Guest Chick Monday: Golden Heart Finalist Ami Weaver

I’m tickled to have Ami Weaver with us, an award-winning, romance-writing, pie-baking, picture-taking finalist for the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart in the category series category. She writes around wrangling four kids, three cats, and one (very supportive) hubby. She lives in Michigan with her family.

First of all, thank you for having me! I’m very excited to be here. This is one of my first times blogging so bear with me.

When Abigail put out a call for Golden Heart bloggers, I jumped at the chance. Then, I realized I had a problem. <cough>Idon’tactuallycook<cough>

Huh.

My husband does, and thank God for it. I can, I just–don’t. BUT I bake.

When I am stressed, I bake. My kids love this. My husband eyes me when I drag out the (holy fabulous Kitchen Aid–OMG do I love that thing–see pic below!) mixer and wisely leaves me alone. Usually I bake cookies, cakes, cupcakes or brownies. (Not all on the same day.)

Today, stressed about what to write I decided to bake a pie. This is problematic. I’ve only had a couple pies actually turn out. (Who knew you were supposed to peel the apples for an apple pie??? Not me apparently!) Annnnd there was the cherry pie disaster from last year. I spent way too much money on fresh cherries and way too much time pitting them. All. By. Hand. Three different times.

Really. I guess I should mention I’m a bit stubborn.

My hands were purple for days. And every single pie was total soup. It didn’t seem to matter how much cornstarch or tapioca I used, the result was the same. When I used what the recipe called for, it was a mess.

Before I threw away the last one, I scooped some into bowls and gave everyone a spoon. Tasted fabulous, looked–well, not fabulous.

So, I decided to attempt another one! (When my husband saw the box of tapioca on the counter, he said “Oh, no. Not agian.” Hee.) How hard can it be? I’m going for strawberry rhubarb. I haven’t had one in years. The recipe I’m using as base is from here: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. I use this site often.

Ingredients

Soooo, without further ado, here we go:

So, to start you’ll need:

1 pound rhubarb
1 pound strawberries
2 tbs quick-cook tapioca
approx 1 tbs flour–I added a little extra hoping to avoid a repeat of the cherry soup pie
1 c white sugar–I think you can adjust for taste–I want a little sweeter
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (I eyeballed it, probably went over)
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
I added about 1/2 tsp lemon zest for kicks
2 tbs unsalted butter, cut into small squares

This is where I confess I’m cheating. I’m using pie dough I had in the freezer, made by my friend Jeanette. Me + pie crust=epic fail. I’ve never been able to make one from scratch and I wasn’t going to try today!

Pretty!

So, cut the rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces. I hulled and cut the strawberries in half lengthwise.

Next I mixed the dry stuff together and zested the lemon. (I like to zest.)
I used a cup of sugar. I’m not sure how sweet the berries are, not being in season here, and rhubarb is tart.

Juiced the lemon! (I like to juice, too!)

Then mixed all of it (including the juice) into the strawberry/rhubarb bowl.

Mixin’ all the fixin’s

Then it was time to roll out my cheater pie crust. Tricky, but I wrestled it into submission and put it in the pie pan. (Confession–I don’t know how big my pie plate is!) Then I poured the strawberry mixture into the pan. I put the butter chunks around on top. At this stage my previous pies looked good, too. I’m a little nervous!

Pie on the shelf. Beer underneath.

Rolled out the top and ran out of time, so no lattice. (At this point, my husband is standing behind me with the kids’ dinner plates.) I draped it on and pinched it down (mostly) and put it in the fridge while the oven pre-heated to 400. (As an aside, here, the reason there’s so much produce is because the produce drawer under the pie is my husband’s ‘beer drawer’. But I digress.)

Finally, the oven was ready. (Pie was in fridge about 15 minutes.)

I brushed the pie with the milk and sugar suggested by Joyofbaking, put it on a cookie sheet (a lesson I learned the hard way) and into the oven it went.

I checked it after 35 minutes. It was browned and bubbly so I took it out. Here it is!

Yummy!

Yummy! I wish you could smell it. It smells divine.

Well, I don’t know yet if it’s soupy. I don’t know what it tastes like. I do know I’m not stressed anymore. And really, if we have to eat it with a spoon (with Cool Whip, of course), so be it. Life’s too short to freak because something isn’t perfect.

What do you do when you are stressed? Also, any pie tips? I’d love to hear them!

Thanks for letting me visit!

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24 thoughts on “Guest Chick Monday: Golden Heart Finalist Ami Weaver

  1. Holy moly, Ami, does that look good or what?? I never liked rhubarb growing up, but the pictures of this pie make me want to try it again.

    Your post cracked me up. *grin* Thank you for exposing yourself to the dangers of pie for us at ChicksInTheKitchen. 🙂

  2. Thanks, Abigail! Frankly, this is the only way to eat rhubarb. LOL. I don’t even know what else you can do with it. 🙂

    • Hi Kim!

      I’m all for summer. Anytime now….it’s been so cold here.

      And it’s an easy pie. I’m very pleased with it.

  3. I plan to make it in the summer again when I can cut the rhubarb from the side of the road and get fresh strawberries at the farmer’s market. 🙂 I won’t wait 20 years to have it again!

      • LOL! Yeah, it’s practically a weed here. Just everywhere. Can’t eat the leaves I guess they are poisonous–?

