Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pie Time

Yesterday, my son asked for a pie. I'm not a fan of store-bought crust. It took awhile, but I've perfected a recipe that's no-fail. Here's the recipe, some pics, and freezer tips.

Perfect Pie Crust

Refrigerator time: 30 min
Cooking time: 60 min
Resting time: 60 min
Total time: 2 hr 50 min

What You Need:
2 C flour
1 tsp salt
6 3/4 Tbsp butter (ice cold)
6 3/4 Tbsp shortening (ice cold)
1/2 C water (ice cold)

What You Use:
measuring Cups and Spoons
mixing bowl
pastry blender
large cutting board
rolling pin
9" pie plate
plastic wrap
aluminum foil or Glad Press n' Seal

What You Do:
1. In a medium bowl, place flour and salt. (Sometimes I substitute 1 C of white flour for 1 C of whole wheat flour, just to squeeze in nutrition.)

2. Cut ice cold squares of butter and shortening into salt and flour until looks like small pearls. Using butter and shortening gives you both a tender and a flaky crust. The butter and shortening melt at different rates in the oven, which gives you the optimal texture.

3. Add water sparingly until it's moist enough to shape into a ball. I stir with a dinner knife. When the dough comes together, turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Quickly and gently, shape dough into a flat disk.

4. Place disk of dough in plastic wrap. Immediately place in fridge. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before making your pie.

5. To roll: Roll out quickly on a lightly floured surface. The key is to move 

 quickly so the dough stays cold. If starts to warm, place back in the fridge.

6. For a crisper crust, place pie in the fridge until just before baking.

This is how mix should look just before adding water.

Disk of dough in the fridge.

See the yellow and white flecks?
Those are bits of butter and shortening.

This is how your rolled dough should look.
(This dough has brown flecks because
I used some whole wheat flour.)

Tasty pie straight from the oven.

Tasty, flaky piece of pie.

Strawberry Pie:

I cheated. I used a can of strawberry pie filling. Then I added some brown sugar and a couple tablespoons of butter. Covered it. Docked the top to allow steam to escape. It baked for 60 min in a 400 degree oven. It sat for 2 hours before we cut into it. With a spritz of whipped cream... YUM!

Freezer Tips:

I tend to double, triple, and quadruple recipes so I can put some in the freezer. Pie crust is very freezer friendly. Roll out the dough, gently cover the pie pan with it, fold the top crust in plastic wrap and place in the center of the pie crust-covered pie plate. Wrap it all with plastic wrap, covered with a layer of foil, label, and freeze. It'll be ready whenever you want a homemade dessert or dinner pie.

Pie dough, rolled and packaged.

Freezer ready.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Peace - Little Glimpses

Yesterday glowed with little glimpses of peace.

My daughter played happily outside while I sat under the canopy and checked email. My sons played joyously together and even found ways to include their little sister. Last night, my second son and I played "Sorry" by ourselves. We were in a quiet room, no TV, no noise, just us playing a game. It felt idyllic. While we played, DH and our older son watched "The Universe." Our older son also compiled a list of "good consequences" for doing unpleasant tasks. It worked. He took his evening antibiotics without a fuss and earned his reward. It worked this morning, too. (Amen!) And on the financial side, I worked on the checkbook and everything looks settled for the month. After the upheaval of last week, knowing we're back on track fills me with satisfaction and peace. (Amen!)

All of this was in spite of second son having pink eye in both eyes. In spite of pink eye coursing through the family. And the blow-up with first son over antibiotics in the morning.

What was the sweetest moment of the day? What little glimpse of peace and perfection did God hold onto until the end of the day? As you know, our boy has pink eye in both eyes. The medicine stings his eyes. Our pediatrician had said that if we couldn't get the drops in their open eyes we could hold them on their backs, let them close their eyes, and aim the drops into the inside corner of said closed eyes. When they blink, the drops will go in their eyes. Brilliant advice.

So last night, our son would not allow drops. I waited until he was asleep for the night, moved him onto his back, and administered the drops. He woke up just enough to say, "ouwee, ouwee, ouwee, ouwee." What a peek into his heart. Who wakes up in pain and says, "ouwee?" I hate to admit it, but I would probably swear like a sailor and possibly throw a few punches. But my boy... I love that his heart is so sweet and pure. I know he's only six and probably won't say "ouwee" when he's sixty, but right now my heart is full with the knowledge that despite his having a mother who would swear like a sailor and throw a few punches, he only mutters "ouwee." My heart is full. And peaceful.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Peace - I've Already Blown It

This week is "peace" in the Fruit of the Spirit Challenge. (Galatians 5:22-23) Apparently, God didn't build in a learning curve to the process. First thing this morning, I blew it. Big time.

Seems my oldest child needs antibiotics. This child has not needed antibiotics in I don't know how long. Long story short, he rejected them. Mightily. It took Herculean strength, Diana's aim, and Nike's speed (yes, I know I'm mixing my ancient myths) to get it in his body.

Peaceful it was not.

Hopefully the rest of the week fares better.

Joy - It Took Awhile

Friday evening I sat in this very seat, basking in the glow of my family. It was... joy. Joy. Yep. After a long week of wondering if there was something wrong with me for not flitting about with bubbles circling my head (although I'm not thrilled with the bubble idea), the work week ended with joy.

How did I get there? Well. Let's examine the week:

Big sigh.

We had to cancel plans for our anniversary trip. We had planned to spend our anniversary at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, much like the one we enjoyed on our honeymoon. Prudence convinced me not to buy plane tickets until we took care of a few things, just in case. Well, "just in case" turned into reality and then reality turned into responsibility and responsibility turned into canceling the trip. I cried. I pouted. I was not my best self. But I didn't use money we didn't have to get what I wanted. Again, responsibility. Someday we'll go back to Mexico in real life. I say "real life" because we both visit there occasionally, if only in our minds. It's such a lovely place. Beautiful beaches. Lots of food. Lots of frosty beverages. No responsibilities. I digress...

In taking care of "reality," we depleted our resources considerably. We weren't broke, although I felt broke. Last week felt like a continual outlay of cash. Throw in another visit to the pediatrician and another certifiably sick kid and the money kept leaking out of the bank account. I'd been in the pediatrician's office with one or more sick kids every week since early March. Another sick kid meant another visit to the pharmacy. Adios, cash. Add it all up and and it was not a joy-filled week. It was a grumpy, testy, had-enough kind of week.

I kept hearing my declaration to the powers of darkness to "bring it on." Yeah. Maybe I shouldn't have done that? Maybe that was the problem? No. No. God is bigger than the boogieman. (Thank you, Veggie Tales.) I was missing something. What was it? By Friday afternoon I felt empty and worn and spiritually flattened and desperately needed my load lifted.

And then...

Friday afternoon came. With it came my darling husband who arrived home early. Not only did he arrive early, he had stopped by the store. While staying within budget, he bought tasty bits to grill. He commandeered dinner. The kids played with cheerful abandon. I sat in this very seat. I surveyed my family and felt something filling my heart that had been vacant from my heart all week: Joy.

I know it sounds trite. I don't care. I say it is true: Joy isn't in a vacation or a bank account or a weeks' break from the doctor's office or not seeing the sympathetic smile from the pharmacist who saw you just a few days ago. Joy is being with the ones you love, who love you, who don't care about unlimited margaritas or 24-hour room service or multiple digits in the savings account. Joy is simple. It is stripped of the fluff of life. And it isn't found surrounded by fuzzy bunnies, rainbows, or bubbles. Thank God.


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