Pecan Pie and Homemade Crust

I love eating pie, but I’ve never baked a pie.

Sure, I’ve picked up a frozen pie from the grocery store and heated it up in the oven… but I’ve never actually baked one from scratch.

So this Thanksgiving, I wanted to challenge myself. I baked a pie, but not just any pie. I baked what is probably the sugariest pie in the world: Pecan Pie (and I made my own crust!).


For the pie and the crust, I followed recipes from The Pioneer Woman (I love her!)

Pie Crust

  • 1-1/2 cup Crisco (vegetable shortening)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 whole egg
  • 5 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, with a pastry cutter, gradually work the Crisco into the flour for about 3 or 4 minutes until it resembles a coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat an egg with a fork and then pour it into the flour/shortening mixture. Add 5 tablespoons of cold water, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir together gently until all of the ingredients are incorporated.

Separate the dough in half. Form 2 evenly sized balls of dough and place each dough into a large Ziploc bag. Using a rolling pin, slightly flatten each ball of dough (about ½ inch thick) to make rolling easier later. Seal the bags and place them in the freezer until you need them. (If you will be using it immediately it’s still a good idea to put in the freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes to chill.)

When you are ready to use the dough to make a crust, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw for 15 minutes. On a floured surface roll the dough, starting at the center and working your way out. (Sprinkle some flour over top of the dough if it’s a bit too moist.) If the dough is sticking to the countertop use a metal spatula and carefully scrape it up and flip it over and continue rolling until it’s about ½ inch larger in diameter than your pie pan.

With a spatula, lift the dough carefully from the surface of the counter into the pie pan. Gently press the dough against the corner of the pan. Go around the pie pan pinching and tucking the dough to make a clean edge.

See original recipe here.

Pecan Pie

  • 1 pie crust
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/3 cup melted butter (salted)
  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Mix sugar, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, butter, eggs, and vanilla together in a bowl.

Pour chopped pecans in the bottom of the unbaked pie shell.

Pour syrup mixture over the top. Cover top and crust lightly/gently with foil. Bake pie at 350º for 30 minutes. Remove foil, then continue baking for 20 minutes, being careful not to burn the crust or pecans.

If it shakes a lot, cover with foil and bake for an additional 20 minute or until set. I made this mistake and took my pie out while it was too jiggly and my pie turned out very liquidy! 

Allow to cool for several hours. Serve in thin slivers (because it’s super sweet, although I had a huge piece because it’s so good!)

See original recipe here.

Pecan Pie and Homemade Crust

Thanksgiving at Home

The last two Thanksgivings have been very different. Last year, I didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving because I was in Canada (so I celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving in October). The year before that, I was living on my own in DC, and I spent Thanksgiving by myself.

So this year when I was able to celebrate Thanksgiving at home with my family, I was over the moon.

We spent the day baking and cooking, watching the parade, playing board games, and of course… napping. It was perfect. Here are some photos from that day!


Spending the holidays with my family will always be my favorite thing to do. Did you celebrate Thanksgiving with your family? How did you spend the day? 💛

Thanksgiving at Home

Thankful

I love the holiday season, because it has a special way of reminding us to show gratitude and make family time a priority.

So much has happened this year, and I think it would be strange if I wasn’t thankful for it all.

It’s been filled to the brim with ups and downs. I’ve been at my highest and I’ve certainly been at my very lowest. But you know what?

I’m very thankful for everything that I’ve gone through over the past year, because all of it has helped me grow in one way or another. And, if I hadn’t experienced the things I had this year, I wouldn’t be where I am – physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Before I get into what I’m thankful for, I feel like I need to preface this by saying I’m the type of person who is simply amazed by everything, I’m grateful for everything, and I think everything is beautiful. So picking and choosing just a few things to add to a list is difficult. But here we go…

Here are just a few things I’m thankful for 🍂

A perfect & loving support group

Right now, I’m at a place in my life where I feel like I’m constantly overwhelmed with love. Since moving back home, I’ve been supported non-stop. Being back home again helped me realize that family really is the only constant, and no matter what happens in life, no matter how far I move, no matter how big the mistakes I make, my family and close friends will always, always be here supporting me and lifting me up when I need it the most.

My health

If you’ve been following my story for a while, you’d know I used to be very, very ill. (Like, almost needing a transplant, almost being put onto an IV drip twice a week, taking oral chemotherapy sick). But over the past year, my health has drastically improved. I’m happy to say I’m no longer on medications of any sort, and I’m just happily living my life, pain-free!

