Saturday, November 22, 2014

Crisco in the coldest part of your fridge...
Homemade Pie Crust that Anyone Can Do!
This specific flour (I vouch for no other's performance... just saying...)  also in fridge (or freezer)

Some ice water.  Everything needs to be cold!

For a double-crust pie, 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour...

+ 1 teaspoon of salt, stir together...

Add in 2/3 c. of Crisco, carefully measured as you can see ;o)

Use a pastry blender like this or the two humble forks to the side to mix it up until it looks like...

this!  Crumblies.

Dig a hole in the middle, toss in 10 Tbsp. of that ice water (drink the rest).

Stir casually with aforementioned humble fork.

Here's where we get to my own strange method.  A big piece of plastic wrap.

Dump entire contents of bowl, even the inevitable dry flour in the bottom onto plastic and pull the wrap up around it.

Mash it (or press it) 5-6 times (THROUGH THE WRAP); this prevents extra body heat from getting into the crust and allows for clean hands.

Wrap up...

Put in fridge for at least 30 minutes.  Not 16 hours, people.  Just a little while.  You can also freeze it at this point, if you're amazingly organized and making this for later.  Or you can throw it the freezer for 10 minutes if you're disorganized and you're rushing the clock (not that I have ever done, mind...)

Wash hands with yummy soap in your incredibly messy sink, since mess is inevitable and your children husband wanted waffles and poached eggs.

Use a knife to divide your little dough ball.  See how I'm off center here, that's b/c the bottom crust has to reach the sides so needs a little extra dough.  About 60/40.  At this point I like to fold it over gently 3 times or so (maybe it gives it flaky layers, maybe not, just a theory).  Pat back into a disk and roll out...

Roll out on floured surface with floured rolling pin, generously flouring your clothes as you go.

You can lay your pie plate or skillet in the middle to estimate needed size.

Use that lovely bench scraper or a basic pancake flipper and wiggle it loose on one side and fold in.

And the opposite side...

And now the right...

And the left... put up your bundle and put it...

in your pan / pie plate.  (Cast iron does amazingly well at EVERYTHING, including pies...)

Here is an example of why I say I make good food, not pretty food (See Marianne Brown for pretty AND good...  yes, Betty Crocker is my sister-in-law and I love her) :o)

Patch the hole or holes or whatever flaws you've got going on.  Prick the bottom of crust 8 times or so with a fork, fill with loveliness, top with remaining crust rolled out the same way, brush the top with an egg yolk you've mixed with a Tbsp of water, and bake.  I always put a cookie sheet under my pan, because loveliness is no longer lovely when it drips down and burns in the bottom of your stove.

The scraps from the ugly pie crust are mine.  A little turbinado, a little cinnamon and a little real butter is the consolation prize for my success in not eating the pie that's coming out of the oven.  No white sugar for me these days.  And if Evie's Christmas music is playing, I can take a bite and close my eyes and suddenly my mom is giving me the end pieces of her Christmas morning cinnamon roll dough roll... roll..  that sounds funny.  Enjoy your pie crust making.  Cheap and scrumptious.  Recipe compliments of Taste of Home years and years ago, method compliments of my beleaguered Home Ec. teacher + my own adaptations...

Sunday, November 09, 2014

 "There was a crooked man, who "drove" a crooked mile..."
A crooked house in our neighborhood post-tornado 2011; if it leans there's something WRONG!

This week a little light popped up on my dashboard to tell me my brakes needed work.  Really?  They seemed fine to me.  We checked the brake fluid.  I had some.  But since they are pretty important, we took the car in to our Christian mechanic’s shop.  He checked it out and sure enough, the front pads were bad.  When I got back into my car last night to drive it away from the shop, I was stunned.  I could stop.  Like almost instantaneously.  Without dragging my heel on the pavement (just kidding).  I had adapted my driving bit by bit to the brakes’ demise, that I didn’t even know they were almost gone.  This is not my first time to do such a thing.  A few years ago, they found my car was seriously out of alignment.  They asked me if I had not noticed it drifting to the side of the road.  No.  Never.  Then I realized I had begun to keep my hand on the left side of the steering wheel, applying pressure to the left automatically to keep it from drifting right.  Bit by bit, I had adapted without ever consciously thinking about it.  It took someone else stepping into the driver’s seat and saying, “Oh, my goodness.  What is wrong with your car?” for me to even notice it.  It also happened when Nathan’s mom realized I was running without any shocks.  I like to blame my state of oblivion on those bumpy country dirt roads and my dad’s assortment of old VWs.  We just went places.  To this day, my car is all about getting me somewhere, and that’s about it.  There is no love lost between me and my Corolla.

How does this happen?  Well, the main reason is no one else ever drives my car.  And two, I don’t know enough about normal cars to notice abnormalities in mine.  Things get twisted or off-kilter, and I just adjust accordingly.  This is so human of me.  Many Christians go through life, limping along in their unbiblical worldview.  They bump along oblivious of the fact that they have contradictory beliefs or messed up behaviors.  How is this possible?  We look on and think, “Surely they know that’s not normal?!”  But they seem completely oblivious. And then to our horror we find that we’ve been doing the same thing.  We sit under the Word on Sunday, and we’re stunned when Scripture shows us how messed up we are.  Just like me with my car, there are two main reasons for this:  one, no one speaks into our lives in these areas, including God.  We’re not in the Word, we’re not under authority, we’re not in relationships of accountability with other Christians, and ignorance is bliss, I suppose.  Secondly, we don’t know enough of what ‘normal’ Christian life looks like to with which to compare our own.  Our ignorance of Scripture is appalling, and the lack of godly mentors who truly live biblical lives in relationship with us is telling.  We become dangerous Christians, whose mouths have no ‘brakes’, whose behavior is off-balance and ungodly, whose thoughts are completely misaligned.  And we just adjust.  We run around crooked, thinking that we’re normal.  God help us!  It’s time to take these lives of ours to the ‘shop’:  let’s get in the Word.  Let’s get in relationship so others can help us see our need of growth.  This Christian life was meant to be a life of joyful balance that actually functions well in the home and the workplace.  It’s time for a little (or a whole lot of) discipleship!