When Life Gives You Lemons.

Last week was a full moon. Last week, I was very emotional. Maybe the two are related, maybe not. But either way, I was feeling a little “life is giving me lemons-ish” all week. I tried talking to people about it, and although that helped in the moment, as soon as I was alone again, the lemons returned. Usually, I’d go for a run when I can’t shake that feeling, but I recently was diagnosed with Tendonitis in my left ankle. That means no running. For a while. This might have been the biggest lemon of all. Not being able to run is the most frustrating thing that has ever happened to me. So, what did I do? I started riding my bike and swimming.

A whole new world.

A whole new world.

These things are great, but the problem is that I’m not very good at them, and I was pretty good at running. So it’s like starting all over again. After a few bike rides though, I am really starting to enjoy it. So much so, that I want a new bike now. So maybe this particular lemon can become lemonade after all.

Even so, I still had the full moon blues, as I like to call them. I needed something else to help me break out of this funk. So, I turned to the only other thing I could think of that always helps me feel better – baking. And not just random baking for the sake of baking; this called for the big guns – baking with purpose.

I thought about who might want/need some baking in their life. I immediately thought of two people, and went to work. The first project was a Pink Lemonade Cake. I found the recipe here, however I made a few changes, as usual. I used pink lemonade concentrate, I omitted the lemon juice, and I had no milk in the house whatsoever, so I used the one cream-based product I always have on-hand without a doubt – vanilla ice cream. I used 1/3 cup ice cream blended with 1 cup of water. It worked perfectly.

An experiment in pink.

An experiment in pink.

The cake was well-received and devoured by all. I was feeling happy because others were happy. This was helping.

All that remained.

All that remained.

Baking project #2 was a beer bread. I’ve made beer bread before, and it has yet to turn out anything other than delicious, so I picked up some beer (Chocolate Pumpkin Porter by Evil Genius Beer Company, to be exact), and made yet another good-lookin’ and equally good-tastin’ Beer Bread.

The beer makes the bread.

The beer makes the bread.

The bread was a hit, too, and I was then able to surf the emotional wave right out of the end of the week and safely back to shore.

For now.

Zen and the Art of Grandfather Clock Maintenance.

This past weekend, my husband I inherited this Grandfather Clock from my Aunt. It was originally my Grandmother’s, and my mom says she remembers when she was little and hearing the chimes ringing throughout the night (in a good way). The clock is about 66 years old. It looks like it’s brand new.

Looks like no time has passed.

Like no time has passed.

It also still works. We got it to chime at 8pm the other night.

We still haven’t gotten it to continuously keep time – the pendulum eventually stops swinging. According to the manual that was still tucked inside the door of the clock, its trial and error – you just have to keep adjusting the pendulum until it works. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

But at some point, somebody did. 66 years ago, when this clock and others like it were brand new, somebody bought it, read the manual, and set it, trying over and over to get the screw on the pendulum adjusted exactly right so it would keep time. I tried three times. And decided I’d rather pay someone money to come out and set it rather than sit there and adjust the darn thing myself.

Had I been a single lady when I inherited this clock, I also would not have dusted the chimes and reattached them after stringing them with new strings, attached the weights (in proper order from heaviest to lightest), or even bothered to figure out the part of the pendulum and the screw at all. All these acts were meticulously performed by my husband. I did sit and read the manual so we could figure out how to set the time without breaking it. But honestly, I think I only did that because he was doing all these things and I felt like I needed to contribute.

I’m not sure what it is, but technical details such as these do not interest me. I love the clock. I love how it looks. I love how it sounds. I cannot pretend to care how it works or even want to learn. Is it because I’m lazy? I started to wonder.

When I have to figure something out, I can and I will. I know deep down inside that I could have set the time, and the chimes and the weights and even the pendulum if i keep trying. But I just don’t want to. I don’t want to know how things work sometimes. I just want them TO work. And to be beautiful and bright and perform with precision and grace.

I don’t think I would have given my lack of desire to study the inner workings of the clock any thought had I not recently also started reading this book:

zenbook

One of those books that changes how you think.

