I arrived up in northern Indiana to see my grandparents and they announced that we were having dinner that night in town.
The menu? A fish fry.
The company? Three other couples my grandparent's age.
It was just me and eight 80-year-olds. Other people love hanging out with their grandparents, right?
One of the ladies mentioned that she'd gone strawberry picking and I needed to know everything. I'd never picked strawberries before. The next morning I got up and my grandpa and I headed 20 minutes away to the fields at LeCount Strawberry Farm.
I've been back three times and have gotten around 50 pounds of strawberries total. Most of them were for other people because these red gems needed to be shared with the world.
I made strawberry cream pie with one quart of berries cleaned and cut in half.
First, I made the pie crust. You could make your own or you can get one from the grocery store. I have no judgement. Bake it and let it cool.
The filling is cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar. If I had my stand mixer I'd whip it for a good 5 minutes. With the hand mixer I was lazy and only did about 3 minutes. It was fine.
Next, you're going to make the glaze. If you feel like this is too thick for your taste use less cornstarch. I liked it, but the grandma thought it was on the ugly side.
It may be ugly, but the taste...oh, I'm going to need a minute.
Strawberry Cream Pie
1 qt strawberries
Clean the strawberries and cut them in half [or, if they’re super-large, bite-size pieces].
1/2 cup Sugar
1-2 Tbsp Cornstarch
3/4 cup Water
1 Tbsp Light Corn Syrup
1/2 cup Fresh Berries, crushed/smashed
In a saucepan combine the sugar, cornstarch, water, and corn syrup. Bring to a boil and it will thicken up. Mix in the crushed/smashed berries. I used 2 Tbsp cornstarch here, but if you want it to be thinner, I would just use 1 or 1 1/2 Tbsp. You can’t screw it up. Let this cool to room temperature and mix it with the berries.
3 oz Cream Cheese
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
Combine the cream cheese, vanilla, and whipping cream. Add the powdered sugar and beat for 3-5 minutes until it fluffs a bit.
Pour the creamy mixture into your pre-baked pie shell. I didn’t actually use it all because I wanted this to be mostly a strawberry pie, but you can make that call for yourself. I kept the extra to dip berries in when I ate them later. Top with the glazed berries. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to let the cream set. You could top it with some whipped cream if you feel like it, but I don’t think it needs it.
1. My crush on Chris Pratt is out of control. That said, I cannot recommend whatever the heck Jurassic World was. I spent half of the movie curled up in a ball since I'm easily frightened, a quarter staring at Chris Pratt's body in envy of his shirts, twelve-and-a-half percent of the time thinking about how ridiculous Bryce Dallas Howard's heels were, and the last twelve-and-a-half percent wondering if they'd develop just one character.
2. If you can get your hands on Code Black [and you like medicine, emergency stuff, trauma, healthcare] GET ON IT.
3. I chopped off my hair. Now it's kind of forwardy-fauxhawky most of the time except my forehead is starting to break out. I know, I know. First world problem.
And sometimes I hate it and long for the days of a messy bun.
4. I bought a phone case before I upgraded my phone because I love it so much. Can I call it a graduation present to myself?
I spent quite a bit of time in KS in May because The Nephew had heart surgery. I’ve debated talking about details and all that jazz, but my words aren’t coming together. The short story is that they heard a murmur in January, had a referral to the main pediatric hospital in Kansas City, discovered that he had a coarctation [narrowing of the aorta], they tried to do surgery in March but he got sick, they had a baby, surgery happened in May, the Nephew was a super-brave kid, they went home after 5 days in the hospital, and now the Nephew needs almost constant reminders to slow down. (-:
You’d never know he had surgery.
I didn’t mention the emotional roller coaster heart surgery brings. Yup. That part was super difficult, but we all made it through and are so grateful for where we are now.
6. Sunset in Kansas. The skies, y’all. [East, North, West]
Grammy, her name was Della [isn't that lovely?], was my grandfather's grandmother. That would make her my great-great grandmother. We never met, but I've heard stories of what a force of a woman she was.
