Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top Blog Posts of 2015

Happy New Year's Eve everyone!  One of my favorite things to do today is to look at my blog posts from this past year and see which ones were the most read.  This year I've decided to break it down two way - my top posts written in 2015 and my top all time posts.

Top 2015 Blog Posts

My top 2015 blog post was a fun collaboration with Jeni of Jeni Eats on Ham Balls: An Iowa Classic.  Without knowing, I gave Jeni her first taste of Ham Balls at a North Iowa Blogger get together.  After that first try, she was in love!  I love Jeni's enthusiasm and curiosity for local foods and traditions.  Be sure to check out this fun post, and my recipe, as well as Jeni's take on our Ham Ball day in my kitchen!

My second top 2015 blog post had a North Iowa Blogger tie too.  It was a tribute to my fellow North Iowa Blogger, and friend, Amy Hild of Modern Rural Living, who passed away in a tragic car accident this past winter.  I will always remember Amy's zest for life, her passion and strive to learn.  I'm not surprised this was one of my top 2015 blog posts, as Amy's story has made the top lists of the year for our local TV station and local newspaper.  Amy still is making an impact, even from heaven!

Maybe I'm starting a theme here, but my third top 2015 blog post as well had a North Iowa Blogger connection.  The North Iowa Bloggers had a local Pizza Taste Off in March and I brought my family-wide famous Overnight Salad to share with the group, to help break up the amount of pizza and carbs we'd be consuming.  Well, it was very popular with the bloggers too, so I had to share my recipe.

My fourth top 2015 blog post was my Celebrate Your Heritage and Mom with Kringla post.  I grew up in a Norwegian area of Central Iowa where I knew who locally made the best kringla.  So with Mother's Day coming up on the calendar, I thought I'd share my recipe for this sweet cookie pastry that can be ate for breakfast, snack, dessert - really anytime of the day! 

Rounding out the top 2015 blog posts was a my Harvest Recap post, that shared some exciting news about "New Additions" coming to the farm.  I don't know if this post got so many hits because people wanted to learn about Flat Aggie visiting our farm, or wanted to learn about corn bagging, or maybe it was to find out that we are expecting "Baby Tinker" in May!

Top All-Time Blog Posts

My all-time top blog post is my 5 Easy Ways to Teach Your Toddler Their ABCs and 123s post.  If I've had any post come anywhere close to viral, this is it.  I list a few ideas on how to incorporate the alaphbet and numbers into your daily and weekly routines to help your toddler become familiar with them.  I know I'm always looking for ways to help my children learn at home, and obviously I'm not alone.

My next all-time top blog post sneaked into the top 5 for the first time this year.  It is a Tuesday Tasty Pork post for my Slow Cooker Hot and Spicy Ribs.  This was an early post for me and doesn't even include a photo of the ribs!  I'll be changing this in the New Year!  I'm guessing people are googling and pinteresting slow cooker and pork and are falling upon this post.  I'm all of a sudden really hungry for these pork ribs!

My third all-time top blog posts is one of my all time favorites too.  It is the only time My Farmer has done a guest post for me and it is on How to Have a Happy Farm Wife: Rules of a Farmer.  There are certain times of the year on the farm when things are very busy, people are having little sleep and stress is high.  This also seems to be the time when people can get frustrated easily with one another so My Farmer wrote a little post on what he does to keep the peace at home with me.  There must be some other farmers out there looking for solutions to this time of year too!

My fourth all-time top blog post is a post I did on Spreading the Love of Reading through World Book Night and the Latimer Little Free Library.  Sadly, there is no World Book Night in the United States anymore, but there is still a huge, and growing movement to set up Little Free Libraries across the nation and world.  I truly believe that if you can instill the love of reading at a young age, it will help your children learn and do well in school, as well as, it can be a life-long past-time and hobby.

