Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year, Everyone!

New Year's Eve is almost over and tomorrow will be the first day of the New Year! Wow, where did the time go? Now that the parties are over and the cooking is done for a while, we can relax. Whew! We made it through another Christmas season. What stamina we must have, right? It must be those extra pounds we gained that gave us that energy to sustain ourselves through another season of cooking, shopping and party going. The recipe box is closed for a while and I will try to find other things to keep your interest and mine. I am trying to decide on my "new word" for 2011. I am thinking "fun or experience". Will let you know what I decide on, in a later post. I will also explain why I need a "new word".
Till next time.......

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Family Traditions....

Family traditions are so important. So before I put my creche away; I wanted to share one of mine with you. This little angel that flies above the creche is over 100 years old. It first belonged to my Gram. and then my Mom. I remember saying my night prayers in front of her creche with this angel flying above it. We also had a candle in front of the creche and over the years the flame would get a bit high from time to time and soot would land on the angel. So this loving angel had to be repainted once. She has been in our family through 3 generations and my hope is that she will continue to survive through a fourth generation. There is a wire on the back of her and it slips into a hole on the manger roof. Share your traditions with your family. They may not know all the traditions you hold dear to your heart.
Till next time........

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Crab Imperial

This is the Blue Crab found in the Delaware and Chesapeake Bay areas and the Atlantic Ocean.  The lump crab meat from the Blue Crab makes the most delicious and succulent Crab Imperial. If you are lucky enough to live near the bay or beaches, set the crab pots and have a feast. I got this recipe from a lady that owned the Mispillion Lighthouse many years ago. Being right on the bay, she had an enormous amount of seafood recipes. Many were served in her restaurant/bar at the Lighthouse. Crab Imperial was my favorite crab dish. Her recipe showcases the crab and isn't covered up by a lot of onion, red and green pepper. Hope you enjoy it as well.


Crab Imperial
1 lb. lump crab meat
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. flour
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp minced onion
1 1/2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
2 slices of white bread, cubed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
few dashes of pepper
2 Tbsp butter
Paprika for sprinkling
Melt butter, mix in flour. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly, to keep mixture smooth. Cook until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Mix in onions, Worchestershire sauce and bread cubes. Cool. Fold in mayonnaise, lemon juice and pepper. In another pan melt butter and toss in crab meat; combine with other mixture and put in greased 1 quart casserole, sprinkle with paprika and bake in 450° oven for 10-15 minutes till bubbly. Serves 2-3 people.
Till next time........

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Eggnog Leftovers......Now What?

The Christmas holiday is over and now what...........? All that eggnog we thought somebody would drink; is still in the refrigerator. So what do we do now? Well, here are a few suggestions. You can make cheesecake bars, a quick bread, hot muffins or use on hot cereals. Maybe you would like a yellow cake instead. Eggnog can be used in pancakes, rice pudding and a wonderful eggnog Latte. Most of these recipes can be found on the internet; so I won't take time or space to write them for you. My favorites are Eggnog French Toast and Eggnog Rice Pudding. They are so good.

Eggnog Rice Pudding
3 cups cooked rice
5 cups eggnog
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup whipping cream, whipped, and divided ,1 cup for the pudding, 1/2 cup for topping on the pudding.
Over medium heat put rice, eggnog, whole milk and vanilla. Bring barely to a boil and turn down heat so mixture will simmer until it is reduced to a thick sauce, just coating all of the rice. Stir in nutmeg and cinnamon. Allow mixture to cool, for 1/2 hour, stirring every so often to help cool the mixture. Gently fold in 1 cup of the whipped cream and divide into 6 dishes. Chill. Top with whipped cream and serve. If that much cinnamon or nutmeg is too much for you, leave it out and then dust the whipped cream with a little nutmeg or cinnamon when you serve it. It will be just as good.
Till next time........

