Saturday, November 29, 2008
George Washington Carver
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Let us always give thanks
For the food we eat,
For family who loves us
And friends that we meet;
For the blue sky above,
The grass 'neath our feet,
For birds serenading
With songs that are sweet;
For laughter and sunshine
That brighten our day,
For our efforts at work
And our joys at play;
For hundreds of blessings
That are sent our way,
Let us always give thanks
Each and every day.
~ Joan Arbogast ~
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Are you busy preparing for Thanksgiving dinner? Across America, grocery stores and markets are filled with shoppers buying ingredients for their traditional family foods. Kitchens are starting to sizzle with the sounds and fragrance of one of the most family-oriented American holidays. More people will be traveling to visit family during this yearly holiday than any other. Life has been busy at our house too. In the midst of it all, I've been trying to blog 'three recipes a day' at My Cozy Kitchen. Stop by for a last minute holiday recipe if you'd like. I look forward to seeing you there. And then I'd better get cookin' too. What's cooking in your kitchen?
Photo: Elm Street Antiques
Monday, November 24, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing;
He chastens and hastens his will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing,
Sing praises to his name: He forgets not his own.
Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining his kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, wast at our side, All glory be thine!
We all do extol thee, thou leader triumphant,
And pray that thou still our defender wilt be.
Let thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!
Traditional Thanksgiving Hymn
(A translation by Theodore Baker: 1851-1934)
While we are talking turkey, there's a great idea for turkey's made from cookies over at Vegan Vice. Their version uses Newman-O's and candy corn. They are so cute!
Friday, November 21, 2008
for this food which is our life,
for the fruits of the earth,
conceived in darkness
rooted in the secret soil.
We offer you our part in the mess of creativity.
We wash, prepare, cook, present;
we eat and taste and enjoy with our bodies;
we clear away the mess.
We embrace with you the chaos that fulfils,
the secret labour that maintains life.
~ Janet Morley ~
T'ien Yiheng, an eighteenth-century Chinese sage, said that "tea was drunk to forget the din of the world". Bucky wants to remind you that petting your cat can do the same thing. I think he just wants some attention, don't you?
Enjoy a lovely day!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Observing nature as the seasons change in our neighborhood is always interesting and informative. I enjoy learning new things related to the flow of life, and seeing them in action is even better. Throughout the summer months, crops have grown in fields along the highway. Animal life has been limited to an occasional coyote, wild turkeys and geese, or deer feeding in fields. But after harvest the wild animals have had a little competition for space and attention.
On a Sunday drive this week we passed a cornfield newly cut. Where stubby corn stalks replaced the tall corn plants, a single-strand electric fence had been installed and cattle now dotted the field, greatly enjoying a feeding fest. They were easy to see because of their large size and dark color. Down the road a few more miles, sheep were more camouflaged, looking like fuffy little lumps of sagebrush dotting a grassy field. A second glance revealed hundreds and hundreds of sheep! They were tended to a little more carefully than the cattle, having a three-strand impromptu fence and guards to protect them from harm. A sheep-herders trailer was set to the back at the top of the hill, but looked empty as the task of protecting and caring for all these sheep was assigned to two friendly Great Pyrenees dogs. This large breed of dog is known as the livestock guardian dog and was initially bred to assist shepherds in the Pyrenees region of southern France and northern Spain. These dogs are fearless, protecting their charges from coyotes, wolves, and bears. Our cousin, Della, who has a flock of goats at her ranch in Arizona finds that her Great Pyernees also protect her flock from the cougars who live in nearby hillsides. She trusts them implicitly.
Although these dogs prefer to live outside, they crave human attention and are devoted pets. They are companionable and delight in human company. This was illustrated to us when we stopped by the side of the road to take a few pictures of their charges. Both dogs were at the far end of the field, atop a small hill. Instead of watching us from afar, they came as close as they could and then looked at us with tails wagging and friendly expressions on their faces. Even with the company of all those sheep, they seemed to crave our attention. When it came time to leave, they 'chased' our car down the road, as far as they could go, staying within the confines of their fenced space. It would take nothing for them to pass under that simple three-strand fence, but they remained devoted to their task, and even unaided by human contact, they stuck with their job of being keepers of the sheep, extraordinaire. Don't you just want to hug them?
