Friday, April 29, 2011

A Royal Wedding Pizza

By now you have probably seen a plethora of pictures of the royal wedding pair.  So, how's this for something new and unusual?  This picture is being forwarded along via emails and I think it's quite unique.  Prince Williams' suit is created from salami and peppers, while Duchess Kate's veil is fashioned from mushrooms.  Her dress is made from cheese.  According to the chief marketing officer for Papa John's, "it tastes as good as it looks".  Now, if you would like to see some serious wedding photos, the British Monarchy's Flickr photostream can be viewed here.  

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Queen Elizabeth II Teacups

Queen Elizabeth II was of my mother's generation.  As a loyal Canadian, mother had a fondness for English royalty and especially for the Queen.  Mother was proud that a young woman near her age was crowned Queen of the British Empire.  Throughout her life she retained this affection and followed happenings of the Queen throughout her life.

While on the subject of royalty, I thought I would share the rest of my collection of English commemorative tea ware.  These are teacups and saucers that commemorate the Queen's coronation and a trip to Canada a short time thereafter.

This simple teacup and saucer commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.  The outside has her royal cypher.  Inside the teacup is her picture surrounded by a royal lion and unicorn.  It is Royal Albert Bone China, England.

This teacup was created to commemorate a trip that Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip made to Canada.  On the base it says it is Royal Albert Bone China, Made in England to Commemorate the Royal Visit 1959.  The word Canada is placed on the front under their picture.

Victoria C & E, Bone China, England.  Inside the brim are words that say "HM Queen Elizabeth II.  Additionally, on the front are the words Coronation June 2nd 1953.

The bottom of this teacup has these words:  A Perpetual Coronation Memento Specially EIIR Designed by Hammersby; Bone China; Made in England 1953.  Inside the brim of the cup are the words:  Long life and happiness to her majesty.

This little silver spoon is special to me because it was given to me by a tea friend.  It features a crown-shaped point, along with an embossed profile of Queen Elizabeth II and the word Coronation and the year listed as 1953.

Lastly, is a coronation plate that was a Christmas gift from my father one year.  He found this plate in an antique shop while on a trip across Canada several years ago.  There are three markings on the back of the plate.  One is of a crown with the words Johnson Bros. Made in England and the words Old English above the crown.  Beside it is a seal with the Union Jack in the center and words that designate this as an "official design".  The third marking is a crown in gold and red with Queen Elizabeth's official royal cypher below it.  The words which surround the picture of Queen Elizabeth designate this as a Coronation June 2nd 1953 plate.

The Prince of Wales Feathers for Teacup Thursday

This morning I am joining Miss Spencer and her friends for Teacup Thursday.  The teacup and saucer I am sharing today is one that commemorates the marriage of the parents of Prince William.

It is a Royal Southerland teacup that states on the base that it is fine bone china and made in England.  It features a picture of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.  It shares the date 29th July 1981 with their names on a ribbon below their pictures.  Beautiful flowers, including daffodils and Scottish thistle surround the scene and the feathers of the Prince of Wales top the shield.  Did you know that the Prince of Wales has his own feathers?  You can read about them here.  They are a heraldic badge that represent his position.  The words "I serve" are shown at the base of the crest, but are actually written in German.

While I am sharing memorabilia related to Prince Charles and Princess Diana, I will show you two items that commemorate the birth of their first child, Prince William.  A plate, made in Canada and given to me by my father, hangs on my dining room wall.  A trinket container with a photo of Princess Diana and Prince Charles on the lid sits in my china closet among my Old Country Roses china.

It seems just yesterday that we were celebrating the marriage of Charles and Diana.  Time passes by and now we celebrate the marriage of one of their children.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

An English Wedding

Have you noticed the hype?  There's going to be a wedding.  It's not just an ordinary wedding, but an English royal wedding.  The world is poised to tune in to watch the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on Friday.  It will take place during the wee hours of the morning for those in America, and though many DVR's will be set to record, I'm quite certain that a fair number of anglophiles will be awake and watching the wedding live while sipping a cup of English tea.

It appears that Kate exudes a similar charm as Diana.  A true beauty, she has a glow about her and a look of genuine happiness.  Her sense of style is classic and understated with just the right amount of detail, color, and glam.

