Make a pie entirely from scratch.

Over the holidays I knew it was time to do this. When I first imagined making a pie from scratch I thought about apple or cherry. They seemed like the go to filling for homemade pies. But I don’t like either pie, so why make something I won’t enjoy. Given the time of year I decided to go with the holiday standard, the most delicious of all the pies… pumpkin.

Apparently this was a particularly unpopular choice of pie. Not that baking pumpkin pies isn’t a holiday staple… but people generally don’t bake these from scratch. Finding a pumpkin that wasn’t intended for carving was pretty much impossible, actually in late November finding any pumpkin at all was impossible. Thankfully Terrence had bought a pumpkin back in October for us to carve or possibly eat, it wasn’t my first choice but given the circumstance it was going to have to do. According to Alton Brown, pumpkins have to shelf life of two months… so I was safe. But just in case I bought some butternut squash to back me up.

Don’t let anyone tell you cutting a pumpkin in half is easy… it’s not. It might have been if I had the proper knife, but since I didn’t I’m gonna be a big baby about and say that halving a pumpkin is bullshit.

The recipe I used called for a gingersnap crust, but I much prefer graham cracker crusts for pumpkin pies.

This pumpkin pie business was a difficult and long process. My friend Amanda came over and we were both supposed to bake pies from scratch. She was originally going to make an apple pie, but felt tired and instead got the above pictured cans of blueberry pie filling and some frozen crusts. She was done in an hour… it probably took me that long to crack open my pumpkin halves. It was after midnight when she left and the pumpkin halves weren’t even close to done baking yet. Next year we’ll have to remember to start this bake fest in the day time instead of after dinner.

We made the pies the night before Thanksgiving, Amanda had work the next morning (she works in a hospital) so she couldn’t stay with me until the bitter end. Also, Terrence went out to party hard with all the other kids in bars, so I was left all alone to bake. In my down time from assembling the pie I kept myself busy, and awake, by prepping other Thanksgiving sides. When it came time for the last stage of the pie, the baking, I had run out of busy work. I set the timer for 40 minutes and sat on my bed to watch some television… next thing I knew I was awakened by the scent of burning an hour and twenty minutes after the timer had gone off. FML.

I was so angry, I tossed the burned pie onto the stove top and stormed back to my bedroom defeated. Thankfully I had enough puree to make one more pie. I set my alarm and went back to bed. Bright and early before all the other holiday crazy started I went back to work on my pie. After I blind baked the crust and took it out of the oven I foolishly set it down on the stepping stool beside me. Without thinking I kicked the oven door shut and it hit into the baking sheet tossing the crust into the air and butter side down onto the floor. I began screaming obscenities, this was in fact the Murphy’s law of pies. After Terrence calmed me down, I picked myself and my pie pan up off of the floor and began working on my third pie crust. This time things finally went smoothly.

That night both of our families had shared the pie. Terrence was across the street with his family while I was in our apartment with mine, we crossed back and forth and ate way too much as usual. I was at home when Terrence and his kin were having dessert, my phone began exploding with text messages with single word exclamations… apparently the devil pie was a hit. So much in fact that Terrence ran over with the other half for me and my family to enjoy. Everyone was pretty floored by it, being my own worst critic… I thought that the Libby’s pumpkin pie from a can version I usually make were better. Terrence called me crazy.

Both of our families told me that I had to make this evil pie annually. So now I have a new job, hopefully next year I won’t fall asleep on it.

***

Oh and for those curious about Amanda’s blueberry pie… here’s her quick and painless baking experience.

She never even ate it.

 

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Catnip enhanced.

I’d forgotten all about catnip. Today while Terrence and I were cleaning up the apartment we had the coffee table compartment open and Penny climbed in. While inside the table she discovered her canister of catnip and began nudging it with her nose. Damn cute kitty.

Neighbor love.

Terrence’s parents and his sister live across the street. I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy living so close to his family, but they really are the best neighbors. Terrence has become obsessed with the idea of moving lately and one my biggest motivators for wanting to stay is our proximity to his family.

One of the nice things about our neighbors are they’re adorable pets. They have 3 cats (Bubbles, Buttercup and Sam) and a dog (Cali). Buttercup is an odd cat, she’s just about the most lovable creature on the planet. She constantly wants you to pet her and in return she’ll lick your hand raw as long as its near her. When Cali moved in about two years ago it was the perfect pairing for Buttercup. Finally, she had a friend that would allow her to cuddle all day. Its a bizarre love affair.

Give me down to there hair, Pt 7 & 8!

Since I’ve been sort of slacking on the posts lately I thought I’d rush the do and post a two in one hair blog. I only have four months of intense hair growth stalking left so I thought I’d catch up a bit. Its been eight months since I fell pray to the hormonal scissor mishaps of my previous stylist and I figured I’d try and end it on time rather than a month after.

All the other times I cut my hair I felt like it grew way faster, I don’t know if its the watched pot syndrome or if I’m just remembering wrong… but it really did seem more like…

… then what its actually been.