My fifth all-time top blog post is a post I did on Farming - A Family Tradition.  I think it is so special that My Farmer and I both are 5th generation farmers and we are currently raising the 6th generation on our farm.  We feel honored and privileged to be carrying on our family's legacy.

What is your favorite blog post from 2015?  Are there any top blog posts that made the list that intrigue you?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!  Today is the last day to comment to help the North Iowa Christmas Cheer Fund!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas through a Child's Eyes

Our family gatherings are over, we've found a spot for most of our new gifts, and we're down to the final boxes of Christmas cookies.  I had a great time with My Farmer and kids this Christmas, along with all of our extended families.  One of the greatest joys from this year's Christmas was seeing how each of our kids experienced Christmas in their own, unique way:

Christmas through a Child's Eyes
For our son LP who is 4 1/2 years old, this was the first year he really understood "Santa" and was excited for everything Santa.  He was excited to go see Santa at our local community center, excited to leave him cookies and milk, and excited to see what he'd leave in our stockings on Christmas Day morning.  The best part was that he asked the wise old question, "Why does Santa bring us gifts for Jesus's birthday?".  To make it simple this year, we just explained that Santa loves Jesus - just like we do, so he shares his love for Jesus with children all over the World.

Christmas through a Child's Eyes
For our 2 1/2 year old daughter MP, she found herself in the crossroads of wanting independence, but yet at times still needing help to do things this Christmas.  (Okay, maybe this wasn't just at Christmas but is the life of a 2 year old...)  She had a lot of fun and joy when she could do things on her own and at her own time, but when it came to doing things not on her time, like group pictures.... well, let's just say she wasn't a fan.  Her favorite part of Christmas though was probably driving around to check out people's light decorations.  On Christmas Night we went on a evening car ride to see all the lights.  She said "Wow" for every-single-house that had any bit of decorations.

Christmas through a Child's Eyes
And for our 11 month daughter JP's 1st Christmas, it was a busy one, as all she really cared about was having enough space to crawl around and places to pull herself up!  She did a great job spending time with many family members at each Christmas gathering, and was sure to clap for her gifts (that is if she was still near it and hadn't crawled 20 feet away by the time it was unwrapped...).  Her innocent smile that she shared every day and with everyone, brought simple joy for all of us this Christmas.
Christmas through a Child's Eyes

It was so special to see each of our kids experience the blessings of Christmas this year.  What was your favorite part of Christmas?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Week - Shrimp Dip & Holiday Check List

Christmas Week is here!  We've already been celebrating by having our church's children's Christmas program last night and LP's PreK class had their school Christmas program today.

Throughout the holiday season I've enjoyed sharing my weekly holiday check lists with you, as well as some of my favorite holiday recipes.  This week for my holiday recipe, I have to share my recipe for Shrimp Dip.  This is my go to appetizer for every holiday gathering.  I don't know if your family get-togethers are like ours, but we seem to eat a main meal and then graze the rest of the day.  So, you've got to have some good dips and snacks to satisfy those grazing cravings.

Shrimp Dip recipe - go to appetizer for every family gathering

This five ingredient recipe is easy to whip together and refrigerates well.  I love the creamy, tangy flavor with the delicious pieces of shrimp in every bite.  Serve this dip with your favorite crackers (My Farmer prefers Town House and I prefer Wheat Thins!).  To get the full recipe and directions click here.  I hope you enjoy it as much as our family does!

Christmas Week Holiday Check List

And while you're at, be sure to check out my Weekly Holiday Check List.  You've got a few days to finish your gifts and clean your home - good to do if you're hosting or not.  Also, don't forget to include family traditions into your week.  Relax and enjoy.  Christmas truly is a miraculous holiday!

