How to Freeze Bake Ahead Homemade Pies

Some traditions are passed on to you, and then there are traditions you create. A tradition I have created is organizing a Thanksgiving dinner each year for my closest friends and relatives. I have done this for the last 18 years, and I have enjoyed every Thanksgiving dinner more than the one before. It is because I have become something of an expert over the years. I understand the importance of planning and organizing things in advance.

The holiday season is around the corner, and most of you will be welcoming guests into your house. No holidays are complete without a good pie. This blog is dedicated to all those house chefs who are worried about how they will manage to make a pie while entertaining all the guests. Read on to know how you can make your life easier by freezing and baking pies in advance.

How to Freeze a Homemade Pie

If you are planning to make a homemade pie in advance and freeze it, follow these simple steps.

Pick a Fruit-Based Pie Recipe

If you are going to make and freeze pie weeks or months in advance, I recommend you to pick a fruit-based pie recipe. While fruit-based pie recipes freeze well and retain the texture and flavor of the ingredients used, custard pies become soggy and lose their flavor if frozen and stored for long. Apart from fresh fruit pies, chocolate and mince pies also freeze well. Another thing that you must remember is: always use quality ingredients if you plan to freeze the cake you are making as excellent quality ingredients do not lose their flavor over time.

Assemble and Wrap The Pie

Once you have decided on the recipe and have all the ingredients, it’s time to assemble the pie and make it ready for freezing. Take a pie pan (aluminum or disposable are recommend) and cover it with the pie crust dough. Once done, add the filling and the thickener to the bottom crust of the pie. Next, place another layer of the dough and top it with another layer of the filling. Fold the edges of the pie into whatever shape you want to give it. Once your pie is assembled, you must wrap it properly. This is the area where many people make mistakes. Before freezing, the pie must be wrapped in at least two layers of plastic wrap, and any air present between the pie and wrapping must be diffused out. Add another layer of aluminum foil wrap on top. Creating a double-layered wrapping is vital to protect your pie from any moisture present. Freeze the pie. Your frozen pie will stay good for up to three months.

Tips on How to Freeze Homemade Pie and Mistakes to Avoid

If you are planning to host a large gathering, it is a good idea to make a pie in advance and freeze it. Here are a few tips to make your pie taste good and the mistakes to avoid while freezing it.

  • It is possible to freeze both baked as well as unbaked pies. While unbaked pies stay good for up to three months, baked pies can be used for up to four months. However, pies that are first baked and frozen often lose their authentic taste. Thus, it is always a better idea to freeze an unbaked pie.
  • Remove the pie from the freezer, take off all the wrappings, and place the pie directly into the preheated oven. For best taste, line the baking dish with some egg wash and sprinkle raw sugar on the top of the pie. The egg wash will give your pie a beautiful brownish golden color, and the sugar will add to its rich flavor.
  • Depending on the kind of pie you are making, add 20 to 25 minutes to the baking time given in the recipe. Since the pie is frozen, you will have to provide it with some extra time to bake.
  • Sometimes people freeze their pie with the icing on top. If you are planning to add any icing or decorations, do not add them while freezing. The best time to add these is right before you bake your pie.

Freezing pie and storing it is any day a good idea. Many chefs do it. If you are going to freeze your pie, be careful about the ingredients you are using. Also, make sure you have wrapped your pie well, and it is guarded well against any moisture in the surrounding air.

Good Reasons To Eat Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a very healthy vegetable, packed with vitamins and fiber. It has a neutral taste so that it can be combined with almost all other types of food. It is low in calories, which makes it perfect for people who are on a food regime. Moreover, it is really easy to prepare, even if you are a complete beginner. Here are the biggest benefits of spaghetti squash:

Spaghetti squash is a great source of vitamins

It is loaded with vitamins! One cup of spaghetti squash contains 9% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C. Do we even need to mention vitamin C? It is crucial for our immune system, it is a great antioxidant, and it is great for skin as it prevents premature aging. One cup of spaghetti squash has 8% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is necessary for the proper functioning of our brain and nervous system. Moreover, it activates some of the hormones responsible for our happiness level, and it can improve our mood and reduce the risk of depression. Spaghetti squash also contains other important nutrients such as manganese, potassium, niacin, and magnesium.

