Dulce de Leche Banana Cream Pie + Practicing My Purpose

"And a mess is still a moment I can seize until I know,

that all will be well.

Even though sometimes this is hard to tell,

and the fight is just as frustrating as hell,

all will be well."

- The Gabe Dixon Band

It’s been over two years since I started work on my pie goal and almost seven months since I made my last pie. Life was a bit of a whirlwind for a while after baby Abe was born, and making pie was just not a very high priority. He’s going to be six months old on Saturday, though, and he’s doing so great and we have a fairly solid routine down for the time being and last week I had a good reason to make a pie, so here I am to tell you about it.

When we were living in Seattle, my sisters and a few of our mutual girlfriends started getting together for regular dinners, partly inspired by this book. The first time I heard about their gatherings, I was ambivalent: so thankful that they all had each other and this wonderfully rich way to spend time together, but also so so sad that I didn’t get to be a part of it. They sent me this one night, though, and it lifted my spirits for at least a couple of days. So when my sister sent an email inviting me and the rest of the ladies for dinner a month ago, I was so excited I offered to make a pie.

The menu took shape as a Mexican meal, so I started looking for something along the lines of a Mexican pie for dessert. When I came across this recipe, I knew I’d found the one. It looked simple enough that I could probably pull off making it during naptimes, which was essentially my only criteria.

It wasn’t until I found myself looking for a can of Nestle La Lechera Dulce de Leche at the grocery store that I realized I was a little conflicted about serving this pie to people I love. I’m still not actually sure - because I didn’t want to look - what ingredients comprise Nestle La Lechera Dulce de Leche.

Ever since Abe started eating solid food, I’ve been struggling to make peace with my diet. Mostly because I don’t deny myself much of anything if I feel like eating it, and I’ve always believed that moderation is the key to generally staying healthy and not making oneself miserable. I absolutely believe that eating or drinking just the right thing at the right time can do more to improve my mental health than any medicine or other treatment. But now that I’m responsible for so many of those decisions on another (tiny, unwitting) person’s behalf, they feel so much more important. And I really don’t want to screw it up.

There have been days when I mentally beat myself up for not making all of Abe's fruit and vegetable purees from scratch in the food processor. I’ve had moments of feeling like a bad mom because, on occasion, he gets a bottle of formula instead of breastmilk. And when I start thinking about whether or not I want to be responsible for ever giving him something like a slice of pie made with Nestle La Lechera Dulce de Leche, well, you can imagine the inner turmoil.

I found myself in tears about it last night, telling Dann about the weight of all my little decisions that may or may not make my son grow up to become the man I hope he will be. And as soon as I’d spoken it out loud to him, I felt the weight dissipate. Because I know, ultimately, that who Abe grows up to be is so largely out of my hands. And for goodness sake, it’s so infinitely not dependent on what he eats as an infant. Not that I want to raise him on a steady diet of junk, but if he one day has a slice of pie with some weird, non-real food version of caramel sauce in it, it doesn’t mean he’s going to end up in prison. And as we talked about it, Gabe Dixon Band’s song ‘All Will Be Well’ played in the background on my Weepies Pandora station. I believe it was the Holy Spirit at work.

And this pie was a hit, even with the Nestle La Lechera Dulce de Leche, among a group of women I would certainly describe as healthy and food-conscious (we had these spaghetti squash and black bean tacos for dinner - YUM). Sometimes a little bit of dessert just doesn't hurt, and I'm here to tell you that it's okay to rest in the peace of knowing that all will be well.

Chocolate Pecan Ice Cream Pie + Makin' A Dragon Wanna Retire

“Dancing = vulnerability = joy. And that’s contagious.” - Brené Brown

I’m probably going to refer to this pie as Vera’s Pie from now on, even though its official name is Chocolate Pecan Ice Cream Pie with Bourbon Butterscotch and Pretzel Crust. It’s from this cookbook, and it was easier to make than I thought it would be but also quite possibly even more delicious than it looks in the photos.

When my sister Amy told me she wanted to visit me in Seattle before our baby comes, I was thrilled. The fact that she made it work to travel here alone with her 13-month-old daughter made me feel so loved and cared for, likely because my number one love language by far is quality time. I wanted to make sure they got to do everything they wanted to do while they were here, which Amy told me was mostly just to spend time with us and our cousins and meet our friends. I decided a spaghetti dinner was in order, and that I would make a special pie for dessert.

