Welcome! :-) Whatever brought you here today wasn't an accident, and I'm so glad you stopped by. I'm always glad to have folks drop in my kitchen for a visit and hope you'll feel right at home. We always have an ample supply of fresh lemonade, sweet tea, and a pot of coffee brewing along with a sideboard full of baked treats for you to enJOY while you're here. Relax and take your time as we visit and catch up on the latest news. Don't forget to email and let me know what's going on in your world, as well. And, come back soon!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Peep, Peep, Peep!! Happy Easter!

What's a "peep"? Well, according to the dictionary ...
VERB: peep, peeped, peep·ing, peeps

To utter short, soft, high-pitched sounds, like those of a baby bird; cheep.
To speak in a hesitant, thin, high-pitched voice.

NOUN: peep

A short, soft, high-pitched sound or utterance, like that of a baby bird.
A slight sound or utterance: I don't want to hear a peep out of you.

Peeps is also short for "people".
SOURCE: http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/peep

But, at Easter, "peeps" take on a whole new meaning ...
Peeps are marshmallow candies, sold in the United States and Canada--usually around Easter, that are shaped into chicks, bunnies, and other animals.

Peeps are produced by Just Born, a candy manufacturer founded in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, by Russian immigrant Sam Born. The yellow chicks were the original form of the candy — hence their name — but then the company introduced other colors and, eventually, the myriad shapes in which they are now produced. Different shapes are used for various holidays. Peeps are used primarily to fill Easter baskets, though recent advertising campaigns market the candy as "Peeps - Always in Season", as Peeps has since expanded to include Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine's Day. They are made from marshmallow, corn syrup, gelatin, and carnauba wax.  (http://www.marshmallowpeeps.com/).

I've discovered that people are doing a lot of creative activities with peeps.
An annual "Peep Off" competition to see who can eat the most in 30 minutes is held in Maryland on the first Saturday after Easter, when Peeps are greatly discounted. Several newspapers hold annual contests in which readers submit photos of dioramas featuring Peeps. Similar contests are put on by The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and the Seattle Times. These contests frequently correspond with Easter.

After seeing examples of Peeps cakes on the Internet, I decided to get creative myself and make our "grands" a Peeps cake and Peeps cupcakes for part of their Easter present. I used one of my favorite butter cake and icing recipes, which I want to share with you today. I hope these recipes and photos inspire you to purchase some Peeps and create your own special dessert for Easter.
Here are the recipes ...

Butter Cake
This is the classic recipe that is used to create tiered confections for wedding cakes. Butter cake has a firm, moist texture that makes it perfect for tiered designs. The almond extract is optional but if you are making a wedding cake it is a very traditional additive. You could also add extra vanilla, rum, orange, or coconut extract instead of the almond flavoring if you prefer.
1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
3/4 teaspoon Almond Flavoring (optional)
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray pans with vegetable pan spray or grease pans.
In mixer bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Mix in vanilla and almond (or other) flavorings. Mix in flour with baking powder and salt.
Add flour mixture alternately with milk, starting with the flour.
Pour into prepared pans. Bake until toothpick comes out clean. Cool ten minutes in pan. Loosen sides and remove.
Cool completely before decorating.
Makes 7 1/2 cups batter which will give you either two 8" round cakes or one 6" and one 9" round cake, or one 6" round and a dozen cupcakes, depending on how full you make the cupcake tins.

Pat's Old-Fashioned Butter Cream Frosting :-)
2 sticks butter, room temperature
8 cups confectioners' sugar
1 T. meringue powder
1 T. cornstarch
1/2 cup milk (2 tsp. more, if needed to thin to desired consistency)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or other flavoring (I like the combination of using 1/2 tsp. clear vanilla, 1/2 tsp. clear almond, and 1/2 tsp. clear butter flavoring.... best ever flavor combo!)
Cream softened butter. (Beat it a couple of minutes before adding other ingredients.) Add 4 cups sugar, meringue powder, cornstarch, milk and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer until smooth, then gradually add the rest of sugar to reach frosting consistency. Add more sugar or milk, if needed to spreading or decorating consistency. You don't want this too thick, if you're using a decorating bag and tips. I like to frost my cake (usually 2-layer) and give it a few minutes to "crust" then, smooth it with a paper towel or parchment paper before continuing to decorate. (see: http://www.monkeysee.com/play/988-cake-decorating-a-secret-to-smoothing-icing) It gives the icing a look of fondant without having the "clay" taste of fondant. This is really great tasting icing.
I hope you and yours enJOY a BLESSED Easter and make some sweet memories together!




