5 Tips to Create the Perfect Pie Crust

by PCC Natural Markets

With just three required ingredients, pie crust is one of the simplest things to bake. However, its very simplicity means that the proper execution is the key. Chilling the fat and liquid is critical, as is the technique: the goal is uniform pea-sized pieces of butter with no big chunks. If you don’t have a food processor to do the mixing, your fingers will work just fine.

Here are our 5 tips to create the perfect pie crust, from the ingredients down to the container:


Butter and shortening are the most flexible choices; lard and coconut oil have stronger flavors which are excellent if matched with the filling or blended 50/50 with a second fat. All fats should be chilled firm, cut into very small pieces and chilled again.


Fresh-tasting flour is a priority, so if you don’t bake often, smell your flour first to make sure it hasn’t picked up off flavors from pantry storage. All-purpose is great, or mix in up to 50 percent whole grain (spelt and kamut are both good choices).


Ice water is all you need! Use just enough for the dough to hold together. Not enough and it will be difficult to roll; too much and it will be sticky to roll (and not bake up crispy). Chilled vodka can be used in place of some of the water — there’s test kitchen proof that it slightly improves the flakiness of crusts as it is baked.


Salt isn’t truly necessary, but can improve the flavor, particularly for a savory pie. All-shortening crusts don’t brown as well as butter, but a pinch of sugar can help.


Depending on what you grew up with, you might call a pie-baking container a pie pan, plate, dish or tin. Whatever your preference, you’ll find these sturdy U.S.-made dishes from USA Pan useful. They’re shiny stainless steel, which is lightweight for taking to a friend’s house and will slow the browning of your crust edges a bit, compared to glass or ceramic.

What is your go-to pie crust recipe and baking technique? Try it with PCC’s Classic Pumpkin Pie recipe for your Thanksgiving feast, and use PCC Chef Jackie Freeman’s basic steps to creating perfect pie dough in this helpful video. Don’t fear using your fingertips!

Do you live in Seattle? Don’t forget to shop PCC Natural Market’s Holiday Favorites Department through Instacart to get all the groceries you need for this year’s Holiday celebrations delivered!

5 Alternative Pumpkin Pie Recipes to Try This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is only a few days away — have you thought about your Thanksgiving dessert menu yet?

While we love classics like pumpkin or pecan pie, why not mix it up this year? These five fun and unexpected alternative pumpkin pie recipes are perfect for putting a fresh spin on your Thanksgiving dessert!

1. Butternut Squash Pumpkin Pie by Green Zebra Grocery

This delectable dessert looks like pumpkin pie and tastes like pumpkin pie… but in reality the main ingredient is butternut squash!

2. Pumpkin Pie Smoothie by Whole Foods Market


Too full to fit in pie at the end of Thanksgiving dinner? Blend up this spicy and sweet smoothie instead! This pumpkin pie smoothie makes the perfect post-Thanksgiving breakfast, too!

3. Pumpkin Cheesecake by Andronico’s Family Market

Have your cake AND eat it too! This smooth, sumptuous pumpkin cheesecake recipe is the perfect crossover between pie and cake.

4. Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread by PureWow 


This pumpkin cream cheese bread has all the spices of pumpkin pie, coupled with the creaminess of cheesecake. Save the leftovers and make pumpkin bread french toast in the morning!

5. Classic Pumpkin Pie by PCC Natural Markets 

Of course, you can’t go wrong with the classic. Traditional pumpkin pie is always a crowd-pleaser. If you’re looking for the perfect classic pumpkin pie recipe, we love this one by PCC Natural Markets!

What will be on your Thanksgiving dessert table this year?

10 Unique Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes and Ideas

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which means it’s time to start planning your Thanksgiving menu! While the turkey is the centerpiece of Thanksgiving dinner, having a diverse and delicious array of side dishes is key to having a well-rounded and satisfying meal.

While we love mashed potatoes and green bean casserole as much as the next person, why not switch it up this year with some of these unique Thanksgiving side dish recipes? These side dishes aren’t just fun twists on your typical holiday sides — they also pack a visual punch and will bring the “wow” factor to your Thanksgiving dinner.

Read on to discover your new favorite side dish recipe, and don’t forget to click the linked recipe names for ingredients and details on how to make these sides yourself!

1. Green Beans with Creme Fraiche by Whole Foods Market

National Projects Photographer

Green beans are a classic Thanksgiving veggie. If you’re not keen on green bean casserole, try this delicious and unique alternative instead! We love how the creaminess of the creme fraiche is complemented by the crunch of the walnuts.

