11/28/17

Vegan pie guide


I went a little overboard and made five pies for Thanksgiving. Here are the recipes I used, and how we liked them. I know I will be glad next year that I wrote this down!


Oil pastry. This is my go to pie crust, and I used it for the pupmkin, pecan, and apple pies. I figured out a few years ago that rolling it out between parchment paper sheets makes the difference between a fun experience and tearing your hair out. Use the parchment. Buy some if you don't already have it. It will change your life.


Key lime. I made this recipe in a storebought graham cracker crust and I skipped the meringue. This was our only flop. The filling was delectable, but it was runny even after setting for over 24 hours. Next year I'm going to make this again, but I'll add 1/4 cup cornstarch instead of 2 tablespoons.


Chocolate. This was a great base recipe. I used another storebought graham cracker crust, and I skipped the spices since I just wanted a plain pie, not a Mexican one. Very good and very rich!


Pumpkin. I've made this recipe twice now and love it! My only note is to make sure it is completely chilled before serving: it just tastes better cold. Make it the day before so it has a chance to cool.


Pecan. I wasn't sure how vegan pecan pie was going to taste, but I liked it! It has a wonderful flavor, and I'm glad I tried it. What a great recipe!


Apple. Betty Crocker never lets you down. This recipe worked out beautifully, even though I forgot to dot the apples with butter before sealing them into the top crust (what's the point of that anyway? does it really make a difference?). My pie was piled high with apples, so it had a tall dome, but the apples shrank in cooking so there was a big space in the crust. It was still great for our purposes, and I'd still make this recipe again in a heartbeat because I'm too lazy to precook the filling, which as far as I know is the best way to avoid the gap.


11/27/17

Kitchen (but not cooking) fun


Wednesday I baked five pies; Thursday I made an entire Thanksgiving dinner. Friday we went out for lunch and ate leftovers the rest of the day, but I just couldn't keep out of the kitchen. In the evening, I whipped up some body wash, body scrub, and lotion from Little House Living.

And then, because the kids begged me, I made lip balm. Homemade is so much better; it seems that most of what you buy at the store makes your lips worse, not better. Red Chief requested peppermint and Tiger Lily wanted lavender, so I split the recipe into halves and made it in teacups, which were just the right size. Just a few tablespoons of lip balm filled up 19 containers!

11/24/17

Thanksgiving

We had a beautiful Thanksgiving. It was just us, and I somehow managed to get dinner ready by 12:30, so that was nice. Not too much waiting.


A few years ago I asked the kids what they wanted for Thanksgiving, and their only request was a cornucopia, so we got one and have had it out every year since. This year, Pip was pretty sure he could play the cornucopia like a horn.


Red Chief spent a lot of time on the counter babysitting the turkey breast in the crockpot. He also made us the drinks and set up the cornucopia.


Tiger Lily was my right-hand helper.


I had fun teaching her to shape rolls: knots, braids, regular round, and Parker House. It brought back memories of helping my mom shape the rolls on holidays.


Later everyone played Mario, or as Pip calls it, "Marr-o." And in the evening, the missionaries in our area stopped by and we had leftovers and lots of pie.

11/21/17

Stuff on my mind lately

  • Teaching Pip to be quieter
  • Teaching Tiger Lily that one shouldn't need to be constantly entertained
  • Getting some probiotics into Red Chief as he finishes a round of antibiotics for a sinus infection
  • Thanksgiving planning and shopping and cooking
  • Planning the Christmas Eve church meeting—it's going to be almost all music, and I'm in charge of music at church right now
  • Contemplating some Christmas sewing for immediate family members
  • Wondering how to get the ugly yellow hard water marks off the bathroom sink (everything I've tried has failed)
  • Working (and succeeding!) at keeping up with the basics every day in the kitchen and living room, and wondering what to add to that next
  • Realizing that Pip is three now and not a baby anymore, and that I can probably start some simple learning activities with him


11/20/17

Thanksgiving lists


Yesterday, on a whim, we all (except Pip) made lists of the things we'd like to do during Thanksgiving break. They included such items as

  • Realax (sic)
  • Make lots of pie
  • Stay in bed every morning until 8:20 and then shout "HA!"
  • Figure out gifts for family members
  • File all recipes
  • Finish collaring pages! (sic again)
  • Clean room
  • Put up the Christmas tree

10/24/17

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning


What will happen to all your stuff when you die? Will your spouse have to spend years mucking out all the junk in the house? Will your kids send it all off to a dump? 

Margareta Magnusson suggests a better way in her new book (coming in January 2018) The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: take your own stuff into your own hands. Don't keep stuff you don't use anymore. Find good homes for the things you don't need. Make it easier for your family after you're gone.

The author starts out by describing the cleaning she does after loved ones' deaths, and then outlines what she has done to make it easier on her family one day. If you've read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, this book is another, more practical, take on the same idea. 

I'm not planning on dying for quite some time, but what Magnusson says still makes sense. Keep your life in order. Write down your passwords. Make a will. Pare down your belongings as your life phases change. Preserve the memories you want to pass on, and destroy the ones you don't. Not just because you'll die one day, but because you'll have a better life meanwhile if you keep things in order and you aren't drowning in excess objects.

10/23/17

Doctor-dentist marathon


As I was dragging to another appointment last week, I was thinking how very sick I was of going to the doctor and dentist this month. When I looked on the calendar, I realized that altogether, our family has no less than eight appointments this month! I guess I'll give myself permission to be sick of it. (And yes, I'll try to be grateful too.) (And no, nothing is wrong, just all the routine things fell at the same time.)

10/17/17

Family home evening


We had a thoughtful family home evening again this week! I was thinking this past week of a song that Tiger Lily likes to listen to, and I realized that it came from a church video that was used when I was a teenager.

So I dug up the video. I am so glad the church has been so good about putting all their videos online in recent years! We talked about how we got the Book of Mormon, then we watched the video. And now Tiger Lily knows what her song is about, and with any luck, she'll remember it each time she listens and sings along.

I just realized this post sounds like I only had FHE with Tiger Lily. We all had it together, but I will admit I have been thinking about her a lot when I plan it lately. I feel like we focused on Red Chief for so long, and then I dropped the ball, that it's her turn. But luckily everyone can benefit from a simple gospel lesson, no matter who I have in mind when I plan it.

Another good experience! I wonder what I'll come up with for next week?

10/16/17

Quick trip


We went on a crazy fast trip this weekend to see my baby sister get married. Arrived late Friday, wedding Saturday, back home on Sunday.

My sister was a beautiful bride and I guess she really is all grown up now. Above is her cake. The cake was made and frosted by friend of the family H (this is also her photo that I stole), and another sister (I have three) put the flowers on artistically. The green is honeysuckle from my vine, brought down in a cooler.

It was fun to catch up with friends and acquaintances from the past. I randomly ran into one of my best friends from high school at the temple, and then of course there were many old friends at the reception.


When we got home there wasn't a lot of food in the house, so I whipped up a recipe my grandma and mom taught me: kitchen sink soup. You take all the odds and ends you can find that go together (especially the things you want to use up), and you make soup. It always turns out tasty.

10/13/17

Cleaning my room


Step 1: Change the sheets and make the bed.
Step 2: Organize the shoes.
Step 3: Remove a two-foot stack of books from the room.

Book accumulation. It happens.