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Pie Requires Patience: We’re Still Here!

11 Mar

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In a flurry of excitement, my friend Christie and I joined forces last summer and pledged to  breathe some new life into Pie Eyed. The hobby blog I had been working on for five years suddenly sprang to life as Christie helped me gain the confidence to push Pie Eyed out further into the world.  We started an Instagram page to gather our pie-loving friends (you can follow us at @pieeyedlove), a Facebook page and with the help of Christie’s tech-savy partner in crime, started to build a new website.

I’ll admit, I had moments where I was nervous to share my hobby.  I was protective over my simple blog and the intent behind it. Christie and I talked about this and I took comfort knowing that Christie respected this and understood what the blog meant to me.

Truth be told, protecting the “brand” of my blog was not really what was bothering me. By sharing my blog and giving it somewhat of a rebirth in look, feel and partnership, I was writing a new narrative about what this blog was and why it existed. I had to let go of the story from my first five years – the hobby that helped me cope with my miscarriages.  Pie Eyed was the last physical reminder of the years I spent wrestling with all the residual feelings of miscarriage. Those five years of making pie saw me through my last miscarriage, our exploration of adoption, my momentary quest to reverse my husband’s vasectomy, and my realization that our family was complete and that it was time to stop chasing a child that was not meant to join us.

Sharing this blog has encouraged me to release my grip on the past. Pie Eyed was born because, well, the third child I wanted was not.  But Pie Eyed grew up to be so much more.  Pie Eyed is a place for everyone to share a love of pie making, pie eating, and discover how easy it is to show kindness through making  and sharing food.

Pie Eyed has been quiet for some time.  We are building our new website while we manage families, new jobs, and everything else that life throws our way.  Pie requires patience, and apparently, so does building a pie website!  Stay with us – it will be worth it. Don’t forget, you can follow along in the meantime through our Instagram page at @pieeyedlove. We’ll be celebrating Pi Day with a super fun project that’s in the works!

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Cherry Pie is My Mom’s Pie

9 Aug

Cherry Pie

Sour cherry pie is my mom’s pie. Long before pie was my thing, my mom was filling the freezer with cherry pies. I didn’t even like them until well into my adulthood and don’t remember my mom making any other fruit pies. “Why can’t you make apple?” I protested.

My parents have lived in their 100-something year-old Sears catalog (no joke!) farmhouse bungalow since I was 13. We had previously lived in a townhouse with generous but communal green space when my parents bought this very simple and outdated—it didn’t have a shower or a dishwasher—house. It had a barn and a chicken coop on two acres with a creek as the western property line and was surrounded by hundreds of acres of grape farms.

I don’t remember if the fruit trees were there when we moved in or if my parents planted them along with the ambitiously large gardens we had in those early years. The peach and apple trees were never all that successful. But every year in July, the cherry tree would be heavy with tart red berries and my mom and I were charged with harvesting and pitting the juicy fruit before the birds gorged themselves.

I was a typical teen girl with wildly undulating emotions, most of which manifested as angsty resentment toward my mom. I didn’t like cherry pie and her cherry-pie-making was obviously [insert eye roll] another example of her egregious lack of regard for me; so looking back I imagine that I made the chore pretty unpleasant for my mother. I hated the bugs that the bright fragrant berries attracted, and I hated the sticky crimson juice that ran down my arms as we picked and pitted them. Continue reading

Pie is Meant to be Shared

8 Aug

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“Sometimes people are layered like that. There’s something totally different underneath than what’s on the surface. Like with pie.”- Joss Whedon 

I’ve developed quite the reputation for my obsession with pie over the years.  In the same way I don’t understand my brother-in-law’s passion for collecting coins, not everyone understands why pie is so exciting to me. That’s the beauty of a hobby – it’s personal and driven by an intrinsic energy that is summoned by that particular activity.  For my brother-in-law, it’s coins.  For my husband, it’s records. For my friend, it’s keeping bees. For me, it’s pie.

But some people GET me.  One of those is my friend, Christie.  We’ve known each other for more than a decade.  She was on the board of the non-profit I worked at back when we were young, passionate women who were birthing our first babies and saving the world. We ran in similar circles over the years and were reunited about three years ago when Christie became a colleague of mine at the current non-profit hospital we raise money for. Among the many things we had in common, we shared a love of making pie. More importantly, we discovered that we were similar in our love for not just making pie, but making it for other people, gathering, feeding and extending generosity to others whenever we could. We were pie soulmates.