I’m not finished it yet, but I am intrigued by his idea of Romantic understanding vs. Classical understanding:

“A classical understanding sees the world primarily as underlying form itself. A romantic understanding sees it primarily in terms of immediate appearance.”

I am definitely from the romantic school of understanding. I don’t think it’s because I was born that way or have something in my brain that makes me that way. No, I believe I chose to be that way. I remember taking the SATs in high school, and scoring higher on the math section then on the verbal section (this was back when there were only two sections). I considered myself and arts person, not a math person. I was angry that I scored higher on math. Math was boring. I did not want to be associated with it in anyway. So I chose not to be.

I chose poorly.

What I didn’t realize until reading this book and seeing the Grandfather Clock, is that math is just as beautiful as Art. And just as creative. I should have realized this when I was in pastry school. It was not the finished look of the dessert that most interested me – it was what made it happen: what reacted with what and in what amount to create that perfect chemical reaction of a dessert. I love baking because I LOVE chemistry.I always have. And I’m not ashamed to admit it anymore.

I’m not the best cake decorator. I’m not neatest pastry chef. I am, however, pretty darn good at creating new and delicious desserts.

Just another baking experiment gone right.

Just another baking experiment gone right.

And I WILL get that pendulum to swing again – I promise. But first, I have this great idea for a pink lemonade cake that I need to try out. :)

The Diabetic’s Wife.

My husband has Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes, to be more specific, which means he relies on injections of insulin to live. Thanks to modern technology, he doesn’t have to inject himself with a syringe all day though – he uses a pump, which is constantly attached to him, and pumps insulin into him via this little thing called an infusion set. The whole thing looks like this:

This tiny device keeps my husband alive.

This tiny device keeps my husband alive.

It’s pretty cool.

What’s not cool is that he has Type 1 Diabetes in the first place, and has to live the rest of his life with the pump. I don’t claim to understand how it makes him feel, physically or mentally. I will never be able to understand that. I can say that he’s tough – he acts like it’s no big deal, but really, it’s a very big deal.

Without insulin, he will die. If this fact worries him, he never lets it show, at least to me. This fact does worry me. All. The. Time. I try not to let him see that either, and I don’t want to make this about me. But as the wife of someone with a serious illness, I am also affected, but in a completely different way.

It’s hard, because I often feel like I have no one to talk to about it. It’s not something I go around asking people: “Hey, so does your husband have an illness that needs to be constantly monitored and is sometimes unpredictable and could send him into a coma or possibly even death? Mine too! Let’s be friends!” It doesn’t work that way.

And for the record, he can and does eat the desserts I bake. He just has to adjust his insulin intake for it. Dessert is not a diabetic’s enemy.

Yes he ate one of these. And liked it.

Yes he ate one of these. And liked it.

I don’t worry about sharing dessert with him. I don’t worry about eating anything with him. He does an amazing job keeping his diabetes under control. If anything, it gives his geeky nature a chance to really shine.

I worry about coming home and finding him unconscious (or worse). I worry when he doesn’t text me back right away, that maybe he’s passed out on the ground, or in his car in a ditch. I worry when he’s sleeping that he might not wake up. Sometimes I poke him to make sure he’s still conscious (and he wonders why he never sleeps very well). I am, by nature, a worrier. I am also, by nature, a person who is very in tune with other people. I notice every slight change in his looks, his mood, his face, his voice, his eyes…everything. I ask him if he’s ok a lot. I’ve driven home from work at like 80 miles an hour because he didn’t respond to a text and I needed to make sure he was fine.

Maybe someday I’ll stop worrying about him so much. Maybe not. Either way, his disease is a part of my life now, too. Maybe my worrying is just another reason why we were meant to be together. Although I wish he didn’t have to deal with having Diabetes, I don’t wish anything was different. I love him for who he is, and how he handles what life has dealt him with courage and grace. I just hope that I can do the same, and be the woman and wife he needs me to be, worrier and all.

Photo by The More We See.

Photo by The More We See.

Dreams, They Complicate My Life.

I have been remembering my dreams since I was a little girl. I always thought they meant something more, even back then. Even today, I still not only remember the dreams I had last night, but I can still remember some of the very vivid ones I had growing up. A few times throughout my life, I even started a dream journal, and every so often when I’m in de-cluttering mode, I’ll stumble across an old journal and open it only to discover a handful of dreams from the summer of 1997, or some other isolated period.

