Sunday, July 27, 2008

That's a damn fine cherry pie!

I have stumbled upon a recipe for cherry pie which is the best cherry pie I have ever eaten. Scott loves this pie. It may be his favorite food. Cherries are in season now, so I thought I'd share.

What I think is fun about this pie is that is sort of smells like Dr. Pepper a little bit. Or maybe Frank's Black Cherry Wishniak soda.

Wow, Frank's soda. This makes me think about summer at my grandmother's house. We used to go to Grandmom's almost every Sunday in the summer. They had a pool. We'd swim. The grownups would drink gin slurpees and talk. Sometimes my grandfather would bust out his accordion or banjo and we'd all sing. Fun Times. My grandfather, dad, and brother are all named Frank. My grandparents always had Frank's sodas (and Coke. My grandmother lived on Pall Malls and Coke for a long time), but I think it's because it's just darned good soda, not because of the name. It's a Philly thing. I'm going down there this weekend and I'm gonna have to get me some of that soda.

Back to the pie. I'm going to confess that I use store bought pie crusts. I have never tried making my own. I am a wuss and I am too busy. So there.

Damn fine cherry pie

2 pie crusts, one in the pie plate, one for the top
4 cups of fresh cherries, pitted and halved
2 Tablespoons of flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into several pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine everything except the butter in a non-reactive bowl (glass or ceramic). Mix it up well. Pour into pie crust that's in the pie plate. Dot the pie with the pieces of butter. Cover with the other crust. Cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil (prevents burning). Bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil. Bake for another 15 minutes. let cool for 30 minutes before eating.

Can we talk about the cherries? Do yourself a favor and get a cherry pitter. I don't know if you know this, so lean in close and I'll whisper you a secret: cherry juice will give you purple fingers. It's true. If you use a pitter, you don't get the juice on your fingers and under your fingernails. And if that juice gets under your fingernails, your nails will look like you haven't washed your hands all week.

Now, let me say a few words about how I get fancy with this pie. I let the kids cut out shapes from the dough I will use for the top pie crust and then cover the cherries with the cutouts. You have to leave spaces in the crust so it will vent anyway, so why not? We have used stars and it looks really cute. You can also do that lattice work pattern if you want, weaving the strips of dough, or just cover it with the whole top crust and pinch the edges closed and cut a few slits in the top so your pie doesn't explode. I have also brushed the top of the pie with egg white and sprinkled it with sugar. When I made this pie the first time and I brought it to the table, Bubba exclaimed, "It's shiny!" So if you want a shiny pie, try the egg white and sugar thing. Or don't. It's your pie.

And 'cause I know you're dying to know about the gin slurpees, here's how you make them. They're great when it's stinkin' hot. Just make sure no one is going to be driving for a while. Trust me. These bad boys go right to your brain.

Gin slurpees

You need: a blender that is good at chopping up ice

Ice cubes
1 small can pink lemonade concentrate (frozen)
Gin (or vodka is good too)

Fill your blender pitcher about 3/4 way full of ice cubes.
Add thawed Pink lemonade concentrate (partially thawed is fine too, I guess, or even frozen. who cares? It's all getting mixed up anyway). Save the can. Start your blender. Now, fill that can with your gin or vodka. Add the spirits thru the hole in the top of your blender. Blend it till smooth. Serves 4. Garnish with mint and a lemon slice if you want to be fancy. We never bothered with that. The fruit gets in the way of getting your drunk on. ;)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Method in my madness

I read this post at Scrutinies (I hope you're doing well, Dorian!) and it made me think of what I like to clean with.

I use a lot of Method Products. They smell good and they are non-toxic, which is not to say you should drink them, even if they smell yummy.

The bathroom cleaners are eucalyptus mint scented which is nice because it makes the bathroom cleaning that much more tolerable. And I like that I can hand the spray bottle to my sons when they, um, miss in the bathroom and make them tend to the mess they made without worrying about them passing out from the fumes.