A bonus: you can make this easy dish a day ahead and serve it at room temperature, so it’s perfect for holiday entertaining!

2. Stuffing Muffins by PureWow


We’ve all had stuffing for Thanksgiving, but have you ever had stuffing muffins? These festive, bite-sized muffins look great on your Thanksgiving table and are easy to make.

3. Shredded Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and a Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette by Sigona’s Farmers Market, San Francisco Bay Area

Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and a Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette 0386 E1 (1 of 1)

This Thanksgiving, kiss your run-of-the-mill steamed brussel sprouts goodbye. The maple and bacon in this colorful, creative dish are likely to make a brussel sprout lover out of everyone around your Thanksgiving table.

4. Mashed Cauliflower with Truffle Oil by Andronico’s Community Markets, San Francisco Bay Area

mashed cauliflower_640

Need a healthy alternative to mashed potatoes? This decadent-tasting mashed cauliflower with truffle oil is your answer!

5. Ginger Miso Butternut Squash Soup + Crunchy Quinoa by What’s Cooking Good Looking


Thanksgiving is a heavy meal, but adding a soup and/or salad course to the menu can help lighten things up. This zesty ginger miso and butternut squash soup is packed with flavor and is a fun alternative to your typical butternut squash soup.

6. Delicata Squash Salad with Fingerling Potatoes and Pomegranate Seeds by Bi-Rite Market, San Francisco

While we’re on the topic of a soup and salad course, we have to recommend this delicata squash salad with fingerling potatoes and pomegranate seeds. This colorful, vitamin-packed salad will add a much-needed boost of veggies to your Thanksgiving dinner.

7. Crispy Corn Pudding by Pinch of Yum


Perhaps you’re looking for a dish that is similar to stuffing, but a little more vegetarian friendly? If so, we can’t recommend this corn pudding with crispy onions enough!

8. Roasted Mushroom Risotto Cakes by PCC Natural Markets, Seattle

PCC mushroom risotto cakes

Another great alternative to stuffing: these tasty roasted mushroom risotto cakes. Get all the creamy, glutinous satisfaction of risotto in a delicious, roasted cake!

9. Cheesy Millet Stuffed Butternut Squash by The Bojon Gourmet


This stuffed butternut squash is a crowd pleaser and brings the wow-factor to your Thanksgiving table. Keep the squash whole for maximum visual impact, or slice into individual portions for easy eating.

10. Spicy Roasted Whole Cauliflower by PureWow


Roasted cauliflower is nice, but a whole-roasted cauliflower covered in a creamy, spicy sauce brings the wow factor!

Which of these unique Thanksgiving side dishes will you make for your own celebration this year? Don’t forget to save time this Thanksgiving and order all the ingredients you need for these dishes from Instacart. We’ll deliver them in as little as one hour!

Thanksgiving for Pets: Tips to Keep your Pets Well-Fed and Safe

Thanksgiving is a time for feasting with your family — both humans and your furrier family members! For those of you celebrating the holidays with pets, it’s tempting to include them in the holiday celebrations and feed them scraps from your Thanksgiving meal.

However, many of the foods you and your family will enjoy around the dinner table can be unsafe for pets to consume.

The best option to keeping your pets well-fed, safe and happy over Thanksgiving is to feed them pet-specific foods from your local pet or grocery store. On Instacart, you can instantly shop tons of options that are safe for pets and Thanksgiving themed, like Blue Buffalo Thanksgiving Feast Dog Food, Merrick Thanksgiving Day Dinner Canned Cat Food, or Prairie Nature Turkey Chewies Dog Treats.


However, if you’re keen on feeding your pets some real food from the Thanksgiving table, make sure to read the following do’s and don’ts of what to feed your pets!

DO feed your pets:

  • Small nibbles of white meat turkey. Stay away from feeding them pieces with skin, bones or undercooked meat.
  • Bites of fresh, raw veggies like carrot, green beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes or pumpkin.
  • Apples (any part but the core) are a crunchy treat for pups!

DON’T feed your pets:

  • Sage
  • Nutmeg
  • Onions and garlic
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Raw bread dough
  • Anything with low-calorie sweetners
  • Chocolate
  • Anything with high levels of sodium, like mashed potatoes

Remember, the best way to keep your pets safe this holiday season is to keep everything in moderation, and not to deviate too far away from their normal diet! When in doubt, it’s best to opt out of feeding your pets table scraps, and give them pet food or treats instead.


