Blueberry and Cream Cheese Pierogi

Yeah you read that right. Blueberry and cream cheese pierogi. I created this recipe after reminiscing about all the Polish food I ate growing up. Particularly, one experience in which my mom went to get some pierogi at the Polish mart (none of that frozen crud) and brought home dessert pierogi. They were blueberry and ricotta pierogi, which I loved and remember fondly, but my Mom recalls them not being sweet enough! I created this recipe as an ode to that day where we tried something different and interesting!IMG_5490


Dough- I edited this recipe from The Spruce Eats

2 large eggs

2 cups flour

1/3 cup room temp water

1/4 teaspoon salt


1 small frozen bag of blueberries (12 ounces or so, does not need to be exact)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/2 lemon



dash of salt


So basically,


You’ll wanna make the dough first. It’s so so simple. Literally, plop the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, and whisk it around for a bit until you feel good about it. keep the mixer on low/medium and break the eggs into it one at a time. Use your discretion with the water. If it gets pretty liquidy, add a tiny bit more flour. You don’t want the dough to be like pie crust (a little rough and crumbly), you want it to be a little bit sticky. when the dough is well mixed, put it in a lil’ bowl, and refrigerate it for about an hour. It does not need to be super hardened to work with, like pie dough does. It should just be cold enough that is can be rolled out a bit.


Take that bag of blueberries, and throw it in a large sauce pan. I like working with frozen blueberries, because they already have retained water and juice, so when you add corn starch, it will turn into a nice gooey filling. Turn the stove on low and put the lemon juice and sugar in. You need to stir constantly for a little bit, maybe like 3 or 4 minutes, to let the sugar melt down without burning it. Add the corn starch. This is what makes it like pie filling-ish. The corn starch will transform the liquids from a liquid texture (duh) to a gelatinous one. Stir that for a while, maybe like 10 minutes. At this point you don’t need to worry so much about stirring constantly, but you probably should give it a good mix in the pan every minute or so, to keep it from burning. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool.

And the rest:

Take the dough out of the fridge, and on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into one thin layer. You don’t want it to be thin enough that you can see though it, but it should be thinner than a rolled crust or a rolled cookie.

Grab the whipped cream cheese from the fridge, and the mostly cooled blueberry filling, and in a separate bowl, mix equal parts cream cheese and filling, until it’s a delicious and workable texture. Add your spices in now! Except salt; you should have added that in with the dry ingredients earlier.

cut out circles from your dough, these can be like 2 1/2 or like 3 inch circles. I used a tart cutter thing to cut mine, but you can use a big cup if you don’t have a decently sized circle cookie cutter or mini pie cutter thing.

Take a decent sized amount of your filling and put it on one side of your circle. Take a little eggwash, and coat the outside of the circle, to help it stick together when you fold them over. Fold and accordion the dough as well as you can. Pinch the sides together well. Boil some water, drop in the pierogi. Build for like 5-8 minutes, strain in a colander, and put some powdered sugar on those goodies.



Singer’s Soup


It’s early October, which means it’s time for one thing.


Soup tends to be one of the easiest and best things to make around this time of year for me. I generally have so many vegetables hanging around my kitchen, and I’m also usually very cold as soon as August ends. This results in my throwing everything into a pot, walking away, coming back an hour later and hoping everything tastes good. This is why I love soup.

A few key things I had for this particular recipe I made were all bought in the same grocery trip. Ginger root, leek, and acorn squash. Everything else I pretty much had hanging around.

I decided to call it Singer’s Soup because it’s great to clear out your sinuses and a lot of these ingredients us singers swear by. I.e. ginger, lemon, cayenne, broth.

Quick story-

A few years ago I was In the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s production of Fiddler on the Roof. I was playing Fruma Sarah. If you’ve never seen Fiddler on the Roof, Fruma Sarah is a wacky dead ghost lady who appears to the main character in a fun dream sequence (BEST SCENE IN THE SHOW. In my opinion at least) and anyway…This is a difficult singing role. SO…basically all of the sudden, I start feeling really sick (I get sicker in the Summer than the Winter, anyone else?) ANYWAY, I go to the urgent care, and I have tonsillitis….My tonsils were SO swollen, and just honestly mangled, it was absurd. Guess what. I didn’t miss one performance of that show. I had no understudy, and it was one of my first professional credits. Every morning I woke up, had ginger tea, hot water with lemon and cayenne, and gargled with apple cider vinegar (and of course took antibiotics.) But the point is, I took care of myself, and healed my throat and my instrument. Singer’s soup would have been good too 🙂 Now that you’ve tortured yourself by reading that whole paragraph or just skipped it entirely…

Here’s the recipe:

1 carton of chicken broth

1 carton of chicken stock

2 cups water

1 finger of ginger (it looks kind of like a weird finger soooo…)

1 whole bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 large raw chicken breast

1 medium yellow onion

1 leek stalk

1 spoonful of minced garlic, or 2 garlic cloves, minced

1 lil’ acorn squash

1 bunch of carrots (save the tops for fresh pesto)

2 bay leaves

1 lemon, sliced





Let’s get started over here!

