Rhubarb Custard Pie (& Secrets to Successful Pie Crust)


Rhubarb Custard Pie is not a common one in circles I’m in, but this was a favorite of Marty’s family, and has become a favorite of ours too.

The recipe is Marty’s mom’s.  She taught me how to make it – and how to make a simple, but tender and flaky pie crust.

Rhubarb Custard Pie was always one of Pap’s (and IS Nick’s) favorite pie I make.  For Marty, it is not complete without a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

rp slice

Many folks I know like to mix rhubarb with something else sweet, like strawberries.

Not here… sliced chunks of the tart, crimson, tangy rhubarb stalks

rp 1

are a perfect contrast to the creamy, sweet, simple custard to make this a dynamite summertime pie.

rp 11

We took it to a picnic this weekend, but of course I had to make one for home too.

Here is my recipe in its original form passed on and lovingly stained from my mother-in-law, who taught me so much about baking and cooking and canning… and how sometimes good things are messy.  🙂

rp 17The recipe is short and sweet.

I think it takes me longer to clean up than it does to make it.

You may notice the recipe does not include how to make the pie crust, so here is our “secret family recipe.”

Note that I was making 6 crusts in these photos (for 3 pies), but my recipe will be for one crust.  You simply double or triple or quadruple, etc. as necessary.

rp 2

For 1 pie crust, mix 1 cup flour, a heaping 1/3 cup Crisco shortening, and a dash of salt in a bowl blending with a pastry blender till crumbly.

rp 3Add enough cold water to just moisten and be able to form a ball (about 1/3 cup)

rp 4

and put on a floured surface to roll out.rp 5Important:  Do not overwork the dough.  This is NOT bread dough.  It shouldn’t be “kneaded.”  The more you work it, the tougher it will become.  The less you play with it, the more tender and flaky it will be.

rp 6If you are doing more than one crust, simply divide the dough into that number of balls and set aside all but one to roll out.

rp 7I like to use a heavy marble rolling pin to gently roll out the pie dough – working it as little as possible and turning over a few times to keep from sticking to the rolling pin and surface.

rp 8Lift it from the surface to your pie pan (I prefer baking stones) by folding it in quarters, placing in the pan,

rp 9then unfolding and pinching edges

rp 10and add filling.

For Rhubarb Custard Pie, I like to make a lattice crust, so simply roll out another ball of dough and cut into 8 strips.

rp 13Place 4 on the pie in one direction, then weave by lifting two alternating and place one the opposite direction, then lifting the other two, and repeating.

rp 14

A finishing touch is to brush with some cream (or melted butter)

rp 15and sprinkle with sugar.

rp 16

Lastly, cover the edges of the pie with strips of aluminum foil to prevent the edges from getting overbaked or burnt.

rp 18Bake and enjoy!

And with those leftover scraps of dough, Marty always loves with I brush them with a little cream or melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and bake into yummy cinnamon stick treats.

IMG_0061Hope you and yours will enjoy this pie as much as we do!

rp19Cheers and Hugs,



Birds in our Backyard – Better than Bravo TV

Birds have to eat – even when it is pouring down rain.

But really, Buddy – couldn’t you have waited a little bit longer for this torrential stuff to stop – eh?!

Look how SOAKED this poor little guy is?

I’m thinking it is a true sign of – ahem – middle age – err – approaching senior when you start loving to watch birds….  Please prove me wrong friends, and say it isn’t so!

When Marty first started putting up birdfeeders and watching birds and getting bird books and binoculars and telescopes and citing them by name (we think this is a rose-breasted grosbeak, but correct me if I’m wrong), I laughed.

(Just like when he started listening to country music years ago, and I poo pooed it, until one day I realized I was singing along too!) OY VEY!

But Dangit – I gotta say – I’m into this bird watching stuff now too!


Our back deck looks out into the woods, and it is practically a bird sanctuary.


To just listen to them singing all day is quite amazing, but to see them flying around, feeding, sometimes fighting over the feeders, bringing their families in – wow – it’s quite mesmerizing. (Sure beats the multitude of episodes of Housewives and Kardashians, which I have finally and completely tired of!)


Look at this cute little one waiting it’s turn.

IMG_9233Yep – I’ve become a bird watcher…

I’ve yet to capture my favorite pair of yellow finches.  I think I get so fascinated watching them, I forget to grab my camera.

I also want to capture some of the other woodpeckers (several varieties hanging out here) and the beautiful orange bellied orioles and vibrant red cardinals, but have not been successful yet.

MIkey deck

Even Mikey likes to watch them…

And they tolerate him 🙂

Yep – bird watching in our backyard is better than Bravo – any day – rain or shine….

at Life In Between.