"He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace." Micah 5: 4 - 5
The thankfulness month, congenial, favorable, good, gratifying, nice, pleasant, pleasing, pleasurable, satisfying, welcome, acceptable, agreeable, comforting, congenial, consoling, delectable, delicious, delightful, desirable, favorable, good, gratifying, pleasant, pleasurable, pleasureful, refreshing, rejuvenating, renewing, restful, restorative, restoring, satisfactory, satisfying, solacing, welcome, beholden, gratified, indebted, obliged, pleased, thankful, appreciative, thankful, congenial, favorable, good, gratifying, nice, pleasant, pleasing, pleasurable, satisfying, welcome
Monday, November 17, 2008
1 1/2 cups brown sugar or honey
3 cups gluten-free flour blend of choice
1 tsp salt
2 cups flax seed gel
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 tsp almond
3 cups or 1 lb currants
4 cups or 1 lb chopped dates
3 1/2 cups or 1 lb cherries
3 cups or 1 lb raisins
3 cups or 1 lb dried pineapple
3 cups or 1 lb walnuts or almonds
3 cups or 1 lb dried papaya
1. Mix first six ingredients to make batter.
2. Work in remaining ingredients gently with
3. Heap into four 7 inch loaf pans prepared as
follows: Cut paper grocery bags to fit pans and
4. Bake at 300 F for 1 hour, covered lightly with
aluminum foil and then 10 to 20 minutes uncovered.
5. Remove from oven. Peel off liner as soon as cool
enough to handle. Let cool.
6. Wrap in waxed paper, then aluminum foil and
refrigerate. Keeps all year!
NOTE: For the lb. of cherries, drizzle some liquid
sweetener on frozen or canned cherries and slow cook
for several hours until cooked down but not hard and
dry. Or bake in the oven in a glass dish at 250 F.
You may also use dried cherries. If you don't have
dried pineapple fix like the cherries.
Flax seed gel can be made easily by grinding flax
seeds in a coffee grinder. Use about 1/2 cup of seeds.
Add about 2 cups of water and stir. Allow to sit for
a few minutes until gel forms. Use as is or strain out
seeds, whichever is your preference.
Use a variety of dried fruit according to your family
likes and dislikes!
Special thanks to Salina for the beautiful hand-crafted
trading card shown in the picture. She makes so many
beautiful things. If you'd like to take a look, you can
find her at Salina's Home Journal. She also made the
pretty little journal in the photo below.
Dried Strawberry and Apple Tea
With the arrival of autumn and winter, colds and flu's become more common. Keeping the immune system healthy is important, and having an herbal tisane that is both delicious and helpful in boosting our body's ability to fight infection is important. Here's a simple recipe that is high in Vitamin C and other antioxidants.
1 teaspoon strawberry, chopped and dried
1 teaspoon apple, chopped and dried
1 cup boiling water
Combine the strawberry and apple and place in a warmed ceramic teapot or mug. Add boiling water and allow to sit for 10 minutes, until well steeped. Add a little of the sweet herb, stevia, for added sweetness. Sip and enjoy. You can strain out the fruit pieces first if you desire, but hint, they are delicious eaten with your stirring spoon!
Enjoy a healthy and happy day!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Right before a deep freeze, pull up the entire plant, tomatoes, roots and all. Don't worry about leaving dirt on the roots, but make sure the entire plant is whole. Put the tomato plant in a sheltered place like the garage. Over time, the green tomatoes will continue to gain nourishment from the plant and will continue to ripen to red. You should be able to extend the 'garden tomatoes' in your cooking repertoire for another month or so. This works not only with regular garden tomatoes, but with grape, cheery, and pear tomatoes too.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Counteracting winter's dryness can be accomplished with special care. Wearing lotion on your feet and covering them with cotton socks to sleep in all night helps sooth cracked and weary heels. But hands can sometimes be more difficult to keep soft because we get them wet frequently throughout the day. Cracked, flaky lips are another problem when temperatures drop. A Haven for Vee has been experimenting with using white vinegar to rinse her face, and she says that it seems to have a skin softening effect. It's amazing how many things vinegar can be used for!
There are ways to help retain moisture in our skin. Flaky lips are sometimes caused by an allergic reaction to lipstick or other lip coverings. Once you've decided that's not the case, gently lift off the flecks and then apply a soft, wet and warm cloth between lips and hold there for about 30 minutes. It will sooth and apply moisture to this area. Although hot bubble baths are relaxing and may be inviting on a cold winter day, caution should be used if you have dry skin. Too long in a hot tub will leach moisture from your skin and make dryness worse. Adding bath oils may help, but a better solution may be to take a short, lukewarm shower and then gently pat dry. Rubbing briskly with a terrycloth towel will only make things worse. Lotions and body oils are all helpful in replenishing moisture, and are best applied for most effect within 15 minutes of showering. Hydrating from the inside helps as well. Pure water works from the inside, out.
There are many fancy products out there that can help. I have been fighting dry skin with Arbonne Night Cream (morning and evening), Body Serum, and Hydrating Body Lotion. They do a nice job, but don't necessarily fall into the category of 'economy'. Simple homemade remedies may do just as well. Vaseline is frequently used successfully by bargain hunters to coat hands, lips, and feet that are dry in an effort to retain moisture. Simple sugar scrubs made with baby oil and essential oils are a great way to smooth dry skin. Recently I've heard of an inexpensive little miracle worker called Smith's Rosebud Salve. Have you used it? It comes in a little aluminum tin and works not only on cuticles, but on hands, feet, and lips to help remedy chapping. It's even said to help with diaper rash. Developed in 1895, who says products need 'new technology' to be good!
