19 February 2014

Shoofly Pie . . .

I love jazz music. Kind of a lot. The lyrics of one of my favorite vocal jazz pieces begins with, "Shoofly pie and apple pandowdy." I am neither very good at or interested in clearly identifying lyrics in songs. I'm more interested in the tune and the beat. So for years I have heard this song and just kind of assumed that 'shoofly pie' and 'apple pandowdy' were nonsense words (they sounded Dr. Seuss-ish to me). Right up until a couple of months ago I was under this false assumption. And then shoofly pie showed up in a children's book that was being read to my youngest child in a music class. My mind was blown.

I decided that day that I must search for a recipe for apple pandowdy, and that I would soon be making and blogging about shoofly pie (the recipe for that was provided in the class). I subsequently found an apple pandowdy recipe (even Martha Stewart has deigned to create a version) and 'pinned' it. And now I have made shoofly pie - pictures to prove it, and I'll share the recipe with you.

First, you will need a pie crust - you can buy one ready made, or make it from scratch. I chose to make mine from scratch. Let me assure you that although pastry crusts have a rep for being tricky to make, it's much less true if you are using a food processor. But rather than give you specific directions here, I'll refer you to this tutorial and give you the recipe I used:

Buttery Pie Crust
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. butter, chilled and grated
1/4 c. ice water

This quantity of this recipe will only be good for a pie without a top crust. Shoofly pie does not have a top crust - at least the recipe I have doesn't. It has a crumb topping!




 Just had my children try it this evening. While it wouldn't be completely honest to say they hated it, 'like' would also be too strong of a word. :) I liked it, but I didn't love it. It's worth trying I'd say. And now, I have another mini goal I can check off. Win!

I suggest serving this with a generous helping of whipping cream. Molasses is intensely sweet, and the whipped cream makes it less intense. Also, I first put my pie crust in a deep-dish pie pan, then switched it to a shallower pan because I didn't think the filling would fill it up. It turns out that the molasses mixture expands quite a bit while baking, so a deep-dish pan would probably work even though the 'filling' is originally only a scant two cups. I started getting nervous that it would make a mess in my oven, but it had only overflowed a little bit before I checked on it again, so I didn't have to put out an oven fire today (and yes, I have before - at least twice). The evidence of the overflow was trimmed away so the edge of the pastry crust could still be seen. In case you're wondering.

Shoofly Pie

Ingredients:
9-in pie shell
1 c. molasses
¾ c. hot water
¾ t. baking soda
1 egg, beaten
1 ½ c. all-purpose flour
1 c. packed brown sugar
¼ c. shortening

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine molasses, hot water, and baking soda. Stir well. Whisk in beaten egg. Pour mixture into pie shell.
Crumb topping: In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Mix well. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over molasses layer. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Lower temperature to 350 and bake for 30 more minutes. Allow to cool completely.

I love a good culinary adventure. Especially when it ends up being edible. :) Actually, only when it ends up being edible do I love a culinary adventure. If it doesn't, then I'm terribly put out. Just ask my husband. hahaha Anyway, you might consider giving this a try for Pi Day! Unless you don't like molasses. Then you may not want to try it ever.

05 February 2014

What? I have a blog?

Okay, so it hasn't been that long since I posted, but for someone who was dreaming of being a Mormon blogger with regular postings it kinda has. I'm just going to share some candid thoughts about that.
  • Remember that goal I made to spend less time on the computer? Well, I've been mostly sticking to it. Partly why I haven't been posting.
  • New year meant I was itching to try some new things. Informal resolutions if you will. I have a new cleaning schedule I've been trying out, and I decided I wanted to learn to play the guitar. Also, I've wanted to do more reading of books. Less computer time means more time for other stuff that's more worthwhile to me.
  • I have three kids. Two of them are in school, so a lot of my day isn't that hectic. But between reasons one and two, my day gets filled with other worthwhile things. And after things one and two get home from school, my day is shot. SO much to do after they get home.
What I'm saying is, I'm thinking that this is probably not the season to pursue my desire to be a Mormon blogger. Still, I will try to post more often. But there will not be much regularity, and definitely no schedule.

