Babysitter Pie

This morning’s blog is a fast one, because I’m headed out to church, but I didn’t want to miss sharing Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Pie with an awesome young woman I know–Tabitha!

She’s the awesomest babysitter we’ve ever had. I’m not kidding. She’s the one that moms are (not so secretly) fighting over. Not only are my kids always safe and happy, but she’s survived all kinds of stuff–injuries, people throwing up, and Lord knows what else. She handles it all like a champ.

But don’t be fooled, she’s so much more than an awesome babysitter…She’s a bright, beautiful young woman with the world at her fingertips. She’s working hard through college, and it won’t be long before she’s living on her own.

She’s given her time on mission trips, at VBS, in youth Bible studies–and so much more. A lot of older people could learn a thing or two about serving from this woman who’s barely in her twenties–including this old Pie Lady.

I’m so proud to know her–and it’s been a joy watching her turn into the incredible woman she’s become! Enjoy your pie, awesome girl! P.S. I already know that your mom wants a slice. Just sayin’….

Spring Pie Fest

What a crazy week this has been! People called FOUR DAYS IN A ROW about viewing our home. Of course, after we shove stuff in drawers, wipe stuff off, and close toilets, the people only came two out of four times. And just for fun, we also get to drive around or go get coffee or just find somewhere else to be for a secret, undetermined, only-known-to-the-realtor-and-not-you amount of time. Whew.

In between all that, there were pies to make. I baked a few for a charity auction, and some just for friends.

Yesterday, I cooked a delicious Rustic Veggie Tart for lunch for my husband and me. It was full of lightly cooked fresh vegetables with butter and basil and topped of with feta and Asiago cheeses. It was very tasty, and we plan on sharing the last slice this evening.

Last night and today, I’ve been busy baking again. I baked a Jack Daniels Pecan Chocolate Chip Pie  AGAIN. This time for the church bake sale this morning. Well, I asked my husband to drop it off on his way to a meeting this morning. He called me moments after leaving–as the phone rang, I thought, “Oh no! Maybe his car broke down. Maybe the pie slid into the floor or something.” But no. He was calling to say that the pie got snatched right out of his hand by one of the sweet ladies working at the sale. “My husband and I will eat that tonight. 10 bucks. Sold!” OK, then. I hung up the phone and started baking another one. I knew we’d be headed over there later, and I figured I’d take one with me.

In my haste, I forgot the Jack Daniels, which made it just a plain old Pecan Chocolate Chip Pie. I figured someone could suffer through. Didn’t even remember it till the thing was baking. I was tempted to just drink the 2 tablespoons of whiskey and not change the name of the pie, but it was still morning…

I did take that pie with us to the sale at church. I think it lasted on the table for about 15 minutes. Bye bye, pecan pie!When we got home, I got to work on a few other pies. I baked a Gratefulberry Pie for a friend, Melissa at work. She mopped up something gross when I couldn’t take it. All kinds of great things happen at a preschool, but also there are lots of GROSS things. I won’t go into detail, but that woman has a stomach of steel AND a servant’s heart. Always willing to help. Always asking, “Is there anything I can help you with?” Her attitude is one I admire, for sure. She deserves pie, so I made her one with blueberries and raspberries and a pretty lattice top. The pie bird really helps on berry pies, because it cuts down on the juice. Otherwise, they just bubble up all over the place. Thanks, birdie!

The next pie was for my family. My eight year old complained this week, “When are you gonna bake us a pie?” Fair enough. One Joe’s Crab Shack Key Lime Pie coming right up. I called my husband downstairs when I was zesting the limes, and when he saw what I was making, he let out a happy little gasp. Key Lime’s his absolute favorite. That little gasp made it all worth the work! We’ll try to wait until after supper to have some.

The final pie of the day is another Rustic Veggie Tart. I’m baking it for a friend of mine. She’s been working super hard lately, and I hope it will be a nice surprise for her and her husband to share over dinner. More yummy veggies. More gooey cheese. Can’t go wrong with that!
Of all the things that wore me out this week, baking pies was NOT one of them.

When you find something that uses your mind and feeds your soul, it doesn’t feel like work at all.

Pie’s about to come out of the oven. Gotta go!

Weaving Pie

What a day today has been! It started off in the usual way–got the kids off to school and met a friend for coffee. After a bit of good conversation, I got an urgent phone call. Come now. You’re needed at work.

OK. It’s good to be needed, but I was oh so sad to learn the reason–a dear friend of mine lost her grandmother today. Suddenly. It’s never easy to lose someone you love, but the suddenness makes it an even more bitter pill to swallow. Let me tell you something you probably already know. When you know someone you care about is grieving–it just rips your heart out. There’s nothing to be done. Prayers are important. Hugs are sometimes appreciated. But we’re just too human when stuff like this happens. Hearing someone’s voice when they’re hurting just makes you want to jump through the phone and feel it for them, so they don’t have to.

I baked her an Apple Pie. That lattice crust on top weaves together all the sadness, joy, and purpose of a life well lived. It can’t make things better. But it’s how I know to say, “I’m so, so sorry, and I love you.”

I had been planning to bake tonight anyway. I’m baking a few pies for a charity auction tomorrow night. I’m not really expecting any of them to bring in the big bucks, but it might provide something interesting for the folks with just a few bucks in their pockets (which is most of us these days, right?).

The first pie is Appleberry Pie , which has apples and blueberries. It went a little whacky in the oven, and I might not take that one–it probably tastes great, but look at that sloppy juice! Other pie-makers will surely laugh…we’ll see. On the other hand, people love a lattice crust. This one weaves together the 24 years of our little preschool. Years of growing, learning, loving, and hope. Years full of precious families full of dreams for their little ones, and dedicated teachers who cared enough to help get those dreams started.

Still in the oven (at 11:03 p.m., mind you–yawn) is Jack Daniels Pecan Chocolate Chip Pie, which ought to get a couple of bids because people cannot resist a pie with booze. It’s just the plain truth. I secretly (OK, not so secretly) hope no one bids on that one–I love that pie. It’s for a good cause, though, so I should share. 🙂

On a side note, our house is still on the market, and strangely enough, we’ve had two days in a row of showing it. So everything in the messy pie lady’s kitchen has gotta be S&S&N&N (straight & smooth & neat & nice–my dad always said that). I’ve got one more pie to whip up in the morning–Chocolate Chess. It’s not too tricky–only one bowl and 45 minutes to bake. Hopefully things’ll get tidied up early.

One thing’s for sure. A day with so many emotions woven through it has made this baker tired. So for now, I’m a dream weaver!

 

St. Patrick’s Day Pie–Please show your ID.

If I misspell anything, sorry. It’s from tasting the filling of today’s Grasshopper Pie. Hiccup.

The recipe is adapted from a couple of recipes I found online. I couldn’t find one that I liked completely, so I combined them all and came up with this one. Perhaps creativity and the luck of the Irish will prevail.

What you need:

1 bag of BIG marshmallows (around 32 or so–I ate a couple)

1 chocolate cookie crust (You can make this with butter and crushed up Oreos, but I say no. I am lazy.)

a couple of drops of green food coloring (Dude, do NOT get that stuff on you. Stains. For a reeeeeaally long time.)

3/4 cup milk

3 TBSP of green creme de menthe (MOM! I cannot believe you let us have that stuff on ice cream on Christmas Eve growing up! Yum.)

3 TBSP of clear cream de cacao

8-10  oz. of Cool Whip (again, not exact, because I tasted some–with a different spoon, OK?)

Andes mints (or something else chocolatey like chips or shavings)

What to do:

First, melt the whole bag of marshmallows on medium heat with the milk. Keep stirring. I’m not kidding. It will stick to the bottom if you don’t.

Once that is all the way melted, pour it into a bowl and stick it in the fridge to thicken–maybe 7-10 minutes.

When you take it out of the fridge, stir in all that liquor–the creme de menthe and the creme de cacao. 3 TBSP is more than you think, and 6 TBSP is more generous than any bartender I’ve met.

Stir that up and stir in a couple of drops of green food coloring. Careful. Again….STAINS.

Next, fold in the whipped cream. Stir until everything is blended to a smooth, green color.

Now stick your finger in there and taste it. Booze.

That’s what I tasted. Yummy, minty booze. I felt instantly Irish. I would’ve kissed a leprechaun if there’d been one nearby.