I wish I had done more dream journalling. I love reading these little snippets of my past, because not only does writing down your dreams help you remember them, but it gives me so much insight into the person I was at that time, and how it has contributed to the person I am today.

Growing up, I often dreamed of storms – hurricanes, tornadoes, monsoons, tsunamis…and I was always running from them. Because of these dreams, I’ve developed an unhealthy fear of storms. I’m like the dog that hides in the tub at the first rumble of thunder. When Hurricane Sandy was coming, I pored obsessively over the projected path, and prayed and begged just before each time I looked at it that it would change and veer off out to sea. No such luck.

my worst nightmare.

my worst nightmare.

My Astraphobia is a post in itself, so I’ll save that for another time. Right now, I’m talking about dreams. I really do believe there is more to dreams than just “those things that happen when you close your eyes.” These things mean something. Whether it’s yourself telling  yourself what you already know but are afraid to admit, or the universe giving you a gentle reminder of who you are and where you’re going.

Personally, I think it’s a little of both.

A few years ago, I had a dream that I went to this party in someone’s attic. There was music playing – it was the song Then He Kissed Me, by the Crystals. In waking life, I had no connection to this song, whatsoever. But it played, in the background, in it’s entirety, which meant that in waking life I actually knew every note of every musical instrument of the actual song itself. That’s pretty crazy if you think about it. The brain is really a wonderfully amazing thing. Anyway, I was one of the first people at this party in the attic – I think I was helping set up. There was a green velvet couch against one wall. I was over by the couch as guests starting arriving. One guest was my now husband. At that time in waking life, he was they guy I went out with four times and wondered why we weren’t actually together. But here he was, in my dream, at this random attic party where they were playing Then He Kissed Me. We walked toward each other, and he looked at me and said, “I really want us to be together. It’s just not the right time yet.” And then, I woke up. I didn’t just wake up, I shot up. I remember sitting up in bed, and thinking, “what the funk was that??”

In the years that followed, I’d hear that song, and it would remind me of that dream, and the guy. As I mentioned in my previous post, the guy and I are now married. Guess what song played at our wedding for our first kiss?

and then he kissed me. (photo by The More We See)

and then he kissed me. (photo by The More We See)

Was it always going to be that way and that was why I dreamed about that song? Or was the dream of the song the reason it happened? The world may never know. But either way, the dream was important. It gave me hope. It reminded me of what I really wanted, deep inside myself.

I also often dream about people who have died, like so many other people do. In my dreams, the dead are usually intermingled with the living, however there is one thing that separates them – they do not speak. Not once has a dead person ever uttered a word in any of my dreams. Since my dad died a few months ago, I’ve had plenty of dreams about him. Yet not one single word. Weird, right?

i still miss him.

i still miss him.

I love dreams. I love dreaming. I’ve flown many times. I’ve controlled them many other times. I’ve talked with people I haven’t seen in years. I once dreamed I was chatting with my brother, and I asked him what the lyrics were to a certain song, and he said, “I don’t know, I’m just a character in your dream. If you don’t know the lyrics, then how am I supposed to know?”

Oh, Brother. (Photo by The More We See)

Oh, Brother. (Photo by The More We See)

Anyway, the reason I’m thinking about all this on this fine Sunday morning is that my husband is watching soccer in the other room so I have to find something else to do keep myself occupied, and more importantly, I had a very strange dream last night that I can’t stop thinking about. In waking life, sometime around 2005, I played in a band called 4 Hours Sleep. We had fun, and played a whole bunch of shows around Philly. We recorded an album of songs, and although the band wasn’t together for much longer after we were finished with the album, the songs really stood out to me, mainly because this was a pretty emotionally tumultuous time in my life, and the lyrics to those song still either make me smile, tear up, and just remind me what it means to grow up. In the dream, it was the present day, and I was at my mom’s house, and there was some kind of party going on. I was hanging out in my old bedroom, and I suddenly thought of that 4 Hours Sleep album, and began rooting through boxes of old stuff to try and find it. I eventually found it, and tried to play it on the TV (clearly this is the dream part) but I couldn’t get it to play, no matter how hard I tried. Then a bird flew into the room, I got scared and ran to my mom to help me get it out. Then I woke up.

