Has Anyone Not Been Touched by Cancer?

Tomorrow my mom and I will be traveling to the VA Hospital to sit and wait while my Dad has his large intestine removed due to another go around with colon cancer.

At the age of 42 my Dad had part of his small intestine removed after his first diagnosis of colon cancer. For almost 30 years he has lived with a colostomy. Now at the age of 70 he once again is fighting cancer and all of his large intestine must be removed due to a cancerous tumor blocking the flow through it.

I am writing this post not only to ask for your prayers of healing for my Dad but also to tell you that this could have been prevented.

It had been five years from his last colonoscopy and for a man with this kind of history with cancer, waiting five years in between exams could have proven deadly. No excuse in my opinion, justifies not getting regular exams and preventative check-ups with your physician.

My Dad has not been the only member of his family diagnosed with colon cancer. His mother was also diagnosed in her fifties with it. That many years ago the treatment was not terribly kind. Although she did not have to have a colostomy she suffered decades of stomach and intestinal irregularities because of the massive amounts of chemo they flooded her small body with.

With this kind family history of colon cancer it was recommended that I start having colonoscopies in my thirties. At 38 I had my first colonoscopy and everything was fine.

Please, PLEASE if you have any family history of cancer or any other kind of preventable disease keep up on your yearly exams. It could be a life saver! -MM

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Week #3 and #4 Pie Challenge

I apologize for my late delivery of week #3 ‘s Pie Challenge. We had a week of mind numbing busyness and Internet connection problems which will hopefully be resolved soon.

So here goes! Week #3’s selection was a Brown Sugar, Maple, Apple, Pear Pie. I made the recipe up myself because I had plenty of apples and pears on hand from our trees. I chose brown sugar instead of granulated sugar because Doug loves brown sugar. I thought “let’s try it!”

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Both the apples and the pears were under ripe and very tart in my case so please adjust the sugar to your taste.

The filling:
About 2-1/2 cups sliced pears
About 2-1/2 cups sliced apples
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup pure male syrup (not the fake stuff people)
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp soft butter
6 Tbsp all purpose flour
A little extra butter to use for brushing on the top crust at the end along with cinnamon sugar

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Combine everything into a large bowl and set aside to prepare the crust.

The crust:
2/3 cup shortening
2 cups all purpose flour
About 6 to 8 Tbsp ice cold water

This pie crust my Granny taught me is a very standard crust. In her day lard would have been used instead of the shortening.

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Incorporate the shortening into the flour with either a hand pastry blender or a fork until the shortening is well distributed throughout the flour.

Add the ice cold water a Tablespoon at a time using the fork to blend just until you get the crumbs to start to stick together. Do not stir! If you over mix you will get a tough crust and if this happens throw it out and start over.

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Roll half of the dough (reserving the other half for the top crust) out on to a lightly floured wooden surface. Always flour your rolling pin as you go not your surface after the first initial flouring. If you mess up do not re-roll the crust it will be tough.

Using a metal spatula gently slide underneath the dough after you have rolled it out freeing it from the surface you rolled it out on (Maybe I should do a tutorial on pie crust technique).

I roll the crust up onto the rolling pin and then lift it over the pie pan. That’s one of the easiest ways to get a crust into the pan.

Fill the bottom crust with the pear and apple filling and then roll out the second crust and crimp the edges to seal everything in. Brush the top crust with melted butter and sprinkle on a little cinnamon sugar mixture

Bake at 375 degrees for at least 45 minutes. In my opinion the pie is done when you insert a knife through the filling and it doesn’t hit a hard apple.

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We loved this combo although I didn’t really get a lot of the maple flavoring. I might increase that or outright remove it the next time. This was a sweet pie but the apples were so tart that it worked our perfectly. Again if you like a tarter pie then decrease the sugar to your liking. Also you can always use your own pie crust recipe or even a store bought crust if you like.

Week #4 Pie Challenge -Key Lime Pie

My husband loves Key Lime Pie. Everytime I make it though it’s not what he really pictures. I found this recipe for Key Lime from the Smitten Kitchen. Let’s see what he thinks about this recipe.

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2015/01/key-lime-pie/

The Smitten Kitchen does such a great job of explaining how to make this pie that I think I will save myself the time and let you check the blog and recipe out for yourself. I added my own pictures below to prove that yes I did actually make the pie haha!

Although this recipe was the best scratch recipe that I have ever tried for a key lime it still did not satisfy the picky husband. I have come to conclude that  the kind of key lime he wants is really the tacky green dyed stuff from a box. Sigh…. I do hope you try this recipe though! -MM

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Week #2 of Operation Pie – Pineapple Cream

In honor of Labor Day and the hot and humid temps here in Western New York, I decided that the second pie of my pie challenge should be my pineapple cream. It is virtually a no bake pie, especially if you use a store bought graham cracker crust.

My Great Aunt Leona used to make this pie and as a child I loved it’s cool, fruity, creamy flavor on a hot day just like we are having now. Hope you like it as much as we do!

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According to the box’s directions the graham cracker crust is 1-1/4 cups of graham cracker crumbs, a 1/4 cup sugar and a 1/3 cup of melted butter.

