Friday, December 31, 2010

Breaking Tradition - Mountain Gear Tip #4

For years we have skiied on New Year's Day.  This year, however, Mr. Chill Factor dictates a change of plans.  When one lives in Skiing Heaven, one can be fussy.  My favorite weather web site says the following for Alta:

"Tonight: Snow. Low around -10. Wind chill values as low as -21. West northwest wind 6 to 8 mph becoming south southwest. Chance of precipitation is 80%. Total nighttime snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

New Year's Day: A 20 percent chance of snow showers before 11am. Mostly sunny and cold, with a high near 10. Wind chill values as low as -24. South southwest wind between 5 and 7 mph."

A tad frigid for even the toughest of folk.  1 to 3 inches of new snow is not a draw with those chill factors....on the other hand....if there were 21 new inches....

Mountain Gear Tip #4:  Always pack chemical hand warmers.  Open them at home before the drive, let them warm over the heat vent, then shove them in the toes of your boots.  When you reach the mountain, take them from the boots (now toasty) and insert them into your mittens.  If the day is too warm for them, stash them in a pocket and give them to a chilled child that you encounter on the hill.

Chemical toe warmers are worthless because they need air to work and you WILL feel the wad in your boot.

If you get cold on the mountain, GO IN AND GET WARM!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010


I made my mother miserable for Christmas.  That's her on Christmas in the top right corner and to the left, enlarged so you can better see the facial expression.

After waiting forever at the hospital with the delivery of my older sister, my wisened father refused to take my mother to the hospital until the very last moment when I entered the scene. 

Is there a more "down day" than the day after Christmas???  Exhaustion, clutter, nausea from sweets, etc. 

Credit must be given to my mother, however, because she invented my half birthday in June.  In December I was told "Happy Birthday" and got a candle in my pancake.  In June, I got the whole works.  This worked well during childhood when I had big birthday bashes scheduled by my mother.  Then there were the "in limbo years" where December brought, "I'll catch you in June" and June brought, "Didn't we do this in December?"

Now, I demand my due, by declaring ,"Did you know it's my birthday?" to everyone I encounter.  Random people sing to me, the loudspeaker at Macy's declares, "Happy Birthday to Marci," and all clerks are alerted by my enthusiastic sister.  This year, I had to teach at my church on the big day and I announced, "Just sing to me and we can all go home."  They didn't buy it.

Gift wrapping must be done in birthday paper, cards and presents are separate for Christmas and the birthday.  I'm lucky because all the relations are in town for the big day. 

This year a group of girlfriends took me out to lunch and we stayed for 4 hours.  The waiter stopped bringing us water so we had to leave.

My dear friend from up the street surprised me with a birthday box containing a shopping card that was used before the ink dried.

Each of my children and my sweet husband fussed properly over me.  Thanks to all.  I loved my day!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Highlights of the Laird Talent Show:  Rachel read about Yule Logs, Josh threw Megan through the air, Greg read a tribute "The Greatest Generation," Marci did 7 men's push-ups (after two months training, may I add), Charlotte and Maggie sang "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," Little Greg and Nathan did gymnastics, Denise handed out poppers, Dan shared doctorly x-rays of a broken wrist, Catherine sang, Lexi played guitar and sang, Grandma Jane read a book, Garth passed a pot, Grandpa Mel read a self-composed poem, Tyler performed magic, Katie and Garrett did a song with elbow tooters.

The white elephant exchange had an oriental flair this year.  Most embarassing gifts:  a black teddy and slippers.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Apology - Mountain Gear Tip #3

Dear Alta:
I apologize. I know that I committed to visit you today and that you were counting on me to grace your slopes. Holding that new 27 inches of fresh powder was very thoughtful of you, keeping it untracked and pristine. I was willing, but a certain family member was not. This person is now officially on my naughty list. Santa will not be happy.


