Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Click on the montage for a better view.
1 lb. assorted dry beans
2 cups tomato juice
1/2 cup apple juice
1/3 cup tamari sauce
1/3 cup pineapple juice or water
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup potatoes, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup mushrooms, diced
1 onion, diced
1 tsp. parsley, dried
1 bay leaf
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. pepper, ground (optional)
1 cup rice or pasta, cooked
salt to taste
Sort and rinse beans, then soak overnight in water. Drain beans and place in crock pot. Add tomato juice, apple juice, tamari sauce, and pineapple juice.
Cover with vegetable stock or water. The juice adds sweetness and the soy sauce adds depth and flavor. Cook on high for 2 hours.
Add the vegetables, herbs, and spices. Cook for 5-6 hours at low until carrots and potatoes are tender. When tender, add rice or pasta and cook for one hour more.
Serve with crusty bread or your favorite crackers.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
May the heart of our home
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
The Traveling Christmas Teapot & Friendship Shared
Mrs. Lindstrom sighed as she looked out her window to see the maintenance man stringing Christmas lights along the Park Manor eaves. The lights signaled the beginning of the holiday season, but since her husband passed away three years before, the holiday had never been quite the same. Unable to live alone, she had agreed to be moved to the nursing home in her community, but it seemed lonely there, especially during the holidays. Her son and his family wrote her letters frequently, but there were far away in Africa where they were missionaries.
Mrs. Lindstrom longed for a homey Christmas and the warm touch of a loved one. She knew she should not grumble, as the nursing staff was kind and gentle, but they were not a connection to her past. The past, when she had created and hosted fabulous Christmas parties for her husband's employees, or conducted caroling sing-a-longs with people from church. Her sigh served as a reflection of her lonely soul and the loneliness seemed to keen during the holidays.
The Christmas lights gave way to paper snowflakes on the lobby windows and a giant twinkling tree in the foyer. School children came caroling through the halls on Mondays, and on Tuesdays the "Healing Through Pets" lady came with puppies that were all dressed up in bright red bows. Wednesdays meant there would be turkey and gravy for lunch, and Thursdays were the day the community players came to read poetry to those who lived there. Fridays were a deeper cleaning day and when it was done the CNA's would add a new wreath or garland or twinkling lights to the room of each resident. On Saturdays most of the staff, except for the essential, went home to be with their families, except for a church group who came for singing bands. It was a lonely day. Sunday mornings Pastor John came to conduct church services and the staff served pie for dessert at lunch. And so the cycle of events continued, only to repeat themselves the following week. But for Mrs. Lindstrom, her longing for a warm smile and gentle touch from her past only accentuated her feelings.
As Christmas drew near, Mrs. Lindstrom grew more and more despondent. She had mailed a Christmas card to her son and his family, and had sent her end-of-year donation to her favorite charity. How she longed for the loving touch of an old friend. A week before Christmas fluffy white snow arrived. Mrs. Lindstrom could smell its freshness as it filtered in through the crack or her open bedroom window. She enjoyed the crystals that appeared on the pine branches as the snow piled up on them and she remembered how she used to make snow ice cream for her children when they were tiny tots. Eventually she touched the damp, cold window pane. A chill seemed to pervade the corners of her space and make her bones ache. The chill matched the loneliness she felt in her heart.
Two days before Christmas she heard the jingle of bells and a soft knock at her door. Without looking up she said "come in". Her door quietly opened and she looked up to see Hattie Brown, her neighbor from days gone by. Her radiant smile filled the room and she scurried over to give Mrs. Lindstrom a gentle hug.
"I'm so glad to see you, dear," exclaimed Mrs. Hattie Brown.
"And how wonderful to see you too," replied Mrs. Lindstrom.
With that, the two friends from the past started to chat and share.
Soon Mrs. Lindstrom noticed that Hattie was carrying an old-fashioned wicker basket. She remembered it as the one that Hattie had brought along for picnic lunches at the beach when their children were small. It was decorated with a bright red bow and a silver bell that jingled every time the basket moved.
"I brought a spot of tea. Would you like some, dear?" asked Hattie Brown.
"Oh yes," replied Mrs. Lindstrom, "it would be like old times."
