Friday, February 27, 2009

Biscuits & Chocolate Gravy

Craving chocolate, I sought to find some in the house. I couldn't find anything stashed away, but remembered a recipe that came in my email yesterday for Chocolate Gravy. I found it and adapted to my own vegan and gluten free version. Served over fresh, hot gluten free biscuits and sprinkled with chocolate chips, it was delicious! It's creamy, rich smoothness hit the spot.

Chocolate Gravy

3 tablespoons of gluten-free flour blend
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
4 tablespoons of granulated sugar
2 cups of soymilk
2 tablespoons of Earth Balance margarine
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Combine dry ingredients and place in a small saucepan. Whisk in soymilk, blending until lumps are gone. Cook on medium high heat until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat and add Earth Balance margarine and vanilla. Stir until completely blended. Serve over hot biscuits. Also good on pancakes, crepes, toast with peanut butter, or waffles.


Flower Garden Journal

Note: Today I discovered several crocus blossoms in my garden. Spring is nearing. The crocus will look pretty with the snowdrops that are still blooming.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Creamy Corn Chowder

Corn chowder has been called the "king of farmhouse chowders". Throughout the history of America, corn and salt pork have been staples farms across the nation, and it's these ingredients that have been central to corn chowder recipes. Historically, the first mention of corn chowder was in a cookbook was in 1884 when it was listed in the Boston Cooking School Cookbook. Noted cookbook author Fannie Farmer later published the recipe which incorporated her method of using canned corn. Shakers, highly regarded for their culinary skills, were known for their delightful and rich chowders. Traditionally corn chowders are abundant in butter, cream, condensed milk, thickened flour or egg yolks, and
salt pork for fat and flavor.

Cooking methods and trends evolve throughout the years. Resources, health trends, and food preparation techniques all play a role in this evolution. A very healthy, easy, and economical version of corn chowder can be obtained without losing it's element of mellow, sweet flavor and beautiful color. This vegan and gluten-free version is an ultimate comfort food and loved by both young and old.

My version comes from the bulk foods section of the health food store. To use, I simply add hot water and any other ingredients that I might have which I feel would enhance the blend (in the photo illustration you can see I added chopped spinach). The ingredients contained in this bulk mix are:

dried yellow pea flakes
dehydrated corn
dehydrated onion & carrots
vegetarian chicken-style seasoning
canola oil
celery seed

How simple is that? It's a dairy-free, gluten-free and low fat version of a delicious and creamy soup! In addition, it's economical, costing less than $2.00 for four servings. It's a simple, quick, and comforting way to relax at the end of a busy day --- a hot bowl of healthy corn chowder. Yummy!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


It seems that my love of 'all things tea' is contagious. Youngest son has started his own tea blog. How interesting it is for me to visit and to view his perspective on the world of tea. Please stop by 42Leaf and be sure to tell him that LaTeaDah sent you.


A Proper Greeting

A newsletter we receive quarterly from a missionary family to Africa arrived today with the most wonderful greeting. It's so gracious --- I just had to share it with you. I think you'll see what I mean when you read it ---

"Greetings to you from our family. How are your mother and father? How is your spouse? How are your children? How are your grandchildren? How is everyone in your town? How is your whole family? May God grant you peace. May God provide for the needs of your family. May God grant you health. May God bless you.

We praise God that you are fine. We praise God that our children are well. We praise God that our family is fine. We praise God that our whole town is fine. Everyone sends their greetings to you."

Isn't it beautiful? It is a normal and proper greeting in Mali. Consider yourself greeted. Wouldn't it be well if we all memorized this greeting and used it each day to those around us? I'm sure I would get tongue twisted, but the sentiments are lovely.

I hope you are enjoying a blessed day!

Photo: The Spanish lavender is blooming on the Oregon coast. Unbelievable!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Lovingkindness in the Morning

Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.

Psalm 143:8

Paw Prints and Gardens

Bucky and I took a walk around the yard, looking for little signs of spring. We found some, but they were sparse and tiny. There are shoots of green here and there; bits of crocus, daffodil, and tulip leaves just poking their way through the damp, moist earth. Little leaves of iris and mums are starting to appear as well, but the lavender and rose bushes look bleak and withered yet by winter's cold. Signs of spring are slowly becoming apparent, but it will be weeks before new leaves on trees and green on lawn start showing that spring is seriously here. In the meantime, Bucky paw prints add charm and grace with shoots of green to garden beds.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Blueberry Day

"Based on data from the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (Boston, MA), blueberries are among the fruits with the highest antioxidant activity. Using a test called ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity), researchers have shown that a serving of fresh blueberries provided more antioxidant activity than many other fresh fruits and vegetables."

