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!

The 12 Pies of Christmas: Five…OK, One Golden Ring

Today marked my kids’ last day of school for this semester–now two weeks off. Hooray! It was also our oldest daughter’s last art class, so I baked a Chocolate Cherry Ring O Bling Pie for her and her classmates.

I modified a recipe from my favorite PIE cookbook for Chocolate Chip Pie. This time, however, I used heavy cream instead of milk and added some cherry baking morsels to the batter. Those cherry  chips are yummy. I’ve only seen them around during the holidays, and I’ve tried them in chocolate chip cookies. So tasty.

I gotta admit, turning this Christmas tune into pie has already been pretty challenging, and it’s only the fifth day! Some friends and family members have listened to my brainstorming and offered fun ideas. For the five golden rings, one person suggested I bake a pie containing Goldschlager, a thin liquor that actually has thin gold leaf floating in it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a pie with booze in it, but this one was for kids, so I bagged that idea.

While shopping in a craft store that also carried some baking items, I came across edible gold glitter sugar crystals. I’d found my solution.

I prepared the yummy chocolate cherry chip dough and poured it into a regular refrigerated crust. Just before I baked it, I sprinkled a ring of that sparkly gold sugar around the outer edge of the top of the pie. So pretty!

Now, it’s kinda hard to see in the photo, but even after it was baked, you could still see that shiny “Bling Ring” around the edge of the pie.I did not get to taste the pie, but my daughter reported that everyone loved it and that one student reported that I must have

Magic Pie Hands.

Wouldn’t that be awesome? Magic Pie Hands. Just think of the fun I could have. Or the damage I could do. Or the yummy pies I could give to everyone!

OK, so there weren’t really FIVE golden rings on today’s pie, but there was one tasty “Bling Ring.”

As it turns out, I sort of grew up with the 12 Days of Christmas:

My family had a set of awesome 12 Days of Christmas dishes. Each family member had a certain day, and the number 12 worked out perfectly for us. My Dad and Mom were numbers 1 and 2. My older brothers were 3 and 4. My older sister was the coveted FIVE GOLDEN RINGS, next came another sister for number 6, and I was the 7 swans a swimming. What was even cooler was that there were just enough plates left for when each of the five of us got married. All the spouses used up the rest of the plates up to my husband–the twelfth day.

My Mom and Dad didn’t plan to have five kids, but my Mom has said again and again that she’d do it all over again–wouldn’t change a thing. She’s 70 now, and still does a great job at serving a table full of family.

I’m very thankful to eat off of plate number 7.

A lot of good memories come from the times spent around my parents’ dining room table. In my family, we are hearty eaters, long talkers, and loud laughers. We leaned our chairs back, balled up our napkins, and passed A LOT of bowls of vegetables around.

We’ve been told more than a few times to get our elbows off the table and chew with our mouths closed and to QUIT singing at the table.We  sat pouting until we ate our assigned amounts of rutabagas or black-eyed peas.

We listened as my Dad prayed the same blessing thousands of times:

Heavenly Father
Accept our thanks
For these and all the blessings
Amen

 

I want this for my kids. I pray we’ll be able to stay home long enough and put down our iPhones long enough and just sit down together at the table for a while. Sure, it’s a challenge, but it’s worth it. I’m so glad my Mom and Dad made it happen for us.