And, you can get caught up on my previous week's Holiday Check Lists and Holiday Recipes by clicking on the links below:

Horchata Pumpkin Waffles and 1 Week Before Thanksgiving Check List

Pecan Pie and Thanksgiving Week Check List

Peanut Butter Balls and 3 Weeks Before Christmas Check List

Grandma Joan's Gooey Wonders and 2 Weeks Before Christmas Check List

Egg Nog Waffles and 1 Week Before Christmas Check List

I hope you all have a blessed Christmas!  What was your favorite recipe I shared this holiday season?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Monday, December 14, 2015

1 Week Before Christmas - Egg Nog Waffles & Holiday Check List

* This post has been compensated through the AE Dairy Blog Ambassador program.  All views and opinions shared are my own. *

It doesn't seem possible to say that Christmas is next week!  On Sunday when I was telling all of the Sunday School kids that we had one week til the program I think I caught a few by surprise!  Maybe it's because this month we've been having warmer temperatures and no snow, but it just doesn't feel like Christmas.  But nonetheless, it is time to get ready by checking your list (aka my Holiday Check List) twice and hopefully my recipe for Egg Nog Waffles will get you in the Christmas mood!

#AEdairy Egg Nog Waffles recipe #sponsored

Egg Nog Waffles

2 cups Flour
2 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1 3/4 cups AE Dairy Egg Nog
6 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
2 Eggs
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground Nutmeg

Place ingredients in a large mixing bowl and combine until well blended and smooth with a whisk.  Preheat your waffle maker on desired setting (I always go for the medium setting on ours).  Pour 1/2 cup of batter onto the center of the lower grid of your waffle maker.  Close cover and carefully remove after indicator light says it is done, around 1 1/2 minutes.  Repeat with remaining batter.  

Makes eight 6 1/2 inch round waffles.

#AEdairy Egg Nog Waffles recipe #sponsored

If you've been reading this blog for awhile you probably know that my family loves waffles and that I love AE Dairy Egg Nog, so this recipe was a no-brainer to create!  It is a hardy, yet fluffy waffle, with all the wonderful spices of Egg Nog.  We have a tradition in our family where we have Birthday Waffles for breakfast the morning of every family member's birthday.  We continue this tradition on Christmas Day morning after opening gifts, as we celebrate Jesus's birthday.  It is just one thing we try to do to remember the reason for the season!

1 Week Before Christmas Holiday Check List

This week the my main thing I'm going to concentrate on is getting all of our Christmas gifts ready to go!  Every year, even though I tell myself to start right away, I find myself the week before Christmas and still no gifts wrapped.  Besides wrapping gifts, I also need to finish making a few gifts.  This year I am making four Christmas presents and as I type this only one is complete.  I am also going to keep up on making Christmas goodies and our Christmas cards will (fingers crossed) go out in the mail tomorrow.  Be sure to check out this week's complete Holiday Check List.

And, you can get caught up on my previous week's Holiday Check Lists and Holiday Recipes by clicking on the links below:

Horchata Pumpkin Waffles and 1 Week Before Thanksgiving Check List

Pecan Pie and Thanksgiving Week Check List

Peanut Butter Balls and 3 Weeks Before Christmas Check List

Grandma Joan's Gooey Wonders and 2 Weeks Before Christmas Check List

So, has anyone else been procrastinating on wrapping gifts like me???  Are you done buying and making all of your Christmas gifts?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Girls Night Out: Christmas Edition

Between spending most of my time with people ages 4 and under, getting ready for taxes, and making sure I'm keeping up on my holiday check list, I was in desperate need for a Girls Night Out!  Luckily for me, the North Iowa Bloggers had a fun night planned this week at the Carlson Tree Farm in rural Coulter, Iowa, which is only 6 miles away from my house.

Girls Night Out Christmas Edition: The North Iowa Bloggers at the Carlson Tree Farm for Wreath Making Workshop
The North Iowa Bloggers at the Carlson Tree Farm
Mary of Natural Plus Nursery, Katy of Learning As I Go, myself,
Donna of and Alicia of The Pork Diaries
For the second year in a row with the North Iowa Bloggers, and third year in a row for me, I made a wreath as part of the Carlson Tree Farm's weekly Wreath Workshops.  The Wreath Workshops begin in mid-November and wrap up in mid-December.  They announce the workshop times and dates in the fall on their Facebook page and this year all the spots were filled in literally just hours!  From an idea that started five years ago as a fun thing for Michelle of Carlson Tree Farm's Moms Group to do, to having 250 people participate this year, I'd say the Wreath Workshops are a success!

