Pi Day: Thursday Edition

pie1.jpgIn my opinion one of the most important parts of making a good pie is the crust. For some reason many people think that pie crusts are too hard or too time consuming to make. Really, making a good crust is not that hard. Our family has a pie crust recipe that has been passed down for several generations. The recipe is based on proportions, so it is very easy to adjust the recipe to make more crust if needed.

Mimi’s Never Fail Pastry

1 C flour

1/2 C Crisco

1/4 C Water

1/2 tsp salt

Sift together flour and salt. Cut shortening into flour using pastry blender. Add water and mix with a fork until all of the dough sticks to the fork. Roll out on a floured board. For recipes that call for a pre-baked crust bat at 400 degrees about 10 minutes or until pastry begins to lightly brown.

Notes:

A double recipe makes 3 crusts.

If you don’t successfully get it into the pie plate, wad it up into a ball and roll it out again — as many times as necessary. The crust will still be tender and flakey.

Trick for getting it into the pan, roll the dough-jelly roll style before transferring it to the pie pan.

This also makes a good snack cut into strips and either baked plain or topped with sugar and cinnamon.

To make a chocolate pie: Bake crust, fill with Aunt Ruby’s Chocolate Pudding, top with either meringue or whipped topping.

Pi Day: Wednesday Edition

I read something last week in Cooking Light that this coming Friday (3/14) is Pi day and they are encouraging readers to make a pie in honor of pie day. I have decided to post something each day until Friday in honor of Pi Day.

Today I am sharing a recipe for Fried Pies or rather Baked Pies that I made for a church fellowship Sunday. I have been told by several sources they were quite yummy.

pies.jpg
Chocolate & Coconut Fried (Baked) Pies
Mary Ruth’s Fried Pie Crust

3 Cups Flour ( I used 2 cups white/1 cup whole wheat)

1 tsp salt

3/4 C. Crisco (I prefer butter flavored)

1 Egg, beaten

1/4 C. Water

2 tsp. vanilla
Sift Flour and salt. Combine dry ingredients with shortening using a pastry blender. Add egg, water & vanilla to mix. Chill until ready to use.

For the filling I used my Aunt Ruby’s Chocolate Pudding and the filling from my mom’s Coconut pie.

Aunt Ruby’s Chocolate Pudding

1 C Sugar
3 T flour
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 T Butter
1 ½ C. Milk (try almond milk for a slight nutty taste)
1 T Cocoa

Combine sugar, flour, and cocoa. Add egg and milk. Cook in double boiler until thick. Stir occasionally. After removing from heat add vanilla and butter. Instead of using a double boiler I use the microwave on defrost be sure to check and stir it every 2-3 minutes.

Mom’s Coconut Pie

1 C Sugar ( I use 1/2 sugar & 1/2 Turbinado)
3 T Flour
1 egg
1 1/2 C Milk
2 tsp vanilla
1 C. coconut
1/2 stick butter or margarine

Cook sugar, flour, egg, milk in double boiler or microwave until thick. Stir occasionally. After removing from heat add coconut, vanilla and butter. I


Movie Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Still need some help planning that special Valentine’s Day. Here are some of my favorite romantic movies. These are the ones I enjoy watching over and over again, if you don’t believe me just ask my husband.

americanpres.jpgThe American President
Starring Michael Douglas as President Andrew Shepherd and Annette Benning as lobbyist Syndey Ellen Wade. One of my favorite parts of the movie is when Shepherd tries to buy flowers for Syndey. He is amazed that the most powerful man in the world can’t do something as simple as buy flowers for his girl.

mybigfatgrkwed.jpgMy Big Fat Greek Wedding
I love the transformation of Toula Portokalos from a shy and dumpy girl to a beautiful and confident young woman. Toula is 30 something, single and working in her family’s Greek resturant. Her dad Gus just wants her to marry a nice Greek boy. After convining her dad to let her take some college classes the transformation begins. Toula meets and begins dating Ian Miller, a non-greek. Nia Vardalos wrote and stars in the movie. It is loosly based on her life. Vardalos’s husband Ian Gomez plays Ian Miller’s best friend Mike. Also, several of her family members appear as extras in the movie.

sweethome.jpgSweet Home Alabama
Reese Witherspoon plays Melanie Carmichael from a small town in Alabama who has traded her humble beginnings for the big city. She has become a successful fashion designer in New York City. She becomes engaged to the mayor’s (Candice Bergen) son (Patrick Dempsey) but there is one catch. She is still married to Jake (Josh Lucas) who is back home in Alabama and has refused to sign the divorice papers.

More Ideas for Valentine’s Day

A Not So Top 10: Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Top 10Well it is the day before Valentine’s day and if you haven’t found the perfect gift for that special someone you may be panicking. Remember that it doesn’t have to be expensive to be a creative and memorable day. My favorite Valentine’s Days have been the times my hubby has stepped out of the box. Two of my favorites were a Koala from Build-A-Bear and flowers he got on campus from the chemistry club. As a fund raisers they were selling carnation in beakers. Here are a few ideas to get you started and help you avoid the last minute trap of wilted flowers and a squished box of chocolates. The ideas are listed in a no particular order

