A Pie Makes Me Feel Special – Part Two

Last week I shared how I feel about pies: A Pie Make Me Feel Special – Part 1. I also shared a recipe from my daughter Candice for Mixed Berry Pie. As I mentioned, serving a pie to someone makes them feel happy. In this day and age it seems like a special occasion when someone bakes a pie. So, I’m on a mission to urge all the good cooks I know to make pies more often.

As I promised last week, I am going to feature Candice’s Fresh Blackberry Pie. I think a pie made with fresh blackberries is always unique. First of all, the flavor of fresh blackberries is unlike other berries. It has a deep, full-bodied taste that, to me, is similar to a rich red wine. Also, fresh blackberries aren’t available all year in North America, so this is a rare, once-a-year pie. Now is the time to make it.

Blackberry Pie always reminds me of this old nursery rhyme:

Sing a Song of Sixpence,
A pocket full of Rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Baked in a Pie
When the pie was opened,
The birds began to sing
Wasn’t that a tasty thing
To set before the king?

Pie1Did you notice Candice’s clever little ceramic blackbird? That is a pie bird or a pie funnel and it helps release the steam from the pie. It’s also a fun item for those people, like Candice, who love to bake pies. The picture above shows the blackbird sitting in the uncooked pie.

And now, here’s a look at the completed pie and the recipe:

Pie2Candice’s Fresh Blackberry Pie


  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 to 1 cup sugar (It depends on how sweet you want your pie. Start with 3/4 cup and taste. Add more if needed.)
  • pinch of cinnamon (optional)
  • 6 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
  • lime zest from 1 lime


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Use your preferred recipe for homemade pie shells/crusts for two layers OR use a store-bought pie shell/crust for two crusts. (I prefer Pillsbury’ refrigerated pie shells/crusts. Place one pie shell/crust into a pie dish/pan.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon (if using).
  4. Add blackberries and lime zest to the bowl of sugar mixture. Then, gently mix to coat the berries. Gently lay the berry mixture into the pie shell/crust already in the pie dish/pan. Make sure it is even or level.
  5. Add the second pie shell/crust to the top. Crimp together the edges to keep the juice in and avoid spill-overs. Make a couple of slashes in the center to let the steam escape OR insert a cute little pie bird, if you have one. Lightly brush the top of the pie shell/crust with a little half and half and sprinkle with coarse sugar, if you have it, or use regular granulated sugar.
  6. Bake in oven for 45-55 minutes. The pie will likely bubble over, so add a pan to catch the spills on the rack below the pie, unless you are fond of cleaning your oven. I usually bake my pies in the lower part of my oven and the tops never get too dark.
  7. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or try something creative – cinnamon ice cream? Enjoy!

I do hope you’ll give this easy-to-make pie a chance. Our next segment of Pies Make Me Feel Special – Part Three will focus on the part that scares lots of cooks – pie shells/crusts. Look for that post in September. We’re taking some time off to go camping. Any one ever tried making a pie in a cast iron dutch oven?

Pie BirdsIf the pie birds catch your fancy, you can purchase them in any number of places. They are also known as pie funnels and date back to the Victorian era. In recent years they’ve become popular collectables. I’ve seen them on websites like eBay, but they’re also for sale at Amazon. They’re cute and do add to the fun of baking pies.


This post is linked with other food related posts at Weekend Cooking.

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads.



I’m also linking this post with others who participate at Saturday Snapshot located at West Metro Mommy Reads. For more information, visit the website.

Saturday Snapshot

Posted in Food Talk, Photos, Weekend Cooking | 13 Comments

Book Review: Notorious RBG

Notorious RBGby Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik

Published by Dey Street Books, October 2015

I am an admirer of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but after reading this book my position is different. I am now a fan. In fact, I now call her RBG. I haven’t put her face or initials as a tattoo on my body as others have nor set her words to music. But my head, my heart, my soul all swell in love and appreciation for this woman’s work. I think that’s a far example of a fan.

It seems like I’ve always been aware of RBG. I recall reading about her work back in the 70s and 80s. I knew of her work on behalf of women when Bill Clinton nominated her to the Supreme Court in the 90s. This book, Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik, reminded me of those accomplishments and in addition filled in all the other things I’d missed. The authors highlighted the important milestones of the women’s rights movement and RBG’s career with both legal, historical and family stories.

RBG 1This is not a text-only book. It’s also picture-rich. Right at the beginning (Chapter 2) we see a nine-page timeline (see above) filled with pictures and drawings and cartoons tracing events in RBG’s life and in the women’s and civil rights movements. (RBG saw both those movements as one. She said that prejudice against how a person looks includes both gender and skin color.) I first listened to this book on audio, but quickly realized I needed the paper version as well. The hardback has a lot of stuff the audio doesn’t have.

This book shows the hard, serious and important work RBG has devoted her life to, but it also shows the lighter side of the justice. She had a wonderful relationship with her husband (he’s now deceased), loves opera, is terrible at cooking, has a great sense of humor, and has an extesive group of friends. Most of all, I really enjoyed the legal discussions, especially the cases RBG has been involved in, whether for or against. She’s very honest about what and why she is against something. Rather persuasive too.

The entire book is excellent and I highly recommend you read it. And, I mean the whole book. There is a super-fun Appendix that you shouldn’t miss. You’ll find a recipe from RBG’s husband Marty for Pork Loin Braised In Milk. There are poems. “Scalia/Ginsburg: A (Gentle) Parody of Operatic Proportions” is especially fun, as both justices were huge opera fans and friends despite their differences. I particularly loved RBG’s list of personality attributes and I’d like to leave you with the highlights of that list found in the Appendix. These are the traits most admired by fans of the justice. It’s short but very telling.

How To Be Like RBG.

  • Work for what you believe in, but pick your battles.
  • Don’t burn your bridges.
  • Don’t be afraid to take charge.
  • Think about what you want, then do the work.
  • But then enjoy what makes you happy.
  • Bring along your crew.
  • Have a sense of humor.
Posted in A, Nonfiction | 2 Comments

Wondrous Words #360

WWWEvery week word-lovers post new words they’ve discovered while reading. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday and was created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog.

I found two new words this week while out and about in the online food world. Both food items are well known to me, but I didn’t recognize their different names when I saw them in recipes. Here they are:

CapsicumCapsicum = Bell Pepper

SilverbeetSilver beet = Chard


That’s it for me this week. I hope you found some words worth celebrating. Feel free to join Wondrous Words Wednesday. Be sure to visit Kathy for the details.


Posted in Wondrous Words | 3 Comments

What Am I Reading? Notorious RBG: The Life and Times Of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I’m almost half-way through this biography of the feisty Supreme Court Justice. It is a well written saga of Ms. Ginsburg’s life and her legal accomplishments primarily in support of the rights of women to participate as equals with men. Here’s  how the book begins:

Notorious RBGThis is what you should look for on this 90-degree June morning: The broadcast news interns pairing running shoes with their summer business casual, hovering by the Supreme Court’s public information office. They’re waiting to clamber down the marble steps of the court to hand off the opinions to an on-air correspondent. You should count the number of boxes the court officers lay out, because each box holds one or two printed opinions. Big opinions get their own box. This contorted ritual exists because no cameras are allowed inside the court. It jealously guards its traditions and fears grandstanding.

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?


firstparagraphEvery Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first paragraph of a book currently being read. Feel free to join the fun.


Posted in First Paragraph | 9 Comments