Girls Night Out Christmas Edition - Wreath Making in Progress at Carlson Tree Farm, Coulter, Iowa
Wreath in Progress
And why wouldn't they be?  In an hour and a half you go from a wire wreath frame, to picking out your favorite combination of evergreen branches to clamp down on the frame, to picking out your favorite ribbon, cones, berries, ornaments, etc. to make the wreath personalized to you and your home.  The atmosphere is casual, fun, and dare I be corny by saying merry!  Cathy and Michelle of Carlson Tree Farm are great leaders in both stages of making the wreath and want to see you succeed and have a good time.

Girls Night Out Christmas Edition - Carlson Tree Farm Wreath Workshop, Coulter, Iowa
Me and my wreath!
And I have to give a special thank you to Michelle of Carlson Tree Farm.  The North Iowa Bloggers have changed a lot in the last year.  There were a few of us that participated both last year and this year in the Wreath Workshop, but we were without some great members from last year - Beth Ann and Jeni who both moved to North Carolina and St. Louis respectively, and Amy who passed away in a car accident.  Amy left an impression on Michelle, as she did with so many people, so she made a wreath for this year's group to decorate that was then donated and given to Amy's parents.  This meant so much to all of the North Iowa Bloggers and Amy's parents.  We had fun decorating the wreath with "Amy's style" and reminiscing about our dear friend.

Girls Night Out Christmas Edition - Carlson Tree Farm Wreath Workshop, Coulter, Iowa
The North Iowa Bloggers with Amy's Wreath
So thanks to the North Iowa Bloggers and Carlson Tree Farm for helping me have a great time at a much needed Girls Night Out.  Have you ever made a wreath before?  What is your favorite "Christmas" Girls Night Out activity?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Monday, December 7, 2015

2 Weeks Before Christmas - Grandma Joan's Gooey Wonders & Holiday Check List

I don't know about you, but it started feeling like two weeks before Christmas for me when I was telling the youth of church yesterday that we had to have a couple things finalized this week so I could finish the Children's Christmas Program bulletin!  It seems just like the other week the kids were getting their parts for the first time and now I have just two weeks to make sure everything falls into place before the big night!  I know we'll be good and the kids have been great at practices, it is just crazy to think that the program is already that close!

Throughout the holiday season I've been sharing a holiday recipe and my weekly holiday check list each Monday.  In honor of my Mom's side of the family's Christmas this weekend (and with the help of my Facebook fans helping me decide), I thought I'd share my Grandma Joan's Gooey Wonders recipe!

Grandma Joan's Gooey Wonders recipe

My Grandma Joan's Gooey Wonders are a staple food group at all of my Mom's family functions, especially at Christmas.  My Grandma Joan brings these each Christmas and has enjoyed passing along the tradition and recipe to her grandchildren.  I love to make a batch of these indulgent little squares of chocolate, gooey caramel and a delicious butter and oatmeal crumble each Christmas to add a little variety to my Christmas Cookie platters.

Grandma Joan's Gooey Wonders

6 Tbsp Milk
43 Caramel (Not 42 or 44, but 43.  I don't know the reason behind 43 but the caramel sauce turns out perfect with each of those 43 caramel squares, so why mess with something that works!)

***Chef's note: Take your time melting the caramels and milk at a medium to medium low heat, constantly stirring.  Once they have creamed together into a smooth caramel sauce, take it off the heat and set aside.  You don't want to overcook your caramel; otherwise the caramel will be hard rather than gooey.

