More Than Pie

Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers!

Well, I guess that would be a happy belated Thanksgiving, but who is counting? Not me. It is the season, you know?!

I just wish we had more days to bask in it.

Oh well. In all seriousness, I have so much to be grateful for. I can barely count them all.

I am obviously thankful for this guy. He was worn out before Thanksgiving even started!

All of our holidays, not just Thanksgiving, mean a lot of cooking. It is something we all love to do and…to enjoy! Everyone brings something when we all gather together. I am thankful for that! And the simple fact that we can be gathered together. I am also thankful that I can do my part and that I can share my creations with everyone.

This year for Thanksgiving, I was on point for cranberry sauce and dessert.

A good cranberry sauce, to me, looks like a party in a bowl.

Cranberries. Apples. Green chili pepper. Orange juice and zest…Grand Marnier. Sage. Noms.

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I told you, a party! You will not have much left after the meal.

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We took a break from the cooking to play. It is hard work for a puppy!

Then it was time for pie. Chocolate pecan pie, to be precise. Made Thanksgiving morning. I don’t know about anyone else, but I love to make a dessert the morning of a holiday in my pajamas. It is more fun. It brings it more meaning to me. Gives it the proper perspective of doing it unto Him for my loved ones. Made with joy and love. It makes the unveiling and enjoying that much sweeter to me.

Anyway, I digress. This pie. I have never really made a pie before (I know, this is surprising to me too), but this one is a total winner. I even made my own pie crust. That is worth it if you were wondering. Just saying. Next time I think I will freeze the butter and shortening. I also think I might do a slight pre-bake of the crust before adding the filling for baking.

I am not the biggest fan of the salted caramel on this pie though. I think it was the added lemon. Not sure why you would do that, but I suppose the point is to keep it from being too sweet? Anyway, I did not really care for it when I tried it and did not really notice it much on the pie itself. I much prefer this one I made for a different dessert. I could eat it all by itself.

I followed the recipe mostly. I used a mixture of molasses and honey in place of the corn syrup. I do not keep corn syrup around and prefer not to use it if I do not have to. There are substitute options out there if you are like me. I also could not help it and added coconut to the fulling. Whoops. What can I say??? I am shameless. I think I also baked it for longer than stated in the recipe.

The filling is divine right off the spoon! If you are not licking the spoon and or bowl, you a’int no baker! It is the only way.

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Fortification for pie baking. There is a little known life fact that coffee, well all beverages, taste best out of a fun and festive vessel. I know. I know. You are so glad to learn that. You can count on me for those little life secrets. 

The finished pie sprinkled with flaked salt!

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My mouth is watering now. Too bad there were not any leftovers. That is a sign of a good pie I guess!

After our Thanksgiving lunch, I quite literally sneaked out in a mad dash, grabbed Merle, and made to the farm before dark. I sure am thankful for the farm. Our horses. And that I have the ability to be mobile! To see different things and visit different people!

I woke up early on Friday and had a lovely foggy ride on Chance before hitting the road with Merle again for more Thanksgiving fun with M. 

We all went for a drive around the property and Merle just could not contain himself. He clearly loves driving around! And hey, who doesn’t?!

The face of a happy dog. He is all boy, this one.

This is quickly becoming his signature look.

The weather was cloudy, windy, and drizzly, but that did not dampen our spirits whatsoever.

Merle was so tired, he could barely keep his eyes open past 6 PM. A tired dog is a happy dog! Catching some z’s is hard for a pup when his mom does not sit still for very long. Poor guy!

Who knows, maybe Merle will start moonlighting as a model.

He sure is handsome. I am not biased at all.

I am thankful for the eyes to see the joy in this pup. And how serious he takes his fetch. 

In case y’all did not know, pure and utter luxury is going for an early morning swim, in the drizzle, in the wee hours before the sun is ready to play. Or anyone else for that matter, human or canine.

And moving so fast the camera can not catch you.

Maybe this is his artistic expression for his modeling portfolio. Ghost dog.

He swam about five times before anyone else was awake. I had two cups of coffee. We like to wake up early.

It was only a quick twenty four hour visit, but we sure had the best time. It was fun and relaxing. No agenda. No pressure. Just good company and fellowship. And dogs (four in total! Merle had a blast)!

It did not matter that the weather was rather gloomy. We were just out and enjoying everything. Giving thanks for it all. That we could. Why we could. How we got here. For family, friends, loved ones. For country and dogs. For food. For comfortable, warm, dry places to rest. For horses!

The next day brought the blue skies out in full force while I rode my Cheetah girl down the road. Merle and I had zero desire to go back to town.

I hope each and every one of y’all had a great Thanksgiving. Did you count your blessings? What are you grateful for?

Look around you. There is so much to be grateful for. Not just this time of year. All year. Yes, it is the reason for the season, but it also too is the reason for all the seasons. For this very life.

Now we are in full on Christmas season! My decorations are out and I have planned what I will be making for our gatherings! You will have to wait for those though. To tide you, you can check out last year’s creations!

I have some fun things to share soon to help get you in the spirit, so there is a lot to look forward to. Check back soon!

Walk in love, dear readers!

 

More

I meant to write to you yesterday. Sigh. This week after Thanksgiving has started out as a busy one. Seemingly as busy as Thanksgiving itself.

But enough about that.

I know what you really want.

