Red, White and Blue…Pie!

When I was younger and visited my Grandma Walter on their northeastern Iowa farm, I always pestered her to teach me something. She taught me how to crochet and to make cream puffs. (I posted her recipe in a blog a while ago.) She had a huge garden where she grew potatoes, green beans, onions and I can’t remember what all else. While I didn’t inherit her green thumb despite her tutoring, I did receive her love of growing things. Every spring I plant a garden. This year I have high hopes since I’ve gone to a raised garden to keep out the dogs and the bunnies!

My grandmother also taught me to sew. I refined that skill during home economics. It’s amazing how much money I’ve saved because I could sew bed skirts, window treatments and my children’s Halloween costumes. Okay, the later didn’t really save money as much as it allowed me to create exactly what they wanted. 🙂

It saddens me when I hear how children say their middle and high school schedules are too full to take Skills for Living, what my generation knew as home ec. My youngest took the class in middle school, and we both enjoyed it. Together we shopped for the fleece material for the pajama bottoms he sewed. He made a lot of the recipes he learned in the class for us. But the best part was, he became an expert pie maker!

Every Fourth of July he and I make what we call a Red, White and Blue pie. The basic recipe is the strawberry pie recipe from his Skills for Living class. The blue comes from adding blueberries and the white is whipped cream. Today just in time for the Fourth, I’m sharing the recipe with you.



Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 

Measure 1C flour and 1/2 tsp of salt into a bowl. Cut in 1/3 C shortening with a pastry blender until shortening particles are pea sized. Add 4 TBS of ice water. Form into a ball. Roll from the center out until crust is pan sized. Fold edges under and crimp. Bake 10 minutes or until lightly brown.



Clean 1-2 pints of strawberries.

In a saucepan, mix 1 1/2 C sugar (I use slightly less) with 1/3 C cornstarch. Add 1 1/2 C water and mix completely. Cook mixture, stirring constantly until it’s thick and translucent.

Filling when finished cooking before adding jello.

Remove from heat and add 3 oz. package of strawberry jello. Put some of cooled glaze in bottom of the crust. Add berries and continue covering them with glaze. Refrigerate and serve topped with whipped cream.

NOTE:  Add blueberries and make you have a Red, White and Blue Pie!

Giveaway:  Leave a comment sharing your favorite Fourth of July food or tradition to be entered in the drawing for a signed copy of A Cure For the Vet and a cactus T-shirt from my favorite shop, Rustic Ranch



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Julie Benson has written five novels for Harlequin American, and her Wishing, Texas series is available from Tule Publishing. Now that her three sons have left the nest in Dallas, when she isn't writing, Julie spends her time working on home improvement projects, rescuing dogs, and visiting Texas wineries with her husband. Visit her at

58 thoughts on “Red, White and Blue…Pie!”

  1. I have 3 grandchildren and I strive to be a good granny , I love my grandchildren and I teach them all I know and I also get after them when needed because I love them and I want the Best for them! You have beautiful memories of your grandmother and that is very nice. Thank you for the recipes and Thank you for your Beautiful Blog. God Bless you.

    • Alicia, I bet you’re an amazing granny! Your grandchildren are so lucky to have you to guide them. I’m so glad you’re passing on your knowledge and guiding the next generation, not to mention building all those memories for them.

  2. Aren’t grandmother’s wonderful ? I used to love watching mine cook and especially when she baked. Of course I could never master her skills when it came to her Italian pastries. Thank you for sharing that delicious sounding pie recipe. Happy 4th of July.

    • I miss my grandmother’s so much and gained my love of cooking from them. Middle school and high school these days is very lacking in Homemech and trades classes or at least it is in our little community. I often worry that my youngest daughter isn’t getting the well rounded education she would get in a larger school district. We go to my hometown parade and festival for the 4th normally then go home, cookout and cool off then we return and park up above the city park and watch the fireworks. The years that we end up staying home we usually just cook out and then do fireworks at home on occasion we’ve gone to a parade and festival in the area but not usually. We live on a major highway in a very that has a large church across the highway and cars will start stopping to watch our fireworks. It is not a very long little fireworks display so I often fill sad for people that stop when we’re almost out of fireworks. I expect for there to be a lot more country fireworks in Texas this year because we’ve had an unusually wet spring and noone is under firework bans which has been the case the past couple years. We do not have any specific recipe traditions for the 4th just some type of grilled meats, corn-on-the-cob and watermelon are always on the menu with everything else varying. I hope you and yours have a great 4th of July!