Spaghetti squash is low in calories

Spaghetti squash is perfect for people who want to lose weight or to eat healthily. This watery food is really low in calories but very rich in nutrients. It is difficult to say how many calories one spaghetti squash contains because they come in different sizes and shapes. But we can say how many calories there are in one cup of cooked spaghetti squash: it contains only 42 calories! On the other hand, one cup of traditional spaghetti (without any sauce) contains from 180 up to 220 calories. Now it is clear why more and more people opt for spaghetti squash, as a healthier alternative to spaghetti.

Spaghetti squash contains a lot of fiber

It is a great source of fiber. One cup of spaghetti squash has as much as 9% of the daily dose of fiber. It means that regular consumption of this vegetable can improve your digestive system, eliminate potential problems and lower your blood sugar level. Fiber also helps people who are trying to lose weight, and that’s one of the biggest benefits of this vegetable.

Spaghetti squash is easy to prepare

It is one of the easiest dishes to prepare, and it does not require advanced cooking skills. All you have to do is cut it in half and remove the seeds. Then you should add a little olive oil, salt, and spices and roast it in the oven at 400 F for about 45 minutes. As you can see, it is not time-consuming because while it is roasting you have time to do whatever you want. Once it is roasted, use a fork to make strands that look like spaghetti.

Spaghetti squash can be prepared in many different ways

Above we have described the easiest way to prepare spaghetti squash. You can also use it in various meals that require spaghetti or noodles as one of the ingredients. Spaghetti squash is a great substitute for both of them, and it does not change the flavor or consistency of the dish – it only lowers calorie intake. Spaghetti squash is the perfect solution for people who want to lower calorie intake without having to give up on their favorite meals. It is worth mentioning that it has a very mild flavor so that it can be combined or topped with various ingredients. That way, you can prepare it often, but it will not bore you. Some of the most popular toppings include cheese, veggies, and meatballs. But you can be creative and combine it with any other food that you like. You can not go wrong, and you may end up discovering a great new combination!

Now you should understand with more clarity why many doctors recommend spaghetti squash as a healthier substitute to spaghetti. It has a lot of benefits for your overall health, as well as the digestive system, weight loss, and youthful looks. Once when you try it and see how easy it is to prepare and combine with other food, you would wish you have tried it earlier!

What is Yogurt?

Yogurt is milk, which has been fermented using bacteria referred to as yogurt cultures. When yogurt cultures ferment the lactose in milk, it produces lactic acid which works on milk protein resulting in a characteristic tart flavor and texture that separate yogurt from other dairy products.

Although most yogurt available globally is made using cow milk, yogurt can also be made using milk from goats, buffalos, camels, yaks, ewes, and mares. The milk may or may not be homogenized or pasteurized. 

The process of making yogurt, as well as the milk used makes it possible to have different types of yogurt. 
Some countries have regulations governing the number of bacteria (colony-forming units of bacteria) that should be contained in yogurt. In China, for instance, yogurt should have 1 million CFU+ of lactobacillus bacteria per milliliter.

To make yogurt, the milk must be heated to approximately 185 F or 85 C. Heating is necessary for denaturing milk proteins and prevent them from forming curds. The milk is then cooled to about 113 F or 45 C before the yogurt culture is added. The temperature is maintained for 4 -12 hours to enable fermentation. The resulting yogurt is usually sweetened and flavored to remove its natural sourness. 

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Is Milk Yogurt Fermented Food?

Is Yogurt Fermented Food?

  • In a word, yes. Yogurt is produced when specific types of bacteria are added to milk. These bacteria produce lactic acid, which is what gives yogurt it’s unique sour taste. The fermentation process also results in the milk becoming thicker, which transforms it from liquid milk into a semi-solid yogurt.

Yogurt Is A Popular Food Worldwide

  • Yogurt is a very popular fermented food around the world, and that popularity has only increased in recent years as more people have learned about the health benefits that it offers. The live active cultures in yogurt aid in digestion, and help to improve your overall health.