I have no idea what that means, but this morning, I was on a mission to find that old 4 Hours Sleep CD. I had a vague idea of where it was, and lo and behold, I found it, and am listening to it as I type. It brings back wonderful and painful memories. And it also has on it my favorite song that I’ve ever written, that I had forgotten about.

I just made this youtube video and it took me like an hour. Can you believe this is the first time I’ve ever posted a video to youtube? Maybe that was the reason for the dream – to teach me how to do something new. :)

The Underlying Wonderful.

I can’t remember quite how it came to be, but when my husband and I were in our early stages of romance, I believe it was he who said something along the lines of “No matter where life takes us, never forget the underlying wonderful.”  A lot of people ask me how we met. I think it’s a pretty amazing story in it’s own right, and one that might just give others some hope who feel lost or alone and like they might never find “the one.” Not everyone finds “the one” when they’re in their early 20’s. And that’s ok. If I could do it all again, I’d do it exactly the same. Because it has led me right here.

15_05_30_jeanine_steve_1787

photo taken by The More We See.

It was the start of the summer of 2008. I had just come out of a two year relationship with someone, and wasn’t really looking for a new someone. I was playing with a new band at the time, and was nervous for our first show, so I asked some friends to come out for support. A friend of mine agreed to come with his wife, and he said he’d bring friends. I was on stage when they arrived. I walked over after the set to say hello…and that was when I met him. And I knew it right then, although I wasn’t really sure what it was that I knew. But there was something about this “friend” of my friend that I couldn’t stop thinking about. Sadly, this “friend” was there with his girlfriend. But we all became friends because I just had to be around this guy. He and his girlfriend wound up breaking up a few months later, and he and I went out. 4 times. It just wasn’t the right time for us though, and he got back together with his girlfriend, and I found someone else. But those 4 times never left my mind. I thought about him every single day and wondered why it happened that way. I was so sure he was who I was supposed to be with. How could I be so sure that he was “the one” if I wasn’t even going to be with him? As the years went on, it seemed less and less likely that we would ever find our time. Another relationship ended for me, and I decided it was time for me to figure out what the heck I was doing.

I started practicing yoga. I started journaling. I graduated pastry school and got a new job. I hung out with friends and did the things I always wanted to do. I traveled all over the world.  I asked myself why my life was the way it was, and I found the answer: it was how it was because of me. Not because of anyone else. Everything I did in my life was my responsibility. Once I came to realize this, old unresolved relationships began to either mend or end. I was able to confidently move in the direction of my dreams. I was able to forgive myself for my past mistakes. I was able to admit them to others and to myself, and say sorry.

By now, it was early 2013. I had just returned from another trip. I was thinking about “the guy” again, since this seemed to be the only relationship left that I still hadn’t gotten any closure on. One day, on a walk with a friend, I told him the whole story. I said I thought I might always wonder what could have been. We chatted about a few other things, and somehow on that same walk, I recounted a random story about how some girl was jealous because she thought i was interested in her boyfriend and how ridiculous that was. My friend stopped in his tracks. “How is this any different from the first story?” he asked. I told him it was because I actually DID have feelings for the first guy so that made it ok, and he went on to say, “that doesn’t matter. This is the exactly the same thing.” I argued with him, but began realizing he was absolutely right. The reason it never worked out with “the guy” was not because of him or his girlfriend our our friends – it was because of me. I suddenly was sorry for how I handled things. And I felt, at that moment, that I could move on and be just fine.

A month later, out of the blue, “the guy” emailed me. He was single, I was single. We agreed to meet. Two years later, we were married. We’re both 39.

photo taken by The More We See.

photo taken by The More We See.