      • Stephanie, I miss both of my grandmother’s desperately too and think of them often. My Grandma Walter died when I was pregnant with my first child. I wish she could’ve met my boys, especially my middle son. He’s named after her and is so like her! I often think my Grandma Ryan must be in heaven chuckling. She had four sons and I was one of her only two granddaughters. I’m sure she thinks it’s a hoot that I have a house full of boys!

        Your day sounds wonderful and full! I spent a couple 4th of July’s at my grandparents’ farm and reading about your day brings back memories! We don’t attend fireworks celebrations much anymore now that our kids are grown. We live in a suburbs of Dallas and the traffic is just insane. Hopefully my boys will come over today and we’ll swim. Then maybe we’ll watch Independence Day. I love that movie!

        Have a fabulous and blessed 4th! Thanks for stopping by today.

    • Carol, thanks for stopping by today. I never mastered my Grandma Walter’s skills either. I’d give anything to have one more day to ask her all the things I now wish I had. Ah, the folly of youth. We don’t know what we need to know until it’s too late to ask. Have a blessed 4th of July!

  3. I loved my Grandmother who lived in Southwestern Iowa. Visiting her and Grandpa was the highlight of our family adventures. She taught me how to crochet and embroider. I am now a Great grandmother and wish some of the greats would be interested in learning to crochet and hand embroider

    • Roxanna, hey fellow Iowa gal, thanks for stopping by today! I lived in Dubuque, went to college at Iowa State, and my grandparents’ farm was in Decorah, Iowa. Where in southwestern Iowa did your grandmother live?

      While my grandmother taught me to crochet, I never could learn to make those elaborate dollies. (I’m writing this at Starbucks or I’d take a picture to show you. I’ll post one later.) They were so beautiful, but the work was so tiny and my eyesight was never great…My grandmother amazed me because she could make them without a pattern! But then she also often told me to “cook it until it’s done.” I would laugh and ask her to give me any idea of how long. Were we talking ten minutes, ten hours, what? I find doing handwork, either crocheting, making jewelry or painting terracotta pots helps me deal with stress. I think kids today turn to electronics instead. Sigh. It’s such a shame because our grandparents’ generation created so many beautiful things.

      Don’t give up on your great grandchildren and the handwork. A lot of that is becoming trendy again. Thanks for taking me on a trip down memory lane with your comment!

    2 cans of low fat refrigerator crescent rolls.
    1 can of healthy low sodium cream of chicken soup (26oz.)
    1 cup of fat free cheese
    2 boneless chicken breast

    Boil chicken (or use leftovers however you cooked the chicken or turkey). Shred chicken. Roll out crescent rolls and place a tbsp of shredded chicken in center and roll up.Bake at 350 for about 5 minutes or until starting to turn brown.
    Pour cream of chicken soup over top and bake an additional 10 minutes. Then top with cheese and bake 10 more minutes. Yum!! Yum!!

    Happy 4th of July. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

    • Tonya, I’ve made your recipe! It’s one of the staples in my house! My kids loved them. We called them Chicken Roll-Ups. I’m going to put them on our menu for next week. It’s one of the recipes we taught our boys before they moved out on their own because it was easy to make after a long day at work. Thanks for sharing the recipe today and taking me back to when my boys were little. Have a blessed 4th of July!

  5. The only tradition in my family was to go up to the lake in maine and spend time there and watch the fireworks on the 4th. No traditions today.

    • Kim, being on a lake in Maine sounds wonderful since it’s hot and humid here in Texas. I’ve always dreamed of having a place on or near a lake where I could sit and watch fireworks on the 4th of July. I notice I have less traditions now that my kids are grown. When they were younger they wanted to go to the parade and watch fireworks. Since we don’t have grandchildren, we have a much lazier day. Whatever you do on the 4th, may your day be blessed. Thank you for stopping by, Kim.

