3.14 Reasons to Bake Pie

Yep. It’s March 14. 3.14. Even though National Pie Day is in January, for math nerds, PI DAY is today! In honor of this day, I give you 3.14 reasons to bake pie.

pi oven1. Your house will smell incredibly delicious.

I was stirring up ingredients for pie at about 6:15 this morning. I started with Chocolate Chess Pie and later baked an Apple Pie. Our house is on the market, and it’s too bad no one came to see it today. They would have made an offer based solely on the smells coming from the kitchen this morning. It smelled like home, for sure!

2. You will make friends.

I was amused and honored this morning to open up my Facebook account and find questions from some of my friends and pie enthusiasts, “What are you making today, Pie Lady?” “Have you created a new pie concoction?” It’s nice to be semi-famous for something. And really, there’s no denying the POWER OF PIE. I can prove it. Yesterday, my 14 1/2 year old daughter, who by now could easily have moved on to the deep-sigh-eye-rolling stage of our parent/child relationship, said to me, “Hey Mama, ya know, tomorrow’s Pi Day. Don’t you wanna bring some pies to lunch?”

pi pie


Absolutely, YES, you terrific kid who isn’t too embarrassed for her Mom to show up during lunch with a big ole basket of pie and a can of whipped topping. Yes. And just because you asked. And while I’m at it, thanks for knowing why March 14 is Pi/Pie Day. You rock, kid, and I love being your Mom.

3. People appreciate stuff you do for them–especially when there’s food involved.

I took the two pies to my daughter’s school at lunch time. She ran to greet me with a hug (day made), and after they ate lunch, her friends ate pie. Most of her friends chose the chocolate. She alerted her favorite teacher, who promptly rushed over from the teachers’ table to grab a slice of apple. Some boys at a nearby table enjoyed apple, and a few other lucky staff members got the last slices.

I love watching folks eat pie. It’s rarely a dainty process. They stab the first bite eagerly, almost always pausing for some kind of yummy noise–and after that, it’s a sticky-fingered, chin-wiping, fork-licking, eat-those-last-bites-of-crust-with-your-fingers delight. The look on their faces–appreciation. It’s a good look on everyone.

RA pie friends

.14 Pie tastes good.

That’s a short reason, but I only needed .14.


Happy Pi Day–and may your tomorrow be at least 3.14 times better than today. 🙂



Tiny Dishes, Big Joy

I can’t believe it’s been more than a month since I’ve baked a pie. Our family is planning a move, work has been busy, and our house is on the market (what’s more fun than super-fast cleaning up??). All of this stuff has cut a real slice out of my pie time. This evening, though, I managed to get in a quick sliver of pie-baking, much to my family’s delight.

This afternoon, when I was looking in a kitchen cabinet for something else, I found some wonderful mini pie dishes that I bought many months ago at a church yard sale.tinydishesWhen I first saw these, I fell in love with their tiny-ness (because the only thing better than something is a tiny version of that something) and also with the delicate little apple drawings on the inside of each dish. I think my favorite is the tiny basket of tiny apples.

We always have apples around at our house. Everyone here likes them, but especially my son. He’s discriminating, though, and often leaves even slightly bruised apples lingering in the fruit drawer. His rejects were perfect for tonight’s Mini Apple Pies.

It only took about four small apples, peeled and chopped, to make enough filling for these four little dishes. Also, I only used one store-bought crust to line all four pies. I used the leftover bits to make little hearts for the top of each pie. The filling was just apples, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and flour.

Mysteriously, it takes the same amount of time–about 45 minutes at 375 degrees, to bake these tiny pies as it does to bake a large one. There’s a math problem there, but I sure don’t know what it is. I just know that these little pies turned out perfect!

We had salad and chili stew for dinner. About halfway through the meal, my son announced with no reservations “I’m only eating this stuff so those pies will GET IN MY MOUTH.” Alrighty, then. Honesty all around.

minipieMy husband was not quite done working for the day, and he thought for a moment about saving his pie till later. I warned him that there was no way it would ever taste as good later. He caved and ate it right away. There is nothing in the world like warm pie. Nothing.

I finished my little pie, very satisfied, and gazed out the window as a steady rain began to fall. I chastised myself for putting those little dishes way up on the top shelf. They brought me–and my family–lots of yummy happiness. I won’t wait as long to bring them out again, and I think I’ll store them in a more “up front” spot.


“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

  –Stephen Covey

If something brings you joy, make it a priority. Forgive me, little pie dishes, I won’t neglect you for so long next time!

Happy Pie Day!

You might not know it, but today is National Pie Day. Check it out here:


I would like to personally thank the American Pie Council for yet another excuse to make and, more importantly, EAT, pie.

