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I'm just finishing up a fantastic memoir by Erin McHugh, One Good Deed. Every day for a year, Erin set about to do one good deed; it didn't have to be big, just one good deed for someone else. Her journal is inspiring, funny, moving and thought-provoking. McHugh also has a website, One Good Deed, where people can talk about their good deeds.
I love this book for many reasons- Erin is Irish (me too), raised Catholic (me too), loves to read (me too), thinks the movie Love, Actually is the best Christmas movie (a no-brainer) and we even live in the same neighborhood. It made me look at the many, many people I am surrounded by here in NYC differently. I am more aware of them and try to be more gracious to them.
Erin's simple ideas, from donating money (however small) to good causes to picking up the trash you see around you to bringing flowers to cheer up a friend are very doable, and I'll be darned if they don't make you feel pretty good when you do them.
It also made me conscious of the good things I try to do, like sending everyone in my family a card on their birthday/anniversary and going to book signings for authors and buying their books as gifts for friends and family (two good deeds in one!). I like thinking I'm a pretty good person, but also knowing that I can always do better.
In her book, Erin posted a family recipe for Cranberry Surprise Pie, which she always makes for Thanksgiving family dinners, and then makes an extra one to give to family friends. Erin gave me permission to post the recipe here, and I can't wait to try it this year at our family holiday table. (I love cranberries)
Cranberry Surprise Pie
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9 1/2 inch pie plate. Pour the cranberries into the bottom of the pie plate and sprinkle evenly with the walnut and 1/2 cup of the sugar.
Mix the eggs with melted butter, 1 cup sugar, the vanilla, and the flour. Pour over the cranberry mixture. Bake for 50 minutes at 325 degrees F.
I can't speak highly enough of One Good Deed, and I bought four copies of the book already. I know I'll be back for more as my Christmas gift list grows. I'll post a full review next week.