The point is not that everyone is worth waiting for, or that you should sit around and let love find you. The point is that once you find you, meaning once you realize your own faults, your own hopes, your own dreams – only then can you be the person you would want to be in a relationship with. And the door to the underlying wonderful opens. :)

Enjoying the thing you are doing.

woods

The other day, I was driving to work, and I started thinking about leaving. Not leaving home or my job or my husband. No – about going out to things that I was really looking forward to and thinking while I’m there about leaving. I started to wonder why that happens. And what I can do to prevent it from happening in the future. Granted, sometimes you go somewhere and you really are not having a good time, or it wasn’t quite what you thought it would be, and you legitimately want to leave. But other times, I just feel like leaving for no reason. Ask my husband about my weird desire to leave concerts/sporting events/shows at least 30 minutes before the end (sometimes more). Sometimes I even feel this way when I’m the one PERFORMING the concert! I guess I just start thinking about all the other things I have to do; about how long it will take me to get home; about what time I have to wake up the next day; about how and when I’m going to fit in a run. The worst part is that these are not awkward/weird/unpleasant events. These things are FUN! I should be enjoying myself!!! So then why do I often want to leave? I made a conscious decision at that moment: to get to the bottom of this, and to no longer want to leave.

In order to do this, I started thinking about the things I’ve done that I never wanted to leave – those events and occasions that you just wish would stretch on into the wee hours of the morning and then some. What about those things was different? Some involved my husband and when we first met. Ok, that makes perfect sense – that new love and all the excitement and butterflies that come with it. I won’t count those things for now. But what other events did I wish would never end? I remembered back to a Peter Gabriel concert in 2002. It was an amazing show, and I could have sat there and watched him all night. I remembered a concert from high school where I played Eponine from Les Miz and I did not want that performance to end. I remembered pretty much every gig with my old band Sonic Girl, and I never wanted any of them to end. I remembered my wedding day. I remembered a Gillian Welch concert, also some time around 2002. I remembered pretty much all of my classes in Pastry School. I remembered laughing with a couple of friends all night about random things that no one else would think were funny (like how old Ben Franklin would be if he were alive today). I remembered playing and camping at the Newport Folk Festival in 2004.

from our campsite in Newport.

from our campsite in Newport.

So what do all of these things have in common? For starters, they seemed magical. There was some kind of magical energy at each of these events that made me wish they would never end. But I think it’s more than that. All of these events had two things in common which made them “magical.” Two thing that have to occur in order for me to wish they would go on forever:

1. They are things I am passionate about

2. I have to be fully present

I HAVE TO BE FULLY PRESENT. Sure, being passionate about it is also important, but I could be enjoying so much more in life if only I allowed myself to be fully there to enjoy it! That’s the key. To allow myself to actually enjoy these things while they are happening and not spend my time thinking and worrying about the next thing. Every event can be magical in a sense, if we let it be.

This weekend, I went camping. I  hadn’t been camping in many years, because last time – you guessed it – I wanted to leave. This time, it was different. I wanted to stay. I wanted to breathe the air and enjoy the trees and watch the fire. It was relaxing. It was fun. And i never once wanted to leave.

who would want to leave this??

who would want to leave this??

I’m sure there will be times and events that I will want to leave. But I promise to try my darndest to be there and enjoy each moment as it’s happening from now on. It’s gonna take some time, and some practice. But it’s definitely going to be worth it.

When Life Happens.

I haven’t posted anything in a while.

I’m not upset about that – I haven’t really felt like writing. Maybe it’s because things have been a little crazy. Some major events happened over the past few months:

1. I got married.

2. I went to Prague.

3. My father died.

#3 actually happened first. My father died almost exactly one month before my wedding. Being so sad and so happy at the same time is quite a challenge. And mentally exhausting. This was on top of the stress of planning a wedding in it’s final stages. I really just didn’t have time to write. At least,that was my excuse.

my dad and me, enjoying a moment.

my dad and me, enjoying a moment.

The truth is, I’ve loved to write since I was about 9 years old, when after a class assignment to write a short story about a polar bear, I discovered not only did I enjoy doing it, but I was pretty good at it, too! Every week, I looked forward to Fridays, when we got the chance to write another story. Writing was my passion. Through the years, my focus on it has ebbed and flowed – but I always come back to it. I admit I have many passions; but writing is and always will be the one ring to rule them all.