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Mix the three ingredients in a bowl until incorporated thoroughly. The result will look like moist sand.

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Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9″ pie pan. Bake at 375 degrees for about 6-8 minutes until lightly browned.

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For the filling: in one bowl combine 1- 8oz container of whipped topping unthawed and 1-1/4 cups of sour cream. Stir to combine thoroughly.

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In a second bowl combine and stir together 1 box of vanilla instant pudding (3.5 oz) and 1 can of crushed pineapple in heavy syrup drained.

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Put both bowls of ingredients together into one bowl.

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Stir together

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Spoon into the cooled pie shell. Chill for a couple of hours in the fridge and serve cold. Easy peasy huh?

Doug eats this pie for breakfast. He claims it is fruit and dairy. How can you argue with that?

Here is the complete recipe:

Crust:

1-1/4 cups of graham crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter melted

Filling:

1 box of instant vanilla pudding

1 regular sized can of pineapple in heavy syrup

1- 8 oz. container of whipped topping unthawed

1-1/4 cups sour cream

Directions:

For the crust: Mix the three ingredients in a bowl until incorporated thoroughly. The result will look like moist sand. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9″ pie pan. Bake at 375 degrees for about 6-8 minutes until lightly browned.

For the filling: in one bowl combine the whipped topping and sour cream. Stir to combine thoroughly. In a second bowl combine and stir together the vanilla pudding and pineapple. Put both bowls of ingredients together into one bowl. Stir together. Spoon into the cooled pie shell. Chill for a couple of hours in the fridge and serve cold.

Happy Labor Day Everyone! -MM

Week #1 of Operation Pie – Mississippi Mocha Mud Pie

If you ask the males in our household which they would rather have for their dessert, cake or pie, they would probably say “pie” about 95% of the time. So when I brought the subject of a pie challenge up to Doug his eyes lit up like a Christmas tree in a Chevy Chase movie.

I plan to feature a different pie every week for the next 52 weeks. Pretty big deal huh? If you have a favorite pie recipe that you would like me to try out in the next 52 weeks please feel free to e-mail me at marymargaretripley@yahoo.com with your recipe and story (I love a good story behind a recipe) and I will try it out and feature it on the blog if all goes well. With that, here is the How-to and recipe for Week #1 Mississippi Mocha Mud Pie. Enjoy!

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Start with 18 Oreo cookies, fillings removed. Grind along with a 1/4 cup of chopped pecans and 1 Tbsp of sugar in a food processor or mini-chopper.

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In a bowl add a 1/4 cup of melted butter to the cookie, sugar and pecan, mixture

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Remove 3 Tbsp of mixture and set aside to use as a garnish later. Press remaining mixture into the bottom of a 9″ pie pan and bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. No wonder they call it a mud pie it looks like potting soil!

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For the filling, using a medium saucepan, whisk together 3-1/2 Tbsp of cornstarch, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1/4 tsp salt until combined well.

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To the above dry ingredients add 3 large egg yolks, 1-1/3 cups of milk (I only had 2% on hand but the original recipe calls for whole) and 1/3 cup of brewed coffee.

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Whisking all of the wet and dry ingredients together in the saucepan, place over medium heat whisking constantly until it begins to boil. As it starts to boil it will get thicker and harder to whisk but keep whisking for another 30 seconds after it starts. Remove from heat.

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After removing from heat immediately add 2 Tbsp butter, 1/3 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips, and 1-1/2 tsp of vanilla.

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Whisk together until the butter and chocolate have melted and the whole mixture is smooth and silky.

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Pour the filling into the cooled pie crust and cover with plastic wrap. Chill it in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight. Looks great already doesn’t it?

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Before serving the chilled pie, top with whipped cream. Combine in a stand mixture or use your handy dandy hand mixture, 1-1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream, 1-1/2 Tbsp powdered sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla. Whip until soft peaks form.

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Spread the whipped cream over the top of the pie and if you like you can pipe it on with a pastry bag like I did. Sprinkle the toasted pecans and reserved cookie mixture over the top of the whipped cream and drizzle chocolate sauce over all of it. Yum!

Over all this recipe trying it for the first time was fantastic! There are a couple of things I think I would tweak though. One being, add more filling. I would have liked it a little fuller. Either that or use an 8″ pie pan instead of a 9″ pie pan. Two, I used walnuts instead of pecans and I wished I had used the pecans. Three, I really didn’t taste a lot of the coffee so next time I will use a stronger brew. Four, I will chill it overnight. It was even better the next day .

This was one of the easiest cream pies I have ever made and I hope to use these same methods with other cream pies. I have never put the egg yolks directly into the mixture while it was cold. Most recipes and methods call for putting half of the hot mixture into the egg yolks separately then dumping the whole egg mixture back into the original mixture. This recipe eliminated that extra step and it worked beautifully!

As far as the taste and how it went over with the guys? Scott gave it two thumbs up and Doug…well he likes banana cream pies better. Ha! Next time Doug!

I will definitely make this pie again. Here is the link to the original recipe for easy printing. Posted by David on his blog, Spiced-One Dash at a Time. Thanks for a great recipe David! http://spicedblog.com/mocha-mississippi-mud-pie.html

Until next week! -MM