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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Don’t Forget Your Mama

Just a little friendly reminder that Mother’s day is coming up on Sunday, May 12th!

We wouldn’t want you to forget to do something a little special for your dear sweet mom who raised you up to be such a thoughtful and caring adult. She really did a fantastic job, you know. It really is true. She is the Best Mom in the History of the World.

If you are looking for that perfect card, you can find our favorite right here. They have been FLYING off the shelf. Make sure your mom isn’t left out!

 

Everyone Loves Pie {week 17}

This week I made a pie for my Aunt Debbie. It was her birthday! She’s the aunt who is always up for a good practical joke, who LOVES the Beach Boys, and who is really proud of her Girl Scout heritage. Yes, she will stop and sing one of her Girl Scout campfire songs for you at the drop of a hat. “Oh I wish I was a little bar of soap! Oooohhhh, I wish I was a little bar of soap! I’d go slidey slidey slidey over everybody’s hidey, oh I wish I was a little bar of soap!” There are many more verses to this song, but I’ll leave it at that. She’s a lot of fun, and the pie I made for her has kind of a funny name.

Have you ever heard of Banoffee pie? Maybe you are familiar with it, but I wasn’t until a few days ago. Ban- for banana, and -offee for toffee. Banoffee. Apparently this pie is pretty common in the United Kingdom, and other parts of the world, but it has yet to make a big mark here in the good ol’ USA. Ladies and gentlemen, consider this your formal introduction…

Banoffee Pie

Ingredients:

 
for the crust:
9 oz. of graham crackers, crushed into fine crumbs
1/2 cup butter
1/8 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
 
for the filling:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
3 bananas
1 container of cool whip
 

Directions:

 
Place the crushed graham crackers into a mixing bowl and add the sugar, salt and cinnamon and stir it all together.  Melt the butter and pour it over the graham cracker mixture. Mix well. Press into the bottom and sides of the pie plate and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
 
In a medium heavy bottomed sauce pan, melt the 1/2 cup of butter. Add 1/2 cup of brown sugar and cook until bubbling, stirring frequently. Add the condensed milk and continue cooking until bubbly and thick. You just made toffee! Pour into the bottom of the graham cracker crust and spread it evenly. Refrigerate until cool. Slice the bananas and arrange them on top of the cooled toffee layer, and then top the pie with the whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 :: Carrie ::

“Hey! What kind of pens do you use?”

I’ve been asked this question many, many times, so I thought I would just spill the beans.

Actually, it’s no closely guarded secret. It’s not like I have some magical pen with super-powers. I’m still looking for that one, so if you know where I could get it, please tell me about it.

These are the four that I use the most, and I like them all for different reasons.

The Uni-ball vision and I have been tight for a long time now. It’s a ball point pen, and it draws a nice clean, fine line. It’s also waterproof, so you can paint overtop of it with no bleeding, if you want to.

The Zig Real Brush pen is new to the line-up, and I’m growing to love it. It has an actual brush, like a paint brush, for the tip. It takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty great. The best part is that the tip never wears out, as long as you take care of it. That’s a big plus. I’ve been using it quite a bit for lettering, especially for fancy script lettering. It makes some good curves with varying thicknesses.

For drawing on a little bigger scale I like the Faber-Castell brush pens. They are really easy to control and they produce a nice line quality. I also like them for lettering of all kinds. What I DON’T like about them is that they wear out SO quickly. They have a felt tip, which means they are really awesome when they are brand new, the tip breaks down really fast. I go through these like crazy.

For drawing and writing on an even larger scale I love the Prismacolor Premier brush marker. I usually only use black, but these come in a whole rainbow of colors, if you are interested.

What are your favorites? I’m always looking for better ones. I’d love to hear some suggestions!

:: Carrie ::

Everyone Loves Pie {Week 16}

This past week I shared a pie with some of my best friends in the whole world.

Even though it’s been more than ten years since I graduated from college, I still get the “Are you in school? What are you studying?” question, and on occasion, “I’ll just need to see your ID.” I guess that’s not a bad thing, but my college days are starting to feel like they happened a long time ago. Like all of you, I’m sure, those days come with some GREAT memories, and I’m pretty positive that I hit the jackpot when it comes to the friends that I made in college. Beth and I met when we were like twelve years old, but Karen is one of those friends I made at Mizzou, and she ended up marrying my brother. Score!

