what I want to tell you

We've been home for almost three weeks now (and by home I mean both Kansas and Minnesota) and I could talk about so many things we've done and seen ...

  • thoroughly explored the grass in my parent's lawn (grass! imagine!),


  • visited farmer's markets, garage sales, and thrift stores (such different shopping than the fancy malls and wet markets of HK!),

  • many summer meals on the patio (need I say bbq? I am from Kansas City, after all ...)patiodinner

  • bbqboyvisited with old friends, welcomed new babies and met a new fiancee

  • connected with lots of family (our son has the good fortune of three great-grandparents still living)

  • some wobbly first steps, cheered on by Great-Aunt Cheryl

  • a new friendship between Leo the Good and Finn the Brave ... it had a rough start (Leo is a Very Big Dog) but curiosity and a shared love of balls won the day. finnleo1

I could tell you all about that. But what actually brings me back to the computer, what I really want to tell you about, is this: slab pie. Pie baked on a flat, rimmed baking sheet, which just happens to be The Best Baking Idea I've seen in a long time.


Turns out, it's not a new idea (is anything ever truly new?) ... as soon as my father-in-law saw what I was doing, he said that his mom had made something similar, with apples, when he was growing up.  They'd never found the recipe, so I think my discovery of slab pie just gave me favored daughter-in-law status (never mind that I'm the only d-i-l.)


For those of us who like a higher proportion of crust to filling than the standard pie gives, who love handheld desserts, who love rustic deliciousness---this is heaven on a plate. And for those of us who have only a countertop oven that won't fit a regular pie pan, this is no pie-in-the-sky---this is pie on earth. In Minnesota, in Kansas, in Hong Kong, wherever you are.

We made it with raspberries, but that's only because we went and picked six pounds of berries today. Smitten Kitchen, where I found this epiphany, used sour cherries. I'm already thinking about peaches when we go back to Kansas, and then apples and guavas this fall in Hong Kong ... Seriously, folks, slab pie is reason enough to invite friends over, to go on a picnic, to find a potluck.  You can use the recipe on Smitten Kitchen, this one from Martha Stewart, or just run with the basic idea.  1 1/2 times the recipe for your favorite double-pie-crust + 1 times the filling of your choice will fill a 15" x 10" x 1" pan nicely.  Bake at 375 for 45 min-1 hour, or until the crust is brown and the fruit is bubbly.  Once it's cool, make a powdered sugar glaze flavored with a bit of vanilla, almond or lemon. Slab pie indeed.


Getting Ready

Just wanted to pop in quickly and let you know what we've been up to the last few weeks. After a great visit with Nana D (Matt's mom) we've spent the last week preparing for that time-honored ritual among overseas expats ... the long summer holiday at home.  We're heading back to the States today (leaving HK at 4 in the afternoon and arriving at LAX two hours earlier). This is how we've been getting ready: 

1. Swimming. Mainly at our pool, but going to the beach too.  The water is really the only place to be once the thermometer hits 30, after all.  Plus, the pool is the only place where Finn is at a disadvantage by crawling, so he's actually been walking! (Not on land yet, though.)swimming  The biggest advantage of swimming, however, is that it tires him out like nobody's business, which = long naps and long nights.  Both of which allow us to do....

2. Laundry. loads and loads.  Seriously mad amounts of laundry. Last night we kept setting the alarm clock so we could get up and switch the machine from wash to dry, or throw in another load. I have this crazy goal of having everything we take with us be clean, and everything we leave here (including bath towels and bed linens) be clean. Five weeks in a hot, closed-up apartment is just too long to leave dirty stuff to smolder, but this is one logistical feat that makes me understand why people hire full-time helpers.     

3. Scheming. Planning. Making lists. Packing. Weighing. Repacking. 

4. Crafting. I'm putting together a grab bag of toys (ie, post-it notes and stickers) to keep Finn busy on the plane, and wrapping each one to prolong the excitement. I couldn't find any puppets I loved (or were worth the cost!) so I made these out of an old pair of socks: puppets

And this--Finn's farm mat.  I took some of his favorite animal photos, laminated them and put velcro on the back. Then made this felt horizon to play with them on. farm mat For a boy who loves his velcro and loves his animals, we're hoping this buys at least, oh, 15 minutes.  Our seatmates hope so too.  

See you on the other side of the Pacific!  If you're the praying sort, we could use a few today. walking with papa