Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I've been busy!

I have been so busy these days! Someone should have warned me not to sign up as Ethan's room mom and to volunteer on the PTA. I didn't know quite how much I was committing to. It has been fun though. I have now published two PTA newsletters for Ethan's school and survived Ethan's fall class party. Now I am starting on my Christmas shopping, which is tiring as well! I have made three trips to Toys R Us in the past two days, and I need to go back again! 'Tis the season, eh?

I mentioned to many of you in a recent e-mail that our family joined our church earlier this month. Zachary was baptized and we were welcomed into Hope Presbyterian Church on November 1st. I never in a million years imagined joining a church as large and "contemporary" as this one, or one that was not Lutheran, but I have to say that I love it. I feel so at home here. Everyone goes out of their way to make you feel welcomed, no matter if you've been attending for 10 years or 10 minutes. Jason and I both feel comfortable there and have agreed that we take so much home with us from the worship service each week. The pastors have a way of relating the message to our daily lives, and I often think (sometimes out loud), "Hey, he's talking to me!" Right now they are conducting a series on finances (getting out debt & living on a budget), and how we are merely stewards of God's money. The series has included clips of the pastor's interview with Dave Ramsey, who teaches a class that Jason and I took called Financial Peace University. (Thanks to that class we are well on our way to being completely debt free, eventually including our house!) Ethan and Zachary enjoy their Sunday school classes, the preschool and the recreation ministries (soccer!!!). The church has so many other ministry and service opportunities as well; I love that it is such a service-oriented community. This week, their kitchen ministry unveiled a new Hope Church Chefs blog where they promise to publish budget-friendly recipes and answer cooking questions submitted by their readers. So cool. Anyway, whenever you come to visit Memphis, I would like to invite you to attend a service with us. It is unlike any church you've ever attended (in a good way). We look forward to going each week.

Back to cooking: Thanksgiving is only two weeks away and I can already taste the turkey & stuffing, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie! (Mom, don't forget the Cool Whip, please!) These are some of my holiday favorites. What are yours? Leave me a comment and let me know. If you've got the recipe handy, send me that too. Meanwhile, I'll be posting some of our family's traditional Thanksgiving recipes, starting with dessert first of course!

Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie
From the side of the can of pumpkin
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 (15-oz.) can LIBBY'S 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 (12-fl. oz.) can CARNATION Evaporated Milk
1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
Whipped cream (optional)

Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell.

Bake in preheated 425° F. oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F.; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.

Note: 1 ¾ teaspoons pumpkin spice may be substituted for the cinnamon, ginger and cloves; however, the taste will be slightly different. Do not freeze, as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling.

For 2 shallow pies: substitute two 9-inch (2-cup volume) pie shells. Bake in preheated 425° F. oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F.; bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until pies test done.

Classic Pecan PieFrom the Karo Syrup bottle
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1 cup Karo Light or Dark Corn Syrup
2 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ cups pecans
1 (9-inch) unbaked or frozen deep-dish pie crust

Preheat oven to 350°. In medium bowl with fork beat eggs slightly. Add sugar, corn syrup, margarine and vanilla; stir until blended. Stir in pecans. Pour into pie crust.

Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

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