Saturday, December 25, 2010

My 200th Post - Cranberry Chili Sauce

Today is Christmas, but the parties will continue for another week. Here is a way to use up some of that left over cranberry sauce or jelly. This makes a wonderful sauce for meatball appetizers. It is easy to make, only four ingredients, and yummy good. Then if you have meatballs left over, they make a terrific sandwich. You can't lose with this recipe!
  
 Cranberry Chili Sauce
2 (16oz) cans whole cranberry sauce
1 (12 oz) jar chili sauce
1 Tablespoon firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 Tablespoon prepared horseradish
In a dutch oven, combine cranberry sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar and horseradish. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until combined. Use immediately or to freeze, let cool to room temperature. Place in resealable plastic freezer bag and freeze up to 1 month. Remove from freezer and let stand at room temperature for 45 minutes. Makes 4 cups. Great for meatball H'orderves. Heat some of the sauce and throw in some small size meatballs and serve with toothpicks.
Till next time....... 

Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards Men...........

Merry Christmas, Everyone! Have a very blessed Christmas and a safe journey over the holidays!
Till next time.......

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Memories.......................

Christmas brings back childhood memories with my Gram. This ginger jar is one of my earliest memories. It belonged to my Gram. Inside of it, she kept a string of beads that smelled spicy. When the time came for Gram to go to Heaven, I was blessed with the jar. No one knows what happened to the beads. I set out to find just the right scent to put back into it. 
I found a spice potpourri that was close to Gram's beads. It contains orange peel, bay leaf, star anise, rose hips and I am not sure what else. But it smells so yummy and takes me back to when I was little. I was only about 4 or 5 years old when I was allowed to take off the lid and smell the yummy goodness that was inside. Enjoy your own special memories and share them with your family.
Till next time.......


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pomander Ball

Are the children driving you nuts since they got out of school for Christmas? Here's an idea to keep them busy for quite a while and they can hang them in their closets to dry and later to keep the closet smelling good. How many of you remember the old Pomander Ball of your Grandmother's day? Here are the instructions for making them. The children will be so proud of themselves and you can get on with the tasks at hand. This is not for small children as it does take some strength to push the cloves into the lemon. Also, you don't want small children eating the cloves or using a sharp, pointed object. No, that's definitely NOT a good idea!

Pomander Ball   
Supplies: A lemon or orange, lots of whole cloves,  1-2 oz. ground cinnamon and 1-2 oz. Orris root.
Start by washing and drying your fruit. Mark the rows where your ribbon will go around it to eventually hang it up. Then simply insert your cloves into the lemon or orange, by pressing the clove hard or using a tooth pick or ice pick to start the hole first. After you have covered the fruit in cloves, roll it in the ground cinnamon and orris root mixture. Wrap it in a cloth and put it in a dark place for 2 or 4 weeks till it hardens. The smell is so luscious. Decorate it with your ribbon and you are done!
Till next time.......

Monday, December 20, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper w/Basil Spread


This is a great savory spread. It even looks like Christmas with a star on top. Most of us keep using the same old recipes each year for our parties. So this year, I set out looking for something new as I hope to have a New Year's Eve family gathering if our weather prevails. My family likes basil, so that was my starting point. When I found this recipe, I thought I had struck "gold". It looks so festive and tastes so great. Hope you can fit it into your parties as well. It yields 1 1/2 cups.  (2 Tbsp spread and 5 crackers per serving)
 
Roasted Red Pepper w/Basil Spread 
1 12oz tub of Cream Cheese
1/4 cup roasted red peppers
5 pitted black olives, chopped
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh basil
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 Tbsp almonds, sliced and toasted
Crackers of your choice.
Cut a star shape from 1 pepper using 1/2 inch cookie cutter, set aside. Chop the pepper trimmings and remaining peppers: combine with olives. Use a pulsing action to blend cream cheese spread, basil and garlic in a blender until smooth. Wash cream cheese tub, line with plastic wrap, with sides extending over the side of the tub. Spoon 1/2 cup of the cream cheese mixture into tub; top with olive mixture and remaining cream cheese mixture. Press firmly into cup with back of spoon. Refrigerate 1 hour. Unmold the cream cheese spread onto a plate; discard plastic wrap. Top cheese spread with toasted almonds and red pepper star that you have set aside. Serve with your choice of crackers. Garnish your plate with fresh basil leaves.
Till next time.......