In some ways, it seems as if history is repeating itself.  It doesn't seem all that long ago that alarms were set for early morning hours as many of us woke in the middle of the night to view the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Di.  How the years have flown by, bringing joys and sorrows as time has passed. Princess Diana was the people's princess and is loved and missed by so many.  This time when the alarms will be set for an early morning wake-up call, it will be for a new generation.

Diana, Princess of Wales, left us too soon.  The beautiful, daughter-by-marriage that she never had the chance to meet, will soon find herself in a role much like Princess Diana's.  It seems certain that the new Princess Catherine will learn lessons from Princess Diana's life, embracing Diana's humanitarian efforts and charitable role.  And since Prince William is his mother's son, we can only hope that he has learned life's lessons too, and that he will love, honor, and appreciate his beautiful princess for a lifetime of happiness.

Will you be viewing the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton?

The Way of Tea

"What is the most wonderful thing for people like myself who follow the Way of Tea? 

 My answer: the oneness of host and guest created through 'meeting heart to heart' and sharing a bowl of tea."

Soshitsu Sen
Grand Master XIV
Urasenke School of Tea

Monday, April 25, 2011

Creamy Alfredo Sauce

Alfredo sauce is a creamy favorite for many who enjoy pasta.  Since it is usually made from cream, butter, and cheese, it is usually high in calories and cholesterol.  If you are concerned about these things, you don't have to give up Alfredo sauce.  Instead, try this recipe for a delicious vegan alternative to traditional Alfredo.  It's delicious and contains no cholesterol!
Creamy Alfredo Sauce

  1/2 cup raw cashews, rinsed
  1  1/4 cups water
  1 Tbsp cornstarch
  1 Tbsp chicken-like seasoning
  1/4 tsp onion powder
  1/2 tsp salt
  1/4 tsp sweet basil

Place the cashews, cornstarch, seasoning, onion powder and salt into a blender. Add the water and blend until creamy and smooth.Pour this mixture into a saucepan and bring to a slow boil. Stir constantly.  Add the basil and remove from heat.

For tabletop pasta, ladle over cooked fettuccine noodles and serve with steamed broccoli pieces.

For a creamy pasta casserole, pour one recipe of "CreamyAlfredo Sauce" over 6 cups of precooked pasta shells and bake for 30 minutes.
Or use as a creamy white sauce for an all-white pizza (add mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and soy curls).

*Gluten-free; use non-wheat pasta.

Observation & Discovery

Spring has arrived in North America. In the cooler areas, spring wildflowers are just starting to show their beautiful faces. On trips to the mountains and forests, hillsides of yellow lupine, lavender phlox, and yellow dog-tooth violets can be seen. It won’t be long until shooting stars and Calypso lady slipper orchids appear in secluded spots. Finding them is like a treasure hunt that a person never tires from. Each year it is exciting to find the first bloom from these special plants. Wandering hillsides and meadows in search for wildflowers is fun without any tools, but if one has a zip-lock bag or field guide, samples of wildflowers can be gathered or identified for more fun and interesting activities. Adding some water to a zip-lock bag of flowers keeps them fresh until home again where they can be put into a vase to enjoy for a few days. Pressing wildflowers between the pages of a catalog and using them to decorate rolled beeswax candles or to glue to a card is a creative way to display wildflowers for months to come. Identifying flowers is an art that can take some time and research. If a regional field guide of wildflowers is used the task can be completed in the field, but sometimes using the Internet is easier. The flowers kept fresh in a zip-lock bag can be used to compare with images found online and descriptions compared with the wildflower in hand. 