Mix til crumbly:
1 1/3 cup Flour
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 1/3 cup Oatmeal
3/4 tsp Baking Soda
1 cup Butter, softened

Press 2/3 of the crumb mixture in a greased and floured 9x13 pan.  Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Remove from oven.

Sprinkle 1 bag of chocolate chips over the top of the crust.  Then spread the caramel sauce over the chocolate chips.  Lastly, sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture on top of the bars.  Bake an additional 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Now while this may be the hardest part, let the bars cool and then cut into squares.  If you can't resist waiting, the bars will be extremely gooey!

Grandma Joan's Gooey Wonders recipe

And a special note to all of my Iowa readers that receive Iowa Farmer Today in the mail.  Check the paper this week as the kids and I are being featured in a Holiday Sweets Farm Kitchen section, where I share this Gooey Wonders recipe and a few others!

Now that you can add this recipe to your holiday baking for the week, it is time to check out what else you should be doing on my weekly Holiday Check List.

2 Weeks Before Christmas Holiday Check List

Besides continuing to bake a couple Christmas cookies each week, I really need to finish everything that is involved in getting our Christmas letter out for this year.  Also, this week is a great time to plan what you're making for family get-togethers and to start your grocery shopping.  Be sure to see the complete Holiday Check List here.

And, you can get caught up on my previous week's Holiday Check Lists and Holiday Recipes by clicking on the links below:

Horchata Pumpkin Waffles and 1 Week Before Thanksgiving Check List

Pecan Pie and Thanksgiving Week Check List

Peanut Butter Balls and 3 Weeks Before Christmas Check List

What are some of your family's Christmas dinner traditions?  Do you go traditional like My Farmer's extended family complete with a Christmas Duck, or more hands-free and simple like my family with soups and appetizers?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Comments for a Cause - North Iowa Christmas Cheer Fund

Comments for a Cause - North Iowa Christmas Cheer Fund
Thank you to everyone checking in on me about what my new cause for the month of December is!  I apologize for just now getting my new Comments for a Cause post published.  But have no fear, just as if it was December 1st, I will start counting this month's donations at the beginning of the month.  Now before I get into the details of December's Comments for a Cause, let's talk November's No Kid Hungry Campaign donation.  In the month of November I had 46 comments equaling a $23 donation.  Thank you to everyone for their comments and support!

In the month of December, I will be donating $0.50 for every comment made on my blog to the North Iowa Christmas Cheer Fund.

Comments for a Cause - North Iowa Christmas Cheer Fund

The North Iowa Christmas Cheer Fund is a special program established by North Iowa's regional newspaper, the Globe Gazette in Mason City, Iowa.  In 1927, Globe Gazette Publisher Lee Loomis set out to collect donations from people across the area so that every child in North Iowa could have a present on Christmas morning.  Through the years, the Cheer Fund has come to help bring Christmas Cheer to people of all ages in the form of gifts, to food, to Christmas trees, and more.

Cash donations are collected and then every penny received is returned in the form of gift cards to applicants in need of help this time of year.  This year's goal is $125,000.  Please help me help the Cheer Fund reach that goal by commenting on any and all posts this month.  If you would personally like to help as well, donations may be dropped off or mailed to the Globe Gazette Christmas Cheer Fund, Box 271, Mason City, IA 50402.  People can apply for help from the Cheer Fund by filling and dropping off applications at the Globe Gazette, located at 300 N Washington Ave in Mason City during weekday hours.

What help makes your home feel like Christmas?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Country Fair Blog Party: December 2015

I know this post was supposed to go out on the 1st but I have been gone for a couple of days and without internet, so here is the first Friday of the month edition of the Country Fair Blog Party!  Before I share the link-up for this month's Blog Hop, here are my three Blue Ribbon Winners from November's County Fair Blog Party:

Country Fair Blog Party Blue Ribbon Winner My Other More Exciting Self's Mexican Turkey Corn Chowder
Each month I fall in love with so many recipes that are linked up on the Blog Party and November wasn't any different.  I can't wait to try Lara of My Other More Exciting Self's Mexican Turkey Corn Chowder.  This will be a perfect soup to keep in my arsenal of warm-up meals this winter.  I love trying new soup recipes!