Now, pour that pretty, boozy filling into the chocolate crust. Smooth it out and swirl it a bit on top.

Chop up the Andes candy and sprinkle it all over the top.

Stick it in the fridge and try to resist drinking it like a tasty cocktail pie through a straw. It’ll probably take several hours, but I’m waiting at least overnight.

Raise your hand if you like desserts made of liquor and candy.

Yep. Me too.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!

Love, Your Favorite Irish Pie Lady

 

Nanner Pie

Today’s Banana Cream Pie is for a terrific young man I know. He’s in his early 20’s, and he’s the son of a friend and co-worker. Really great guy, that one. He’s not too far from finishing college, but I was touched a few days ago to overhear his mom telling someone that her “baby boy” was going to be at home this week. He works hard, and all who know him declare him to be completely swell. I just like the kid. I mean, man. I mean,

When did you get so grown up?

I smile when I think about him for a couple of reasons. First of all, he’s right at the age my husband was when we got engaged. Hard to believe we were ever that young. Secondly, I feel encouraged to know this: lots of young people turn out all right. With all the negative press directed toward teenagers and young people, it is a joy to know there are still a few–OK a bunch–who do the right thing. Every day. On purpose. Just because it’s the right thing.

I know his mom is so proud of him, and so am I.

You should know, though, that the real reason he’s getting a pie is because of these wise words he uttered; “Mom, what do I have to do to get one those pies?”

You just did it, pal. Here’s your pie!

And it was prepared for you on PI DAY (3.14)! What could be better?

Here’s the Banana Cream Pie Recipe:

Slice 3 bananas into a cup of water with 1 TBSP of lemon juice (this keeps them from getting brown and yucky). Then drain the bananas well.

In a bowl, mix 1 box of vanilla pudding mix, 1 and a half cups of milk, and 8 oz. of sour cream.

Carefully fold the banana slices into the pudding stuff.

Pour the pudding stuff into a graham cracker crust.

Next, garnish the edge with nilla wafer cookies.

On top of the pudding stuff, spread this mixture:

3 oz. cream cheese and 8 oz. Cool Whip (mixed with electric mixer)

Garnish with more cookies or bananas if you’d like.

Chill overnight.

Try to share. 🙂

 

 

 

Lawn Mower 3.14159265

It’s March, and I’ve been itchin’ to cut the grass. All winter long, my trusty yard hat and my mower keys waited for me. A week or so ago, I put on the hat (it looks really dorky, but it keeps the sun out of my eyes and the bugs out of my enormous, bug-attracting hair). I cheerfully walked to the shed to rev up the old riding mower. As I sat down, I shuddered more than a little, because right then, I noticed a really gross DEAD MOUSE on the shed floor to my right.

Thanks to this mouse, I was eager to get the mower going and get out of there. So, one eye on the mouse carcass and one on the mower, I started it up.

Or tried to.

No dice.

I fiddled around with all the stuff I pretend to know about mowers–choke, throttle, neutral, whatever. It wouldn’t start. After some embarrassing lawn mower scooching dance moves, I was able to help the thing roll backwards down the ramp. Whatever was gonna happen was NOT gonna happen near Mousy McDeadstein. Whew. Now my similarly dead mower was at least out in the open.

So I put out a cry on Facebook stating that anyone who could get my mower started would be paid in pie.

Enter my friend and co-worker, Julia. She brought over this awesome thing:

It’s a battery charger. I know that ’cause she told me (and ’cause it says so on the front). That cool box did the trick. It also reminded me of my Dad. He knew how to fix stuff, for sure. It seemed he always had the right tool–or at least knew where to get it. He would have been pleased that nobody paid a repair person for a job that could be done at home.

I did pay with pie, though. My grass is mowed, and my friend was just plain nice. So I made her a Lawn Mower Pie.
In case you’re wondering, “Lawn Mower” in this context means “Apple.” It is one of the easiest pies to make, and it smelled terrific while baking. I sure hope Julia and her family enjoyed it. Thanks again!

 

Now, about that 3.14159265

 

 

 

Tomorrow is March 14, otherwise known as PI DAY. Get it? 3.14? It’s a math joke, see….

Anyway, here’s what happened…

My teenager–the dear–got into the car a few days ago and let me know that she volunteered me to make pie for school.

