Pitty-full Pie

My husband is a writer for Broadway World. It’s his second job, and it pays in tickets. He previews or reviews shows and is rewarded with tickets. Because of this, we’ve gotten to see a lot of fantastic shows that we otherwise might not have. Tonight, we’re going to see “I Hate Hamlet,” a comedy play presented by our local theater. I’m really looking forward to an evening out with my favorite guy.

Since my teenage daughter has an overnight at church, we needed to make plans for our 11 year old. He’s responsible enough to stay home, but we thought he’d enjoy being with a friend more, so we asked for a favor from our friends down the street, who have a son his age.chipsandplate

I offered to pay them in wine and pie, so although I’m not sure if they were originally planning to say yes or not, they did. So grateful for helpful, kind friends, and I’m also grateful for an excuse to make pie.

I’m making a cherry pie, and I chose the flavor for the number one reason that I usually do: I had the stuff already. It’s a Crumble Top Berry Ganache Pie, so “the stuff” is one pie crust, one can of cherry pie filling, some fresh blackberries, and the crumble ingredients (brown and white sugars, unsalted butter, and flour). The ganache is just made of white chocolate and half and half. Not a tough pie to make, but hopefully delicious.

Have you ever read the label of cherry pie filling (or anything that contains cherries)? Sometimes there’s sugar or flavorings added, but you can always count on reading this phrase:


Or on this particular can of filling:


Pits are one of those things that have a purpose, but sometimes end up where you don’t want them to be. When I’m biting into a cherry, a peach, or a plum, the last thing I want is for the pit to be a surprise (for my teeth!). Inevitably, I make some disappointed sound and my hand instinctively goes to my mouth. I mean, I know it’s there, and I know why–without it, all that delicious flesh would just fall apart, I guess, and would never have grown in the first place. Still, it’s shocking, for a moment, to bite into something hard, when you expected something soft and sweet. Without fail, though, I instantly forgive the pit and keep eating the juicy fruit.blackberrycherry


I’m sure anybody could come up with something in life that seems like “the pits.” For me, it’s the fact that my doctor has declared, for now, that I have to stop eating all sugar, grains, corn, legumes, potatoes, soy, and a bunch of other deliciousness. There are very good reasons, he knows what he’s talking about, and after 10 days, I already feel better, but still…SUGAR. Man, I love sugar.

Anyway, for a pie maker, it might seem like the end–running into this PIT. But when I started to make this first pie (after the doc’s decree), I realized the sweet truth.

Forgiving the “pit” of not being able to eat it the pie is easy when I consider the sweetness of creating something wonderful to say thanks to dear friends. NN-fruits-grow-from-pits

I found something else interesting when I was doing a little pit research. (What? The internet has everything, right?) All of these fruits MUST have their pits to turn into delicious, beautiful, and useful things.

Well, that’ll preach. When you bite into one of life’s “pits,” it’s unsettling for sure, but eventually, if you can forgive the pit, forget the pain, and move on, it helps you grow into something beautiful and useful.


I’ll take that any day over a pit-less life that bears nothing beautiful or useful.


mushyfruitpieThe Berry Ganache Pie is gonna need ice cream. It’s pretty wet-looking right now, because it just came out of the oven, and I decided to drizzle some more of the white chocolate ganache on top. If it’s gonna be cobbler-esque anyway, it might as well be more chocolatey.


So today’s choice:

Either sit there with your hand over your mouth being angry at the pits, or move on and get to the delicious part.

I know what I choose.


Hopeful Pie


On the first day of 2016, I had cherry pie with my breakfast. It was partly because I was at a diner with my daughter. Aren’t you required to eat pie at a diner? There was another reason I decided to eat it. There’s an old superstition which says that whatever you’re doing on New Year’s Day is what you’ll be doing throughout the year, so eating pie with someone I love seemed like a good place to start.

We were eating at the Parthenon Diner in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. We were chilly after a failed attempt at seeing the sunrise on New Year’s Day. Of course, the sun rose, but when it did, we realized we were on a beach facing WEST. Or at least that’s what the lame compasses on our phones said. We ran to the car and drove around chasing anywhere facing east where we could catch the sun, to no avail. We saw slivers of it, and finally settled upon a diner breakfast as a substitute year-starter.water

The great thing is, that misadventure opened the door to some beautiful and hilarious adventures that day for my daughter and me. We saw more than one waterfall, a castle, a beach, a statue of Jesus, boats, ducks, some very intriguing diner guests, and a lot of each other.