Now, I’m sure there’s some complicated culinary explanation that I’m unaware of, but whenever I think about the kind of dessert that should follow a meal made of pasta with red sauce, I think chocolate is the only way to go. It’s possible that the presence of red wine is often a factor I suppose, but when I think of serving, say, cherry pie after spaghetti, I think I’d rather skip dessert altogether. 

Anyway.

I’d been wanting to try out this pie, so I gathered the ingredients and worked on it little by little over the course of a few days, food processing the pretzels on Monday, making the chocolate covered nuts on Tuesday, and so on until our dinner on Thursday. You really should buy this book and get the recipe for yourself. I promise it’s worth it.

While we ate brunch after I picked Amy and Vera up from the airport, we were talking about how incredible it is that this little girl is growing into a real person, walking and talking and showing signs of her very own personality. Amy mentioned that when her husband dropped the two of them at the airport that morning they’d been discussing the fact that Vera trusts them so completely, and what a huge, weighty thing that is. I think it’s got to be one of the strangest parts of becoming a parent: the realization that you’re just you, the flawed and fallible person you’ve always been, yet in another human’s eyes you are mama or dada, which can mean the whole great big world.

One of my favorite things about little miss V is her entirely shameless love of dancing. So far she has about four moves, but they’re all as adorable and precious and hilarious as you’d imagine. I think my favorite is when she shoots both hands straight up into the air and rotates her hips from side to side. That one’s usually followed by a hands-in-the-air-clap-with-squat-to-the-beat. When she realized she could see herself dancing in our tv, she was mesmerized by her own moves, which I think is a pretty clear sign of total confidence. She’s still unaware of the fear of embarrassment, from what I could tell, and it was so much fun to witness her joy.

I also knocked another item off of my Seattle bucket list with the help of Amy and Vera. We didn’t go to the Space Needle for the Macklemore/pirate flag dance party (in part because, apparently, the Space Needle hasn’t given its employees raises in four years), but we sure did go out on the docks at Fisherman’s Terminal and dance around with a pirate flag in the rain. Well, Amy and I danced. Vera sort of stood there stunned, trying to figure out where we were and what the boats and the water were all about.

We hit Pike Place and the Seattle Aquarium, and made sure to take a walk down to the Ballard Locks. Vera entertained herself for hours by pulling bottles of vitamins out of a bin in our bathroom and carrying them around, shaking them to the beat of her own little drum. We had a dance party at least once a day, always to the tune of Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson’s ‘Uptown Funk’

And although Vera didn’t get to have any of the pie this time, I sort of decided that this pie and this visit were going to mark a commitment to remembering her dancing and her vulnerability and her JOY, to remembering that there isn’t anything to fear. It really is contagious.  

So here’s to you, sweet girl. May your dancing and your joy inspire countless others you will meet in your lifetime. And when you find yourself feeling afraid, come over for a slice of pie and some uptown funk.  

Allergen-Free Chocolate Mousse Pie + The Secret To Survivin'

Every gambler knows

that the secret to survivin' 

is knowin' what to throw away

and knowin' what to keep

'Cause every hand's a winner

and every hand's a loser

and the best that you can hope for

is to die in your sleep

- Kenny Rogers, 'The Gambler'

I’ve been in survival mode a little bit lately.

Between trying to finish the school year strong and preparing for a cross-country move, the rest of life has felt extra busy but also extra significant. I’m exhausted, but I don’t want to miss out on anything because very soon I won’t live here anymore and then I won’t be able to do the things even if I’m feeling totally energized. I keep telling myself: “You can sleep when you’re dead.”

So when I found out I would miss my sister Amy’s birthday party while we were in the mountains last weekend, I was bummed. We haven’t been together to celebrate either of our birthdays for years, and I think we both thought this would be one of the first. She wasn’t mad, but it was one of the only things that I’ve actually had to miss because I can’t literally be in two places at once. Sometimes, if I could I would. Mental health be damned. 

I decided I’d stay up late the night before we left and make a special birthday pie that I could drop off for the party on our way out of town. I figured it would be a sufficient contribution in my absence. I didn’t figure I’d have to track down non-hydrogenated shortening and dairy-free chocolate chips, but I’m doing all kinds of new things these days, so why not?

Amy was recently told by her pediatrician that she should cut eggs, dairy, soy, and nuts out of her diet in order to figure out whether or not her girl Vera has a food allergy. So I was in search of a pie that didn’t call for butter or eggs or milk or nuts or anything made with soy. But I wanted something that still tasted like life and celebration and a little bit of indulgence.