Mountain Gear Tip #3 - Pockets and their placement are crucial: a minimum of four, easily accessible in a jacket (one on the inside left with zipper), three in the pants (one preferably on the knee. All pockets must be zippered with big pulls, maneuverable with mittened hands. Extra flaps and snaps are unnecessary and cause frustration when trying to snag hand heaters, gum, camera or chapstick. Pocket width must actually accommodate a human hand and be at an angle that does not require shoulder dislocation.

When purchasing anything with zippers, bring all items to the store that will go to the mountain and see if they can be stowed in pockets. If it doesn't work in the store, it will not work on the mountain. It will never get better and your mountain experience will be compromised. Don't forget to test sandwiches, granola bars and cookies in the pockets before you leave the store.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Powdered Sugar - Mountain Gear #2

Today at Solitude: 27 inches of fresh new powdered sugar.

Mountain Gear Tip #2

- The correct goggles make or break a mountain day.

- Never switch to a new pair on a powder day.

- Stick with your favorites for decades.

- One of the MOST IMPORTANT pieces of equipment.

- Cost does not equal great performance.

- Check for peripheral view.

- Never place in "on head" position if there's snow on your hat.

- If they fog, go faster or sweat less.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Birthday Boy

Three Zero
One of Nine
Number Five
Twelve Eighteen Eighty
B.S. Two Thousand Ten
M.B.A. Two Thousand Eleven
One Fine Guy
Heart U Josh

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Kosher Salt/Flour & Mountain Gear #1

Today's snow at the Bird resembled a mix of Kosher salt and flour. Information shall be posted to inform readers about choices regarding mountain gear.

#1 - Hats are one of the least important and simple pieces of mountain gear. Look for a double layer over the ears and a tight weave to resist the 70 mph. winds on Little Cloud. Dangling tassels that flap in the breeze are always a nice touch. Avoid fuzzer hats as the little fuzzer nasties tend to stick to goggles in the "on head" position and then leap into eyeballs when positioned "on face." Collect hats, share hats, wash only when absolutely necessary. Correct choice can make one giggle and sing giddily on the mountain.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Been There Done That

Some people don't like to boast of their past employment opportunities, so I shall for this young man. He's been a:
*paperboy for three days
*mower of lawns
*mortgage loan reviewer
*court clerk
*BYU Morris Center cook
*researcher of onion data
*fireworks guard for Stadium of Fire (yes, odd for a pyromaniac)
*loan shark
*commercial loan underwriter
*temp worker at a Brazilian bank
*teacher of English in Brazil (the bank wasn't paying and a guy's gotta eat)
*tax preparer for non-English speakers (scarey)
*Mervyn's intern
*sandwich maker
*paintball gun salesman
*computer game code dealer
*greeter at fitness center
*tree and bush mover
*email screener
*explosives engineer
*maker of sheep skin lampshades

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Love/Hate Shopko

Shopko is great because nobody shops there. The aisles are clear, music appropriate (subdued elevator music), lines short, variety of goods okay. Was it mentioned that nobody shops there??? Love that!!

However, most sale items are inflated 150% so that the item can be reduced %40. Where did they come up with the number 40?? I saw a small kitchen towel today marked down to $5.99, from $19.99. Har - har - har - har!!

Where's the little elf making this stuff up? Those towels will be .99 after Christmas and everybody knows it. Thus the explanation, nobody shops there, except me, all alone with the elevator music :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cereal Ah-Hah Moment

Frustration for the avid hot cereal eater comes when the cold milk is poured on hot cereal, making the hot cereal no longer hot. The best cereal on the planet comes from Honeyville Grain Company. Its yummy goodness consists of Spring Wheat, Winter Wheat, Soft White Wheat, Corn Grits, Barley Grits, Steel-Cut Oats, Cracked Rye, Millet, and Flaxseed. This cereal is consumed on a daily basis since the acquisition of our new Fagor pressure cooker. It is chewy and warms the cockles of one's heart.

Trivia Question: Where exactly are the cockles of your heart?