  6. I wish I had the chance to spend more time with my grandmother, but my father’s job brought us to Texas when I was 10 years old. We previously lived in New York and that’s where my grandparents stayed. I was too young to really learn anything from her but I had a lot of good memories. I enjoyed Home Ec in high school and loved learning to sew. I still do it now, but I’m not as good. I didn’t do very good with the cooking part, but I did try. My ex-husband was the who actually taught me how to cook. We really don’t do much for 4th of July as my husband usually works the next day. We’ll probably have some BBQ. When I was younger, I had a friend who’s mother used to make homemade peach ice cream and every time I have peach ice cream, I remember it from back then.

    • Janine, my kids grew up in Texas, and like you, didn’t get to spend as much time with their grandparents as I did. One set was in Iowa and the other in Nebraska. That was the one thing I regretted about moving to Texas.

      I’m not as good a seamstress as I’d like to be. My bff Lori sews beautiful quilts. She’s one of those people who can free sew when she does the final quilting. She made quilts for each of my boys when they were born and made a beautiful one for me. I’ve tried quilting but I can only do simple patterns.

      Whatever you do on the 4th, I hope you enjoy your day. Thank you so much for stopping by to chat.

      • I’m sorry your kids didn’t get to spend much time with their grandparents too. I would love to be able to make quilts. But I fear even trying. There used to be a place in town that had classes but it shut down. My former mother-in-law made beautiful quilts and I remember the one she gave to me and my ex when we got married. I thought it strange how she demanded it back when we got divorced. Maybe it was just on loan. 😉

        • Janine, how awful! Having that quilt would’ve brought lousy energy and vibes with it! Yikes.

  7. Oh that sounds so yummy! My relatives always make red white and blue desserts and I love them. It always looks so patriotic. I am not a good baker so I don’t have a favorite 4th of July recipe!

    • I made my graduation dress in home Ec. I recall making homemade ice cream and pot luck gathering. Thanks for the wonderful memories.

      • Kristi, wow you must be an amazing seamstress if you could make your graduation dress! I was never that talented. Thanks for stopping by and for reminding me about homemade ice cream!

    • Susan, that’s what I love about this pie. You really don’t have to be a baker to make it. My crust turned out terrible. I usually ask Nathan to make the crust, but for some reason when we made the pie yesterday, I made the crust and he made the glaze. Boy, I won’t make that mistake again! Mine cracked and I even after multiple attempts it kept coming out just to small for the pan. I finally gave up. The good thing is even if the crust doesn’t turn out, the fruit and glaze is still wonderful. Have a wonderful 4th and thanks for stopping by today.

  8. Grandparents can be so special. Thanks for the great post. We are trying some new recipes this year. We usually have just burger and dogs and maybe some salads.

    • Debra, we’ll probably just cook burgers and hot dogs, too. How can you go wrong with that? We are going to have a very laid back day. Hopefully, we’ll get to spend time with our sons who all live close by. At least my youngest does this summer while he’s home from college. As he’ll be a senior next year, I’m trying to savor every moment with him. Since he’s a theatre major, we expect he’ll be staying on the east coast once he graduates. Have a wonderful July 4th, Debra and thank you for stopping by.

  9. I think all kids need some type of life skills class because a lot of kids don’t get those classes at home. So they grow up not knowing how to cook, sew or anything like that. It something they really need to learn.

    • I read a post on FB on the things parents should teach their children before they leave home. One of the things was how to sew on a button! It made me think. I’m not sure if I ever taught my boys to do that. There are so many things I just do, that I never think about teaching my children. We did, however, make sure they knew some cooking basics before moving out on their own. We also taught them how to create a budget. From what I hear that’s another issue kids are struggling with today. We need to realize kids need basic living skills to go along with the rest of their education because you’re right, a lot of kids won’t get that teaching at home. Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

  10. I had a wonderful grandmother but I just didn’t get enough time with her. I can remember her wonderful desserts.

    • Melanie, I don’t think we can ever get enough time with our grandmothers. I envied my cousins who lived in the same town as my grandparents. They could stop by any time they wanted to. When we came to visit, it was always a big deal, though. My two uncles who lived in town and their families would come by. It was crazy with twenty plus people milling around my grandparents’ little farmhouse! I was used to it, but it took some adjusting for my husband when he first went with me. He was an only child!