So why did I stop? Having no time was definitely a contributing factor – but not because I actually had no time for it – I just wasn’t making time for it and I believe that was intentional. When life gets too heavy, I push writing away out of fear. Writing for me, is about truth – about sharing a part of you that no one sees. Sometimes, when life becomes “too much,” I don’t really want anyone to see that.

Another big reason I stopped blogging in particular was because I had stopped baking – I really didn’t have time for that, what with  wedding crafts, family visits, vendor meetings, etc. So no baking = no blogging. That thought depressed me. Why should I have to stop writing just because I had stopped baking? Well, duh, I don’t. There are no rules in writing! That’s the beauty of the craft! So, I stripped away the limitations, and redid the blog. It’s still called Small Indulgences. It will still have recipes and baking adventures. But that’s only part of the fun. Living a life full of Small Indulgences – that’s what I want to do, and that’s what I want to write about. Having coffee with an old friend – that’s a Small Indulgence. Taking a Stand Up Paddle Boarding class with my husband (I still smile when I get to call him that) – that’s a Small Indulgence. Scratching my cat Gandalf the Gray behind the ears until he starts purring – that’s a Small Indulgence. Heck, watching the next episode of Game of Thrones is even a Small Indulgence! The little things we enjoy, that make us smile and warm our hearts – these are the things that matter. These are what life is all about. These are things worth sharing. And hence forth, they will be shared.

It’s not the size that counts; its how you live it.

So let’s get out there and live. :)

living it up in Prague.

living it up in Prague.

Kosher Brownies vs. Jewish Apple Cake: a Dessert Duel.

DSC_1021

So here’s a little story for you.

Last week, my fiance and I were invited to a Passover Seder. The hosts, knowing that I was a baker, asked us to bring a dessert. I of course jumped at the chance to make something for this special occasion, and I started going through some recipes, thinking of what I could bring. I settled on a Jewish Apple Cake, since not only do I love it, but I hadn’t made it in quite some time! The one thing I love about my recipe is that it always turns out perfect! I was so pumped to present it as our contribution at Seder.

Perfect for Passover.

Perfect for Passover.

It started off excellent. The batter was perfect, the apples were crisp and tasty. It looked great when I put it into the oven. As it was baking, it still looked great, but it seemed to be taking a long time to cook all the way through. I took it out, and had to put it back in the oven, because it wasn’t done yet. Finally, it was done, and it looked a little….flat. This wasn’t the end of the world, since it wasn’t supposed to be super fluffy – the apple cake is very dense. I let it cool in the pan for a bit, and then went to flip it out onto the cooling rack, and nothing. The cake did not come out. It was stuck in the pan, like REALLY stuck. I did what I normally do in this situation – I ran a knife along the sides and center. Bundt pans seem to be the worst at sticking, so I wasn’t too surprised at this. The knife usually does the trick. Not this time. After going around the perimeter multiple times, the cake still would not budge. Finally, after one more time around and practically digging the knife completely underneath the cake, it began to come loose. And then, boom! Half of the cake fell out. And then a bunch of crumbs. And then the other half (in pieces, I might add). And just like that, my perfect for Passover Apple Cake was ruined.

The good news – I had made the cake a day early, so I had time to try again. I really didn’t feel like making a whole new apple cake, though. So what should I do? I suddenly remembered seeing this box of cake mix in the kosher section at the grocery store, so I snagged it.

a quick mix fix.

a quick mix fix.

Now I knew this cake mix would not equate to the glory that is my scratch Apple Cake, but it looked good, and I was getting short on time. The next morning, I opened the box, ready to create an easy second cake for the dinner that evening.

Yes, it was easy.

Yes, it was tasty

Yes, it was way too small.

Not much bigger than an apple.

Not much bigger than an apple.

There was no way I could show up with this tiny cake! It would barely feed just me and my fiance! Now I was starting to panic. I had started becoming comfortable with the resignation that I would  have to actually purchase an already made dessert, when I had one last idea. Brownies. I don’t know where it came from, but there it was. I googled “Easy Kosher Brownies” and sure enough, found what I was looking for. And to top it off, I just so happened to already have all of the ingredients. I headed back into the kitchen for the third time, and hoped that three times really was the charm.

once, twice, three times the brownie.

once, twice, three times the brownie.