  1. Make a special breakfast. It may be as simple as toast and coffee. If you are adventuresome you might try making a French Breakfast.
  2. Make a coupon book for your sweetie. Include things like a free back rub, a night out, cook dinner, clean the house, etc.
  3. Plan a special night in: fix or pick up dinner and select a movie.
  4. Picnic in the park.
  5. OK, this one that needs to be started before Valentine’s day. You will need a bag of Hershey’s Kisses and one of Hershey’s Hugs. Hid them through out the house. Be sure to hid them in places your sweetie can find. Oh, avoid hiding them in places that might get hot like above the stove. Leave a note on somewhere like on your special some ones pillow or the bathroom mirror. Be sure to attach a hug and a kiss to the note. Include instructions to about finding the hidden candies. The reward for finding them is a hug or kiss per candy found. Be prepared for this one to last for weeks.
  6. Show up at your special someones work with their favorite snack or lunch. This is always a nice surprise.
  7. A walk along the beach.
  8. Turn the your bathroom/bedroom into a spa for your special someone. OK, guys this is going to take a little planning. If you have kids make arrangements for someone to care for them, keep them in another room or send them to bed early. Get some chic flicks or reading that your wife likes and special food be sure to include chocolate. Make sure the bedroom/bathroom is clean. You will need candles, bubble bath and relaxing music. Light the candles & run a bath. Be sure that the bed is made. Turn the back covers and leave a chocolate or nice cookie on the pillow just like in the fancy hotels. Then allow your wife some time just to chill out uninterrupted.
  9. Plan a theme night. Decorate the house or one room to fit the theme like Mexico, Disney, or sleep over. Plan movies and food that fits the theme.
  10. Pack a special lunch for your Valentine. Make a note using Message heart candies. Be sure to include at least one note and 2 or 3 special food items.

For more date ideas see Top 10: Date Night Ideas.

Top 10: Date Night Ideas

couple.jpg#10 Picnic in the Park

Pack a lunch or grab some sandwiches, blanket and head to the nearest park. Bring along a Frisbee or a kite for more fun.

#9 Hiking

Find a state park or hiking trails. Be sure to pack a lunch and plenty of water. This is a great way to spend some quality time together

#8 Botanical Gardens

The town where we used to live had these great botanical gardens. Most of the gardens were free except the Japanese Gardens.

#7 Day at the Beach

We like to either pack a lunch or find a “quirky” beach eats place. Be sure to bring along your sun screen

#6 Drive in Movie

For this one you will need TV/DVD player, portable DVD player, laptop or some other way to watch the movie. Set up the DVD player in the backyard, porch or other location. Grab some chairs or a blanket. Pop some pop corn or get other movie eats. You are ready for you own private screening. The best thing is you get to choose the movie and don’t have to worry about annoying kids.

# 5 Scavenger Hunt

For this one you will need a camera preferably a digital one. Decide on a theme for you scavenger hunt. One we have used is an ABC one where you had to find a picture of something that starts with each letter of the alphabet. After you have taken the pictures and printed spend sometime making a scrapbook of the evening. This one is really good for 2 dates.

# 4 Hang out at a local coffee shop or bubble tea place

Another of our favorite things to do is hang out at a local coffee shop or bubble tea place. We read, play games, talk or just hang out. It makes for a nice relaxing evening.

# 3 Coupon Progressive Dinner

My husband is the coupon king. He accumulates more buy-one-get-one coupons and free items coupons than anyone I know. One night we used his free items coupon and had our own progressive dinner. We started at one place for appetizers and changed locals with each course. Most of the coupons were for fast food type places.

# 2 Theme Night

Select a theme for the night. The food, movies, and other activities should be related to the theme. For a sports themed night I might serve nachos, hot dogs, or hot wings. Movies might include Remember the Titans, Coach Carter, Rudy and/or Facing the Giants.

# 1 Romantic Dinner

One of my favorite things to do is make a special dinner. Sometimes the menu is fancy but I have also used simple things like quesadillas or burgers.

Christmas Reflection

nativity.jpgRecently, I have read several sources questioning the authenticity of the Nativity narrative. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury has recently questioned the traditional Nativity narrative portrayed in Christmas plays, Christmas cards and various Nativity scenes.   Are the traditions associated with the Nativity true? 

First, was Christ really born on December 25th? Most likely December 25th was not the date Christ was born. December would have been too cold for humans to stay in a stable that time of year.  The date actually comes from the Roman pagan celebration of Saturnalia.  The Catholic Church selected the date as the observance of Christ’s birthday to provide new convert an alternative to pagan celebrations (1).  

Was Christ really born in a stable or manger? According to Luke 2:7, Mary used a manger in lieu of a crib.  From this we can surmise that they were some where animals kept. This could have been a stable, cave, the lower level of a house or an enclosure attached to a house (2). 

Who was present when Jesus was born? Well, obviously Joseph and Mary were present (see Luke 2:4-7). Luke 2:8-19 records the shepherds encounter with angels and hasty visit to the Christ child.  Neither the Matthew  nor Luke  accounts record the presence of the angels in the manger. 

However the Magi or Wise Men did arrive on the night of Christ’s birth.  In Matt 2:1-18, we learn that their arrival occurred sometime after Christ’s birth.  By Herrod’s order decree in verse 2:16  we can deduce that it may have been as long 2 years after Christ’s birth.   

It is my belief that the both Matthew and Luke’s account are reliable and true accounts of Christ birth.  I make no apology for my belief that Christ did come to this world as infant, lived a perfect life, died on cross and rose again on the third day and is coming again for those believe in him.  

Sources:

(1)  Just Ask, When Was Jesus Born?”, [Available on-line http://www.just4kidsmagazine.com/justask/dec.html, last accessed 25 December 2007].

(2) Christianity Today, “Jesus is Born” [Available on-line http://www.christianitytoday.com/holidays/christmas/features/born.html#manger, last accessed 25 December 2007].