Cheers and Hugs,


Hello Friday!


pleasant poppies hi there hello
I’ve always loved bright orange poppies.

It’s so sad that they are only around for about two weeks of the whole entire year, but boy they sure do make their statement when they are here.

Though they are done for the year, I was inspired by a great stamper (and friend) who made a beautiful card recently using the SU Pleasant Poppies stamp – Cindy Brumbaugh at CindyLeeBeeDesigns.

For this card, I also used a fun watercolor and sea salt technique I learned from Patty Bennett (and her dad 🙂 ).

I finished it with one of my favorite new sentiment stamp sets – SU Hi There – for a cheery Hello.

Hello Friday!

Glad you are here, because you are bringing with you some of our favorite peeps to spend some time with us.

Your room is ready, Joyce and Rob.

See you soon Gary and Cindy and Jack and Kathleen!

Happy weekend all!

Cheers and Hugs,


Happy Graduation and Best Wishes Jules!

Graduation Card Julie

SU @SoSocial, Owl Punch, En Francais

So Jules – This one is for you!

Just a few important things I want to tell you:

Happy Graduation!  (this card is on it’s way to you – note the Case Western Color theme… 🙂 )

Congrats on the new job!  (don’t eat too much SPAM!)

Best wishes on your move! (can’t wait to see how you Julieize your new pad!)

Wishing you much success and happiness. (because you deserve it, and I know you will spread joy and fun wherever you go!)

And always remember how much I love ya! (that goes without saying – but I never want to stop telling those I love! ❤ )

Ya know – I have known you from the day you were born, and I have loved you that long too!  You are like a daughter to me, and I just want you to know how proud I am of the amazing young lady you’ve become.

From fond memories of the past…

jules1with all the craziness you put up with from your Mom and me and this whole gang of houligans…


and to wine glasses bigger than you….

jules3and paint chip walls and college visits…


It’s been great.
It’s been fun.

It’s #kindofabigdeal !

Love ya Julie Henderson!

Cheers and Hugs,

Momma 2 – Jodi

Crock Pot Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Wraps with Pineapple Slaw

Hawaiin BBQ Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Slaw 2One day last week, I was surprised to get an email from Nick sending me a link to a recipe he saw on Host the Toast’s Blog for Crock Pot Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Slaw.  (Who knew he read recipe blogs?!?)

Anyway – he somehow charmingly hinted that it would make a great dinner sometime.

Well – woohoo!  Looked YUMMY to me, and I am always up for a new recipe.

I was excited that he wanted me to try something new and different.

So last night I made these yummy wraps (our version of the taco) – because – hey – Nick loves any meal that can be wrapped in a flour tortilla and eaten with one hand.

srirachaAnd we both love anything zipped up with spicy Sriracha sauce.  (In this case both the chicken and the slaw!)

For those unfamiliar with Sriracha – a little goes a long way – so BEWARE faint of spicy taste bud fans – and use sparingly if you are a bit wimpy about zippiness.

The chicken is so tender and juicy and spicy and sweet and yummy.

It could be eaten as is or on a bun or even over some steamed rice (I happened to make a yummy pan of Basmati Rice Pilaf as the “side” dish last night).

And the slaw – oh so yummy and bright and fresh – and such a perfect blend of crunchiness and sweet and zippy and tangy.  Placed atop the BBQ chicken on a flour tortilla with a generous sprinkling of shredded cheddar cheese – Oh my!

Pineapple SlawI’m guessing some of the more unusual ingredients from the original recipe  (like coconut milk and rice vinegar) can be omitted or substituted.  (In fact, I did purchase the coconut milk – for the first time – but substituted red wine vinegar for the rice vinegar).

Be creative – don’t worry if you don’t have all the ingredients – mix and match – plug and play – substitute – omit – follow your own taste buds.


Happy to report that Nick LOVED it…

I loved it…

Marty liked it – a lot – (can’t give it a “LOVE” though –  he’s always been a little weird about fruit mixed with savory  – whatever – be boring then)

Here is the recipe for how I made it.


3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
1½ cups pineapple juice
½ cup honey BBQ Sauce
1/4 cup honey
⅓ cup soy sauce
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp ginger
2 Tbsp sriracha sauce (this stuff is POTENT – so only use 1 Tbsp if you’re a sissy!)

Flour tortillas
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Pineapple Slaw:
½ small purple cabbage, sliced thin
¼ medium green cabbage, sliced thin
¼ fresh pineapple, cored and diced
½ small red or Vidalia onion, diced
3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup coconut milk
1 lime
1 Tbsp sriracha
1 tsp brown sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Whisk together pineapple juice, soy sauce, BBQ sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, and sriracha.
Place chicken breasts in crock pot and cover with the sauce mixture.
Cook on low for 7-8 hours.