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Havard Beets for Christmas!

Christmas dinner is looming on the horizon and preparations will soon begin. Let's shake things up a bit this year and forgo the traditional green bean casserole. What do you say? Let's do Harvard beets! They are colorful, sweet and sour and just plain good. Here's is the recipe, because we're friends.

Harvard Beets
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup water or beet juice
2 1/2 cups cooked and seasoned diced beets
2 Tbsp butter
Blend the sugar, cornstarch, vinegar and water. Mix well and boil 5 minutes. Add the beets and let simmer for 20 minutes on low heat. Take off heat add the butter , stir to melt the butter and they are ready to serve. Always keep the extra juice on hand to thin, if need be, to your desired consistency. This consistency works for my family.

How simple is that? This recipe can be doubled or tripled without any ill effects. Step out of the "green bean casserole box" and try something different this year.
Till next time.......

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Four Cheese Log

During the holidays, we are always looking for just a little something different. Hopefully, I will provide you with something you have not thought about and that you will enjoy.
Four Cheese Log
1 pkg. (8oz) cream cheese
1 cup shredded Italian three cheese blend
1 pkg. (1oz) dry onion soup mix
2 Tbsp sour cream
2/3 cup pecan, toasted and finely chopped.
Mix first four ingredients. Shape into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. Unwrap log, roll in pecans and press firmly so nuts will adhere to the log. Happy Holidays!
Till next time........

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hot Jezebel Sauce

Here is another recipe that is a bit different and a bit spicy. So if you like hot, spicy spreads, this is for you. If you don't like so much heat, go easy on the  dry mustard. Add a little bit of the dry mustard and taste. You can always add more mustard,  but once you add it, you can't take it away. So be careful.

Hot Jezebel Sauce
1 cup apricot preserves
1 cup pineapple preserves
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1/4 tsp. horseradish, drained
3 Tbsp dry mustard
1 tsp white pepper
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
Mix preserves, horseradish, mustard and pepper. Heat to bring out the flavor and then store in a covered jar in the refrigerator. To serve, place 1/3 cup of hot Jezebel Sauce on cream cheese. Serve with crackers or toasted pita triangles.
Till next time.......

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Robert Rothschild Products

Hey, Everyone! The party season has started, and what to serve can be a challenge. Here is a Baked Brie with Hot Pepper Raspberry Preserves. You have to try this one! 
You won't often see me promote a product but this is so good.

Baked Brie with Hot Pepper Raspberry Preserves 
1 tube of Crescent rolls
1 small round Brie
1 jar Robert Rothschild Farm Hot Pepper Raspberry Preserves
Pecans, chopped
Preheat oven to 375°F. Open tube of crescent rolls carefully. Do not separate inindividual rolls. Close the seams by aplying pressure to them. Place small round of Brie in center of dough. Seal long ends of crust on top of Brie. When sealing sides it will be necessary to trim corners. The dough is very forgiving, so if a seam should fall apart just apply pressure and close. Once sides are sealed you can mold crust to Brie by gently shaping with your hands. Place on cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. While hot, pour the Hot Pepper Raspberry Preserves generously on top and sprinkle with chopped pecans. Serve either with thin crackers or alone. 
To see more of their products and recipes, check out the website below.
Till next time.......

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Remember When...........

Remember when, ordering a cup of coffee was just that simple? "I'll have a cup of coffee, please." 
But now they have a Barista,  serving the coffee and you have to know what kind of coffee you want. Saying "black or with cream & sugar" is not enough anymore. Would you like a Cappuccino, an Espresso, a Mocha, a Latte or perhaps a flavored Latte. What is a person to do, who just wants a cup of coffee?