  11. Goodmorning! My dad pastored a country church in Tama, Iowa, where we lived until I was eight years old. Even as a child, I remember sweet corn being soaked in water in galvanized water tanks, removed and then removal of most of the silk, and grilled in the husks on long grates above charcoal. I can smell it now some 60 years later! Always…always…always were cream puffs and sugar cookies served! Cream puffs must be an Iowa thing. Oh the joy to read your blog and read your recipe. Now, I live in a busy tourist area in central Minnesota. Our town hosts the Freedom Day Parade, there is street dancing, turtle races, pork on a stick, music, pizza, and unbelievable fireworks. But, what I wouldn’t give to be in line at that country church for a cream puff, sweet corn, burger, and sugar cookie.

    • Kathy, thank you for your wonderful comments. I forgot about the Iowa sweet corn! Nothing I find in Texas compares to it. The other food that was big where my grandparents lived was lefse. I keep saying I’m going to make it. I even have a lefse grill, but it’s so time consuming. I don’t know how my grandmother found time to bake all the things she did while working on the farm. She must’ve been much better at time management than I am!

      I think your town’s activities sound fabulous. I wish I could be there. The pork on a stick is calling to me, and as my son has had a turtle since he was in fifth grade, I’d have to check out the turtle races.

      Take care and have a great 4th of July.

  12. Julie thanks so much for the recipe. My grams always made a pineapple upside down cake for the 4th of July I so miss her and getting together at her house for holidays with all my cousins aunts and uncles after she passed for some reason we just don’t gather anymore. I have even lost my favorite cousin who was more of a brother he was only 9 months older than me and I lost him a couple years ago he and I were inseparable during our teen years he also was my best friend so sometimes if I let myself I could get really down but I try to let all those great memories of our fabulous 4th of July gatherings make me smile. I think I will go make a Pineapple Upside down Cake Yes I will and smile. Have a Happy 4th of July Julie love your blogs

    • Glenda, I love pineapple upside down cake but have never had a good recipe. I may email you to get yours.

      I’m so glad I could bring up happy memories for you. My family drifted apart too after my grandmother died. I keep saying I’ll go back to Iowa to visit my uncle’s and their families, but I never manage to make the time. I think it would be easier if my parents still lived in Iowa, but they have long since moved away too. I was a lot older than most of my cousins and they were all boys, so I never had as close a relationship. My bff was like you and grew up with her cousins almost like siblings.

      I’m like you. I try to concentrate on the happy memories and smile rather than let the losses bring me down. Have a blessed 4th and enjoy your pineapple upside down cake for me!

  13. Welcome Julie. Happy 4th. Woohoo for your son. Our son wanted to learn to sew like mom. So I taught him. He is now 34 and he has his own business. He sews and sells reenacting clothes for men: civil war, revolutionary, world war 1 and world war 2. He and his wife both sew and reenact all of these wars. He is a Taylor in his own right. I am so proud of him. I taught him to cook at home. When he started Boy Scouts, they would go camping and the boys each had a meal they were to cook. Well, Richard got tired of eating burnt or uncooked food so he literally took over cooking the meals. He would teach the boy that was supposed to cook and make sure that he understood that cooking was an important thing to know. LOL My boy like to eat, still does.

    • Lori, what a great story about your son! How fantastic that he has been turned sewing into a business as well as doing all re-enactments. My son is a theatre major who is minoring in prop and costuming. He also loves going to conventions where individuals dress in character costumes. The sewing has come in handy for those.

      I like how your son got tired of eating lousy food at Boy Scout campouts and took over. Good for him! Sounds like you did a great job raising Richard.

  14. My grandmother was a wonderful cook whose meals were tasty and made with love and care. I try to emulate her skills. When my grandchildren who live here in town visit I spoil them with love, treats, and many meals that I know they will remember. This is what matters in life.