I don't know if other mommies have this issue, but I have found that ever since I had my first hooligan (and compounded by every subsequent birth), I cannot tolerate certain scents that I used to enjoy. (I have had to give away every one of my Yankee Candles and stop wearing perfumes. I have even had to make my mom stop wearing the colognes she likes since what she likes gives me a migraine headache. I kid you not.

This issue is not something I have made up. I have gone to the grocery store and become so incapacitated by the checker's cologne that I had to call my husband to tell him to meet me back at the house to bring in the frozen stuff so I could run right inside and get a shower, take 2 Advil, and ask him to throw my clothes in the wash since the guy's cologne was sticking to my clothes and person. I was rewarded that day with a doozy of a migraine.

The point of the last two paragraphs is that Method makes a whole line of products that are totally fragrance free! But even with my over-sensitive nose, I have enjoyed and used in good health the Ylang-ylang Shower spray, The eucalyptus mint bathroom cleaners, Assorted French lavender products, Lemon ginger floor cleaner, and these home scent products: candle and stick thing. I get all of these things at Target (except the stick thing which I got at Staples, of all places) and if you can't get them where you shop, you can order them online. I do highly recommend these products. They clean great and you don't have to worry about you or your little ones breathing it in.

Dear Method people, think you can hook me up with some coupons? Thanks!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Independence Day

On July 4, a delightful man I know from church (he taught CCD and helped with our Confirmation prep class), John Lyp, was liberated from lung cancer and went to his eternal reward.  

John is just an amazing person.  He loved the Lord so much: with all his heart, with all his mind, and with all his strength.  He has left behind his lovely wife of 40 years, Ellen, and his 7 children and 4 grandchildren.  I know his daughter, AnneMarie, because she also taught CCD with us.  All of his kids are really fantastic.  

John's death was really sudden.  I saw him last on May 18 right after the 12:00 Mass at church.  He seemed totally fine.  By Memorial Day weekend, his name was on the list of the sick members of the parish for us to pray for.  Last week, John went into hospice care.  Lung cancer killed him, but he never smoked a day in his life.  It moved very quickly.  

It is a privilege to know someone as great as John Lyp.  He loved telling people about Jesus.  He preached the Gospel in everything he did.  In addition to the work he did with the men's group at the parish he volunteered with Covenant House in Newark.  I never saw this man down.  

There were so many people who came to the wake that the parking lot was full.  There were probably 150-200 people at the funeral Mass: family, friends, fellow parishioners.  All whose lives are enriched by knowing John Lyp.  

The Church's teaching on the Communion of the Saints is very comforting at times like this because John isn't really gone.  He may be in purgatory (here for more), he might be in heaven already!  But he's still with us and he's praying for us.  He's doing even more for his family now than he could do while on earth.  The priest said in his homily at the funeral Mass: "For the many of us who are here on earth who sadly say, 'There he goes,' how many more are in heaven, excitedly saying, "Here he comes!'"

John, pray for us.  We'll pray for you.  

Hey, Jesus, here he comes.   

Sunday, July 06, 2008

And the award goes to:

As some of you may know, here at Casa Giglio we are all about the Baseball. We are very specifically All About the Yankees Baseball:

Scott: If I'm going to help you put the kids to bed, we should put them to bed soon 'cause the Yankees-Red Sox game starts at 8.

Curly Sue: Wanna watch Ankees too....

Scott: No, sweetie, it's bedtime. The game comes on after you're in bed.

Curly Sue (whining): Wanna watch Ankees Bee Ball toooooooo.........

I think Whinese is the new official language of our home. Anyway, back to baseball.