* * *

Based upon these good facts, it's a good idea to incorporate blueberries into your diet. Fortunately they are delicious and easy to wash and freeze for out-of-season use. Blueberries are yummy eaten fresh and out of hand. But there are other great ways to eat them too. A handful of frozen blueberries added to a fruit salad makes a colorful presentation. Blueberries added to Swedish Fruit Soup enhance the soups colors and vibrancy. Many love blueberry pie and most families probably have their 'favorite' recipe for it that has been handed down through the generations. This morning we raided the freezer and decided to make blueberry toast. If you've never tried it, you really must. It's a pretty tasty way to start the day!

Blueberry Toast

1 pint fresh blueberries or 2 cups frozen blueberries
3 Tbsp. apple juice concentrate, frozen
2 - 3 Tbsp. agave syrup
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
2 - 3 Tbsp. cornstarch

Place all ingredients except cornstarch in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and add cornstarch (mixed with cold water to form slurry). Return mixture to a boil and cook for three minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Serve over toast spread with almond or peanut butter.

Makes four servings.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Grandest Home

"Home is the grandest of all institutions"

Charles Spurgeon

Is your home a historic place? Every home makes history for those within it's walls.

Unexpected Treasures

Sometimes delightful things can be found in the most unexpected places. A small drugstore in Roseburg, Oregon is home to a vast and varied collection of beautiful teapots, teacups, linens, and accoutrement's for tea. Inside it's doors are an exceptional variety of collectible and unique gifts. Hours of browsing pleasure can be supplemented with a complementary cup of tea. Heaven! Don't you just love it when you find the most perfect place?


It takes so little to make us glad,
Just a cheering clasp of a friendly hand,
Just a word from one who can understand;
And we finish the task we long had planned,
And we lose the doubt and the fear we had -
So little it takes to make us glad.

Ida Goldsmith Morris

Photo: Covered bridge at Sandy Creek, Oregon 1921

Cottage by the Sea

Two for tea
And tea for two
Made in England
Cottage by the sea

Far away from English shores
Pacific tides to be
Cotton gown
With button and lace

Yorshire tea
and trays
Cottage door to welcome in
Come for tea

Garden path with crocus sweet
Calendula and lavender
Stepping stones and tea
for thee

Beautiful, by the sea.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Traveling Eye

The traveling eye. . .
sees through a lens both close and far. . .
seeking the beautiful in nature
and all the little things that
bring joy to my heart.

Paula's camera collection
at Elm Street

Flowers of Spring

Calendula, crocus, Spanish lavender, forget-me-nots: amazing signs that spring has arrived in some places not too far away.

Click on photo to enlarge


Girlfriends make the world a better place!

Shore Walk

Starfish, jelly fish, sea anemone, mussels, tiny fish in tide pools, Gorse like Scotch Broom, crashing waves, smooth sand, filtered sunshine, dog prints on the sand, holding hands, joy.

Click to enlarge photo.

Reflections on Sand

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Love Joy and Tea

Sometimes you can find a tea room that runs as smooth as glass. Friendly service, tidy tables, tasty nibbles, and perfectly decanted tea define Lovejoy's. This tea room specializes in English pub-style meals and afternoon teas served in the English tradition. With twenty-five kinds of tea to choose from, it's not an easy task to decide which type should fill a teapot! Betty's Tea Room Blend, the house tea, makes the decision easier --- and with a lovely scone and strawberry jam --- the perfect 'cream tea' is enjoyed. Lovejoy's by the sea. . .

Lighthouses, Harbor, Bay, and Heron

Romantic names like Florence, Winchester, Umpqua, and Heceta Head make me wonder of whom they were named and why; treasures and history of the past.

They are places still busy with people continuing to write history as they go about their daily duties. Sea salts, brisk breezes, and blue skies brighten a February day.

A heron freezes at harbor edge, never moving as it keeps it's eye sharp for a tasty morsel.

