Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving


I'm counting my blessings
and know you are too!

Enjoy a wonderful day!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.

Psalm 107:1

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Christmas Ideas!

There's lots going on at "Today's Creative Blog" --- great ideas for Christmas decorating and homemade gifts. Stop by and visit their McLinky where others are sharing what they are doing to prepare for the holidays!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Grandpa's Cranberry Molded Salad


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

You'll need:

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

Pumpkin Smoothie

Pumpkin Smoothie

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.

Cranberry Tea

Cranberry Tea

1 bag fresh cranberries (or 1 1/8 cup unsweetened cranberry juice)
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.

Sip with thankfulness all week as you prepare for Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 16, 2009

In the Forest

"Summer's glory lies in ruins --- for the forest is afire --- Richly glows the crimson light on burnished dome and golden spire. Towers of jade collapse and rumble: walls of amber crack and crash. Leafy cities of the woodland fall in clouds of dust and ash.

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."

~ Patience Strong ~

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Orange-Date Fruit Rolls

Orange-Date Fruit Rolls
Makes 2 rolls

1 1/c cup dates, pitted
1/4 lb. coconut, shredded, raw, unsweetened
1/2 lb. figs
1/2 cup nuts, chopped
1 Tbsp. orange juice
1 tsp. orange rind, grated

Grind dates, coconut, and figs in a food mill. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Shape into 2 long rolls about 1" in diameter. Roll in additional chopped nuts. Place in refrigerator until chilled. Then, slice and garnish with candied cherries or walnut halves. Or form into balls and roll in date sugar.

*Terri's kitchen; photo by Paula

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Eyes Unto the Hills

Autumn brings beauty and interest on the mountain.

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

Where Would You Be?

We have a game in our family that we play at dinner-time sometimes. It starts in the form of a question: "If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?" Usually this question occurs during a busy time of work or study. Often it's a poignant walk down memory lane. There are no restrictions to the answer you may give, but it is always amazing that family members usually cite a place they have already been. Past experiences, favorite places, memories of warm times shared always win out. Although we all dream of venturing to a far-away land and seeing new things, it's always special to remember favorite places we've been before. Today this picture of a past trip to the sea on a sunny winter day reminds me of a favorite place that's filled with warm memories: a walk to the lighthouse; observing the boys in a nature photo-shoot as darkness nears; a picnic with friends. How I'd love to be there right now, with a cup of tea in hand. Memories relived and dreams of a return visit warm my day.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Helpful Herbs

Spring is a time for planting, and some of my favorite things to plant are herbs. I especially enjoy mints like chocolate, English, lemon, pineapple, and more. But stevia, sweet basil, sage, rosemary, bee balm, and tarragon and others are planted alongside and appreciated all summer long. Autumn is the time for harvesting herbs, drying them, and putting them into fragrant and helpful use. Most of mine are dried and stored for culinary use. Sometimes I make potpourri, herbal teas, and sugar scrub. And recently I have been learning how to make salves, balms, and lip protector. It's been fun and amazing to see how simple it is!

This autumn I joined in a project with a lovely group of women who grow and create with herbs. I've learned so much about using the natural remedies of the Creator from this group! They conducted a swap where items created from their herbs grown were shared. My box arrived in the mail yesterday and its fragrance exuded from every corner and crack! Upon opening, I was delighted to discover so many wonderful things! I'm amazed at the talent of my swap partners!

Elderberry Elixir to be used at the first sign of a cold or flu. Wild Cherry Syrup for coughs. Cucumber-Mint Toner for skin care. Herbal Healing Balm. Comfrey Salve. Cucumber and Aloe Cream Soap. Luscious Lemon Sugar Scrub. Cool CukeAloeMint Soap. Mango Peach Soap. Melissa Aloe Soap. Propolis and Myrrh Lip Balm. Lavender Sugar with a recipe for Lavender Lemon Sugar Cookies. Sweet Dreams Tincture of Hops, Valerian, Chamomile, and Passionflower. Lavender-Calendula-Chamomile Bath Tea and Soap. Herbal teas of herbs like holy basil, rose petals, lemon verbena, and elderberries.

Such fragrant treasures! Such helpful tools for a healthy winter. Thank you for the wonderful herbal gifts!

Monday, November 09, 2009

A Chocolate Day

Who doesn't like chocolate? I don't think there are many, although I have met a few who didn't like this yummy, dark treat. It's always nice to have a handy, quick chocolate treat available for those times when a chocolate craving strikes. Easy to make and delicious to eat, there are only two ingredients in this chocolate 'recipe'. And better yet, it's something that anyone in the family can make, not just the usual cook. Together, one box of Mori-Nu extra-firm tofu and one package of Mori-Nu Mates chocolate pudding mix work together with a splash of water and a food processor. If you store the Mori-Nu tofu in the fridge, you won't even have to wait for it to chill. The ingredients in Mori-Nu mates are: dehydrated raw cane juice, Dutch cocoa powder, potato starch, guar gum, non-hydrogenated coconut oil, soy lecithin, and vanilla. Natural and healthy, easy and quick, vegan and gluten-free, and delicious too! Garnish with berries and a cashew cream topping --- or place in a chopped nut crust for a delicious pie. Also, very good as a filling for tiny tarts for teatime! You can never go wrong with chocolate!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Replete with Thankfulness

O Lord that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.

William Shakespeare

Sing & Give Thanks

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Adios, Traveling Teapot

The traveling teapot has been the avenue to many blessings for the past few weeks. It's gone with me many places as I've gone about my daily life. It's last adventure was a trip to the hairdressers. Although the little tea party was meant to surprise my stylist friends, I think the teapot and I had the greatest surprise! My friends, normally brunette and strawberry-red, were wearing bleach-blond wigs and costumes for Halloween! Surprise! Surprise! So, the traveling teapot poured tea for a lady in black and a flapper! Much fun was shared and before the afternoon was over all the stylists and clients in the shop were offered a cup of tea. Chamomile, peppermint, lavender, and Tazo Joy were the flavor choices of the day --- served with the sweet herb, stevia. It was the perfect send-off for the traveling teapot. It's now back in its shipping box and will be mailed to a tea-friend far away --- ready for more adventures in sunny California. Adios, little teapot. It's been fun!

Click on photo for larger view.