Hattie Brown cleared a magazine off the small table by Mrs. Lindstrom's chair and swished open a small Christmas tablecloth, placing it upon the tiny table. Instantly the colors of Christmas filled the room! Then she started unpacking tea-time treats and accoutrement from her basket. A cheerful red teapot, two porcelain teacups and saucers in a Christmas Royal Albert design, a crystal lidded sugar bowl, a tiny silver pitcher, old and tarnished teaspoons, colorful napkins, and a tin of Christmas cookies were quickly arranged. With practiced ease, Mrs. Brown opened a thermos of hot water and poured it over black leaves that floated to the surface of the pot. After steeping the tea for three minutes while they chatted, Hattie Brown skillfully decanted the tea through a tiny sieve. A half-pint carton of milk was opened and poured into the silver pitcher. Then she un-lidded the crystal sugar bowl to reveal rich, amber cubes of brown sugar crystals.
"Milk and sugar? One lump or two?" asked Hattie Brown.
Mrs. Lindstrom knew that Hattie Brown didn't even need to ask. After years of having tea together, Hattie Brown already knew that she like a small splash of milk and only one lump of sugar. But, it was polite and gracious to ask.
Hattie Brown passed a steaming cup of tea to Mrs. Lindstrom and then poured one for herself. The cookie tin was open and set between them. Together they passed an hour, visiting, sipping tea, and taking dainty bites of cookies. It was just like it had been in days gone by. For a few minutes, Mrs. Lindstrom was carried back in time and she enjoyed the memories they shared.
All too soon the tea party came to its natural end. Hattie Brown drew a simple envelope out of the basket lining as they were finished and gave it to Mrs. Lindstrom. It contained a Christmas poem in Hattie Brown's own handwriting and a beautiful lace hankie.
Hugs were shared, and a tear by each of them, as they said good-bye and wished one another a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! The traveling Christmas teapot was carefully packed back into the wicker basket, its service done. Together, the teapot and Hattie Brown had shared the true meaning of Christ's gift --- LOVE --- with another on a December day.
Sometimes adding a new project or activity into our lives can seem overwhelming. Making the time to start a new habit or tradition takes effort. By having the traveling teapot and accoutrement, packed and ready to go, it becomes a part of daily life and is much more likely to take place. Take it with you as you go about your life routines. When an opportunity arises to use it, you'll find it convenient to have already in your car and ready to go. So, when you visit the beauty salon, your favorite antique or gift shop, or health club, take it along and share when you see an opportunity to reach out to others. Taking the traveling teapot to a friend's house, a church meeting, to work, or to school when picking up children can all brighten the day of another. Starting this project within your normal, daily routine will help establish it and will make you comfortable with the process of serving tea from the traveling Christmas teapot and basket. Once you have established comfort, it's time to go outside of your normal zone and reach out to someone new. You could visit a neighbor you haven't met yet or a neighbor down the street who is elderly and alone; visit a nursing home; share tea with a teacher from your past; stop by and share with community food bank staff; or drop by the doctor's office and share with staff there. The possibilities are endless as you reach out to those who serve in your community.
During the whirlwind of the holiday season, it blesses others when time is taken to enjoy the true spirit of the season with those around you. In the process, you are blessed as well. By taking the time to reach out to those who may not have someone to share the holiday with, the blessings are multiplied. The traveling Christmas teapot is a tool that can work as a prop as you reach out to others around you when seeking and sharing the true meaning of Christmas. Enjoy a wonderful Christmas and be blessed!
A Traveling Christmas Teapot tea party consists of several elements. They are the implements, the tea and food, and the tuck-in gift.
--- The implements: a pretty basket or hamper, decorated with a red bow or holly sprig; a small holiday tablecloth or square of yardage in a Christmas theme; pretty Christmas napkins; a Christmas teapot; porcelain teacups and saucers or tea mugs; silver teaspoons; a small candle and matches.
--- The tea and food: a 1/2 pint jar filled with sugar-cubes; a selection of tea bags (herbal and black; include Christmas blends); a small carton of milk or soymilk; a pretty jar of strawberry jam; a tin of cookies or scones; a thermos of hot water (or a small electric tea kettle and bottled water).
--- The tuck-in gift: a card or hand-out made by you that explains the purpose of the Christmas traveling teapot that includes a special Christmas message, verse, poem, or Christmas carol; a small tuck-in gift to give to your guest like a bookmark, doily, hankie, Christmas ornament, or antique teaspoon.