Turn your oven on! 350 will be good. Get a lil’ pan, and slice the top and bottom off of your acorn squash. Pop this sucker in the oven and let it bake for about a half hour or so.

Do you guys know how to peel ginger? just cut off a healthy chunk of it and take a spoon and just scrape off that outside bit! Easy! Now just take a good knife and chop that stuff up real good.

Take that onion, chop it up, chop those carrots (don’t forget to save the tops!!)

Turn your burner on to medium heat. Throw all of your liquid ingredients in that pot, along with your chopped onions and ginger. I also chopped that parsley up really well and super fine and threw that right in as well. This parsley is a great anti-inflammatory so that’s cool.

ALSO, guys do you know how to cook a leek? Leeks grow in the sand so just washing them under the faucet isn’t really going to do the trick. All you have to do is cut that sucker from the top of the stalk to the base of the stalk, long ways. Then you can chop it like it’s an onion. The good parts of the leek are the lighter part of the stalk. The tougher, greener parts of the stalk don’t have much flavor, and are tough and difficult to cook. The lighter parts of the stalk are easier to chop, and are tasty when you cook them up. Use your judgment! If it seems too dark and tough, toss it/compost it! If it seems tender and easy to cut through, chop it up to use in your soup! I love the taste of leek. Oh my gosh. I got off track. Okay so after you’ve chopped up your leek properly, get a big bowl and fill it with water. Throw all of those sandy and tender pieces, throw them in that bowl of water and kind of just wash them with your hands. All of that sand and dirt will sink to the bottom of the bowl! Take those buoyant leeks and toss them in the pot with your onions and ginger!

I’d also add those bay leaves now if I were you.

Get that big ole lemon, slice it up in five or six slices, toss it in the pot. This will flavor the soup really beautifully, and look really pretty floating on top, as well.

DID YOU FORGET ABOUT THE ACORN SQUASH IN THE OVEN. TAKE IT OUT NOW, OKAY?! Let it chill out for a few minutes while the base of your soup is simmering. When you feel okay about not burning yourself, you can slice the outsides right off that acorn squash. It will be much easier now that it’s a bit baked. Cut it into cubes and toss it into your soup!

Chop the rest of the ingredients like the raw chicken and carrots, and throw them into the pot as well. SEASON YOUR SOUP. NOBODY LIKES UNSEASONED SOUP. Throw a bunch of salt and pep in. Throw in some paprika and some cayenne and also your garlic. Use your discretion here, friends. My husband hates anything spicy, so I like to wait to put the cayenne in until he’s had his own share. Let the soup cook until the chicken is cooked through! OKAY! ENJOY!!!

See if it helps your cold 🙂






Pie Time

So basically, for the past two years I’ve been working on perfecting my pie-baking skills.  At this point I feel like I’ve really got a crust down that I really love. I use it for almost all of my pies now. I’ve learned a whole lot about baking from all of these adventures. Mainly, I’ve discovered how baking can be a huge source of stress relief for me. I really enjoy pouring my time and effort into something that physically manifests itself into something positive when the work is done.

I am predominately an actor and singer, so baking is a just a hobby for me. That doesn’t mean that I don’t taking baking seriously though, and I do. I really do. I take a lot of pride in baking and it means a lot that i can share it with my family and friends.

(p.s. I’ll share my pie crust recipe at the bottom of this post. I’m pretty proud of it.)

Strawberry Fig

One thing that I’ve really figured out from all of my efforts is that I have to accept that I can’t make a perfect pie every single time just yet. And that’s okay. I have to accept that once in a while, I’ll have a liquidy filling or a burnt lattice, or the the decoration won’t turn out the way I had hoped.  Precision is pretty important, so things can get tricky sometimes. I’ve also learned that I’ll never make a perfect pie if I give up. So that’s why I keep on making them. As I kept on practicing these past two years, I have noticed a lot of improvement in myself, and I can now confidently say that I make a pretty darn good pie.

Another thing I feel like I can kind of pat myself on the back for is flavor inventing. It’s pretty awesome to experiment with different flavors and fruits in unexpected ways. I like traditional pies as well, but I have a lot of fun making things that are a little out of the ordinary. The strawberry fig in the top picture, for instance, turned out pretty awesome. I’ve also done things like cheesy apple and wine pie and peach and blackberry pie. I can’t wait to invent some more.

Val’s Pie Crust

2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup REALLY cold butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup ice cold water (i literally put an ice cube in the water after I’ve measured it)

yields enough pie crust for the bottom crust and a lattice

When you’re making a crust, make sure you’re really precise about it. I start by sifting my flour and then throwing the salt in. Mix that together. Take your butter out of the freezer (yes, you read that right. Freezer) and using a box grater, grate your butter. Add it to the flour/salt. Push that stuff together, and slowly add your water. Mix until it forms dough. Wrap it in some plastic wrap and throw that sucker in the fridge until you’re ready to use it! Good luck!

Raspberry and Apple (some strawberries thrown in there too)