Tag Archives: pies

Wednesday, again?

It’s blog day but it’s also pie day and I am exhausted. I only baked seventeen pies today. When I first took over the Thanksgiving pies for the big family gathering, I baked on Wednesday and on Thursday morning and I made up to thirty-two pies. My mom made the turkey and I just transported lots of pies from my house to hers. I have an amazing collection of Tupperware pie stackers.

My mom is gone now and my husband makes the turkey, so I don’t have access to the oven on Thanksgiving morning. That’s why Wednesday is pie day. I actually start Tuesday evening by making the filling for the eggnog pies. That needs to chill for a while and it’s also a pain to make, so I get it out of the way early. I was feeling lethargic yesterday, so I thought making that filling would feel like a chore, but it didn’t. As soon as I started putting ingredients in a pan, I could feel my shoulders start to relax. “Oh, yeah,” I thought, “this is pie-making. I like this.”

I am not good at many things, but I am good at making pies. It makes me happy, even when I make seventeen of them in a day. I get tired, but I have a good time. I still mix my pie crust by hand, in a stainless steel bowl, with a fork. These days, most folks who make pie crust from scratch use a food processor. Even Martha Stewart uses a food processor, but not releaf1954. I have to do it the old-fashioned way. This is a tradition and I don’t mess with tradition.

It also seems to be a tradition to start the day with a quick bowl of cereal and then try to get by on spare eggnog and coffee until all the pies are done. I guess that could be one reason I’m so tired. At least I came up with supper.

Pie scraps

Pie scraps with sugar and cinnamon


See?

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Orange

Orange hates me. Okay, maybe I started it. As secondary colors go, orange has always been my least favorite. I’m trying to give it a chance. I really am, but orange is just not playing along. Last week, I painted a big picture of some flame azaleas I photographed on my June trip to North Carolina. I shared it in last week’s blog post, even though I was far from satisfied with the orange flowers. It was a painting; it was a learning experience and it counted towards my goal of painting fifty paintings in my second blog year. Those oranges were really bothering me, though, so I decided to try again, on a much smaller scale.

Orange defeats me.

Orange defeats me.


I mean an itty bitty scale. This experiment did not go well. I kept trying and the oranges kept getting muddier. Eventually, I stopped trying and signed the thing. It’s a painting. It was a learning experience. It counts. I’ll probably gesso over it at some point, but for now I have plenty of itty bitty canvases. Feeling frustrated and staring at lots of leftover red, yellow and orange paint, I pulled out a piece of printer paper and started brushing paint on that. I wasn’t trying to come up with a pretty painting. I just wanted to come up with one pretty orange petal. Still no luck. Curse you, orange!

I’m not giving up in despair but I do think I will leave orange alone for a while. I need to paint something that makes me happy before I tangle with orange again. Meanwhile, I need to get thirty thousand words for Camp NaNoWriMo. As of right now, I am on track to finish by July thirtieth. That is assuming I get my nine hundred or so words today. I’m not sure that will happen, but if it doesn’t, I will just have to bake more pies and have another make-up day.

I may not be having success with my painting and I may be dragging my feet on the writing, but I can always bake. Pies, cookies … whatever it takes. Cookies made out of pie dough and filled with fig preserves…

Fig cookies

Fig cookies


I can do that.

Let Me Be Grateful

It’s blog time again and I’m not sure what to write about. It’s just been an embarrassment of riches, this week. I validated my NaNoWriMo novel, I baked seventeen pies, I hosted a warm, wonderful, love-filled family gathering on Thanksgiving and my daughter and I finished all the tie-dye we wanted to get done for Small Business Saturday at the local arts market. We loaded it all up in the van, so we’re ready to go bright and early tomorrow morning. I even got a chance to eat leftover pie and watch “Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas” today, which is my favorite Black Friday tradition. I was feeling tired, but happy and grateful when I went to Facebook.

I just wanted to send out something from the tie-dye page to let folks know about Small Business Saturday but, of course, I ended up looking at my newsfeed and it was full of things “friends” were sending out, apparently with the intent to make as many people as possible angry and/or sad. I don’t understand why people feel the need to do this.

“Oh, you’re feeling happy and grateful? I can fix that.”

Please don’t. I have things in my life that make me feel thankful; let me be thankful. Don’t tell me I’m not allowed to be thankful because evil Europeans killed a lot of Native Americans several hundred years ago. Yes, that was evil and wrong, but it is not evil or wrong for me to be thankful now for the good things in my life. It’s appropriate.

