn’t I just tell you in person or through a phone call what I would say in card?  If I’m sending a photoless card, then I might as well save a stamp and call you to say happy holidays.  And it’s likely that the phone call would lead to a real conversation and a real reconnection.  So I think I’m going to start a new tradition – a holiday call, not a holiday card.

And there are a subset of holiday cards that arrive with a motive tucked neatly into the envelope.  Do you really think that my trash man gave me a card because he genuinely wants to wish me happy holidays?  No way.  He wants the case of beer I leave for him every year.  It’s a little dance we have.  He gives me a card, I leave beer, and he wheels my trash can back down the driveway for the rest of the year.  Happy holidays wrapped in a gentle bribe with a bow on top.

Two holiday pies you must try

As the holidays ramp up, there are two pies that will absolutely be on my table.  These are not new recipes to the blog, but ones I should remind everyone about because they are great winter pies.  I’m in the process of experimenting with a new one, but it’s not ready for face time yet. Click on the links and they will take you to the posts with the full recipes.

Pear Eggnog Winter Pie

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This is such a great pie for the holidays.  Pears tossed with fresh ginger and covered in an eggnog custard that is spiked with nutmeg and rum. Very easy and less time intensive then other pies.

Cranberry Apple Holiday Pie

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This pie screams holidays with cranberries that are complimented by apple, cinnamon and orange zest.  It’s so pretty once it’s topped with a lattice crust.

Can this count as my card to all of you?  Happy Holidays!

Black and Blue Pie

30 Jun

I have a change addiction.  Not change like shiny quarters and pennies, but actual change, as in the verb.  I find myself always working towards the next big thing.  In my 20’s it was easy.  Change came around every year or so.  A new apartment, a new job, an engagement, a wedding – I was reveling in what life had to offer and embracing new adventures annually.  Once we were married, changing partners was off the table, so it was a change of scene.  We bought our first house and a year later we bought our second house.  It was such a high counting down the days until the landscape of my life shifted dramatically.

Once we moved into the second house, the market plummeted and house-hopping was no longer a responsible thing to do.  So what would the next year bring?  Babies.  Changing it up every year was easy – get pregnant, raise the kid, get pregnant again, raise two kids.  Most people would feel perfectly content at this point, but nooo, not us.  Off to get a new house….again.

I take full responsibility for most decisions in our life.  My husband is always on board, but I push us off each cliff.  I can feel it coming and before I know it, I’ve uncovered something new for us to start working towards.  I started to panic after we were settled in this last house.  I loved my job, I loved our new house, the boys were great…now what?  Obviously a dog.  A year after the dog, I got the itch again and convinced myself (and my husband) that we needed a third child.  And off we went, getting pregnant.  It wasn’t until we lost that pregnancy that my change addiction caught up with me.  We were sad – we truly were excited and had embraced the idea of a third child.  But as we walked out of the doctor’s office, a strange feeling of relief came over me.   It was like the universe had stopped me in my tracks and gave me an out – pushed me back a step and told me to sit tight.  So I did what any reasonable woman would do in that situation – told my husband to get a vasectomy.  And he did what any reasonable man would  – he got one.

I thought that was the grand finale of my change addiction.  I started baking pies, and was content.  Until a year passed and I felt that familiar feeling – I was on the cliff and so I jumped into a new job.  Not four months had passed after starting my new job and I was on the edge again, laying down on the ground hanging my head over searching for exciting things below.  I tried to get us on board with adoption – I even sat in on a webinar about adopting from the Ukraine.  But my husband had the sense to draw the line and not give in to my pleas for an international baby.  As a compromise, he resurrected an idea that we had years ago to start hosting exchange students when the boys were old enough.  Sold!  I threw myself into researching the process and I kid you not, we were matched with a 15 year old girl from Germany within one week.  She’s coming in a month and we are so excited. What a fun adventure we are all in for!

About 12 years have passed since I first took notice of my addiction to change.  Looking back over what I have acquired through jumping off cliffs, I am grateful for it all.  I think it’s time to reframe this addiction I have.  Rather than feeling like it’s unhealthy to always be seeking change, I’m going to regard my life as a constant state of forward motion.  A forward motion that propels us to to the next adventure and uncovers excitement, joy and shapes what is the life we call ours.  If the past 12 years have brought 6 pregnancies, 3 houses, 3 jobs, 2 kids, 1 dog and 1 exchange student, I cannot wait to see what the next 12 have to offer.

One thing that has not changed?  Pie.  And boy do I have a good pie to share with you.