It was. The brownies cooked perfectly, were big enough, and when I cut them and removed them from the pan, they retained their shape perfectly.

redemption.

redemption.

I had been redeemed. My faith in my baking had once again been restored. As an added unexpected bonus, a few people wound up telling me these were the best brownies they ever had. So I guess it was meant to be in the end.

brownies for the win.

brownies for the win.

The brownies were the clear winner here, and I can honestly say that I’m glad the Apple Cake fell apart. Sometimes things fall apart for a reason. We just have to be patient and remember to never give up, because Good Things Come to Those Who Bake. :)

A Celebration of Pi (with Pie).

pie slice3

Over the past weekend, on 3/14/15 to be exact. I went to a Pi Party. How does one celebrate Pi? With pie, of course! Everyone contributed a pie of some sort in honor of Pi. As you can imagine, there were so many pies there, I almost couldn’t handle the deliciousness. Almost.

My personal contribution was a Key Lime Pie. I started off with a cornmeal crust made from scratch, baked it for about 8 minutes, filled it with pie, and baked it for another 15 minutes. And although I absolutely love this particular Key Lime Pie recipe, I feel like it’s not green enough. So…I helped it reach maximum greeness with a couple drops of food coloring.

it's not easy being green.

it’s not easy being green.

I wanted to put some kind of topping on it, but I didn’t have any heavy cream. I did however, have all the ingredients to make a meringue, so I started whipping one up.

do the meringue.

do the meringue.

It was going really well, until my hand started getting really really tired. Then I remembered just how long it takes to whip meringue, and realized I should have used the stand mixer,  not the hand mixer. But it was too late to turn back now, so I whipped on, as best as I could. The result was not the best meringue I’ve ever made, looks-wise, but it sure was tasty.

beautiful on the inside.

beautiful on the inside.

I really really really wanted to add a slice of lime to the center, but at this point, I was crunched for time, so it would have to go lime-less. I brought it to the party, feeling sightly disappointed. I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my desserts, but there was no way I could redo the pie and still make it to the party in time. And showing up to a Pi Party without Pie was just unthinkable.

The party was a blast. The pies were all a huge hit, including mine. So much so, that by the end of the night, my faith in my desserts had been restored.

things are looking up.

things are looking up.

The best part about the pie party? We got to take home slices of all the pies, in what I affectionately dubbed a “Super Pie.”

the super pie.

best. pie. ever.

The moral of the story is no two pies are exactly alike. But that doesn’t make them any less delicious. Pie to infinity!

The Best Sweet Beer Bread.

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Ok, so I know I said that last week I made the Best Beer Bread, and I still stick to that claim. However, the other day, I tried again, with a different beer this time – something just a little more dessert-like. What was the beer, you might ask? Why, it was Creme Brulee Stout, by Southern Tier Brewing Co.

a sweet, sweet beer.

a sweet, sweet beer.

The only problem here, was that the recipe as you may remember, calls for 12 oz of beer, and this bottle was, alas, 16 oz. Oh darn. The only solution was to drink the remaining 4 oz. Oh the perils of being a baker. ;)

more beer than bread.

more beer than bread.

Well, needless to say, the beer was delicious, and I was even more excited now to see how the bread would turn out! It smelled amazing, and it appeared to have been baked to perfection. Now, the hard part – waiting for it to cool, so I could try it.

hurry up.

hurry up.

Finally, the cooling hour had come. It was time. Time to slice. Time to taste. Time to judge and be judged.

worth waiting for.

worth waiting for.

Well, it was definitely worth the wait. It’s hard to say at this point which beer bread was the actual best – I think it all comes down to personal preference. This one was a little sweeter, which, anyone who knows me would know that sweeter is my bag. Not everyone digs on sweeter though, so let’s just call it a draw. This one shall be bestowed with the title of Best Sweet Bread Bread. If you’d like to try is, use the same Beer Bread Recipe as previously posted, but use the Creme Brulee Stout. Remember to only use 12 oz – and to drink the rest. Never let great beer go to waste.