It’s true, or at least it is true for me, that the bonds that you make with people during this stage of life will last forever. I guess living together, experiencing the same things, and transitioning into adulthood together will do that. A few days ago some of my (and Karen’s) former roommates from college came in for a little reunion. We are scattered all over the world now, literally, and this doesn’t happen very often, so it was a real treat for all of us! I love that when we get together we don’t miss a beat, and even though our lives are a lot different now than they were, it’s like nothing has changed.

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Apple Blueberry Pie

Ingredients:

Recipe for a 9 inch double crust pie 
3 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into slices
2 cups blueberries
1 tbsp lemon juice
3/4 cup natural cane sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 egg, lightly beaten

Directions:

Mix up the dough for the crust. Divide it in half and shape each half into a disk. Wrap separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 500º and position the rack to the lowest part of the oven. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack so it can preheat. Remove one of the doughs from the refrigerator and let stand until malleable. Roll the dough on a floured surface to a 12 inch circle. Transfer the flat dough to a pie plate. Gently ease the dough into the plate corners and place in the refrigerator.

For the filling, toss the fruit with the lemon juice. In a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, salt, and spices. Toss the sugar mixture with the fruit and turn the whole mixture into the chilled pie crust. It will mound up a little in the center.

Roll out the second disk of dough to a 12 inch circle. Transfer it to the top of the fruit mixture and trim the top and bottom crusts to 1/2 inch beyond the edge of the plate. Crimp edges together however you’d like so that the two crusts seal. Cut four slits in the top (or use cookie cutters to create something way more cute) to vent and brush the entire crust with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with the tablespoon of sugar.

Place the pie on the baking sheet and reduce the temperature to 425º. Bake until the top is golden, about 25 minutes. Rotate the pie and reduce the temperature to 375º. Continue baking until the crust is deep golden brown and yummy fruit juices start bubbling, about 30 minutes more. Let cool to room temperature before slicing.

:: Carrie ::

Spring

Spring has come a little late this year, but things are finally starting to look a little greener. Here in Missouri spring means it might be a nice warm 75 degrees on Monday, and then on Tuesday it is cloudy, windy, and a chilly 45. You never know what you’re going to get. It keeps us on our toes.

The nice warm sunny days we have had recently have definitely put a little bounce in everyone’s step and have made us all ready for a new season to finally come around. Some things I am looking forward to with warmer weather are…

Seeing pretty things like this growing along the roadside…

Taking the canoe out late in the day on calm clear water…

Getting my hands dirty in the garden, and picking those first spears of asparagus…

And later, when the weather gets a little too hot to stand, fishing for trout in an ice-cold spring-fed southern Missouri river.

Isn’t it great that we have seasons? I’m always thankful for the changes. I don’t know if I could live somewhere where it seems like summer all year long. I guess I just like a little variety. What are your favorite things about the changing season? What are you looking forward to this spring?

:: Carrie ::

Everyone Loves Pie {Week 15}

Let me tell you about our good friends Lily and Gilbert. These two love good food, and they love gathering people together. Two traits that are a match made in heaven. Last fall for their anniversary they threw a big party at their house and invited all of their friends and neighbors to come celebrate with them. Gilbert spent the entire day cooking a whole pig in their backyard. When it was done they laid the pig out on the kitchen counter, and everyone was free to slice off which ever parts and pieces they wanted. It was pretty great.

So, earlier this year, Lily and Gilbert decided that it would be fun to round up a whole bunch of us and have a Sunday night dinner together once a month. We all thought that was a fantastic idea, of course. We’re calling it supper club, and it’s been so much fun! Each dinner usually revolves around some theme, we all bring a dish or two to contribute, and we just hang out together and eat some good food. Really, it has been SO good. There are some highly skilled cooks in our bunch. This month we went with a cajun theme. We had a big pot of jambalaya, some corn bread, hush puppies, grits, sweet potatoes, and the list goes on and on. I don’t usually think of pie when I think of cajun food, but I found this recipe for New Orleans Creole Coconut pie, and it had to be made. The recipe was originally published in the New Orleans newspaper, the Picayune, in 1900. Can’t get much more authentic than that.

Just a warning: This recipe calls for a generous amount of nutmeg. 1 tablespoon is kind of a lot, so adjust it according to your taste.

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New Orleans Creole Coconut Pie

Ingredients:

 Pastry for a 9 inch single crust pie
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbs butter, melted
3/4 cup white wine, apple juice, or white grape juice
1 Tbs. ground nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
6 egg whites
 

Directions:

 
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the pie plate with the pie crust. Line the pie crust, or pierce it all over with a fork, and partially bake it.
 