The ah-hah moment occurred a short time ago when it came to me (perhaps by revelation) to heat the milk and then add the cooked cereal to it. Snarklies, it is good and the dilemma is solved.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


I have the attention span of a gnat. Nothing delights me more than being able to watch a great episode of sibling rivalry unfold in church.

Setting: church
Characters: older red-haired brother, spikey-haired baby brother, blonde curly-haired sister, bruinette trouble-maker brother, very calm mother, very ready to exit daddy
Props: crayons, paper program, cardboard pop-up Bible book (Do two-year-olds really pick up on appropriate reading material for church?), personal clothing items

All looks orderly, but any wisened parent knows that this set of parents will not win the battle today. With three kids, a set of parents has a chance of maintaining order because the children can be seated - child - parent - child - parent - child, thus separating the kids and preventing murder in church (either kid-to-kid or parent-to-kid). With four or more kids, no such hope can exist.

It all begins to unravel when bruinette trouble-maker brother smashes spikey-haired baby brother's hand when the attempt is made to touch the page (a beautiful depiction of Noah with the fold-up flap revealing the many animals on the arc) that bruinette trouble-maker brother is quietly pondering. The crayons clenched in the hands of spikey-hair baby are immediately used as weapons to deliver stabs to bruinette trouble-maker brother's head. Exit dad and baby, never to be seen again.

Mommy is cuddling blonde curly-haired sister in a hypnotic state, eyes fixed on the speaker and not blinking. As a teacher I know that she is in the twilight zone, far, far away from the "whoa-be-unto-you's" "hither-to-fore's" and "so-be-it's". She does an excellent job of looking very reverent and ponderous.

Meanwhile, at the end of the row, bruinette trouble-maker brother and older red-haired brother engage in the hand-to-hand combat of Ninja warriors, complete with eye gouging, throat chops, and dusting each other with an invisible powder housed in their front shirt pockets. Mommy and blonde curly-haired sister are calmly oblivious to the warfare that is unfolding in complete and utter silence. Not a giggle, not a grunt, not a snort. These two brothers are masters.

I am transfixed at their silent ability (only honed because of skilled training from birth to this very moment) to thrust their fists into each other's pockets, grab the magic dust, throw it on their opponent, shield their eyes from the dreaded eye gouge, while their opponent is able to deliver a double handed choke hold to the throat. The expertly folded program has turned into a Ninja star which is thrust up the nostril of red-haired older brother. As bruinette trouble-maker brother climbs up the chest of red-haired older brother and about to spring in for one last blow, mommy's eyes unglaze and she calmly (and silently, may I add) moves to sit between the two, never losing focus on the speaker. No one dies today, unless perhaps later it will be daddy who's been asleep on the couch in the lobby while spikey-haired baby wanders the halls.

Ours is a church of miracles and the accumulation of many fine skills.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Perfection Beneath a Pom Pom


Friday, December 10, 2010

Please Help

Somewhere there must be help for this poor armless woman. I was looking for pictures of aprons so that I could sew some for holiday gifts, when I happened upon this photo. I cannot feature how she will pour the tea, switch on the nightlight, or put down the toast in her condition. To make matters worse, someone has sewn the armholes of her tshirt closed and adorned the apron with breast shields.

Until I find her identify and can actually volunteer my assistance, a united prayer in her behalf may be in order.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Don't be sayin' that the Smith Fam never wins nothin'!

WE ARE THE PROUD WINNERS of a one-night stay at the Hampton Inn in OREM, UTAH!!!

No bags to pack - we can come home to both floss and brush!

A bicycle commute will get us to our destination in 7.4 minutes!

If the pillows are flat, or the bed infested with a magnanimously proliferated bed bug family, we can hop on the bikes, sleep at home, and return for the continental breakfast of Little Debbies and Natural Fruit Drink ( continental breakfast with the winning certificate).

ANYWAY - SHA-ZAM - It's great to be a WINNER! Sorry to all you losers out there! HA!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Do I throw out the Thanksgiving cranberries?

