pies & paint: the pie

Happy Friday everybody! 
It finally feels like Spring is here to stay and although I'll be a crunchy-leaves-jumping, snowflake-eating, cold-weather-lover till I die...I am definitely enjoying being able to open the windows and bask in a nice breeze. 

We had a blast celebrating Easter with family last weekend and for the occasion, I made two pies, one of which I knew I had to share. Frankly, it's not unreasonable to say that I could eat my way out of a swimming pool filled with this pie. And if I didn't make it, I would die blissful. Okay - maybe a little overdramatic, but it was super tasty.

Perfect for Spring, Chocolate Cream Pie

- a 9" pie crust (either homemade or frozen will do)
- 1 egg white
- 3 egg yolks, beaten
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract


  • Brush pie shell with egg white and bake at 350F until just shy of browned. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, cream together the egg yolks and sugar. Mix in the cornstarch, cocoa, and salt. Add milk and cream, stirring gently till mostly combined.
  • Pour mixture into a large saucepan. Over medium heat and stirring constantly, bring the mixture to boil (this took me around 20 minutes but is worth doing slowly to avoid scalding the milk).
  • Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla. Cool for 5-10 minutes then pour into pie shell.
  • Chill overnight or for several hours. If there is condensation on the surface of the pie after chilling, gently lay a paper towel over it to absorb excess moisture.
  • Top with whipped topping (see note). Garnish with shaved chocolate for increased fanciness.

- If you have extra filling that will not fit in your pie shell, do yourself a favor and pour it into a small tupperware. Chill and top with extra whipped topping for a treat for later.
- To make homemade whipped topping, stick a medium bowl and your beaters into the freezer for 30 minutes. Combine 1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract. Whip on medium until stiff peaks form, around 5-7 minutes. 


schizophrenic maybe

Hello, my name is Sarah, and sometimes I have no clue who I really am.

The "most-days me" loves serving coffee, is sometimes witty and often blunt, can binge-watch fun TV shows for days, loves chocolate more than anyone should, and seems to always have a checklist of to-dos in hand.

But then....

Some days I think maybe the real me is quieter, less sarcastic, a better listener, dreams more often, worries less, detests TV and spends all her time outdoors sketching flowers and thinking deeply. She's always kind and gentle and is never out of place riding a bicycle with a kitten in the basket.

Some days the real me is from another time. Jane Austen and Downton Abby feel like home (the downstairs though, because let's be at least a little realistic). Barring time travel, all I need is a huge antique store and some friends to invite over for tea. Needlework and dances at the town hall are the name of the game.

Some days I see myself working in a garden, listening to folk music, tending chickens and flour-dusted from breadmaking. I spend my days simply, enjoying our little seaside home inside an old lighthouse. It's sort of isolated and quiet but the view and nearby town are lovely. (This is an actual lifelong dream of mine - no mocking)

Some days I live on a horse ranch in Montana, making a living off refinishing furniture and Etsy.
Some days we're in a tiny studio apartment in the heart of a big city, two farmers markets within walking distance. Maybe in Europe.

Some days I picture our home well-kept and always entertaining friends, visions of dining tables with beautiful linens and carefully chosen centerpieces dance in my head.
Some days I long for a drafty old farmhouse with chipped, mismatching china. It's a bit messy but lovely and inviting with a year-round fireside glow.

How do I know which of these people is me? Are they all solid contenders for the future or will I end up as some weird amalgam all crammed into one? Do I just have a seriously overactive imagination? Am I glimpsing myself in parallel universes, the fate of which lies in the minute decisions I make today -- buy a cantaloupe, change your fate, that kind of thing? I doubt it.

Sometimes I feel like I have no clue who I am, but other times I feel like trying to change the little things (like being a little less sarcastic, maybe...just an random example - cough cough) is just as impossible as knowing the future.
I trust that God has an amazing plan for me and for our little family. I'm not worried because I know whatever the outcome, it's going to be great.

Mostly, I wonder, does everyone feel like this sometimes or is it just me?


blessings & a recipe

I just feel so blessed today. Blessed to be surrounded by my amazing family, blessed to have plenty of food on our table, and most of all, blessed to be redeemed by an empty grave. Outside the sky is clear blue and wisteria is in bloom all over town. I am truly and deeply blessed.

I am also blessed to have a husband willing to try anything I manage to concoct in our kitchen, such as this surprisingly delicious Greek Chicken & Spinach Phyllo Pie:

- 1/2 lb chopped grilled chicken (I cheated and used pre-grilled frozen chicken nuggets from Tyson which are great as a quick salad topper or a dinner corner-cutter)
- 1/2 a medium onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 tsp each of ground cinnamon, allspice, and salt
- a few splashes of hot sauce (here we use Texas Pete!)
- 1/2 cup tomato/spaghetti sauce
- 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
- 10 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed

  • Preheat oven to 375F and spray a 9" pie pan with nonstick spray.
  • To make filling, heat oil in a large pot, then add the chicken, onion, and garlic and cook till fragrant.
  • Stir in tomato sauce and simmer about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Add spinach and feta, then egg whites and stir until mixture is thoroughly combined.
  • Lay 3 sheets of phyllo at different angles to cover the bottom of the pie pan.
  • Spoon 1/3 of filling into shell then top with another 2-3 phyllo sheets. Repeat till all filling is used.
  • Use 2-3 phyllo sheets to top pie and kitchen scissors to trim crust.
  • Optional: Brush top with egg white or butter.
  • Bake 30-35 minutes. Let sit 5 min before serving.

Though I forgot to take a picture of this awesome savory pie, it was definitely tasty and going into our regular dinner rotation. I think it'd be even better with artichokes added, but alas, Strider thinks they're "icky". 