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So I turned to the homie over at Oh, Ladycakes and found just what I was looking for. I used dairy-free chocolate chips, soy-free pretzel sticks, and straight coconut milk in the mousse, but otherwise I followed her recipe exactly. The finished pie looked pretty good, but I didn’t taste it before dropping it off for the party. I just crossed my fingers and hoped it would make my sister feel special.

If I had to choose one thing to do with the rest of my time in Denver, it would be to spend every day with my sister and her little girl. I would go to their house and just be there, helping if I could, holding the baby as much as possible, trying to make sure she doesn't forget about me. When Amy moved back to Denver last summer (after living in Philly for 3 years), I wasn't working and we had all sorts of plans for what our days together would look like once the baby came. I think there's a part of me that's still grieving the loss of that time we thought we'd have together. When I think about being so far away from the two of them, it makes me even more sad.

After arriving in the mountains last weekend, I received a text message from an unnamed source that said: "Your pie is the tits! Happy birthday to Amy!" along with the photo of her blowing out the candles. I felt a pang of sadness seeing people I loved all together celebrating one of my all-time favorite humans, but I was relieved and glad to know that the pie was a winner. Later that night, 'The Gambler' came on the Pandora station we were listening to, and I immediately thought of Amy and smiled. She LOVED that song when we were kids. I'm pretty sure she used to listen to it on repeat on my dad's record player.

If there's one thing I'm learning these days, it's that the pain of leaving the places and people I love the most is a good indication that maybe I've been doing something right. And as much as I love 'The Gambler', I think Kenny Rogers may have gotten one thing wrong. I don't think the best you can hope for is to die in your sleep (though that is how I've always said I wanted to go out). I've had the honor and privilege of being Amy's sister for the last 31 years, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Happy birthday seester!

Salted Bourbon Caramel Banana Cream Pie + Things I've Never Done

"Sleep don't visit, so I choke on sun

and the days blur into one

And the backs of my eyes hum with the things I've never done"

- Radical Face, Welcome Home

Three years ago, when Dann and I were first married and living in Boulder, we would blast this song every time he came home from being on the road with the band. I have one very distinct memory of an early evening drive from the airport back over the hill on highway 36, springtime sunshine illuminating the faces of the flatirons, while we belted out the words “welcome home” with all the windows down.

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned about married life, it’s that sometimes it doesn’t look the way you hope or expect it to and that the best you can do is show up, say what you mean, and be willing to make real sacrifices. It’s been both the hardest and best thing I’ve done in my life so far, and I consider myself lucky that I get to experience it with my favorite person in all the world.

So when Dann was offered a fantastic job in Seattle just over a month ago, it wasn’t at all what either of us was hoping for or expecting. And yet, there it was. Quite suddenly, the opportunity to move to a new city, to try new things and meet new people and have new adventures together. It wasn’t easy to imagine leaving Denver - I've never lived anywhere outside of Colorado and I LOVE this city - but we decided that now is always the best time to try something new, and he accepted the job. We’re planning to move once school gets out in June.

I made this pie for Dann a couple of weeks ago, when he was headed back to Denver from Seattle after his first two weeks on the job (he’s alternating two weeks here with two weeks there until I’m done with school). I hadn't slept well while he was gone, thinking about everything there is to think about after making such a big decision and then having to be separate from one another. I wanted to welcome him home with something special, plus he doesn’t usually get to share in the pie goodness. I figured celebrating an occasion this momentous called for a fancy pie. And although this one didn't end up looking quite how I hoped or expected it to, it was damn good and well worth the work. 

Blackberry Jam Hand Pies + Bearing The Weight

“Women who bear the weight of opposition, she wrote, create a shelter for the rest of us.”

- Sue Monk Kidd, Traveling With Pomegranates

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More than any other woman I know, my mom has fought hard all her life to create a shelter for the rest of us. She birthed five children all her own (mostly without medication, one who came out ass-first) and raised us all to be upstanding, moral citizens with proper grammar. Time will tell if she can claim to have raised five college graduates, but the baby just aced his Calc 3 midterm, so nobody’s worried.

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If you’ve ever met her, you know my mom really enjoys taking care of people. She loves having guests at her house, feeding them, making sure they’re comfortable. She’s been known to exchange her own relaxation and peace of mind for the comfort and care of others. And one thing I’ve never doubted for my whole life: that my mom would do just about anything to take the weight of whatever opposition came my way - physical, emotional, spiritual - in order to create a shelter for me. She’s a fierce mama bear in the truest sense.