Although those of us under thirty might not be able to retain the flawless skin of our youth, there are wonderful ways to take keep our skin soft and pretty without spending a fortune! Diligence and a little extra effort can give us happy skin year around. Now, if we could only turn back the clock a little bit. . .
The people of India have their own legend of the story of tea's discovery. According to their version, a Buddhist priest decided to prove his faith by spending seven years without sleep. After achieving five years of success with this task, he found himself catnapping. Desperate, he snatched some leaves from a nearby tea bush and chewed on them. The leaves were able to keep him awake and he was able to complete his seven years of meditation.
Now, next to water, tea is the most popular, least expensive beverage in the world.
Holiday Salad of Grapes and Grains
The holidays are somewhat of a challenge for those who must eat 'gluten-free'. Recently I've been searching for recipes that are unique, colorful, delicious, and wheat-free. I found a recipe that seems 'just right' in our local newspaper. Not only does it consist of several types of yummy whole grains, but it includes fresh fruits and veggies, and several savory herbs. I've made a few adaptations and will share it with you here. . .
1/4 cup wild rice
2 cups water, divided
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 Tbsp. chopped onion
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup vegetable broth or water
1 cup halved seedless grapes
1/2 cup diced tomato
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
sprig of fresh sage
Soak wild rice in one cup of water for one hour or more. Drain. In a skillet, saute celery and onion in oil until tender. Season mixture with sage and salt. Add the remaining 1 cup of water and the drained wild rice. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover, then simmer for 45 minutes. Rinse (to remove bitterness) and drain the uncooked quinoa. In another saucepan, bring broth to a boil and add quinoa. Return to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Toss the wild rice, quinoa, and grapes together. Mound or mold on a platter lined with romaine leaves. Garnish with the tomato, parsley, and additional sage.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
As children, my sister and I were inspired by it. We would both create little boats out of whatever materials were near and set them sailing when we were by a river's shore. We hoped our little boats would have as many wonderful adventures as "Paddle-to-the-Sea" did.
The adventure, mystery, and intrigue of it all leave much to the imagination, and that's what makes it so much fun!
Thursday, November 06, 2008
For all of my childhood memories
Or for teaching me the value of hard work,
If I have forgotten, I'm thanking you now
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Some days call for quiet and a little peacefulness. Today was such a day. With the excitement and frenzy of the elections, emotions have been running high and low. They were the topic on every one's mind at the beauty shop today. From the young to the old, everyone had a different perspective and opinion on the history that was made this week. Although it was fun to discuss opinion and listen to perspective, a quiet afternoon doing something relaxing seemed the best way to unwind. My fabric stash was inviting. I decided it was time to work with fabrics I loved; cottons in prints of pink and brown. There's something ultimately soothing and relaxing about working with textiles. Such cozy comfort in sometimes chaotic world.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Monday, November 03, 2008
Since life is quiet, I decided it would be a good time to review another chapter of one of my favorite books, "Disciplines of the Beautiful Women" by Anne Ortlund. The chapter called "Your Goals" speaks to my heart during a time of transition in my life. It could be applicable to all of us collectively as well, as election day draws near. Goals not only help us in our individual lives, but in decisions that impact the future of our nation too. Anne starts this chapter by comparing establishing life goals to a journey on a ship. She says that along the way, all kinds of contrary winds and cross currents could try to take us off-course. It is only by continually refocusing, redirecting, and recentering on our destination that we end up in the right place at all. In other words, we'll get nowhere we want to be if we just drift along. However, goals do more than head you in the direction you want to go. According to Anne, they also give you your identity! Identity --- who I am --- who you are --- all tied up in goals and objectives, and lead us in the direction we want to take our lives from this point on. When we make goals it helps us focus on who we are and how we are different or the same from those around us. They help us identify who we are in this world. Anne then discusses how we must live out our goals in an authentic manner, reflecting the love of the Lord. Life's goals combine with life's purposes, what we hope to be, what we hope to do, by the time we die. Achieving these goals and purposes is clarified by writing them out so we can read them frequently and use them to measure our success in achieving them. I could not help but smile when I read this paragraph of Anne's: "I don't deserve a single day, but I must say I want to be like that woman of Proverb 31:25; she 'smiles at the future'. 'Little old ladies' have been kicked around so long that I'd love to be a way-show-er, an old woman with God's glory on her head who would help change the image." Isn't that an awesome objective? I'm imagining a little old lady dressed in red with a purple hat covered with flowers, on tour with her tea group, being a way-show-er to everyone around her! What a valiant purpose!
Saturday, November 01, 2008
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.
With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.
The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring."