For My Sweetie Pie

This pie started on September 8, 1995. That’s the night I opened my eyes to see an engagement ring, in one of those little boxes, held out over a Key Lime Pie. Here’s a photo of us taken earlier that day, before the engagement, by Joseph’s Dad from the kitchen window. We’re sitting by the pool, and my face says it all. There was nowhere else I wanted to be. It’s the same today–16 years and 43 days later. He asked me that evening at his parents’ dinner table. He polished silver serving dishes and sent his family to the high school football game. He made chicken. I was wearing navy blue. He played our song on the CD player. But I especially remember the Key Lime Pie. It came from Publix (the grocery store–for you Yankees), and it looked beautiful with that ring over it. I said yes. Without hesitation. Yes.

We called everyone we knew. We planned an August wedding. My mom began testing out Key Lime recipes for the wedding reception, which we decided would be all desserts. We like desserts, and I didn’t anyone at my wedding having to ask, “Is this shellfish?” or “Do you think they have more meatballs in the back?”

My mom made so many Key Lime pies that my family grew weary of them, but we definitely had delicious Key Lime Pie at our wedding reception!

My Joseph loves lime. He likes it in his cocktails, his cookies, his candy, and his pie. So tonight, I made him a Key Lime Pie to let him know that I’d say  yes all over again. A hundred times over.

There were a couple of new experiences for me with this pie, but the main one was ZESTING.

Last year, my mom gave us all these cool grater sets for Christmas.

Mine stayed in the package until today. Hey, don’t judge! They sell grated cheese in the store…but NOT lime zest. So I zested. I think. I just really tried not to put finger zest in that pie. The recipe (from Joe’s Crab Shack in Miami Beach) called for the zest of two limes. I zested. It smelled good. I worked hard. There were tiny green shards in the bowl. Seemed like lots of work for tiny, tiny, amounts of lime zest. Anyway, I did my best.

Next, you had to whip in 3 egg yolks for 5 minutes. That’s a long time to hold a mixer if you haven’t gotten your other ingredients ready. Enter 7-year-old helper.  Max did a great job holding on to the mixer while I hunted down Key Lime juice. The brand is called Nellie and Joe’s Key Lime Juice and it smells fantastic! I also added sweetened condensed milk and blended for almost 10 minutes.

Then you just pour it into a pre-baked graham cracker crust and bake it for only 10 minutes. Seems hard to believe that something so good could happen so fast, but it happens all the time…

My husband and I had only known each other for 2 and a half months when he proposed. Something so good happened so fast!

Right now, the pie is cooling. There’s a homemade whipped cream topping, but I’m not supposed to make that until right before I serve the pie. I think the pie looked pretty without it, but you KNOW I’m gonna add whipped cream. After it cools a bit, it’ll stay in the fridge for several hours or overnight, depending on how long we can stand to wait. Happy Pie, my dear!

13 days to go–38 pies made as of today.


Chocolate Almond Pie and Purple Pie

I haven’t had ANY experience with a double boiler. Until tonight.

I got home after taking our son to gymnastics and picking up fried chicken for dinner. I grabbed a random church lady cook book and hoped for something quick. My wish was granted when I found Chocolate Almond Pie on the first page I saw in the first book I picked up. The recipe is by a woman named Lettie. Now THAT is a convincing church lady name.

I knew this pie was meant to be because it called for SIX Hershey bars. Even better, I had them! Right in my pantry–thanks to a coupon and thoughts of s’mores. The recipe called for almond Hershey bars, which I did not have, but I just threw in a couple of small handfuls of slivered almonds and hoped for the best.

To make the filling, I melted SIX Hershey bars and 18 large marshmallows with a half a cup of whole milk in a double boiler. I added 1/2 tsp of almond extract and stirred. And stirred. And stirred. Have you ever tried to melt those FAT marshmallows? Once it was all melty, I threw in the almonds. Not sure if I should have toasted those, but I really don’t think anyone’s going to suffer here.

While that cooled, I whipped 1/2 pint of heavy whipping cream with my mixer. I don’t know how long I whipped it–just until it started to look like whipped cream–probably about 2-3 minutes. Once the chocolate stuff cooled a bit, I added the whipped cream to the mixture. Mixed together, it created a beautiful, swirly, cocoa-colored filling.

I poured it into a chocolate graham cracker crust. The recipe called for a regular one, but how can it hurt to make something more chocolatey. It cannot. No. It cannot. Here’s the pie.

It was REALLY full of filling, and there was still quite a bit left in the bowl. We all tasted some. OK, so I tasted a lot of it. Anyway, I carefully–and I mean really carefully and slowly–walked with that pie over to the fridge. It was super soupy and filled to the brim. I cautioned anyone against opening the fridge for at least an hour. It will chill overnight, and I’ll let you know how the slice goes. My plan though, if it does not slice, is to eat that thing with a spoon right out of the pie plate. The marshmallows and the cream made it wonderfully rich–without it tasting like marshmallow at all. Scrumptious.

I want to show one more pie. It’s a purple pie made of purple yams (I had no idea they existed).I did not make this pie–another fellow did (you can find him if you look up images of purple pie). I’m posting it today in honor of Spirit Day. Spirit Day was started in 2010 by a teenager named Brittany McMillan as a response to LGBT youth who had taken their lives as a result of bullying. The goal of this day–when folks wear purple to show their support–is to help create a world where ALL teens are celebrated and accepted for who they are.

I wore purple today, and I found this purple pie picture to help show my support. I have a teenager now, and believe it or not, I still remember being one. Acceptance is a big deal, yes. But don’t forget the celebration part.

What young person (or old one!) can you celebrate today? You can bet there’s someone close by who really wants–really needs to be celebrated. Don’t miss your chance to be part of their celebration!


“EXCELLENT…” was my proclamation in the kitchen this morning. It came out with an eerie, calm sarcasm that you could smell out loud. Frankly, I was pleased that I didn’t say anything I shouldn’t.

Here’s what provoked me:

I didn’t think I’d said it very loudly, but later, when my husband came down for breakfast, he asked, “So what happened down here–That made you say, ‘Excellent? ‘”

It fell from the top shelf. Fortunately, a lot of flour stayed in the bag and I was already done with it for the day anyway. I got everything cleaned up before anybody even came downstairs. I mean, gee, I was dying to take EVERYTHING out of the bottom of the pantry and clean the floor anyway, right?

I’ll tell you which pie I was baking when this happened, but first, LOOK AT THIS!! My husband had a business trip to Texas earlier this week, and he brought me this wonderful present! Can you believe he found a pie charm to commemorate my 40th and my pie adventure? Sweet, thoughtful guy…You can’t see it in this photo, but the back of the crust says, “Sweet Potato.” Awwww…..

Anyway, today’s pie was a pumpkin pie for Shelley. Shelley’s a friend of the family who’s lived around Conyers for a long time. I was excited about meeting up with Shelley today because she was going to give me a tour of Magnolia House, an assisted living home where the granddad of a friend of hers lives. Her mom also stayed there up until she passed away, and Shelley had nothing but great things to say about the place.

After my visit there this afternoon, I can see why. I shared this thought with Shelley–after hearing about bad stuff all the time–in the paper, on the news–it sure is nice to learn about something so good in our community. The folks there were very kind, and the facility was so homey and well-maintained. Our tour was with a lovely person named Pam, and it didn’t take me long to decide that these folks definitely deserved some pie. I’ll be heading over there next week with enough pies for their staff of 14 to all have some. It’s not easy working with the elderly, but it was clear that these people were doing an excellent job, and they deserve to be thanked.

This pumpkin pie was made in a homemade crust that I’ll call “rustic.” Upon my mother’s recommendation, I used a fork to crimp the edges. It’s not perfect, but I do like the way it looks. My daughter called it a “pumpkin flower pie.” The filling was the simple recipe on the can of pumpkin. I hope it tastes good. It sure did make the house smell like fall. The timing for that smell is perfect–today’s the first really cool day we’ve had.

Shelley visits Magnolia House often. When she does, she gives out what the people there need most: time and care. Thanks for caring, Shelley. And thanks for sharing your afternoon with me!

15 days to go!

Thick and Not Dry

Today’s pie blog title is inspired by, a site that could find zero rhymes for the phrase Chicken Pot Pie, which is what I made for supper this evening. I prepared the pies (they were cute little individual pot pies) at the same time as I prepared the Butterscotch Meringue Pie that we had for dessert.

Anyway, I made up my own phrases to rhyme with Chicken Pot Pie:

Thick and Not Dry

Stickin’ Hot Fly

Pickin’ Tot Die

Frickin’ Snot Sky

Wiccans Got High

Flickin’ Dot Thigh

Tickin’ Cot Guy

In spite of how…er….um…creative these phrases all were, only one described both of the pies I made today:  Thick and Not Dry.

The very first thing I did was to handle the meringue. Today, it would NOT defeat me. I was super careful not to get any egg yolk in the mix, and I prepared the meringue first, so that there would be no chance of any fat on the beaters. So there. Ta da!

Meanwhile, on the stove top nearby, I worked on the filling. Now, I like butterscotch, but I really only have experience with butterscotch chips and butterscotch candy. This filling contained neither. It did include brown sugar, corn starch, a lot of milk (4 cups!) and vanilla. It also had six egg yolks. I had to do this thing (I think it was called tempering) where I put a bit of the hot filling in the egg yolks, stirred a little, and then immediately put the eggs in with the rest of the filling. I think this keeps the eggs from cooking because they are brought closer to the temperature of the filling.So I stirred the filling for a while, and it did nothing. It looked thin. So I started working on the chicken pot pie filling. Well, guess what. Should not have turned my back, because that filling thickened up QUICKLY, and I had to stir fast to prevent burning. There was a little burnt stuff on the bottom, but thankfully, it stayed there and did not ruin the filling. It was a little lumpy, but this did not ultimately affect the flavor of the pie. I dumped it into a pre-baked pie shell (got to use those handy pie beans from my pantry) and heaped that gorgeous meringue on top. Then I baked it for about 15 minutes. This time I was sure to seal the meringue to the crust so that it did not shrink as it cooled. 

The chicken pot pie was super easy. Anyone can make it. Here’s how:

In pot on the stove top, dump two cans of cream of chicken soup, one small bag of frozen mixed veggies (peas, carrots, corn, green beans) and some chicken. My chicken was frozen “Grilled and Ready” chicken chunks, but of course you can use fresh chicken or even canned if you want. I stirred that over low heat for a few minutes and then added 1/2 cup of heavy cream and salt and pepper. That’s it.

While the filling was getting good and hot, I prepared the pie tins. I used mini pie pans–they usually come in a pack of 4 or six pans. By “prepared,” I mean I set them on a cookie sheet. Next, I filled each little pan with the pot pie filling. It was just enough for four very full pies. In order to make a top crust for each pie, I used one refrigerator crust cut into strips with a pizza roller. You could make a lattice top or even leave the crust in a small circle shape for each pie. I brushed each pie with melted butter and added salt and pepper. Very easy. It took about 30 minutes for them to get brown on top at 350 degrees.I thought the Chicken Pot Pie was delicious, and my husband liked it, too. My kids ate some. My son rejected it according to the law of “Hey, what’s in this stuff?”

Oh well, three out of four ain’t bad.

After supper, I cut a piece of the Butterscotch Pie because, well, you guessed it–I just couldn’t wait. And (you’d think I would learn) here’s the result:

Let me tell you people something. That pie was incredibly delicious. We all tasted a bite, and while my family members decided they’d wait a bit to let it cool in the fridge for pretty slices, I declared aloud, “That is everything you want to put in your face.” And it is. I will tell you right now that I am having a second piece while I watch TV later. I don’t care if I get a stomach-ache. Or heartburn. Or a rash. It was that good.

Indeed, thick. And not dry. Clickin’ lot fry. Quicken rot sty …oh, never mind.

16 days to go!

A Confession and a Pie-fecta

OK. *sigh* It’s time to tell the truth about yesterday’s chocolate cheese pie. It really did smell good and look good–even for a cold pie. I said that I would wait, but alas, I lied. Here’s the evidence:

This was the slice I ate last night. I just couldn’t wait. It did indeed taste “like melted chocolate ice cream” as the recipe promised. But really, look at it. Shameful. That’s what you get when you just can’t be patient.

Now you know you can think of a time when you just should’ve waited. I’m impatient, and sometimes I get in trouble when I just won’t wait for things to turn out the way they should. Like this:

They both tasted good, but the second one was just more beautiful to behold. Sometimes, getting your way will be all right, but waiting it out and doing things right will really be what’s satisfying. It was true for this pie.

All right, at this point, I would encourage you to get a snack or a drink. It was a wild night at the pie lady’s house…


  1. A bet in which the person betting forecasts the first three finishers in a race in the correct order.
  2. A run of three wins or grand events.

I don’t know if I’d call the pies that happened in my kitchen tonight “grand events,” but they were “three finishers,” so to speak. Only tomorrow will tell how grand the events are. Seriously. I’m waiting ’til tomorrow. Here we go.
First was a Lemon Ice Box Pie which required my first attempt at a graham cracker crust. OK. I should have read ahead. A rolling-pin would have worked much better. Therefore, my crust looks sort of…well…artistic. Yeah, that’s it.
The crust got made and I filled it with some yummy lemon filling. TOTALLY guessed at the amount of lemon juice I put in that thing. Reminder: too lazy to squeeze lemons.  And another thing, there was a “beaten egg whites” step whereby you made some meringue-like stuff (church lady cookbook does not explain this AT ALL) and put it on top of the pie. Well, I started whippin’ up those two egg whites. I whipped and whipped. And whipped. But, no. Apparently, one SHARD of yolk was in there or something, because it looked like this:   It may be hard for you to tell from the photo, but verily I say unto you, “This substance is not meant for the top of a pie or anything else anyone wants to eat.”
Enter whipped cream. I just put the rest of the whipped cream I had in the  fridge on top of that Lemon Ice Box Pie. I mean, so what? Whipped cream comes from an ice box, right? So here’s the finished “pie.”  Not attractive. I’m hoping for that situation where ugly stuff tastes good. One of those pies a food critic might call “homey” or “rustic.” A pie with a “nice personality.” Pie number one got done.
 Onward and upward. The next contestant in our pie-fecta was Peachberry Pie. Or maybe Blue-peachy? Bleachy? Yuck. Peachberry it is. So I STILL had blueberries from that GIANT frozen bag>
Whew, it fixed itself. Blueberries, canned peach slices, sugar, and flour went into the shell. Then I attempted to use this cool top crust cutter with trees in it. Well…the fruit looked beautiful in the uncooked shell, but you’ll see how it worked out in the end.
Before I show that, I’ll fill you in on the third part of our gruesome threesome of pies. It, too, was from a church lady cookbook and it was named….wait for it……………..Good Pie.
I’ve got some serious admiration for a church lady who can name her entry “Good Pie.” That is confidence, people. In front of God and everybody. So here’s how the Good Pie went down. It called for some stuff I didn’t exactly have. I had a little bit of dark Karo syrup left, but not enough, so I called up the hill to my father-in-law. He searched the pantry and found some, so I sent my kids up the hill to get it. Thanks, Tom!
The other missing ingredient (sort of) was “raw oatmeal.” Here was my solution:
 I know good and well that this is probably not “raw oatmeal,” but it IS cinnamon roll flavor, and we had two whole packs left. VOILA! So I just dumped it in. I held my breath and crossed my fingers and hoped that it would indeed be “good.” That church lady probably would’ve put my name on the prayer list by now, for sure. Oh well, I have found that church ladies often need something to do…might as well be prayin’ for me. Keeps them out of trouble.
This one didn’t have too many ingredients, and here’s how it looked uncooked:
It smelled terrific. We’ll see tomorrow how it tastes. Here’s what my kitchen looked like after THREE pies:
Bowls and measuring spoons everywhere. But it sure was fun. While I waited for pies to cook, I cleaned up and had this gourmet dinner:
Note the name of the wine. I thought it was perfect for a more-than-slightly-twisted baker like myself. It made the wait quite pleasant, I must say.
All right, so here are our three finishers: Peachberry Pie, Lemon Ice Box Pie, and Good Pie.
Notice the Peachberry Pie. I tell ya, no matter what you put with blueberries, they are such stage hogs. My daughter said I should name it a moat pie instead, because of the moat of blueberry juice that seeped out around the edge. Here’s one more shot–the finished Good Pie:
I sure hope it is. I’m taking all the pies I’ve got over to the church tomorrow. I want my preschool buddies to have a Tuesday treat, and the office staff could do with some pie as well. I hope to taste a slice or two myself.
There are 17 days left ’til I turn 40, and I’ve made 33 pies so far.
Today, I’m feeling so, so thankful. Thankful for the pies, the time and the stuff to bake them, but mostly for the folks who will eat them–people who really do matter more than they know.
Today, I spent time with some folks who were down on their luck. So far down, in fact, that even pie wouldn’t have made it better. All I could offer was a prayer, a listening ear, and some time. It just didn’t feel like enough. One thing’s for sure, if you have a chance to give someone some time, a prayer, a pie, or whatever it is you’ve got to give–do it today. Don’t hesitate, because none of us gets to choose the time left in the countdown. I’ll finish today with a section of lyrics from a song by Chris Rice entitled, “Life Means So Much.”