Leftovers are a little frig miracle. After a long tiring day, one can peer into the frig and, ka-ching, there lies dinner possibilities. The fact that I hate to waste anything has honed my skill of re-working meal variances over and over again.

Sometimes, however, the frig, microwave, and me just cannot pull off one more mealtime marvel. Food safety and sanitation are kind of my specialties, but fudging on the throw-out date has become more common as our household occupancy rate has declined.

My Thanksgiving cranberries are the only leftover remaining in my frig and tonight it may be bean burritos topped with cranberries. What does one do with the cranberries once the turkey is gone? Perhaps muffins (but then I'd have to do a whole recipe or at least six, which leaves leftover muffins). This could go on forever and frankly sometimes it does....

Anyway, I must begin on my Christmas menus for when family arrives. I'm thinking something with cranberries.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I finished work early today and dashed off to complete two stops: Costco and Honk’s. A grin-from-ear-to-ear student had surprised her labmates with new aprons for Christmas. Upon questioning the giver about the whereabouts of the awesomeness-beyond-belief purchase, I was told, “Honk’s, for a dollar.”

Against all good judgement, with the observation of piled-high shopping carts spewing forth from the exit doors, I succeeded in my quest into Costco for a single-item purchase, a Misto.

Honk’s, on the other hand, did not deliver on the apron crusade – sold out. Honk’s is a dollar store and being so close to Christmas, I encountered those shopping and obviously weighing the implications of their purchases for gift giving.

Smack! Reality hit me hard as the glaring contrast between the "haves" and the "have-nots" stood clearly in my mind. I left Honk’s empty-handed, but with a clearer vision of the need to spread the dollars around to those who genuinely need it at this time of year.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday Lights

If I could only choose one decoration, it would be outside lighting. The power grid seems to dim significantly when I throw the switch to illuminate my outside landscape. Perhaps it is because darkness descends upon us at 4 p.m. or that outside lights seem to warm our overcast, gray surroundings during the cold winter months.

Going to the window to see if LauraLee has turned on her lights is a nightly routine. Hers are clear white lights, draped from fence post to fence post with a green wreath between each. There is no order or planning to my technique of putting up the lights. They are thrown on bushes strong enough to hold their weight. My biggest dilemma is not overloading a circuit and blowing a fuse. I questioned my dear hubby this year as to whether one outlet could handle 2,000 lights. It could not. Some days I am tempted to turn the lights on at 2 p.m. just to make sure that they are on at the earliest possible dark moment.

Removing them from the ice-encrusted bushes is my husband's duty and he hates it. Thanks, dear, for humoring me for 30 years. ILY

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Childhood Confessions of a Church-Going Gal

People in my church were tolerant of the Laird kids, maybe I just didn't pick up on any signs of disapproval, or perhaps I have just forgotten ever being caught doing any misdeed. My church-going hours were enriched by my ability to:

- Roll stuff down the chapel floor of the green church. It was slanted and marbles could go a good distance during Sacrament meeting.
- Hunt for the baptisry. It was in the basement somewhere under the stage and was often unlocked. - Hide the sacrament under my belt for a snack later.
- Listen to Sister Richins, Sister Huish, and Sister Christensen singing in barbershop harmony at the pulpit. I thought it would be neat if they'd just add bubbles. They sounded just like the gals on the Lawrence Welk Show.
- Count the chins on Sister Liston's neck, yes every fold, as she led singing in primary.
- Report to my family about the upper thighs of Sister Adair looking like plucked turkeys. She bent over way too many times for the eyes and minds of seven-year-olds.
- Have contests with the kids next to me to see who could peel off the biggest hunk of varnish from the back of the benches.
- Pull a split-end hair out of the head of the person in front of me and see how much farther it could be split. Yea, sometimes they jumped when you pulled it out.
- Plan a way to get to the top of the steeple. Rumors were that a few had done it and there was some pretty awesome stuff up there.
- Sail paper airplanes out of our second-story Sunday School classroom window.
- Pretend to like the birdseed snacks (yes, they were made of bird seed) that Sister Chittock handed out from her health food store. At Christmas she did give us a pure maple sugar Santa which was more palatable.
- Silent-giggle my guts out during meetings by adding "in the bathtub" after the names of hymns. I could make my sister snort outloud, which drew some glances. I Stand All Amazed In The Bathtub, Abide With Me In The Bathtub, Choose The Right In The Bathtub. Makes me giggle even now.
- Dare the kid next to me to bend their fingers back to touch their wrist like I did.
- Give the added nudge to any kid tipping on their chair that would sent them to the floor.
- Play tag in the gym.
- Roll my socks into doughnuts.
- Find ants on the floor of the chapel to play with. They would crawl over my hands and up my arms until I turned them loose on the bench in front of me, sometimes making their way up a person's neck.