This afternoon, I prepared a Black and White Pie. It was very simple, and my kids and I loved it. You can do it, too.

First, I started with some vanilla pudding (from a box and prepared with 2 % milk), a cup of Cool Whip and a prepared chocolate cookie crust. I mixed the pudding mix and milk with a whisk and added 1 cup of Cool Whip to this filling to increase “fluffiness.”



Next, I made a microwave chocolate ganache. To do this, I put 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and 1/4 cup of half and half in a glass measuring cup and microwaved it for 1 minute. After I took it out of the microwave, I stirred in another 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. The warmed milky/chocolaty mixture was just right for melting the rest of the chips, and I stirred it until it was smooth.


I poured the micro-ganache onto the chocolate crust in a thin layer–it took about half the chocolate. Next, I layered on the fluffy vanilla pudding layer.


Next, I stopped to lick the vanilla pudding off the spatula before I put it in the sink. Yum. What?! It’s not for the queen, and you would do the same thing…

Anyway, after that, I used the remaining ganache to “zig zag” chocolate on the top of the pie.

Since I had a bit of Cool Whip left in the container, I added some decorative dollops. OK, so maybe they don’t add much, but MAN, I love Cool Whip. I placed the pie in the fridge for about 2 and a half hours to chill.


When we got home from evening activities, we took the pie out of the fridge. After cutting it, I’d probably try to let it chill longer next time so that it could be more solid. That being said, my two kids and I had no trouble knocking out half of that sucker in about four minutes. No kidding. Yummy.


 Here’s a shot of my slice after the first bite. I wish you could see that ganache layer under the vanilla–I thought that was the best part. I think this pie might also do quite well as a freezer pie. Chocolate chips on top would not be a crime, either. And then there’s peanut butter….mmmmmmm…..

As you can imagine, the possibilities are endless if you use your imagination.


Today, I was inspired by reading this quote by Thomas Edison.


“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” I love this attitude–this perspective. It fits well with pie-baking and with living. Some pies slice perfectly, and others aren’t fit to serve a dog. (No offense, dogs).Every day in my life, some things work and some things don’t.I’ll admit that I’ve been frustrated many times when the “doesn’t work” category outweighs the “works” one. If you are in this place right now in your life, remember today’s Black and White Pie. The chocolate and the vanilla need each other to make this particular pie awesome. Each one is OK on its own, but together, they are “pie-fection!” I know–not really a word–but I like it, so I plan on adding it to my Pie-saurus. Anyway, just the chocolate is not enough for Black and White Pie. Just the vanilla is not enough for Black and White Pie. Chocolate and vanilla are definitely not failures–they just don’t always work. Sometimes, it just takes a lot of trial and error to achieve success. But I believe that this is how we’re made–for trying again.

Celebrate this National Pie Day by trying again. Finding 10,000 ways that won’t work will keep you busy for a while.

Much of the brilliance that lights our way today shines from the souls of those who are willing to keep doing it wrong–then changing, growing, learning–until one day, it is right.




Pie Thief!

onesliceleftThere is ONE slice of Key Lime Pie in the fridge. It belongs to my 8-year-old son. Or at least until someone steals it. We had pie the other night after he’d gone to bed, and after he did some very effective pouting, he convinced his Daddy to promise him the last slice. It’s a valuable slice in our home, because everyone LOVES Key Lime Pie around here.

He’d better hurry up and eat it.

As good as our intentions are, that pie slice is really tempting. It gets MORE tempting each time someone opens the fridge. And I confess that it has already been “slithered” slightly. He’s just a little boy, right? Wouldn’t want him to get a tummy ache. Must. Keep. Promise.

Anyway, tonight my husband and I shared a delicious Asparagus and Asiago Quiche. It was from standard quiche recipe (3 eggs,1 and a 1/3 cups milk, 1 TBSP flour, salt and pepper), and I just added 4 chopped green onions, 1 chopped orange pepper, and grated a small hunk of Asiago that was left in the fridge. Man, it was tasty. And so pretty–well, except for a little crust “situation.” OK, so the inside was pretty. We each had a second slice, and I can’t wait to have leftovers for breakfast.


Unfortunately, I haven’t baked pie in a while, and my heart’s been missing it. Pie-making is something I love to do that brings me peace–especially if I get to share or give the pie away. But, there’s been a “pie-thief” of sorts around here.


Or at least how I use it. About a million other things have taken little pieces–slithers–of my time. Work, housework, paperwork, kids’ stuff, naps…you name it. It’s all tempting me away from what I want to do. All these little “slices” of time–some very necessary, some not so much–robbed me of the time I needed to bake.