It’s funny. The night before, she was the one who talked me into getting up in the dark to see the sunrise. It had been my idea originally, but I was exhausted from the holidays and a leg injury (that’s another story for another day) and just wanted to sleep in. But when your teenager asks you to do something with them, you say yes. So we left at 5:30 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

me and rI tried to think of what made me want to see that particular sunrise in the first place. I’m an early riser most days (welcome to your mid-forties, I guess) and I enjoy the sunrise just fine from my warm chair in the den. But for 2016, I guess I wanted to experience something different. And I did. I realize now that the thing I wanted to experience was HOPE.

There’s nothing more hopeful than the start of a new day–a new year. 2015 was a year that I’m grateful for, but that I wouldn’t repeat. Work changes, health changes and the dark and scary news of this world left me feeling tired and discouraged, but so grateful. I am grateful for my family, who stayed by my side, and grateful for my faith that kept the lights on (however dim) when my soul felt dark–just enough light to see my way into 2016.

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”

Desmond Tutu


sunriseEven though the only “sunrise” I saw that day was this street sign, the light of that day shone bright in our hearts. We had so much fun together, and together we experienced so much hope for the year ahead. If the superstition is true, 2016 will be a year filled with surprises, love, adventure, HOPE and pie!



P.S. If anyone’s wondering if this pie lady still makes any pies, I made this one the next day. It’s just an apple pie, but what makes it special is the crumble on top. Its made with butter, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and almonds. Those chopped almonds added a delightful crunch to this old standard. It’s never too late to try something new, right?

Happy 2016! May this year be full of hope and peace for us all. And pie. Don’t forget the pie.


The Worst Pies in London–or at least in Connecticut

Sweeney Todd–The Worst Pies in London


Go ahead. Click on the link. It’s from a delightfully creepy Broadway musical called Sweeney Todd. The story’s quite dark, and eventually, the keeper of the pie shop resorts to some–let’s say “unconventional”–methods for improving her pies. In the meantime though, they’re the worst. Bad enough to sing about.


A significant thing:  My forties decided to really welcome me in with thyroid issues, so I’ve been experimenting with different things to feel better (in addition to medication). One of those experiments involved eliminating gluten. It’s a big challenge, to be sure, and I’ve had a little success, but I’m not sure if it’s enough to keep me hanging on, but time will tell. We press on.

I’m sharing this because I want to clarify that what I really believe in is delicious, gluten-y, regular old pie crust. I don’t really want anything else. After folding my arms and stomping my feet about it, a couple of weeks ago, I tried making a gluten-free pie crust. It’s taken me some time to get over it.


bakedMy lovely husband ordered a cool cookbook (I love pie cookbooks of any kind) and some gluten-free pie crust mix for me. He is so thoughtful, and I really was eager to try it out. On my first attempt, I got out my food processor and a few supplies, and then I read the bag. I didn’t have everything I needed. I was missing some kind of alternative flour to flour the rolling surface. You can’t just slap the dough on the board. Well, you can, but then it’s stuck.

On attempt number two (a few days later), I used rice flour to flour the surface on which I planned to roll out the dough. I carefully followed the instructions and used my reliable old food processor to mix the dough. It mixed.

As I scraped the dough out of the bowl onto the wooden surface, I came to realize this crucial fact:  THIS IS NOT THE SAME DOUGH.

It seemed like a simple idea. The bag of mix told the truth about its contents. I don’t have any reason to believe that an experienced baker of gluten-free pastries couldn’t make this fantastic. I knew gluten had to do something, and I was about to learn what. I kept working, anyway, and tried doing what I’d always done. I tried patting the dough. It felt sweaty. I tried squeezing the dough together. It somehow felt gritty. I tried rolling it…Oh Lord, it was a disaster.roll

Getting it into the pie plate was like trying to stuff an octopus into a large mesh apple bag.  In the dark. With one hand. After 5 glasses of wine. For you AND the octopus. While you’re trying to visualize that, I’ll save you the thought process by telling you:  THIS IS NOT THE SAME DOUGH.



