Friday, December 25, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sugared Nuts

FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD
Today Dreamer and I had fun in the kitchen and whipped up a few holiday Goodies
The main recipient will be the neighbour lady
who loves sweets yet doesn't bake often.
I know that she will be thrilled.
Christmas is a wonderful time to show love to your neighbours.
~ * ~
Anyway, I thought that I would share one of the recipes we made: Sugared Nuts. Sooo easy and sooo yummy. Sweet, but with a hint of savory. I took the recipe from Company's Coming: Gifts from the Kitchen.


SUGARED NUTS
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 large egg white
3 cups unsalted walnuts, pecans and cashews
(I subbed almonds for cashews)

Combine all 7 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to coat well. Spread out on a 11 x 17" baking sheet. Bake in 250 F oven for 1 hour. Cool completely. Store in airtight container. Makes 3 cups.



Monday, December 21, 2009

Reason for Christmas Calories

The holidays, the holidays ...
Ya gotta love them
~ * ~
So many parties, and get togethers, and reasons to eat.

The family and I went to a BIG event on Friday night,
had a BIG Christmas party at our house on Saturday night,
and then were asked over for BIG lunch on Sunday afternoon.
And to top all that,
we STILL needed (?) to frequent Quizno's for subs, drink and chips.

In my defense, I chose the 'baked' chips.
I figured that I wouldn't notice the lack of its 40 calories,
when I had just consumed upwards of thousands!
~ * ~
Hope you are having a happy holiday season.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Chocolate Truffles

I apologize for the sad picture of these goodies. Our two oldest kids were practically out the door when they announced that they needed something to bring to the Young Adults Bible Study Group get together. These truffles turned out lop-sided and in a variety of sizes ... but they tasted delicious and so I thought that I might share the recipe.
~ * ~
I found this recipe in the Company's Coming Millennium Edition cookbook, but I have tweaked it a bit to suit my pantry and taste buds.
~ * ~
Christmas Chocolate Truffles
11 oz sweetened condensed milk (see note below)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
9 x 1 oz semi-sweet chocolate baking squares, cut up
An assortment of extras to roll truffles in:
chocolate sprinkles
ground pecans
coconut
chocolate drink powder mix
~ * ~
Combine first 4 ingredients in medium heavy saucepan. Heat and stir over low until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Cool in refrigerator until almost hard.
With buttered fingers, shape into 1 inch balls. Roll each ball into one of the 'extras' listed. It looks best if an assortment of extras are used rather than just one. Pop each truffle into tiny muffin liners for an eye popping presentation.
NOTE: For 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk, use 12 X 1 oz chocolate baking squares.
~ * ~
These are elegant to serve at any gathering or lovely to give as a gift.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fish Tank Dismantle

Amongst all the hustle and bustle, and tinsel and glitter of Christmas, the Genius decided to call it quits on the salt water fish tank that he put together many months ago. He had spent years in his mind planning and scheming and designing the ultimate tank. Then he constructed it over months to get all the right 'stuff' growing in it. It was magnificent!

Then it was over. He had done what he set out to do,
and now it is on to the next project.

The water has been drained, siphoned into buckets and the fishy water added back to the great out of doors. It may spend the next few months as ice ... if salt water does freeze??? ... but then it will contribute back to the great scheme of things in nature.

And the fishies? Like the one little guy swimming around in the plastic bag above? I am pleased to say that nothing was harmed in the ordeal. Anything alive was carefully bundled and taken to the pet store when it was originally purchased.
A new home is in their future.
~ * ~
You didn't think that I would post a sad story
during the Christmas season, did you?
Have a merry one

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Save On Decorations

Dreamer sent me this picture entitled 'SAVE ON DECORATIONS'. Thought it was pretty funny. No lights up on our house this year. Not even the opportunity to put up DITTO either as no one on our rural street strings lights. Most forget to turn on their porch light!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's Beginning to Look ...

... a lot like Christmas ...

The weather is turning clear and brisk. Boxes have come down from the attic
and their festive contents have been scattered about

My collection of nutcrackers have grouped for battle

Genius is mastering yards of Christmas toile and sparkling lights on a tree

It's the most wonderful time of the year!


Monday, November 23, 2009

A Great Loss

This weekend my dear friend's sister went home to be with the Lord. I am at a loss for words to comfort her. There is nothing that I can do to ease her grief.

For each cloud, there's a rainbow
For each shadow, the sun
And for each parting, memories when sorrow is done.



Saturday, November 21, 2009

Samaritan's Purse

This is an important post and worthy of all to read it.
Not because of fancy wording, or stunning photography ...
(it clearly lacks these elements)
but because of its higher purpose.
It's for needy kids in this world and it's called
THE SAMARITAN'S PURSE
Christmas Child Shoe Box

For years now I have been collecting this and that to fill shoe boxes. I spread the collection of items over the year and it is rather rewarding to say the least.

I include some toys (the recipients are kids you know), some school supplies and basic hygiene items and anything else that I can find.