Every day is a bank account
And time is our currency
So nobody’s rich, nobody’s poor
We get 24 hours each
So how are you gonna spend
Will you invest, or squander
Try to get ahead
Or help someone who’s under

Teach us to count the days
Teach us to make the days count
Lead us in better ways
That somehow our souls forgot
Life means so much
Life means so much
Life means so much

3 Cheese Pies

Today I made three cheese pies. Two of them were a variation on yesterday’s cheese pie. I needed to take something to a church breakfast, so I made the cheese pie and added BACON. Bacon makes everything better. The other change I made was cooking them a bit longer. I really liked how the brown toasty cheese tasted on top.

They really weren’t as dark looking as the picture makes them seem . They were a success, though, and only a small sliver of each was left when I went to get my pie plates.

Late this afternoon, I made one more pie. It was called Chocolate Cheese Pie and was from yet another church lady cookbook.

The cheese was cream cheese, and this time, I let it soften to room temperature, which worked great. What didn’t work great was the bowl with the egg whites. They just didn’t “make stiff peaks,” and I’m pretty sure I know why–I didn’t wash my beaters in between bowls. If you get anything in there with those egg whites, you can kiss your stiff peaks good-bye, sucka.

A bowl that did go well was the one with heavy whipping cream. It behaved perfectly–stiff peaks and all. All three bowls got folded together (and really there was one more container from the microwave with melted chocolate chips–modern day double boiler) to make a tasty chocolate pudding looking stuff. Then I dumped it all into a graham cracker crust.

It was supposed to be a chocolate graham cracker crust, but I didn’t have one, so….too bad. Or too good. We’ll see. Anyway, here’s the pie in the crust:

It’s supposed to sit overnight in the fridge, and that’s where it is. I’ll let you know how it tastes.

All this egg-whipping brought to mind this question:

When we spill a bit of raw egg on the counter, we disinfect frantically to avoid germs or salmonella or whatever; however, I just whipped up some raw eggs with chocolate for dessert. How does this not make me sick? I’m sure there’s a simple answer–plenty of pies and other stuff are made with raw eggs.

OK. Short and sweet tonight. Busy week ahead and the pie-maker’s gonna stare absent-mindedly into the television. Good night!

Oh, by the way, today’s pies brought the count up to 30 pies! 18 days to go!

Gimme a break, Eunice!

Eunice is the name of, I’m sure, a very sweet lady who submitted a recipe for Cheese Pie. Here it is–from one of those nice church-lady cookbooks I’ve mentioned before:

Now, at first glance, I thought, crackers, cheese, butter…how could that not be delicious? 

Take a look at this recipe and see if you have any questions about it. After I read through it a second time I said out loud, “Ummmmm…..OK,” and then, “Gimme a break, Eunice!” I didn’t include her last name, because I’m sure she’s great and all, and I’ll bet her pie tastes really good because SHE knows how to make it.

But really, Eunice? “Premium” crackers? Ya mean Ritz? Keebler? Square or Round? What size package?

What kind of cheese? Cheddar? Swiss? American? Gouda? Camembert?

Oh, and Eunice, what’s the oven temperature? 350? 400? 279?

And “until egg is set” will surely leave me with my oven light on and my nose pressed against the glass…*rolls eyes*.

The whole reason that we made this pie (me, my daughter, and her friend, Katie) was that they had a cheese pie joke from few years ago that has lasted throughout their friendship. They’re best buds, and I’m thankful my kid has found such a great girl to hang around with!

So here’s how it went down. It was around 9:30 in the morning and just as soon as I rounded up the girls to make the pie, gathered some ingredients, and began to preheat the oven, I realized that we were out of milk. Woops. So I texted my in-laws to see if they had milk. They did, but it was fat-free organic. I told them that no one would know the difference–just put it in some other container and I’d send the girls up to get it.

10 minutes later, the girls walk back in with the milk (unmarked container) and we start working on crackers. The picture above shows the brand we used and what we guesstimated as “3/4 pkg.  Premium crackers.” Katie crushed them up in a bag.

Ruthie  mixed in all the other stuff–the cheese we chose was cheddar–and dumped it all into a pie plate.

 We forgot the butter entirely. It seems like it didn’t matter so much–I think it might’ve browned it a bit more, but also may have made it too mushy.

It baked at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes (that equals “until egg is set.” We just guessed, and we waited for the edges to be brown a bit. That was a good call, and next time, I’d probably let it cook even a bit longer, because the brown part was the tastiest, in my opinion.

We all agreed that it was tasty. We also agreed that adding bacon might make it even better. As a matter of fact, I’m going to make a couple of these to take to a church breakfast tomorrow.

So, Eunice, thanks for the great idea. Maybe you just wanted to teach folks to be resourceful. Who knows? But we liked your cheese pie, and it was fun cooking with the two coolest girls in town!

Blind Baking

I’m not sure how many of you know what blind baking is. It’s when you fill a pie shell with foil and dry beans (or some kind of weights) and pre-bake the crust. It’s important for the crust to be weighed down so that it doesn’t puff up in the middle. I’ve used this technique a few times and now have my own container in the pantry marked “pie beans.” I’ve read of one baker who has been using the same dry beans for the last seven or eight years.

But that’s not what today’s post is about.

I had an appointment with the eye doctor today. It was actually scheduled for mid-November, but they had a cancellation, so I decided to go ahead and knock it off my to-do list. I had been for a walk, so they had to take me in my skanky workout clothes. Oh well, maybe everyone in there doesn’t have perfect vision…

After my appointment (by the way, my eyes are in great shape–haven’t changed a bit since my last appointment in 2005–maybe I’m not that old), they gave me those snazzy black shades, since my eyes were dilated. It was a good thing, too, because I already felt dizzy and weird, and it is a gorgeous, sunny day here. I made it home and had lunch with my husband. I knew I wanted to bake a pie today, and I couldn’t wait too long. We’ve got my son’s school carnival at 5:00, and my daughter has art class at 4:30. I knew I should get on with it–only one problem. Blind as a bat.

OK, well maybe not a bat. But if you’ve ever had your eyes dilated, you know that there is NO recipe reading going on for at least an hour or so. And even then, it’s kinda blurry. So I decided to just do without the recipe. Gulp.