5 Healthy and Delicious Alternatives for your Nostalgic Thanksgiving Recipes

By Andronico’s Community Markets

If we’re honest, we could eat roast turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and apple pie at every meal.  There are just some dishes that have a permanent place on the Thanksgiving table because we don’t eat them nearly as often as we’d like.  We love sugar, butter, and salt just as much as your inner child, but today we’re here to offer you equally tasty Fall inspired recipes to fill in for some of your childhood favorites or to serve alongside them so that you can offer a hodge podge of healthy and nostalgic sides.

The key to staying healthy through the holidays is moderation—have a half serving of mashed potatoes and if you’re tempted to go back for seconds reach for a scoop of our tasty Mashed Cauliflower instead!

Here are some healthy and delicious spins on those nostalgic Thanksgiving recipes you won’t be able to get enough of! Click the links for the full recipe ingredients and directions, and buy everything with a few simple clicks on Instacart!

Mashed Cauliflower with Truffle Oil

mashed cauliflower_640

This creamy and flavorful mashed cauliflower is the perfect healthy Thanksgiving substitute for mashed potatoes!


Roasted Loaded Sweet Potato

Loaded Sweet Potato

This colorful side dish is a healthy and guilt-free alternative to mashed sweet potatoes.


Butternut Squash, Kale, and Dried Cranberry Quinoa Stuffing

quinoa-stuffing 2_640

Looking for a lighter but equally delicious alternative to traditional stuffing? This butternut squash, kale and dried cranberry quinoa stuffing will have your friends and family asking for seconds!


Skinny Pumpkin Pie

Skinny Pumpkin Pie_640

This pumpkin pie is just as delicious as your traditional dessert, but with a few healthy twists!


Skinny Spiked Spiced Cider

Skinny Spiked Cider_640

Curl up with a warm and comforting cup of this skinny spiced apple cider after Thanksgiving dinner. It’s the perfect way to end the evening!

Looking for fresh, healthy groceries in the Bay Area? Order your Thanksgiving groceries and ingredients from Andronico’s Community Markets today!


3 Ways to Win at Thanksgiving This Year

From the seasoned Culinary Pioneers at Di Bruno Bros. in the heart of Philadelphia

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 9.30.16 AM

The Holidays are a magical time at our shops, full of warmth and good cheer… Did I say “magical”? Sorry, what I meant was “a food-crazed, diet-anhiliating, loud, over-stuffed, truffle-infused, brined, buttered, basted and TOTALLY INSANE time.” Eh, same difference. We do the holidays like nobody does the holidays, and this is a sneak peek at some hints we’ve learned over our 76 years of business. Tasty, tasty business.

1.  A tasty brine is a birds best friend 

We brine and dine, folks, and I’ll tell you why: a turkey soaked in a good brine (which is essentially equal parts salt and sugar dissolved in liquid) means a juicier, fuller-flavored turkey!

2.  What you put in, is what you get out, amazing ingredients matter!

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 9.30.24 AM

It’s what’s INSIDE that counts, right? We’ll agree, because whether I’m making a simple side of pasta or an antipasti plate as an appetizer, a sprinkle of truffle salt or a slice of award-winning cheese can make all the difference.

3.  Make a few items from scratch and fill in the rest to enjoy the day – and  be thankful for helping hands around the prep table

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 9.30.32 AM

Thanksgiving isn’t a contest, which is unfortunate, because we know a few people who would love to win. But the fact of the matter is, there’s all sorts of wonderful products and items out there to help you make this holiday delicious without landing you in an asylum. Take the help, and spend the extra time with loved ones and family!

Shopping for Thanksgiving groceries in Philadelphia? Don’t forget to check out the Di Bruno Bros. Thanksgiving Picks on Instacart!

Read more great Thanksgiving tips and time-saving ideas from our partners with the Instacart Thanksgiving Guide.

Instacart’s Thanksgiving Guide: Thanksgiving Ideas to Save Time and Eat Well

Thanksgiving is around the corner, and that means traveling, family time and most of all — FOOD! Thanksgiving dinner is one of those meals that you look forward to all year, so it goes without saying that you want your dinner to go off without a hitch.

Worried that your busy holiday schedule might get in the way of a seamless Thanksgiving dinner? We’ve rounded up some of our favorite tips and tricks to save time preparing your Thanksgiving feast, while still eating well.

Prepare your Thanksgiving menu well in advance

The key to a seamless Thanksgiving celebration? Planning ahead to avoid any last-minute menu dilemmas. We recommend thinking about your Thanksgiving menu a week in advance, and finalizing your dishes at least 48 hours before Thanksgiving. This will give you time to put together a cohesive grocery shopping list.

