Monday, January 2, 2017

Cranberry Chess Pie

I've been wanting to make this pie all fall, and I finally did it for a family Christmas party. There couldn't have been a better occasion, it is so festive looking.

I got the recipe from a really cool pie blog called Nothing in the House.
I had never before made or even had a chess pie. It's one of those kitchen staple pies- sugar, butter, flour, eggs, milk or buttermilk, and a little cornmeal.

Here's a link to the recipe.

And boy, did it turn out great! The cranberries are a real nice tart burst to go with the sweet chess filling. I kind of thought that the chess custard tasted kind of like sugar cookie batter that hadn't been cooked all the way. I will definitely be making this pie again.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Christmas Mail!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year folks!

 May the Force Be With You!

I've had a kind of crazy fall semester. I got a new job, 9-5, and I taught a three hour ESL class two nights a week, so I was tired out!  But I'm not teaching in the new year, and so I'll have lots more time for cooking dinner and pies and posting on a blog and mail art and dare I say it, going to the gym (!!).

This Christmas was really wonderful and I did a ton of cookie baking, most notably my grandmothers gingerbread recipe. This is maybe 2/5ths of the gingerbread cookies we made... the batch is doubled and so enormous but the cookies go so quickly!!

(The picture looks a little wonky in spots because I used the panorama option!)

The tree we got this year was different than any other I've had. The needles were much longer and softer.

The university library had a big giveaway of dust jackets of childrens books, so I took a bunch and we cut them up to make ornaments and I also used them for my mail art. We also bought a bunch of cheap children's books at the public library's second hand book shop and made ornaments out of them. I particularly love the frog.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

1/4th of a social, and cousin mail

Here I am, watching the LWA social a day late, before being interrupted 30 minutes into it. No worries, just means I get to stretch out the fun even more. 
I'm using up some of my Ink Drop samples from Goulet Pens. I haven't ordered anything from them in ages, but I still get their newsletter, and they've discontinued their Ink Drop subscription. It's completely understandable. The amount of samples they were sending out is staggering! I'm just happy that they have so much business.

Semi-recently received from my cousin Aaron.
 I love his drawings.
And a reply:

Monday, August 22, 2016

Dinner Pies- Empanadas!

In the past week or so I've made a few dinner pies. They seem more economical than sweet pies, because well, I need to eat dinner, and I don't necessarily need to eat dessert.

It's been really fun and Clay and Anna helped me with them.

I got out a book from the library of empanada recipes: Empanadas, the Hand-held Pies of Latin America, and we made chorizo and potato empanadas. They were delicious! We added hard boiled eggs because the book said that was a common empanada component, and hard boiled eggs are delicious.

First you cook the filling because the filling needs to refrigerate for as long as possible. And then you make the dough- there were several different recipes, some good for frying, some for baking.

We fried ours, golden brown!
At first we were a little disappointed that we only had enough dough to make 8 empanadas. But we felt silly when we realized we could only eat about one and a half each, and the next day they were even better cold!

Clay made this delicious salsa verde from tomatillas.

It's been fun making savory pies because they are so different and I don't necessarily know how to make them any better than Clay or Anna. I like learning new things.

Thursday, August 11, 2016


To my friend from childhood, who shared my love of horses:

An Arthur Rackham calendar envelope:
 This blue floral washi tape was a gift from my mom and it's really neat because it's fabric! I really like how stretchy it is, and it also seems much more sturdy than regular washi tape. The only downside (which isn't a huge deal) is that it doesn't take well to having things glued or stuck on top of it.

Stamp selvage on a letter to Erica.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Black Cherry Chiffon Pie with Chocolate Crust

I think this is one of the prettiest pies I've ever made. I got the recipe from a book called Pie School. Sweet cherries are hard to use in pies because they don't bake very well, the texture isn't as nice when cooked. Most cherry pies are made with sour cherries (heavenly!). But this pie doesn't require you to cook the cherries. Part of them are mashed up and mixed with sugar and some gelatin, and then folded into whipped cream, and then folded into a meringue. This was my first time using gelatin or making a meringue! Meringue is gorgeous, so shiny and thick. I definitely want to make it again soon to use it on top of a pie, like in Lemon Meringue, instead of folded in.

Also, here's something weird:

This is the second time that we've bought a normal carton of eggs, only to have them turn out to be all double yolks!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A glimpse of my studio

I always love seeing people's writing desks or mail art stations, so I thought I would share mine again. Same desk, same lamp, same mail cubby, but this is the first time I've shown the set up in our current house!
 Lots of horse pictures on the walls, the top painting is by my grandmother. I'm finally organizing my wooden mail cubby a little. Now two of the slots have labels!! "Thank you's" and "Check Envelopes"

I like the sloping ceiling and how it makes it feel cozy. I don't pack stuff in on the walls like this anywhere else in the house, but I love having all these photos and artwork around me while I make mail.

 two of my grandmother's paintings

 a photo of my cat growing up, Cotton, who lived to be 18! And a sketch that I did of him lying on my legs about 6 years ago...

We were right inside the barn, looking out at my horse Windsong, and the mules, the same perspective as this photo, except the cat was in my lap.

A Joanna Newsom (musician) themed postcard I received from a swap I ran on swap-bot. I just loved this.

Do you hang a lot of things in your mail spot?

The chair is kind of ugly, but it's very comfortable. I've heard it's easy to reupholster things if you have a staple gun, so maybe a that's a project for the future.

The room also functions as a guest bedroom, and I try to keep the bed pretty clear of mail flotsam, because a certain someone likes to sleep there.