All said, God's love and the saintly love of those who didn't throw me out, kept me coming back for more.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Snowbird 6:27-34

27. Yea verily, it became necessary for us to ascend unto the mountain and partake of the whiteness thereof.
28. And I spake unto the son of Dean. Gird up thy loins and be not weary for the way is hard and thou must come or surely be damned.
29. Wherefore, when we beheld the beauty of the mountain we were reminded of the teachings of our fathers whereby we shall surely witness that how beautiful upon the mountain are the feet of those that slide thereon.
30. And the mountain was vast, without brambles, nor sticks, nor briars, nor rocks of any kind that might impede our journey or bruise our heel or vex our soals.
31. And the son of Dean did exclaim. Woa is me because of the lack of faith that preceded our climb unto the heavens and now our descent from which. For I was an doubtful and held not within my heart that the sureness of our way would prove fruitful.
32. Thereby came few travelers and none to stand in multitudes to make the journey.
33. And the silence and peace within our hearts grew and we were exceedlingly glad and joyous forthwith.
34. Whereas our time was long upon the whiteness of the mountain and we carried away with us a new faith that when the clouds come and gather again within the heavens, we shall tarry forth and partake once again with renewal of faith and gladness and strength.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Do you know a farmer? I don't think they exist anymore. My Grandpa Jensen was a farmer and I always thought it was great to tell my childhood friends that I had a grandpa that was a farmer. My cousin, Ron, and my Uncle Paul were farmers too.

I remember:
* Looking for kittens in the haystack. There was always a new litter.
* Dipping my hand in a bucket of milk and letting a new calf or lamb suck my fingers.
* Drinking raw milk.
* Exploring the sheds that were full of old farm equipment.
* Fearing being eaten by pigs. They were supposedly little girl munchers.
* Pondering the slop bucket.
* Seeing my Aunt Rae's egg cleaning set-up on "the back porch."
* Being fascinated by a working butter churn, its clear shiny glass with the paddle and handle.
* Walking out back to feed the cows. It seemed like miles to "out back."
* Loving the farm, but hating the smell of Mapleton.
* Not daring to swing from the rope in the barn.
* Imagining climbing into the grainery and climbing around. You die if you do.
* Jumping from bale to bale on the haystack.


Not Making This Up

Them: "Something's wrong with this sugar. It won't melt."
Me: "It will melt and coat the nuts."
Them: "The nuts are burning up." (billowing smoke)
Me: "Taste it."
Them: "Oh, we used salt."

Them: "These caramels look gross."
Me: "You've scorched the cream to the bottom of the pan."
Them: "The recipe said to boil it."
Me: "Did you stir constantly with the flat-bottomed candy paddle and watch the temperature."
Them: "Oh, you have to stir?? When were we supposed to put in the thermometer??"