Photo: Clarice's beautifully appointed tea table
[to be continued]
Christmas can be a time of hurried activity and stress, as Christmas presents are bought, holiday decorating is done, and traditional holiday foods are prepared. Christmas preparations, parties, pageants, and concerts fill the days surrounding Christmas with much activity. With the whirlwind, sometimes it's easy to forget the true meaning of the holiday. Christmas is about relationships as illustrated by God's gift of His Son. The love represented by this gift becomes ours to share. Having an object or tradition that causes us to stop to pause and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas can help us to remember what the season really is all about. Thus the traveling Christmas teapot becomes an integral tool in finding the meaning of the holiday.
Preparing for and participating in a personal traveling teapot project is one technique that can be used in sharing the meaning of Christmas. Too often there are those around us who find the holiday season lonely and sad. It can be our privilege and joy to create a memorable and warm holiday season for them. The elderly, single, divorced, or young living away from home keenly feel the sadness of not having someone to share Christmas with. Memories of holiday's past become a time of poignant introspection. Even those with families nearby can get caught up in the frenzy of the holiday season and simply need a quiet reminder to help them identify more clearly the meaning of the season. The traveling Christmas teapot can be your way of sharing the real meaning of the Christmas with them. It is a method that can be used to share the love of the Christmas season. It helps by slowing down life's pace and replacing some of our Christmas tasks with things or events that promote relationships and can change the pace of the holidays. By so doing, the shift changes from doing things to being ourselves and enjoying quality relationships with those around us.
[to be continued]
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
The memories most enduring
The ghosts of cherished loved ones;
They live and always will,
For no one ever dies in
The place where time stands still.
The treasured scenes of yesteryear ---
Could prayers but make them last,
Traditions of the heart live on
In dreams of Christmas Past.
C. D. Hay
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Twilight at LaPush means peace and quiet. Cormorants and brown pelicans fly in an out of the cove, and sea gulls settle down to floating the waves after a busy day. A small, out of the way place, this beach is one of the farthest points west in the United States. A rocky shore, a quiet cove, a tree-topped island, and beautiful sunsets make this a favorite place of many. Picnic lunches, photography sessions, and bird watching are all melded together into sweet memories here; days going way back to my teen-age years. The closest town is Forks, a tiny little burg that became famous with the introduction of the Twilight books that are so popular now. But long before the Twilight of fiction, the reality of a beautiful beach at twilight fills my heart with memories and joy. Of all the places in the world, it seems like beach spots draw me most.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Have you noticed the trend in design and collecting? Vintage is absolutely in style! How strange it seems that antique and vintage shops are now filled with items that were common in my childhood. When I was a little girl, I remember asking my mother how old something had to be to be considered an antique. She thought a moment, and then said fifty years seemed about right. Well, now that fifty years have passed, I would prefer that items of that genre be considered vintage, not antique. But, it is all about perspective, isn't it. Just like fashions cycle again after several decades, so do household items and decor. Retro is in. I like the bright colors and stylized patterns of the fifties. But, I am not so fond of the resurgence of avocado green and brash gold. But, by the time that trend is in full swing again, I will probably be happy for the subtle changes in how it is used, and will embrace it wholeheartedly. What is your favorite, retro trend?
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Here's the recipe for the cranberry salad that has become a family tradition. It is Grandpa's contribution to Thanksgiving dinner each year. It's beautiful and turns out so well. He always makes an extra one to share with friends. It is so easy to make, but looks really fancy and time consuming. The perfect kind of recipe for the holidays!
Grandpa's Cranberry Molded Salad
2 (16 oz.) cans cranberry sauce
2 (20 oz.) cans crushed pineapple
4 cups non-dairy whipped topping*
2 cups chopped pecans
Mix cranberry sauce and crushed pineapple together well. Gently stir in non-dairy whipped topping and chopped pecans. When well mixed, pour mixture into a mold of choice. Cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer. Freeze for at least 10 hour (can be made days ahead and be kept in freezer until ready to use). When ready to serve, remove from freezer and gently unmold onto pretty plate or cake stand. You can use a warm, moist towel to gently thaw the salad so it releases easily from the mold. Garnish as desired. It's pretty with more non-dairy whipped topping, whole cranberries, orange slices, pineapple mint leaves, etc.