Also, I haven't felt like saying much. Recently I've been getting bogged down with discouragement. Brief periods of borderline bitterness really. Which is ridiculous because I know the Lord has a plan for me, and there are other people with much (SO much) harder lives than mine. But sometimes I see new babies and think about how I would have a very young baby right now if I hadn't miscarried. It would probably hurt less, maybe even not at all if I were pregnant again right now, but I'm not. And then I think how wrong it is that my father-in-law won't be here for the upcoming baptism and confirmation of my oldest child. I miss having him around. Things are just off, you know? Not at all according to my plan. But as I said, it could definitely be worse. And previously in my life when things didn't go according to my plan, the Lord's plan unfolded so beautifully and was so much better than mine. I guess that means I can possibly expect some awesomeness to go on in my future. Here's hoping. :)

09 December 2013

Monday Musings: Every Good Gift . . .

Yesterday I overheard a brief exchange talking about the proceedings of the Christmas family gift exchange. These lovely ladies talked about letting their kids open gifts all at the same time, or having the children take turns. Most of them it seemed had their children take turns. One explained her choice, "Well, otherwise everyone doesn't get to see what they got!" That made me think.

I too, have my children take turns. But why? I think it's for many reasons; I want the gift opening to last longer so it can be enjoyed longer; I want to focus on one child at a time to see/gauge their reaction to the gifts. One other reason that occurred to me as I thought about it was I want my children to rejoice in their siblings' gifts, too. They're never given the exact same thing, and it's fun to watch and listen to them enjoy each others' gifts.

This ends up being a teaching moment, without me having to say anything. They can be happy for their siblings in the gifts they received, and they can do the same when seeing others outside of their family receive gifts - both in terms of actual tangible gifts, and in intangible blessings. We all have friends/acquaintances receive gifts/blessings that we don't. And it's a blessing to be able to be thankful for those gifts for their sakes, even when it's something we ourselves don't have. Covetousness and envy are horrible ugly feelings, and we are commanded not to indulge in such feelings.

We're all blessed with gifts of many different kinds, and always the giver is the same.
"Every perfect gift is from God." James 1:17
"Every good gift comes from Christ."Moro. 10:8–18
The Lord gives us the gifts that will bless us the most, or that we will be the most able to bless others' lives with. The gift that he's given to every one of us, and the only one that we all really need is the gift of His son. 
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
I'm so thankful for the birth and life of our Savior Jesus Christ. His example and His giving the ultimate gift of the Atonement makes the hard times in life bearable, and the sweet times so much sweeter. And through His gift, we are empowered to become better every day, and ultimately have the opportunity to be with Him again. The best gift ever has been given to every one of us. And I am thankful to receive it, and to share it with all of my brothers and sisters.

25 November 2013

Monday Musings: The Real Culprit?

I read an article recently about why school reform efforts in the United States have mostly failed. The reason cited there was that the root of educational success was related to economic status; those from impoverished homes would be less successful, and the rates of poverty continue to climb. A vicious cycle would continue and spread. In terms of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, those conclusions certainly stand to reason. If basic needs are not being met (such as food, water, security), then the interest in meeting the needs of esteem and self-actualization are low. BUT . . . I think there may be a bit of a flaw in Maslow's theory. I believe that children whose basic needs may not be met, but whose needs for love and belonging are, then perhaps that's enough for them to go on in order to have a desire to learn, create, and excel. If this were not true, how else could people ever break the chains of poverty?

