Monday, November 17, 2014

In the Christmas Spirit, a New Pie Recipe and Veggie Soup

The Christmas spirit is hitting me hard --and early -- this year. The weather has gotten quite cold, which always helps put me in the holiday mood. I bought Christmas cards at the end of the season last year and am going to get an early jump on addressing them so they can go in the mail soon after Thanksgiving. I have already purchased these Christmas stamps.

And I ordered return address labels from Tiny Prints in the two designs below. The neutral colors coordinate well with the stamps (yes, I am that detail oriented). Tiny Prints offers such a large selection, it's hard to choose just one or two! I received my order quickly and am very pleased with the quality. (Please note this is not a sponsored post.)

The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas also inspire me to try new recipes, which is what I did this weekend when I made the chocolate pecan pie below. I brought it to a gathering on Saturday at the home of our friends' parents. It was an outdoor party that began at 6:30. The weather was very cold -- in the 30s, dipping down into the upper 20s by the time we left -- but there was a roaring bonfire to keep everyone warm, plus heaters in various locations where the food was set up, and a fire in the tepee (yes, they actually built a tepee on their property!). The hosts made two kinds of soups to keep us warm: chicken noodle and a vegetarian pumpkin soup with curry, which I loved (I must get the recipe).

The hosts live in a log home they built some 30 years ago. Their 5-acre property also has a barn where their two beautiful (and huge!) horses spend the night. Guests made several trips to the barn to visit the horses; they loved the attention. One couple brought their two small Chihuahua mixes who had quite the time barking at the much larger creatures. The taller of the two horses found that quite perplexing ... and we found it quite humorous. All in all, it was a lovely evening. 

The pie was a hit, so I'm sharing the recipe below. Since I avoid gluten, I bought a frozen gluten-free crust at Whole Foods. A couple of men at the party said the pie was delicious and had no idea the crust was gluten free. Now I know what to use for my Thanksgiving pie!

Chocolate Pecan Pie 

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/2 cups light corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pie crust dough, rolled and fitted into a 9" pan (or use a commercially made crust) 
1 cup pecan halves
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place rack in lowest position in oven. In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water, melt chocolate, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Set aside. 

2) In a medium bowl, stir together (do not whisk) eggs, corn syrup, sugar, vanilla and salt. Stirring constantly, gradually add melted chocolate. Place prepared crust on a rimmed baking sheet and pour filling into crust. Arrange pecan halves in one even layer over filling.

3) Bake until just set (filling should jiggle slightly when pie plate is tapped), 50 to 60 minutes, rotating pie halfway through cooking time. Let cool completely on wire rack, at least four hours or overnight, before serving. 

Another thing I enjoy doing when the weather turns cold is making a big pot of soup, and this vegetable soup is one of my favorites. It makes an extra large batch so you can freeze it to enjoy later. Mix up the veggies each time for a slightly different take on the basic recipe. Yesterday I used what I had on hand: fresh carrots, potatoes and green beans, frozen corn and peas, plus onion and canned tomatoes. I added garlic and omitted the celery since I didn't have any. Go here to find the recipe for this satisfying and healthy soup. Enjoy, and thanks for visiting My Little Bungalow!


  1. Everything sounds delicious! I woke up this morning to our first snow of the season; it all looked so beautiful I had to run for my camera.

  2. Christmas has bitten me early this year, too. At the weekend I started cataloging this year's cookie recipes. Here's hoping I actually find the time to make them! They're my favorite gift for neighbors and friends, and they always make the whole house smell like sugar and vanilla. Mmmm.

  3. Do you freeze the soup with potatoes in it and if so, don't they get mushy? Thanks for any info. Both recipes look delicious.

    1. Hi Jeannine. I have frozen this soup before and don't recall the potatoes becoming mushy. This recipe is actually a "Freeze It" recipe from Everyday Food. I hope you give it a try and find it as yummy as we do. Thanks for visiting!

  4. Hi Claudia, thanks for sharing the veggie soup recipe! A big hit with the family. My husband came home from hunting and devoured the soup and with hearty harvest bread and gobs of butter! Happy Thanksgiving wishes to you also. Enjoy! Jane


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