Butter Crust

On Sunday I made a pie. It was a good pie, a pretty pie. A pie so pretty I felt the need to post my pie prowess on Facebook.

Who am I kidding, I post everything on Facebook but I did like this pie.

And a couple people responded with pie crust angst- people who I admire, smart people who I respect…alas, the saying easy as pie is just untrue. Pie, like everything else can be difficult.

I too once had pie crust angst…..therefore I am posting a post about food.

Don’t let me get into this habit. It’s so easy to talk about food. Almost… easy as pie.

So here folks, is my story about the butter crust.

I did not grow up on butter. As a child of the 70’s, food was not edible unless it was processed. Margarine, American Cheese, Cool Whip……butter was evil and fattening…..pass the Velveeta, Miracle Whip and Wonder Bread.

Time in Germany and marrying a man with Danish heritage has taught me one thing….

Butter is love.

The amount of butter we consume is somewhat staggering.

Last weekend we entertained. The conversation went somewhat like this……

“The crust on this filet is great. What did you do?”

“Sautéed them in butter.”

“These onions are amazing. How did you get them to caramelize like this?”


“Blistered greens beans?”

“Yeah…butter. Would you like some more wine?”

So back to the pie.


I too was daunted by a non-processed, whole butter pie crust.

But you can do this. Lets start with some basics…..

Number One:

This is a pastry cutter.

You need this. It’s like four forks on steroids’. You need this to break up the butter in the amazing butter crust. Some say a Cuisinart will mix the same. I say no! Seriously, I think too much air gets in the crust with a Cuisinart. Get your arms in there with a pastry cutter- remember this is love.

How can you celebrate a holiday if you can’t tell your family how sore you are from making pie dough?

On another note…..I was going to take my pastry cutter to Virginia for Thanksgiving but I think TSA might confiscate it as a weapon.

Thought Number Two: Vodka vs. Ice Water

What the whaaaaaaa? Yes, I can mix alcohol into any conversation. There are many recipes that use cold vodka instead of ice water to mix the crust.

My thought– Sigh, no vodka. I know, it breaks my heart to say so but I think vodka makes the crust too dry. Granted, I live in Colorado and we haven’t seen moisture in like 3,421 days… go with what works.

Thought Number Three: Plastic Wrap

Who promotes plastic wrap for anything? Yes……the evil of all globally minded citizens but trust me…..take that chilled ball of dough and roll it between two sheets of plastic wrap. Forget the flour- go straight to plastic wrap. The crust rolls out beautifully and slides right into the pie pan.

Cold butter, cold (ice) water, pastry cutter, plastic wrap and a sense of ‘hey y’all…… I’m making you a pie. It might not be the best pie but it’s a butter crusted pie. Because I love you.’

Love goes a long way….almost as long as butter.

And because I get ALL of my sources from The Google… is the recipe I use. Go forth with love and butter. One more note- I use salted butter and do not add the extra salt….. really…..unsalted butter should be banned from civilized society.

And Happy Thanksgiving Dear Tribe. I am grateful for you all.



  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (cold, cut into small cubes)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ cup cold water (plus one ice cube)
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar


  • Prepare the water/vinegar mixture. Drop an ice-cube into a measuring cup and fill the measuring cup up with water to the ½ cup mark. Add 2 teaspoons of white vinegar and set aside.
  • Mix Flour and Butter. Combine the dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl and toss with a fork to mix evenly. Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs.
  • Add Water. Pour the water mixture, a few tablespoons at a time, into the flour/butter mixture and toss with a fork until the dough is evenly moist. Add water slowly to get the right texture.
  • Gather the dough. Use your hands to quickly bring the dough together in the bowl. Do not over work the dough.
  • Divide and Chill. Divide the dough in half and flatten into disks. Wrap the disks separately in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  • Bake according to what your pie recipe calls for.
Life Today

Happy Veterans Day

I spent three years in Germany during my twenties.

It was one of the most memorable times of my life. I was a civilian working for the military at an Armed Forces Recreational Center.

I served those who served.

Really I taught the Littles of those who served how to ski, which wasn’t a bad gig in the German Alps.

In the summer I found random jobs; lifeguard, pizza delivery and one summer at the German-American Golf Course.

I worked in one of the most beautiful places on earth

Image result for garmisch germany
It was also 1994, 50 years since World War II  and the impact of what happened here two generations ago was palpable.

The golf course sold American candy which was crazy because we lived in the land of the very best chocolate and we were trying to pawn off Twix Bars and Reese’s Pieces. A German man would come in often and buy ten Hershey bars at a time.

I asked why the Hershey Bars.

“You have the very best chocolate! Right here! What’s so special about a Hershey Bar?”

He told me that the Americans came through Garmisch on April 29, 1945.

He was six.

“I was so hungry. We didn’t have anything left to eat. The soldiers arrived and they gave the children Hershey bars. They were the very best thing I ever ate. Nothing in the world tastes as good as a Hershey Bar.”

He carefully unwrapped the chocolate and gave me a piece. I closed my eyes and tried to taste what he tasted.