While I know there are ways to make this crust similar to the original, it’s never going to be the original. So I gave up on that and smooshed the crust into the dish. Instead of smooth, pretty dough, the pie dish displayed fingerprinted dough with thin spots and lumps. Sigh.

I loaded it up with delicious apple and pear filling and started working on the top crust. And by “working on,” I mean, mashing random-sized hunks of dough on top until I couldn’t see fruit anymore. Then, to make it seem like someone cared (in the same way you’d stick a big pretty hair bow on a bed-headed toddler), I crimped the edges with a fork. Then, after only 19 tries and getting dough stuck in the cutter, I managed to cut out a little apple for the top.



All the while, I’m thinking to myself. Some stuff is just different, and you have to accept it. You can wish all you want. You can try to fight it. You can try denial. You can keep samin’ when you oughta be a changin’. Here’s some different stuff about which I have learned (sometimes–ok, most of the time–the hard way):

–Gluten-free pie crust is NOT regular pie crust.

–Your forties are NOT your thirties. Your body knows this, so go ahead and tell your brain.

–Your second (or third, or fourth) child is NOT your first.

–Decaf coffee is NOT regular coffee.

–Your new friends are NOT your old friends.

–Pepsi is NOT Coke.

–Your new car is NOT your old car (turns out, 10 or 11 years makes a big difference in technology–where ARE those wiper controls?)

–Your goals for now are NOT always your goals from five years ago.

–Leggings are NOT pants.

–Northern drivers are NOT southern drivers.


So the pie baked. It did smell great, which has always been one of my favorite things about baking pies. We had some friends over for dinner, and after many disclaimers and promise of real dessert (strawberries with pound cake) in exchange for their taste-testing services, we all tried a bite or two of the pie.baked pie

Drum roll……


It had sort of a shortbread crust feel, and the filling was delicious. It was very, very crumbly, and I desperately wanted some coffee. One friend politely declared that I “had a good thing going.” It was clear that revisions and modifications were needed. We licked our forks and moved on.

I don’t know if it was really the worst pie ever. My son had more than one slice. Also, I distinctly remember hating shoo-fly pie enormously. That stuff is like eating tar on the devil’s back porch.

Anyway, lesson learned. Some things just aren’t the same. Will I make more gluten-free crust? Probably. Will it ever be like gluten-y crust? Nope.

I’m not very good with change. But the truth is this: you can either fight change or keep working with it. Lick your fork and move on. Off to work we go!


Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.

George Bernard Shaw






Pay Attention Pie

Yesterday was one of the best days I’ve had in a while.  As I lay in bed last night, I remembered advice from a book I once read:

If a day has been good, take a moment to ask yourself why it was good. Whatever you did on that day, do more of it every day.

My day was pretty ordinary, but it included time with family, hearing birds and raindrops, conversation with friends, hearing people laugh, getting stuff organized, and not hurrying. And pie. One of the highlights of the day was making Coconut Cream Pie.  It was delicious, and more importantly, a joy tpie pic 1o make, and I’m even a little sad not eating it right now, especially since I’m sitting at my desk pretending to like the raw cucumbers I’m eating.

It’s hard to know why, but I’ve been sort of longing to make a pie. I know this is true, because I bought flaked coconut at the store last week. Nobody just randomly buys coconut–there has to be a reason.

Anyway, I used a recipe I’ve used before from this book. It was the very first pie cookbook I purchased, pie bookand I’m telling you, this guy Ken knows how to make pie. I highly recommend it for his clear explanations, helpful tips, and the wide variety of recipes he includes.

The thing about coconut cream pie, or really any custard pie is that you MUST pay attention. You have to commit to standing by the stove for a good 10 or 15 minutes and doing nothing else. This is a struggle for me as a diehard multi-tasker with a very short attention span. As I’m typing this, spell-check is teaching me that multi-tasker isn’t even a word, which is probably a good indicator that trying to be one is a bad idea. ANYWAY….

You have to stand there and whisk. And whisk. And whisk. Whiskey whisk, whisk whisk. Sadly, there’s no whiskey involved…but you whisk on. Because if you don’t keep whisking and watching and paying attention, your custard is going to be gross. It takes about five seconds for delicious, loud-noise-worthy, lick-the-spoon-tasty, creamy custard awesomeness to turn to lumpy, burnt, garbage. Trust me.

pie pic 5

Because of this fact, you have to have everything prepared. This means that before I even turned on the stove top, I had to find teaspoons, measuring cups, the all-important whisk, the butter (pre-diced), and anything else that needed to be at one-arm’s reach. This is a challenge for people like me. Let me give you an example of why.