Some years I go to the shoe department and ask for empty shoe boxes and other years I find a location, like our church, who supply us with the official Christmas Child Shoe Box.

The youtube video below gives clear instructions of this ministry's purpose and drive behind collecting these shoe boxes. The Samaritan's Purse is a worldwide organization ... and I realize that this video is filmed in Australia or New Zealand or someplace like that, but the message is the same.
Please take the time to Google the
Christmas Child Shoe Box Ministry
in your area and do what you can for the kids.
You will be glad that you did!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Origin of Pumpkin Pie

My daughter, the Dreamer, sent me this descriptive picture entitled
"Origin of Pumpkin Pie"
I can only say that I am glad that Canadian Thanksgiving was weeks ago as this may have put me off the traditional dessert for a while :o)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hail Stones of Blessing

This week has seen a variety of weather patterns. Blue skies with sunshine one day. Rain and hail stones pelting down the next.

In this picture my camera captured droplets of hail as it fell from the sky.

Here I am with my bare naked toes. You can see it accumulating at my feet.

Don't worry. Be happy. This large 'hail stone' is not as it appears. During the summer I had frozen a ice cream bucket of water so that I could cool a large thermos of drinking water for a church picnic we had. Here is what remains of it after days of melting on the grass.

Our picnic table was covered with drops of glass.
Such a pretty yet freak change in the weather.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Butler's Pantry - Part 5 of 5

Well we got 'er done. The Butler's Pantry is officially complete! Looking back it really didn't take that long once we put our minds to it. Probably arranging things back on their shelves was the most time consuming.

I had purchased this curly metal hanger a LONG time ago hoping one day to incorporate it into the room. My Tupperware strainers fit perfectly on it don't you think? We made a trip to Home Depot and purchased a very inexpensive double track light to replace the ugly single light bulb fixture we had been using. The new one is brown metal and matches the curly hanger.

Next came all the dish sets that I have been finding at Thrift Stores lately. I had promised to show you them, so here is a sweeping view. Hopefully later I will set up some Tablescapes so that you can share in my new found joy.

Wow, looks like I may have gone a bit over board!

All in all I am so pleased. Items are shelved in an orderly fashion, the room is clean and bright, and everything is easily accessible ... I wonder how long this will last? :o)


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Butler's Pantry - Part 4 of 5

The walls are painted so it is time to move stuff in. First I washed off the gray metal shelving units and we put them on the left and right wall. First items to put in their new place are my two bread machines. One given to us as a Christmas present about 13 years ago, and one I found at a thrift store for $15 last year. I figure the old one will pack it in one day, so I want to be ready. At present both of them are working perfectly well. On the up side, I can make twice as much bread at one time!

Next hubby put up the new wire shelves on the back wall. Oh baby ... they are beautiful. We chose to get the 16" depth shelves. 12" was too shallow and 20" seemed too deep. 16" was just right!

Hopefully tomorrow I will have filled the shelves and have the Butler's Pantry complete.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Butler's Pantry - Part 3 of 5

At this point Hubby chose to open up the ceiling to check for moisture. Years ago we had a water pipe leak and he just wanted to make sure all was dry. This was relatively easy for him as originally he had covered the pipes etc with white metal. A few screws and it was off. All seemed to be fine in there, so it was covered back up again.

Then came the cutting in of the paint. We chose a pale beige or tan. Small room calls for lighter colours.

The room was painted with two coats to cover the original green walls. The floor was washed and baseboards put in. So love-i-lee.

A little bit of thin crown mouldings at the ceilings and the room is ready for occupancy!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Butler's Pantry - Part 2 of 5

Last night Hubby and I removed EVERYTHING out of the Butler's Pantry. For such a small room (about 6' by 6') we were shocked how much stuff was actually in there.

It now overflows down the hallway, into the kitchen and some even ended up in the foyer. The mess that this has produced only presses us onward to complete the task ... sooner than later.

Inside the room we first removed all built-in shelving that hubby had quickly installed 14 years ago. Back then we were completely renovating the entire house, so money was even tighter then than it is now. He used old bi-fold doors to make shelves along the back wall. They served their purpose over the years, but they were ugggg-lee.

One thing that was neglected in the past renovation was to wall off a window to the outside. You see our Butler's Pantry used to be the bathroom. Thus a window was in the room. When we moved the bathroom down the hall, this room became the Butler's Pantry. Probably a last minute decision. The window was simply boarded off and actually with all the shelves of stuff in there, I hardly noticed the plywood.

If it were a larger room, we might have decided to punch out the window for natural lighting. But the room is smallish and we need the wall space for shelving. Here is Hubby putting up some dry wall after he put some boards up in the space, and stuffed in some insulation. It is probably one of the most insulated bit of wall in the whole house!

Now we are patiently waiting for the 'mud' to dry. Hubby is out in the work shop finding lengths of baseboard for the floor and bits of crown moulding or quarter-round for the ceiling. It is an exciting time!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Butler's Pantry - Part 1 of 5

Hubby and I have our work cut out for us this next while. We are going to tackle a remodel of our Butler's Pantry just off of the kitchen area.