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When my sister’s baby was born last month, my mom was the most excited. So excited, in fact, that she left her feet momentarily in the hospital parking lot because a) it was icy and b) she was in such a hurry to get inside. We didn’t know whether the baby was a boy or a girl until she was born, and my sister and brother-in-law chose to name little Vera after my maternal grandmother. My mom lost it as she told us the baby’s birthday was also the anniversary of my grandma’s death. It was one of the most special things I’ve ever witnessed.

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So when my dad asked if I could make dessert for my mom's birthday dinner last weekend, I knew a special pie was in order. (I bought a ravioli stamp recently after reading this post, in hopes that it would solve the age-old mystery of filling:crust ratio in a hand pie. It did not, but no one complained.) I wanted my mom to feel special and celebrated, to feel appreciated for all the ways she's worked to shelter me for my whole life. 

Here's to you, mama. I'm glad you were born.

Sweet Potato Pie + Harvesting Light

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Did you know that pie crust is typically made of flour, salt, sugar, and butter? A splash of cold water or possibly (in the case of this pie) a bit of buttermilk? I’m a tiny bit amazed every time I bake a pie at how simple the crust is. Just a few plain ingredients, the right amount of mixing, and voila! A new and remarkable thing.

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As I put this pie together last week, I realized that Christmas is close and it feels different to me this year than it has for a long time. When I was a sophomore in college, my aunts and uncles and cousins on my dad’s side of our family started this tradition of spending Christmas at a cabin in the mountains. It was something I looked forward to all year every year, and I always felt my most content while I was there.

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Then, as college kids do, my cousins and siblings and I grew up and married people and moved to new parts of the country, and started having babies. And this year, for the first time since I was a sophomore in college, my family isn’t spending Christmas at that cabin in the mountains. (We were sort of starting to outgrow it…) When it hit me full force in my feelings last week while I made this pie, I suddenly felt terribly sad.

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I started to lament the fact that the story of this pie would be a sad, fractured one, me telling you all about how it doesn’t really feel like Christmas and how some of my family seems so far away and how even hearing Bing Crosby sing White Christmas wasn’t making a difference. 

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But then Ingrid Michaelson’s voice came through on Pandora’s Christmas Radio, and I immediately started weeping and laughing and (almost) jumping with joy. Because you see, Ingrid Michaelson will always make me think of my brother and sister-in-law, who danced to one of her songs at their wedding for the first time as husband and wife. And on the day I made this pie, they were one week away from the scheduled date of arrival of their firstborn baby. It suddenly didn’t matter anymore that I’d been feeling sad, because the overwhelming joy I felt just imagining the little life getting ready to make its entrance here, on earth, was all I could contain in those moments that followed. And Ingrid (and Sara Bareilles) sang:

 

I still believe in summer days

the seasons always change

and life will find a way

 

Ill be your harvester of light

and send it out tonight

so we can start again

 

Is love alive?

Is love alive?

Is love alive?

 

I wanted to shout at the dang iPad, “Yes! Yes, Ingrid! Love IS alive!” 

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Instead I finished the pie with a smile on my face, dreaming about who the baby would be, whether it would be a boy or a girl (I thought boy all along), what he/she would look like, and making peace with the fact that families grow and change and leave and come home, and that at the center of it all is love that’s ALIVE.

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PS - Baby Jay was born this morning at 8:21 eastern time, weighing 6 lbs and 10 oz, and measuring 21.5 inches long. To say I love him already would be a gross understatement. I'm amazed. A new and remarkable thing indeed.

Apple Pie + Bumbling About Joy

"Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.” 

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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If my last pie was a big fat fail, this one was a hilarious happy accident.

My sweet cousin Calee invited me, along with all the other girls from our generation of the family, over to her house for dinner last week and I figured it was the perfect occasion for a good, from-scratch apple pie. I had most of the day to put it together, bake it, let it cool. I even recently purchased an apple corer/slicer. I was prepared. I was confident. I was ready for a pie comeback.

The day before this dinner party, I’d tried to buy tickets to the Iron and Wine show at The Paramount, but it was sold out (even though none of the websites I’d been keeping an eye on—artist, venue, ticket merchant—said it was sold out). I spent about ten minutes feeling really bummed out about it. Then I posted something about wanting tickets on twitter and facebook and decided to let it go, figuring if it was meant to work out it would. I didn’t go so far as to pray specifically that God would give me tickets even though, yes, sometimes I convince myself that might be how it actually works.