I’m pointing to you out there, but there are three fingers pointing back at me when I say this:

Make time for what’s important.

I know that you have to make time for what’s necessary, and sometimes that’s important to you. But don’t forget to make time for what’s important to you, even if it doesn’t seem necessary. Change your viewpoint, and live by this rule: If it is important to you, then it IS necessary.

And remember this, if you’ve promised a “slice” of your time to someone, don’t let someone or something else gobble it up. Be true to your word, and enjoy every “bite” of that time with someone.

pie time


Lastly, when you’re slicing up your time, remember to save a piece for yourself! Otherwise, your soul gets hungry, and that can make a hole that’s hard to fill.

Teach us to number our days so we can have a wise heart.

Psalm 90:12


The Advent of Family

After a super lazy morning at my house, I went outside to throw the football with my son for a while. It’s a chilly day, but beautifully sunny, and it’s colder than a lot of winter days we’ll have in Georgia. The sky was the bluest blue, and the trees–now mostly bare except for those determined pines–seemed to be there only to show off that fantastic blue.


When I came inside, my brother-in-law was napping on the couch, and my husband was upstairs playing video games with some more family. No one was hurrying. No one was working. No one was arguing. No one needed anything more than exactly what he had. And on top of all that, no one has to go anywhere for the rest of the day.


At my son’s request, I celebrated this wonderful family day by making (no baking!) Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Pie. It’s his favorite, and he sees a lot of pies go out the door for other folks, so I was more than happy to grant his request. It took a few minutes to unwrap (and “safety test”) the peanut butter cups I’d need for the pie.

If you are a peanut butter lover, or if you love one, you should make this easy pie. Here’s how:



Peel 20-25 peanut butter cups. Save 6-8 to decorate the top of the pie, and chop the others coarsely.

In a bowl, mix the following with an electric mixer:

1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
12  oz. Cool Whip

In a graham cracker crust (store bought-no baking), fill the bottom with a layer of chopped peanut butter cups. Cover with a layer of the filling. Add another layer of chopped cups. Cover with the rest of the filling. Use the uncut peanut butter cups to decorate the top of the pie. I also piped (and by “piped,” I mean squirted out of the cut corner of a zip-loc bag) some decorative Cool Whip on the top. Chill the pie overnight (if you can stand it) for best results. If you’re OK with still-incredibly-tasty-but-not-perfect-looking results, then wait an hour or two and dig in!

cuppieIf you’re fortunate enough to be with family today, show kindness and celebrate the gift of time together.  If circumstances prevent your family from being together, call someone you love, or send a card, or stop to pray for the ones you hold dear.

Family is indeed a gift to treasure.

“A happy family is but an earlier heaven.”

                                             –George Bernard Shaw

The Advent of Messiness



The Christmas season has arrived at our house. Kids are done with school.

Concerts and parties are done. Now for family, pajamas, too much candy and PIE!


This afternoon, my kitchen table (along with a lot of other parts of my home) were really messy. Stuff is everywhere around here.


My son has taken over the downstairs with all that he dumped out of his book bag yesterday. No one has had time for laundry, dishes, bed-making or anything else.

To add to this messiness, I baked two Apple Pies with Oatmeal Crumb Topping today. They are the last two contributions to the firehouse pies this week, and they made a delicious-smelling use of some quick oats in my pantry. I’m a huge fan of using what you have.

It was indeed a messy process. There were lemons to zest and squeeze (must be in that order, I have learned from doing it the WRONG way), apples to peel, and crumb topping to mix.


The crumb topping is the funnest and messiest part of this pie. In a bowl, I mixed brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, oatmeal, salt and a whole stick of butter. Let’s face it: everything tastes better with a whole stick of butter.



The recipe recommends a food processor for making the crumb topping, but I like using my hands. It has to be blended until the butter pieces are small. It’s messy, but completely worth the results.

I have found the same to be true of this life. Often, the messiest parts of life give us the best results. Relationships can be complicated, and loving folks takes some work, but what beautiful results.

I am reminded of a childhood memory that is so vivid to me. I’ve probably shared it before, but I love it. My grandfather (mom’s dad) and grandmother, Johnnie and Alice,  had two giant Blackheart Cherry trees in their front yard. When cherries were ready to be picked, my parents sent us up into those enormous trees (I was quite small, so they seemed big to me) to harvest them. My dad fashioned these picking buckets out of a family sized plastic mayonnaise jar and a cord. We hung those around our necks and climbed up the tree. I don’t think I’ll ever forget picking cherries; one for the bucket, two for my mouth. What a huge mess it was! Cherry juice staining our mouths and our clothes. Pits raining down on us from whomever was spitting them out from a higher branch. Even after all we’d eaten, there was sure to be some delicious reward later–jelly or cobbler or something Mom or Grandma made. (Maybe even PIE, but I can’t remember) It is a family memory that I treasure.