Combine and toss all of the slaw ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

After the chicken is cooked for 7-8 hours in the crock pot, shred it with a fork and let it absorb the sauce for another 30 minutes or more.

To eat, place a serving of chicken on the flour tortilla, top with pineapple slaw and a generous sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese. Roll it up, and enjoy!

Hawaiin BBQ Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Slaw 2Cheers and Hugs and a zippy Aloha!


Friends Found – Ain’t it Good to Know You’ve Got a Friend

Tranquil thinking of you SU Lovely as a TreeAs I was contemplating what I would share on my blog today, I was emailing with a dear friend.
Always the multi-tasker, I was doing three or four things at once, but got stuck on a thought she put in my head.

Friends Found

Do you ever think about all the ways people come into your life?
How you decide who will be your “friend?”
Is it a conscious decision?
Does it take consideration?
For some, it takes time…
it takes proof,
it takes evidence,

But for me…… (and as niave as it may sound)
You are my friend…
right away…
unless or until you prove otherwise.

I fall in love quickly.
(and not in an inappropriate way)
But I simply love people.
I love their differences, their uniqueness, their similiarities…
their stories, their history, their traditions…

I love it all –
and consider you my friend
unless you prove otherwise.

No “proving” of friendship with me.
Only proving you’re not… my friend – if that is to be.

Otherwise I’ll love ya.
Because what is life about if not for that?
Call me naïve
Call me gullible
Call me a dreamer…


I’d rather love and lose
than never love at all.

and that reminds me…
like just about everything 🙂 …
of a song…

(and here is my favorite version of Carole King’s “You’ve Got A Friend” from Divas Live – which I had on CD years ago – and now must search for! – but practically wore out listening to – and shamefully sang out VERY loud to from my car many, many a times…)

You’ve Got a Friend:

You know…
I had a bit of a vagabond lifestyle growing up
with lots of change and many different homes and schools and situations…
but I don’t regret a minute of it – because it shaped me into what and who I am today.

And I think I am ok.

Life throws us a lot of curve balls,
but the fun part is figuring out how to hit them!
And though I started out with a bit of a rocky road,
I have found so many friends along the way that have more than made up for it!

Yep –
I’ve got a friend – in fact quite a few friends – and I am so grateful…
Friends Found
at Life in Between.

Thank you for being a friend. (teehee – another song!)

Cheers and Hugs,

Sunday at the (Pittsburgh) ZOO!


I’ve been hinting… maybe begging… alright – PLEADING with Marty for months now to go to the Zoo.

leopardIt’s been FOREVER since we’ve gone.  Probably 15 years or so since going on field trips to the zoo when the boys were young.

tiger 2So you can only imagine my surprise and excitement

tiger yawnwhen Marty woke up Sunday morning, and I asked him what he was thinking about for the day…

tigerand he said, “Well – You’ve been wanting to go to the zoo….”

monkey 2

Ya – ahem – I’ve mentioned it maybe a few… (hundred) times….

elephantSo guess where we went?!


You got it!  Woohoo!  The ZOO!!

red pandaIt was cool to see the new Red Panda (which looks more like a raccoon) – eh?

galapagos turtleand the giant Galapagos tortoises (that moved way faster than I would have expected!)

komodo dragonThere are even DRAGONS at the Zoo!  Komodo that is.

sharkThe sharks were EERY!

marty sharks

And Marty was enthralled.

But the very BEST of all was the Polar Bear!

polar bearThis 1,700 pound ball of fluffy white fur was worth the price of admission.  He danced for us (I’m hoping that’s what it was – either that or he was completed disturbed!)

polar bear 4and – oh – to walk under the tunnel and watch him swim……

polar bear 2and play – was absolutely magical!

flamingosNot sure what these Pink Flamingos were up to, but they got awful rowdy!

penguinsThe penguins were so comical.  I think they thought it was “5 O’clock Somewhere” the way they teetered around on those rocks near the water’s edge.

ostrichWhat a great day!

Though it did make me realize I desperately need a telephoto zoom lens for my camera (and a class or some lessons to boot!).

Sounds like an excuse to go back to the zoo – sometime in the next 15 years or so.

Cheers and Hugs,


Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars

Peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie bars

Does the name just say it ALL?!?!?


Oh My!!!!    I first saw this simple recipe on the AverieCooks Blog.  Have you seen Averie’s blog yet?  It’s one of my faves.   I think she could take a picture of a piece of cardboard, and I would want to eat it!