(billowing smoke) Me: "You're burning the toffee."
Them: "It said to cook it for about 13 minutes."
Me: "It's black and smoking."
Them: "Do you think it's ruined??" (more billowing smoke)

Them: "This doesn't look like lolipop syrup."
Me: "You're right. What's in it?"
Them: "We followed the recipe exactly."
Me: "Okay. Who measured the corn syrup?"
Them: "He did."
Me: "Who measured the sugar."
Them: "She did."
Me: "Where did you get the sugar."
Them: "Sugar??? We used flour."
Me: "You just made play-dough."

Them: "We can't get this molten candy off the marble slab."
Me: "You mean the buttered marble slab?"
Them: "Buttered???"
Me: "Start chipping."

Them: "This taffy's too hard to pull."
Me: "Yes, I see. What temperature did you cook it to."
Them: "Temperature???? I don't know, around 400."
Me: "It will be sucky candy."

Them: "Our peanut brittle has black nuts." (billowing smoke)
Me: "You burned the nuts."
Them: "We didn't see them burn."
Me: "They sink to the bottom of the candy in the hot pan." (billowing smoke)
Them: "Do you think we should stop cooking them." (billowing smoke)

It's been a rough week thus far....

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


On Mondays I arrive at work in the dark and depart a mere 11 hours later in the dark, exhausted and perhaps a tad negative about humanity.

Upon my northbound return to home, I deviated from my normal route on University Avenue (a bumper-to-bumper mass of homebound burned out nut cases) to a more relaxing route on Provo Canyon Road.

As I approached my westbound turn, an oncoming car began flashing the high beams. After checking my beam level and determining it appropriate, I proceded without flashing back. It became apparent that I would have to glance to my right to avoid total blindness. Just then I saw that the oncoming beam flasher had stopped and an Eskimo clad six-year-old on his bike was crossing this busy road in a pitch black crosswalk. I slowed, pounded my brakes to alert the drivers behind, and held my breath. The little goomer made it across

and I wept.

Be careful out there and watch for the unexpected.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tree Day

  • Willing Decorators - check
    Breakfast - check
    Surprise Gifts - check
    Smiles - check
    Laughter - check
    Sweet Rolls - check
    Holiday Spirit - check
    2 Hour Limit - check

Friday, November 26, 2010


Turkey - check
Dressing - check
Cranberries - check
Mashed Potatoes - check
Gravy - check
Rolls - check
Grandma Jensen's Salad - check
Green Salad - check
Sweet Potatoes - check
Pasta Salad - check
Pumpkin Pie - check
Lemon Meringue Pie - check
Apple Pie - check
Family - check
Bliss - check

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


When remodeling our bathroom, the ingenious idea of having a new tub crossed our minds. "STOP!" our minds should have screamed to the logic center therein. A new tub would have involved new plumbing, new fixtures, plus the tub itself. At the time, it did not seem practical, so I responded to the advertisemant in the paper for Artistic Bath, had them come and tell us the magic they could do, and agreed to a one-day makeover. The mystical paint would "last a lifetime" and "give us a brand new tub" in just a day.

Enter: Darla.

My first impression was, "My what a cheerful and talkative lady." And thus the spraying began. She guaranteed that the paint would be contained in the bathroom since the door was shut. The fumes soon squeezed their way out from under the bathroom door and spread throughout the house. After a quick errand to the store, I entered the my home into a thick, dense, white fog. When I made my way down the hall, I found the bathroom door wide open and Darla merrily spraying along. My thoughts became, "This lady's got to be stoned out of her mind...."

Upon her departure, I made a quick once over and deemed the job well done. However, as the vapors settled, I found major drippage all over the tub and bathroom, not to mention the film of white paint that settled on EVERY SINGLE horizontal surface in the house. It took weeks of scrubbing with a cottonball and nail polish remover to rid our dwelling of paint. Since there was a lifetime guarantee, we called them back to fix the drips.

The next year, to fix the flaking off in one of the corners of the tub.

The next year, the peeling of paint off the soap holder.

The next year, the separation of paint from around the drain.

The next year, the peeling near the floor.

It is now an annual event and since the first fix, we are now charged a $48 "service fee" for having a beautiful tub for "a lifetime." We often hear an audible groan when we call to tell Artistic Bath that it was

D - A - R - L - A

who completed the job.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Students' Magnificent Meals

These are examples of my students' final project - Magnificent Meals!!!

Look for variety in:






Completed in 2 hours, following a time management plan, nutritionally sound, within a budget of $2.50 per person, artistically designed on the table and plate.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Perfect Apple Pie

We use 925 pounds of apples for our “Apple Pie Week” at BYU. Over the past 4 ½ years, that’s 2017 pies. So here’s what works:

- pastry flour (has less gluten than all-purpose flour, but more than cake flour)
- COLD refrigerated Crisco shortening (no off-brands)
- plastic wrap in the measuring cups used for shortening (aids in clean-up)
- ICE water
- a pastry blender to cut 1/3 of the shortening in until it is as fine as rice (lubricates the flour for tenderness)
- a pastry blender to cut the remaining shortening, but keep these chunks as big as kidney beans (creates pockets of fat that create flakiness)
- when adding liquid, do so gradually using a lift and pat motion with a rubber scraper (gentle handling so that gluten does not develop and crust remains tender and flaky)
- let the dough sit for about 10 minutes so that the flour can absorb the water before adding the last bit of water (you might not need it)
- pat the dough out on floured plastic wrap to ¼ inch thickness with your hands, keeping the edges smooth before rolling
- roll the dough between two floured sheets of plastic wrap(keeps it all together and helps with cleanup and transferring the dough)
- use ½ granny smith apples and ½ golden delicious
- buy yourself an apple peeler, corer, slicer to do the apple prep
- use a glass pie pan (holds the heat so the crust gets done)
- make sure that the juices are boiling in the pie during baking (you may have to add time)
- use a foil collar on the edge of the crust to prevent overbrowning

The recipe does not matter as much as the ART of assembling the pie, but just in case, here’s our tried and true recipe:

Pastry: 2 ½ C. pastry flour, 3/4 C. shortening, 3/4 tsp. salt, 8 to 10 Tablespoons (1/2 c. plus 2 T.) ice cold water

1. Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl.
2. Gently cut in shortening with a pastry blender until pea sized.
3. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of the cold water over flour mixture, tossing lightly with a fork or rubber scraper. Add the remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork, and press to the side of the bowl until all is moistened.
4. Divide dough in half, and gently pat into 2 lightly flattened balls. (Don’t over-work your dough at this point. You should just gently gather the dough into two slightly flattened pieces, not two tightly compressed dough balls.)
5. For a 2-crust pie:
Bottom - On a lightly floured surface, roll one ball from center to edges, to form a 12” circle. Fold in half or roll the pastry around the rolling pin. Unfold or unroll it over a 9” pie plate. Ease the pastry into the plate, and, using kitchen shears, trim the dough so that there is a one-inch overhang of pie dough. Fill the crust with the desired filling.
Top - On a lightly floured surface, roll the second ball from center to edges, to form a 12” circle. Place the top crust on the filling, and cut slits or shapes to allow steam to escape. Using kitchen shears, trim the pastry one inch beyond the rim. Fold the top edge over the trimmed bottom edge, and flute the edge to seal.

Bake pie as directed on individual recipes.

6. For a lattice top pie:
Bottom - On a lightly floured surface, roll one ball from center to edges, to form a 12” circle. Fold in half or roll the pastry around the rolling pin. Unfold or unroll it over a 9” pie plate. Ease the pastry into the plate, and, using kitchen shears, trim 1” beyond the rim of the pan. Fill the crust with the desired filling.
Top - On a lightly floured surface, roll the second ball from center edges, to form a 12” circle. Using a pizza cutter, cut the pastry in 1/2” strips. Starting at the center of the pie, weave the strips over the filling to make a lattice. Press the ends of the strips into the rim of the bottom crust. Fold the bottom crust over the strips, and flute the edge to seal.

