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One way to enjoy pecan pie without the calories

Farmer's market selfie

If you ever want your house to smell delicious but don’t want the scent to be identifiable — the way bread or brownies would be instantly identifiable by aroma — bake a pecan pie. Pecan pies have basically all the sweet smells but the nuts throw you off.

That’s right. I’ll just leave “the nuts throw you off” as a gift to you.

(It’s this pie recipe, by the way… but I add a splash of bourbon too. Just a splash. I usually resent using PW recipes for some reason, and yet, they typically work — probably because the recipes are basically straight out of church cookbooks and are filled with love and butter. Which is as it should be during the holidays.)

Anyway, I have two pecan pies cooling in the kitchen right now and the house smells like family and happiness — or the kind of family happiness that Christmas TV specials would have you believe exists but that I’ve rarely ever personally experienced. The kind where you go back to some family compound straight out of a Nancy Meyers movie, the kind where there are numerous guest bedrooms piled high with plaid bedspreads and perfect soft lighting, the kind where there are fireplaces perfectly crackling all evening with seemingly no one attending to them, the kind where people arrive with giant gifts in hand, wearing not-matching-but-coordinated sweaters.

I’ve been radio silent because I’ve been teaching the young minds of the future, by the way! For real! Be very scared. Okay, most of them were not young minds — they were, for the most part, non-traditional students who have day jobs and are trying to get through their undergraduate degree on the side. Except I keep referring to them as “the kids” automatically, a throwback to when I was a TA at my own alma mater, where the sophomores generally were more excited about getting to drink legally in a few months, as opposed to the sophomores I teach now, who are mostly worried about their kids borrowing the car.

If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll probably have heard me complain mightily about the teaching gig — and let’s face it, the wages paid to professors are CRIMINALLY low considering how much money the students shell out to take that class — but coming out on the other side of the semester has changed my tune somewhat. It’s kind of fun to just talk about something you know so well — writing, in this case.  Unfortunately, there are some aspects of academia which are not quite as fun, but I think I’m going to give it another shot next semester. Unfortunately, only one of the two classes I taught this semester is offered next semester, but they did offer me a choice of two other classes to teach, so I’m probably going to take the one that looks like the most fun. Famous last words? Yeah, probably, but it hopefully will be much easier to grade those lessons than it is to basically copy edit 32 news articles while also EXPLAINING in nice professor terms why the sentence(s) syntax is balls.

Between finals (which just finished) and NaNoWriMo (which I’m one of four regional MLs for Wisconsin- Elsewhere), things have been pretty intense around Chalet Bix. Suddenly it’s the night before Thanksgiving? How did that happen!?

Which means one thing: Holiday Card Exchange!

I did announce this on Facebook already, but we’ll definitely be doing the That’s My Bix! Holiday Card Exchange this year!  Want to participate? Awesome. Read the FAQ and if you want in, add your info to this form.

I’ll send out the list of holiday card participants (notice that by “holiday card” that means whatever you want it to mean… we all have different beliefs and that’s pretty okay! The more diverse this exchange is, the happier I am, so if you like to send, oh, New Year’s cards, please don’t let that keep you from signing up… we love New Year’s cards!) by Friday, December 5th. That means that you need to get your name on that list by December 4th. Yeah, that’s not a lot of time, so go do it right now!

Got it? Awesome.

From that point, it’s up to you to address, affix stamps, seal and send those cards. Probably a good plan to get them sent by Jan 11th, but no one’s keeping track. This is for fun! It’s just a card and a stamp! Plus, we like real mail, yes we do.

The photo above was part of our “farmer’s market selfie” series that I insisted upon this summer. This was taken at the very last Coldington farmer’s market — it was raining and about 38 degrees, but we were stalwart in our task.

My pecan pies are cool enough to move, so I’m onto making pumpkin pies, with puree from sugar pumpkins we bought that day. Esteban went through the effort of roasting and pureeing those four sugar pumpkins, then freezing them for winter. It felt very Laura Ingalls Wilder at the time, but I’m glad he took the time to do it because now we’re going to have amaze-balls pumpkin pie for dessert tomorrow. Looking at that picture now, it’s hard to believe I took it only a month ago — it’s below freezing now and there’s already a few inches of snow on the ground, more like the photo below, which is more or less what my backyard looks like right now (the photo was actually taken last year because it’s too dark for me to take a photo right now but you get the idea.)

And I hope you’ll be glad you took the time to send a little bit of happiness out into the ether through the Holiday Card Exchange. You’ll reap back seasonal greetings to ensure that your holidays are a constant reminder that there are kind people in this world and that they want nothing more than for you to have a very wonderful day. What could be better than that?

The view from my office window today


Also, we need to talk about Serial. Can we talk about Serial for a second? Tell me your Serial theories in the comments.

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  1. Georgina wrote:

    I think that Adnand is innocent. I think what’s his face, Jay, made it all up and probably has something to do with it.

    I am so happy you mentioned Serial! I have been listening and re-listening, and it drives me nuts I have no one to tal to about it!

    Saturday, November 29, 2014 at 7:52 pm | Permalink
  2. Wendy Bix wrote:

    I fluctuate between “Adnan is totally innocent because Jay did it and Jay’s friend Jen helped somehow” and “there’s some other version of what happened than those two possibilities discussed on the podcast.” I keep getting stuck on how much attention is given to this 21 minutes that Adnan supposedly killed Hae… it is all based on the timing of the cell phone records and the assumption that Hae would have absolutely been picking up her cousin by 4 pm. I think that’s a lot of logical fallacy to assume that Hae couldn’t have been, oh, snatched off the timeline and kept, oh, in the trunk of her own car, and then killed during some other time, as much as days after Jan 13, 1999. I also think it’s possible that the police already knew where Hae’s car was shortly after her disappearance and were monitoring it, hoping that something would happen, and it’s entirely possible that Jay somehow found out that information during those hours when the interrogation wasn’t being recorded. I’m not saying that the Baltimore cops aren’t shady, but revealing information is sometimes slipped. Also, Jay absolutely feels off somehow. I worked many years amidst people who were psychopathic and sociopathic… while I can’t put my finger on it right now, my spidey sense is tingling big time with him. That being said, a friend who is a criminal trial lawyer said that innocent people never say “I know in my heart that I’m innocent” they just say “I didn’t do it.” The “I know in my heart” means that they did it but haven’t accepted that they are guilty/are in denial about the reality of the situation. So that’s entirely possible too.

    Sunday, November 30, 2014 at 4:27 pm | Permalink
  3. Gwen wrote:

    I am kind of obsessed and also conflicted. I agree Adnand didn’t do it; I agree that Jay seems shady. But doesn’t it feel like, somehow, there have to be more options than the ones presented here? (Note that I’m still only on ep7 — maybe more leads come in.) What about the streaker guy who discovered her body? That all seems SO suspicious.

    Monday, December 1, 2014 at 5:19 pm | Permalink
  4. Georgina wrote:

    Yeah, I don’t get why they say Hae had to be killed right after school. I guess they harp on it because it’s what the cops said and how they were able to weakly hang the murder on Adnand.

    Teenagers are such dumbasses though. Why would you lend someone your car and cell phone?

    The streaker is way shady.

    I wish they would find out who because poor Hae…

    Monday, December 1, 2014 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

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