While I gathered my pie supplies, a friend replied to my facebook status and put me in contact with one of her colleagues who had a pair of tickets she wasn’t going to use. In the blink of an eye, I’d paid for them with Square Cash and was giddy with excitement about getting to go. It felt like a true sign of the presence of God and it put me in a pretty good pie-making mood.

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Since I’ve had a few bad experiences as the result of not taking the time to read a recipe all the way through, I read this one multiple times and even read a handful of the “helpful” reviews. I planned to use “a complete top crust with designer slits cut into it” in place of the lattice top. I added cinnamon and nutmeg and vanilla to the sugar syrup (which I would absolutely do again - Dann said the smell of it cooking on the stovetop made him dizzy it smelled so good), and “mixed half of the syrup with the apples themselves before putting in the pie crust”. 

I poured the syrup-coated apples into the bottom crust and placed the top crust over them after carefully cutting designer slits into it.

This is where things sort of went wrong.

Because I sometimes lose all common sense when attempting to follow directions perfectly, I poured the other half of the syrup on top of the pie. I got about point five seconds into the pouring before it occurred to me that I’d crossed my wires and mixed up the reviews and pouring syrup on top of a complete top crust is not a thing people do and that maybe the whole pie was ruined before it even made it into the oven. The designer slits were no longer visible.

I put the pie in the oven anyway, because I figured the worst thing that would happen is that it would look ugly. Then I panicked and made Dann look at it and tell me if he thought the syrup on top would burn and/or start a fire. He told me to keep an eye on it, then said: “You know, when you try a new recipe maybe it’s a good idea to stick to the original directions the first time, without making any adjustments. Then you have a control.”

Okay, SCIENTIST. 

He was right, though, and I’ll probably heed his advice when trying new recipes in the future. When I pulled the pie out of the oven, this is what it looked like:

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I told myself it might not be edible and that I might need to stop and buy a pie on my way to dinner because I didn’t have enough time to start over. I spent about ten minutes feeling really bummed out about it. Then Dann told me he believed it was possible the pie could be even better than it would have been had I made it correctly, and I decided to let it go.

Later that night, I cut into my inside out apple pie and passed slices around to some of my favorite women in all the world, hoping it wouldn’t gross them out or make them sick. And you know what? That shit was good. I may have eaten both leftover slices the next day while preparing to sit and listen to Sam Beam singing “it's a heartfelt silly sort of bumbling tune about how you're bringing me joy”.

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These are the moments I cling to as evidence of the presence of God: when a show I didn’t think I’d see and a pie I was certain I’d ruined turn into the best parts of days filled with joy.    

Lemon Blueberry Pie + The Price Of Tulips

"Sometimes I say I’m going to meet my sister at the cafe

even though I have no sister—just because it’s such

a beautiful thing to say."

- Karin Gottshall, 'More Lies

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There’s something about having a sister that I’ve never been able to put into words. My sisters are probably the two people who know me best in the world, and I’m constantly thankful for my relationships with each of them. I truly like them both and enjoy their company, but I’m also aware that if they’re ever upset or annoyed or frustrated with me, they won’t be shy about saying so. I also know I can count on them to call me on my own bullshit, when I’m acting selfish or immature or unkind.

So when I offered to make a birthday pie for my sister Kate while we were in Telluride, I knew it would have to be a special pie.

Luckily, I had just the idea waiting in my back pocket.

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While I was looking for the best place to go for my own birthday meal, I came across a lemon meringue pie on the dessert menu at Fruition and I almost went there for dinner just so I could try it. In the end, I opted for brunches with girlfriends at a couple of other fun places, but I didn’t forget about that pie. I decided I’d try my own version when the time was right.

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I used this crust, this lemon curd, and this blueberry compote. For a first try, I’d say this pie turned out pretty well. I’d like to try it again with the meringue and fresh blueberries, but overall I think it worked out better than I thought it would.

And while making pie in a foreign kitchen wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done, it was a treat to get to bake with my mom and sisters there on the other side of the kitchen counter, watching the Broncos beat up on the Jaguars.

Such a beautiful thing to say, indeed. 

Frozen Lime Pie + Giving Up Neurosis

"The point wasn't about the recipes. The point (I was starting to realize) was about making people feel at home, about finding your own style, whatever it was, and committing to it. The point was about giving up neurosis where food was concerned. The point was about finding a way that food fit into your life." -Nora Ephron, 'Serial Monogamy

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Last week, as I searched for a good pie to take to an outdoor summer barbecue at my friend Niki’s house, I came across Nora Ephron’s Frozen Key Lime Pie on Martha Stewart’s website and I knew it was the one.

