Archive | July, 2011

Day 109: A Pizza Pie!

24 Jul

After a big catering event, there are still many things to do.  Today, I spent a lot of time putting things back as they were before the event.  For example, today  my catering equipment had to be washed and organized.   This is an important part of catering, but it is not really fun, nor is it easy.   It’s  just a matter of taking the  time to complete the necessary steps.

While I was in the Zen of washing dishes, I remembered  something from my childhood – namely – how we used to refer to pizza as a “Pizza Pie.”  When I was young, having pizza for diner was very rare and I don’t remember a single time that we had pizza delivered.

Today, I chose to make a pie that I haven’t made for this “pie project” before.  I brought a vegetarian Pizza Pie (roasted peppers, spinach, marinated mozzarella)  to help  bring some cheer to the staff that works at a facility that assists people in recovering from injury or illness.  I am grateful for their compassion and sensitivity.

When I arrived on site to deliver the pie,  I followed the first voice I heard and soon afterward I met the nurse on duty, I explained my blog.  I told her that I wanted her to share the pizza with other members of the staff as a way of recognizing them for their hard work in maintaining a safe and comfortable place in which to recover from life’s challenges.

Day 108: Being a friend

23 Jul

It was a hectic, crazy day for me.  There was still a lot of prep work to do for the wedding that I was catering and yet I definitely wanted to be sure to make a pie.  This is such an important part of the day for me – sort of like a meditation.  It begins with taking the pie dough from the fridge and then considering the possibilities in my pantry and the myriad of pie recipients in the world.

Today, my mind was centered on a friend who was feeling sad because it was the anniversary of her father’s passing.  Her family has had a lot to deal with in this past year and that has not made it any easier.  Losing someone dear to us is difficult enough without the complications of family issues.  Today I made her a quiche with chicken sausages, swiss cheese,  and red bell peppers.  I wanted to let her know that I am here for her and that she does not have to be alone with her sadness.

This morning I called my friend and asked her if she could stop by for a moment.  I had too much yet to do to make a special delivery and so I told her I needed her help.  When she asked why, I explained my predicament – and told her about the quiche that I had made for her.  Her response, “You didn’t have to do that!” Yes, I know, but that’s what makes this project so great – I don’t have to do it at all.  I want to – and that makes all the difference.

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
Albert Einstein

Day 107: Lisa

22 Jul

Good friends are like stars; you don’t always see them but you know they’re always there!

This has been a busy week for me.  Months ago I agreed to cater a wedding for a friend’s daughter and the wedding is tomorrow.  The biggest problem is that I am walking around with a broken/mending rib and am not myself.  It’s sort of strange; at times I feel so disoriented.  I know what I need to do but it’s hard right now for me to function.  My body can’t do what it used to do with ease.   The good news?  I have wonderful friends who have willingly come to my aid: Debbie talked party logistics with me, Leslie shopped for me, Barbie helped me bake cupcakes and SueZ lent me equipment.  I am so lucky to be surrounded by these wonderful, amazing friends.

A few days ago,  I called my friend Lisa to ask if I could borrow a few catering items.  She asked how I was and I shared the news about my recent accident. Without a moment’s hesitation she asked how she could help.  She said, “Just tell me what you need me to do and I will be there.”  I tried to tell her that she did not need to do anything and she said, “You have helped me when I needed help – this time, I will help you.”

And so today, as I was baking a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, I thought of Lisa.  She has helped me in more ways than I can count and I want her to know that I really appreciate her.   Thank you Lisa – I am forever grateful to you for your support and trust.  It means more than you know.

The only reward of virtue is virtue; the only way to have a friend is to be one.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Day 106: Happy Birthday Coco!

21 Jul

It was eighteen years ago today that I met Coco.  I was at the Portland Adventist Hospital and the doctor exclaimed, “It’s a boy!”  My first question was, “Are you sure?”  I did not think I was going to have a boy because my first and second pregnancies seemed very much the same.  For that reason, I had not selected a boys name for my baby.  Instead, I had chosen the name “Eleanor Rose” in honor of both of his grandmothers.  And so when the doctor told me the news I was a bit surprised.

It took us five days to name our boy child.   I was of the mind that we would name him “Joseph” in honor of his paternal grandfather but when it came to deciding my husband was not comfortable calling his son by his father’s name.  And so we talked for several days – and considered many possibilities.  And we chose the name Francesco for our new baby.  We had lived in San Francisco together and that was a special time and I had also known a baby named Francisco when I was younger.

However, our last name is of Italian origin and while we liked the name “Francisco” a lot, we felt that it did not match well with our last name.  We discovered that Francesco was the Italian version of Francisco and we were both happy with that and so our son was named “Francesco Joseph.”   It was only a year or so later that the name that we had so carefully chosen was reduced to a much shorter nickname, “Coco”.

This happened because once or twice a week I babysat for my friend’s son, Jonathan, who was a year older than my son.  The boys got along very well and I loved the time I spent with Jon.  And then came the week when I arrived and Jonathan met me at the door and said “Coco’s here.”  Coco?  What was that about? Well, it meant that Jon, at two, could not say “Francesco” and condensed the name to Coco.  And Francesco has been Coco ever since then.

Today our “baby” boy has turned eighteen and it is amazing to see how this eight pound baby has turned out.  His Dad and I are both surprised at how fast the time has gone by.   How does that happen?  I don’t know.  I only know that I am honored and grateful for the time that I have spent with this young man and hope that he is able to make all of his dreams come true.