Here's the scoop on coffee:
Espresso - is a concentrated coffee brewed with hot water under pressure through  finely ground coffee. This is not a bitter coffee, if it is done right.
Latte - a single shot of Espresso for a 6-8 ounce drink, hold back the foam with your spoon till your cup is about 75% full of steamed milk, then top of with foam. For a stronger coffee flavor ask for a second shot of Espresso in it.
Cappuccino - is equal parts of Espresso and hot milk topped with steamed milk froth and cinnamon or nutmeg and sometimes whipped cream.
Mocha - contains chocolate sauce, Espresso and steamed milk topped with a little foam.

HELP!....... I just want a plain cup of coffee!!
Till next time....... 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Windy Day in the Country.....

The wind is blowing hard and the feathers on the birds are ruffled. Sometimes they can hardly stand still to eat the seeds I put out for them. These are some photos I took from inside the house. So they are not the best but will show you how the birds are scrambling for food today. I have a bluejay, two pair of cardinals and an arsenal of sparrows. But then God loves them all and I guess I do, too. I keep feeding them all anyway..
As you can see, it has also been snowing. It will not amount to much on the ground. But with the strong winds, we have had white-out conditions . The wind chill is really bad today so stay in or bundle up good if you go outside.
Till next time.........

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Partytime!

The holidays are here and many of you will be attending holiday parties, with drinks, great food and wonderful company. It is always good to get together with friends and wish each other Merry Christmas. But remember, if you are drinking alcohol this season, and party a bit too much; don't drink and drive. Call a cab or friend to take you home. DUI is against the law.
Till next time.......

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cut Out Cookies

It's December 5th and time to start the baking for Christmas. This is the last cookie recipe I will share this year. Get the children to help with this one. They will have loads of fun decorating them. I used to make these for my children when they were young and they always had a good time. These are easy to make and keep beautifully. Store them as you would any crispy cookie.

Rolled Sugar Cookies
Blend:
1 cup white granulated sugar
4 Tbsp. butter
Combine and beat:
1 egg
3 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Add:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Beat batter after each addition of flour. Chill the dough until it can be rolled. (about an hour). Roll it into a thin sheet. Cut into the desired shapes, sprinkle with colored sugar. (or leave plain if you want to frost them) Bake them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet or a Silpat sheet. Bake at 375° for about 8-9 minutes. I roll mine just a little less than a 1/4 of an inch thickness; but more than  1/8 of an inch. If you roll them thinner, they of course will take less time to bake.
Frosting For Cookies
1 cup sifted confectioner sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 Tbsp cream (or 1 Tbsp water)
Blend sugar, salt and flavoring. Add cream to make it easy to spread. If desired, tint with food coloring. Makes frosing for 3-5 dozen cookies, depending on size.

The secret to making any rolled cookie is to keep the dough chilled to start with and while you are rolling parts of it.
Till next time.....

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Gingerbread Men Recipe

I could not leave my blog today without giving you the recipe I've always used for Gingerbread men. That would not be fair, now would it.

Gingerbread Men Cookies
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup white or brown sugar
Beat in:
1/2 cup dark molasses
Stir:
1 tsp soda
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
Add sifted ingredients to the butter mixture in about 3 parts alternating with:
5 Tbsp or more water
You will have to work in the last of the flour mixture with your hands. Roll the dough to the thickness you want. A good way to do this is to roll the dough onto parchment paper the size of the cookie sheet; cut the cookies with the floured cookie cutters and remove excess dough from the paper.  The cookies can be decorated with cinnamon red hots for buttons, raisins for eyes, nose and mouth. Bake cookies in a 350° oven for about 8 minutes, according to their thickness. Test them with a toothpick. Remove them at once and put on a cooling rack. Yield: About 16  thin cookies or 8 fat cookies. Once cooled they can be decorated with the following icing:
Icing
Stir in small bowl to make a paste.
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
a few drops of water
You may add a drop or two of food coloring. Apply the icing with a toothpick or small knife to make additional garnishes like caps, scarves, hair, mustaches, belts, shoes, etc.
Enjoy!
Till next time........