Today, give thanks for the messiness of this life. Do the work that is worth doing. Love the people who are hard to love. Take time to enjoy what’s delicious in life.

Go out on a limb, where the good fruit is. Eat it up, and let the juice run down your chin! 

The Advent of Reflection

reflectAs I began making homemade crusts this afternoon (I really like them better than the store-bought ones), I realized that my view had changed. There’s a certain counter in our kitchen where I usually roll out dough, but because some dishes were drying on it, I changed spots. The above photo shows my new crust-making perspective. Nothing out of the ordinary, except for the two ornaments hanging from our outside–well–tree. The tree is outside our kitchen window just beside our patio. It started as a stick–one stick–of a confederate rose bush. Now, this “bush” is as tall as the back of myself and plenty big to decorate, so we hung ornaments on it.

Today, I loved staring at the silver ball in the center–it reflected all that was inside our home right back to me, albeit much tinier and a little distorted. It reflected the chandelier that lights our kitchen table, where we share meals together. It reflected me, right where I love to be, making pies. I smiled to think of all the sweet memories made just in the scope of what this ornament could reflect.

Busy in my new crust-making location, I wrapped up about 10 crusts and placed them in the fridge. They last 3 days or so, and I wanted to be ready for this busy week in the kitchen.

Later this afternoon, I baked two Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pies.


I delivered them tonight to my friends who are treating all the firefighters and EMTs in our county. The pies have a smooth, sweet, peanut-buttery filling. My favorite part, though, is the crunchy peanuts and the chocolate chips on the top of each pie. I was so much happier with the crusts today, too. The homemade ones have just enough butter to make them cooperative.

I loved delivering the pies tonight to my friends, but for me, the few moments staring at a “new” perspective in my kitchen made all the effort worth it.

Taking a moment to reflect each day is the key, I believe, to realizing how blessed we truly are.

In just a few moments–really less than one minute–I remembered a ton of happy times in our kitchen, at our table, in our home. Even though sometimes, like the reflection in the ornament, our memories are a little distorted or faint, we are fortunate to have them. Reflecting on the past (not dwelling on it), is time well spent.

Often, the reflection of our memories, both pleasant and painful, can shine a brilliant light on the path ahead of us.

Take time today to appreciate the gift of reflection. And may your memories reflect onto a bright path that shines just for you!

“Sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead.”
― Yvonne Woon

The Advent of Hope

I’m excited today to be baking pies for some great friends. They have organized a terrific effort in our county to bring holiday goodies to all of the firefighters and EMTs in our county. In the oven right now is Red Hot Firehouse Apple Pie and a Chocolate Chip Pecan pie is waiting its turn to bake.


Want to make an apple pie? Here’s how:


Prepare a 9 inch pie crust (you need a top and a bottom crust).

For the filling:

Peel and chop up 6-7 granny smith apples into a bowl. Put 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in the bowl to keep the apples from browning.

Add: 1 TSP cinnamon, 2 TBSP flour, 1/2 TSP salt, 3/4 CUP sugar, and 1/4 cup red hot cinnamon candies. Stir it all up. (the redhots are optional, but they really give the pie a holiday flair)

Pour it in the pie shell. Add the second crust on top. If you don’t want to figure out a lattice top pie, you can simply put the whole crust on top, crimp the bottom crust to the top, and cut a few slits in the center of the top crust. I used a Christmas tree crust cutter to do mine.

Brush melted butter on the top and sprinkle sugar to give a browned and sparkly look.

Bake for 45-50 minutes at 375 degrees.

As if baking pie weren’t fun enough, it’s a special honor to help out these folks with their effort. Here’s why: they have turned tragedy into hope. Not too long ago, they lost a child to cancer. It was a horrible loss–one I cannot imagine. They decided last Christmas that they would bake goodies to thank some of the emergency workers that frequently came to their home during their daughter’s illness. It wasn’t long before they expanded their efforts to appreciate more of these under-thanked heroes.

They’ve expanded their efforts so much that they’re delivering 40 dozen treats a day for THREE DAYS. That’s a lot of cookies. I’m adding a few pies a day to their efforts, and I’m so thankful for all the people in our community who have been baking, donating ingredients, and signing up for delivery times.

These people give me hope. So much hope.

In light of recent events in our nation–such tragic events that this mother and educator cannot comprehend–I am choosing today to follow the example of these good friends of mine. Tragedy happens. We don’t know why.