Saturday, March 23, 2013

Celebrating Easter with Chocolate

"They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, 'Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!'" (Matthew 21:7-9)

This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday for Christians around the world. Traditionally, Palm Sunday occurs between March 15 and April 18. This is an important and solemn day that honors Christ's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. It is the Sunday before Easter, and begins the Christian commemoration of Holy Week.

On Palm Sunday Jesus entered the Holy City of Jerusalem surrounded by a crowd of followers. The palms disbursed by many churches signify the branches that were spread in on the road as Jesus approached. Little did they know the dark road that lay ahead of Him that week. Many who welcomed Him with palm branches would shout, "Crucify Him!" just a few days later.

This last Sunday of Lent is also called Passion Sunday. The Biblical accounts of the last days of Christ's life all agree that as He returned to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover with His followers, the crowds who were eager to proclaim him the Messiah, "Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord." (John 12:13) 

Today, many Christian churches traditionally hold services on Palm Sunday when leaves of palm, often shaped into crosses to symbolize Jesus' last hours on the cross, are given to the congregation. In many areas there are procession with the palm fronds to commemorate the journey of Christ. In churches that observe Ash Wednesday by giving ashes to their members at the beginning of Lent, these palms are burnt for use in this symbolic ceremony.

Tradition has always played an important part in the observance of Holy Week. In Great Britain, traditional foods served on Palm Sunday include fig pudding, because Jesus is said to have eaten figs on his entry into the city of Jerusalem. (I don't know if He actually ate figs or not, but the Bible says He cursed a fig tree that same week.) In Wales, the day is known as Flowering Sunday because of the association with the flowering of the fig tree. Making split pea soup is another tradition still observed in Northern England and Scotland, derived from the ancient practice of wearing a hard pea in the shoe as penance during Lent. (Ouch! How would you like to wear a pea in your shoe for 40 days?)

In other areas of the UK, pax cakes - along with best wishes for peace and brotherhood - are given out to congregations after Palm Sunday services in a custom said to date back to the 1500's.

In the Greek tradition, Lenten fast is broken with a fish dinner on Palm Sunday featuring bakaliaros or salt cod. In some parts of Italy, homemade fettuccini pasta topped with tomato sauce, bread crumbs and chopped nuts is the customary Palm Sunday dish.

More modern interpretations of appropriate foods to be eaten on Palm Sunday include hearts of palm featured in salads and side dishes to observe the day. (SOURCE: http://www.chiff.com/home_life/holiday/palm-sunday.htm)

As a child, I don't recall any particular "tradition" that my family observed on Palm Sunday, but as I've grown older and been able to study the biblical account of the event, it has been a good reminder to me of Christ's dark week of suffering, leading up to His crucifixion. Both Easter Sunday and Palm Sunday provide times to worship, followed by family dinners and quiet reflection about the price Jesus paid for us.

Growing up, one of the biggest attractions of Easter (besides hunting Easter eggs) was its desserts. I remember Momma baking special buns or hot rolls, and always providing a huge table full of all kinds of great things to eat, but the thing I enJOYed most was her delicious desserts. She always presented us with a homemade cake that never seemed to last very long.

Easter desserts have always been an important part of the meal. After the long fasting season of Lent, Easter is the time for feasts and celebrating new life with lavish desserts. Today's Easter baskets would be considered incomplete without sweets, cookies, candies, and chocolate----especially chocolate!

