The ugliest pie in the world

When we first tied the knot about three months ago, I thought one of the benefits of marriage would be that my attempts at domesticity would now have a high and lofty purpose: To be the most amazing, best wife ever.

Well I have yet to accomplish that, and I realized pretty quickly it was very silly to think that I ever would. Also, it really doesn’t matter. I can burn dinner and descend into tears and be really grumpy and look like a slob, and Homère somehow still says he really likes me and thinks I’m the best wife ever. So now I still try to be domestic, but it’s mostly just for fun — which helps when you create the ugliest pie in the world. And when you have a husband who has otherwise threateningly superior domestic abilities…. Homère cooks and cleans at least as well as I do, and usually better.

Homère, on his first attempt to bake ANYTHING EVER, turned out this beautiful banana bread last night for our small group. It was delicious.

banana bread

 

Meanwhile, the pie that I was going to make for small group but didn’t have time to finish until later… turned out to be very ugly and lumpy. The very complicated crust recipe I tried just had a lot of issues on top. And don’t be fooled by this picture: It’s more disfigured in real life.

photo (24)

 

But it turned out that the ugly crust was flaky and delicious, and the filling was yummy. So Homère said: “At least it’s beautiful on the inside.” It’s not every day you make a pie with self esteem issues.

Anybody have a delicious but more reliably pretty pie crust recipe?

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Home and apple butter

I went home this weekend. And it was wonderful, of course.I love being surrounded by familiar, domestic things. Such as the gazillion vegetables my father picked from his garden. This is only a small portion of them.

Going home made me excited to make my own home with Homère next year. (He even has “home” in his name — bah, how perfect. You can laugh at me but I don’t care.) On the way to go wedding dress shopping (and yes! I bought one! and it is the most beautiful thing ever! I’m so excited to wear it! I’m sorry I can’t show you), I bugged my mother and grandmother for registry tips. Just what is a soup tureen, anyway? They are full of knowledge; I’m grateful to have them.

We also made lots and lots of apple butter for favors for my wedding. When I say, “we,” I mean mostly my grandparents, who were visiting from Minnesota and brought apples from their trees with them. I’m not quite sure how I coaxed them into doing it, but all I know is I got home from the airport and they already had 80 jars of appley goodness made.

 

Grandpa did most of the squashing of the apples. But I helped, and in between all the other chores he decided to do around the house (he almost never stops working — “No rest for the blessed,” he says), he got a break to read The Killer Angels.

yummm….

 

 

 

Happy New Year! and Pecan Cheesecake Bars

Happy New Year, dear friends!

2011 was a blast.

I loved every minute of living in the Treehouse with some of my best friends. I graduated! And didn’t trip on the stage. I started my first job. I spent an amazing summer with Marieke the lovely, the firecracker, the genuine. I found a house and two great housemates. And was just continually impressed by God’s faithfulness in a time of change.

And I think 2012 is going to be pretty good, too.

Cheers from me and Marieke.

I’m not really into New Year’s resolutions, but I may just try to do my laundry more often. (ha. ha.) And be a better blogger. And bake more.

Oh, and tonight I made these lemon pecan cheesecake bars… I was so excited when I saw all those recipes in the newspaper. I’ve been keeping the page for weeks.

Pumpkin carving

This past week my friend Juliana visited me on her fall break from law school. It’s hard to explain what a wonderful friend Juls is. Let’s just say our friendship often reminds me of the fifth chapter of The Wind in the Willows, with me, like Mole, breaking down into tears and Juls going out of her way to make it all better again.

We had many adventures this weekend, more of which I will post later. Today we came home from church and did something that made us very happy: We carved a pumpkin.

Our friend Kat joined us in this pumpkin carving endeavor. While we were deciding what shape to carve, Juls told us that all the pumpkins she’d ever carved had smiling faces because carving pumpkins always made her happy. Thus, we carved a happy pumpkin. And named him Felix.

After we finished him, several children walked by and talked about how cheerful the pumpkin looked, according to the report from my housemate Hannah — clear proof that Felix’s joy is contagious.

We took too long carving the pumpkin, however, and Juls missed her bus. But she was able to get a ticket for a later ride, so we went back home from the station and roasted pumpkin seeds and watched a couple episodes of our favorite show, Arrested Development, or, as Juls’ mom once called it, “Depressed Elements.”

What a good afternoon.

P.S. Check out updated photos of our house from Hannah. Also notice how content Juls and I look in the photos. We were watching Depressed Elements — friendship bliss.

Nesting

“There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.” — Ecclesiastes 2:24

One of my new activities as a real live adult is what my roommate Hannah and I like to call “nesting.” You see, it turns out there a million bajillion things one needs to have just to eat every day, let alone sleep or stay clean. And then once you have all those basic things (skillet, pillows, toothbrush holder, etc.), having a home that you actually enjoy being in and to which you would like to invite others requires “nesting.”

Nesting is soothing to the soul. As someone who watches her day’s work get thrown in the trash can every day (the ephemeral newspaper), it’s quite satisfying to work on something that will last, at least for a while. For example, I put together this desk the other night while watching Gilmore Girls with Hannah. In my amateur opinion, nesting is best accomplished while watching Gilmore Girls.

Nesting also gives you a fantastic sense of accomplishment; you suddenly feel that if you were left alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but an ax you could make it. For example: Who knew I could install blinds? If I can do that, I’m sure the Canadian wilderness is NBD, as they say.But nesting is in vain, I think, unless it is done with a good purpose. One of the best things I’ve ever heard about nesting came from a wise friend (Zach Howard) who is married to another wise friend (Betsy Peters Howard). He said that his marriage, his home, his car — everything he had in life — were his “available means of persuasion” (think Aristotle) for persuading people of the gospel. Thus, kitchen so I can cook: great. Kitchen so I can cook and show others the love of God: way better. I don’t always remember that, but I hope to get better at it.

I’ll end with a picture of some delicious tomatoes I made tonight, and a thought from Dr. Smith’s Last Lecture: “Love your work. What folly it is to moan and groan. Convert the prose of life into beautiful verse.”