Live Active Culture Milk Yogurt Is Best

  • If you are interested in the health benefits of yogurt, make sure that you only buy and eat real yogurt. There are many fake or look-a-like products on the market which are marketed as yogurt, but they are, in fact, simply artificially thickened products and may not even contain milk. To get the health benefits of yogurt, make sure that you only purchase yogurt that is made the traditional way with live active cultures

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WHAT ARE HERBS?

Herbs are one of the fascinating plant species on the planet. Humans have grown herbs for millennia and eaten herbs from the very beginning of time. They have added to our lives in several different ways. The humble little plants have been utilized in the following areas: flavoring food, medicinal remedies, fragrances, dyes, landscaping, pest control, and industrial uses. In recent years growing herbs has experienced a giant leap in popularity. One major factor is that they provide an attractive method of entry into the gardening fraternity because they are so easy to grow.

There are many plants that are included in the herb family. This causes a little bit of a challenge in defining members of the family. The strict botanist school definition of an herb is that it is a plant that does not form woody tissue. Ergo the name herbaceous to describe such a plant. Practical herb gardeners are a little more liberal in their definition of herbs and include plants with flowers, leaves, roots, stems, or fruits that provide any of the manifestations ascribed to herb plants. These qualities include ornamental, aromatic, medicinal, culinary, and household uses. Many plants with woody stems are included in the definition of herbs. Cultivated types (cultivators) such as thyme, lavender, and rosemary along with vines, trees, and shrubs are in there. Many cultivators are included in the legion of herb plants on the market today.

Under the right conditions, herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow. They can do well in a wide range of growing conditions and soils, but the key factor is drainage. Herb plants do not like “wet feet,” and they must be planted in well-drained soil, or they will not live. Richer soils will cause   the plants to grow larger stems and roots rather than the oils which produce the desired flavors and aromas. When planning an herb garden, consider the native origins of the herbs to be included in the garden. Herbs originally from the Mediterranean Sea area will vary in their requirements from East Asia.

Annual Herbs

Annuals herbs are plants which go through their whole life cycle from seed to flower, and again to seed in one growing season.  Once this happens, the plant dies.  If you collect seeds, you can replant in the same year (e.g., spring and fall), or save and replant the following year. Common annual herbs are:

  1. Basil
  2. Cilantro
  3. Chervil
  4. Summer Savory

Biennials Herbs

Biennials are plants which require two years to complete their life cycle.  The top of the herb may die, but the herb will overwinter with proper protection in most areas, here are a few:

  1. Dill (this herb is a biennial but is normally grown as an annual.
  2. Parsley (often grown as an annual)
  3. Sage (hardy for longer in zones 5-8)
  4. Stevia

Perennials Herbs

Perennials herbs, if well cared for, can last for years in the correct climate conditions.  This makes them an excellent investment in both time and money. Of course, you may end up with more of them than you could possibly eat, which is the case with all the large rosemary bushes in my landscape. We use what we want, and the rest look good and attract pollinators.

In cooler climates, the plant to may die back in the winter  and will return in the following spring; assuming cold temperature do not exceed their tolerances.  Perennials herbs will continue growing through the winter if you live in some of the more temperate zones. Some common perennial herbs are:

  1. Bay leaves
  2. Chives
  3. Fennel
  4. Lavender
  5. Marjoram
  6. Mint
  7. Oregano
  8. Rosemary
  9. Tarragon
  10. Thyme
  11. Winter Savory

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A smoothie primer

Smoothies have been around for a long time and are an excellent way of working in some low effort, health, food into your diet.  The term smoothie came out of the 1970s but some form of the drink has been around since about the time that blenders became commercially available in the 1930s.

Smoothie Basics

All you really need to get started is a good blender, some fruit, and berries (fresh or frozen), vegetables, ice, fruit or berry juice and, usually, some dairy product or a dairy substitute.  

Smoothies As Time Savers

Smoothies can be a very quick, easy, and tasty way to work some fruit and vegetables into your day.  I will admit a preference for the fruit smoothies, but there are a large number of perfectly good vegetable or green smoothie recipes available, as well. They can be consumed as meal replacements, when in a hurry, as a tasty relaxing dessert, or simply as a nutritious and refreshing drink.