…A cheesecake fully dressed for the party…

By the way, making chocolate ganache and salted caramel is super easy. You should give it a try. Especially the salted caramel. More than worth it. Yikes, so good!

Oh, sorry. I can not give you any of that. Darn. You are just going to have to go and make it for yourself.

Do not fret about that though. I have something else for you.

How about ride time videos? Between the ears photos? Two great sunsets? A special lunar surprise? You ask, and I shall deliver. I am here for y’all, dear readers.

After we did the big Thursday Thanksgiving meal and all day hangout thing (lots of drinking, lots of eating, lots of talking late into the night), we headed out the farm early Friday morning for more of the same.

First I rode Chance to go check the cows and make sure he was all ready for the kids. He was lazy, just like I like him.

 

There is nothing like the wind in the pecan trees.

 

No such thing as too much of a good thing, as they say, so naturally I hopped on Cheetah after Chance.

She was a bit on the feisty side on Friday. It was a bit of a screaming mare day!

I can not ever get enough of my sunsets which is why I share so many of them with you. Truly a unique painting directly from God’s hand every time. The clouds got in the way of all the sunrises though.

I have not shown you one of these in a while. The moon rising. It was pretty dang epic until the clouds decided to come back for another party. I am just glad they cleared up for the beginning of this.

Saturday morning was for the kids. Niece L helped me groom and tack up before we walked all over the horse pasture. Then Nephew H had his turn going to check the cows and riding all on his own in the round pen before untacking, grooming, treat stuffing, and turning Chance back out with the others.

Cheetah was an angel on Saturday evening. I swear she may have given me a look that said, “thank goodness you are more relaxed today. I really just wanted to stroll around.”

Sunsets, creaky saddles, and the dun colored ears of the best mare.

 

Sorry, not sorry! More sunsets.

I got home later than my usual last night with full intentions of cooking dinner for myself and even doing laundry. You know, being a good adult and all that. Between the hour and the darkness of winter evenings, I walked in the door and threw that plan out the window as I was finishing up a phone call. Now that is what I call being a good adult! Ha, I jest.

But, hey, I did unpack my car (mostly) and put some things away. At least there is that!

For nights like those, having a freezer stash, a cheesy Christmas movie, and some quiet down time is where it is at.

So, I did just that while putting a few Christmas decorations out.

I am grateful to have had the quality time with the family that I did, enjoy some great meals, be at the farm, and have some much needed saddle time.

It left me wanting more. More of all of the above. More time with my people. All of them. More time at the farm. More time behind those dun colored ears. Less minutia.

I hope everyone had a grand Thanksgiving if you celebrate it.

Walk in love, dear readers!

 

 

September 13

I have already told you about September and how it, and the start of fall, get me in a reflective mood. Today is one of those reasons.

The 13th of September will always be a special day and a day I will always remember. A sad day at times, yes of course, but also a special one. A day for red wine and chocolate pie. To remember the happy memories and be grateful. Why do you ask? Because I say so, that is why. It is Mansebo’s day.

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Mansebo was the horse that started it all. Is it still hard? Absolutely. But he is in the best place of all now and free from any pain and suffering. I am forever grateful for him.

This is Mansebo’s song. Every time I hear it, I think of him, and every time I think of him, I hear it.

I can not help but think that it is because of him that we have horses today. It makes me even more grateful for my dun duo.

Speaking of the dun duo…

 

 

Lito and I had a great weekend of riding and he continues to get better and better, heading in the right direction to his regular self.

Both Cheetah and Lito pretended to be race horses on Saturday when I tried to bring them in for the evening, galloping all around the pond pasture multiple times. This video was only the beginning. I did not catch the best and fastest parts. They took turns with who was in the lead, Cheetah talking to Lito the whole time. Quite funny really. After several minutes they decided they were finished and would come in, but only if I came and got them. Naturally, that is what I did and they met me half way, the looks on their faces seeming to say, “gee, that sure was fun!” At least for Lito, the cheeky guy! Cheetah looked a bit happily worn out with her out of shape, grass fat body.

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Have some wine and pie with me today, won’t you? And go love on your horses! Remember the happy times!

Walk in love, dear readers!

Wee Little Secret

Psst. Hey you.

Yes, you. Over there.

I have a little secret for you.

It is one of those secrets of life.

Are you ready?

The best recipes tend to be found hand written on the inside flap of a well loved and worn cookbook, at the top of the stack in the cabinet.

I know, right? Not within the actual glossy printed pages of the book itself. I just blew your mind, I know.

They can sometimes also be found photo copied with notes on them, tucked inside the aforementioned inside flap, but that is another story for another day.

This, my friends, is where you can find this lovely cheesecake recipe. The book is of faded blue and the binding broken and frayed. The recipe hand written in smudged pencil by my Mamma.

I would bet my mom was on the phone while she traced the title ‘Cheesecake’ and the doodle beneath.

This is the best cheesecake ever, on its own, but I wanted to make it extra special for Mother’s Day. Enter raspberries and chocolate wafer cookies for the crust. I added some raspberry puree to the top layer along with a little unflavored gelatin to compensate for the extra liquid and bam. You get this layered masterpiece.

A little abstract, yes. But that is OK. Homemade desserts are not supposed to be perfect! Farm fresh eggs also made it a little less than white with those dark and bright yolks.

I am not the biggest fan of the gelatin, but I will figure it out eventually.

Now I want more cheesecake.

Walk in love, dear readers!