Don’t tell me I’m not allowed to enjoy my pie and my heartwarming Christmas videos because lots of crazy people are running over each other in big box stores today. It’s greed; it’s horrible and I am apparently supposed to be appalled, all day long, that this sort of thing is going on. I don’t want to be appalled, okay? It’s their choice to be out in the malls and it’s my choice to stay home and watch videos. If it makes them happy to shop, let them shop. I can’t make decisions for them. Neither can any of the people posting about it on Facebook, but they sure are angry about it, and they want to make everyone else angry about it, too. Why? Do they think that’s the way to make the world a better place?

I don’t. The only way to make the world a better place is to put more love into it. The world doesn’t need more anger or sadness, so why are people going out of their way to promote anger and sadness all over the internet? Look, I have been fighting depression for years and the one thing I know for sure is that you can’t fight darkness with darkness. Light is what makes a difference. You find a little bit of light and you grab it and hold on to it and do everything you can to make it grow. I am putting my attention into light, because that’s what I want more of.

Yes, I just ended a sentence with a preposition. Feel free to report me to the grammar police.

Birthday Baking

The holiday season has arrived. In my family, it starts in September, with three birthdays. My son was born on the 6th, my oldest grandson on the 12th and my youngest grandson on the 13th. That made this past week a very busy baking week. My son’s favorite dessert is pumpkin pie. I’ve been baking up to a dozen pumpkin pies every Thanksgiving for years, so those were easy-peasy. I baked two for my son’s birthday, so he could share one and pig out on the other one. I think a person should have the option of pigging out on his birthday.

My oldest grandson requested a chocolate cake. I don’t have as much experience with cakes as I do with pies, but there’s a great recipe on the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa can, so that was pretty easy, too. I didn’t get a chance to taste it because the boy managed to catch a cold for his birthday. He wasn’t up to a family gathering, so I sent the cake to his house, along with his present – books. I love having a teen-aged grandson who wants books for his birthday.

My youngest grandson just turned one. His mother (my younger daughter) was planning a big party, scheduled for this past Saturday. I’d heard that a professional was going to make the cake, so I was off the hook. Thursday evening, I got a phone call from my daughter, who wanted to know how much notice I would need to make a fancy cake. “A lot!” I said.

“Oh. Then never mind,” she said.

“What?” I said.

Before this conversation was over, I had agreed to make a cake for my grandson’s party. A TARDIS cake. My daughter and her husband are huge fans of Doctor Who. They were given a Doctor Who themed baby shower before my grandson was born. After driving through a nasty thunderstorm on the way to that shower and on the way to the hospital the day he was born and on the way home after he was born, I started calling him Stormageddon (an obscure reference for the faithful). His nursery has TARDIS curtains and his crib has a TARDIS dust ruffle. Of course they wanted a TARDIS cake for the baby’s first birthday. Their original plans fell through, and I was drafted to make it.

Fortunately, I did have some back-up – my older daughter. I was prepared to try the cake myself if I had to, but I was reasonably certain the baby’s aunt would be willing to help. This is a woman who once decorated a cake to look like a human cell for a school project. If she could manage all the parts of a cell, including (but not limited to) nucleus, mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum, I was pretty sure she would rise to the TARDIS challenge.

Happily, I was right. All I had to do was the baking. Whew!

I used the recipe from the back of the Hershey’s can again, doubled so we would have enough for a 9”x 13” pan (the basic TARDIS), a 9”x 9” pan (spare parts), and a dozen wibbly wobbly, timey wimey cupcakes, just to make sure there would be enough cake for everyone at the party. I baked the cakes on Friday and put the flat ones in the refrigerator because all the online sources said a chilled cake is easier to cut. My older daughter, at great personal sacrifice (she is not a morning person), agreed to set an alarm and get up early on Saturday to turn the cakes into a TARDIS in time for the 2:30 party.

It was quite an adventure. My older daughter is going to read this blog and think I left out all the interesting parts, like my frosting fiasco and my trip to the store for more cocoa after my cupcake failure, but the end result of all the drama was a very recognizable TARDIS and a successful party.

TARDIS cake

TARDIS cake

Oh, and a small bow tie cake for the birthday boy.

Bow tie cake

Bow tie cake

Because bow ties are cool.