Exactly one year ago, I reached out to Christie with an idea.  I had been neglecting Pie Eyed because I was experimenting with other blog platforms but I missed it. There was so much potential in this little blog but I needed to infuse it with some new energy.  And I knew exactly where to find it – Christie.

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I talk a lot about pie being a metaphor for life, and it could not be more true right now.  Pie is meant to be shared, and so is Pie Eyed.  It took us a year of planning and dreaming, but we are finally ready to introduce a new and improved Pie Eyed to the world and I am excited to introduce you to Christie!  She will be my partner in pie, baking, writing and working with me to bring you some exciting changes in the coming months. We can’t wait to double the pie love around here and share our enthusiasm for living a simple and generous life!

Em and Christie

Partners in Pie:  Christie and Emily

Raspberry Peach Pie

13 Jul

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The Republican National Convention is about to invade my city in a matter of days.  Politics is in the air and I want to crawl under my bed and hide.  It’s my least favorite subject and I avoid it at all costs.

I’m the mushy middle.  Hopelessly moderate on just about everything political and non-political.

Parenting – I have no strong feelings about organic/BPA/homemade baby food/disposable diapers/sleep schedules….I’m over here like, do your best people.

Food – Equal opportunity eater.  I see the value in organic but I also see the price tag. I would love to eat only local, but I also need to feed my kids and be out the door in 30 minutes. Trader Joe’s will have to do because the lettuce I bought at the farmers’ market is starting to wilt and I didn’t purchase local meat because we had to go straight from the market to baseball.

Philanthropic causes – If you are a cheerleader by nature like me, then you can’t pick just one!  How I wish I had a cause that I was 100% passionate about.  One that I volunteered for and spent my time raising awareness and funds for. But Miss Moderate over here supports everything a little bit, “likes” it on Facebook and sends $100 donations here and there to worthy efforts.

Diet and Exercise – I run…a little bit.  I do yoga…sometimes.  I did the 10 Day Detox…for four days.  I eat clean…when I feel like it. I’ll limit my sugar intake…tomorrow. Vegan, Vegetarian, Paleo, Clean – where is the label for people like me that just do what feels right?  Oh wait, that’s emotional eaters.

All hope is not lost. There are a handful of unrelated things that I am 100% passionate about and do not waiver.

Women – Anything having to do with women, women’s health, women’s equality. You won’t be able to rip me out of my firmly planted views of the importance of raising up women in all facets here in our country and across the globe. The health of women’s lives in any given society (education, physical health, employment, etc.) is indicative of the health of that society as a whole.  See, I have soap box tendencies.

Dancing – I don’t care what I look like or who is watching.  I can’t stop myself.  I’m that sweaty, ridiculous dancer cutting it up to “It Takes Two” on the dance floor. I don’t just sometimes dance.  I always dance. Not matter what.

Pie – What is it about me and pie?  I can’t shake it!  I could talk about it forever!  I find so much value in this highly coveted pastry. I am nowhere near as passionate about cake and cookies.  I’m back in the moderate category when it comes to those.  But pie, the holy grail of baking challenges, is my passion.

And with that, I give you the must-eat pie of the summer.  No moderate opinions on this one.  Raspberry Peach Pie is summer in a crust. Continue reading

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Perfected

29 Jun

Rhubarb

Strawberry rhubarb pie is MY pie.  The one that I would choose over all others.  The one that I wait 10 months out of the year for and spend the other two hoarding rhubarb as if the apocalypse is upon us. I grow it, I buy it, I steal it from neighbors’ yards.  Nothing stands between me and rhubarb in these late spring and early summer months.

Strawberry rhubarb is also the pie that carries the most memories for me.  My grandmother made it and my recipe is a variation of hers.  For some reason, pie gets more street credit if it comes from a grandmother.  Add to that a Hungarian immigrant grandmother (though strawberry rhubarb has nothing to do with Hungary) and you have a legit legacy happening there. It’s become my mission to perfect this pie.

Truth be told, the original recipe was better in my memories.  It needed a little enhancement, so I have spent the past few years adjusting the recipe in the hopes of perfection.  The one thing standing in my way was the inevitable juice factor – my pie was delicious but habitually runny.  I had almost resigned to the fact that it was just going to be this way until a happy little accident happened to me last week.

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I was preparing a dessert that called for rhubarb to be coated in sugar. Somewhere along the way I didn’t get past this step and bailed on my plans for that particular dessert.  A couple of hours later I decided to make a pie and found that the sugar had helped release much of the water from the rhubarb.  I proceeded with my pie to find that it was PERFECT.  I’m not kidding – compact, beautiful and not runny at all!  This was too good to be true.

I made pie again my usual way.  Delicious but runny.

I made pie again the new way letting the rhubarb sit in sugar ahead of time. Delicious and NOT RUNNY!  If you don’t have the time, I don’t think this makes or breaks the pie.  However, it certainly is a step that helps prevent a super runny pie.

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People, I have put the final piece of the puzzle together and I give you the best strawberry rhubarb pie recipe. Continue reading

I Miss Pie

25 Jun

I’m homesick for this blog.  Pie Eyed was started so innocently, as a way to lighten my personal load and channel energy into something uplifting. And it worked.  I loved where this blog took me over the years.

I took a break from pie when my love of writing random thoughts ignited a new blog I named Fix Serve.  It was a cousin to Pie Eyed but focused more on my hobby of writing essays and less about baking. It seemed logical to separate the two but I have been homesick for Pie Eyed ever since.

I’m more comfortable here.  On these familiar, unfussy pages, I take myself less seriously.  I’ve been quiet in my writing because I’m tired of hearing myself think. And I’m tired of being a part of the sea of blogs that tell each other what they think through open letters and numbered lists of opinions about mundane topics. Pie Eyed was lighter, less serious and, well, me.  In a time when our world is getting more serious by the minute, I want rewind and go back to pie.

So, in an open letter to no one who is paying attention, here are five reasons I am going back to pie:

  1. Pie keeps my mind light and surrounds me with comfort and good feelings.
  2. Pie is timeless and infuses my psyche with a reminder to keep things simple.
  3. Pie reminds me that beauty is on the inside.
  4. Pie inspires gathering – you can’t eat one alone.
  5. Pie gives us something to agree on in a world where our differences are dividing us.

I’m going back to pie.  My place where the world stays simple and we talk about things that are interesting, beautiful and delicious.

15 ways to betteryourself at work

 

Strawberry Muffin Tin Pies

4 Aug

The Wallpaper Factor

I saw an article recently about a woman who wore a hidden camera to show how many times she received harassment from men in a day.  The article brought back a memory of some advice I received from an elderly woman not too long ago.

Before I go any further, let me be the first to acknowledge that there is an entire spectrum of uninvited harassment that women receive from a basic hello to lewd comments and gestures.  And there is also an entire spectrum of feelings that women exhibit in response to these from indifference to discomfort and many times fear.  AND, since I am putting out all the necessary qualifications I need to in order to go on about my random thoughts, let me also acknowledge that cat calling and harassment can happen to anyone from anyone regardless of gender.  There.

Anyways… I’m not gonna lie, I don’t mind the basic, non-threatening holler or comment from random strangers.  I find them to be a mini-self esteem boost and actually appreciate someone taking notice.  I realize that the impetus of the comments has absolutely nothing to do with me.  They are just attention seeking behaviors that would be thrown at any woman standing on the sidewalk at that moment.  But since said man took the liberty to extend his holler, glance or compliment, I will take the liberty to interpret it how I want to and decide that yes, I am awesome and I do look hot today.

Several months ago, I was walking to a restaurant with an elderly woman who I admire very much.  She’s a class act and has been at the forefront of some of the major arts and social movements in Cleveland. In 1961,  she was the first woman to walk through the front doors of the oldest social club in Cleveland (est. 1872) that until then had been  exclusively men.  On that walk to the restaurant, I was the recipient of a very loud and animated compliment from a man passing by.  I mentioned to this woman that I was always conflicted on how to respond in these moments.  She stopped walking, looked straight at me and said, “You say thank you.” Continue reading

Apple Raspberry Rhubarb Pie

11 May

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From This Mom To Her Village:

Mother’s Day feels like a very linear holiday for a role that is so dynamic.  I celebrate my mom, my kids celebrate me, and so on.  We go to brunch and plant flowers in a domino effect of celebration and admiration for our respective mothers and mothers’ mothers.  To me, Mother’s Day is less about an individual called a “mother” and more about the act of “mothering.”  The verb is more dynamic and to me, captures what raising children and frankly, raising each other, is all about.  For one to be a mother, you need a community of mothering that surrounds you.  This community reinforces the values you are imparting to your children and slowly weaves a world outside of your nuclear family for them to venture out into.

I know I’m THE BEST MOM IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD (see!), but I didn’t get that way overnight and not without a lot, and I mean A LOT, of help.  There is an entire village around me that has helped mold me into the mother my kids perceive me to be. On Mother’s Day, this mother needs to thank her village for allowing her to be the mother she is trying to be. Continue reading

Recipes I LOVE and cannot live without

15 Feb

My close friends will tell you that I can wax poetic about the dynamics of love and relationships indefinitely.  I never tire of discussing the complex world of pursuing and then maintaining a loving, healthy, relationship.  After all, the need to be loved is at the core of human nature and human sexuality.  Our feelings about love, sex and relationships inform our entire life whether we realize it or not, so making space to try to understand how these dynamics affect us is well worth it in the quest for overall happiness.

When I was 14, my Sex Ed teacher gave me a book called Love, by Leo Buscaglia.  It was by far the most transformational book of my life.  I read it cover to cover and have since read it multiple times.  The book was filled with giant concepts of love far beyond the romantic sense.  In fact, it focused mostly on love of oneself as a key to having successful relationships.  At 14, this book accelerated my commitment to loving myself and constructed the lens through which I would approach relationships for the rest of my life.  It was powerful stuff and I credit that teacher and that book with what resulted in years of (mostly) healthy relationships and a strong sense of self.

What has transpired from my hobby of analyzing and pontificating about relationships is a fair amount of solicited and unsolicited advice-giving.  In the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, I got into quite a few conversations with friends about variations of love – new love, maintaining love, and misdirected love.  All of my advice ended up back at one main theme.  Much like the book I read at 14, my theory is rooted in the fact that successful relationships stem from a solid sense of self identity.

As I talked about these different types of relationships, I kept seeing pictures in my mind. I’m a visual learner, so in order to get the thoughts out of my head, I drew my theories out on paper.  What resulted were the three main models of relationships that I feel are the most frequent among couples.  Clearly, it is impossible to sum up all relationships into three categories, but if you ask me (and I know you didn’t), here’s what I think a successful relationship looks like.

Exhibit A:  The Ideal Relationship

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I stand firmly behind my feelings that the most successful relationships start with two individuals who have a fully developed sense of self.  They have unique interests and their self identity is derived from within, not from external sources.  When these two people get together, they form a third entity where their shared interests and values overlap.

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In this model, there are three entities working together; two whole people and a third sphere which is the life and relationship that forms from combining the two.  The middle reflects the shared interests, the values and the chemistry that make this more than a friendship.  But outside of the relationship, each person still has unique interests to call their own and you can separate the two circles and they remain whole.  The sense of self remains intact.

Exhibit B:  You Complete Me

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In this scenario, you have two people who are still working on developing a full sense of self.  They mistakenly look to potential partners to complete whatever is missing and can be vulnerable to unhealthy relationships.  Each person enters into the relationship with their own interests and values, but they are unable to maintain a full sense of self.  The third entity shown in Exhibit A does not form, as this couple moves en mass sharing the same interests and building their identity through the other.

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Instead of a fancy venn diagram, you end up with one circle where the original self gets lost and you can’t see where one ends and the other begins.  Are these relationships doomed to fail?  Not necessarily.  But they are vulnerable to turmoil as the two people change over time.

Exhibit C:  If It’s Broken, Don’t Try to Fix It

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Giant. Red. Flag.  This relationship seems to be the most doomed to fail.  In this scenario, a person with a fully developed sense of self (Person 1) gets with a person who has a underdeveloped sense of self (Person 2).  Person 1 likes a challenge and thinks they can fix Person 2.  We all know how this ends….badly. Person 1 ends up feeling smothered and often times has a momentary lapse of their own sense of self as Person 2 latches onto them and their life (we’ve all lamented friends who are just not themselves anymore since getting into a relationship).

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The third entity from Exhibit A is unable to form in this scenario because Person 2 is deriving their identity from Person 1.  Meanwhile Person 1 begins to put up boundaries to preserve their sense of self, eventually pushing Person 2 away leaving remnants of a very tumultuous relationship in their wake.

I’ve worked hard over the years to model my marriage after Exhibit A.  In fact, as I look back over our 15 years together, the roughest times for me have been when my sense of self was diminished.  The years following having children were a major culprit and it took time and hard work to bring balance back and renew my new identity which now included being a mother. Relationships are dynamic and can shift in and out of the various models over the span of a lifetime.  If you grow your roots in a healthy approach that values two whole people uniting to build a relationship, you can surely weather the rough patches and restore balance while strengthening your partnership.  In my opinion, that is!

Recipes I LOVE and cannot live without

In honor of Valentines Day, I’m throwing some love to the recipes that have changed my life.  These are the recipes that I go back to time and again, no longer looking for anything better.  They are in heavy rotation and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Fluffy Pancakes from Allrecipes.com

Stop using the box.  This recipe is all you need and is forgiving enough to improvise with anything you have in your cupboard.  Add some fruit, some oatmeal, sub whole wheat flour – it never fails.

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies from Annie’s Eats

Confession:  I love those cakey, frosted sugar cookies that you get from the grocery store.  This recipe is exactly that but better!  Better like amazing.  I rarely make any other kind of sugar cookie anymore because these are so good.

Glazed Lemon Cookies from Martha Stewart

Hands down, these are sunshine in a cookie.  I start making these when I see the first spring flower and then make my last batch at the end of August before the kids go back to school.  They are bright, flavorful and refreshing cookies that everyone loves.  Take them out of the oven before they look done if you want a softer cookie.

Eating Well meal plans

This magazine (and website) was a game changer for our family. I think I can safely say that every recipe we have made has been fantastic.  Not only are they delicious, but they are not complicated and they are healthy.  My husband is the cook of the family and he has found this meal plan function on their website to be invaluable.  They give you a month of meals and a shopping list, or you can pare down the meal plan to as many days as you want. Dinner is served.

There you have it – I just don’t like these, I LOVE them.  XOXO

The Unexpected Side of Pie

28 Jan

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And she learned to make pie and lived happily ever after.  The end.

That’s is exactly how I expected this blog to go.  It was going to be about my year of pie, how I learned to make it and offer tips and tricks for others aspiring to become competent pie makers.

What I didn’t expect was my public confession that the blog was disguising a broken heart over a fourth miscarriage that exhausted my mind and extinguished my dreams of a third child. I didn’t expect that my blog would become an occasional outlet to express my thoughts about fertility and loss and that strangers would find me and leave comments or messages of support and gratitude for providing a positive, honest outlook on a very delicate topic.  The unexpected side of pie was that it provided healing not just for me, but countless others.

What I didn’t expect was that a wonderful woman from Sugarland Texas would send me the cookbook she made with her mother, entitled none other than Pie Eyed.  That a short email friendship with a fellow baking enthusiast would result in a gift that is so special and dear to me.  The unexpected side of pie was that it allowed two strangers in two different states the opportunity to bake the same recipes and share with each other a piece of their lives.

What I didn’t expect was that I would chat with a man in California about his lemon trees, that people from 61 different countries would read my blog, that more than 15,000 visits would be logged (14,000 of which I’m certain are my mother) and that I would reconnect with childhood teachers and friends.  I didn’t anticipate that pie would evolve into an offering of gratitude and create a bridge for me to cross into the lives of people such as Ednia Eason, homeless families and even the oil change guy. The unexpected side of pie was that it gave me a portal to the world from my small town Cleveland kitchen.

That’s exactly how I did NOT expect this blog to go.

And she learned to make pie and lived happily ever after knowing that the unexpected side of pie is in the story that unfolds after it comes out of the oven.  The end.

Continue reading