Do you know the source of most chocolate products? If you did, would you still want to eat chocolate? Just as we can see a dark side to Passion Week, there is a dark side to chocolate (and I'm not just referring to the color). Let me challenge you to read these articles (links below) concerning child slavery and human trafficing associated with the production and exportation of chocolate. I hope it will be an eye-opener for you (as it has been to me), and that it will make you stop and consider the suffering and sacrifices that still go on today, despite our Savior's defeat of evil that Easter morning over 2000 years ago.  Each time you taste chocolate, let it remind you of Christ's suffering on the cross and the sweetness that we enJOY because of His triumph over the grave on Easter Sunday.
This is the most recent article: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2013/03/the-dark-side-of-chocolate/
This one contains a video: http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/the_dark_side_of_chocolate_2010/
This is also a video: http://www.thedarksideofchocolate.org/

You may wonder why I would choose to cook with chocolate after reading and viewing material at these sites. Just as we are not to be "overcome by evil, but we're to overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:21), many manufacturers of chocolate are overcoming the abuses and learning how to make chocolate ethically, and make it really well. As Christians, we bear the responsibility to be lights in the darkness (and to be the sweetness that flavors this world of bitterness). Chocolate is a product that most everyone loves and realizing the dark side of its history doesn’t have to lessen your enJOYment of it. It can actually enhance your appreciation. I think the perfect dessert for Palm Sunday is a rich, fudgy chocolate cake that I want to share with you today. I remember when one of my sisters made this cake and served it at a family dinner. It's always been a favorite. But this year, it will be more than that-- it will remind me to be a light in someone's darkness while bringing sweetness to an otherwise bitter world.

Gather the ingredients... and notice that I forgot to include sugar in the supplies photo! Chocolate without sugar tastes very different. For better or for worse, chocolate and sugar go hand in hand. Without sugar to sweeten the bitter chocolate, the cake would be inedible. Without Christ's sacrifice on the cross, life's journey would be bitter indeed. Thank Him, today, for all He's done for you! And have a BLESSED Palm Sunday and Holy Week!
(Page 107 in "A Pinch of This ... A Smidgen of That" Cookbook.)
Here's what you'll need: 
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 sticks margarine
1 cup Coca-Cola
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. Vanilla
3 Tbsp. cocoa
1 1/3 cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
6 Tbsp. Coca-Cola
3 Tbsp. cocoa
1 lb. box powdered sugar
1 cup pecans, chopped
and, don't forget the SUGAR!
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease and flour an oblong cake pan. Wisk flour and sugar to mix.
 Heat margarine and Coca-Cola to boiling;
pour over flour mixture. Mix well.
(Note that I'm using a spatula to stir this, not a mixer. So easy!) 
Add buttermilk, and stir to mix.
Add slightly beaten eggs,
Stir in baking soda,
Add vanilla and cocoa,
and gently fold in marshmallows.
Pour into greased (and floured, if you prefer) cake pan. Marshmallows will float to the top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. It will look something like this when it's done:
Now, to make the icing. You can actually begin making it a few minutes before the cake comes out of the oven, because you'll cover the cake with it while it's still hot.
First, combine butter, Coca-Cola, and cocoa. Heat to boiling.
Pour hot mixture over powdered sugar and chopped pecans (if you choose to mix pecans in the icing, instead of on top as a garnish). I added my pecans to the powdered sugar before I added the hot cocoa mixture.
Add more powdered sugar or Coca-Cola to thicken or thin, or as needed. Mix well. This needs to be a medium consistency (not thick, but not too thin, either), so you can pour and spread it evenly over the cake. It will firm up as it cools.
Spread icing evenly over hot cake. Sprinkle chopped nuts over cake, (if you didn't include them in the icing mixture, as I did).
Have a BLESSED and JOY-filled Palm Sunday and week ahead!
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 sticks margarine
1 cup Coca-Cola
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. Vanilla
3 Tbsp. cocoa
1 1/3 cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
6 Tbsp. Coca-Cola
3 Tbsp. cocoa
1 lb. box powdered sugar
1 cup pecans, chopped