But in the cold, dark soil of tragedy, we must sow seeds of hope. Sow hope. So…HOPE.

Today, hope is coming. It is coming this Christmas. It is coming each day that we choose to hope–even in our broken world. I am so grateful today for the gift of hope.


The Advent of Doing it Anyway

I have been on a brief pie-atus for the last few days. And it wasn’t because I didn’t want to make pies. The days just ran out of hours. We are a household of four people, and this has to be one of the busiest weeks of the year for us. The kids have concerts, exams, programs, books to finish up, holiday activities–and my husband and I have the grown-up version of all that–holiday luncheons, work gifts to buy, end of year work to finish up, church commitments, and so much more. We have just all fallen into bed exhausted every night!

This evening, I had a bit of time–just enough, really–to bake a Pecan Pie.  Even though I had the time, my body’s definitely running out of energy, but I did it anyway. Here’s the proof:

pecanIt was easy. You should try it yourself:

Easy Pecan Pie Recipe

Place a store-bought refrigerated pie crust into a 9 inch pie pan and crimp the edges. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the following in a bowl (I never use an electric mixer for some reason):

3 eggs, 2/3cup sugar, 1tsp vanilla, 5 and 1/3 TBSP melted butter, 1 cup of dark Karo syrup.

Place about 1/2 cup of pecan halves (or enough to cover the bottom of the pie plate) in the unbaked shell.

Pour the mixture from the bowl over the pecans and CAREFULLY move it to the bottom rack of the oven(bottom rack=crispier crust).

Bake for 50-55 minutes or until center is not “wavy” when you move the pan.

Cool for at least one hour before you slice it.

This pie is so delicious as is or with vanilla ice cream on top.

If you like chocolate, add 1/4 cup of chocolate chips with the pecans in the pie shell.


I’m gonna take this pie to a Christmas lunch at my work tomorrow. It’s nice to check one thing off of my big Christmas to-do list.

An important reminder to me and to all of us during the holidays:

Even though you’re busy, it’s still Christmas.

No amount of doing, going, trying, running, buying, listing, finishing or anything else can stop it. So if you’re like me, and the big to-do list is trying to keep you from celebrating this season, do it anyway!




The Advent of Comfort

First things first. Someone better come to my house and help me eat the rest of this Cranberry Apple Pie. It is SO delicious, but my husband is allergic to walnuts, so somebody, PLEASE save me from myself and come eat a piece. Or two.

Anyway, back to today. I am the sort of person who might get a little–let’s say agitated, when things don’t go my way. Just ask anyone close to me. I’m high maintenance–no doubt about it. So today, at the grocery store, I was displeased to be served (and I use the word “served” very loosely) by a less-than-enthusiastic checker. Now, I’ve been a grocery checker before, and I’ve been a grocery shopper for quite a few years. There’s a WAY to do it that works. And, as it turns out, there are many, MANY ways to do it that don’t work so well.

For example:

WORKS:  “Good morning, how are you?”

NOT SO MUCH: “Grunt” or “SUP?”

WORKS: Paying attention to the customer and what you’re doing

NOT SO MUCH: Taking a break during my order to show another employee something on your phone

WORKS: Putting like items together (meats with meats, veggies with veggies, etc.)

NOT SO MUCH: Dropping lots of canned goods on top of tomatoes so that, when removed from the bag, they no longer look like something from nature

Now I know how I SHOULD be. I behaved. I did not protest (out loud). I smiled and said, “Thanks, have a nice day.”

Then I came home and griped about it–complete with acting out the scene with me playing the part of Ms. Checker McLazyton.

THEN, I got over it.

Getting over it is definitely underrated. As annoyed as I was, it didn’t take long to remind myself:

You left with a full cart of food.
You came home to a comfortable place.
Someone kind helped you unload the groceries.
Everything is all right.

I am so thankful today, to accept COMFORT as one of the many gifts of this advent season.

Comfort is defined this way:

 A condition or feeling of pleasurable ease, well-being, and contentment.

Right now, think of all the comfort you receive each day. No one is comfortable all the time, but everyone gets a bit of it at some time.

Don’t take for granted all the times in your life that everything has been–well–just fine.


To celebrate comfort, I baked a simple Cherry Pie. It’s considered by many to be a “comfort food.” I especially like the tiny Christmas trees in the top crust. Downright Festive. And comforting.

Just to boost the comfort factor, I made Chex Mix. For me, it’s another major comfort food. I’m very comforted by the fact that we’re having some people over this weekend. Therefore, there’s a chance I won’t “overcomfort” myself with these treats. Maybe ;).chex