Other wise known as Pi.

    Math was always a little tricky for me.  I mean, I did alright in math in school because I was decent at memorizing steps for formulas, but math was never really something my brain could totally wrap around.  You know - get. 

    Luckily for me, I now live the kind of life where I don't need very many math skills beyond a preschool level.  1-2-3. 1-2-3. 1-2-3. 1-2-3.  I find myself counting to 3 a lot.
-There's 1 child.  There's the second child.  Where's the third child?!!
--Oh, whew.  There she is in a ditch at the baseball field, army crawling into a culvert.
-There's 1 child.  There's the second child.  Where's the third child?!!
--Oh, whew.  There she is hanging waist high over the second story balcony.
-There's 1 child.  There's the second child.  Where's the third child?!!
--Oh, whew.  There she is standing on the top of a chair back on her tiptoes, about to fall into the baptistry at church because she is trying to float a boat made out of a church bulletin.

(I'm not going to lie to you.  My life feels stressful sometimes)

    So to deal with all this stress, I cope using one of my favorite math tools.


   
The Pie.
    Ok, so that's probably not, per say, exactly what you had in mind when I mentioned math tool, but if it helps you sleep at night, pretend I'm working fractions with it.  You know, "If I eat half of this pie now and lie and say that my kids all ate a piece, then it would look like I only ate 1/8 of the pie."  Fantastic.  I'm a math genius.
   
    And I'm also a nice genius, because I am about to lay on you one of the easiest and yummiest desserts that I have ever made.  It may be familiar to a few of you because I actually already gave out this recipe on a previous post.  But when I did, I just quickly ran through the directions and made the whole thing as a point on one of my crazy "list" blog posts.  So I'm afraid none of you actually understand how important it is that you try my Frozen Caramel Pie, and then thank me profusely for bringing your life meaning. (I need that kind of thing occasionally to keep my self-esteem on track, you know).

    So if the picture above (which is not a very good one, by the way.  I was too hungry to remember to take a picture when it was all frozen to perfection and at it's most photographic state) doesn't make your mouth water - then you probably don't have trouble fitting into your jeans like I do.  That being said - make this pie anyway.  It's simple.  It's delicious.  It will make your husband want to make out with you on the couch.  And it only takes five ingredients and a mixer.  And a freezer.  And a few minutes. Plus freezing time. (but that's just a good time to go freshen your makeup and brush your teeth for the "post pie" appreciation make-out that's about to go down) 

    First things first, go to the store and buy.................

-2 graham cracker pie crusts (you are welcomed to make your own with crumbs and butter but why in the round world would you go to all that trouble friend?)
-1 container of whipped cream cheese
-1 container cool whip
-1 can sweetened condensed milk
-caramel

    As you can tell by my terrible, unedited photo, I am a HUGE fan of most anything off brand.  I will use WHATEVA kind of "uncle jimbo's big country farm" brand any day of the week if I get a deal on it.  But there are a few things I don't mess around on the name brands with.  Velveeta is one.  (all processed cheese loafs are not the same pal)  And caramel for this Caramel Pie is another.  You are welcomed to buy whatever type of caramel you want, but consider this a warning - if you buy the cheap, light, runny stuff, your pie won't be as good.  And please tell my why you are going to the trouble of making a pie if it's not going to be awesome?  Spend the extra dollar or two.  Get the good stuff.  I prefer the "Lava" brand caramel dip sold in the produce section of my Walmart.  It's dark and thick and ma-num-a-na.

    To begin, spread a nice, gooey layer of your caramel in the bottom of your pie crust.  This is not a "measurement" type of thing.  This is more of a "do what makes you feel good inside" type of thing.  Then in a bowl, mix the cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, and cool whip until combined and pour evenly into the two crusts.  Then lick the bowl and spatula with all your might.  Then quickly stick it in the sink and run hot water in it to erase all evidence that you licked it clean.  Then go back and drizzle more caramel over the top for pretties.  Again, this is a "do what feels right" type of situation.  Next, pop those clear pie pan lids on your pies and slide those bad boys in the freezer.  See?  I told you it was simple!  Now wait a few hours for your pies to freeze and then surprise your family with something delicious that tastes like it was harder than it is. 
    Then last, but not least, please take an awkward photograph of your super cute husband loving the pie so much that he eats half of it at one sitting straight out of the pan. 
 
    Because it is the week of Christmas, and because all of us are busy decking halls and spreading cheer, and because I am supposed to be at my mother-in-law's for family Christmas in an hour yet we are all still in pajamas with 3 gifts left to wrap, I am going to share with you all the recipe that I just whipped out to take today.  At my m-i-l's it is just a given that she does all the "for real food" cooking.  I'm not sure why the rest of us don't help her, but it's just how it is.  The sun rises in the east, Sandra makes the ham.  Fact.  But we daughters do all bring the desserts and snacky stuff that we eat all day while opening presents and playing cards and doing crafts and whatever.  And of course I hadn't done anything as of 30 minutes ago.  So I quickly just made up a batch of this popcorn/m&m treat stuff that I actually learned about from Sandra (or maybe one of Aaron's sisters - I can't remember) because it is so fast and easy (but a tad bit messy).  Many of you may already know this recipe, but for the few of you that don't - you are welcome.

    First you will need the following - Popcorn (plain or low fat.  you don't want it flavored or too buttery),  White almond bark (this is a Christmas recipe.  of course you need almond bark), M&M's (because they're nummy), and Crisco (because no matter what Dr. Oz says, crisco is your friend.  it can love you when no one else does)
    First thing you need to do is pop the popcorn.  I forgot to take a picture of this, but honestly if you need a picture of that happening, then this recipe is probably too advanced for you anyway.  So is grilled cheese and boiling eggs.  The next thing you need to do is locate the largest bowl you have access to.  Mostly because it makes stirring the mix easier.  But also because the bigger the bowl - the more you can make.  The more you can make - the more you can eat.  It's simple math my friends.  Knowledge is power.  Pop the corn and put it in the bowl, making sure to not get all the kernels in it.  Kernels a bummer.
Picture
It helps the flavor of the snack if you are listening to Christmas music on your iPad in the background. I don't know how. It just does.
Next melt a package of while almond bark according to package directions, but add a tablespoon-ish of crisco because it makes life better.  Amen.
When it's all melty and fabulous, pour it over two, two and a half-ish bags of popcorn and then pour M&Ms in and listen to the heavens sing.  Stir is all up and thank yourself for going to all this trouble.
When it's all mixed up and well coated, spread it on cookie sheets lined with waxed paper to harden.  Make sure (and this is critical) that there is a child nearby looking weird and eating popcorn for breakfast because you are an awesome mother.
Picture
oooooo, aaaaaahh. mmmmmm.
Finally, once it's hardened, break it in to pieces, put it in one of your many Christmas tins that you own because you're a hoarder in training, forget to take a picture of it, wipe all the almond bark off your camera, blog about it, make your husband mad because you're not hurrying and are going to be late for Christmas, and run around like a nut because it's the holidays and that's what you do.  Hope you enjoy this simple, last minute treat as much as we do.  Merry Christmas!!