My faith journey

Over the past year alone, my faith has gotten so much stronger. I’ve been a huge part of my church, I dive into the bible every day, and I live each day with a more christ-centered focus. I was raised a Christian, but never really had a strong, personal relationship with Jesus until this past year and I’m so glad I found it. I look forward to continuing my faith journey and getting deeper into the bible and gaining more fellowship and community!

Sunsets, waterfalls, beaches, rainbows (you get it)

Since being back in Hawaii, I see everything with a fresh pair of eyes. And I have a newfound appreciation for all the little things. I never thought I’d miss Hawaii so much, but after being away from my islands for over two years, I realize now that this is my home and my heart. Every day, I’m given a new piece of beauty to be thankful for. Yesterday, I was given not one, but two rainbows! The night before that, the skies were painted purple and pink. And even though it’s raining and storming outside today, Maui still has its magical way of turning a gloomy day into a beautiful one. I’m grateful to live in paradise, but I truly believe there’s beauty everywhere. Wherever you are in the world, find the beauty in it. Seek the wonder and be thankful that this is your home.

The opportunity to live all around the world

Over the past few years, I’ve lived on two continents and on a rock smack dab in the middle of the pacific. I’ve gone from Oregon to Hawaii to China to Hawaii to Washington DC to Canada and back to Hawaii. (And I’ve got something in the works for the next place I choose to live, but I’ll wait to announce that one… Hint: it’s going to be huge, like really huge)

Anyway, I’m thankful that I’ve been able to live all over the world. And I even lived out my dream of living abroad!

The ability to plan for the future

I’m thankful for the ability to make plans for the future. I know lots of people who are so stuck in their lives or limited by jobs, debt, finances, or family situations that prevent them from even dreaming. And that’s heartbreaking. So, I make sure to show gratitude when I make plans for my future, because I know there are so many people who are unable to do that.

My last relationship

This one is a bit tricky, and you might be thinking: “Why would you be thankful for a relationship that ended?” And well, I’m thankful for it because it taught me a lot about love, life, and ultimately, myself. If you’ve been a reader for a while, you’ve read all my posts about my relationship as it was unfolding – all the good, the happiness, the love, how we went from long distance to living together. But I haven’t spoken about how it all came crashing to a halt, and I don’t intend to. It’s private, personal and out of respect for others involved, I’ll keep it all to myself (and my journal).

But there are some things I do want you to know.

Sure, it was tough, it was heartbreaking, it made me an emotional, anxiety-ridden wreck.

Even so, I am unbelievably grateful for it all.

I’m thankful for all the fights we got into – how minuscule or colossal they may have been, for all the nights spent crying and alone, the yelling and driving off, the anger, the frustrations. I’m grateful for it all because they all taught me something about living with someone, loving someone else, and most importantly, they taught me things about myself, too.

I’m also thankful for all the good, happy memories we made together. I’m thankful for the laughter, the slow dancing in the kitchen at midnight, the banana bread baking on a Tuesday afternoon, movie nights with his family, and making plans and promises together. I’m thankful for being loved, and being able to love so greatly.

It’s because of this relationship that I’m in a place right now where I’m focusing on myself, my happiness, my overall well-being, my growth.

For that, I’m thankful.


What are you thankful for this year? Tell me, I’d love to hear!

And, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones!  ❤️

Thankful

Visiting Lumeria on Maui | Local Wild Food Challenge

I’ve lived on Maui for 20 years, and it surprises me how much there is that I haven’t done or seen on this tiny island. The other day, I was invited to visit Lumeria on Maui. I’ve driven past it countless times, but I’ve never actually gone inside – and now that I have, I know I’ll be visiting often.

Lumeria is a retreat for the mind, body and spirit. It’s a place that will help you transform into your best self through education, mindful yoga, and wellness retreat programming – sounds like heaven, right? While I was there, I didn’t want to be too invasive, so I didn’t take very many photos. But here’s a peak into the beauty that is Lumeria Maui!

The second time I visited Lumeria was for the Local Wild Food Challenge, which our family business sponsored. It was a cooking competition that supported local hunters and locally grown food/produce. It was really fun to watch and I’m really happy we were able to support a great cause! (Plus, I FINALLY met Mick Fleetwood!!!)

Seriously, dream come true. Fleetwood Mac is one of my favorite bands ever and meeting Mick Fleetwood was incredible!

Visiting Lumeria on Maui | Local Wild Food Challenge

Fall in Hawaii

One of the things I loved the most about living on the mainland is experiencing the different seasons. I love Hawaii, but I really wish we had all four seasons. Fall is my favorite season, and I’m definitely missing the changing leaves, crisp fall air, and the onset of winter. Here’s what fall in Hawaii looks like.