*Rich's non-dairy whipped topping works very well for this recipe.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
This is a favorite family recipe! For an 'on the go' breakfast, I serve these to my family in plastic, disposable cups with a straw when they need it 'on the go'. What a delicious way to get Vitamin A! This smoothie was garnished with pineapple mint and spearmint.
1 cup soymilk
1 medium banana, frozen and broken into pieces
1/4 cup solid pack pumpkin
a dash or two of cinnamon
a dash of nutmeg
1/2 tsp. stevia (or to taste)
Place all the ingredients in a blender. Blend until very smooth. Delicious! Serves two.
***We enjoy this recipe year around. There's supposed to be a shortage of pumpkin this year because of flood conditions where pumpkins are grown. So --- to be prepared, we bought a case of pumpkin! It was even on sale for the holiday.
3 cinnamon sticks
5 whole cloves
1 1/2 quarts water
1/2 cup sweetener of choice
1 1/2 cups water (to be added after cooking)
Combine ingredients in a large kettle and simmer over medium heat for 45 - 60 minutes. Add additional water. Serve in a pretty mug or teacup and add a cinnamon stick for swirling! Or serve chilled on ice with mint leaves for garnish.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Rafters of the green cathedrals --- roofs of beechen colonnades --- Hang in charred and burning beams across the blue and smoky glades. . . But Nature's unseen architects will work in silence day and night --- to build the mansions of the Spring upon this red and ruined site."
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Brent enjoys 'spotting' for elk on the mountain from Cabin-Ridge Road. He was able to find several herds dotting the ridges, and could identify the bulls and cows.
Although the flowers are long past, colorful leaves, pods, seeds, berries, and pine cones are interesting things to look for and observe.
The yellow dots in the top, left-hand picture among the evergreens are tamarack trees. They are so beautiful this year, as the needles turn completely yellow and fall, just like those on deciduous trees. They create much beauty in the autumn.
Click on montage for closer view.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 09, 2009
Friday, November 06, 2009
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup carob powder
2 cups whole wheat pastry
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 chopped walnuts
Monday, October 26, 2009
And come to rest upon the ground
To lay a carpet, rich and rare,
Beneath the trees without a care,
Content to sleep, their work well done,
Colors gleaming in the sun.
Until they nearly reach the sky.
Twisting, turning through the air
Till all the trees stand stark and bare.
Exhausted, drop to earth below
To wait, like children, for the snow."
- Elsie N. Brady
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Zesty Fruit-Nut Balls
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cup pecans or walnuts
1 cup raisins, softened
1 cup dates, pitted
2 Tbsp. maple or agave syrup
2 tsp. grated orange rind
Grind sunflower seeds in dry coffee
grinder. Chop pecans, raisins, and
dates. Mix first four ingredients.
Add maple or agave syrup. Mix well.
Roll into 1" balls. Chill and serve.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood! Autumn is the perfect time to visit the nearby wildlife refuge. The ticks of spring are gone, and so are the summer rattlesnakes! Instead, we enjoyed ducks, geese, and a plethora of wild seeds for the birds! The walk around the slough was interesting and the exercise felt good. Enjoy this little walk with me as you view my Photo Show of autumn.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
In humans, catnip (which is safe to ingest) acts as a mild sedative and is usually taken as herbal tea. It's used in cooking and to treat symptoms like headaches, coughs, and insomnia. Catnip is also a powerful defense against mosquitoes, being ten times more potent than popular commercial mosquito repellents. Just some trivia for the day!
Be blessed and enjoy life today!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Green Tomato Mincemeat
12 cups chopped green tomatoes*
6 cups peeled, chopped tart apples
2 cups raisins
1 cup dates, chopped (may use currants)
1/2 cup diced candied pineapple (or citron)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt
3 cups brown sugar, firmly packed**
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
Chop all ingredients and place in a kettle. Cook slowly over low heat until tender and thick (2 or more hours). Stir frequently to prevent sticking.
Can or freeze as desired (if canning, use water-bath method with 20 minutes of processing; omit cloves if freezing).
Delicious on toast! Layer with peanut butter if desired! Also great served as a fruit sauce, as a pie filling, or for tarts for tea.
Makes about 8 pints.
*If you don't have green tomatoes, tomatillos from the supermarket will work.
**I used agave syrup.