Right now, as I’m working on this, there is a yogurt covered raisin pressed between my thigh and my desk. This is because I insisted on trying to somehow keep typing while reaching for a handful of food. I don’t want it to fall, because then I would have to bend over, and it’s snack time, not workout time. As if a two-second break would ruin everything. I just refuse to pay attention sometimes.

Raisin removed. Focus reinstated.

Back to custard. You whisk and whisk, remove it from the heat, and then quickly (still whisking with one hand) add butter, vanilla, coconut extract, and coconut.

Meanwhile, as if paying attention wasn’t hard enough, in the oven is more coconut, toasting to go on top of the pie at the end of the process. Timing is everything, and I’ve never been able to set a timer that really knows how long coconut takes to toast. The internet lies. Cookbooks lie. I’m here to tell you the truth. Check it constantly, or you will have to top your pie with blackened shards of used-to-be-coconut.

So this time, the stars aligned, and more importantly, I kept my eyes on that custard. I paid attention to how it looked, smelled, and felt under the whisk. I was prepared ahead of time. I allowed myself time to pay attention.

The pie was tasty, and I had the privilege to share it not only with my family, but with friends down the street, one of whom ate her part right on the front porch. The best part was that the pie gave us a reason to sit and talk while our kids played and laughed loudly on a summer night. Thanks, Coconut Cream Pie.

pie pic 4

I have heard the saying, “He was so poor he couldn’t even afford to pay attention.” Here is the truth I realized on this completely ordinary and impossible-to-repeat day:

I can’t afford NOT to pay attention.

pie pic 3

It would be an expensive waste of time to NOT pay attention to birds, rain, laughter, conversation, the smell of custard (burnt or not), or any other ordinary, beautiful or painful thing that I get to experience. It is a travesty to squander the taste of summer vegetables, cool water when it’s hot out, or the feeling of accomplishment you have when you finish a difficult task. We must even pay attention to the hard stuff–sadness, disappointment, frustration. It’s the only way to get the full value of each moment–each day.

Like money, time is gone once you spend it, so you may as well get what each moment is worth.

“…paying attention requires no equipment, no special clothes, no greens fees or personal trainers. You do not even have to be in particularly good shape. All you need is a body on this earth, willing to notice where it is.”

—Barbara Brown Taylor

from An Altar in the World

Sweet Potato Pie

I’m pretty sure I posted this video a while back, but I couldn’t resist posting it for my first attempt at Sweet Potato Pie.

All summer long we’ve benefited from a farm share. We paid in advance of summer for organic veggies from a local farm. Once a week we pick up delicious crops from a location within a few miles of home.


This week is our last week. For 18 weeks, we’ve enjoyed lettuce, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, pumpkin, watermelon, and so much more. One of the items we’ve enjoyed is sweet potatoes. I decided to use the last three for sweet potato pie.


Once, a long time ago, I made a pumpkin pie using REAL pumpkin–not from a can. With second graders. It tasted fine, but several parts of the experience were sort of grueling. In those moments, I became a huge fan of canned pumpkin. Because of this, I was kinda nervous about using real sweet potatoes for my pie. But, you know, farm to table and all that jazz, so…..

I baked the potatoes for about 50 minutes at 425 degrees. I poked each one a few times with a knife. I used to wonder what would happen if you didn’t poke potatoes. Earlier this year, I found out. Just please, never don’t poke it. But that’s another story.

Anyway, after I took the potatoes out of the oven, I put them into cold water. This was for two reasons: 1. They were so super hot that I couldn’t handle them. 2. It really did help the peels come off easily.

potatoesinwaterpotatoesinbutterNext, I put the potatoes in a bowl with a stick of unsalted butter. I used a knife to roughly chop up the sweet potatoes and then a mixer on medium speed.


Now, I did end up with a pureed substance after adding 2 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, cinnamon and nutmeg (1/2 tsp each), 1 cup of sugar, and a tsp of vanilla. BUT, not before I blew hot sweet potato all over creation. It was on the coffee pot. It was in the sink. It was on my apron. It was off of my apron. It was on the floor. It was a SWEET-POTATO-NADO. It was ridiculous, and I wish I had a slow motion video of myself in that tasty sweet potato rain. At least plenty stayed in the bowl for the pie.