My point is, I believe that children coming from poor, but loving homes and families will still be very capable of being successful in terms of their education. The real culprit for educational failure is the breakdown of the family. Stable, loving families are increasingly hard to come by. Our society encourages, "Do what's right for you." Many people are looking for their own self-fulfillment, and increasingly they're choosing to look for it outside of raising families. I'm not at all saying that parents shouldn't continue to seek growth as individuals. I am saying that there has to be a balance of people being parents to their children (versus friends/roommates), being a good spouse, and seeking personal growth. If anything, go heavy with your focus on being a spouse and a parent because there is nothing in life that will challenge an individual the way building a family based on gospel principles will. Absolutely nothing. There are growth pains involved, but it's growth! And I'm thankful that I get to participate in the Lord's plan this way.

23 November 2013

Fun Friday: I've Just Had an Apostrophe

Gratitude statuses for the week:

  • I'm thankful for people with special skills in crafting. In general, I do not so the Super Saturdays that happen enable me to have things I like in my home for a reasonable price. Thanks to my ward relief society today!
  •  I'm thankful for the blessings of the temple. I don't get to go nearly as often as I'd like, but I have claimed the blessings available only at the temple for myself . . . SO thankful for that. Some things would be too hard to bear without the promise of eternal family.
  • I'm thankful that snow hasn't begun falling in earnest around here. I don't love running, but I do it b/c I love being fit and I strongly prefer running outside. The snow doesn't make that impossible, but much less likely. :)
  • I'm thankful for my warm home.
  • I'm thankful that my mom taught me how to bake whole wheat bread. It makes your house smell awesome, AND it tastes good! :)
  • I'm thankful to know that I'm a daughter of God, and that I have a specific and glorious divine role in His plan.
 IN OTHER NEWS:
Image from http://moviequotesonline.blogspot.com/2013/04/ive-just-had-apostrophe-i-think-you.html






I had an idea the other day that I thought was rather brilliant, but I want some feedback before I put it into action. Once upon a time I saw this handmade bag shared on facebook that I loved and wanted to have made as a gift for my younger sister, but felt that my beginner's level sewing skills weren't up to the task. The friend that had made the bag knew that I had crocheting skills she lacked and she suggested a craft exchange: I'd crochet her a scarf with materials she provided, and she'd make me the bag with the materials I provided. It went swimmingly and we were both satisfied with the exchange.

The world of pinterest has introduced me to many things that I'd like to make and/or have in my home, but for which I have neither the skill nor the appropriate equipment (think Silhouette Portrait/Cameo Projects), and low motivation to purchase the equipment because of the low number of things I would actually personally use it for. What if I were to set up a crafting exchange? Create a group on facebook perhaps, and have a file listed for people to share their names, their locations (for the purpose of determining shipment or personal delivery), their skill sets (including level). Then people could share projects they'd like to have made and share what skills they have to exchange, people could volunteer based on what they want, they'd privately communicate and work out some kind of deal. What do you think? Could it work? Suggestions? Does it even make sense how I've explained it? Feedback welcome. :)

18 November 2013

Monday Musings: Me, Dressing My Truth

I recently read that 'selfies' are some kind of internet faux pas. Well, too bad because they're almost the only kind of pictures I have of me dressing my truth, which I have basically promised to discuss more than once. Today is the day. Hang on to your hats. hahaha

Let's start off with the basics: what is "Dressing Your Truth"? It's an offspring program of an energy profiling system (similar to personality profiling, but different) which can be found in the book It's Just My Nature, by author and originator Carol Tuttle. The Child Whisperer is also about energy profiling, but with application to parenting and children (which I wrote about here). This energy profiling system has similar aims to personality profiling, namely greater self-understanding and acceptance as well as greater understanding of your own personal gifts.

What's fascinating about this system is that you may discover that what you and others have understood to be your weaknesses may also be your greatest gifts - they just need careful management so that they can be a blessing to yourself and others around you. As an example, I have typed myself (and had it confirmed) as a type 2 in this system, which among other things describes me as soft and subtle. One of the tendencies of this type is that they are generally quite sensitive; sensitive to products that go on their skin, sensitive to the feel of fabrics, sensitive emotionally so they tend to cry frequently, and possibly sensitive to the extent that they may get offended easily. The flip side of this is that they're also sensitive to how others are feeling and they seek to not only be comfortable themselves but also to make others comfortable in every way. If you had a peacemaker in your family, they might be a type 2.

