Friday, October 31, 2008
Thanks, Grandpa. An apple pie is on it's way soon!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
by John Donne
"A fallen leaf is nothing more than a summers wave good bye."
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
This recipe was introduced to me when I was dating my husband. It was a favorite dessert made by his mom for both camping trips and company dinners. A dense, moist cake --- it is favored every time!
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cup oil
3 eggs or egg substitute
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup nuts
1 cup coconut
3 cups diced raw apples
Beat sugar, oil, eggs, and vailla for 3 minutes. In another bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Fold flour into sugar mixture with a spatula. Add nuts, coconut, and apples, folding carefully. Bake in a tube pan for 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees F.
* may substitute liquid natural sweetener for sugar; reduce by half.
**cake is still delicious if oil in recipe is cut in half.
Puffy Apple Tarts
This recipe is one adapted from one of my favorite cookbook authors. Once I was blessed to be able to attend one of her cooking classes --- such fun! She was as nice in person as I expected she'd be.
4 cups Fuji apples, peeled, cored, sliced and chopped
1 cup apple juice, unsweetened
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup Sucanat
1/8 cup pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. apple juice or water
2 boxes (17.3 ounces each) Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets
In a medium saucepan, bring the apples and 1 cup juice to a low boil and simmer covered for 5 minutes. Add cinnamon, vanilla, Sucanat and maple syrup.
In a separate cup dissolve the cornstarch and liquid. Add to above boiling mixture ad stir until thickened. Remove from heat. Thaw and carefully remove pastry sheets from the first box. Keep them refrigerated until 15 minutes before use, or they become too sticky to work with.
Lightly flour a large cutting board or cutting surface and a cookie sheet or baking stone. Open first sheet of pastry onto floured surface. Spread with half of the apple filling to 1/2 inch from edges. Top with remaining pastry sheet.
Using a 2 1/2 inch ravioli press, cut out 9 squares. Using a paring knife, cut around the edges of the press to help make the cuts all the way through the dough.
Gently remove the squares and place them on your floured baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. It is not necessary for the tartlets to be sealed.
Bake at 400 degrees F. for 20 minutes or until nicely puffed and brown.
Repeat above procedure with remaining ingredients. Enjoy!
This is something great to make ahead and keep in the fridge until you are ready to serve. A sweet and healthy 'fruit burrito', a delicious sauce adds moisture and even more flavor.
8 apples, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup raisins
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. maple flavoring
1 3/4 cups plus 1/4 cup apple juice
2 cups pineapple juice
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
In a large saucepan, add apples, water, raisins, walnuts, vanilla, and maple flavoring. Cook over medium heat until apples are softened.
Fill tortillas with apple mixture and roll up. Place filled burritos in a casserole dish, seam side down. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 3/4 cups apple juice and pineapple juice. Bring to a boil.
In a measuring cup combine 1/4 cup apple juice and arrowroot or cornstarch Add to heated juice in saucepan. Reduce heat to simmer and stir constantly until thickened.
Pour sauce over burritos and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Sprinkle toasted coconut over top just before serving, if desired.
* * *
The Schnauzer table runner was made by my mom in honor of our dog family --- Libby, Fiddlesticks, Jetta, Raspberi, Coco, and Tia. I know, they look like Scotties --- but we pretend.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
When properly made, tea helps you to feel relaxed and refreshed. A hot cuppa gives a gentle lift and helps bring support throughout the day. Whether tisane or loose tea, there's something about the ritual and warming of tea that aids in slowing down a busy life pace. The restorative qualities of the tea ritual bring benefit through times both good or bad. These days everyone seems to be talking about 'thrift' and 'cutting back' or 'saving money'. Tea is a healthy and inexpensive beverage that is quite thrifty and cost-efficient. Next to water, it is the least expensive beverage in the world. Even with the inclusion of sugar, milk, or lemon, it costs less than 2 cents per cup. One pound of loose tea makes about 200 cups. Compare this to coffee where one pound makes 40 cups and has much fewer health benefits. As I write, I think of my friend, Clarice from Storybook Woods. She serves a most delightful tea called Rosemary Hill; it's a delightful blend of rosemary and lavender. She tells me she ordered six pounds of loose tea. Hmmmm, that's about 1,200 cups of tea, Clarice. I think I should come back to visit. Otherwise, how will you use up all that tea?
Tea and Lace Embroidery by my Mom
Saturday, October 18, 2008
by John Keats
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
* * *
Photo: from today's walk along the river; both the sagebrush and the trees were sporting shades of bright yellow!
When cooler weather arrives, it's time for crafting! Last week I found the cutest set of patterns for tea towels. Each design features children engaged in a variety of activities. They are so vintage and remind me of the Campbell's Soup kids. So, I decided to try my hand at them. The transfers have been ironed on to flour sack towels and all but one has been carefully colored with a box of the kid's old crayons. What a task! After being colored, they have been ironed so that the colors meld into the cotton. You can see that at this point they lack detail, but that will soon change. Tomorrow the embroidery needle and thread get put to use --- creating facial features, detail to garments, and finishing touches. Cute vintage cotton prints will be stitched to the bottom as embellishment before they are all done. You know, it's been many years since I've taken time to 'color' and it's been kind of fun!
What's in your craft basket right now?
It was with great reluctance this week that I cut back the lavender plant by our front walk. All summer I've enjoyed it's bounty! This year it's grown to a diameter of more than 5' and is nearly as tall when you count the stems and buds.
So, this week --- was lavender trimming week! Most of the lavender plants have been trimmed into rounded mounds. It is nice to go into winter having them look so manicured. Their silvery foilage is pretty, and each variety is a little different shade from the other.
Of course, it wouldn't be a good idea to 'waste' any of the lavender blossoms that were cut. So, a bouquet has been gathered and placed in a crystal vase that's on the counter in the bathroom, adorned with a gray and sage striped ribbon. And the freshest and most purple was added to a kettle of honey. It was heated so the flavors could meld, and then allowed to cool into a fragrant and delicious 'lavender honey' for winter's use.
Roses, lavender, mums, and amaranth, provided us with more than enough blossoms. Although we've had our first frost, there were enough nice flowers left for this fun project.
Karleen and I each used a different method of tackling our project. I started at the top, creating a cascading effect in an asymmetrical way. Karleen chose to select points at strategic places equal distance from one another all the way around her pumpkin. Her approach was quite symmetrical and balanced. Both methods created fun and pretty pumpkin bouquets. I couldn't help but think how each style reflected our personalities and the way we approach life. I have learned much over the years from my friend about balance and how to tackle a project. Karleen is the one who always finishes a project before she starts the next one; I tend to have a dozen projects going on at once and sometimes some get forgotten before I complete them. I am trying to be more like my friend in this regard!
At first it was difficult to know how to deal with flower buds that were taller than others on the pumpkin surface. I finally decided to embrace the difference in height, making it part of the balance and decor.
Drinking glasses provided as base and height as we neared the completion of our projects. It was easier to see and work with the pumpkin bouquet raised to near eye-level.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Now, this tutorial was provided as an attempt to overcome writers block. I hope there was at least one thing that was beneficial to you in this post today. If nothing else, go brew yourself a cup of fine tea and sit outside on the porch swing and sip away while you enjoy the autumn chill and the beauty of the changing leaf colors. Enjoy a happy day!