In other news, I’m pretty sure I should’ve cooked one of the potatoes longer, because it was kinda big. See those chunks? They just kept being there. Chunks aside, though, I poured the filling into a 9 inch pie crust that I’d shaped and put into the fridge to keep cold. The pie baked for 55 minutes at 350 degrees. The house smelled like autumn.


When the pie was done, I put it on a rack to cool for about 45 minutes. Then, when I could wait no longer, I cut myself a slice. I can’t remember when I’ve ever had a slice of sweet potato pie before. At Thanksgiving, I usually pass it up to have pumpkin pie. Tonight though, I ate a warm slice.sweetslice

I wasn’t sure how much I liked it, so I had another slice. Just a little one. Really.

You can tell from the slice photo that it’s not perfect. There are still a few chunks of sweet potato that didn’t get completely blended. I assure you, this did not have a negative impact. YUM.

This was a good pie, and I’m glad I decided to try it. I’m having a birthday in a few weeks, and every now and then I think, you’re getting to old to start anything new–just try to work with what you’ve got. The second slice of pie reminded me:

It’s never too late.

Sure, sweet potato pie is not sky diving or mountain climbing or writing a book or a doctoral degree. But for me, it is new. It is sweet. It is possible.

“Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything’s possible again. You live in the moment, you take it all one day at a time […] You try to walk in the light”
― Marie Lu

So here’s to the newness of each day. Taste the sweetness of each moment. Embrace the possibility that’s all around you!

Tomato Pie

threetomatoesIn just one week, school starts in our part of Connecticut. But for today, it’s summer. One thing I LOVE about summer is tomatoes. We’ve been fortunate this year to participate in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program, which means we pay in advance to receive weeks of delicious, organic, local vegetables that we pick up once a week close to our home. We have loved eating our favorite veggies and learning about new ones, too. This week, one part of our bounty was 4 pounds of tomatoes. That’s a lot, so I was more than happy to make a pie from just a few of them.

In fact, I made two Tomato Pies today. One was for us, and the other was for a friend at our church whose family has suffered the loss of a loved one this month. Not only is she a friend, but she also happens to be on staff at our church. Having been on more than one church staff, I know what a challenge it can be to care for others and care for your family at the same time. When I saw her Sunday, I asked if she needed anything–a casserole? a cocktail? a pedicure? She smiled and said, “I think we’re OK, though I never turn down a casserole…”


So I baked her a tomato pie this morning. I knew I’d see her today, because my daughter and I went to church this morning to work on a wall mural in the children’s area. We worked with two staff members and really enjoyed just chatting and completing something together. Fall’s a time for new beginnings, and perhaps this little bit of newness will inspire some young people–or old ones.beforecitypaintingaftercitypainting


I love baking pies for anyone, but I especially like baking them for the purpose of showing care. The person who received a pie today is such a care-er. It’s her job to care–to teach, to minister, to shelter, to anticipate need–all based on caring that people know they are loved. It’s a huge job to keep sending this “love message” to people every day.

“If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.”
Mother Teresa

I guess you could say that caring for a care-er is my way of putting oil in the lamp. When I can’t be the one to send the love message, maybe I can help fuel the ones who do.

If you’ve got lots of tomatoes, here’s the recipe for Tomato Pie. It’s by another fantastic carer I knew back in Georgia–Kim Patrick. She worked in the nurse’s office at our kids’ school, and she was great at caring for kids. I appreciate all that she, and others like her, do each day for kids and families. Kim’s recipe was for two pies, but I halved it here:

Tomato Pie

1 pie crust, pre-baked slightly

2 medium-sized firm tomatoes

1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup of mayonnaise

1 large bunch of spring onions, diced

Mix cheese, mayo, and onions in a bowl. Layer tomatoes in pie shell (I confess that I did not pre-bake it and it did fine. If you like it crispy, you might pre-bake). Add cheese mixture to top. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Good reheated the next day. 

Optional-add different cheeses and bacon.

tomatopiesliceThis was my slice straight out of the oven this morning. My husband and I both tasted it and declared it delicious. I can’t wait to have some later–I know it will be even more flavorful.

