The other day I had a rare moment of liberty to do some unpacking and housework at the new place. With W needing constant attention (we are in serious investigative mode now) there have not been many opportunities to surrender to the kind of zen bliss of unpacking. Finding a place for something can be so soothing, but not when it is immediately followed by, “OH MY GAWD! PUT THAT DOWN!!!!!”

Mother had W occupied up in her room so I was down in the dining room sorting through some boxes. I pulled out a book and something fell from between its pages and landed at my feet. A recipe card. And not just any recipe card- but THE recipe card. Just days earlier Mother and I had been talking about this very recipe and how we needed to track it down and make it because it was the ultimate in comfort food. And here it was, gently resting on my converse sneakers.

Now I don’t know about you, but you guys do know that my relationship with religion is a work in progress. I do, however, believe that our loved ones communicate with us after they pass away. I know that my Grandfather was always around Millie after he had left us. He left her and then us coins. Sure you can call it the ultimate coincidence- but I’m telling you there have been pennies in places where there were not meant to be pennies. Pennies in places where just minutes earlier there was nothing.

I even once took a photograph of my Grandmother and you can clearly see the image of my Grandfather’s ghost sitting next to her, wearing a suit jacket and tie even.

And to give you an idea- below is a photo of my Grandfather, as he ALWAYS dressed – see the suit jacket and tie now in the above image?

So basically I am saying that this pie recipe that landed at my feet? I know where it came from. And I couldn’t just carry on tidying up like it hadn’t happened. Instead I loaded W into the stroller and we walked through the snow the several blocks down to the local neighborhood grocery and got the ingredients to make pie.

And since I don’t want the recipe to ever vanish again I am going to share it with you guys so brace yourself, because it is serious business this pie. It comes from a recipe that Millie ripped out of a newspaper nearly 50 years ago and was supposed to be a version of a Kentucky Derby Pie. Our family has modified the recipe to our tastes and you will be happy to know that this recipe makes TWO pies. So you can give one away (or freeze it) and then eat one right away.

Our “Derby” Chocolate Pecan Pie:

2 9-inch unbaked pie shells
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract (the GOOD stuff – this is instead of Bourbon)
1/4 cup corn starch
2 cups finely chopped pecans (or a little less if they are $$$)
1 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (a 12 ounce bag will get you there with plenty leftover)

Beat eggs slightly, gradually add sugar. Add melted butter, vanilla – mix well. Blend in cornstarch. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips. Pour into unbaked pie shells (I place mine on a cookie sheet for ease of transfer). Bake at 350 degrees for forty-five minutes. Cool for one hour (if you can!) then serve with ice cream.

The above is an older photo from a couple Thanksgivings ago.

Have you ever been given a nudge or message from a loved one you lost?

(and quick reminder: There is still time to enter the $100 Jimmy Dean Giveaway! Go here for that.)

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