Monday, February 27, 2006

holy moses!

It's been a stinky Monday.

My coteacher, Sarah, called me last night to let me know she and her car were hit by a drunk driver earlier in the day, that she was sore but otherwise okay, but was going to need to stay home from work today to call her lawyer and insurance guy and figure out how she was going to get ahold of a car for a little while. Whew! She was still kind of in shock when she called me, so I offered to try and find a sub for her. I called everyone on the sub list last night, plus all of our part time staff, with no luck.

THEN, I got in to work this morning, only to discover a message from our assistant, Dan. He was still sick from Friday, and going in to the doctor for a throat culture. I had a major moment of panic. By 8:45 when the children arrived I had scrounged up two subs, but at 8:00, I was afraid I was going to be teaching solo! (Well, not really -- I can't, by law, be alone with more than ten children.)

By 11:00, I still hadn't found a sub for the afternoon. Sarah S. (the bosslady,) called over to the Nature Center to see if anyone was free this afternoon and could pop over to the preschool. Low and behold . . . Naturalist Pete to the rescue! The kids absolutely adore Pete, and he lead us on this amazing hike, and we went places on the property I'd never been before! (Now, I've been exploring those grounds with kids for 18 months -- thought I knew everything!) Oh, we had so, so, so much fun. It ended up being a really great day, all things considered.

On my way home from work, I detoured to the REI in Roseville and bought a pair of mud boots for Sarah for her birthday, which was Sunday. (Yes, her car was totalled on her birthday. Doesn't that just suck?) Traffic was thickening up by the time I was done at REI, so I stopped at Ann and Michelle's to wait out rush hour. Michelle and I ended up trading teaching woes and ideas until almost 7:00.

Then, I came home and made a pie. (My coworker Don's birthday is tomorrow -- Shoo-fly pie is his absolute favorite, and I wanted to make him one as a very cheap but fabulous gift.) The pie's in the oven right now, and something slightly odd happened. It's supposed to be this gooey molasses layer topped with struesel . . . but the struesel fell into the gooey layer during baking. I'm not sure how this is going to work. Hopefully it will still taste good!

Here's how to make a Shoo-Fly Pie:

(Preheat your oven to 450 right away.)
1. Make a single-crust pastry and lay it in your pie plate. Flute the edges.
2. Make the struesel topping: 1 1/4 cups flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/8 tsp baking soda, and 1/8 tsp cream of tartar mixed together, with 1/4 cup nonhydrogenated shortening cut in. Reserve this.
3. Combine 1 cup blackstrap molasses, 1 cup very hot water, and 1/2 cup natural granulated sugar until the sugar is fully dissolved. Mix 1/2 teaspoon baking soda into the syrup -- it should foam a little bit. Pour this syrupy mixture into the pie shell, and top with the struesel.
4. Bake the pie for 12 minutes at 450, then 30 minutes at 375, then 30 minutes at 350.

Complex, I realize, but mighty tasty. The gooey part tastes like an underbaked molasses cookie. What is it with men and molasses cookies anyhow?

Between the pie tomorrow and the brownies for Will's goodbye party last week, lots of baked goods have been leaving my kitchen lately. Just as it should be? :)

I hope tomorrow will be a bit more laid-back. Whew.

(I just took the pie out of the oven . . . it doesn't look like it did when I made it last year . . . oh dear!)

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