Did you visit a pumpkin patch this year? If not, what’s your favorite fall tradition? ❤️

Fall in Hawaii

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In 2012, I lost my stepmom to breast cancer. Last year, my mom got checked for lumps (she’s okay, thankfully). This year, one of our friends was diagnosed with breast cancer. And with October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it just seemed fitting to join a walk.

I thought about my stepmom a lot that day. I was surrounded by other survivors, fighters, and people (like me) who have been affected by breast cancer by losing a loved one.

It was emotional, but smiles were everywhere.

It felt good doing good.

My mom and I before the walk!

We had a pink sunset that night. It seemed fitting after a day filled with pink and love.

Do you know anyone who is battling or has battled breast cancer? Tell me! I’d love to add them to my prayer list ❤️

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Maui

About 2 months ago, I traveled back home to Maui and played “tourist.” Here’s some photos from that trip.

First hug after being away for 2 years!

Paia is one of my favorite places on Maui. I love all the little shops and the small town vibe. It makes me happy!

Sometimes, the best way to see a place is from above. Helicopter tours in Hawaii are always amazing because you realize just how lush and beautiful the islands really are.

Even rainy days in Hawaii are beautiful. They’re my favorite type of days here.

My parents got married in this church!

Lahaina is another one of my favorite towns on Maui, because of its oceanfront shops and restaurants that are built over the water. It’s such a unique place, and I miss it every time I’m not home.

This is traditional Hawaiian food (my favorite type of food!)

My brother and sister are my world. I’m so lucky to have them!

Walking around Lahaina, the harbor, and having lunch at one of my favorite places: Bubba Gumps!

Another thing I never get tired of is visiting the aquarium. I’m not sure what it is, but even though I’ve gone to this aquarium 100 times, there’s something about it that makes me feel happy and at home.

I will never, ever get over how beautiful Hawaii sunsets are. Sure, the sun sets everywhere in the world, but there’s something different and special about when the sun goes down over my little island. It’s so unlike anything else I’ve ever seen, and I love it.

Maui

Halloween at Disneyland

I grew up in LA, so it will always have a special place in my heart. There’s nothing quite like going back to a familiar place, seeing your old friends and family, and reminiscing on good times. And in my most recent trip to the City of Angels, I did just that.

After I left Canada, I needed some girl time and something to make me happy… What better way to do that than at Disneyland?! Plus, it was all decorated for my favorite time of year: Halloween!

It’s true what they say: Disneyland is the happiest place on earth! And I had the best time with my two favorite girls in the world.

What’s your favorite thing about Disneyland? ❤️

Halloween at Disneyland

An Ode to a Home

When we were house hunting, we didn’t know what we wanted – we were just excited to finally be together.

I remember when we went to view this house. The lawn was unkempt, the whole house wreaked, there were marker drawings all over the walls and carpets, and it was over budget.

But for some reason, we were drawn to it. The house was close to my work, not too big and not too small, it overlooked a lake, and the owners loved us.

It was meant to be.

This house held so many memories – good and bad – and when I closed the door, handed over the keys, and left it for the last time, it was overwhelming.

This is where we would begin our life together – but it’s also where our love ended.

This is where we set up our first Christmas tree, wrapped garland around the banisters, cooked countless chicken dinners (because that’s all I can seem to cook), watched our favorite TV shows.

This house is where we brought a kitten home, where I sat out on the porch and “tanned,” where friends visited and stayed with us and marveled at how “in love” we seemed.

Laughter and love filled this house to the brim. But this is also where we fought, and cried, and yelled, and wondered how in the world we ever thought this could work out. This is where I was at my lowest, but it’s also where I was at my highest.

I was in love in this house, but I also lost that love in this house.

We made plans for our future in this house, talked about kids’ names, jobs we’d love to have, where we’d want to live, how our wedding would be.

And at the end, we cried and said our very last goodbye in this house.

I learned so much about love, partners, life, and myself living in this house, that I can’t help but be thankful.

This house was many things in the short year I lived in it. But one thing it will never stop being is a lesson, a stepping stone, something to remember but never to relive.

An Ode to a Home

Last Days in Canada

Three weeks ago, I decided to leave the home and life I made myself in Canada. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, and it was really rough on me. Luckily, friends from work were there for me, friends from college kept me company on the phone, and my mom flew up to help me pack up and move.

Here are some photos from my last moments in Canada – a place I was lucky to call home for even a short while.

Canada, I’ll never forget you and all the lessons you taught me.

Last Days in Canada