Later in her life she moved into a mobile home behind the farm house that her daughter and son-in-law (my great grandparents) lived in. According to the story, my great grandmother would leave some Crisco and flour out for Della to make a pie if she wanted. When my grandmother was asking her about pie crust Della looked at her and said, "Of course you can't make a decent pie crust without lard and New Rinkel flour."
Naturally, I said "I'M A VEGETARIAN! I CANNOT HAVE LARD!" Nope. No that is not what I said. I actually said, "I MUST MAKE GRAMMY'S PIE CRUST." I went to the grocery and grabbed all the things. I had strawberries [strawberry cream pie recipe coming soon] and I needed pie.
Now, I've made lots of pie crust. This one. This one. I even made the vodka pie crust from ATK [it's baller]. And I frequently just grab a pie crust from the refrigerated section at the grocery store.
The combination of lard, pastry flour, a pinch of salt, and a few tablespoons of cold water wins for me though. Simple, easy, flaky, and just the tiniest hint of a porky savoriness [is that just me? other people can taste that, right? I haven't had pork in about 7 years...] makes this pie crust heavenly.
When I think about Grammy baking, in my head she cooks a lot like Miss Lillie from A Chef's Life [here's the episode where Lillie makes buttermilk biscuits (9:39, but you should totally watch the whole thing) this show *love*]. You add the ingredients and use your hands and eyes and when it's right it's right and you just know it.
I made the pie crust, rolled it out, placed in in a pie tin, crimped the edges, docked the crust, baked it off and filled it with cream and strawberries.
It was amazing.
Grammy's Pie Crust
for 2 pie crusts
- 2 cups New Rinkle Pastry Flour
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2/3 cup Lard
- 4-6 Tablespoons Cold Water
Mix the flour and salt. Add the lard and use your fingers or a pastry blender until the fat is about the size of small peas. Sprinkle the water one tablespoon at a time into the flour mixture and toss it lightly with a fork until it just comes together. Once the particles hold together when you pinch a piece you have enough water. Divide dough into two portions. Flour your surface and roll out your crust until it is about 1" larger than your pie plate all the way around. Place the dough into your pie plate and crimp the edges. I do it almost exactly as this epicurious video teaches.
This week timehop informed me that I posted these pictures two years ago:
I had just gotten back from a weekend at the lake and I had a chemistry class that night because I was CERTAIN I wasn't getting into IUPUI, so I was taking a pre-requisite course for another program. I opened my packet and burst into tears.
The tears were happy tears.
I don't think I even realized how much I had hoped to get into this program at the time. I'm sure I wasn't on the first list of students to get in because my GPA wasn't exactly stellar [not that it was terrible, BUT definitely not at the top of the food chain], but I got in and started in August 2013.
As an accelerated program, we had five semesters over the course of 20 months to our BSN. Between studying on campus by 4:30am after a 12-hour shift to endless hours writing care plans, most days I’m just glad I made it through. I wasn’t the best student…I finished solidly in the middle of the pack [I know this because our capstone selection was based on grades]. It doesn’t really matter to me - ask me again if I apply for grad school and I have to justify some of those Bs - at this point I KNOW THINGS.
I may not be the greatest test-taker in the world, but I can assess the crap out of a patient. I pay attention to details. I can multi-task and juggle things about as well as any new nurse should, those skills take time and I’ll get better. I can anticipate and think outside of the box and question orders…sometimes. I’ll get better. I can contribute to the team to provide good patient care. My point is that I’m going to be the kind of nurse I would want taking care of my loved ones because I won’t stop until I’m busy kickin’ ass and takin’ names. Can't stop won't stop.
Last Monday I took my boards, the NCLEX, and it was terrible, horrible, no good, very bad. I hadn’t told anyone my test date, but due to several unforeseen changes, I had to borrow a car and “why?” was asked. Uh…well, it’s my exam day? Needless to say, everyone in the family knew and I definitely didn't want to talk about it. At. All.
Immediately following the exam, I began checking the site for quick results. It says up to 48-hours, but surely they’ll know before then, right? How long can it take to grade a computer test?
-distraction from the niece-
GO TO BED, AMY.
I woke up and pulled out my computer Tuesday morning.