Forever Thankful…

What is the first thing you think of when I say Thanksgiving? Turkey? Traditions? Pie? Football? It takes on a different meaning for each and everyone of us. I think that is what makes this country (even in tumultuous times) so unique. For me it means family, playing games, and watching movies. I am grateful for that every single year. But, for many, this time of year can be difficult. They may be away from family. They may have lost someone they love. They may not have a relationship with their family. A number of things can make it a sad time for them. Let’s try to remember to reach out. You never know what light you may bring to their darkness. In a world so torn let us bring unity. It reminds me of a prayer I saw recently:

During the upcoming holiday season let us remember humanity, giving, love, and hope. It is a time for great miracles, and for some WE may be that miracle. My Thanksgiving hope for all of you is to find peace and your dreams (and also pants that will stretch to make room for more pie!). We have so much to offer this world, and I truly believe we can all turn it around for the better. Let us all hold that in our hearts this season. Enjoy your Day, no matter how you celebrate it, and enjoy your pies!

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!

Blueberry Pie, Oh My…

This time of year reminds me of pie. Any kind of pie. I just love pie. I recently just made this blueberry pie (see, I have used the word plenty, lol). An added plus was that I finally found a perfect pie crust for it on https://natashaskitchen.com/easy-pie-crust-recipe/ (I would definitely give it a try)! There is just something about blueberries. Blueberry muffins, blueberry bread, blueberry parfait, and so on. They are also very good for you. They are filled with antioxidants, potassium, and vitamin C! This recipe will not only taste great, but will keep you healthy! A win for all!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups blueberries (don’t thaw if frozen)
  • 3 cups wild blueberries, (don’t thaw if frozen)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, diced

For the egg wash:

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream or whole milk
  • Turbinado or coarse sugar, for sprinkling

Directions:

Prepare your dough

  1. Remove one disk of pie dough from the fridge. If needed, let sit at room temperature for up to 5 minutes or until slightly pliable.
  2. Roll the dough out on a floured work surface, or pie mat. Keep turning the dough after every roll to ensure it doesn’t stick to the counter, and is of even thickness. Roll out into about a 12-inch circle with a 1/8-inch thickness.
  3. Gently roll the dough up and around the rolling pin then unroll and drape over a 9- inch pie pan. Gently mold into the crevices of the pie pan. Do not stretch the dough to fit or it will shrink during baking. Trim the dough edges to sit flush with the pie pan edge. Cover and place in the fridge.
  4. Remove the other piece of dough from the fridge, rolling out to a 13-inch circle. Using a pastry wheel, cut 1-inch wide strips. You will need 10 strips. Place the strips on a sheet tray or cutting board and refrigerate until ready to assemble.

For the filling:

  1. In a large bowl, toss together all of the blueberries with the sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

Assemble the pie:

  1. Pour the blueberry mixture into the refrigerated pie shell, making sure it is even. Dot with the pieces of butter. Brush the edges of the pie shell lightly with water.
  2. Place 5 to 6 strips of pie dough over the filling, spacing evenly. Fold back every other strip in half. Place a long strip of dough down the center in the opposite direction. Unfold the other strips then fold back up the opposite strips. Place another strip down going the opposite direction. Repeat this weaving process until you have a lattice shape. Trim the lattice pieces so they’re just less than flush with the bottom crust so the edges won’t be too thick they slump over while baking.
  3. Tuck the edges up and over to create a border, sealing everything together by pressing with your fingers. Use your fingers to make a deep crimping pattern.
  4. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and cream. Brush the pie all over with the egg wash. Sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar. Bake on a parchment lined rimmed baking pan until the edges are lightly brown, about 25 minutes.
  6. Reduce heat to 375°F and continue baking for another 45 to 55 minutes, or until the edges are deeply brown and the filling is bubbling in the center. If the edges become too dark, use foil to protect them from the heat.
  7. Cool completely before serving. Store leftovers wrapped in foil for up to 2 days at room temperature. Reheat in a 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes to re-crisp the crust.

We, of course, add ice cream or homemade whip cream! Enjoy!

A Simplifying We Will Go…

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

One of the things we first realized along this journey is that we had way too much stuff. We kept a hold of things that we should have gotten rid of a long time ago. Mind you, it wasn’t, and still isn’t, an easy process. As any parent knows we tend to hang onto things our children made. I kept drawings they did on napkins, an old wilted dandelion, and basically EVERYTHING they did in school. I think going through those precious things were the hardest. What helped me was telling myself that I can hold so many memories in my heart, but that I also can still keep a few things that I considered very dear to me. I made sure they fit in a folder, and some I put in the children’s memory boxes. So I physically cleared up clutter, but I more than happily cluttered my heart in the process.

The process of simplifying is starting one room at a time. The garage, attic, or basement, should be the first to go through. Why? Because it is the hardest and most time consuming. Make piles of items to trash, keep, giveaway, and sell. Do one section at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed. Really look at each item. Do you really NEED it? Do you really NEED 5 of the same thing? After you go through a couple of things the rest will be easy. You will get a flow going.

After you are done going through a section, make sure to box up (we use bins) and label what is in there for easier access. For papers, use a foldable organizer. Follow the rules of how long to keep certain things (paystubs, taxes, etc.) Make sure to shred papers you are getting rid of. Be sure to store your “keep” bins from main rooms in your basement or attic.

Photo by Barn Images on Unsplash

Old clothes can also be used for other purposes. You can use old t-shirts for rags, and sweaters/jeans can be made into bags or skirts. Jeans can also be used to make headbands, pot holders, placemats or even a rug! Old socks are great for dusting or waxing. Repurpose before you throw out! Be sure to check with your local community to see where your unwanted clothes can be best be used. Many have shelters that can use them.

Simplifying doesn’t have to be a painful process. It is meant to keep life simple, less cluttered, and organized. We tend to hold onto things that we may use “one day”, but usually that day doesn’t come. Sometimes we need to let go and let our life feel the decluttering it sorely needs!