Since we are All About the Yankees Baseball, I get to watch many many games on TV for 6 months out of the year (We start with the exhibition games in Spring Training and go until the World Series is done, even if the Yankees are not playing Baseball.) and I have also been subjected to listened to many a game on the AM radio in the car. (Though I just have to say that the background noise and being confined in the car when we are sort of far from the signal causes me much MUCH irritation. And from what I understand, an AM signal travels quite far, especially on a clear night when you're driving back to NJ from Baltimore MD; making a quite uncomfortable car ride for me. Have I digressed again?) I have concluded that most of the announcers (with the exception of John Sterling and Susan Wohltman on the radio) are really quite annoying. Here is my list of Most Annoying Baseball Announcers:

The winner of Most Annoying Baseball Announcer Ever is Joe Buck. The sound of his voice makes me want to hurl bricks through my TV screen. He never seems to be impartial. He does not disguise his contempt for the Yanks. This may be strongly worded. I don't care. I have a headache from too much Baseball. The worst thing about Joe Buck is that he is THE FACE of Fox Sports. Dude covers freaking everything. Can't even watch the Super Bowl without having to put on the SAP and listen to the guys speaking Spanish. I don't even understand Spanish. Joe Buck annoys me THAT much--I would rather listen to commentary in a language I do not understand than listen to Joe Buck.

A strong second in the Most Annoying category is YES's own Michael Kay. You can't get away from this guy either. He's the face of the network! Can you PLEASE tell me why you're interviewing Snoop Dogg on Center Stage? Last time I checked, he's a rapper, not an athlete. OK, he coaches his kid's Pee wee Football team. That's great. Center Stage has Jumped the Shark. Another one that I'd rather listen to Spanish than him.

Third: Tim McCarver. I understand he's a legend and a Baseball Pundit (if there is such a thing), but he is as annoying as those midges that wouldn't leave Joba alone in Cleveland last fall. There's a whole website dedicated to how much people dislike him! The SAP button is my best friend. But at least McCarver played baseball.

You know what the problem with TV people is? They talk too MUCH!!! Tonight, the game was on ESPN. The guys was taking about A-Rod's marriage splitting up and the possible Madonna connection and then he has the nerve to say, "But it's none of our business" !!!!!!! You're right, Annoying Announcer Man, it IS none of our business. So WHY did you bring it up???!!!

Open comment to announcer guys: Stop talking so much! I'd rather hear the crowd noise. The Spanish guys know when to shut up. The Spanish guys are not in love with the sounds of their own voices. I don't want to hear you talking like you know. 'Cause most of you have only stepped onto a field to interview players. Like Scott said tonight: it's not radio. You don't have to worry about dead air.

Gah!!! Idiots!

/end rant

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


Did you hear that? You know, the big exhale? It's the sound of me relaxing because I have 2 months off from work. That's right. I'm not back at work till after Labor day, and on a reduced schedule to boot. My wonderful pastor and boss, Fr. Bob (hi Fr. Bob!), has allowed me to rejigger my contract so that I work 10 months a year and 25 hours a week. It's gonna be great for my home life.

So how did we celebrate the end of my last day of work before summer vacation last night? Well, I threw some hot dogs on the grill and then called the fire department because my grill caught on fire. It wasn't bad. Just the knobs melted and nothing blew up and the house didn't catch. Which is a good thing too cause we are having new siding put on and the guys are almost done! And absolutley no one was hurt. All the firemen had to do was get their fire extinguisher off the back of the truck.

If you don't own a fire extinguisher, please go out right now and purchase one. If I had one at home, I would never have had to call out the Linden FD. I mean it. Go right now. I'll be here when you get back. (....whistling....) Hey, glad you went and picked that up.

Turned out that a line that feeds from the tank to the burner sprung a leak. That's why the flame was under the grill, not in it. The fireman said it happens a lot. I'm not sure if it happens more often on grills you buy from Target on clearance for $25. Bargain shoppers beware.

So, what's on the agenda for this summer? A lot of cleaning and throwing things away. My house is a pigsty and we have too much stuff. By the time we get around to having Curly Sue's 2nd birthday party in the end of August, I don't want to be ashamed of my house anymore. And we're trying to get a trip to Hershey Park and at least one day at the beach in there too. Oh, and VBS back at the parish is in 2 weeks. And I'd like to go out and harass these good people. So, I'll be busy. But I'll mostly be busy cleaning.

So, what are you cooking up for yourselves this summer?