I asked myself some daily pie questions:

1. What ingredients do I have/need?

2. Who is the pie for? Who needs a little pie-joy today?

3. Which pie plate–throw away or glass?

4. What makes baking this pie different from all the other pies?

5. Will I get to taste it?

Here are the answers to today’s questions:

1. I have some more blueberries (frozen ones work great in pies) and 3 large apples–I think they’re Fuji apples, but alas, I could not read the tiny sticker.

2. This pie is for Ann (maybe she’ll share with her hubby). She’s a blog-follower, a theatre enthusiast (and great director, by the way), and she just got a new job–cause for pie-joy celebration, for sure!

3. I’m sending Ann a glass plate because it works a little better for fruit pies. She only lives a couple of miles away, so I can get it back eventually.

4. What makes this pie different from all of the pies so far is that I was all blurry-eyed while baking it, and I did not consult a recipe. Thankfully, I suffered no injury. I did have to keep closing my eyes because they had that floating-around-in-your-skull feeling. I sort of remembered from my fruit pie chart that I needed around 3 TBSP of flour and about a cup of sugar, so I hope that worked. Before I began baking pies, I rarely opened a cookbook. I just wasn’t that sort of person–or so I thought. Anyway, thus was born the Appleberry Delight.

5. Not sure if I’ll get to taste it, but that’s ok. In the last 24 hours, I confess that I have had no less than THREE pieces of that pineapple coconut pie–with whipped cream, of course. So no need to share, Ann. Just let me know how it turns out. You might wanna pick up some vanilla ice cream on the way home from work. Just sayin’.

I made my second attempt at a lattice top. Those blueberries went wacky trying to get out of that shell, and could someone please tell me how to crimp one of these things? I’m gonna look that up.

Obviously, since the blog’s all done for today, my eyeballs have made a comeback. I’m thankful for that and thankful for this place:

It’s where the most special people in my life eat their pies–morning and evening. I’m 20 days into the pie-making, and I’ve made 26 pies counting today’s pies. I’m having so much fun sharing pies with others, but there’s nothing like sharing them with my family! So far, sooooooooo good.

Carnival Pie

Isn’t this pie pretty? It’s the Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie I just delivered it to my son’s elementary school for the Fall Carnival tomorrow evening. Funny story, actually. I was having a power-mom morning:

I had already helped out with a youth prayer breakfast, walked two miles at the park, baked two pies, washed the bath mats, and had homemade veggie soup for lunch.  I scheduled two doctor’s appointments and planned to get emissions testing on my car. I was even clean and decently dressed.

I was headed to school in a hurry to drop of the pie and some Cokes for the carnival. For a few minutes, in my mind, I was “THAT MOM.” You know the one. Has it all together with a bow on top…

As I hurried to get out of my van–holding the pecan chocolate chip pie seen here–my flipflop went all wonky and busted ALL over the place. Somehow, I did not fall, but I’d pay cash for a video of myself. My knee sort of “kissed” the pavement as I held the pie high like some sort of food sacrifice. I struggled not to curse and practically pulled a muscle in my neck trying to see if anyone had watched my bizarre offering to the Pie gods.

I limped into the school–my mouth full of humble pie–and reported to the office. Here’s the great thing. Those office ladies have got it goin’ on. They quickly produced packing tape, something like pliers, and some scissors and proceeded to help me repair my flipflop. I’m here to tell you that they are seriously underpaid. So the pie made it, and “NOT THAT MOM” headed back to the car, grateful that things turned out OK.

Here’s the second pie I made today–a repeat of the Coconut Pineapple Pie. My sweet husband more than hinted that he would like to try it, and we gave the last one away, so I made him another one. Of course, I “safety tested” it first–you know, for his protection. I’m pleased to say that nothing bad happened when I ate it. As a matter of fact, it was really delicious. Not too coconutty–just the right balance between the coconut and the pineapple. I do think that the first one probably turned out a bit firmer because it was in a shallower dish, but I repeat: I did not suffer.