CAKE DIRECTIONS: Combine flour and sugar. Heat margarine and Coca-Cola to boiling; pour over flour mixture. Mix well. Add buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, vanilla, cocoa, and marshmallows. Pour into greased cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

ICING DIRECTIONS: Combine butter, Coca-Cola, and cocoa in a small saucepan. Heat mixture to boiling and pour over powdered sugar (you may add pecans at this time or wait and use them as garnish). Use more or less powdered sugar or Coca-Cola, as needed to form medium consistency (should be able to pour and spread the hot mixture over the cake). Blend well. Ice cake while cake is still hot. Sprinkle chopped nuts over cake (if you didn't include them in your icing mixture). 



Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Celebrating Easter (a post from 2012)

Every year in March and April, we gear up for new beginnings with spring cleaning, new ventures, vacations, and new ideas. Our culinary projects are no exception to this rule. Springtime brings with it beautiful colors, textures, and foods that speak to our need for new beginnings. Spring is a great time for us to gather at parks and other outdoor venues where we enJOY sharing family birthdays, school breaks, and just being together.

In mid-March, we enJOYed celebrating our grandson's tenth birthday at a local park, just before taking him on a trip to Savannah, GA during his spring break from school.
After a great week in Savannah, we arrived home and were greeted with a yard full of colorful apple blossoms, dogwood blooms, and an abundance of purple phlox and bird-foot violets.
Dogwoods are just one of the traditional symbols that have been adopted to go along with Easter. Of course, the "Legend of the Dogwood" is just that--a legend, but I like the reminders it provides. Here's how it goes:

"At the time of the crucifixion, the dogwood had reached the size of the mighty oak tree. So strong and firm was the wood that it was chosen as the timber for Jesus' cross. To be used for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the dogwood. While nailed upon it, Jesus sensed this, and in his compassion said, 'Because of your pity for my suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used for a cross. Henceforth, it shall be slender, bent, and twisted, and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross–two long and two short petals. In the center of the outer edge of each petal will be the print of nails. In the center of the flower, stained with blood, will be a crown of thorns so that all who see it will remember.'" (SOURCE: http://www.appleseeds.org/dogwood.htm and http://www.twoeggfla.com/dogwood.html)

Celebrating Easter with eggs has also become a tradition all over the world.
Some say that Easter eggs have come to symbolize long life and happiness. Also,"... because the use of eggs was forbidden during Lent, they were brought to the table on Easter Day, colored red to symbolize the Easter JOY..." (SOURCE: http://foodtimeline.org/easter.html) For some, the red Easter egg is much more than a celebration of JOY at the end of fasting -- it is an attestation of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave and of the HOPE we have in Him for eternal life. (SOURCE: http://mybloglovegreece.blogspot.com/2011/04/holy-thursday-tradition-of-red-easter.html)
I hope you will take time to read the trivia concerning the use of eggs (BOTH red and multi-colored) at Easter and share it with your children and grandchildren.

Although I don't recall ever coloring our eggs red, I really like the idea that red was used to symbolize Easter JOY! However, since I'm not a fan of boiled eggs (they smell awful), and I imagine you already know how to boil and color them (just read the instructions on the kit! :-), I decided to share one of my favorite red spring salads ---also guaranteed to bring much JOY to the eater. (NOTE: We're calling it a "salad" because it has less calories that way! But, if you choose, you can also serve this if you're craving a light dessert.:-)