Earl Gray and Queen Ann

Heceta Head
a lighthouse station
with Queen Ann
keepers house

Romance 1894
by the sea cast beams
of light to 21 miles
each night and day

Sip a cup of tea
with me and
we'll talk of days
gone by

Wondering of keeper's
tasks, his wife's charm,
their life and home,
children who played
on cliffs by sea

Earl Gray with it's
gentle touch of
a cozy cup


Wordless Wonder

[click picture to enlarge]

Cup of Blessing

"Never lose an opportunity
of seeing anything that is beautiful;
for beauty
is God's handwriting ---
a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair

face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower,
and thank God for it as a


Ralph Waldo Emerson

Morning Tea and Sea

Morning sea tea
white snow sprout
curling leaves

Gray whales
and the sea hag
by sailing ship

With harbor seals
and screeching gulls
crashing waves

This is the day
that God has made


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Creamy Sweet Topping

Creamy Sweet Topping

1 package Silken Tofu, extra firm
1/2 cup sweet fruit juice or 1/2 banana, ripe
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
just enough water to blend

Using a blender, whiz all ingredients until very smooth. Pour into a pretty container and chill until ready to serve. Will thicken as it cools. Serve over your favorite fresh fruits or dessert.

Wordless Delight

Tea by the Sea

Tazo by the sea
steaming hot

by creamy fudge

It's high time
for tea

As ocean's waves
crash and sun
peeks through
the clouds.


Violets for You!

Today I discovered the first wildflowers of spring! Tiny purple violets peek out from corners and crevices by a wooden walk.

Happy dance! Spring is near!

Tea in the City

Tea in the city,
a most perfect cup

Golden Darjeeling
decanted to perfection
with added amber
crystals of sweetness

Liquid Gold

A mooncake "sweet"
with pomegranate's dried,
sweet mung bean delight



Monday, February 16, 2009

Our Dwelling Place

Lord, this humble house we'd keep sweet with play and calm with sleep. Help us so that we may give beauty to the lives we live. Let Thy love and let Thy grace shine upon our dwelling place.

Edgar A. Guest

Photo: Elm Street Antiques

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tea Towels

A tea towel (British English) or dish towel (American English) is a cloth which is used to dry dishes, cutlery, etc., after they have been washed. In 18th century England, a tea towel was a special linen drying cloth used by the mistress of the house to dry her precious and expensive china tea things. Servants were considered too ham-fisted to be trusted with such a delicate job, although housemaids were charged with hand-hemming the woven linen when their main duties were completed. Tea towels began being mass-produced during the Industrial Revolution.

Source: Wikipedia

This history of tea towels has always been interesting to me. I wish that as a child I'd been told that it was considered too careful a task for the maid. It might have made sis and me a little more appreciative of dish drying! Much time was spent washing and drying dishes. I don't recall that we were very fast at the task. Living in a house with no dishwasher meant that dish duty was always ours. We always used "tea towels", not "dish towels". This must have been because of our mother's Canadian and English roots. The tea towels were always hand embroidered by mom, frequently with the days of the week. I always worked hard at making sure I had the proper tea towel for the day. Sis would wash and I would dry, or vice versa. Dish washing time became an ongoing story-time adventure. We would weave tall tales aloud, each taking a turn at our story. Sometimes these stories would last for days (from one dish washing to the next). Oh, the things children miss out on in this day of dishwashers and modern appliances!

Do you have dish washing memories? Do you use tea towels or dish towels? What is the difference for you?

Photo: Elm Street Antiques

The Hidden Art

Have you read Edith Schaeffer's book, "The Hidden Art of Homemaking"? In it she outlines creative ideas for enriching everyday life. Her writing is real and practical, yet she is quick to encourage adding little details to make home a special place to be. Each chapter describes elements that she believes should be focused upon in a home: art, music, interior decoration, gardens, flower arranging, food, writing, drama, recreation, clothing, integration of others, and the environment. Edith speaks fondly of children and of a mother's role in creating elements in a home that provide color, texture, shape, repetition, and line. Baking bread becomes a communal connecting point in a family, and the always present table centerpiece is created from objects readily available during any season in nature. Her writing draws the reader into her home with statements like this: "The kitchen should be an interesting room in which communication takes place between child and mother and also among adults. It should be interesting in the same way as is an artist's studio, as well as being a cosy spot in which to have a cup of tea while something is being watched or stirred, or while waiting to take something out of the oven." Most of all, the author reminds each reader that we are to extend hospitality especially to those whom we may not normally extend it, as Jesus said doing "for one of the least of these" is as though doing unto Him. If you haven't read this book yet, take a moment to find a copy and enjoy an afternoon read.

*Tyndale Press 1971

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Yummy Treats for the Sweet

Valentine's Day is a special day; a day to prepare a favorite food for one you love. Especially if the day before you packed your darling a lunch and forgot to make him a sandwich he could actually eat! After ten years of gluten-free eating, you would think I would remember to use gluten-free bread! How could I be so absent minded?

The recipe for this favorite family dish is here (scroll down). It's so much fun to make and even more delicious to eat! Although it's called 'corn' custard, don't be fooled. It's not a corn casserole, but rather a sweet and delicious cornbread with a gooey, thick custard inside. Grandma's recipe wasn't vegan, nor gluten-free, but I've successfully converted it --- no one would know the difference --- and it's a delicious breakfast treat for all.

