Chocolate Pie (Oh, my!)

One of my goals for 2016 is to eat more pie.

Just kidding.

I have no plans to eat more pie. I have no plans to eat less pie either.

My parents gave me a deep pie dish for Christmas. And since I’ve also been hankering a chocolate pie, I consulted my favorite cooking site, Pioneer Woman. I hit the jackpot. (No surprise there!)

Here’s Ree’s Marlboro-Man-Approved Chocolate Pie recipe.

And here’s my finished product, (it’s not the best picture, but I didn’t want to breathe all over it trying to get a better one):


I haven’t sliced the pie yet, (it’s for New Year’s Day dinner), but I licked the spoon, the spatula, and the pan (because I have no shame). The pie filling is wonderful! Unless something happens, like I drop the pie plate getting it to where it’s going (which could totally happen), this is another successful Pioneer Woman recipe from start to finish.

Note: I used 6 ¼ ounces of Baker’s unsweetened (bittersweet) chocolate plus ¼ ounce of Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate—because I got scared that it would be too bitter. Not that ¼ of an ounce would make much difference, but it appeased my neurosis. For the moment, anyway.

If “Eat Mor Choklit” is your motto for 2016, consider giving this pie a try!


Christmas Day has come and gone. While some are still observing the 12 Days of Christmas, many people are looking to the New Year and to new resolutions for health, happiness, and prosperity.

Whether you are lingering over the Christmas Season, looking to the future, or both, may the “spirit of Christmas”—Christ among us and Christ for us, for the forgiveness of our sins—be the source of your hope as 2015 fades into the sunset and 2016 dawns.


Public art at the New Hope Church Road Trailhead Park along the American Tobacco Trail in Cary, North Carolina.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. –Romans 15:13

Joyous Christmas

His arrival had been anticipated since Genesis 3. The Old Testament prophets foretold His birth in accurate detail. The self-existent, second person of the Godhead “became flesh and dwelt among us.”[1] …The long-awaited Christ was born!

“Peace on earth and mercy mild; God and sinners reconciled.”[2]

I hope that you join me in proclaiming, “Glory to the newborn King!”

May the peace of Christ be with you this Christmas season and always.


[1] John 1:14; See Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:6, and Micah 5:2 for examples in the Old Testament of Jesus’ anticipated birth prophesied.

[2] Lyrics from Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, written by Charles Wesley, published in 1739, and adapted by George Whitefield.

Photo taken at the King’s Daughters Inn; Durham, NC.

High Time for Afternoon Tea


Afternoon Christmas Tea at The Duke Inn’s Fairview Dining Room – Durham, North Carolina

I consider tea one of the good gifts God has given us to enjoy. At Christmastime each year, I look forward to a formal afternoon tea—a special celebration I usually indulge in at The Washington Duke Inn, (with some exceptions).

For me, afternoon tea at this time of year is as much about the festive decorations as it is the brew, the savories and the sweets. I’ve written about and photographed The Duke Inn at Christmastime before, so this year I tried to take pictures from new perspectives.

For instance, I snapped the entry hall Christmas tree from a different direction:


Honestly, it looks pretty much the same from every angle. But this year, I also took a picture of one of the ornaments on the tree—proof of the fine details that might be missed when looking at the whole:


I believe I spotted a new tree this year. It was quite a hit—several folks stopped to get their pictures taken in front of it:


I also tried a different flavor of tea. With a bit of hesitation,  I chose the vanilla almond black tea. It was delicious. (Shew!)

After the tiny sandwiches, cheeses, bite-size sweets, a scone smothered in clotted cream and lemon curd, plus two pots of tea (restraint begins tomorrow), I ventured to the other side of the Inn where the Golf Shop is located. I’d never been there before, (Have you seen me play golf? It’s not pretty!), and found Christmas decorations there as well:


Finally, to prove that I was actually at the Inn, not just stealing pictures off the Interwebs and claiming them as my own, here I am in the lovely sitting room that’s between the dining and the conference center wings.


(photo credit: B Sullivan)

The Duke Inn never disappoints; and I’ll look forward to next year when once again—Lord willing and the creek don’t rise—it’s high time for afternoon Christmas tea.