Happy Pi(e) Day

In honor of National Pi Day (March 14 or 3.14), I made two pies for my birthday treat to take to work.

Peach Pie with Pecan CrustIMG_2627

Pastry Dough

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup ground pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cream together shortening, butter and sugar.
3. Sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder.
4. Combine creamed mixture with dry ingredients and ground pecans.  Dough will be crumbly.
5. Chill dough for 30 minutes.
6. Press dough into pie plate and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
7. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Peach Filling
5 peaches, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbs corn starch
1 small pkg peach jello

1. Place peach slices and water in a microwave safe bowl and cook at high for four minutes. Drain water into a separate bowl.
2. Mix together sugar, corn starch and jello.
3. Slowly sprinkle mixture into hot peach water.
4. Heat to a rolling boil.
5. Remove from heat and stir in peaches.
6. Pour mixture into pecan crust.
7. Refrigerate until set.

 

Almond Pear TartIMG_2628

Pastry Dough

1 1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 egg, beaten

1. Place flour and sugar in food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
2. Scatter butter pieces over the dry ingredients and pulse to coarse mixture.
3. Add egg and process for about 10 seconds, until clumps form.  The dough at this stage will be very sticky.
4. Wrap dough and freeze for one hour to make dough easier to handle.
5. Press dough into pie plate and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.    Note: a removable bottom tart pan would make serving easier since the crust tends to stick to the pan.
6. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Custard Filling
2/3 cup almond flour
1/3 cup sugar
6 Tbs butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 large egg

1. Mix flour and sugar together.
2. Add butter and flavoring and blend until smooth.
3. Mix in egg. Pour into crust.
4. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

Pears
2 pears, peeled, halved and cored
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbs lemon juice

1. Bring water, sugar and lemon juice to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
2. Add pears and allow to sit in hot syrup for 30 minutes.
3. Remove pears and place on paper towel to remove excess moisture.
4. Cut each pear half into thin slices and arrange atop the filling like spokes of a wheel, pressing down into filling.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

If you try these recipes, I hope you enjoy them.

Contentment… Chasing an elusive goal.

CometDuke1

Nearly every day while perusing through social media, we see the best of our friend’s lives. I am guilty of only posting happy things that make it appear that my life is always great.  I write my blog to display the crafts, cooking and family activities that turn out well.  I avoid showing my mistakes and failures.  Perhaps one of these days I will write a blog postings about these “Epic Failures” to show that not everything goes as planned.

But, when things are not going well, viewing these happy postings on social media can make a person feel down. Friends vacationing in fun, exotic places – why am I not with them?  Friends buying new retirement homes in warm sunny locations – why am I living in cold and snowy Minnesota?  Job successes – why do patients (actually make that parents of patients) complain when I try to provide the best possible care for their child? And many more examples.

Last Wednesday, I was frustrated to be dealing with the second migraine in five days that did not respond to my prescription medication.  If you have every experienced an intractable migraine, you will understand the discomfort I was in. And to top it off, around mid-day abdominal pain started.  I was like – oh great migraine induced nausea, I haven’t had to deal with that for a while.  After a couple of weeks of many unexpected, less than ideal events, I had a few tears of frustration that afternoon.

Overnight my abdominal pain became much worse, prompting a trip to urgent care in the morning and Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal) later in the day.  Being in too much pain to even be able to knit, I had a lot of time to stand around (it hurt too much to actually sit down) and think and realize that I needed to change my perspective on my life.

I needed to embrace contentment and gratitude for what I have been given.  Rather than being concerned about my parents’ health, I should be grateful that they are settled into a senior housing center that has nursing staff available when they need the help.  Rather than being jealous about the fun vacations my friends are on, I should be grateful for the vacations I may be able to take in the future.  Rather than complaining about the snow, I should be grateful that spring will be here in just a few weeks.  I should be more grateful for my loving husband, four wonderful sons, warm home, etc.

But more importantly, I should be content in the grace given by my heavenly father. Through God’s grace, I have been given much and should seek contentment and anchor my joy in God himself rather than trying to change my circumstances. I need to take to heart the statement in Erik Raymond’s book, Chasing Contentment: Trusting God in a Discontented Age (Crossway, 2017), “If you want to be content, think less about yourself and more about Christ.”

Dresden Village Fused Glass Clock

img_1350Wanting to add some color to my sewing room, and make something functional, I decided to make a fused glass clock.  Actually, I just needed an excuse to work with glass again .

Looking at ideas on-line,  I found lots of pictures of clocks that other people had made (see photo below for some of my favorites).  While all of these were great, and any one of them would have been fun to make, I really wanted to come up with an idea that was unique to me.

IMG_1041

So, one day while I was looking at some pictures of quilts, I came up with an idea for my clock.  The quilting project I saw was called “Dresden Village”.  This pattern involved using the Dresden Plate pattern to make a center table mat that depicted houses around a circle.

IMG_1207

Since the Dresden Plate pattern involves pie shaped pieces sewn into a circle, I thought it would be an ideal pattern to use for a clock.  The circle could be divided into 24 pieces each with a 15 degree angle.  Pieced together, the taller houses mark the hours and the smaller houses mark the half hour.  To further differentiate the time, I made the doors of the taller houses with black noodles and the smaller houses with red noodles.

 

 

IMG_1280The house numbers were printed on photo transfer paper and the windows were dichroic slide paper.  Black glass was used to add a roof to each house.  Glass Frit of various sizes and shades of green were used to create trees and shrubs in the “Central Park”.  The clockworks were added.

Now I have a colorful clock in my sewing room!

Clock Ideas
Other clock ideas I liked