“Pie?” I said. “Sure! What’s it for?”

“Well, my teacher said we were gonna celebrate pi day, so I raised my hand and said you would make the pies.”

“Oh. PIES? How many pies?”

“Not sure.”

“How many people are in your class?”

“Hmmmmm….”

She wasn’t quite sure of that either, so I emailed her teacher.

Pies for 20, coming right up.

Don’t panic. I didn’t have to make 20 pies. I decided that four would be about right. Here’s what I’m taking to middle school tomorrow morning.

Cherry Pi

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pi

Apple Pi

Chocolate Pi

At this point (just before seven in the evening), two pies are completed. It’s gonna be a busy evening–and morning!

Here’s my favorite (before it was baked), so far:

Not sure which will be the favorite, but I’m bringing whipped cream, too. That makes every pie exponentially better, according to my calculations. There, now don’t I sound “mathy?”

Happy Pi Day, everyone! Do something mathematical tomorrow!

Hey there, Sugar Pie!

Tonight, I had the privilege of helping two cool teenagers bake a Cherry Pie. One of my daughter’s friends wanted to make a pie for her dad’s birthday, so they did. They even made homemade crust! I was proud of them AND myself. I’m a control freak–especially in the kitchen–so letting them do the work was an accomplishment for everyone. They really did a terrific job! We hope her dad loves the pie–cherry’s his favorite.

Next on the pie docket was a new pie for me, Sugar Pie or Tarte au Sucre. I used a recipe from my favorite PIE cookbook. What a fun pie to make! The girls used homemade crusts for their pie, but I had one store-bought crust left, so I used that for the Sugar Pie. Here’s how it went down.

First, I made this crumble stuff. It has butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt all crumbled together. I don’t have a pastry blender, so I used my hands. Worked great for getting the pieces small.

After the crumbly stuff was made, I set it aside to get the crust ready. I crimped it and put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes. I’ve come to really appreciate this step, especially when pre-baking is involved. If you’re going to put foil and beans in a crust, it better be tough, and freezing does the trick for keeping it intact during baking.

The filling is made from maple syrup (I confess that I used regular old grocery store syrup–it takes a whole cup, and that’s all I had), eggs, and a little bit of baking soda. I heated the syrup up to “just a little above room temperature” on the stove-top and then whisked in everything else. 

All the while, the crust was cooling from where I had pre-baked it. The pre-baking process takes at least 30 minutes, but I have found that it really ensures a crispy crust which makes any pie tastier.

Next, I poured the yummy, syrupy filling over one half of the crumbs in the pie shell. 

Finally, I sprinkled the remainder of the crumble mixture on top of the filling. So it was crumbs, then syrup, then crumbs. 


Now, for the record, this process is similar to the construction of a Shoofly Pie. Shoofly Pie is one of the few foods on this planet that I seriously would be fine never eating again. Yuck. It’s those molasses. But Sugar Pie has no molasses, so I had hope.


The pie baked for just 30 minutes, and the recipe cautioned not to go over 30 minutes, even if the filling seemed jiggly, which it absolutely did. I allowed the pie to cool for about 45 minutes. Although it had come out of the oven sort of “poofy,” it ended up looking really good.

Now, I should have waited longer, I think, to taste the pie. Almost all pies are better if they cool for a couple of hours. But you know me–no waiting. So I sliced into that sucker. It was kinda droopy–really needed the cooling time, BUT….

It tasted like Christmas morning.

Or some other awesomely wonderful day that you want to go to. I’m here to tell ya, folks, it’s the first pie I have LICKED OFF OF THE PLATE. I just didn’t want it to end. 

It did not taste like syrup or any other specific thing. Just warm, beautiful, smooth SUGAR. It fit its name perfectly.

I love it when something is what it claims to be.

I have heard deceptive descriptions before, for sure. Especially about food. For example, “Tasty, nutritious, fiber” or “Fresh, bright, vegetable delight!”

Other food lies include, “You’ll never know it’s sugar free!” or “You won’t miss the calories!”

Umm…yes. Yes, I will. 

So tell it like it is–food or otherwise!

I’ll end with this quote–a favorite of my Dad’s:

“Be what you is, and not what you ain’t. ‘Cause you ain’t what you is, if you is what you ain’t.”

True. So true.