Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Ah, Spring at Last!

It finally feels like SPRING!  Not that the winter was so terrible.  We had hardly any snow.  There were no ice storms.  The temperatures weren't anything to get excited about.  But winter in central Indiana isn't pretty.

Winters here are an ugly dark gray/brown, wet, and cold, with an occasional frigid day or week.  Snow makes things look bright and cheery for a bit, then it melts in the late afternoon and refreezes at night.  Or it rains during the day and freezes overnight.  Or there's freezing rain.  Or the ever-popular "wintry mix."  UGH.

Mostly it's hypothermia weather - wet and cold-ish.

Then there's the precursor to spring - rain and wind and mud - oh my!  Still not pretty.

But this past week - suddenly SPRING!  The grass glows with the color of a green crayon. Dandelions and violets have invaded the yard!  Daffodils and tulips bloom in their beds!  Peonies, day lilies, and hostas poke up from the ground!  Asparagus begs to be cut in the garden!  Fuzzy ducklings and goslings block traffic at the marina!  Tree frogs sing in the evening!  Magnolia, dogwood, and redbud trees bloom in a riot of magenta, pink, and white!  All at once!

Nature has had enough of winter, and as my dad would say, "Spring has sprung!"  

Friday, April 7, 2017

Hoosier Pie, Revisited

It has been pointed out to me that in my excitement to write about yummy Hoosier Pie I thoughtlessly neglected to provide the magic recipe!  (It has been suggested that it was intentional, to see just exactly how many people actually read this blog - HA!)

So here it is, in all its glory.  The only thing I changed from the original recipe is the addition of nutmeg.  I used my trusty Sunbeam Heritage stand mixer, which made it super easy to make the filling nice and smooth.

If you're curious about the history of Sugar Cream Pie, there's some interesting information here and here.  




OLD FASHIONED CREAM PIE

1 cup sugar
scant 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter
9" pie crust, unbaked

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Whisk or sift together the dry ingredients.  Stir in half of the cream to make a thick paste.  Stir until very smooth.  Add the remaining cream, then beat lightly, again until very smooth.  Stir in the vanilla.  Pour into the unbaked pie crust.  Sprinkle with cinnamon, then dot with butter.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 325 degrees and continue baking for another 45 minutes.  Let it cool on a wire rack about 15-20 minutes before cutting.
      


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Hoosier Pie

Indiana has had an official state pie - sugar cream - since 2009.  I had it for the first time sometime in the 1970s - I think Christmas or New Year's Eve.

It.  Was.  Amazing.

But all the sugar cream pies I've had since have been disappointing - pale, bland, heavy, and tasteless.

Until today.

I got a copy of the recipe of that long ago first sugar cream pie, and it has quite a lineage.  My sister had the recipe, given to her by her mother-in-law, and given to her by her mother.

Oh my.  It's just as I remembered it - rich and sweet and flavored with vanilla, butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Talk about a sugar rush!

It's not a custard pie - no eggs.  It's closer to pecan pie in texture, but not really the same.  It's just...itself.  I believe it will have to make an appearance this Thanksgiving...

Anyway, I used to think having an official state pie (or rock, or insect, for that matter) was frivolous at best, but frivolous or not, that's a mighty fine pie!  Thanks, oh sister of mine, and thanks, Grandmother Scheidler!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

SHUT THE DOOR!


After years and years of having an open door policy, I have given up and SHUT THE DOOR - to the bedroom.

We've had a parade of cats for around 20 years, and they've had access to most of the house all that time.  But now, as you may have read earlier, since June, we have four, yes, count them, FOUR, cats and ONE large (sweet) dog, and it has become a HAIRY issue, literally.

There's hair on the bed (the other bedrooms were already off limits), hair on the stairs, hair on the rugs, hair on the chairs, hair on the sofa, hair along the baseboards, hair in the bathroom sinks.  You get the picture - everything is covered with HAIR.  And no, it is NOT true that everything tastes better with cat/dog hair in it.  Bleah.

I could dust mop and vacuum every day, and still find hair/fur tumbleweeds rolling down the hallway.  There's so much hair, I often wonder why the cats aren't completely bald.  The dog contributes, too, of course, but there's only one of him, even though he's so big.

I do like the way the cats cuddle with me on the sofa and on the bed, though - until Feline Thermonuclear War is declared.  Then I'm trampled by what feels like a herd of elephants, accompanied by growling, yowling, hissing, and barking (the cats, not the dog - yes, our cats bark).  It sounds like mountain lions have overrun the house.  The dog cowers in his crate (it's his safe space).

To truly understand the phrase, "the fur flies," you need to see my house after a bout of FTW - there are big tufts of fur all through the house.  The cats don't discriminate among the rooms open to them.  It's an equal opportunity war zone.

Anyway, I went to Disney World with The Girl and The First Grand for a week early this month.  Imagine it - a week with NO ANIMAL HAIR.  What a concept.

It didn't even occur to me until after I got home and was immediately covered in animal hair just how much I try to cat-proof the house.  While I was gone, I didn't worry about where to put things down to avoid cats lying on them, whether the strings for the blinds were dangling enticingly or the blinds themselves were reachable so the ends of the slats could be used as chewy toys, or where I put my fingernail file (also a favorite chewy toy), or whether the shower curtain and liner were in a position to be shredded, or where I put papers to keep them from being barfed on.

Thus, after being home a couple of weeks, and one particularly bad night when I tossed all the cats out into the hall, I decided to SHUT THE DOOR to the last bedroom.  They'll just have to make do with the hallways, the living room, the dining area, the kitchen, one bathroom, the utility room, and the stairs.

And I get to use the bedroom again without any cat-consciousness.  Oh, happy day!  I can put away the fleece throws and old towels meant to keep the cats and their fur off my unseen, but attractive, comforter.  I can use the blinds normally.  I can fold clothes on the bed.  I can open the windows all the way.  I can get up in the middle of the night and not step on a fresh, wet hairball (oh, THAT'S a treat!).  I can get dressed without a lint roller.

With that ONE decision, I made some parts of my life easier.  Just by shutting the door!

There's a lesson there, somewhere.