  4. You’re going to have to update us and let us know if it came out all right?

    I don’t do pies, even if my husband loves them. I can’t do pie crust, either. I remember my mom making pie crust, sitting down with a bowl and a fork and patiently cutting the butter into the flour until it was just right. I don’t have that kind of patience, so I’d cheat on the crust, too. Or make a crumb crust. I can do those!

    • Hi Aislinn!

      It came out great. It wasn’t soupy or anything. I’m very proud of myself. 😉

      My pie crust attempts are pathetic. Like not edible. So I;m all for the cheater crust–glad I’m not alone.

  5. OMG, I’m laughing because reading your blog is hysterical but the best part is the aside comment about the hubby’s beer in the vegetable drawer. Okay, I’m a pie baker myself. I’d love to know how the pie actually turned out. I grew up on home-made Rhubarb Pie. (We didn’t have a very large strawberry patch so no berries in the rhubarb pies. We usually got just a bowl or two, depending on how the season went, of fresh berries…if we could beat the birds to the berries!) But, I digress. I absolutely have to say I freaked when you talked about baking an apple pie without peeling the apples. I’ve got a completed manuscript where the heroine bakes a pie just like that. Not because she didn’t know, but because the little girl she’s taking care of tricks her and say’s her daddy doesn’t like pie with the apples peeled. (It’s a Time Travel/Historical so the scene worked to show a contrast in time periods.) I actually had to bake an unpeeled apple pie to try it out before I wrote the scene. The pie turned out beautifully, but the peels ruined the pie. Perfect for the scene, though. Thanks for making me laugh today. Loved the view into your kitchen. Oh yeah, when I ‘m seriously stressed, I scrub pots and pans till they shine-shine-shine.

    • Hi Jaye!

      When we got the fridge my husband claimed the drawer before the fridge was even cold. I occasionally sneak stuff in there. He sneaks it back out.

      And the pie was great! I’m so impressed with myself! My kids ate it (well 3 of 4 ain’t bad) and I will do it again. And I peel the apples now. 😉 I’m too impatient but I learned the hard way on that one. I love that you used a similar thing in a scene.

      Scrubbing pots is a great idea. During a fight with my 14 year old, I was cleaning the stove, and all of a sudden he goes, “Wow, I guess it’s a good thing we’re fighting. Look how clean the stove is!” I had to laugh. I had it shining. LOL.

  6. Yummy! And I’m not a rhubarb girl in the least, but this looks try-able, especially since hubby *loves* rhubarb. How we stay married…? Eh. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, and good luck in NY next month!!

    • Hi Carla! And thank you. 🙂

      I think you can add more sugar for sweetness and I like it with the strawberries because you get a nice balance. But really, what else can you do with rhubarb? I honestly don’t know.

      This pie was easy. Really. 😉

  7. I love baking. I’m learning to love cooking. But baking? Heaven. Except I can’t do it right now. Because, no matter what I bake, I am the primary eater. And I’m on this health kick. Sigh.

    Thanks for letting me see a pie… I love apple pie. Rhubarb? Not so much.
    Lynn

  8. Hi Lynn!

    I hear you. I’m on a health kick myself. I figured you know, it’s almost health food, rhubarb and strawberries!

    I’m pretty gullible, apparently.

    I don’t love cooking either. I can do it, so we don’t starve, but I’d much rather bake. And sweet things, not savory.

  9. Ami,
    Great post! Thanks for the laugh. I grew up eating rhubarb…just rhubarb and salt. I’ve always wanted to try a rhubarb pie, though. I think my kids might like it…if I don’t tell them what it is until after. And did someone say the leaves are poisonous? How poisonous? Enough to off, say a straying spouse? It’s research. Honest.
    Huge congratulations on your final in the Golden Heart, Ami. Very exciting!

    • Hi Marne! Thank you!

      Rhubarb and salt? Really. How was that? In the pie it was soft and my kids just thought the pieces were strawberries I guess.

      I don’t know how poisonous they are–I’ve just heard they are. 😉 You may have to research it a little more, LOL.

    • …do you cook the rhubarb first? Or just eat it raw? And do you cook it in the salt or add it afterward?

  10. Hi, Ami! Thank you so much for sharing what you’ve been doing in your kitchen! I love to bake, but don’t do it nearly as often as I used to. The first pie I tried to make from scratch was a pecan. It was beautiful when it came out of the oven and smelled wonderful. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get a single piece out of the pie plate–it all stuck to the bottom! None of the peeps in my house wanted to try it so I dug into it with a spoon. Tasted great, but looked like crap by the time I walked away from it! Now I just buy the pre-made crusts. 😀

    Your pie is gorgeous and I bet it tastes awesome, too. As far as what else to do with rhubarb? When I was a daring kid I used to eat it plain. Talk about sour!

    The best of luck to you for a GH win!!!!

    Lis

  11. Hi Lis’Anne! And thank you. 🙂

    Eating rhubarb plain? LOL.

    I’ve never had pecan pie (just saw a SpongeBob episode tonight–they want Sandy the Texan squirrel to stay and try to give her a slice of Texas–one item is a pie with a can of peas in it!) but it looks and sounds yummy. I’m all about pre-made pie crust, tho I am in awe of those who can make one.

  12. Ami, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your mad baking skillz with us. Keep us updated on that Golden Heart final!

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