I could not

I have never been that hungry. I have never been that scared. I have not had my world turned upside down at age six. 

As he ate I piece, he smiled and nodded his head; perhaps thoughts of hope, gratitude, memories of a six year old belly that felt a little less empty.

I felt so honored. Honored that this man shared this sacred memory and his sacred chocolate. Honored that he remembered the day 49 years ago not with tanks and strange men but with soldiers who share chocolate. And I felt honored that these brave men, my fellow Americans made this small boy feel so much better.

Happy Veterans Day.  


And I…..Wanna Thank You.

July 25, 2010, I sat on a gurney in the middle of Littleton Hospital. I had wiped a series of endless tears, knees curled up, police milling around, nurses giving me sad, uncomfortable looks……I was desperately searching for meaning in my life.

We had just lost our girl.

I took a wadded, snotty Kleenex in one hand and held my Aunt Tracy’s palm in the other, “I don’t know what to do with the rest of my life.”

She squeezed my snotty hand back, “You will find it.”

I wasn’t so sure. I wasn’t so sure at all.

Somewhere along the twisted, half-blind trail of grief, we started a memorial fund for Samantha. I stared at the $8,000 we had raised and wondered the next step. What to do with this money? Donate to Children’s Hospital? Give to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation? Take the money and run? Mexico is nice this time of year……

Instead, my dad and I filled out an application with the Colorado Non-Profit Development Center (CNDC), with the goal to become a nonprofit supporting families impacted by mitochondrial disease in Colorado.

We thought about a name……I wanted a name that was agnostic to my grief, a name that was not about me or my family, I wanted a name that everyone could relate to…..and Miracles for Mito was born.

In the spirit of strength- because no one should walk this journey alone.

The CNDC accepted our application and we started with the $8,000 from Samantha’s Memorial Fund. My friend Laura helped to create our beautiful logo. I cried in a Walmart parking lot as I reviewed the butterfly composed of two hearts with the intricate mitochondria connecting the wings. It was perfect.

It was love. It was my heart. It was my grief, my soul.

Eleven years later, it is with bittersweet feelings that I write this post. Eleven years later, I announce to this sacred tribe that we are dissolving Miracles for Mito as a nonprofit.

I want you to know that eleven years later, my heart and mind have settled into this decision. I will always walk away with apprehension, wondering what more we could have done, the difference that could have been made.

I also want you to know that eleven years later, I am okay to move on from this space. I need to move on from this space. That eleven years later, the half blind, grievous person has given herself permission to do something else with her life.

Sometimes movement is a gift.

What will we do next? Stay tuned. I will not sway far. I will continue to climb mountains and ask you for money in the sake of mitochondrial research and my dear family……it will just look a little different.

Elven years ago I was shattered. Eleven years ago you supported my cause…lets move forward in the spirit of strength…..and I thank you for never letting me walk this journey alone.

Let’s find out what’s next.




That is my post-two-girls-weekends’ sigh. My post belly laugh, very dehydrated, kinda tired, so grateful sigh.

The past 20 months took so much: over 5 Million souls worldwide, 775,000 in the US.

The past 20 months reset everything; our work, our relationships, our health, our trust.

Personally, I have navigated these times somewhat unscathed, so unscathed and so distracted by everything else going on the in world, that I didn’t realize I was kind of scathed.

We need each other- not just in a zoomie call sense or a text-you sense but a I need my people in a deep hug, embrace you, committed time sense. In the last 20 months of convincing myself I was okay, I forgot how much I miss you and that I’m really not so okay if I can’t be right there with you.

Driving up to Vail on Girl’s Weekend part 2, I was talking to a friend on how best to connect when things are chaotic. “When things are nuts,” she said, “I can’t dive into the nuttiness over a quick conversation. I need time; time to unravel my feelings, time to separate myself from the chaos.”

I laughed at the irony, “So when I call on my way to swim and I say I have ten minutes and cell phone service is bad but I really want to know how are you doing……that’s not helpful?”

I love this word….unravel.

To unravel: to resolve the intricacy, complexity, obscurity of……..

Unravel takes time; coffee by the pool, hikes in Vail Valley. Unravel takes hugs so deep you feel the others’ shoulders relax and you breathe the same breath. Unravel takes trust, heads on shoulders, someone grabbing your hand and saying, “I’m so sorry about your Grandma,” and you holding back and saying, “I’m so sorry about your Mama.”

Unravel is a box of See’s Candy purchased last minute in the airport to honor a dear Love, Melissa Etheridge, Crowded House and an impromptu dance party. It’s only once the tension is released and the knots loosen that what once seemed like an insufferable, unworkable mess becomes the material for the next great project.

I forgot how lovely it was to unravel with my friends. The importance of unraveling. The need to unravel.

After two glorious weekends, I came home and kissed my husband; my partner in these last twenty months, the one who consoled me when I told him through big tears during our stay at home orders that I needed him to be a better girlfriend. My person during this time.

“How was the weekend?” he asked.

“So lovely. I love this time with my beautiful, strong, complex friends. We unraveled.”