As far as my friend’s Tomato Pie goes, I hope she’ll think it’s tasty, but even if she doesn’t, I hope she’ll know she’s cared for. I’m thankful for the love message she shares, and I pray she’ll have the fuel she needs to burn bright for a long time.

Safe and Sound

This has been a good week for pie. One of my sisters came to visit, and while she was here, I finally made a real pie crust. I baked a mixed fruit pie with apples, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and plums. It was a yummy pie, especially since it has been well over a year since I’ve made any real crust.

Another pie-tastic thing that happened was that my husband gave me this adorable and hilarious piece of art:
My favorite pie event, however, was today’s project. I repainted my great grandmother’s pie safe. It’s super old, and my dear mother was gracious enough to bring it to me when she visited us.


My son helped me with the sanding this morning, and I spent the remainder of today painting it red–my favorite color. I’m looking forward to filling it with pie plates, pie birds, and cookbooks.
I never saw the pie safe when it belonged to Macye Pearl Talley Rice and her husband, Amos Armfield Rice. I know, though, that back then this kind of furniture was used to hold not only pies, but also other baked goods and foods that one wanted to keep safe from animals or hungry people. I noticed a key hole, but the key was lost long ago.

When I was growing up in Virginia, my dad kept this pie safe by his workbench. It held screws, spare parts, and whatever else landed in it. For me, it holds strong memories of my dad. He saved lots of stuff, because he could fix anything–with anything. He hung onto stuff that he thought might be useful, and it often was. I remember him once fixing a windshield wiper with part of butter knife.

Today, while I was painting, our daughter was with some friends at one of those places where you can zipline, cliff jump into water, and some other fun (read:dangerous) stuff. She laughed at me when I asked all about it, and I was calm enough signing a waiver, but as I painted that pie safe, I wished I could put her in it. I know that’s crazy, but as a parent, sometimes we just feel like we can’t do enough to keep our kids safe.

And we can’t. They’ve gotta be out there in the world, doing the cool stuff. A few hours into the project, I got this text:

Didn’t die on cliff jump or zip line.

My response:
Thank you.
For not dying.
Having fun?

And she was. So much fun. That’s the thing. Sometimes, the super-fun, awesome, beautiful things in life are just not safe. Like surfing, or swimming where there might be jellyfish, or roller coasters, or flying, or singing in front of people, or sledding down the big hill, or eating something delicious and weird, or loving people with all you’ve got.
Not always safe–definitely risky–totally worth it.

If you keep those tasty pies locked up for too long, people are gonna miss the chance to experience something delicious. Beautiful. Totally worth it.

I’m so glad she had fun today, and I’m so thrilled that the pie safe has made it into the house to make new memories with us.

Today, I resolve to remember this: Keeping people and life “safe” is one way we can choose to live, but it’s a terrible danger to miss out on the tastiest parts of life because of fear. Let us unlock our hearts and courageously take a bite of today–definitely risky–totally worth it.




Pie Lady on Vacation

I haven’t made any pies since our arrival at Westerly Beach, Rhode Island, but I’ve shared a delicious slice. My husband and I battled spoons over Mississippi Mud Pie at the famous Watch Dog Cafe in Stonington last night.

And in a streak of luck, I found this tasty beach read this morning. Can’t wait to dig in!

Maybe I’ll bake a pie next week when I’m home, but for now, I don’t miss my kitchen. I don’t miss unpacking. Right now, I’m thoroughly content to dig my toes into the sand.
This vacation is as delicious as eating dessert just when you’re full–you know the feeling–when you’ve eaten probably two or three (or seven) bites more than you should have, but you feel no regrets because it was SO GOOD.
Here’s to resting, relaxing, and eating pie that someone else made.
P.S. I could get used to blogging on the beach.


So we’re still unpacking from our move. We’ve made huge progress, but as it turns out, we have lots of stuff. One thing you might not know about me:  even though I’m a control freak (of the freakiest variety), I don’t enjoy working alone. If someone would just sit with me while I worked, I would get stuff done a lot faster. Because of this, shall we say, “work style,” I take frequent breaks.

And by “frequent breaks,” I mean that I work for fifteen minutes and sit around for 30 or 45. I’m not proud of it, but it’s the truth. This is particularly prevalent when I’m working on LOOOOONG tasks, such as figuring out where to put a house full of stuff.