Continue reading

Straight Up Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

27 May

One pie that everyone needs to have in their back pocket is a full-on strawberry rhubarb pie.  I’m starting to bore myself with so many posts that mention rhubarb, but whether you like this flavor or not, it’s a show stopper in the late spring and early summer months.  So, I figured I should put an official recipe on here for an actual pie – not just the mini pies or the pie in a jar.

The pie filling is exactly the same as the mini pies and the jar pies, just prepared differently.  For the non-traditional pies, you need to pre-cook the filling, but for a full pie, you keep your filling uncooked.  This is an adaptation of my grandmother’s recipe, and in my humble opinion, I think it’s the best one you’ll find.

Continue reading

Apple Sour Cherry Pie

12 Feb

I always have the best results when I don’t over think things.  Take my hair, for instance.  The days that I’m late, half-showered and furiously drying my hair to get out the door are usually the days that people tell me my hair looks good.  “What did you do to your hair?” they will ask.  And my answer is always the same – I have no idea.

On the other hand, the days that I plan and try really hard to do my hair tend to be a disaster.  I learned this in a big way a couple of years ago.  The night before I had an important meeting, I decided that my hair needed to be totally revamped.  I was nervous about the meeting and my split ends were just not going to cut it (no pun intended). I decided to get a very last minute cut and ended up with a 7pm appointment at Fast Eddie’s Chop Shop (red flag #1).  The night started out with promise – the place was edgy and the stylist’s name was Emily.  She was new (red flag #2) and eager to style my hair.  She washed my hair and started to cut.  All of a sudden, the lights went out (red flag #3).  The entire street blacked out and we couldn’t see a thing.  I sat there, with a half-cut wet head praying for the lights to come back on.  The emergency lights cast a blue glow across the studio as I watched the clock close in on 8pm. Word soon reached us that there had been an accident on a nearby street which had knocked out blocks of electricity.

I was in a mild state of panic, but Emily assured me that we could do this (red flag #4).  By the glow of the emergency lights and a flashlight she continued to cut my hair.  I went home with a wet head, tired and ready for bed (it was 10pm).  Needless to say, I woke up the next morning, showered and dried my hair.  It was awful.  Just terrible.  Uneven with a hint of a mullet.  I was devastated, but had no option but to summon some confidence and go to my meeting.  Then, I crawled back to my regular stylist and confessed that I cheated on her in the name of vanity and begged her to fix it.  $80 later, my hair was short but at least the mullet was gone.

I keep learning this lesson time and again in various parts of my life.  Over thinking and trying too hard cause me to lose perspective and get caught in the weeds.  How many times do I need to learn to simply rely on my instinct and relax?  I have no idea.

The point of this story?  Apple Cherry Crumb Pie!  When I make pie, I’m very focused.  I read and re-read directions and over think everything.  Recently, I had accomplished all of my planned pies and had one recipe of dough left.  Not wanting it to go to waste, I started scouring my cupboards and fridge to see what I could come up with for a pie.  I had 4 apples, one can of Oregon Sour Cherries and some oatmeal.  Apple cherry pie with an oatmeal crumb topping!  I chopped and stirred adding a dash of this and a sprinkle of that.  Not a care in the world entered my mind as I effortlessly made this pie without following a recipe.  What resulted was an amazing pie that everyone who had a piece said was my best one yet.  “How did you do it?” they asked.  I have no idea.

But, I’m going to recreate it and share it with you!

Apple Cherry Crumb Pie

Ingredients

1 recipe for a 9 inch pie crust (or best of both worlds pie dough)

4 Apples (2 Granny Smith, 2 Jonagold or Fuji)

1 can Oregon Sour Cherries (the kind canned in WATER!  NO SYRUP)

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 Tablespoons corn starch

1 squeeze of fresh lemon juice (barely a teaspoon)

Oatmeal crumb topping

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt

1/2 stick (4 Tablespoons) cold unsalted butter but into 1/4 inch pieces

Directions

Preheat oven to 400

Prepare your crust.  Roll to a 13 inch circle, place into a 9 inch glass pie pan. Gently tuck the dough into the pan and sculpt the edge.  Place in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 Tablespoons corn starch. Set aside.

Peel and slice apples into 1/4 inch thick slices.  You can cut some of the slices in half so that the apples lay more compactly.  Toss with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest.  Place in a large dutch oven (or large skillet) and cook, covered, over medium heat for about 15 minutes.  Stir often and remove from heat when apples are soft but still hold their shape.  Place apples into a colander over a bowl to remove excess moisture.  Let cool to room temperature.

Open Oregon Cherries and drain well.

While waiting for the apples to cool, make crumb topping.  Put the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor and pulse several times to mix.  Scatter the butter over the top.  Pulse repeatedly until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Empty the crumbs into a large bowl then rub them together between your fingers until you have large, buttery crumbs.