    • Sharon, people don’t realize what you have, that in making meals with love to share with family, we’re really making memories. I bet your grandchildren think you’re the greatest grandma and can’t wait to visit. I think that was the best gift my Grandma Walter gave me–her time. She was never to busy to teach me, and never minded me tagging along on a task, even if it took twice as long to gather the eggs with me alone. I hope you get a chance to spoil those grandchildren on the 4th! Thank you for your insightful comment.

  15. When I think back to my mother and grandmother it is with a great deal of heartache but also love. Time spent with them was always fun since my grandmother was a superb baker and her creations were the best ever. I do wish that I could replicate her masterpieces but I do not have that ability. Instead I shower my grandchildren with love, many outings and special days devoted to their interests and neverending kisses.

    • Ruth, you give of yourself and that’s what matters with grandchildren. Some grandmas bake. Some don’t. What the kids will remember is you focused on them and what they were interested in. My grandmas included me in their lives. For one it was what I blogged about today. For my Grandma Ryan it was include my in running her small town general store and playing cards. I bet your grandchildren savor every moment with you and think they are so special. They are lucky to have you!

  16. My grandmother taught me everything about life. Her lessons gave me the foundation for my future and I cherish every moment I spent with her. I encourage young people to have the understanding that learning from our ancestors is important and gives us meaning for the future generations.

    • April, we’ll said. Many of us learned more from out grandparents than we did our parents. The older generation has so much knowledge. I knew there was so much I wanted to talk to my grandmas about but thought there would always be time when my life settled down. But we never have enough time. I encourage everyone to take time now to ask those questions, write down those recipes, and listen to those stories. Thank you for your comment. I hope people listen to your wise advice.

  17. Happy 4th! I learned to cook and crochet and embroider from both my mother and grandmother. My grandmother had an amazing green thumb, which I did not inherit. And my mother could bake and decorate the loveliest cakes, another skill that passed me by. My mom’s birthday was on July 4 and she always told us the fireworks were for her! I think of her every year. And make her delicious potato salad recipe. It’s not that different but there must be something because nothing else tastes quite the same.

    • Sally, thank you for sharing your memories of your mother and grandmother. What I think is interesting is how many of our grandmothers crocheted! Who would’ve thought. And I love how your mother thought the fireworks were just for her!

      Your potato salad recipe has me I curious. I’ve never found one that I like but I love a good potato salad. I hope you have a happy 4th.

  18. That pie sounds delicious! 🙂 My family always BBQs… my mom’s potato salad is yummy! Happy 4th!

    • Colleen, BBQ and potato salad sound great. I need to do a blog on different styles of potato salad and ask all of you to share your recipes! I don’t have a good one. ? Enjoy your 4th of July!

  19. That pie sounds good! Obviously, in my neck of woods here in Finland we don’t have Fourth of July traditions. Our Independence Day is 6th of December.

  20. I don’t really have a specific favorite 4th of July food.

    We watch Nathan’s hot dog eating contest. That’s become our family ritual. lol

    • Denise, I’ve never seen the hot dog eating contest. I bet it’s something. I might have to check it out! Thanks for chiming in today.

    • Caryl, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I hope your 4th is filled with wonderful things!

  21. I love being a grandma but my 3 granddaughters live so far away it’s hard to spend time with them. Thank goodness for Skype! My parents are fantastic grandparents and my kids spent so much time with them even though we never lived close to them. We always made it a priority when they were growing up that they would stay close to them and even though they are adults now, they are still very close to them and are always calling them, skyping with them or visiting them when they can. I love it! I adored my grandparents and they really impacted my life. My grandma lived until she was 94 and even though she had 52 grandkids, she always made each one feel special! She taught me a lot about cooking and gardening, even though I lived far from her! I miss her every day 🙁

    • Valri, 94 and 52 grandchildren? Your grandma must have been an amazing woman if she could make everyone feel special. I can’t imagine remembering that many kids names!

  22. My favorite 4th of July food is Potato sald, Grilled burgers filled with cheese and all the fixin’s

  23. Sorry I missed reading your blog on Tuesday. Wishing you and your family a very happy 4th of July celebration. And thanks for the shout outs. How I miss my cousins! Growing up on a farm, we really didn’t hang out with our friends from school. Cousin time was special! That’s what I love most about Facebook. With cousins scattered all over the country, we can keep up with one another.

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