As you can see by these pictures, we haven't given it much thought in the past many years. But really, doesn't EVERYONE have a closet or storage room like this behind a closed door??? If the answer is NO, then continue to another blog. If YES, then you will rejoice with me as we renovate this one.

The funny thing about such areas is that the owner usually knows exactly where everything is. I know that is a fact with me. The organization system just don't look pretty!

We are not planning on putting in a lot of cash into the renovation, just smarts. Most of the invaluable (?) items I have in this room will remain, but we do have to purge somewhat. I want to incorporate my recent fetish for dishes.

A dark picture to be sure, but somewhere underneath all these dishes lies my dining room table. It has only been a few weeks, but we want it back!
Stay turned for views from a make over room.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Today is Sunday, November 1st. Another month has passed and begun. In church this morning our pastor challenged us to remember God and His ways this month as November 11th is Remembrance Day here in Canada. Yes, we are supposed to wear our Poppies in our lapel, and remember those who fought for our freedom, BUT we are also urged to remember Him.
~ * ~
I own many many different flip calendars that I have used over the years. They are not year specific and so I can glean from them over and over again. I read five of them today and want to share with you their words ...
~ * ~

A Psalm in My Heart
Cast all your cares on God; that anchor holds.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson

~ * ~

Every Time I Get My Act Together ...
The Curtain Comes Down!
We always have the option to choose joy!
Barbara Johnson

~ * ~

Bless Your Heart Each New Day
Let Your Light so shine in my home today,
that those who dwell therein will receive something of Your radiance. Amen
Mary Bevis and Nini Sieck

~ * ~

Folk Wisdom
The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want,
drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not.
Mark Twain

~ * ~

My Utmost for His Highest
"Do you not know that ... you are not your own?"
I Corinthians 6:19

The first thing God does is get us grounded on strong reality and truth. Why shouldn't we experience heartbreak? Through those doorways God is opening up ways of fellowship with His Son. If God can accomplish His purposes in this world through a broken heart, then why not thank Him for breaking yours?
Oswald Chambers

~ * ~

All share wise words for today.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Joy of Fall

Oh, don't you just love Fall? The last bit of the veggies to be harvested from the raised beds ... Such a bumper crop of crunchy delicious carrots this year!

We were even blessed (?) with a very unusual specimen from the garden patch. Some sort of five pronged orange beast ... I bet it's going to be a real test of agility to peel this carrot!

And the leaves ... oh those leaves!!! Under this bed of beautiful leaves lies a gravel driveway. Every year we have to pick up ALL those leaves so that they do not compost and make a 'mud' driveway next year. For those earth friendly people out there ... I layer my four compost bins with these leaves throughout the year. Fruit and veggie scraps ... brown leaves ... fruit and veggie scraps ... brown leaves ... The makings of the best compost around.


Isn't this a spectacular sight? We have have three junior sized maples in the front of our house. At one time every year, they are three different colours. Orange, yellow, and this striking red. But as evidence of the curse on this generation ... notice the blackberry bramble that has slithered its way through this beauty. Remind me to hack this weed back!

I hope that you are enjoying the colours and joys of fall. Isn't God so good to have given us a feast for the eyes?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dishes!

I am so excited.
I had made up my mind.
I wanted new dishes in my life.
I, of course, had considered getting new,
but couldn't commit to ONE set and couldn't afford TEN.
Sooooo I went out
in search of new-to-me dishes.
~ * ~
What till you see what I found .....

~ * ~

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Well another Thanksgiving has come and gone. Ours was not spectacular but our tummys were full and we were indeed thankful. With one child away at university, it didn't seem right about having a big dinner. We had therefore decided to go low key on the Monday festivities, and then spruce it up a notch when she comes home for a visit next week.

Now don't worry, I didn't forget the pumpkin pie! But this year I did shake things up a bit with a new recipe ... One right off the canned pumpkin wrapper. And you know ... It was delicious and EASY AS PIE!... so I decided to include it here for you to give it a try.

Magic Pumpkin Pie

1 - 9" unbaked pie shell
2 eggs
14 oz canned pumpkin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
300 ml sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 425 F. Beat eggs lightly in medium bowl. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves and stir until well blended. Blend in sweetened condensed milk. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 35o F and continue baking 30 - 35 minutes long or until knife inserted in center comes out clean Cool and top with lots of whipping cream or ice cream. YUM


Genius eagerly waiting for the eating to begin

Hubby and I came down to the table with almost matching shirts :o)

~ * ~

The last year has been rather up and down with my health ... I have intentionally left out the fact that my heart was compromised with a rare heart virus last year ... Maybe I will go into more details another time... BUT I can still say that God is good. And I share with Barbara Johnson by ending with her quote here:

"Something to be thankful for
is that you're here to be thankful.
"

Hope that you had a wonderful Canadian Thanksgiving, eh.

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