It’s a pie trifecta here (hope I’m using that correctly). Stuck in the house, a little blue (working at home is not growing on me yet) and have lots of pie ingredients hanging around.
Last weekend I made a blueberry pie for YA and a pear croustade (fancy way to say pears in puff pastry). Then a couple of days ago, a blender lemon pie (SO easy). Yesterday I made a peanut butter cream cheese whipped cream Reese’s pie… not sure what the actual name is. Over the weekend, there is apple crumble to be made and I might make another of the blender lemon (it went fast and I still have lemons). My neighbors on either side are benefitting from this frenzy.
Of course, I’m also doing other dishes for comfort. Made a pizza on Monday, roasted cauliflower on Wednesday, hash brown parmesan “cups” last night. YA has requested tomato soup… I still have tomatoes in the freezer from last summer so that’s do-able. Might have to make a quick run to the store for onions and garlic. I think I might do ramen pad thai too.
I know we’ve talked about comfort food before, but anything you’re craving this week?
I know you’re expecting to see details about Pi Day next week, but this year I’m going to change it up and write about Pi Day organization. Here’s what it takes:
- Send out Evites. If you’re local, you got an evite, although I can’t guarantee they didn’t go to Spam.
- Decide on pies. Mark the recipes with post-it notes. 11 this year – I can’t help myself
- Make list of ingredients and then shop for those ingredients
- Make little pie placecards and nametags
- Make sure you have enough plates, napkins, forks
- Check on red/white wine supply
- Go through recipes and sort out which are baked and which are non-baked
- Figure out how many pie shells need pre-baking
- Do any of those pre-baked ones need any chocolate coating or other prep?
- Figure out what oven temperature is needed for the baked pies
- Figure out what can be chopped/ground before Saturday
- Make an actual schedule of the order of baking, set up by oven temperature needed
- Make the oatmeal cookies that become the crust for the Crack Pie
- Make Crack Pie crust
- Boil the condensed milk to make dulce de leche
- Do any pre-baking of crusts and coat the chocolate ones
- Do any nut chopping/grinding that needs doing
- Get up early and get started!!
Hopefully there will be time in here for a shower before everybody arrives! Oh and here’s what’s on the menu: Crack, Banoffee, Blueberry, Dutch Apple, Red Velvet Whoopie, Reese’s, Pecan Dream, Shaker Lemon, Vanilla Crumb, Skillet Berry Cobbler and Pear Croustade.
Have I made you hungry or just tired?
Oh no! I stopped by the grocery store last night to pick up something quick and was confronted by a HUGE display of Cadbury chocolate eggs. Not just any run-of-the-mill Easter candy, but my nemesis, the Cadbury egg. I don’t know why I like these, but I really do.
How do I keep myself from temptation for the next six weeks?
I finally had to cut the cord. My old laptop just wasn’t going to make the grade when I upgraded Explorer this week; it was originally a re-furbish, so it was about six. Ancient for a laptop and SLOW. So knowing that it would only get worse, I trundled myself up to the computer store last weekend. Obviously I am part of a large contingent of folks who waited until the very last minute to do something about this week’s looming deadline.
You all know that while I am fully capable to doing research if I care about something, too much time thinking about computers doesn’t fill me with elan. I went into the store, found a salesperson (so so young), told him what I use a computer for at home along with my price range. He showed me three different computers and I chose one. 10 minutes. I spent longer standing in line to pay for it than I did choosing it.
Now comes the hard part – learning how to negotiate the new systems and software. I remember in my Software Etc. days that software would come in big packages… several disks and a LOT of manual. These days you get a piece of cardboard with a website and a license number. My first thought when I opened the box and turned it on was “I am lost in space here”. Three hours later, I am up and running. Not proficient yet at getting around or typing on the new keyboard, but at least I’ve got security, internet and, most importantly, OverDrive (for listening to audio books)!
What’s the last book you listened to? (Or read…..)
Before my trip to Peru, I was well aware that this would be a trip of a lifetime. Even if I hadn’t already thought this, everyone I knew was sure to tell me. As you all know, one of my life goals is to not have expectations set too high. So this felt dangerous to me, to hear so many folks talk about bucket lists and dreams come true.
As a way to try to tamp down my expectations, I did not do ANY research on Peru or Machu Picchu prior to the trip. From our hotel in Cusco, we took a minibus to Ollanta Station (1.5 hours) and then took the Vistadome train to Machu Picchu City (another 1.5 hours). Then there was the tourist coach up the side of the mountain (hint: if you are afraid of heights, always try to avoid the window seats on a trip like this). On this last leg of the trip to the site, I reflected that I really didn’t know anything at all about Machu Picchu, with the exception of the altitude – 8,000 feet.
Turns out that there isn’t a massive amount to know. The pre-Andeans had abandoned the site centuries before it was re-discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911 and they left no written record. In fact “Machu Picchu” is just the name given to the site in the local dialect and means “old mountain”. Archaeologists and scientist are pretty sure what many of the buildings were for: homes, palace for the Inca when he visited, security look-out and even a temple (although they only believe this because on the winter solstice the sun shines directly through the main window of the building) but other than that, they don’t know much about how life was lived here.
As I stood gazing out over the stone buildings I was struck with a strong desire to go back in time for just a couple of days to see what life was like when Machu Picchu was populated. How did they live, what did they eat, what were their favorite past times? Of course it would be nice to know why they abandoned the settlement, but if I only have two days, I don’t think I want it to be the last two days!
Two days to visit a time in the past. Just two. When and where do you choose? (And an absolute guarantee you can get back home after the two days!)
I know from discussions on previous New Year’s Days that we are not a big resolution group. Around our house, New Year’s Day is traditionally the day we take down the tree, put away the ornaments and other decorations and generally straighten and clean up. It feels like a fresh start after the big holiday season so it’s easy to understand how folks can spend time taking stock and deciding how they’d like to go forward in life.
No particular ways I’d like to go forward, although I will note that 2019 was an abysmal year for keeping up communications with the people in my life. Not sure why, it wasn’t more busy than usual, but in looking back I realize that I did more responding and less reaching out. So maybe I’d like to change that. If this is a resolution, then so be it.
If there are resolutions in my past that I managed to keep, I can’t remember. I assume that most of my former resolutions remained as resolutions and not life changes. This means I don’t have a game plan based on past experience for making a change. I guess I’ll just have to wing it.
Have you had any spectacular resolution failures? Or success?
Normally I spread holiday baking out over a week or so, but this year with Thanksgiving being so late this year along with a work trip next week, I don’t have as much time as usual. So yesterday and today I am a cookie-making machine!
I marked all my recipes in their various books and then went through and made an ingredient list. The shopping went pretty quickly, although I did need to hit two stores. No Andes Mints or good peanut butter at the first store. Except for getting our tree on Friday (the only shopping I’m willing to do on Black Friday), I’ve been doing pretty much nothing but measuring, stirring, shaping and baking. The tins are starting to pile up on the front porch; it’s like having a walk-in freezer. I don’t know if I’ll get all of them done before my trip, but that’s my goal. Here is this year’s list:
- Anna’s Chocolate Chip (yes, our Anna) – using mini red and green candies
- Pecan Meltaways
- Vanilla Walnut Crescents
- Peanut Butter Bon Bons
- Peanut Butter Blossoms
- Soft Gingerbread
- White Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints
- Mint Surprises
- Derby Cookies
- Milk Chocolate Fudge
- Milk Chocolate/PB Fudge
That should keep us in cookies until 2020!
Tell me your very favorite holiday cookie.