Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pioneer Day Fun…Heritage Month Continues…

Pioneer Day
     I love July, it is always such a fun month here in Utah.  We have the 4th of July of course, but we also have the 24th of July as our state holiday, or Pioneer Day.  Pioneer Day is a huge deal here in Utah, there are fairs, parades, fireworks, and activities galore.  It is simply so much fun!  I have so many memories of Pioneer Day.  This picture is actually from one of the many parades that has been going on throughout the valley.  It is fun to see all the families and the excitement of all the little children.
     So you may ask what exactly is Pioneer Day?  Well I will tell you.  Pioneer Day is always July 24th, and it is to commemorate when the pioneers from the Mormon Trail entered into the Salt Lake Valley.  It is a huge deal.  We commemorate the sacrifices those early pioneers made in the name of faith, and if you ever read any journals of those early pioneers, you know that their hardships were unimaginable.  Some areas in the state do reenactments of the handcart and wagon trains, many towns hold parades.  Truly Pioneer Day is a huge part of Utah’s heritage. 
     I have many ancestors who came across on the Mormon Trail, who walked all the way from Nauvoo, Illinois to Salt Lake City, Utah.  I’ve read about how they lost spouses, or children along the plains and the sickness and afflictions that they endured.  I am humbled by some of my ancestors who risked so much to come here.  It definitely reminds me to not take things for granted, and to be appreciative of all the things that I have been blessed with.
     As with most celebrations, we definitely celebrate this holiday with food!  There are picnics and barbeques going on everywhere you look.  Pulled pork, corn on the cob, biscuits, bread, everywhere you look, and of course you can’t forget the JELLO salads!  Now I have to admit, JELLO is one of those dishes I just hate to eat.  Something about JELLO has never appealed to me, even as a child.  Anyway, I am convinced that Utah must be responsible for more JELLO consumption than anywhere else in the U.S., the amount of JELLO consumption is unreal!
     In any of my Pioneer Day celebrations I never use JELLO, I prefer to make something far better and dare I say more authentic to the time period.  I usually make either a cobbler, crisp, or pie for dessert.  Mmmm….pie!  I do love pie, its always been a favorite of mine.  I remember when I was a little girl reading a book and they talked about Chess Pie.  Now I had never heard of Chess Pie, I’d heard of apple, cherry, peach, pecan and so many more, but never Chess Pie.  Once I tried Chess Pie it was love at first bite, and I think it will be for you too!
     Chess Pie is a type of pie have absolutely fallen in love with.  I also sometimes refer to it as “Broke Girl Pie”, simply because it’s the cheapest pie I know how to make.  Basically you can make this from the pantry ingredients of almost any home.  Several people like to sue premade pie crusts, so if that’s what works for you, do it, I usually just make a basic shortbread crust on my own, but I have been known to use a pre-made once in a blue moon if I am pressed for time.

Love From Scratch Lemon "Broke Girl" Chess Pie


1 (6-oz.) ready-made shortbread piecrust
1 egg white, lightly beaten
5 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice whipped cream, berries and mint for garnish  Directions:  Preheat oven to 350°. Brush piecrust with beaten egg white. Bake 6 minutes. Remove from oven, and cool completely on a wire rack (about 30-45minutes).
Beat 5 egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form.

Whisk together 5 egg yolks, sugar, and melted butter in a large bowl until blended. Stir in lemon juice. Fold in egg whites. Pour mixture into cooled piecrust, and place pie on a baking sheet.
Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until set, Remove from oven to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour). Garnish with whipped cream, berries, and mint.

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