As the art of flower identification is explored, interesting discoveries can be made. Sometimes plants are not named with common sense! When discoveries are made that appear inconsistent, time spent in study of how plants are classified can result in families spending time together in the rewarding task of being “plant detectives”. Clues from nature lead the observer through the steps of identification and tell stories of why things are named as they are. For example, right now the dog-tooth violets and the yellow violets can be found growing near one another in forest meadows and woods. Both have the name ‘violet’, yet the differ vastly from one another. One is an actual violet, and the other belongs to a different family altogether! The real name of the dog-tooth violet is Erythronium and it received its name because it grows from a bulb that looks like a dog tooth. On the other hand, the yellow violet really does belong to the Viola family, and is therefore accurately described as a violet. Starting with one picked flower like a dog-tooth violet can direct the the explorer to another flower like the violet, and that can lead to other interesting discoveries about plant families and other facts of nature as the thread of learning continues. Learning about wildflowers by observation and discovery is fun and an interesting way to observe God’s creation!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Painting

Years ago, there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted young son, shared a passion for art collecting. Together they traveled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and many others adorned the walls of the family estate.

The widowed elder man looked on with satisfaction, as his only child became an experienced art collector. The son's trained eye and sharp business mind caused his father to beam with pride as they dealt with art collectors around the world.
As winter approached, war engulfed the nation, and the young man left to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, his father received a telegram.  His beloved son was missing in action. The art collector anxiously awaited more news, fearing he would never see his son again.
Within days, his fears were confirmed. The young man had died while rushing a fellow soldier to a medic. Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Easter holidays with anguish and sadness. The joy of the season, a season that he and his son had so looked forward to, would visit his house no longer. On Easter morning, a knock on the door awakened the depressed old man.
As he walked to the door, the masterpieces of art on the walls only reminded him that his son was not coming home. As he opened the door, he was greeted by a soldier with a large package in his hand. He introduced himself to the man by saying, "I was a friend of your son.  I was the one he was rescuing when he died.  May I come in for a few moments? I have something to show you."
As the two began to talk, the soldier told of how the man's son had told everyone of his father's love of fine art. "I'm an artist," said the soldier, "and I want to give you this." As the old man unwrapped the package, the paper gave way to reveal a portrait of the man's son. Though the world would never consider it the work of a genius, the painting featured the young man's face in striking detail.

Overcome with emotion, the man thanked the soldier, promising to hang the picture above the fireplace.  A few hours later, after the soldier had departed, the old man set about his task.
True to his word, the painting went above the fireplace, pushing aside thousands of dollars of paintings. And then the man sat in his chair and spent Easter gazing at the gift he had been given. During the days and weeks that followed, the man realized that even though his son was no longer with him, the boy's life would live on because of those he had touched.  He would soon learn that his son had rescued dozens of wounded soldiers before a bullet stilled his caring heart.
As the stories of his son's gallantry continued to reach him, fatherly pride and satisfaction began to ease the grief. The painting of his son soon became his most prized possession, far eclipsing any interest in the pieces for which museums around the world clamored.  He told his neighbors it was the greatest gift he had ever received.  The following spring, the old man became ill and passed away. The art world was in anticipation.
With the collector's passing, and his only son dead, those paintings would be sold at an auction. According to the will of the old man, all of the art works would be auctioned on Easter day, the day he had received his greatest gift.
The day soon arrived.  Art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world's most spectacular paintings.  Dreams would be fulfilled this day; greatness would be achieved as many would claim "I have the greatest collection." The auction began with a painting that was not on any museum's list.  It was the painting of the man's son.

The auctioneer asked for an opening bid. The room was silent.  "Who will open the bidding with $100?" he asked.  Minutes passed.  No one spoke.  From the back of the room came, "Who cares about that painting? It's just a picture of his son. Let's forget it and go on to the good stuff." More voices echoed in agreement.

"No, we have to sell this one first," replied the auctioneer.
"Now, who will take the son?"  Finally, a friend of the old man and his son spoke.  "Will you take ten dollars for the painting?  That's all I have. I knew the boy, so I'd like to have it."

"I have ten dollars. Will anyone go higher?" called the auctioneer. After more silence, the auctioneer said,  "Going once, going twice. Gone." The gavel fell. Cheers filled the room and someone exclaimed, "Now we can get on with it and we can bid on these treasures!"

The auctioneer looked at the audience and announced the auction was over.
Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Someone spoke up and asked, "What do you mean it's over? We didn't come here for a picture of some old guy's son.  What about all of these paintings? There are millions of dollars of art here! I demand that you explain what's going on here!"

