Category Archives: pie

Birthday Baking

As I may have mentioned before,  I’m not good at baking in moderation.  My friend Laura sometimes bakes a batch of cookies after dinner, and I mean, who has time for that?  Just finish dinner, and bake a batch of cookies?  No.  Once a year, I bake 17 dozen cookies.  It takes a month of preparation, weeks of baking, days of decorating, minutes of eating, and so on.  Then I take 10.5 months off.  Or, I volunteer to bring in pancakes for Luke’s class and the day before they say, “Thanks, be here at 7:00 am, there are 60 kids.”  What?  I was going to send 20 pancakes in a ziplock bag.

When Luke was in kindergarten, I was overcompensating for not being a stay at home mom, and I made elaborate cupcakes for his class.  But as you all know, Luke really prefers pie to anything else, and a while ago I saw a recipe for hand pies, and then I thought, “Why not make tiny individual pies for all the kids in Luke’s class this year?”  I bet lots of people could think of reasons not to do that, but before I could come to my sense, Luke’s friends were saying things like, “Only 30 days until we all get pie!”  and it was too late to back out.

Have I mentioned the 10 stages of excessive baking?

1.) Announcing my grand plan

2.) Planning, browsing blog posts, imagining an extremely large group of people being delighted my beautiful pastries.

3.) Kind of wishing I hadn’t ever said anything about anything related to baking some crazy dessert

4.) Actually planning, deciding on a recipe, shopping without a list

5.) False start, realizing I don’t have all the ingredients I need

6.) Second trip to the grocery store

7.) Making the dough that needs to chill for some period of time

8.) Worrying that I won’t have enough/procrastinating

9.) Making the dessert, making extra just in case

10.) Having way too much of a dessert that tastes fine, and looks ok.

I’m sure you can guess where I am now, with 30 hours left to go.  Dough is in the fridge, and there probably isn’t enough!



New Years Resolution Status:
10 pies – 5 down ( 2 plums, 1 cherry blueberry, 1 straight cherry, and a chocolate pie) 4 to go
10 science experiments – 4 down, 6 to go (no change from last month)
10 blog posts per month – I have a 6 post deficit for February, so now I am 8 posts behind.
10 crafts – 0 crafts this month, 10 to go.

Last month I did a little something different, where I wore a pedometer every day and I tried to get 10,000 steps a day.


As you can maybe see from my blurry picture, I managed 290,443 for the month, so I did make it to my goal!  Two things I learned about myself: I barely move on Sundays, and I get a lot more exercise when I work from the office than from home.  Also, I do not like to fail at my goals so I definitely started to skimp on strength training in order to get all my steps in.  I need a new workout goal for March because, “Oh no! I have to be lounging in a hot tub in a bathing suit for spring break” has so far gotten me nowhere.  Possibly because the thought just occurred to me a few seconds ago.

Substitute Pie


I made a “classic diner style chocolate pie” from the Baked cookbook for Valentine’s Day. It’s definitely filling a void in my life where cake used to be and which pie has been half-assedly attempting to fill. Fruit pie that is. Chocolate pie is a whole different thing. Chocolate pie is good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And it is chocolatey.

I am calling it substitute pie, because it was 12 degrees on the day I made it, and I refused to go to the store for the many ingredients I didn’t have. So instead of Ovaltine I used cocoa powder, instead of milk and dark chocolate, I used semi-sweet,  instead of whole milk, I used a combo of heavy whipping cream and 2%, and vanilla paste instead of a vanilla bean.

It is supposed to be frozen for 4 hours before you eat it, but the question is, then what?  I made it two days in advance, and on Valentine’s Day I re-read the recipe. How soon before we want to eat it do I take it out of the freezer?  The answer is unknown, but it’s definitely longer than “immediately before dessert.”  I took the pie out and start to hack away at it for a couple minutes before we decided we needed 20 minutes to do dishes and let the pie warm up.  I told the kids we’d just have to wait a day for pie and they were devastated.   Twenty minutes later, it wasn’t any easier, but we suffered through some cold and delicious pie.

I cut the first round of pieces too big, and the look on Luke’s face slowly became frightening.  He was really trying to finish, because it was really good, and I am sure he didn’t want to let down Team Pie, but he sort of looked like he was going to either cry or throw up.  I had to tell him there was no shame in not finishing your pie.