I love it when the grocery stores begin stocking fresh, juicy, crimson red strawberries (and when the prices drop low enough that I can actually afford to buy them :-). Such was the case this past week, so I purchased two quarts. I used one to make my mama's strawberry cake (click on this URL for the recipe: http://www.pinchofthissmidgenofthat.blogspot.com/search/label/strawberry%20cake) and the other to make my "Favorite Strawberry Pretzel Salad" (see page 28 of "A Pinch of This... A Smidgen of That" cookbook). So, let me share a bit of spring with you and get you in the mood to celebrate Easter JOY with your friends and family. Follow me to the kitchen and start gathering ingredients!
Preheat oven to 375°. Mix 2 tbsp .sugar (more if you like a sweeter crust), crushed** pretzels and butter and place in a 9-x-13-inch baking dish. Bake 8 minutes, then cool in refrigerator or freezer. (**Hint: To crush my pretzels, I place an estimated 2 cups of them in a large ziplock freezer bag, seal it, and use my dough roller to beat them---a great way to release pent up tension! :-)
I really should have hit that bag a few more times. I didn't get my pretzels broken up as small as I like them (but I didn't realize that until I sampled the salad... I ate it anyway! :-). You can choose how fine you crush them. I like mine in really small pieces (not quite crumbs).
Since I purchased fresh berries instead of the frozen ones, I washed, sliced, and placed them in the freezer to chill before time to add them to my jello mixture. (You can skip this step if you bought a package of frozen ones :-).
Aren't these pretty? The bright RED juciness really does inspire JOY!
Cream together 1 cup sugar and cream cheese.
Add whipped topping and mix well.
Spread over cooled pretzel mixture;
place in refrigerator until cream cheese mixture is firm.
Mix boiling water with strawberry gelatin; stir until dissolved. (Yes, I know... it wasn't too smart to use a RED bowl when trying to photograph RED Jello! Next time, I'll know better! :-)
Add frozen strawberries. (REMEMBER: Since I used fresh strawberries for this recipe, I washed and sliced them, then put them in the freezer to get cold before I added them to the warm jello water. If you let them freeze, they will speed the jelling process.) The colors in this mixture just get prettier and prettier, don't they? :-) (Are you feelin' the JOY yet? ;-)
Place gelatin mixture in refrigerator until it BEGINS to thicken, then pour and spread over cream cheese mixture ...
and chill until set.
YUMMMM! is all I can say!
Slice and enJOY! Store in the refrigerator.

Don't forget to print or copy/paste the recipe below:


2 tbsp. plus 1 cup sugar (powdered or granulated), divided
2 cups crushed pretzels
1/2 cup butter; melted
1 8-oz. package cream cheese, room temperature
1 8-oz. container frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 cups boiling water
1 6-oz. (large) package strawberry gelatin
1 10-oz. package frozen strawberries (or one quart fresh strawberries, sliced)
Preheat oven to 375°. Mix 2 tbsp .sugar, pretzels and butter and place in a 9-x-13-inch baking dish. Bake 8 minutes, then cool in refrigerator or freezer. Cream together 1 cup sugar and cream cheese. Add whipped topping and mix well. Spread over cooled pretzel mixture; place in refrigerator until cream cheese mixture is firm. Mix boiling water with strawberry gelatin; stir until dissolved. Add frozen strawberries. (Since I used fresh strawberries for this recipe, I washed and sliced them, then put them in the freezer to get cold before I added them to the warm jello water. If you let them freeze, they will speed the jelling process.) Place gelatin mixture in refrigerator until it BEGINS to thicken, then pour and spread over cream cheese mixture and chill until set. Slice and enJOY! Store in the refrigerator.

I pray that you and yours enJOY a BLESSED Easter together.
Share some of your favorite Easter traditions by leaving a comment below.
If you don't have any Easter traditions, get together with your family and start some!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Celebrating National Pi Day

Pi Day is the unofficial holiday that celebrates the mathematical constant pi (π) on March 14 in the month/day date format because the digits in this date correspond with the first three digits of π (3.14). It has become an international observance that is celebrated live and online and also celebrates Albert Einstein’s birthday. (Source: http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/world/pi-day) It also happens to be my sweet grandson, Jacob's birthday, too! (HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you, Jacob!) What a great day for a celebration!
There are many activities that celebrate Pi Day such as games, eating “pi” foods, converting things into pi, making strange mathematical endeavors like having a contest to see who knows the most digits of pi. Many people celebrate Pi Day by eating pie and discussing the relevance of π. Many teachers will use this date to engage students in activities related to pi by singing songs and carols about pi and developing pi projects. Some bakeries offer discounts on their products that have the letters "pi" together in a word. It's a great excuse for pie-baking and pie-eating contests. It's also a great time to share your favorite pie recipe.

