Monday, November 21, 2011

Pie Making 101

Several weeks ago, one of my oldest and best friends ~ Jete ~ called with an unusual request.....she wanted to learn how to make a pie!  For her birthday and several other special occasions, I had brought homemade apple pie for dessert and she absolutely loved it.  And if you know Jete, once she makes her mind up to do something....there is no stopping her.  I just love that about her!  I was very flattered but a wee bit nervous to teach the skill of making is something I have done all my life but when you screw up a pie crust in the privacy of your own home and can start over with no-one watching, the pressure is not as intense as being the front and center stage with nowhere to hide when the crust falls apart as you pick it up to put it in your pie tin!  So I bought a Pillsbury roll out crust and figured if I goofed, we would laugh about it as old friends do, use the store bought pie crust and call it a day!  Besides, she and her husband did teach us how to boil crawfish .....remember that? Click here to see! 
Anyway, I pulled out my all time favorite pie crust recipe from the "Joy of Cooking" and gathered all my pie making supplies.  Pie Making 101 here I come! 

Forgive the pictures as I only had my IPhone..... first of all - Jete has an awesome kitchen for cooking anything but especially for making pies!  The huge granite slab counter that we could flour up and roll our pastries out on was pie making heaven.  Secondly, I discovered that making apple pies is so much easier (and much more fun!) with two people....she peeled as I sliced and we got through about forty apples in less than an hour.  As we pre-cooked the apples for fifteen minutes (I do this to keep the pies from being too juicy), we started on the crust.  No food processors here, I do it the old fashion way by cutting in 1/2 butter and 1/2 shortening to flour.  My mother had a new suggestion that we substitute vodka for the water!  We made two pies this way but I wasn't able to taste the crust so couldn't give you a report as to whether it is better or not.  I am proud to say that our pie crust rolled out perfectly and my lesson could not have gone any better....Jete was a great pupil!  Oh ~ one other experiment we tried that another friend suggested when they heard about our pie making party....making a pie in an iron skillet.  Jete decided to try it and my friends, it worked perfectly  and cooked to perfection (I know this because we broke down and had to eat that one after we cooked it!) 

This was a "sampler"  made from some leftover scraps.

A few of our pies!

You can see the "iron skillet pie" here.  Boy do we look proud...... home-made, non burned, pinched crust, woven lattice work, yes - Jete has graduated with honors!
It was so much fun that we decided to make it a new tradition for Thanksgiving every year!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Tying up loose ends!

Yes, this is my Halloween post...almost a month late! But better late than never.....

Sara and her friends managed to carve some awesome pumpkins!

We make our pumpkin seeds with Tony Chacheres - gives them a bit of a kick!

Did that turn out amazing or what?

Very Impressive....

Grams came in from Tennessee just in time for trick-or-treating.

Ellen and her friends dressed as "Ninjas" 

Sara was.....well I am not exactly sure what she was, but she wasn't "Sara"! But, that is the whole point of Halloween, right?

The "Trick-or-treaters" came out in droves - we probably had around 
1000 children over the course of the night! 

It seemed like an endless parade of costumes!

Ellen and her friends decided to made the rounds through the neighborhood one more time, and just to make sure they wouldn't be recognized, they changed into costume number two!

We didn't dress up....we just enjoyed all the others that did! 

After trick or treating was over, all the girl's friends came over and enjoyed the newest addition to the girl's room - A DISCO BALL! It is the Coolest thing ever.  Yes, I am a product of the 80s but, it is really COOL!  You turn this baby on,  crank the music up and it is 
one heck of a dance party!

So, dance the night away, they did....

A great way to end 

a fun Halloween!

I love these crazy girls! 

Friday, November 11, 2011


11 . 11. 11

WOW - Until today I really didn't know the history behind Veteran's Day and that 11/11/11/ played so intricately into this historic celebration?  I would still be oblivious had Ellen not been chosen to read the "history of Veteran's Day" at their school assembly this morning.  Not realizing that this was actually a really big deal, and thinking that she was just reading a paragraph to the school during their morning assembly, I didn't bring my camera.  

I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived to see the school band set up along with the school choir;   at least twenty veterans to be honored, the young ROTC color guard dressed in their garb,  and a full program prepared for the children.  My little Ellen read the history of Veteran's Day loud and clear and you could hear a pin drop....this is how Veteran's Day came to be.....

Veterans Day traces its origins to World War I, when an armistice was reached between the Allied nations and Germany. It went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. The following year, Nov. 11 became officially known as Armistice Day, a day set aside to honor those who had died in service to the country.
As part of the annual commemoration, there were parades and such. It also became habit for the country to pause at precisely 11 a.m., briefly ceasing all business in honor of the sacrifices of those World War I heroes.

It was kind of a bummer that I didn't have my camera this morning so when I heard some tunes floating across the street from the park, I decided to go check it out ~ this time with camera in hand!

Our cute little park was full of red, white and blue....

 and lots of folks celebrating Veteran's Day!

As they said in assembly this morning:  "If you don't stand for our country, 
you will stand in another country".

:: Loving hands provided music which created a festive atmosphere

 :: Loving hands helped those veterans that can no longer help themselves

:: Loving hands gently unfurled our flag and then put it away with 
such a tenderness and respect.

I always thought of Veteran's Day as just an excuse for stores to have a sale! 
It means so much more to me now.......