Friday, July 20, 2012

Victories: Cancer & Running

Its been a long time since I've posted on the old blog.  If anyone is out there.. I have some updates!

I've learned a lot about victories from an amazing friend of mine, Lauren.
Last year Lauren tragically lost her mother to ovarian cancer.  Soon after, at the age of 31, Lauren was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Then, cancer struck again less than a year later.  She was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia.  Watching my dear friend approach each of these hurdles with grace has been an inspiration to me.

Lauren with her daughter.

Currently Lauren is fighting her leukemia and searching for a bone marrow match.  Lauren recently returned home after a long hospital stay (victory!) and has started the next phase of her chemo treatment (victory!) For more on her story, see her blog.

Lauren's family, friends, and myself are running in the Be The One Run 5k in the next week.  It would mean the world to us if you could help by donating to our team.  I also strongly encourage you to register as a donor.

Training for my first 5k has been an exciting new challenge.  My most recent training time was 32 minutes.  Hoping to get below 30 on race day!!! I'm hoping to tackle a half marathon next.  More on that to come!  

Saturday, January 21, 2012

truly the most amazing pumpkin pie (and other pie ideas)

 Pecan Pie.  For the filling: Recipe here.  Keep reading for the crust.

My holidays could be summed up by 1 word: PIES.  Pies took up most of my time this year. We hosted Thanksgiving this year- I made 2 pies.  Brought 3 pies to my family's xmas celebration.  And gave out pie cookies for xmas presents.  Overall huge success so... thought I'd share.

First, some things you need to get started:

The pie crust may very well be the most important part.  I used tips from smitten kitchen here.  I realize that since this post she has released a Pie Crust 102 and now advocates using all butter and no vodka but so far, vodka and a little bit of shortening has treated me well.  Make sure you're using REAL vodka.  Not diluted.

I've used the pastry blender method and the food processor method.  I feel like I have more control with the pastry blender.  If you use the food processor, only use the PULSE button.  Turning it on left me with an overly mixed crust.

Lastly, THIS makes rolling dough MUCH easier.

I'm still workin' on making my pies pretty.

For the apple pie filling I used a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks: How to Boil Water.

Saving the best for last...
This is truly the BEST pumpkin pie you will ever have.  And its kind of cheating because technically its pumpkin-sweet potato pie.  See the recipe here.  Straining it truly makes all the difference.  We didn't have a mesh strainer so we just used cheese cloth.
That link also has the vodka pie crust recipe.  For more beautiful pictures and step by step directions see Smitten Kitchen.
For my Christmas treat boxes this year I recreated my apple and pecan pies in a cookie form.  I used the directions from smitten kitchen.  For my pecan pie cookies, I used the filling from the recipe above.  I recommend a higher ratio of nuts to goo for pie cookies and make sure the edges are firmly pressed together because the pecan pie cookies tend to ooze out.