No matter what time of year, no matter how hot or how cold, my favorite pie of all has to be Coconut Cream.

Doesn't that make you want to celebrate?!! (My theory: You can never have too many desserts! Below: Fried Apple Pies (recipe and tutorial here-- http://www.pinchofthissmidgenofthat.blogspot.com/search/label/Fried%20Apple%20Pies) , Brownie Bites, Buttermilk Pound Cake, and COCONUT CREAM PIE!)

My favorite place to eat the pie is at Charlotte's Eats and Sweets in Keo, AR (check out this article from Southern Living Magazine-- http://www.southernliving.com/travel/best-southern-pies-00417000067560/page12.html), but since I can't always go to Keo for pie, I have to make my own. Here's the recipe I use for the best Coconut Cream Pie in "A Pinch of This ... A Smidgen of That" cookbook (page 124):

Pat's Coconut Cream Pie

PIE FILLING Ingredients:
1 (9-inch) pie shell, baked and cooled
1 to 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (use more sugar for more filling, more volume)
2 Heaping T. cornstarch
2 Heaping T. flour
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups milk (2% or half & half... depends on how rich you want the pie)
2 to 3 T. butter (cold from the refrigerator)
5 eggs (use 4 if you're using less sugar), separated, at room temp. (Hint: separate when COLD, then allow to come to room temp before mixing them for meringue)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. coconut flavoring
2 MORE T. butter (cold)
1/2 C. moist flaked coconut (Baker's bagged coconut, packed gently), plus extra coconut for garnishing the top of the pie.
MERINGUE Ingredients:
4 or 5 egg whites, at room temperature (be sure not to contaminate whites with the yolks of any oils from your fingers or utensils. Do not begin cooking pie filling until egg whites have come to room temperature, because you will be making the meringue and topping the filling while it is still HOT. If you fail to cover the pie with meringue while hot, and the pie gets cold, it will cause the meringue to "sweat" or get drippy and pull away from the sides. It needs to go on while the filling is HOT and bake while it is HOT to brown the top.)
Wisp of salt (scant 1/4 to 1/2 tsp.)
1/2 to 1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. clear vanilla flavoring
1/2 tsp. coconut flavoring
10 T. granulated sugar.
Moist flaked coconut for topping meringue

DIRECTIONS: (Don't let the lengthy directions scare you! I'm a "detail" person---maybe even a little OCD, so I probably gave you more information than you needed!)
1. In a heavy saucepan or double boiler, use a whisk to combine sugar, cornstarch, flour, and salt. When dry ingredients are well combined, gradually add milk (or mixture of milk, as above). Once well mixed into the dry ingredients and all lumps disappear, add cold butter and bring mixture to a boil over medium to medium-high heat, stirring gently, but constantly to keep from sticking until thick and smooth. Once boiling and beginning to thisken, beat egg yolks well, stir in a little of the hot filling mixture and pour back into the sauce pan. Cook over medium heat (just bubbly) for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, so eggs have a chance to cook. Remove from heat, and stir in the additional 2 T of butter and the coconut and vanilla flavorings. Allow to sit while preparing meringue.

2. Add salt and cream of tartar to egg whites that are at room temperature.

3. Using highest speed of your hand mixer, beat egg whites until the mixture looks frothy or foamy. Immediately, add all 10 T. of sugar while you still have enough "liquid" (not all air and foam) to dissolve it. Return to highest (whipping) speed of your mixer and beat in as much air as possible to make meringue fluffy with soft peaks. When you lift the beaters from the beaten whites, the peaks will stand straight and then tip over. Add the flavorings and continue to beat until the meringue pulls into pointy peaks that stay that way. It's now ready to use.

4. Fold in 1/2 C moist shredded coconut into the filling (still in the saucepan) just before folding in 1/3 of the prepared meringue. Be sure to fold in all the way to the bottom and sides of the pan, so the meringue is evenly distributed, but do not beat--gently turn over the filling to fold in the meringue.

