Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Before Sun-up

When I was growing up my mom would always make several pies for any gathering, whether Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, or summer reunion picnics. The types of pies might change based on the time of year and occasion, but one thing never changed, they were always made fresh that morning. Yes, I said, that morning. She always was an early riser so awaking at 3:30 - 4:00 to make pies never bothered her, that is the time of day she loves most of all and always says she is most productive then.

I might be like my mom in many ways, but enjoying early mornings has never been one of them. I much prefer sleeping in. But I do like pie, and the idea of fresh pie made that day for a special occasion has an appeal to me that has made me get up twice now to have my pies done on the day they'll be eaten. Because I'm still not a morning person, I've tricked myself by choosing meringue-topped pies to bake. They have to be eaten the day they're made, which means they have to be made that day. So maybe, just maybe I'll get used to the idea with them and venture into baking all my pies early in the morning.

First things first. One must be awake to bake and this always helps:
Now, let's get started on our Banana Cream Pie!

First you need to have a pre-baked pie crust. I did mine the night before. My mom always uses the recipe on the Crisco can. But several years ago when I was nursing one of the children I watched Martha Stewart. She did a step by step tutorial on pie-crust baking. Ever since watching that and printing out her recipe I've used it, loving it, it is a good thing!

When the edges don't turn out "perfect," I comfort myself that this is the way everyone knows it is homemade!

Okay now time to assemble the filling.

In a large, heavy saucepan mix together:
1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup corn starch. Then add: 3 cups milk and 4 egg yolks, and stir.

Cook till thick, stirring constantly! As the pudding thickens, turn down the heat to prevent sticking.

When thick, remove from the heat and add 2 tsp butter and 1 1/2 tsp vanilla.

Now slice bananas into the pie crust shell......

And into the pudding.

Now pour the pudding into the pie shell.....and add more sliced bananas on top!

Now it is time for the meringue! Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Beat 4 egg whites until frothy.

(This isn't frothy - just the start of beating the whites - you knew that right?!)

Then add 1/2 tsp cream of tartar and beat till stiff. Add 1/2 cup sugar and beat until no longer grainy feeling, then add 1 tsp vanilla.

Put on top of your pie.

My mom told me to hold my spatula perpendicular to the meringue and "fluff" or "pull" upwards with short strokes all over to create the beautiful valleys and peaks. Oh and be sure to take your meringue all the way to the edges "sealing" it to the crust.

Bake it for 5 minutes at 425 or until it is browned as you desire.

And if you're already making it, why not bake two at the same time? Just double the above recipe and have double the fun! Like I did!

I started the pies at about 6:15 am on Sunday morning, I took them out of the oven around 7:15 and this was the sky then:

I then awoke the children, showered, and we got ready for Sunday School, Bible Class and church. The pies were taken over with us and enjoyed (I hope!) by those attending the Anniversary meal after the late service.

So go ahead try making my Great Aunt Aggie's Banana Cream Pie for your Thanksgiving Dinner. You can even have it done before the turkey has to go into the oven. Enjoy!

Great Aunt Aggie's Banana Cream Pie
Mix together in a heavy saucepan: 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup corn starch
Add 3 cups milk and 4 egg yolks, stir.
Cook till thick, stirring constantly. As pudding thickens, turn down the heat to prevent sticking. Remove from heat. Add 2 tsp butter and 1 1/2 tsp vanilla.

Slice bananas into baked pie shell and into pudding and add more on top.

Beat 4 egg whites till frothy. Add 1/2 tsp cream of tartar and beat till stiff. Add 1/2 cup sugar and beat till no longer grainy feeling. Then add 1 tsp vanilla.
Bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Yeah, that covers it

This week we've been praying the 10th commandment in our daily devotions. Yesterday, David asked the kids one by one to recite the 10th commandment starting with the oldest. When he got to Sam this is how Sam began, "We should not covet our neighbor's stuff..." David had to turn his head so Sam (who is a bit sensitive) wouldn't see his chuckle, while I tried to contain my smile and help him repeat it the correct way.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

How We Celebrated His #7

Last Sunday after worship while Pastor was giving announcements, Sam leaned over to me and said, "I want a birthday party and I want Griffin and Travis and Aiden to come." I asked him what he wanted to do at his party, he replied, "have lots of fun." Okay. This was three (!) days before his birthday. But we made it work, and he did have lots of fun. It was the first birthday party Sam ever had where he invited friends.

