The Art of Mirriam Neal

//magic pie and a recipe for joy

IMG_1247_picnik
♥ spring zoo day snapshot feat. mom & the babysis ♥

 

I was attempting to decipher the faded handwriting on a recipe card last night, so I could type up a recipe for Crumble Top Peach Pie and Graham Cracker Crust for a friend. I was tired and running a little on autopilot, but that’s something I’ve been working on. I tend to run on autopilot when I get drained. I’ve been sitting steadily between 30-40% (in battery terms). I haven’t had much time to really recharge, so I’ve been somewhat creatively uninspired (which is never good, when your art commission slots are filled).

As I wrote the recipe, I reached ‘½ tsp. vanilla’ and thought, this isn’t very fun to read. So I tweaked the recipe slightly.

Combine all ingredients. Let stand for ten minutes (no sitting, jogging, rolling over, or pilates). Turn peach mixture into pie crust (you need a wand for this). Top with following crumb mixture (wait for it.)

You know what? I had fun. Typing up a recipe became fun.

Because I haven’t had much recharge time, I’ve been trying to look for little things; small ways I can take in some soul-sun or at least bring it to someone else. I used to think joy and excitement were only found in big things – I didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything because why bother? Sitting in the car for an hour both ways just to go to Whole Foods is hardly an adventure.

I forgot to realize I could hand-mix playlists to sing along with. I forgot to realize we could roll the windows down and get messy, wind-blown hair. I forgot I might meet a tall Argentinian man with olive skin and silver hair, and I forgot I might possibly have a conversation with him that I would never forget. I forgot that it wasn’t just a run to a grocery store, but an opportunity to spend time with loved ones, and an opportunity to see new things and breathe in new scents.

I think if I don’t purpose to find joy and beauty in the small things, I will be forever disappointed. Everyone who’s constantly looking around the next corner for Something Big will live a life of discontentment. I’m actually a very content person, but occasionally I lapse into a passive kind of contentment, a sort of ‘I don’t care’ autopilot where I’m fine in a technical sense, but I’m not enjoying said contentment. It’s times like those that I need to re-purpose to find joy, and what I inevitably discover every time is that joy is everywhere. Everywhere I turn, I see a reason to smile. I see a reason to marvel. Something that fills me with wonder – from a crazy, artistic dream to a sending a letter to the polaroids of my college daughters (which I stuck on the wall behind my computer because they give me joy).

Mom brings me a cup of coffee just as I’m heading to the kitchen to make one. The sight and sound of little kids shrieking over a game of tag in a schoolyard. A delicious cup of coffee, described by the barista as ‘lighter, kind of pucker,’ complete with an Italian kissing of the fingers. A chocolate-filled croissant as a splurge because why not? Wisteria, dogwoods, and forsythia flowering in every yard, even along the freeway. New books to read (currently studying the War of 1812 and crushing on six dead men at once).

There is so much joy, love, and beauty in these things and consequently, inspiration to be found. I may not have had a day to myself to just ‘recharge’ in a while, but maybe I can learn to recharge in new ways when necessary, to run longer on less battery because everywhere I look, there’s a small zap of something that says look, isn’t this inspiring? Don’t you love this?

And I smile because yes, yes I do.


 Crumb Top Peach Pie (Filling)

2 tbsp. quick-cook tapioca

½ cup sugar

¼ tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

4 ½ cup sliced peaches

½ tsp. vanilla

Combine all ingredients. Let stand for ten minutes (no sitting, jogging, rolling over, or Pilates). Turn peach mixture into pie crust (you need a wand for this). Top with following crumb mixture (wait for it.)

Bake on lower oven for 30 minutes at 425 degrees.

Aforementioned Crumb Mixture

½ cup firm pack light brown sugar

½ cup pecans

3 tbsp. butter (if hard, cut into bits)

1 ½ tsp flour

In food processor, blend all of the above ingredients until crumbly. Chill for topping.

Pie Crust (Regular)

¼ c. cold water

Yolk from 1 large egg (save the egg white)

1 tbsp. cider vinegar

2 c. flour

1 stick plus 2 tbsp. cold butter

Cut into small pieces. Mix water, yolk, and vinegar until well-blended. Put flour in a medium-sized bowl, cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water mixture with a fork until dough crumbs clump together to form dough. Gather into a ball, divide in half, flatten each half into a disk and wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for thirty minutes or until firm enough to roll out. Mix egg white with 2 tsp. water – brush over top crust and sprinkle with ¼ c. sugar.

Graham Cracker Crust

1 ½ c. graham cracker crumbs

1 tbsp. honey

1 stick butter

1 tsp. cinnamon (add more if necessary)

Combine all ingredients and press into 9-inch pie plate.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email