Tonight we shared a gluten-free ice cream pie with our neighbors (who have known Coco since he was two).   We are truly blessed to be surrounded by caring friends who share in the moments of our lives.

Happy Birthday Coco – we love you!

Day 105: Thelma, Susan and grace

20 Jul

My neighbor Bernie has a cherry tree in his yard that is glorious.  We have enjoyed the fruit of that tree for some time now.  A few years ago Bernie’s sister (who lives in London) sent me a recipe for an “Almond Cherry Pie.”  It was wonderful – and so I decided to make it today because I had fresh cherries in the fridge.   I’d like to share with you the recipe as Thelma wrote it.

“Hello from Bernards sister in the UK.

Ingredients: Short crust pastry. Stoned cherries.

6 oz Butter

6 oz Sugar

3 eggs

4 oz self raising flour

2 oz ground almonds Apetit

Few drops of almond essence.

Method: Line a 9 inch flan dish with pastry.  Cover base with cherries.  Beat together butter and sugar until well blended.  Add eggs one at a time alternately with 3 tablespoons of the flour.  fold in the rest of the flour together with the ground almonds and essence.  Spoon this mixture over the cherries and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 35-40 minutes or until well browned.  Serve warm with ice cream, whipped cream or both!  Bon Appetit and good luck.

Regards, Thelma.

I just love how Thelma marches in with the recipe –  “Hello – from Bernards sister” and then begins to list the ingredients.  No need for small talk – heck we may never even meet!   And I love the use of the word “essence” instead of extract.  It seems much more dignified. But most of all,  I am so grateful for this recipe because this pie is delicious!!!

As I was baking the pie a friend’s name came into my head and I remembered that the last time I’d seen Susan, it was a few days after she’d lost her Dad.  I did not get to speak with her on that occasion but certainly could sense the sadness she felt – and I was helpless to fix.  And then  I thought, maybe Susan would enjoy a pie like this.

When I arrived at her house, Susan seemed surprised to see me.   She had just heard about my bicycle accident today and clearly did not expect to see me at her doorstep with a pie. Since the last time I’d seen her, she’s had a lot to deal with – mostly health issues regarding her family members.

And while I can’t help here with those things – I’m very glad that I was able to surprise Susan with a pie – and I hope that she is able to navigate her family’s changing circumstances with the gentle grace that she brings to all things.

Day 104: Flitch Day and the Hospice Unique Boutique

19 Jul

July 19th is Flitch Day. What is a Flitch? Well, a flitch is measurement of bacon, equaling half a pig. (Flitch = side)   In the United States: A side of unsliced bacon was once known as a flitch – it is now known as a slab.

What is this Holiday for?  This holiday began as an old English custom.  Every year on this day, since about 1104, any married couple who could prove that they had been faithful and loving to one another for one year was awarded half a pig, known as a flitch of bacon. However, very few couples would actually “bring home the bacon!”

What does this information have to do with today’s pie? Absolutely nothing. I just liked this useless bit of trivia that was found on the directory for weird and wacky holidays. And since today I made pie number 104 and this custom has been in place since “about1104, I felt there was enough of a coincidence to include it.

The “pie” I made today was in the form of a cheesecake. It was baked in a pie tin with a graham cracker crust as is common, but then I took fresh dark cherries and made a topping for the pie. Once it was assembled, I placed it in the fridge to chill for a while until I knew where to deliver it.

Cherry Cheesecake Pie

My first thought was that I should come up with a “married couple” to honor (as the “flitch” custom dictates) but somehow I began thinking of a shop called the Hospice Unique Boutique. If you haven’t visited this place yet, you should stop by soon. They sell gently used goods (clothing, dishes, kitchenwares, books, linens, etc) and their mission is “to raise funds to support the work of all hospices and end of life programs in Jackson and Josephine counties.”   What a wonderful idea!

I didn’t try to figure out why I should go to the boutique; I just drove there. I walked up to the counter with my pie and the young lady took a look at the pie and said, “That’s not something we see here everyday.” Then I told her about my mission and asked her to share it with the volunteers from the store. That’s when a lady sitting nearby told me that today is the birthday of a woman named Sarah, and Sarah was the person who had written the initial grant to help get this boutique started.   Is that another coincidence or just perfect timing?

“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”
— Albert Einstein

Day 103: Dave

18 Jul

We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.
– Nelson Mandela

This year on 18 July – Nelson Mandela’s 93rd birthday – the UN is joining a call by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to devote 67 minutes of our time to helping others, as a way to mark Nelson Mandela International Day.

Sixty Seven Minutes! That’s all that this Nobel Peace prize winner has asked of us to help change the world. What could we do in such a short time that would be productive?

We could read to a child. We could serve soup at a shelter. We could donate blood. We could take our therapy dog to visit those who are ill. We could donate our usable goods to any number of charities. We could take the time to get to know our neighbors.

Today I began to make an Apple Pie and almost immediately I thought of Dave. I knew that he’d had a stroke but I had not yet visited him. I wondered if Dave would even be able to eat the pie that I’d made him. But since I was pretty sure that Dave was today’s pie recipient, I went to the place where he is currently staying and walked to his room.

When he saw me he had a questioning look on his face. I introduced myself and repeated something he’d once told me “Your wife is in love with my husband.” Well, Dave took one look at the pie and said, “And I think that I’m in love with you!” Warm Apple pies have that kind of effect on people.

It was wonderful to visit with Dave and his wife this afternoon. I don’t know if this is what Nelson Mandela had in mind, but I do know that I felt better after my visit. It took such a small effort and yet the rewards were tremendous.

If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path. Buddhist saying.