Pi Day Pies

Ever since the first year I homeschooled Hannah, we’ve observed March 14th as Pi Day- as March 14th is 3-14 in America. We bake and eat pies, and learn about circles. Since Jack is doing Algebra this year, circles aren’t part of his math curriculum right now, but it’s still been a tradition for nearly 10 years to eat pie on this date. This year is 3-14-16; making it even more special since Pi rounds to 3.1416. The whole thing is nerdy and somewhat silly. You could get even sillier and say that tomorrow is “Badly Rounded Pi Day” since you could (incorrectly) round Pi to 3.15. You could then serve foods that are made in very imperfect circles. I would have done that this year if Hannah wasn’t going to be home for dinner, but instead we’ll eat a late dinner when she comes home from work.

I’d forgotten about the upcoming holiday when I thawed 2 pounds of meat last night. I don’t have the ingredients in the house to make a Shepard’s Pi, so I’m making a huge batch of meatballs. Some we’ll eat later in the week and some might get frozen for next week’s meals.

This morning, I debated between making Chicken Pot Pie or Pizza Pies. Jack is likely to enjoy the pizza more, but Hannah and I will feel better if we eat meat. So I decided to do both. I made pizza for lunch and meat foods for dinner. Leah and a friend surprised me this afternoon, so all the pizza got finished. I’d otherwise have served them tomorrow for “Badly Rounded Pi Day”. My homemade pizzas definitely qualify as “badly rounded”!!!

Since I was also busy making meatballs, I simplified the chicken pot pie. I used leftover chicken, and then I opened up a can of carrots and a can of peas. I might have used fresh vegetables, simmered in broth, otherwise. Then I would have strained the vegetables out of the broth and thickened it into gravy to pour over the veggies and meat. Instead, I made a large batch of gravy in a pot. Part of it got spooned over the chicken and vegetables and the rest will go into the refrigerator for later meals.

I don’t normally bother with pie crusts, but chicken pot pie just doesn’t feel like a pie without a crust. I didn’t bother with a bottom crust, putting the cubed chicken and strained, canned vegetables directly into a circular foil pan. I did make a top crust, with a mixture of olive oil, coconut oil, an egg yolk, salt, rice flour, and arrowroot. I tried to make it a smooth crust that I could lay neatly over the top of the pie and then decorate with the Greek letter, but it turned into a crumbled mess when I tried to transfer it. So I have pie crust crumbles somewhat evenly sprinkled over the top of the pie. That will have to be good enough.

I also made a pumpkin pie for dessert. This was easier because it’s an old, familiar recipe. I mostly followed the recipe on the can, but I used agave instead of sugar, an extra egg white because I used an egg yolk in the pie crust for the other pie, and 1 cup of almond milk in place of the 12 ounce can of evaporated milk it called for. I’ve been using that substitution my entire adult life, since we keep kosher and I usually make pumpkin pie with turkey or other meat. I’ve alternated soy, rice, or almond milk, and all come out fine. Rice milk would have been a healthier choice for me, but we’re currently out of it, and we’ve been keeping almond milk on hand for Hannah.

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