Fruit and Root-Inspired Desserts

Ok, so before I became a teacher, I LOVED to bake!  I mean, I was ALWAYS looking for an excuse to bake something.  For me, it was just about the baking part, it was also about the garnishing part.  Ever since becoming a teacher, my free time has been so golden and valued that I let the baking go to the wayside.  In others, I got a little rusty after I started teaching.  Well this summer, I was determined to get back into baking.  As a person concerned with my health, I found inspiration from fruit and root-based recipes, and went from there.

The first dessert I made was a Sweet Potato Pie as a thank you for someone with some country roots.  After that, I wanted to be All-American with a classic Apple Pie for the 4th of July!  Then, I wanted to do something really fruity for my cousin’s surprise birthday celebration.  I made Strawberry Cakes with Strawberry Frosting and Strawberries On Top… and my cousin and I tag teamed a Pineapple Upside Down Cake.

After eating a sweet summer peach this afternoon, I think I figured out the next dessert that I will try this summer!

Here are pictures from the process of making the Sweet Potato Pie and other shots of the other fruit and root inspired dishes that I have made!


Making the Sweet Potato Pie:

1. I washed the potatoes.



2. I baked the potatoes for over an hour.Desserts-sm-102

3. I peeled and mashed them.

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4. I mixed in the butter, milk, and seasonings… and once it tasted about right, I added in some eggs.


5. After making and chilling the crust, I rolled it out.  Then I fitted it into the pie pan and filled a generous amount of filling.  Then I finger-pressed the crust on top.



6.  It seems like I baked this FOREVER…. It was well over an hour and 10 minutes.  Desserts-sm-107

The finished products!


Ready for delivery!


Ok, so I NEVER give people something I didn’t try first.  As this my first attempt at making Sweet Potato Pie, I definitely had to sample it!

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Here’s the Apple Pie for the 4th of JULY!


Here’s the Pineapple Upside Down Cake!


Here are the Mini Bundt Strawberry Cakes with Strawberry Frostingand Strawberries on Top


New Christmas Memories

This was my first Christmas living in Texas since the new century, and now I have little cousins!  My cousins brought the kids over and we made a chocolate gingerbread house.  I love the idea of a NEW tradition!  By the way, this was ALL the kids’ doing.  I just made sure that ants did not attack my dining room table that night 🙂

Gingerbread House

I Can Never Get Enough!!!

I have been living on the East Coast now for the past 12 years, and the more I am up here, the more I crave the tastes of my Texas roots!  Growing up, bean and cheese tacos were a regular meal!  A healthier option was a taco salad, but I don’t know if I ever went two weeks without Mexican, specifically Tex-Mex.  In looking at the past two weeks, I have had quite a bit of Mexican and a day of Latin food, but I still am not tired of it!  Is there something wrong with me?  (Of course not!)  Anyway, this evening, I had to set the record straight on what chicken fajitas should taste and look like (this week I had some orange looking fajita meat that tasted a little different).  See images below.

Also, I must put a disclaimer.  My friend says that fajitas are NOT tacos, although I feel they are in the same family since they both use a flour tortilla!  I personally feel that fajitas are a specific form of tacos… she does not agree.  So, I made my fajita taco a little healthy with the whole wheat tortilla, mixed greens, and tomatoes.  However, I was not true-to-form on the fajitas by adding all of these other healthy things…  Still I consider them in the spirit of a  fajita and definitely an ode to my Texas roots!


The Not-So-Sweet Pie

Today, I made one of my favorite pies… Chicken Pot Pie.  I have been wanting to make this for a few weeks now, but I finally put the rolling pin to the pie crust and made it!   Sometimes I don’t make time for cooking as I am working on various projects and lesson plans, but I know that my health is extremely important.  To this end, making time to plan out my meals will yield long term benefits, so I am trying to devote some time each Sunday to make a healthy meal that will last part of the week.  My chicken pot pie was perfect because I was able to throw fresh and frozen vegetables inside as well as chicken and a starch.  After this week, I will have to take a break from the butter as there is an entire stick in the top and bottom crusts.

Chicken Pot Pie

Going Back Home

Even though I have not technically lived in Texas for over 10 years, I still feel so deeply connected to that state.  Perhaps its because I love the weather there and have never fully adjusted to the “cold!”  Or maybe it’s because I have such an affinity for real Tex-Mex, and have not been able to find anything that compares outside of the TX border (I can never get enough bean and cheese tacos – please do not knock it until you try it).  Maybe it’s because being there is so nostalgic and being up north gives me scenes of urban city centers with bricks and concrete and row homes.  I am not sure, but I always love my trips back home!  On my last trip, I ate some of my favorite food, spent time with some of favorite people, saw old friends, played games with new ones, and just enjoyed my time off!

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