Anyway, my aim is not to educate you about all of the energies, but to share with you my experience. You can do a free version of the course and read the book(s) that have the information at a relatively low cost (or for free - check your library). I chose to purchase the course and become fully invested. I have long avoided being 'trendy' because I could see how quickly trends come and go, and I just wanted to look 'classic' - whatever I thought that meant. But with what I know now I can always put together a look that works for me and I can look and feel good without wearing the 'latest look'. My own kind of classic. Highly individualized without looking like I'm trying hard to be different. The idea of it is that who you are on the inside, can be seen on the outside by what you're wearing. Even people who have no knowledge of the program will get an accurate 'vibe' about who you are.

To me it was completely worth it, and honestly (weird as it sounds) an answer to a silent prayer. I think Heavenly Father cares about what we care about (that's worthwhile anyway) and I have had a desire and vision of myself being a classy dresser for a long time. I could recognize it in other people, but for various reasons could see that what was on someone else was not going to work for me. So now I know why, and I know how to make a good look for me. Does it matter a bunch what we wear? Not exactly, but it does send a message to people, and I just wanted it to be accurate. So the Lord led me to it I think.  

Many people have experienced a lot of emotional healing as a result of their experience with energy profiling; to me, it just depends on your level of self-acceptance prior to your journey. I personally had a high level of self-acceptance before I did the course so in that particular way it didn't have a huge impact on me (though there has been some emotional healing), but I gained a greater understanding (and acceptance) of other people, too. I've really loved the understanding I've gained of fashion and of what is fashionable to me. I firmly believe that the Lord validated, approved of, and helped me fulfill the quiet desire of my heart. Because He's awesome like that.

For my type (most of them, actually) I am no longer to wear black, but I can wear a version of black - charcoal. So, even though some of these pictures look like I may be wearing black don't be fooled - the lighting may make it look black, but it's really not. These are some of my fancier outfits of the day. Enjoy!

This awesome necklace was my husband's Grandmother Allred's. I love it.

I LOVE this shawl. It can also be worn as a scarf and it is SO soft and elegant.

Same shawl as in previous picture - awesome, right?

17 November 2013

The Good News Is . . .

I am doing really well at keeping my resolution of spending less time on the internet. This has also meant that I'm blogging less for now because the time I do spend on the computer I need to be doing stuff for my class. I'm taking an online class about creating site-specific dance. I really like it, but with weekly assignments and several video lectures weekly, it's becoming abundantly clear that it would have been extremely difficult for me to complete a bachelors' degree after I started having children. It's difficult for anyone, but I think I particularly would have struggled; just doing this one class is a struggle for me. So major props to all women who manage to complete a degree while raising children!

I still wanted to share my gratitude statuses from facebook, so for this post I'm pretending it's still Friday. :)
  • I'm thankful for my home. I often wish it were a little bigger, or had more storage space, but I am really glad for a safe and warm place that my family can live in.
  • I'm thankful that it's Sunday. Best day of the week in my opinion.  
  • I'm thankful that I can read and for all of the wonderful books that I've been exposed to. (shout out to the Veterans! I'm thankful for them, too)
  • I'm thankful that my cupboards and refrigerator are full of food. I keep hearing about different food drives, and we do our bit to try to help others in need and I am just so grateful that we can!
  • I'm thankful for the technology that allows me to keep better tabs on friends and family.
  • I'm thankful for my husband. We balance each other really well, he keeps me stable in more ways than one, and his confidence has rubbed off on me. Also, I just really enjoy looking at him. ;) 
My aunt commented on last one on facebook, "He is nice eye candy." lol