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Now, a bit of background on my friend Niki. She and I were college roommates, and we have always loved throwing parties together. In college, we rented a huge television from Rent-A-Center for one week (I don’t think they were supposed to let us do that) when we had a party for the Big 12 Championship. Niki taught me how to remove the pit from an avocado, and I made my first bowl of guacamole. 

When we lived in the same building in Denver after college, we had a winter celebration pre-party before heading to the Parade of Lights. The party mainly consisted of walking into Niki’s studio to get a bowl of her famous green chili, then crossing the hall into my one bedroom to find a seat and the rest of the food. I thought making hot chocolate with milk for everyone to take to the parade would be a good idea. We didn’t plan for it to take over an hour to warm up enough milk for all our guests on my tiny gas stove. 

One year, for our birthdays (they’re only one week apart), we made one hundred cupcakes for what we thought was going to be a fun picnic at the park. It poured rain all day and we had to make a last-minute decision to move the party to a local pub. 

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Niki and I have certainly shared some neurosis-inducing entertaining experiences in our days as friends. And yet we both love inviting people into our homes in order to share a good meal, stressful as it can be.

So when I came across Nora’s pie on Martha’s site, I couldn’t help but imagine the two of them like the two of us: good pals, sharing something delicious with each other and the world.

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So the pie. My local grocery store didn’t have key limes, so I went with regular limes. Apparently key lime juice can be found in a bottle most anywhere, but I decided that juice from freshly squeezed regular limes would probably taste better than key lime juice from a bottle. I had no basis for this decision, but I made it and went with it.

One of my problems with pie is that if you make one to take to a party, you can’t really taste it before you serve it to make sure it tastes good. I typically like to taste things before I serve them to other people, so I can know what I’m feeding them and, honestly, because Gordon Ramsay always gets mad at the people on Kitchen Nightmares who don't taste their own food. 

So when we showed up at Niki’s on Saturday night, I had a pie I felt a little nervous about serving since I hadn’t exactly followed the recipe or tasted the thing, and Niki had burgers on her grill.

Then came the torrential downpour.

It rained hard for close to an hour. Dann ran back and forth to the grill with an umbrella, saving the food. We put the corn in a pot of boiling water on the stovetop, and broiled the burgers in the oven. All the guests got comfy in the kitchen and living room. It was a typical party experience involving myself and Niki. It wasn’t what we’d all been expecting, but it was still a super good time. 

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Oh, and my frozen regular lime pie?

It was a hit.

Sharing The Mighty: Cherry Pie Edition

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So here’s the deal.

One of the goals on my bucket list (and my Go Mighty profile) is to bake 100 different kinds of pie. This is a lifetime goal. I’d like to bake 100 different kinds of pie before I die. I’d really like to not die for many many years, so I’m not in a rush to get too crazy with the pies (I once baked a zillion different kinds of cupcakes in a year and that was dumb.) Summertime is a good time for pie, though, so you may see a lot of pie here in the coming weeks.

Before I put this goal on my list, I had already made a banana cream pie, homemade home run pies, a pumpkin pie, and a pecan pie. Maybe the goal should have been to make 96 different kinds of pie. 

Anyway.

My friend Hannah made a summer bucket list after she got done teaching and one of her goals was to make a cherry pie from scratch. When I read this, I decided immediately that we should tackle this one together. (I invited Hannah into the mighty once before, and it worked out brilliantly). So I found a recipe, Hannah picked up the cherries and a pitter, our friend Mary came over to take some of the photos, and we got to work.

I have to say, this was a time-consuming pie. I had to make the dough for the crust twice, because I accidentally killed the first batch by trying to take a shortcut via the food processor (never trust a shortcut in baking, friends). We couldn’t find sour cherries, so we used regular bings with a lot of lemon juice. We had to watch a tutorial on how to make a lattice top crust. We didn’t leave the pie in the oven long enough, so it was a bit more liquidy than we would have liked.

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It didn’t fall apart, though.

It tasted delicious.

And it looked lovely both before and after we baked it, so we got a lot of good photos.

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My favorite thing about this pie is that it was a collaborative labor of love. Through the long process of making it, I got to spend a summer afternoon with a couple of ladies whose company I enjoy very much, talking about life and love and what it’s all about. If the 95 remaining pies are as satisfying to make as this one was, I definitely won't be disappointed.