Turn apples and cherries into a bowl.  Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and toss with the remaining sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch mixture.  Give the mixture a quick squeeze of fresh lemon juice (you don’t want too much) and turn the mixture into chilled pie shell.

Place the crumbs on top of the pie and gently press them into place.

Place the pie on the center rack of the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and the juices bubble.  Use a pie crust shield to prevent the crust from browning too much if necessary.  Let cool for at least an hour before slicing.  May this also be the best pie you’ve ever made!

As American As They Come Apple Pie

23 Jan

What better to commemorate National Pie Day then a big, deep-dish,  double-crust, packed to the brim, all-American apple pie?  And a darn right perfect one at that!  Yep, let’s just skip to the end – I did it and it was awesome.

Week after week, I sit here behind my keyboard and espouse my latest pietifications.  I’ve conquered fruit pies, lattice crusts, mini pies and butter crusts. Cream pies and custard pies – shoot, they ain’t got nothin’ on me.  Crimped edges?  Crispy bottom crust?  Bring it.  But there is one pie I have steered clear of.  One pie that threatens to topple all of the pie skills I have acquired over this past year.  The one, the only… DOUBLE CRUST APPLE PIE.  As if getting one crust right isn’t hard enough, this monstrosity demands perfection on the top and bottom!  I haven’t had the courage to take it on until now.  But a pie holiday calls for the most serious pie I can make.

This recipe is the collision of Grandma Ople’s tried and true and the America’s Test Kitchen 2006 scientific experiment.  I figured old school meets new school would be a good mash up.  Grandma Ople’s Apple Pie is one of the highest rated on Allrecipes.com.  If you know me, then you know that I swear by the four and five star recipes on that site.  On the rare occasion that I cook, you can pretty much bet that I found it on Allrecipes.  I also LOVE America’s Test Kitchen because really, why do your own experimenting when someone has already done it for you?

From Grandma Ople, I adopted her technique of making a caramel sauce to toss with the apples instead of the usual sugar/brown sugar mixture.  I also adopted the suggestion of saving some of that sauce and brushing the top crust with it.  America’s Test Kitchen confirmed what I had begun to notice about apple pie – cooking the apples first ensures that they don’t shrink away from the top crust and that you minimize the moisture that threatens to make your bottom crust soggy.  Voila – my perfect apple pie!

As American As They Come Apple Pie

Ingredients

1 double crust recipe of Best of Both Worlds pie crust.  Follow this link for the recipe and instructions.  Refrigerate the discs of dough for at least one hour or up to two days.

10 apples or about 5 pounds (6 Granny Smith, 4 Braeburn or Fuji)

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter

3 Tablespoons flour

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 egg white, slightly beaten (for bottom crust)

Directions

Roll one disc of dough into a 13 inch circle.  Place into a 91/2 inch deep dish pie plate.  Trim dough to leave a 1/2 inch overhang.  Return to refrigerator to chill.  Next, roll the other disc of dough into a 13 inch circle and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and return to the refrigerator.

Place a baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven.  Preheat oven to 425 (or 400 convection).

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.

 

Peel and slice apples into 1/4 inch thick slices.  You can cut some of the slices in half so that the apples lay more compactly.  Toss with sugar/spice mixture and 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest.  Place in a large dutch oven (or large skillet) and cook, covered, over medium heat for about 15 minutes.  Stir often and remove from heat when apples are soft but still hold their shape.  Place apples into a colander over a bowl to remove excess moisture.  Let cool to room temperature.

While apples are cooling, prepare caramel sauce.  In a medium saucepan, melt 4 Tablespoons of butter.  Once melted, add the flour and cornstarch to make a paste.  Add water, 1/2 cup brown sugar and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Once the mixture reaches a boil, lower the heat and simmer for three minutes.  Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Toss apples with 1 Tablespoon lemon juice then add 2/3 of the caramel mixture.  Reserve some of the sauce to glaze the top crust.  Remove pie plate from refrigerator and brush bottom crust with slightly beaten egg white.  Pour apples into chilled pie shell and arrange so that they lay compactly.

I could have used more apples!

Cover gently with the top crust and trim the edges to 1/2 inch overhang.  To achieve an even edge, fold the edge of the top crust and tuck it under the edge of the bottom crust so that the smooth, folded edge is flush with the pie plate.  Create a decorative edge and then use a knife to cut four vents into the top.  Brush crust lightly with reserved caramel sauce and sprinkle with turbinado sugar if desired.

Place pie on baking sheet and bake for 35 – 45 minutes or until golden brown and juices bubble.

Use a pie shield or foil if crust begins to brown before pie is done.  Enjoy with ice cream, by itself, for breakfast, for a snack or all of the above!