Birthday Chess Pie

05/11/2011

As promised here is the delectable chess pie I made for my dad’s birthday. The recipe is courtesy of allrecipes.com, which is where I do  most of my recipe shopping. I will probably alter a few things the next time I make it due to different oven temperatures and the size of my pie pan.

Chess Pie

1/2 c. butter

2 c. white sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

4 eggs

1tblsp white cornmeal

1 tblsp vinegar

1/4 c evaporated milk

1 9″ pie crust

Slightly brown yet sinfully delicious

The recipe calls for a preheated oven of 425 degrees F, however my oven heats unevenly with more heat distributed to the top. It is an older oven so I would suggest taking it down to 400 degrees F. Newer ovens should be fine at 425.

In a mixer beat sugar, butter and vanilla together until combined, add your eggs one at a time until they are combined. I always crack my eggs into a separate bowl to make sure no shells sneak in and so I can easily add them slowly to make sure they all combine evenly. Then turn off the mixer and use a wooden or plastic spoon to stir in the cornmeal, milk and vinegar.

I have made my own pie crusts before, but for this recipe I used a store bought crust. I rolled out the crust to about 1/4” thickness and laid it in my pie pan. Then pour the pie mixture in and bake for 10 minutes at 425 (or 400). After that ten minutes lower the temperature to 300 degrees F and bake for another 40-45 minutes. Check on your pie after about 15-20 minutes and if the crust is looking too brown, take the pie out and cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil for the remainder of the baking time.

The pie should be firm to a slight shake and a golden brown color when done. Let it set for at least 10 minutes before cutting to keep from the center being runny.

New Beginnings

I am a heavy, heavy believer in fate. Looking back on the past 22 years of my life, everything has worked out in such a specific way with the most perfect timing. It may not have always seemed perfect at the time, but I know that things have worked out for the best. So of course I shouldn’t be surprised that finding a job would be one of those same ole’ situations.

I have been performing the arduous task of finding a job since January. As soon as my final semester started I polished my resume until it shined and sent it out to every possible job opening from Careerbuilder to Craigslist. I went on four different interviews in the past five months, all without any results.

Honestly, I was really feeling on the verge of giving up and accepting my career at the place where people come to “build something together”. Around this same time I felt alone, having all but  lost touch with my closest friends from school, and I needed new people to just go relax with and have a good time. I reached out over the Internet to a ladies book club that recently started in Brentwood, Tenn. The “Ladies Who Lit” gave me something positive to look forward to, and some hope of forming long-lasting friendships.

At the first club meeting I met Jenn who, like myself, is a recent college grad seeking employment that is even remotely related to her communications background. I also met Mandy, a fabulous mother-of-two, who works for the American Heart Association. We started discussing just how relentless Jenn and myself had been about sending resumes and emailing potential employers, and Mandy suggested a recruiting agency in Brentwood called Apple One. She worked for them after she graduated college and she emphasized the importance of having someone market you to employers.

I was nervous at first to contact the agency because I really hate the idea of taking on unstable temporary positions, but I was feeling like there really was no other avenue I had yet to explore, so I took a chance. When I went to my interview at Apple One I was greeted with beyond helpful staff who really made me feel like they cared about my success. I mentioned that I knew Mandy and the staff immediately took a great interest in finding me a position. One staff member introduced me to another who happened to know of a great direct hire position in Hendersonville, Tenn. that was doing interviews that week.

I had my Apple One interview last Monday. They called me Tuesday morning for my interview with Bailey Special Risks, Inc, where I would be a General Assistant. I had my interview Tuesday afternoon, and I got a call from Apple One Wednesday morning offering me the job. I now have a full-time job with amazing hours and better pay, all because I wanted to reach out to new people, made a great new friend, took a chance on something out of my comfort zone and succeeded in finding a great job.

It is amazing to me how life has a way of working out, and I am so glad that it does.

 

Top 10 Reasons to Hate Cicadas

10) They litter the Earth with their skeletons

9) They stare at you with their beady red eyes

8 ) They are so loud you have to turn the TV volume to the max just to hear it

7) They dive bomb you and cling to your shirt

6) They fly into your hair and make you mess it up by swatting at them

5) They freak your dog out so she won’t use the bathroom

4) They commit suicide on your windshield

3) Their guts refuse to wipe off your windshield

2) They make you almost shut your hand in the car door trying to avoid letting them in

1) They just won’t die!

Brave or Just Senseless?

I grew up watching CNN and MSNBC give moment by moment coverage of wars and conflicts. I am a child of the 24-hour news cycle. I remember seeing images of Christiane Amanpour reporting  in front of a black sky backdrop interrupted by bursts of light from the explosions on top of the cities just miles behind her. War correspondents almost never flinch at the sight of dead children strewn down the dusty streets of war-torn countries. They are trained like military personnel to keep an emotional barrier up at all times. When I began studying journalism I started to try to form an opinion as to whether I thought these people are brave and heroic or just plain senseless. After four years of hearing lectures about the mindset and motives of journalists, I still don’t feel like I can ever understand what is going on in the gray matter of a war correspondent.

I just finished the book by Michael Hastings, I Lost my Love in Baghdad. The story was a powerful portrayal of not only what a relationship goes through in a war zone, but also what journalists and aid workers were going through during the height of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I had the preconception from the inside cover of the novel that it would be focused on the relationship of Michael and Andi and about Andi’s death. The actual death and how Michael dealt with it was only a very brief couple of chapters at the end. The bulk of the book dove deep into what Michael experienced during the months he was imbedded in Baghdad with the U.S. military.

The insight of a journalist on a war is not always allowed to come out in his or her stories. The editor tells them what to look for, what kind of stories they want and how they want it covered. Michael really pushed the boundaries in his pieces for Newsweek, but even though he was willing to sketch outside the lines he revealed much more about the war in this book than he ever could have in his articles. I could tell that he wanted to be in Iraq so he could bring back missing pieces of the puzzle to the American people. He risked his life and his girlfriend gave her life to try and make other people’s lives better.

The chaotic lifestyle of a journalist covering a war is never something I would be able to do. I thrive on stability and knowing that I would never know what was coming around the next corner would probably unnerve me. I think there has to be a portion of these people that is pure bravery. Another part could be a need for the thrill, a shot of adrenaline just like heroine that propels them forward from day to day. A final part is probably a deep humanitarian compassion. They want to shed light on the lives of people usually left in the dark.

The book I Lost My Love in Baghdad is a thought-provoking tale of how love and war combine. It is also a great look at the Iraq war and journalism in war.

Seizing the day today!

I have a job interview today with cj Advertising downtown for a web copy writing position. This is the first interview I am going on where I really, really, oh yeah one more really, want this job. The setup makes me nervous because it is a group interview. I just picture five eager college graduates sitting in a semi circle around the hiring manager pecking at him/her like chickens. Everyone obviously wants to be viewed as the best but who will prevail? Only time will tell. I am putting on my best positive attitude for the occasion and praying for the best.

Side note: today is my dad’s 60th birthday. I made him a delicious looking chess pie which I will post the recipe and picture of later.