Gingerbread Man

It is pretty clear the crusaders first brought ginger from Asia. But who made the first gingerbread man. The ginger cookie appeared as a Christmas tree and holiday scenes in mainland Europe, especially in Germany; from the 1600's. People first carved molds from wood. It wasn't until the early 1800's that the true gingerbread man was made. Cookie cutters were made several years later making the uniform shape we have today. It was taken from the gingerbread man in the tale of Hanzel and Gretal . 
How you eat the gingerbread man tells a lot about you, or so it is told. If you eat the head first, it indicates you are a natural leader, who won't take no for an answer. If the first bite is the right hand, it shows an individual who tends to be skeptical and pessimistic, while those  who eat the left arm first, have a flare for creativity and are more extroverted. If you eat the legs first you tend to be more sensitive, reveling in the company of others. According to the survey 64% go for the head first, 20% go for the legs and 16% bid goodbye to the arms first.
Okay, so this is probably more trivia than you ever wanted to know. But at this time of year when many are baking gingerbread men, I thought it interesting and appropriate...at least to me.
Till next time........

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Color of Christmas......

The colors of Christmas are many. For most people, Christmas is red, green and silver. For some it is shades of blue, frosty lights and silver. For me, I go in a different direction. I have always felt Christmas was burgundy, cream and gold. There is just such a richness of about burgundy and gold, with a touch of cream. I tend to buy a cream poinsettia instead of a red one. Maybe......I am just not a traditionalist. Who knows? What are the colors of Christmas to you? Perhaps it is the multicolor tree lights that appear in all the stores, malls and homes. Whatever the colors of Christmas are to you; enjoy the season and remember...it is Christ's birthday. Let's keep Christ in Christmas and have a Blessed Christmas.
Till next time.......

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Worry Stones

Worry stones are used for many different reasons by many different cultures. It is thought to have first originated in ancient Greece. A worry stone is used to relieve stress, to clear and calm the mind, for meditation to center your concentration and for luck. 


Being of Irish descent, I am familiar with worry stones. I have four of them. I received each for a different reason. The white was to wish me good health for a surgery, the angel was to give me hope on another occasion, the green connemara marble one was to relieve worry and wish me luck. The black Iis for Faith. I've had for so long, I am not sure when I got it. I can guarantee the stones can relieve stress and worry. Perhaps it is because you concentrate on the stone and not on your problem. But for whatever reason; I do believe in them.  To use a worry stone; hold it in your hand between your thumb and index finger and rub it with  your thumb. 

Connemara marble comes from a district in the West of Ireland on a peninsula between Killary Harbor and Kilkieran Bay. The famous Connemara Green marble is found along a line between Streamstown and Lissoughter. It was a trade treasure used by the inhabitants of prehistoric times. It is still of great value today.
Till next time........

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Day After Thanksgiving......

The holiday is over, you have plenty of left overs, but you want one more different taste. Here is a simple but good salad to eat along with that turkey or ham sandwich. It is an easy Pea Salad that you can whip up in minutes.
Pea Salad
2 cans peas, drained
1 1/2 Tablespoon mild onion, diced
2 handfuls of grated cheddar cheese
1 1/2 Tablespoon mushrooms, sliced (optional)
Mayonnaise to moisten
Salt and Pepper to taste
Mix gently and chill well.

That's all there is to it. Not only is it easy to make, you are getting your vegetables as well.
Till next time.......

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving.......

I just want to take a moment today to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving day. I hope you will be spending your day with family or friends. I feel very blessed this Thanksgiving season.


Oh, and if you are wondering what the answer to my trivia question is.....It took the four men no time at all, as the wall was already built.
Till next time........

Monday, November 22, 2010

Wondering ......again!