It’s strictly on account of my Sweet Potato Pie

I guess I’m just a lucky guy
And I’m prepared to tell you why
It’s strictly on account of my
Sweet Potato Pie

This version’s by James Taylor and some friends. I’m not sure who originally did the song, but it’s a cool song.

Hey! I had no idea that there was a song called Sweet Potato Pie! That’s what I created this morning beginning at the following time:

It began last night when my sweet daughter shared that she had told her math teacher about the pie-making and had asked her about her favorite kind. Ms. Allen replied that it was sweet potato, which probably would have added her to my pie list anyway BUT, it turns out that her birthday is TODAY! Happy Birthday!

Side note: I’m always a little apprehensive when I know I’m baking someone’s FAVORITE kind of pie. Seems like somehow I’m competing with their Aunt Nancy’s famous recipe or some pie at an awesome restaurant. Then I say to myself, “When have I EVER left a bunch of pie on a plate?” So I just don’t worry about it.

I headed out to buy a few sweet potatoes–they do come in a can, but this time I decided to follow the recipe and use fresh ones. I do like sweet potatoes, especially with marshmallows and nuts and tons of sugar, but I haven’t bought any in a long time. For something that’s supposed to be such a perfect food, I’m afraid I’m gonna have to file it under “Nice Personality” in the Beauty Pageant of Stuff That Grows in the Dirt (BPOSTGIND). Those suckers are ugly. No big deal. We all know that what’s inside is most important.

I baked the potatoes last night–it took about an hour–because I knew I wouldn’t have time in the morning. I also set out lots of ingredients, since I knew I would be getting an early start. I’m not sure if I’ve shared this information before, but I used to think that cooks on TV used all those little prep bowls just to be fancy show-offs.  While that may have some truth, I think the real reason is this: They do not want to burn their arm hairs off, chop their fingers up in the food processor, get clothing caught in the mixer, etc. And they especially do not want to SCREW UP THE FOOD. If there’s anything I’ve learned in the kitchen over the last couple of weeks it’s to read the recipe twice (at least) and BE PREPARED.

So today at the pre-crack of dawn I dumped those taters into my food processor (skins removed, of course) and that machine did it’s squish-stuff-up magic. I liked this recipe (from my PIE cookbook, which I highly recommend if you ever want to make pies) because you mix the whole thing in the food processor bowl.   Everything was poured into the shell and headed into the oven by 6:15 a.m. Yawn.  I would’ve been up anyway, because our youngest has to be on the bus by 6:40 each day.

It smelled so good while it was baking that my daughter declared, “They should make a sweet potato pie candle!” I thought it looked pretty good, but something annoying did happen in the oven.

The cookie sheet that I put under the pie (you really just have to do that for really liquidy pies–especially in give-away pie tins) BUCKLED in the oven–I heard it. I know this can happen with some metals. My sister’s suggestion was to invest in heavy-duty steel sheets which do not move in the heat. I just might, because even though the pie looked all right and did not leak out of its shell, it wasn’t as level as I’d like.

The pie had an hour to cool on the rack before we needed to leave for school. I covered it in plastic wrap, and my daughter wrote a nice birthday note for her teacher. We added a fork and knife–when it’s your birthday, you reserve the right to just dig into a pie right when you want to. We delivered the pie to Ms. Allen, and she was very gracious about it. I cautioned her to wait at least an hour before she ate it so that the pie would come out of the pan OK. She said that she would and said some nice things about our sweet kid. Love that sweet kid! Then it was time for me to go home, as I had exceeded the amount of minutes a middle schooler’s mom can be at school without it getting weird, apparently.

Whether Ms. Allen likes the pie or not–I sure hope she does–I hope she’ll know that she’s appreciated by us and by our kid. Teaching math is important, but teaching advanced math to middle schoolers–well, that just deserves extra recognition. Thank you, Ms. Allen, for having a positive impact on our child. You are making a difference each day!

22 days to go ’till the big four oh. 3 weeks and 1 day. 540 hours. 32, 411 minutes. Whatcha gonna do with your next 32, 411 minutes? Just curious.