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, scald the milk by heating it until bubbles appear around the edges and the milk begins to steam. Don’t let it boil. Remove from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
 
In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup of the sugar and the butter and stir with a whisk or a large spoon to mix them together well. Add the wine, nutmeg, and vanilla, and stir well. Add the coconut and the cooled milk, and stir gently to mix them well.
 
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until they become thick and airy and will hold stiff but curly peaks. Add the egg whites into the bowl of coconut filling, folding them into the mixture as delicately as possible, so that the filling is light and puffed up. Quickly turn the filling into the pie crust and seal the edges.
 
Place the pie on the bottom rack of the oven and bake until the filling is puffed, fairly firm, and delicately brown, about 30 minutes. Place the pie on a cooling rack and let cool to room temperature. Just before serving, sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of powdered sugar over the top of the pie and serve.
 
:: Carrie ::

1canoe2 + Ecka & Pecka

 

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Happy Monday everyone, we hope you had a fantastic weekend!

We are excited to start off this week as the featured guest on the Ecka & Pecka blog. We always love to learn more about our favorite artists and designers, how they work, and what inspires them – so we were pleased when the folks over at Ecka & Pecka asked to interview us! They asked us a few questions, and we were happy to share, so head on over to their blog to read what we had to say!

Everyone Loves Pie {Week 14}

This week absolutely FLEW by. I can’t believe it’s already the weekend, and I almost forgot to tell you about this week’s pie! On Sunday my whole family on my dad’s side spent the day at my Grandma’s house for Easter. It’s tradition. Easter starts early, with a sunrise service and then a carry-in breakfast at the little church where I grew up. After that it’s to Grandma’s house, which just happens to be right next to the church. The day usually consists of lots of chit-chat, card playing, walking in the woods, and there’s always an easter egg hunt. The guys usually start up the grill pretty quickly to get the meat cookin’. This year it was BBQ chicken, and I think we had enough to feed an army. It was delicious! Nice work Brett! We’re never short on food at family meals, we had a pretty big spread. I brought a Shaker lemon pie, which was a new one for most of us, and it was good! I’d definitely make it again. It was sweet and a little sour, and perfect for an early spring day.

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Shaker Lemon Pie

Ingredients:

2 medium lemons
2 cups sugar
pastry for a 9 inch double crust
4 eggs, beaten well
2 Tbs flour
1/4 tsp salt
 
Directions:
 
Using a sharp knife, trim the stem end and tip off each lemon. Slice the lemons as thinly as you possibly can, into paper thin circles. Scoop up the remaining juice and add it to the bowl of sliced lemons. Chop the thinly sliced lemons coarsely so that the largest pieces of rind and pith are one inch long. Add the sugar to the bowl of lemons and mix well. Cover and set aside at room temperature for at least 3 hours and up to overnight. Stir occasionally.
 
 Heat the oven to 450. Line the pie plate with the 9 inch pie pastry. Add the eggs, flour and salt to the bowl of sugary lemons and mix well. Pour the filling into the piecrust. Roll out the remaining pastry and place it carefully over the filling. Fold the edges and crimp decoratively. Cut eight steam vents in the top of the pie to release steam and so the pie’s juices can bubble up. Place on a baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375. Bake until the filling is bubbling and thickened, and the crust is cooked and handsomely browned – 25 to 35 minutes more. Place the pie on a cooling rack and let it cool to room temperature before serving.
 
:: Carrie ::
 
 

The Big Tree

There’s a big tree growing in the Missouri River bottom near our hometown of Columbia, that everyone just refers to as “The Big Tree.”

It’s a burr oak tree, and yeah, it’s really big. It’s trunk is 287 inches around, it’s 90 feet tall, and it has a limb span of 130 feet, which makes it the largest burr oak in Missouri. It’s a landmark around here. It’s big, and majestic, and very photogenic. Everyone knows where the big tree is, everyone has been there, and everyone loves it.

It’s estimated to be at least 350 years old, which means it was a little acorn sprout sometime around 1650. Goodness, this tree has seen a lot. It was there when Lewis and Clark passed by on their expedition to the west. It’s been struck by lightning, and stood tall through floods that rose all the way up to its lowest branches. Last summer’s drought was a stressful time for our big tree. It’s leaves started to wilt, and it started to show signs that it might not make it through. So what do you do when your favorite big tree starts fading away? You water it, and water it, and water it some more.

Earlier this week on the NPR show All Things Considered, they told the story of how the tree’s caretaker and the local community came together to save our iconic tree. It’s a good story. You can listen to it right here.

And, if you ever come to visit and want to see the big tree in person, let us know. We’ll tell you how to get there.

:: Carrie ::