Since he didn't give me any ideas on what kind of birthday I began searching the internet for something. When I ran across party ideas for The Lord of the Rings, I knew this would work. Sam has always loved LOTR, and with decision made, plans began.
First his cake. I googled Lord of the Rings birthday cakes and got this idea:

I was quite pleased with how it turned out.

Next I thought about games. David and I thought it would be fun to do some sort of scavenger hunt. That idea led us into a quest to destroy the ring. Hannah drew an overhead view of the parsonage and church renaming places with LOTR names. Ellie was "Gandalf" and led them from place to place.

At their first stop, Rivendell, I gave them each a foam sword (which doubled as a take-home goodie). And like 7 year old boys, began using them right away.
At Lothlorien, the Lady Galadriel, (aka Abby) gave them each a cape to wear (ours) and a light (aka those neon glow sticks, another take-home goodie).

They finally made it through Mordor to the Mountain of Doom (aka our fire pit) and cast in the ring (aka an empty plastic tape ring Ellie had spray painted gold).

The boys thought it great to watch it melt. "Hey it looks like a melting worm," one of them said.

Then it started on fire.

Then the boys were content to run around play-fighting for a little while before I made them all come into the house.

The other game I planned was "shoot the orc." Hannah drew an orc and then she and Ellie went over to the church and projected it onto bigger roll paper, traced and colored it. We taped it to the door in the basement. I think it looked great!

After supper (Sam chose corn dogs, baked beans, and chips - Cheetos and Doritoes) Sam opened his gifts.

A Vikings jersey from Dad and Mom that he hasn't taken off since.

An axe from his brothers and sisters.

And two other fun things from his guests. They were soon opened and all the boys took turns playing with them and using the big dart gun to shoot that big orc!

And then we sang Happy Birthday before enjoying cake and homemade ice-cream.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This is good!

Thanks to my friend Susan's recipe, we enjoyed fried egg roll guts for lunch today. David and I liked it, one child asked for seconds, two children ate what was given and said it was okay, and two children didn't really want to eat it. It'll be made again though, so those last two will have a chance to grow into liking it.

I added a whole pound of pork sausage (already fried) and I think I would prefer instead, either left over pork, or chicken, or even mini shrimp! The sausage seasoning didn't enhance the flavor quite right.

It was super easy to make, I shredded the cabbage and the carrots, but cut up the onions. We also made homemade sweet and sour sauce to drizzle over the top. From start to on the table it took me about 30 minutes, although I did have a couple of daughters who were peeling carrots, and making the sauce for me. We added a fruit salad and buttered crackers and enjoyed a nice dinner! Thanks Susan!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Dream

Like many others, I assume, as a kid I always had a reoccurring dream. I can still remember parts of it. There were barrels - the big, blue-gray, oil-filled kind - and they were rolling after me and I was running to get away. I always awoke before they caught me and crushed me.

When I was in high school the reoccurring dream was of me running a race. I would be running but felt like I was going nowhere, and often when I looked down my feet were moving in circles and I was in the air moving in slow motion. I couldn't get anywhere.

But I haven't had either of those dreams for quite a long time. I still, however, have a reoccurring dream. Now it always involves a church I've worshipped in and which is liturgical and confessional. There is always a pastor whom I know and trust to not go the way of the world. In my dream however, the service is crazy, with very un-historic liturgies -if any, dancers, people waving arms - and sometimes shouting alleluia or amen, and the pastor just standing there. I always wake up very confused, wondering what I just dreamed and why on earth would I dream that?

This dream has happened enough that I do wake up less confused and a bit more amused. This happened the other day. Upon waking, David said, "Guess what I just dreamed." It was his reoccurring dream, the one where he is the pastor and the service is beginning and something isn't ready (his robes are gone, the sermon isn't finished, the altar isn't set for the sacrament, etc.) I chuckled and told him I had my reoccurring dream as well.

Minds are funny things, and even more so are dreams.