Smoothies As A Hot Weather Beverage

Because smoothies are usually made with frozen fruit, ice or ice cream, smoothies are a cool drink will which can be very refreshing and a nice break from the heat of a hot day. The ease of creating smoothies can make them a crowd pleaser when entertaining or juice a healthy tasty drink for your family.  few children would turn down a tasty fruity drink after some hard play time.  The children really don’t need to know or care that it can good for them.     

Beware Of Commercially Prepared Smoothie Mixes

I recommend that you use a combination of fresh and or frozen fruits and berries.  However, take care if you are considering buying a commercial prepacked smoothie blend.  Unfortunately, many commercially prepacked smoothie’ blends have added sugars, food coloring, and other less desirable ingredients.  For the healthiest smoothies use fresh fruit or unsweetened frozen fruit and or berries, and vegetables (if you are into green smoothies). Even a little unsweetened juice can be used as a dairy substitute, to add some color, and flavor to your smoothie.

Smoothie Experimentation

Smoothies are easy to experiment with you simply switch out an ingredient or two and see if it meets your tastes.  I do recommend starting with a couple of recipes which you know you like already and use them as a foundation by adding or swapping an ingredient or two at a time, that way you ease your way into new flavor combinations.

Time To Get Started

 Well, if you are still reading this article, I assume you are ready to get started, so, go find some recipe which appeals to you and has a fun wonderful smoothie adventure.

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What is a Smoothie?

A smoothie is made by puréeing raw fruits and vegetables in a blender to make a thick, creamy beverage. Sometimes milk, ice cream, yogurt, or cottage cheese is used. Smoothies can also contain other ingredients like water, fruit juice, crushed ice, and sweeteners like honey, syrup, or sugar.

You can also add plant milk, nuts, whey powder, chocolate, herbal supplements, and nutritional supplements, among other ingredients. A smoothie that is made using dairy products is very similar to a milkshake, except that milkshakes contain much less fruit, and often use ice cream instead of other ingredients such as water, fruit juice, and so on.

Are Smoothies Healthy?

A smoothie can be healthy or unhealthy depending on the ingredients used as well as their proportions. For instance, some smoothies contain multiple servings of vegetables and fruits which are great for supporting a healthy diet – mainly when intended as a meal replacement.

But, a smoothie made with fruit juice (which contains lots of sugar) increases your caloric intake and actually promotes weight gain. In much the same way, using ingredients like protein powders, ice cream, or sweeteners in smoothie recipes may improve the flavor, but it also works to increase the caloric intake further.

Since they typically use a lot of raw fruits and vegetables, smoothies tend to have a high level of dietary fiber from the pulp, skin, and seeds. They are thicker than fruit juice and have a consistency that is more similar to that of a milkshake, although they are marketed as being much healthier than milkshakes – mainly green smoothies that are made from vegetables.

Main Ingredients in a Smoothie

There are many different types of smoothies that you can make depending on the ingredients you use. Listed below are some of the ingredients used to create a popular smoothie staple:

Classic Green Smoothie:

This type of smoothie consists of almost 50% green vegetables including spinach, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, celery, broccoli, and parsley. The remaining ingredients are mostly or entirely fruit such as bananas, mangoes, coconut, berries, avocado, forest fruit, and so on.

Creating Variety

After mastering the basics, you can also add some extra ingredients to your smoothies to create different flavors. For instance, you could try adding a spoonful of cinnamon, grated nutmeg, vanilla essence, cocoa powder to your basic smoothie recipe.

A great way of adding texture is by sprinkling flax seeds, whole oats, or toasted chopped nuts which will not only make your smoothie taste great but will also help to keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Conclusion

If you have been asking yourself: Exactly what is a smoothie?’, or What are the main ingredients in a smoothie?’ now you know what the essential ingredients are, as well as all the different ingredients that you can aid to create the flavor and texture that caters to your individual preferences.

Just remember, although smoothies are generally touted as being healthy, a smoothie is only as healthy as the ingredients you put in it. So, make sure that you choose only from the ingredients that will allow you to make healthy smoothies that look and taste great.

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