Country Fair Blog Party Blue Ribbon Winner Giftie Etcetera's 7 Smart Ways to Attract Readers to Old Blog Posts
I've been using Giftie Etcetera's 7 Smart Ways to Attract Readers to Old Blog Posts to heart since reading it last month.  She gives a lot of great ideas on how to reintroduce old blog posts and I have been utilizing some of her suggestions this holiday season with my weekly Holiday Check Lists.  This is a great read for all bloggers!

Country Fair Blog Party Blue Ribbon Winner My Husband Has Too Many Hobbies's Silver & Gold Clothespin Stars
My final Blue Ribbon Winner from November is a great craft for all ages to do this month.  Laurie of My Husband Has Too Many Hobbies's Silver & Gold Clothespin Stars is a fun and festive ornament craft I'm planning on doing with my kids.  This is an inexpensive and easy craft to do on a snow day or a lazy Sunday soon!

Link up to the December Country Fair Blog Party
I can't wait to see what great posts get linked up to this month's Country Fair Blog Party.  Country Fairs are all about food, family, friends, farming, animals, arts and crafts, canning, baking and more.  And that is what our our blog hop is all about too.  Feel free to join our Country Fair by linking up to 3 of your posts.  This blog hop is a great opportunity to check out new blogs, and if you blog yourself, have your posts reach a new audience.  Be sure to visit some other party goers and let them know you are stopping by through the Country Fair Blog Party.

Country Fair Blog Party Co-Hosts
Also, be sure to visit my fellow co-hosts:
Jan of Tip Garden
Laurie of Country LINKed and
Nicole of Tales of a Kansas Farm Mom

We're excited to see everything you share this month!  What is your favorite link from this month's Country Fair Blog Party?  Whichever post is mentioned the most in the comments will receive my "Readers Choice" Blue Ribbon next month!  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Monday, November 30, 2015

3 Weeks Before Christmas - Peanut Butter Balls & Holiday Check List

Christmas Tree Picking at Meyer Family Trees outside of Hampton, Iowa
Family photo with our tree
we picked out from
Meyer Family Trees, rural Hampton, Iowa
It's the last day of November and it officially feels like the Christmas season.  We picked out and put up our Christmas Tree yesterday and the only gifts I still need to finish are the ones I'm personally making.  Black Friday was very successful for me - But I personally always aim for getting as much, if not all, of my shopping done that day because it is a chance to shop without kids!  Now is the time that I start to make Christmas cookies each week, so I will have a variety of goodies for Christmas plates for all of our holiday gatherings.  So I thought for this week's holiday recipe I had to share my family's favorite Christmas cookie, Peanut Butter Balls.

Christmas Cookie Must - Peanut Butter Balls Recipe

Peanut Butter Balls are a simple and delicious holiday treat that you can get your whole family involved in.  We eat these so much that I've adapted the recipe based on a whole jar of peanut butter ;)  (Peanut butter is one of the hardest and messiest things to measure so why not just use a whole jar!)  These are always the first Christmas cookie we make and usually the last too, because one batch just doesn't last us all month.  And, if you're looking for some more Christmas Cookie ideas, check out my Iowa Christmas Cookie Exchange for 16 delicious treats from Iowa bloggers.

Holiday Check List - 3 Weeks Before Christmas

This week's Holiday Check List includes a lot of items, and I'm hoping to gradually check items off each day.  I need to finish my Christmas sewing projects, I'd really like to start wrapping gifts, and I need to start on everything involved in making our Christmas letter.  To see my complete check list for this week be sure to check it out here.