Bake pie as directed on individual recipes.

6 C. prepared baking apples (peeled, cored, and sliced)
3/4 C. packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt

To use on completed crust: 2-3 Tbsp. milk, raw sugar

1. Preheat your oven to 425°.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.
3. Peel, core and thinly slice apples. Add apples to cinnamon mixture and toss to coat.
4. Pour filling into the prepared bottom crust.
5. Place top crust over filling as directed above. Brush the crust with milk, and sprinkle with sugar.
6. Using FOIL, fold a 12” square of aluminum foil into quarters. Cut out the center section, making a 7 ½” circle. Unfold the foil and place the square section over the pie. You may also use a long strip of foil 5 inches wide to wrap around the pie. When placing the foil on the pie, place the shiny side out to reflect the heat away from the crust. Loosely mold the foil over the edges to protect them from burning.
7. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly. NOTE: You may want to protect the bottom of your oven from the molten syrup in case it spills out of the pie during baking.

Freezing Pies

Before freezing a pie or pie shell, make sure you tightly wrap it in plastic wrap or foil. Remove plastic wrap or foil before baking.

*Pie Shells
– Baked stored for 4 months. Heat at 350º for 6 minutes.
– Unbaked stored for 2 months. Bake right out of freezer.
*Fruit pies
– Baked stored for 4 months. Heat at 325º for 45 minutes.
– Unbaked stored for 3 months. Heat at 475º for 15 minutes, then at 375º for 45 minutes.
*Cream, Custard pies & pies with meringue
– Cannot be frozen
*Pumpkin & Pecan
Bake before freezing. Stored for 4 months. Heat at 325º for 45 minutes.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


The hardest thing I've done lately - pushups.

A young body says, "Me thinks I shall be stronger."

An older body says, "Me thinks I shall die."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Online Purchase

Saucer Magnolia - Dawn Redwood - Thornless Honey Locust - Red Maple

Beautiful trees....all in one triangular box....can't wait to add water....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Saving Money

While trying to maneuver my tanker-sized cart down the aisle to save $3 on a coupon purchase at Costco, I intentionally strained to hear a heated debate between husband and wife over which toilet paper to purchase:

Him: "There's the Charmin, I'll get it."

Her: "Wait a minute. If we use the coupon on it, it still might be more."

Him: "More than what?"

Her: "The Kirkland brand."

Him: "I hate unwrapping each roll in the Kirkland brand."

Her: "Let me figure it out (whips out calculator)."

Him: "Charmin's softer."

Her: "We save 4 cents a roll with Kirkland."

Him: "The Charmin's already in the cart."

Her: "Take it out and put in the Kirkland."

Him: "grumble, grumble, grumble..."

As they depart, I throw in a case of Charmin (because it's softer and I hate unwrapping each roll) and make my way down the aisle after them.

Abrupt screeching of the shopping cart wheels (their cart, then mine).

Him: "Hey honey, here's some of that Moose Munch Popcorn!!!"

Her: "OOOO-HHH."

Him: "Should we get it?"

Her: "I love that stuff."

Him: "Do you see how much it is?"

Her: "Put it in."

Cost = $9.37, but they saved $1.92 on the Kirkland brand of t.p.

Monday, November 15, 2010

They Lie

We've been there, awaiting the call "Front line!", the first row of dedicated snow hounds, first up the mountain, first to make a run in a resort open the first day, and first to tear the bottoms off your skiis on rocks and sticks. Been there, done that, and trying not to make the same mistakes again.

The problem centers around all the hype delivered by the news media and weather personnel. "There are 28 inches of snow and resorts are open to some GREAT skiing and snowboarding!!!"

Yeah, right. 28 inches if it is first accumulated on a base of man-made ice, shoveled into a gully, and scooped around the measuring device. I find that the mountain cams and the "snow cam" at Snowbird are more reliable. We shall await more pristine conditions - Utahns can do that.