When I started this blog a few years ago, I mentioned, I wondered about a lot of things. If I see a door in an out of the way place, I wonder what is behind it and where does it lead.  I wonder what keeps the clouds up in the sky, does a dog laugh, why does each bird sing a different song, why do bees buzz and can a mosquito smell blood? They sure find mine quick enough! As a child I wondered about so many things and  as an adult, I still do. It makes life so interesting and fun when you question things. If you wonder about things, you are constantly learning.
If it took eight men ten hours to build a wall, how long would it take four men to build that same wall? Think about that for a second. Some of you will answer it correctly, some of you will only think you answered it correctly. I'll post the answer to that, in my next post. 
Till next time.......

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Vendetta Defense/Mistaken Identity

I just finished reading a really good book. The book is called Vendetta Defense and is written by Lisa Scottoline. It is about a 60 year old Italian vendetta, several murders, the investigation of all of it and the ensuing trial. There is also a subtle love story intertwined in all of this. It was a fascinating read and I give the author a definite "Thumbs Up" . This is the second book I have had the pleasure of reading by this author and both were really good. I totally loved this book and I think you will, too.
The second book is called Mistaken Identity. It is about a lawyer who is working on a case and during the intrigue of the case the lawyer experiences identity theft. This presents all kinds of problems for her as her colleagues swear they see her in different places; when she wasn't there. She is stalked and fears for her life. In the midst of all the intrigue, the author throws in a subtle love story for the lawyer. By the end of the book, the case is solved,and the identity theft is a surprise ending. So no, I will not spoil the ending for you. It is an exciting book and keeps you wondering all the way to the end. If you get a chance, do read both of them. You won't be sorry. Enjoy!
Till next time......

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Butter Cream Candies/Mints

With the holidays approaching and parties being scheduled; you will want some goodies for your party table. Here is a lovely little butter mint, that is easy to make and so buttery. It can be rolled into logs and sliced or pressed into a candy mold for a lovely rose pattern. Hope you enjoy this simple but elegant candy.


Butter Cream Mints/Candy
10 2/3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 lb. confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure mint extract
Cream butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until it is soft and fluffy. Add the sugar and the mint extract and beat at low speed until the mixture is thick, creamy and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl often. Cut 2 large sheets of plastic wrap and place on your work surface. Divide the mixture into two equal portions and place each on the plastic wrap, forming it into 2 logs, about 1/2 inch in diameter. Wrap the plastic wrap securely around the logs and chill for 4 hours. Pinch off about a rounded teaspoon of the butter cream and shape into 1-inch balls. Place the balls on parchment or waxed paper and flatten with the tines of a fork. Refrigerate in layers of parchment paper in an airtight container until ready to serve. Mints will keep for up to 1 week in refrigerator. These are sure to be a hit at any party and can be colored for any occasion or left plain.
Till next time........

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cranberry Orange Relish

Wow, Thanksgiving is next week! Can you believe it? If you haven't made your Cranberry Orange relish, now is the time to make it. It needs to set for a spell and let the flavors marinate. Here is a very simple, but good, recipe for it.



Cranberry Orange Relish
1 lb. cranberries
2 cups sugar
1-2 oranges
Put cranberries through a food grinder (yes, the old fashioned food grinder).  If you freeze the cranberries first, it is less messy. Cut the orange(s), in quarters and remove the seeds. Put orange quarters through the food grinder rind and pulp . This can be messy so put a towel  or bowl under the grinder to catch the juice. Mix with sugar and cranberries and let sit for for a day. The flavor is so much better when you let it set for a while. Cranberries no longer come in pound packages so you will need to buy 2 packages of cranberries or cut the sugar by 1/2 cup. You want it a little tart so it will compliment your turkey.
Till next time....... 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

First Snow Fall.....


This tree outside my door is still hanging onto autumn. It should have shed it's leaves weeks ago, but refused to give up. I am enjoying the last of the autumn beauty before the bleakness of winter snow sets in for the duration. 