5. Have oven preheated to 350 F. Pour filling into cooled pie shell, and beginning at the edges spread remaining meringue around the rim of the pie, then fill the center and work your way out to the edges using a spoon to swirl waves or ripples into the meringue. You can use the back of a spoon to pull the meringue up into peaks all over the pie. Don't wait for the pie to cool! Do this while the filling is HOT. HINT: Make sure to seal the edges by spreading the meringue to the very edges of the pastry, so none of the inside filling shows. I use the tip of a table knife to do this--just to drag a thin layer over the edge of the fluted crust so it seals the pie while baking and doesn't pull away when it begins to cool.

6. If you desire, you can sprinkle moist flakes of coconut over the top, just before placing it in the oven to toast the top of the meringue. Bake the meringue low and slow at 325 to 340 F (you'll learn which does best for your oven and know which to use) for a bout 15 to 20 minutes. Start peeking through the "window" on your oven door (DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN) at about 15 minutes.

7. When done, remove to a cooling rack or countertop to allow the pie to cool completely--which will take several HOURS, so be patient and find something else to do so you won't be tempted to cut this yummy, great smelling pie! Keep it sitting in a place free from drafts (fans blowing, doors opening, an open window, kids galloping through the house, etc.) (grin)

8. When ready to cut, for a clean slice, us a hot, dampened serrated knife (pass one through a stream of your hottest tap water and blot dry before cutting. This also works well for cheesecakes.)

9. EnJOY every yummy bite!

10. Store leftovers in the refrigerator up to one week (it won't last that long, but you can try)!

 If Coconut Cream Pie isn't your favorite, try one of these recipes. You can never go wrong with peanut butter!
No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie
(A similar recipe can be found on page 129 in "A Pinch of This ... A Smidgen of That" cookbook. I think this recipe ---below--- is much easier and takes less ingredients than the one in the cookbook. Both are very good.)
No Bake Peanut Butter Pie

1 - 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1 - cup powdered sugar
3/4 - cup creamy peanut butter
2 Tablespoons milk (2% is okay)
8 oz. container of whipped topping (I like Cool Whip best.)
1 baked (and cooled) 9-inch pie crust (or if you prefer, you can use graham cracker crust)
1/2 cup salted dry roasted peanuts (optional... most of the time, I don't use these, but I this time so I could photograph it.)
In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, peanut butter, and milk until light and fluffy. Using a spatula, fold in whipped topping. Spoon into crust and spread evenly. Coarsely chop the peanuts and sprinkle over the top to garnish. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Yield: 6-8 servings.

And, if peanut butter is off limits for you, how about some yummy chocolate?
(Page 122 in "A Pinch of This ... A Smidgen of That" cookbook)
Here's another view ... I love pretty pies! :-) especially when they taste even better than they look!
1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup (6 oz.) Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 cup chopped nuts
Sweetened whipped cream or ice cream (optional)
PREHEAT oven to 325° F.

BEAT eggs in large mixer bowl on high speed until foamy. Beat in flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat in butter. Stir in morsels and nuts. Spoon into pie shell.

BAKE for 55 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between edge and center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm with whipped cream.
Whether you celebrate National Pi Day or just want to bake a pie for your family (or friend, or neighbor), I hope you enJOY your time in the kitchen and you are able to BLESS someone with your delicious pies.  (Don't forget to check out the Fried Apple Pies recipe and tutorial here -- http://www.pinchofthissmidgenofthat.blogspot.com/search/label/Fried%20Apple%20Pies). If you use one of these recipes from today's post, take a photo and email it to me! (pkrains@gmail.com) I'll post it here. You never know, you might just win a cookbook. :-)
I just received two photos of pies from a blog follower, Alan Williams, who made the pies to share with his co-workers. They look delicious! Great job, Alan! Congratulations on winning a copy of "A Pinch of This ... A Smidgen of That" cookbook!