The good thing about having a less-than-favorite job to do is that you get to think of creative ways to put it off. For me:

PIE-CRASTINATION–the process of making pie instead of doing the other tedious/difficult task at hand.

That’s what I did this afternoon when I whipped up a Spinach, Cheddar, and Bacon Quiche.

Here’s what I did:

I lined a glass pie plate with a 9 inch crust. Then I preheated the oven to 375 degrees. I’m just assuming it’s really 375 degrees, because it’s a new (to me) oven, and I haven’t figured it all out yet.


Next, I placed cheddar cheese slices (because that’s what I had and need to use up before our vacation this weekend) and sautéed spinach and onion in the pie crust.

Sidebar: I used spinach from our awesome farm share with Oxen Hill Farm. I was hoping for some success after today’s KALE FAIL at lunchtime. I attempted some Kale Chips that ended up tasting like salty, burnt, fall leaves from the yard.

I solicited advice on the internet, so I’m hoping the next batch will be more like actual food…

kalefailAnyway, next I added some slices of tomato and some crumbled bacon. Because bacon makes everything just a little more awesome.










Finally, I poured in a mixture of 3 eggs, 1 and 1/4 cups of milk, 2 tablespoons of flour, and some salt and pepper.

I baked the quiche for 50 minutes. I’ve learned that when you’re cooking eggs, you gotta watch it. I take them out when they still look a little soft. The quiche sits for 10-15 minutes on the counter, and it continues to firm up. Overcooked protein is gross, so it’s worth being careful.


Our family of four ate all but one little slice (breakfast tomorrow). The real success story here is that I managed to avoid unpacking for over an hour. If you ever really crave pie, just ask me to clean out the garage. 🙂



“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”

                    ― Marthe Troly-Curtin


Housewarming Pie


Years ago, when we first moved into our house in Conyers, Georgia, a long-time friend of my husband’s gave us a wonderful CD. It’s full of great music for entertaining, and the best part, in my opinion, is the groovy cover that our friend designed just for the occasion. We’ve played the CD tons of times–for ourselves and for company, and I thought it would be the perfect soundtrack for the very first pie in our new home.  We’ve been renting in the same Connecticut town for a year, and we just bought a home this month. We’ve slept here four nights, and we’ve been very busy cleaning, unpacking, and meeting new neighbors.







We’ve learned so much in our first year as New Englanders:

  • What “real” snow is like. (AND what shoveling it is like)
  • Our “coats” before were not really coats.
  • We really were slower drivers than we thought. HOOOOONNNKKK!!
  • You haven’t seen fall ’till you’ve seen it in New England–come visit us!
  • “LOOKIT” is a word here. It’s a verb.
  • There are still places where people leave their doors unlocked.
  • Kind, friendly people live in all parts of this great country.
  • Southerners are the ones who know how to make biscuits and grits. (If I’m wrong, somebody PLEASE tell me where to go, because I haven’t found it yet.)
  • There were so many beautiful and interesting kinds of people–of many faiths, creeds, and origins–that we just hadn’t met yet. I’m so thrilled about the diversity my kids have experienced so far.
  • I think the most important thing, though is this:

Don’t give up on your dreams.

I know that sounds hokey and cliché. But a couple of years ago, when my husband and I said, “Let’s live in New England” it seemed like something that could never really happen. So many different steps got us here. Things weren’t smooth along the way. We got stressed out. We got tired. Our kids had struggles. We had struggles. It was not easy or quick.

Now, though, the hard stuff seems blurry when I look back. I’m grateful for what we have learned so far on this journey, and I know we’ve got a lot more to learn. I’m humbled to be sitting at my new desk in our new home as a write this. And I’m inspired to ask, cherry2014

“What’s the next dream?”

There was a time when I didn’t ever ask myself this question, and I don’t know the answer yet, but I’m definitely thinking about it.  For now, though, I’m dreaming of Cherry Pie. I haven’t even really been to the grocery store since we moved in, and we’re going on vacation soon, so we’re just eating whatever’s around. I did, however, move some pie crusts and cherry filling from our other house. Sure, I want to make real pie crust very soon and share pie with some of our neighbors, but the smell of that cherry pie baking makes me care a little less about perfect crust. All that’s left is to get some ice cream…lovepie

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

                                                                    –H. Jackson Brown, Jr.