Test out cooking your dishes before Thanksgiving day

We’ve all been there — it’s time to eat but your dish is nowhere near done. Rather than a day-of scramble to cook as quickly as possible, try doing a test run of your planned dishes a few days (or maybe even weeks!) in advance.

This will not only help you figure out how long a dish actually takes to make, but will also give you any ideas for how to improve it for the big Thanksgiving dinner!

Use Instacart to save time grocery shopping

Last but definitely not least — Instacart can help you save time by delivering your groceries in as little as one hour! Instead of taking time away from your busy schedule to run to the grocery store, you can spend Thanksgiving at home with your loved ones.

Just add everything you need for Thanksgiving to your cart, schedule a convenient delivery time and we’ll do the rest! Many retailers on Instacart have special Thanksgiving departments, making it easy to find the holiday essentials all in one place.

Remember, you can schedule a delivery up to seven days in advance, so if you want fresh groceries delivered right on Thanksgiving day, you can place your order on Instacart as early as Friday, 11/20.

You’ll also love these Thanksgiving Tips from our partners:

Lots of traditional festive food on wooden table

Thanksgiving Preparation Tips:

“Know when to revise your menu and save money by taking note of what dishes people actually eat each year. The dishes that usually get thrown out or have too many leftovers can be removed or changed for next year.” Pete’s Fresh Market, Chicago

“A sharpened knife and a pocket thermometer are your best allies in the kitchen.” Mollie Stone’s Executive Chef John Ness, San Francisco Bay Area

“For the holidays, consider cooking and baking with Fair Trade coffee, sugar, and chocolate to support the farmers and producers that make these ingredients.” Wheatsville Food Co-Op, Austin

“Assembling a tempting cheese tray is easier than you might think: Separate strong-smelling cheeses and don’t crowd the cheese on the platter. Pick the right knife for each cheese – butter knife for a soft cheese , paring knife for a firm cheese, and a cheese plane for aged cheese. Finally, remove the cheese from the refrigerator an hour before serving and label each cheese with a few adjectives.PCC Natural Markets, Seattle

“Not sure how much food to make?  Just enter the number of guests you are serving, and this handy tool will calculate how much you should serve.” – Whole Foods Market, Nationwide

Thanksgiving Cooking Tips:

“Making stuffing and sides from scratch? Save your carrot tops, celery leaves, and onion ends and peels to make a flavorful stock for your gravy and reduce food waste!” Andronico’s Community Markets, San Francisco Bay Area

“Prep potatoes for mashed potatoes the night before by peeling, cutting, coating in some lemon juice (to prevent browning), covering, and storing in the refrigerator until it is time boil and mash. This makes for really smooth mashed potatoes as the action of cutting them and the lemon juice both begin the breakdown of fiber in the potatoes.” Natural Grocers, Denver, Boulder and Portland

“Don’t cry over sliced onions! If you refrigerate your peeled onions, the sulfur compound that usually causes you to tear up is inactivated.” – Key Food and Food Universe, New York

“Let large cuts come to room temperature before cooking. Pat meats dry immediately prior to cooking for best browning. Rest your meat for 10-15 minutes after cooking to allow the muscle to relax and seal in the flavors and moisture.” Bi-Rite Market, San Francisco

“When buying a turkey, the rule of thumb is one pound per person. This will prevent food waste yet ensure there is enough for leftovers.” Super King Markets, Los Angeles

“Brine (think of it as marinating) your turkey in advance to make juicy, flavor-packed meat. Get crafty with fresh herbs and spices in your brine.” Di Bruno Bros., Philadelphia

“Love your turkey, baste it every 15-20 minutes during the roasting process!” Gelson’s, Los Angeles

“Cooking your turkey with the Helmet Method helps retain moisture, especially if you’ve brined your bird (if you have, pat the bird dry first). After seasoning, cover it with foil and follow the cooking times that came with it. Remove the foil one hour before the bird is done so the skin doesn’t get soggy—the meat will finish moist and tender.” Central Co-Op, Seattle

“To help make your Holiday baking stress free, line the bottom of all your bakeware with parchment paper, this will allow for easy lift out and clean up.” Smart and Final, San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles

Need Inspiration? Check out our favorite Thanksgiving recipes:

Scrumptious roast turkey chicken on platter with festive decorations for Thanksgiving or Christmas lunch, against dark recycled wood background.

Chef Johns’ Roast Turkey and Gravy

bojon gourmet

Easy and Quick Pumpkin Pie | Photo via Bojon Gourmet


Chopped Brussel Sprout Salad with Creamy Shallot Dressing