I hope you enjoyed your special 'sweethearts' day!

How Do I Love Thee?

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need; by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,--I love thee with the breath.
Smiles, tears, of all my life!--and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death."

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Happy Valentines

A very special
Valentine's Day
to you and yours!

Cherish those you love
with precious moments shared.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Cherished in Family History

Most women have precious things they hold dear. Often little things, most are cherished because of their origin. It's these things that we hold with high regard and teach our families to do the same. In my childhood home, mother cherished things that were 'wedding gifts' and we all knew to treat them with tender-loving care. Sis and I would wash and dry wedding china with just a little more care than other dishes. And alas, if a piece of 'wedding gift' glassware broke, it was sad indeed. Mother's English teacup and saucer collection consisted of eight or ten sets that were all 'wedding gifts'. They were highly cherished and rarely used. Instead they were displayed in a pretty cabinet and dusted each week with care. Even wedding linens were held in high regard: tablecloths, doilies, or satin cushions. Most weathered our childhood years and even the years when our children were the little ones visiting Grandma's house. And how these cherished mementos cling to us, or we to them, when life takes its sad turns. When Mother passed away, sis and I spent one day a week together for an entire summer, sorting and organizing and dividing things up. Those sad days contained much sweetness as well, as they provided us with the opportunity to speak of our memories and to touch and feel things that had long been forgotten. Some of Mother's things were donated or sold, but many were divided between sis and me as a link to Mom. We took extra, special care to not give away or sell anything that had been a 'wedding gift'. Looking back from this perspective, we realize that some of these things were of small monetary value, but they are cherished just the same for what they were and are. If it was a 'wedding gift' it went in a special place; a place for 'family history' and to be passed along to future generations. Such sentimentality, but no regrets for cherishing those things which remind us of mom. Cherished, just like we cherish the memory of her.

Photo: tablecloths like Mom's at Elm Street Antiques; sis has them and I have no pictures of the originals.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Chocolate Valentine

Hearts and flowers...
Love songs...
Ribbons and bows...
Yeah, I'd rather have the chocolate, too!

Happy Valentine's Day

*Thank you, Gwen, for the beautiful hand-made Valentine*


We are the Kleenex generation; I suspect that most of us have never carried a hankie in our purse or pocket unless it was as an added frill for an outfit we were wearing. But, my grandma always had a hankie in her pocket. She'd often wear an apron with large pockets, and tucked in there or up her sweater sleeve, was a dainty hankie. Lace, embroidery, printed hearts or flowers, cotton, or linen --- each hankie was unique. Some were even an impractical satin or silk. Since grandmother was an invalid and could not walk, sister and I would spend quiet times at grandma's house, entertaining ourselves with what was on hand. A favorite activity was to go through grandma's hankie box that sat on a table in her bedroom. Each hankie was clean and pressed. And each fold was ironed in a sharp crease. Most of the hankies were folded into fourths, but some were in sections of six. When grandma died, sister and I were allowed to choose a few things to remember grandma by. I chose some of grandma's hankies and treasure them to this day. One of them, a very delicate, cream colored hankie was trimmed with wide ecru lace. I especially loved this hankie because it was so old-fashioned. On my wedding day it was tucked into my wedding bouquet --- the 'something old' in remembrance of grandma.

These days hankies are still valued, not for their function, but for their form and beauty. Just seeing one carries us back to days gone by. They may not be tucked up a sweater sleeve or in a purse pocket to wipe away a tear or sniffle, but they are cheerfully used for curtain valences, quilt blocks, tea napkins, pockets on an apron, or centerpiece doilies. The possibilities are endless. Some things we hold dear and wish not to forget. Those memories are reinforced by viewing the cherished object in a new ways.

Do you have a hankie collection? How do you store it or use it? I'd love to know!

Photo: the beautiful Elm Street kitchen.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Valentine's Bloomers

I will try to refrain from giving my opinion about the lingerie and pajama ads that are showing up on television this month. With Valentine's day coming up soon, advertisers are targeting audiences with their sexy ads, even during commercial breaks on news programs. But, I won't refrain from sharing a cute little bloomer picture that I took at my favorite shop on Elm Street. Have you ever seen a cuter dishrag? I know that form generally follows function, but in this case I'm glad function has more form than what's required for it's use!

