Wednesday, December 19, 2012


I believe in angels and collect the ones with red hair.

My very good friend Debi gave me one made from her mother's old hankies.

Inspired...gracious Michelle gave me one before she even knew I collected them.

Susie commissioned an artist to paint this one skiing down the mountain.

Adorning their own tree for years, my NYC friends carefully packaged up their angel and sent it to add to my collection.

Woolly acorn hat angel was crafted by my friend Leisa who owns Black Sheep Woolens. She has tiny delicate stitches hand embroidered on her top and little bendy legs.

Each little angel has her own story to tell of how she came to be on my tree, like this unique stained glass angel from Kris. And each one reminds me of how much I am loved by so many people around me.

Jocie's girlfriend and kindred spirit Lindsay added this skinny purple legged angel. Each of the heavenly little beings have something endearing that reminds me of my red head.

And then there is this one hand stitched by Ronda, who is currently in a battle against cancer.

From Lori's elegant addition topping the tree, to the most eclectic one hanging from a lower branch; each Christmas since losing my girl...these red-haired angels make it just a bit easier to bear the very thought of another Christmas without Jocie.

Today I added this innocent and childlike memory of twenty little angels from Connecticut that abruptly and sadly found their way to heaven last Friday morning. My heart aches and heaves for their Mommies and Daddies.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Night of Pie 2012

The invitation went something like this...

Deck the dog and come to Pie Night and included this adorable shot of my cooperative yet pouting pooch Izzy.

Our 11th year of Pie Night starts out very early in the morning. Here's a peak at my blackberry pie that just went into the oven.

Ridiculously, homemade pie crusts generally scare people silly. I can honestly say that I have NEVER bought a prepared pie crust. I wouldn't even know where to find one in the grocery store. I make every single one from scratch.

Now you might say "well that's easy...because you have been baking since before you were two". Truthfully I was the world's worst cook when I was in college. About the only thing I could prepare was a bowl of Lucky Charms...just ask my roommates. The first few years of my marriage weren't much better in the baking department either. The point is...if I can learn to make pie crust from scratch, so can you!

I currently use several different recipes, depending on what type of filling goes in the pie. This one will be a banana cream.

For this Dutch Oven Apple Pie, I mix up a yummy butter crust. Made with cream and egg, it is a perfect companion to the apples. Sometimes I'll get creative, like this snowflake cut crust. The apples are roasted in a dutch oven before going into the crust. Add a little egg wash and it's ready for baking.

I don't know if this is your tradition, but my mom taught me all leftover crust pieces should be sprinkled with sugar and baked...little pie crust cookies if you will. Chet ate them for breakfast. Since his mom was preoccupied.

No matter how much I try to stay early afternoon I'm knee deep into a kitchen nightmare. I own 5 sets of measuring cups and spoons so as to avoid the "everything is dirty" problem that comes with making a billion pies in a day. What I love about this photo...
  • Dueling Kitchen Aids (genius)
  • Stacks of recipes/books/magazines
  • My cupboards are open...yet again
  • Diet Coke-absolutely necessary

After an episode involving the neighbors dog, my backyard chickens, and an over baked Coconut Cake...I'm finally ready for the party.

Fifteen pies/deserts made the buffet this year. I had planned on making Isabel's Chocolate Silk Pie...but the chicken-dog-cake episode eliminated that one.

Thanks to Cassandra, one of the best new pies this year was a Lime Blackberry Italian Creme. Wow! If you missed getting a slice of this really missed out!

Slicing and serving is what I do...thanks to my friend Joni for coming to the dark side and shooting these last few photos with my Nikon camera even though she is a Cannon girl.

Autumn and Sid have been coming to pie night for years.

Somehow Susie convinced her adult kids to drive all the way from the big city for Pie Night. I wonder what she really promised couldn't just be a slice of homemade pie. But what a treat it was to see them all.

Gavin and Chet are discussing important stuff like his pictures of "no snow" at Snowbasin.

Milling around, chatting, and eating pie...that's pretty much what Pie Night is all about.

After all the guests had gone, and all the crumbs swept away...we found this note. Whoever left this has beautiful handwriting and a very sweet heart.

Just what I needed to complete the evening...and then I collapsed into bed.