Update: weather didn't cooperate for me to finish the nightstands last weekend, but it's on my "Alright Sarah, you definitely just have to finish this project now" to-do list for the week.

Recipe adapted from the WW PointsPlus Power Foods Cookbook.



Quick recap of the last couple weeks:
  1. my "but-weren't-you-3yo-like-yesterday?" baby sister got married last friday!!! so excited and happy for them!
  2. it's market week here so work has been bananas. business people apparently can't get coffee fast enough.
  3. plus side - strider has had loads of overtime so his check will be bananas too (all the better for doing responsible things like paying off students loans. wah wah)
  4. i borrowed a sander from my friend steve and project nightstands should be complete this weekend
  5. it's officially too hot in our apartment to buy actual bananas. in april. i mean, really? stupid parking lot with no shade on our south-facing kitchen. anyone have tips on how to make fruit stay unripened as long as possible?
  6. lastly, my aunt showed me this video, which I just love. this kid is kinda bananas too, in an awesome way.

Lastly, life may be crazy (b-a-n-a-n-a-s), but it's also really great!


a to z: book edition

Taken from Jessica at Polished Arrow, who snagged it from Jessy at The Artsy Cajun, who borrowed it from Charlene at From Bisons to Buckeyes, and apparently on and on a billion times because that's how this awesome blog-o-sphere works, here's a fun book-lovers survey that I thoroughly enjoyed reading and taking! Let me know if you post it somewhere else so I can read your answers too!

Author I've Read The Most Books By: it's a 3-way tie: Jane Austen (brilliant and timeless), Jasper Fforde (the Thursday Next literary detective series is wildly addictive even if you don't like detective fiction), and Walter Moers (whom I adore for writing insane-in-the-membrane kids books for grown-ups) 

Best Series Ever: The Chronicles of Narnia...or Harry Potter...or Boxcar Children if my 10-y-o self gets a vote 

Currently Reading: The Alchemaster's Apprentice and Red Letter Revolution

Drink of Choice While Reading: hands-down, chai tea

EReader or Physical Book: don't get me started - physical books win 100%. I consider almost no eReader argument valid. Haters gon' hate.

Fictional Character I Probably Would Have Dated In High School: oh gosh, I had a serious crush on Marius from Les Miserables for a while. I doubt we would've dated though cause I played it pretty safe and his whole involved-in-a-subversive-group thing would've scared me off. Also, I was mad awkward. 

Glad I Gave This Book A Chance: The Outside Boy by Jeanine Cummins - it definitely isn't my normal kind of read but I loved it and have since referred it several friends as well

Hidden Gem Book: either Free for All, which is a crazy funny look at librarians, or this Ghandi autobiography which was breathtaking and incredible from cover to cover - what a fascinating life! 

Important Moment In My Reading Life: In 4th grade when our school librarian would'nt let me check out Les Miserables (among other titles) because it was above my proverbial clearance level for our school. In response, I became a frequent patron of our local public library and realized that no one should ever be denied books just because they aren't tall enough or seemingly mature enough to make a cut (and for the record, I was fine)

Just Finished: basically every cookbook and home organization book I can carry out "da p-lib" 

Kind of Books I Won't Read: smut/brain garbage, graphic novels (I have trouble following dialogue in this format), and anything by Nicolas Sparks 

Longest Book I've Ever Read: Anna Karenina, in one sitting, on a 12-hr bus trip to Orlando for our senior trip. 

Major Book Hangover Because Of: Harry Potter. It was such a part of my childhood - I don't know if I'll ever fully accept that the last page was the last page.

Number of Book Cases I Own: much less than it used to be. In truth, I've been working hard to slim down my book buying and instead, only purchase those I cannot stand to not own a copy of. This somewhat painful transition was made in hopes of better supporting local libraries and in efforts to keep life simple.

One Book That I've Read Multiple Times: Little Women, every year at Christmas 

Preferred Place To Read: snuggled in bed or an obliging window sill, if available. Either way, a blanket is a must!

Quote That Inspires Me From A Book I've Read: "It is a warm green rain with love in its pockets for spring is here, and does not dream of death." - Richard Brautigan 

Reading Regret: The Lovely Bones. Didn't bother to finish it. Such a waste of time. 

Series That I Started But Still Need To Finish: None I can think of at the moment. Once I start something, I'm pretty dedicated to the end. 

Three Of My Fav Books: Alice in Wonderland, Thirteen & 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear, and Pride & Prejudice 

Unapologetic Fan-Girl For: Walt Whitman & Lewis Carroll

Very Excited For This Release: I'm not great at keeping track of new releases, however, I will definitely be looking forward to Jasper Fforde's Shades of Grey prequel to be released sometime in 2015. Agonizing wait

Worst Bookish Habit: 100% judging books by their title and cover. While I know it's bad book-lover form to do so, I make no apologies - it's my system and it works for me

X Marks The Spot - Start at the Top of My Shelf and Pick the 27th Book: This collection of Richard Brautigan short stories and poetry. He was insane, but there's something about him I love. 

Your Latest Book Purchase: Honestly, I have no clue. I mostly just put books I want on an Amazon wish list and drop hints so the hubs knows which ones to get me during the next gift-worthy holiday.

Zzzz-Snatcher Book (The Book That Kept You Up Way Too Late): Probably the Hunger Games. Book one and two were interested and so easy to read that I lost track of time...however, I definitely did not have the same problem with book three...what a drag

See wasn't that fun!
Also, quick aside - my baby sister is getting married on Friday! What what?! Too crazy-awesome to handle!