Fair Maids of February

Little signs of spring are starting to show in the winter garden. Tiny shoots of green crocus, daffodils, and tulips are poking gingerly through the earth. It will be a few more weeks before they are brave enough to show their pretty faces, but one little flower is unconcerned with the gray skies and fresh fallen snow. Yesterday I discovered tiny snowdrops, their pure white faces nestled among green sprigs on the chocolate earth. They are the "Fair Maids of February", starring as the first blossoms of the new year. They hold promise of life and hope and joy amidst the bleak reports and forecasts we hear in the news. No matter what the chaos of the world, flowers are God's promise that He creates all things new and that He is in charge of the world.

Wildflower Morning Recipes

A week or so ago I met my friend, Barbara, at the health food store. Although we first met on a home educators forum, plant-based and gluten-free cooking has been the glue that has cemented our friendship. Well, that and blogging too! I was in line to pay for groceries, so we couldn't chat long, but have since enjoyed visiting online. I wish she lived in my town (or me in hers) as I would really enjoy getting together to 'cook' with her some afternoon. She makes great Thai food and that has always been an interest of mine. But, I digress. Sorry, I'm very good at that! Barbara started a new blog this year and it is filled with pictures of her delicious food and great recipes. Wildflower Morning Recipes is a great place to go if you'd like something new and delicious for dinner tonight! Tell her LaTeaDah sent you!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cherished Love

Love is as much of an object as an obsession, everybody wants it, everybody seeks it, but few ever achieve it, those who do will cherish it, be lost in it, and among all, never... never forget it.

Curtis Judalet

Monday, February 09, 2009

Little Things, Joyful Things

Simple things can work together so beautifully to create a lovely day. Sunshine and a joyful note from Becky started my day in such a positive note. Errands took me to Paula's town, and although her shop is closed on Monday, she met me there this afternoon so I could pick up some of these beautiful flour sacks to send to Lucy in the Netherlands. They are so vibrant. It's amazing to think that flour used to be sold in such useful and pretty containers made from fabric. I think Lucy first desired flour sack towels to cut into quilt pieces, but I suspect that these will be displayed in their entirety (Lucy, I'll keep looking for 'old' flour sacks for you; some that are falling apart so you can cut them up). Little things, simple things, joyful things --- the things that make life meaningful and whole. What a lovely day. I hope yours was as well.

Red for Cheer!

There's nothing like the color red when it comes to taking away winter doldrums! It's the color of cheer and happiness. A friend quotes her aunt as saying that every woman should have a touch of red somewhere in a room. I've thought about that concept a lot over the years, and have decided there is merit in it. Even tiny touches of red in the right tones for a selected color scheme can add interest, effect, and cheer.

Here's wishing you a cheerful and delightful week! Don't forget a touch of red here and there to add happiness to your day!

Photo: Paula's hallway at Elm Street Antiques

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Snowmobile Oregon!

This is what happens when you loan out your camera to a family member ~

While I'm pining away for spring, the men in the family are busy enjoying winter! Their adventures recently took them miles through a snowy forest to a beautiful lake bed, frozen over and enticing a few brave souls to glide upon it. Happy adventuring, menfolk.

While I'm earnestly seeking spring, they are content in the moment. (I'm sure there is a lesson here for me).

Content with Simple

Do you remember the exciting Saturday nights of your youth? They were times when friends would meet for pizza or a movie; or when a group would get together for games and popcorn at an other's house. Of course those times are still fun, but somehow the flow of life changes over time, and we are content with simple, less formal 'events' to entertain us. My friend, Tari, visited last night to install the wiring and lighting in our kitchen island. We shared tea and conversation, enjoyed as we worked together. She brought her Jack Russell Terrier and her Blue Heeler ---- and they entertained our Schnauzers. Bucky, the cat, disappeared from view until morning! He was not in the mood for company of the canine persuasion! How interesting to realize where life takes you. Who'd of thought, thirty-five years ago, that friends who met at piano lessons would some day be wiring a kitchen together!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Pansy Power

Thinking of spring and pansies. . .

Every time I see my pansies
Vivid in the golden sun,
You are with me in my garden,
And I am once again a child.

Vivid in the golden sun,
Their beauty brings me close to tears,
And I am once again a child
Learning to assume your grace.

Their beauty brings me close to tears
As I join hands with you in love,
Learning to assume your grace,
Dancing to your inner music.

As I join hands with you in love,
You are with me in my garden,
Dancing to your inner music
Every time I see my pansies.

Author Unknown

Pansies --- the favorite flower of my mother. Have you ever seen the little 'person' inside each pansy blossom? When the spring pansies arrive at the nursery soon, take a look inside and see for yourself.

Thanks to Paula at Elm Street for the photo opportunity. :)