We had our first snowfall of the season. It started out with rain, turned to sleet and the next thing I knew........it was snowing. We got about an inch, just enough to cover the grass. So as one season moves into the next, the weather changes.

I could not resist photographing my bird house hanging on my patio. With the snow on top of the roof, too cute to pass up. The hook on the bottom of the house is for a bird feeder, which I took down because of the impending snow storm. Will fill it today and give the birds a treat.
I took the photos from inside my home, so they aren't as sharp as they might be. But you get the idea, right? As you can see, the birds have decorated their home with wreaths by the door. 
They are so far ahead of me!
Till next time...... 

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Gift and Dreams.......

Yesterday I received two CD's. One of them was Susan Boyle's "The Gift" and it truly is a gift. Her voice is so easy to listen to and the song choice is out of this world. As you listen to it, she transports you to another place. This is absolutely a wonderful album for Christmas and year round. as well. 
The second CD was Neil Diamond's "Dreams". It is a lovely collection of some of his favorite songs. All I can say is....good choice. He picked my favorites as well. It is a great assortment of songs. Now just sit back and enjoy the sounds of Neil Diamond. If you don't have these two CD's may I recommend you get them as soon as possible. They are available on Amazon.com and in stores across the country. Several stores here have them on sale now and probably will through out the holiday season.
Till next time.........
.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Support the Food Pantries.......



This time of year we are all starting to think about the holidays, good food and family. Many people this year will depend on food pantries to supply them with holiday food. If they are lucky ; they might get a turkey and some trimmings. That won't happen unless you support the food pantries. Most every large church has one and some of the smaller ones, too. Do what you can to support these wonderful pantries, you never know if you or someone you know might be the next one to need them. Giving gives you such a warm feeling inside, knowing you have helped another human being. Poverty is NOT just in the third world countries, we have children here that don't know where their next meal is coming from. When was the last time you went to bed hungry? Support our food pantries, even if it is only a few dollars worth of food. Check the Dollar Stores and the sales at the grocery stores and do what you can. Don't let a child go to bed hungry.
Till next time....... 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

All Hallows Eve

Today is Halloween or All Hallows Eve as it was called years ago. The little ones will be in costume, knocking on doors asking for all the sweet treats. That's all well and good ,as long as no one gets hurt. So parents, go along with your children and make sure they go to homes they know. Help them crossing the street ,if necessary, and make sure they can see properly out of the masks they wear. If you have older children, perhaps a home party with their friends, is more in order. 
Please, NO tricks, they aren't funny and can cause damage to property or at the very least, work for the home owner. Let's play nice this year.
Till next time.......

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Foster Puppy Sweater

 Just when I think I am done crocheting dog sweaters, I get a call from my youngest daughter. She is fostering a little Chihuahua , who is about 3 lbs and he's cold now that cooler weather has arrived. So this afternoon I crocheted a sweater for him. His name is "Tater". So being a boy dog, I got out the blue yarn and gave it a brown tummy so it would not show the dirt as readily. 
This first photo is the top of it and the second photo is the bottom side of it.
I had a small doggie shirt to measure it by, so it should fit.
Till next time........

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Voting

Our Election is almost here. Do you know your candidates? Have you read about their voting record on the issues that matter to you. Make sure you know your candidates. This is not a test where you pick every other candidate. Whether you vote Democrat or Republican, you need to vote. Don't let your neighbor do it for you. There is always early voting if you cannot or don't want to stand in the long lines. But if you didn't get an early ballot, it's worth standing in line to vote. Take a folding chair if necessary. The point is........you NEED to  vote.
Till next time.........

Rose Quartz

Rose quartz is found in, Germany, Madagascar, India and much rose quartz has been found in a famous site near Custer, South Dakota in the USA. Most of the world's supply of good quality rose quartz comes from Brazil. Most of it is not clear enough for gemstones so it is carved into candle holders, spheres, statues and other home decorations. The color comes from Iron and Titanium impurities.
This is a rose quartz candle holder and the light you see is from a small votive candle inside of it. The second photo shows a rough piece of rose quartz that I have used on my patio as a decoration and now it sits in my living room. Being exposed to the elements, it has faded in color. When I noticed a change in color, I brought it inside.
Till next time........