There were two reasons I went to the salon back in May, initially I just wanted to trim my bangs and shape up my layers for my passport photo. The second, and last minute, reason was that I thought I looked boring and wanted more of a modern style. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll never possess an edgy hair style, I just don’t have the hair type for the hairstyles I covet. I also think I may finally be ready to take my passport picture… once I trim my bangs, they’re getting a little wild. I promise I won’t chop the locks dramatically this time.


(December)

(January)

Progress for the win.

P.S. I really do give up on straightening my hair for these, too much work makes me sleepy and then I procrastinate.

****
Part One.
Part Two.
Part Three.
Part Four.
Part Six.

Pretty good year.

I don’t like to make resolutions, but I do like to celebrate any accomplishments the year and I come across. 2011 was filled with celebrations, obstacles, hardships and growth. Here’s a look back at just a few of the major and minor things last year threw at me…

I turned 27-years-old, which was a good time.   I think aging is a great thing, I don’t mind getting older.  But I do often get down on myself for not achieving as much as other people my age, this year was the first time I didn’t do that.  I don’t want to let milestones get in my way, I’ll grow up when I’m good and ready.

I realized that Terrence is constantly there to push me towards my goals, no matter how small.  He always tells me to go for it, even if it means failing.  He gives me the confidence to try new things…  and in cases like the cello, he gives me the tools.

I had a lot of fun nights with Terrence and his family.  Having them as our neighbors is seriously awesome.  Sometimes watching Terrence with his sister makes me a little jealous, because I don’t think I’ll ever have a bond like they do with any of my siblings.  But its cool, I get to sit in and be a part of it sometimes, like the night we made sushi. And what a delicious bond you were indeed.

The biggest error in judgement last year was that damn day in May when I told my now ex hair stylist that I trusted her.  I’ll never do that again.  Although growing it out and sharing that progress with all of you peoples on the interwebs has been fun.

The day Terrence and I learned that no matter how big the argument or the scene you make on the streets of Boston, a drink at Cheers will always fix it.  We have so much fun together and every year when we cut ourselves off from routine we remind each other just how strong our relationship is.

This last Summer I found the love of my life, and that love is… Maine lobster.  I plan on going back this Summer to rekindle the old flame, I’m sure, as always, it will be magical.

When I first got my bicycle I thought it was just another check on my life list, I was that much closer to my rail trail goal.  But since biking around Staten Island throughout the year  I met some pretty awesome people.  I also had several really fun days out with Terrence.  He pushed me to the limit on that bike, he made jello of my legs.  Whenever  I said I couldn’t do something he made me do it or he left me in his dust.  I thought he was being a jerk for a while, until I was finally able to reach the tops of those hills and I was really proud of myself.  I can’t wait for winter to go away so we can get back out there.

We had to say goodbye to a very important family member.  It was harder than I had ever thought and I was really grateful to have had such an amazing support system in my friends and family.

I embraced being a girl and grew up a little more in my style.  I took chances and I stopped letting the mall dictate my wardrobe, or lack thereof.  I found tons of different places online to help me feel a hell of a lot more confident in walking out my door.  I think I may actually be growing up.  Crazy.

Just as I was giving up on myself I sold out my etsy store.  It was a much needed confidence boost.  One of my goals I’m hoping to achieve is being able to start my own business and survive.  I would love to be able to quit my stressful and often miserable day job and open my own shop.  I’ve always wanted to find something to be passionate about enough to make it my life’s work and I feel like I’ve got it, now I just need to get it started.  Being able to sell my first item has given me more drive to set those wheels in motion.

My childhood friend Stephanie had a baby.  This is Izzy, to me she represents the start of so much change to come.  The good type of change though.  I’ve known Stephanie since the 6th grade, we’ve been best friends and roommates, she is like my sister.  The day she told me she was pregnant I cried and cried.  I had never been more happy for someone about to have a child.  And then the holy shit moment happened, the its time to grow up moment.  No matter how old I get I’ve never felt like an adult, that is until I watched Stephanie hold her daughter.  I can not wait to embrace this whole aging thing, I’m super excited to watch baby Izzy grow up, but in order to do that I have to let go and acknowledge that we are adults now.  It’s really scary.

This last year with Terrence has been, in my opinion, the best year of our relationship.  Last December we hit a wall and made the decision to work on ourselves as individuals in order to be able to work as a couple.  We have both evolved so much since then.  I feel like a much stronger person now.  I still fudge up from time to time, but I find it a lot easier to learn from my actions and make things right.  With all the things that this year threw at me, I can’t imagine having gone through any of that without him there.  He always asks me why I love him and I never give him an answer, I promise that by the end of 2012 I’ll give him 30.

Shit, I think I just made a resolution.  Ah well.

Year Three, Month Two. (26 of 192)

I really love this song, although I usually can’t hear it without having to follow up with the original Gil Scott-Heron song, I’ll take care of you, and then the Jamie Xx remix, let’s enjoy that as well, shall we. Here’s both versions.

Drake’s Take Care (Feat. Rihanna)

And then…

Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie XX’s I’ll Take Care of You

Riley’s Soundtrack, Year 3.
October | Intro
November | Take Care