And, you can get caught up on my previous week's Holiday Check Lists and Holiday Recipes by clicking on the links below:

Horchata Pumpkin Waffles and 1 Week Before Thanksgiving Check List

Pecan Pie and Thanksgiving Week Check List

What is your favorite Christmas cookie?  Do you have a family favorite where one batch is never enough.  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Thanksgiving Week & 4 Weeks Before Christmas - Pecan Pie & Holiday Check List

It's Thanksgiving Week!  Turkey, green bean casserole, pecan pie, family, Black Friday, shopping.  Those would all be words I'd use to describe this week.  It's a busy week, but a fun one too!  Each Monday during the 2015 Holiday Season I'm sharing a holiday recipe and my weekly check list.

I thought this week it'd be appropriate for me to share my family's  Pecan Pie recipe.  How much more Thanksgiving can you get than Pecan Pie?  Well, maybe turkey, but Pecan Pie is definitely the top dessert.  In fact, I took an unscientific poll on my Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids Facebook Page and my readers agreed.  Thanksgiving is the universal excuse to indulge in this rich, calorie-filled pie.  Now I've both made and tried different variation of the Pecan Pie - chocolate, whiskey, etc., but nothing beats the original with a lard crust!

The Traditional Thanksgiving Pecan Pie Recipe

Pecan Pie

9" Crust:
1/3 cup Lard
1 cup Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
2-3 T Cold Water

1 cup Corn Syrup
3 Eggs
1 cup Sugar
2 Tbsp Butter, melted
1 tsp Vanilla
1/8 tsp Salt
1 cup Pecans, chopped

Start by making your crust.  Cut the lard with the flour and salt until you get pea-sized dough.  Add 1 Tbsp of cold water at a time until the dough sticks together and you can form a ball with it.  Put the ball of pie dough in plastic wrap and flatten it.  Let it cool down in the refrigerator.

After it has cooled, roll the dough out large enough to fit your pie plate.  I love using my Tupperware Pie Mat to roll my dough on because it gives me an outline of a 9" pie crust on it.  Be sure to sprinkle both the mat and your rolling pin with flour, as well as the top of the dough to prevent sticking.  If your crust is too dry, keep a cup of cold water next to you as your roll out the dough so you can sprinkle water in trouble spots that are starting to crack.

Pie Making Supplies + Pecan Pie Recipe
Some of my staple pie making supplies
Pie Ring Shields, Lard, Wooden Rolling Pin, Tupperware Pie Mat
After you get the crust rolled out and laid into your pie plate, make a simple edge design with the top of your crust.  Usually I do the "dent" method using my thumb and bent index finger of my left hand, and dent the dough between the bent index finger of my right hand.  But you can also use a cute little cookie cutter like I did in the above picture to decorate the top of the crust.  I used a little leaf cutter; I thought it was a festive touch!

Next it is time to make the filling.  Mix all the ingredients together besides the pecans.  Once it is all incorporated, stir in the pecans and pour into your unbaked pie crust.

Bake your pie at 400 degrees Farenheit for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350 degrees for an additional 30-35 minutes.  Use a pie ring shield on top of your pie so the top of your crust doesn't burn, or put aluminum foil around the edge of the pie.  The pie is done when the filling looks solid.  Give your pie a little shake in the oven and if the center of the filling moves around a lot in needs some more time.

I hope you enjoy my Pecan Pie recipe as much as my family does!  Now this week isn't all about pie, but really, would that be that bad.  Besides making and prepping food for Thanksgiving this week, I'm also needing to finish making my shopping list for Black Friday and finalize our Christmas travel plans.  Be sure too see my complete check list for Thanksgiving Week and 4 Weeks Before Christmas.

Holiday Check List for Thanksgiving Week and 4 Weeks Before Christmas

And if you missed last week's Check List and Horchata Pumpkin Waffles Recipe, you better catch up on those items too.

Horchata Pumpkin Waffles Recipe and Weekly Holiday Check List

What is your favorite dessert for Thanksgiving?  Are you a pecan pie fan too?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!