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Miniature Hollyhocks

 This is the last of the miniature hollyhocks. These hollyhocks grow about two feet tall and are really nice. They reseed themselves and come back each year. I had them in my flower box two years ago and this year a "renegade" plant appeared next to the house and is still blooming. Guess the birds or wind had something to do with planting that one, as I sure didn't plant it. I will save some seeds for next year and see what happens. Guess a little bee decided to stop by and visit, since the flowers would soon be gone.
Till next time........

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Homemade Ice Cream!

Everyone needs a new project now and then to occupy their time. So I bought me a new toy with the idea of making some fruit sorbets and sherbets. But my pantry had the ingredients for ice cream. So today, it is vanilla ice cream, the sorbet will be next. This is the first time I have used it and as you can see, it is churning away nicely. It finished in 30 minutes and it was the consistency of soft serve ice cream. After 2 hours in the freezer the ice cream was perfect. My ice cream mixture made more than the one batch so tried to do a second batch without refreezing the bowl. Take it from me it does NOT work. You must refreeze the bowl after each time. I am satisfied with the new machine and look forward to some fruit sorbets. Yummy!
Till next time.......

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mushrooms, Here and There.....

Every time I go to the lake, I see something new. The seasons change, the grasses and weeds change; even the shoreline rocks and plants change a bit. What is there today, may not be there tomorrow. So each day I go there, is an adventure of nature, with new things to behold. 
On this particular day, I saw this mushroom on the side of a tree. The second photo is a smaller mushroom towards the back of the tree. I wonder how many people go to the lake and never see all the wonders of nature.
I saw two deer on this particular outing but they were too fast for me to get a photo of them. What a wonderful sight to see!  Adoe and fawn in their natural habitat is such a fun experience. Once they crossed the road and got to the edge of the woods, they were in no hurry. The woods kept me from getting a good photo of them. As you can see, I love nature and all it has to offer us. Take the time to go to a park or lake and see what you can find.
Till next time......

Monday, October 18, 2010

October is here.

October is a time for, Hay Rides, Pumpkin Patches, Haunted Houses and Corn Mazes. As a child, I always felt I would get lost in a maze and no one would find me. I never thought getting scared was fun, so that left the Pumpkin Patch and Hay Rides for me. I always enjoyed going to pick out my own special pumpkin from the patch., not too big and not too little, after all, I had to carry it  on Halloween. Hayrides were a significant part of my childhood. We would take a long ride through one of the local parks and then meet back at school for chili and hot chocolate. It wasn't hard to find a farmer willing to take you on a Hayride. It was just part of the season to be enjoyed by the young and old. That time is here again, what will you be doing to celebrate the Autumn season?
Till next time......

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Bit of Color


Fall is upon us and things are turning different shades of brown and tan. But among all the different shades of brown, you see a speck of color here and there. I spotted a bush that was just starting to turn magenta. Won't the bush be gorgeous when it is all this lovely color? The trees aren't as red this year as in past seasons. But perhaps it is still early. A lot of trees have lost their leaves already and there is nothing but bare limbs.I'll keep an eye out and see if more trees turn red.
 Here is another bit of color among the many different grasses and foliage. How can you pass this up when it will soon be gone for the next season and even sooner, most likely covered with snow?


This field was dry weeds and grasses, but in the midst of it was a lovely blue flower. You need to look for these little gems of color or you will pass them by unnoticed. They are worth taking the time to see.



 This is just a seed pod, but even in this, there is beauty. When you are taking a walk, it is hard not to enjoy the many gifts of nature, even in a seed pod. 
I really like going out to enjoy the autumn beauty and see all the little gems of color and preserving them for at least another season. When the snow comes, it will all be white for several months and even the tan grasses will be hidden.
Till next time......