Oh #AverieSunshine – I think you are my hero! (Check out her amazing BLOG here.)    I can only aspire to be like Averie Sunshine (sigh).

 I wonder if it would help if I had a cooler name…??!!  

Maybe I could use Marty’s “pet” name for me……  Do you think Gertrude PIA Wisenheimer has a cool ring to it??!!??  (and if you are wondering… PIA is an acronym for Pain in A$$). 

I guess that’s what I get for calling him Merv.  🙂


Anyway – We were going to a barbeque picnic Saturday – one of those parties where everyone brings something to share.  (with our buddies from John’s Bar btw)
Marty suggested I make a dessert.   Seems I’m always the dessert lady.
Too bad I don’t L O V E baking!

So I remember these amazing looking cookie bars from AverieCooks, and decided that is what I was making.

But I had to somehow “Jodi – ize” them.   Hmmm…. ????  What could make a peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie bar any better??  I know!  A sprinkling of Peanut Butter M&Ms on top!  Am I a genius or what??!!


This recipe is seriously so easy and basic.  You probably have all the ingredients on hand already (if your pantry looks anything like mine).  You really don’t even need a mixer, and they only take a few minutes to mix together and 20 minutes to bake.

IMG_9311Note how I measure my peanut butter….  teeheehee!

So here’s the recipe:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp vanilla
1 Heaping cup creamy peanut butter
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt  (did you know a pinch is 6 shakes?  Trivial Pursuit Question!)
1 Bag Nestle Semi Sweet Chocolate Chunks

Garnish:  1 cup (ish) Peanut Butter M&Ms

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 13×9 baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray.

Mix butter, egg, sugars, vanilla.

Stir in the peanut butter.

Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and stir until just incorporated.

Stir in chocolate.

Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until center is just set and golden.  (Underbaking is always better!)

Bars will firm up more in pan as they cool.


IMG_9344Let me know if you make them and how you like them.

IMG_9340Cheers and Hugs,


Cheers! (or in our case John’s Bar!) – There ARE good people in this world!


This past Thursday evening, Marty and I went on our regular weekly “date” to John’s Bar.
John’s Bar is our CHEERS.
It’s our “where everybody knows your name.”
It’s an everyone-gets-a-hug-when-you-leave kinda place.
It’s NOT classy.
It’s NOT fancy.
Dare I say it is a bit of a “dive” (in the most flattering way you can call something a dive).

Don’t ask for a Cosmo at John’s Bar.
Brad (the bartender) laughed when I asked for Bombay Gin instead of Tangueray.
No frozen fru fru drinks.
Appetizers are packs of saltine crackers (if you’re lucky!)
The menu never changes – as many times as I ask to look at it – and even when I try writing something different on the menu pad, like Belgium waffles with fresh strawberries and whipped cream or a chicken quesadilla.
But you can always count on a grilled chicken salad (with French fries),
Or a bowl of cheeseburger mac soup,
Or some pretty darn good wings.

Our bill for the evening rarely exceeds $30 – for dinner and drinks!
And we have made lifetime friends we would have never known if not for our regular Thursday evenings at John’s bar.
We get invited to pig roasts and picnics and parties.
We celebrate birthdays and weddings and anniversaries.
We laugh – and laugh – and laugh.
Sometimes we talk politics… and even though my views are a bit more liberal than most at John’s on Thursday nights – they love me anyway.

Well – When we got home this past Thursday evening from our “date,” I realized I had lost my debit card.

(Dang that Marty for having me pay this week!)

Nick said I looked distraught…
I felt like I lost my left arm (I’m a leftie – so right arm does ME NO good!)…
I called our friends that were still there.
They checked the bar, the bathroom, the parking lot….
No luck.

So Friday morning I called the bank, cancelled the debit card, and ordered a new one.
What a long 5-7 days it will be waiting!  (seriously Mars Bank!?)

Then about an hour later, the bank called me.
Someone had returned my debit card TO THE BANK!
They told the nice lady on the phone that called me that they found it in a – ahem – bar (or maybe restaurant she said kindly) parking lot.

So see! There are good, kind people in the world!
Doing kind little random things every day.
If you just pay attention.

Thank you to whoever was so kind to return my debit card to the bank! I appreciate you!
(even though the bank doesn’t – ahem – trust – and said they have to destroy it since “someone else touched it!” and issue me a new one)

YOU tried, and I love ya!

pink hello doiley victorian thank you

Hello Doily SU Stamp on Distressed Victorian Thank You Note

Cheers and Hugs,