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. 🙂



What You Can

I was inspired by this artwork that I saw online. Sorry that I can’t give the artist credit (no name was shown), but I am thankful for the colorful and powerful sentiment this week.

Do what you can.

In a time where a lot of people feel the power of CAN’T, I think the statement above is a crucial one to live by.

This week, there was sort of a crazy, sudden thunderstorm in our area. It blew through just quickly enough to steal power and knock down a bunch of trees. Luckily, no one was hurt, but it was loud, windy, and some friends of ours got a tree on their truck. No fun.

Now, lemme tell you what I can’t do:

–fix trucks

–operate a chain saw

–lift heavy stuff

They really needed folks to do that stuff, and thankfully, their church and some other friends helped out. They did what they could do and I did what I CAN do. I baked pie. I sent my friend a message letting her know that I was having a free-chocolate-chess-pie-for-anyone-who-had-a-tree-on-their-truck special. Lucky for her it was this week! 🙂

I had to test it out, so I baked one for us, too. Choco-licious. You can see the remains of ours and also a Lemon Cream Pie that another regular pie customer ordered. That Lemon Pie is pretty tasty. I made a test pie of it on the Fourth of July, and it was OK, but I declared then that it needed more lemon flavor. So I squeezed fresh lemons for more juice and I zested for more zest. It worked, I think. And, since life gave me leftover lemons, I did this:

I put them in a pot with a little water and some spices and turned the stove on low. It smelled great in the kitchen. It’s a good thing to do with fruit (especially citrus) that’s on the way out. I love using stuff up. And that’s how the rest of the afternoon was inspired.

My dear husband is so thoughtful. He downloaded a series of stories from NPR’s Pie Week about baking pie and put them on my iPhone. I listened to them intently this afternoon as a baked. All the while,I was thinking about how pies got started. People used what they had and put dough around it.

Sweet or savory,

they did what they could.

So that’s what I did today. I used up some stuff. I had a couple of rough-looking bananas, so I baked Chocolate Chip Banana Bread.

I had some marshmallows and a little cereal, so I made Fruit Loop Marshmallow Treats. Yum.

Now, baked goods and leftover ingredients won’t save the world, but I’ll tell you what might.

What if people started to follow this way of living?

Do what you can

with what you have

where you are.

It sure does speak to me. Stop trying to do what you CAN’T and focus gratefully on what you CAN do. Stop striving to get something MORE. Stop planning to be somewhere ELSE.

When life gives you lemons, or bananas, or fruit loops, or trees on your truck, do what you can.

Do what you can.


No skipping steps!

I actually made two pies this evening. The first was good old Chocolate Chess Pie, which I’ve made five or six times in the last few months. It works every time, and almost everyone loves chocolate. I took it to a youth group thing that my daughter is attending this weekend. She’ll be staying in a host home, and I wanted to do something nice for the folks who were willing to have teenage girls hang out with them all weekend.

The second pie was one I haven’t made until today: Like Virginia Diner Peanut Pie. It really is called that–I guess it’s not exactly the pie, just like it. Whatever. This recipe was from my PIE cookbook that I ordered before I began my pie adventure back in September. I was drawn to it for a couple of reasons.

1. I had all the stuff. Since my pie making days are rarely planned–I just sort of suddenly want to do it–I have to use what’s on hand.

2. My hubby loves peanuts. A lot. It was a good chance to make a nut pie without it being pecan. He’s allergic to pecans.

3. The recipe is based on one from a Virginia restaurant. I grew up in Virginia, and I love the place, so making it feels like home.

I was tempted to skip the crucial first steps of freezing the crust for 10 minutes (to keep it stable) and pre-baking it with pie beans. These early steps take up almost 30 minutes before you can even begin to think about putting the filling in there.

The filling has corn syrup (I mixed light and dark because I didn’t have enough dark), sugar, eggs, salt, and plenty of chopped peanuts.

I probably could’ve skipped those first steps, but I knew what would happen if I did. If you don’t freeze the crust, it’ll end up falling in when you pre-bake it (especially if you’re using a deeper pie plate, which I was). If you don’t pre-bake the crust for at least 15 minutes, you’re gonna have a soggy crust on the bottom. Will the pie taste bad? Probably not. Will the pie be the best it can be? Definitely not.


There are a lot of things we can get away with not doing…or doing.

But there are consequences for sure.

Do you have to make a grocery list? Nope. Will you spend more and forget stuff if you don’t? Yep.

Do you have to book your vacation lodging in advance? Nope. Will you run the risk of staying somewhere creepy? Yep.

Do you have to train for a marathon? Nope. Will you keel over in the road if you try to do it without training? Yep.

Too often, I try to take shortcuts in life. Does it work sometimes? Yep. Is it always the best way? Nope.

Today, my extra efforts paid off in a big way. What a delicious pie! We added a scoop of vanilla ice cream to complete its awesomeness. It held together nicely and had a perfect contrast of sweet, salty and crunchy.

You may have heard someone say,

If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

I do think that’s true. And I also believe that when something good happens because of hard work, that thing seems even better.

Accomplishment is satisfying. No doubt about it.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might… Ecclesiastes 9:10

The Master Baker

Even though I know in my head that baking and science go hand in hand–that it’s really chemistry–in my heart, I still think that it’s magical and miraculous to see what’s in the bowl turn into what’s in the pie plate. Just look at the plain old, ugly brown cocoa powder in the bowl. Nothing much to see or taste here.


It’s a wonder. To me, anyway.

Today, I prepared a Chocolate Chess Pie for a good friend’s 50th birthday. She’s a fine lady who cared for our son when he was very small. You can’t put a price on trusting your child with someone, and we could’ve never paid her enough. I’ve known her for over 10 years now. We’ve gone on trips together and worked together.Through some circumstances that probably neither of us could’ve planned, we’re co-workers again, and I’m so thankful! She is a sweet, sweet person, and the world is lucky to have had her for 50 years! I hope she’ll have another 50 full of blessings.

It’s so funny how things turn out. A recurring theme for me is WANTING TO KNOW RIGHT NOW what will happen in life. As I’ve said before…

Too bad.

OR too good. We’re just not always meant to know. As frustrating as it can be, I have to believe that there is a greater purpose. I know there is. Sometimes it just takes a while (maybe a long while) to figure out.

Here’s an example. Almost exactly eight years ago, my husband and I were struggling to know if we were meant to have a second child. We love being parents, and we had always pictured ourselves with more than one child. We wanted a sibling for our sweet daughter, and we thought we understood the timing for that wish. We didn’t. We had been hoping for years to grow our family, and it just wasn’t working out.

One Sunday, a friend of ours–who has since passed away–and his wife brought their new daughter to church with them. She was about to turn two. She was a beautiful, shy little girl from South Korea. I’ll never forget the impact that she has had on our lives. That very day, we knew in our hearts that we would adopt a child. Barely seven months later–shorter than a pregnancy–we brought home our precious son from Guatemala.

Now, you can be sure of this: When we were tired, disillusioned, anxious, and unsure about this very important decision for our family–when we thought we knew the way to handle things, we probably would not have guessed that things would turn out the way they did.

We are so thankful that God did not answer our prayers the way we wanted Him to.

God turned something uncertain into something beautiful, joyful, and precious. He does it all the time. I know I just forget to pay attention.

Right now, we have stuff to work out in our lives–just like everyone else. We are praying for a way–the right way. Our prayers may not be answered in the way we anticipated, but we trust that what happens will be even better somehow.

Turning the ingredients–however messy and disorganized they look–into something beautiful and delicious is God’s specialty. He’s the Master Baker.