The auctioneer replied, "It's very simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son...  gets it all!"
Just as those art collectors discovered on that Easter day, the message is still the same - the love of a Father - a Father whose greatest joy came from His Son who left his home and gave his life rescuing others. And because of that Father's love... whoever takes the Son gets it all.

Author unknown

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son; that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

 John 3:16

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Parade

In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,
You'll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade.
I'll be all in clover and when they look you over,
I'll be the proudest fellow in the Easter Parade.
On the avenue, Fifth Avenue, the photographers will snap us,
And you'll find that you're in the rotogravure.
Oh, I could write a sonnet about your Easter bonnet,
And of the girl I'm taking to the Easter Parade.

Written by Irving Berlin 


Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Fragrant Lilac Cluster

"Bury your face
in a fragrant lilac cluster,
and find yourself
deep in a treasured memory."
Author unknown

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sharing Mother's Flowers

"Flowers are a simple luxury that my mother taught me to appreciate."
~ Kimberly Whitman ~

I found the Kimberly Whitman quote in the latest issue of Traditional Home magazine today.  I could identify with it so well.  My mother was a quintessential gardener and florist.  She had a love for flowers that started at a very  young age and that remained with her for her entire life.  The snapshot montage above illustrates this appreciation from her young life as a child in Chilliwack, BC to her adult years at our family home.  She is the young blond woman shown with her sister, Evie, and brother, Harvey.  They must have had some community flower exhibits and competitions, as pictures show her winning trophies during several years in her young life.  

Mother shared her love of flowers with everyone around her.  Her flowers graced the church chancel year around.  She was called upon to provide floral arrangements for weddings, banquets, and retreats.  It was common for her to take a small bouquet of flowers to a neighbor, or a nursing home, or to share with her kindergarten students in the classroom.  When people thought of mom they frequently associated her with flowers.  She used what brought joy to her heart to bring joy to the hearts of others.

Mom gathered poems, quotes, and verses about flowers.  Some of them she typed onto index cards and then decorated them with stickers.  She would pass them out to those around her, sharing the words that meant so much to her with others.  My sister and I divided the remaining cards between us so that we could remember and share too.  Today I'm sharing one of those cards with you (above).  I hope it blesses you this spring.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Honeymooner's Tulips

After a rainy week, the sun decided to shine this week-end, coaxing flowering buds to show their faces.  The tulips cautiously opened wide, responding to the brighter days.  I was delighted that the honeymooner's tulips finally blossomed!  I think they are beautiful!  I love their ruffled and lacy petals and the way the colors meld together, fading from one shade to the next, in variegated harmony.  Thank you to the honeymooners for so thoughtfully purchasing them for me during their honeymoon trip to Holland.

All winter long the plain, brown bulbs have been dormant in the soil, being conditioned by cold temperatures so that they could bloom magnificently this spring.  Curious as to the meaning of tulips in the language of flowers, I found my Kate Greenway book (thank you, Paula) and looked them up.  The meanings perfectly fit the love the honeymooners share.  

Red tulip = Declaration of love
Variegated tulip = Beautiful eyes
Yellow tulip = Hopelessly in love

I know that some of you enjoy putting together vignettes, so I thought I'd share about this one.  The antique sugar dish was a gift from a friend.  It is scattered with an old-fashioned tulip print.  The teacup and saucer are fine porcelain in another tulip theme.  It came from my mother's collection.  The porcelain is so delicate that you can see the shadow of your hand behind it when you hold it up to light.  The photo on the card was taken by our son in Amsterdam.  And the teapot is St. Petersburg Russian Lomonosov Porcelain and was a gift from Rylan on a Christmas past.  I am thankful for my three children whom I adore.  Such thoughtful gifts they give.

I hope you enjoy the honeymooner's tulips along with me today.
Be blessed with sunshine and joy!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Festival of TULIPS!

Dad and Alma always enjoy the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.  Recently they visited a tulip farm near their home so they could enjoy the hundreds of acres of tulips that are blooming colorfully right now. Afterward, nearly fifty beautiful photos arrived in my email box from Dad.  Talk about tulips galore! We enjoyed chatting on the phone together and talking about the pictures. And I thanked him for sending them so I could blog them for you today.

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival has been occuring in the Mount Vernon, Washington area for 28 years. This event starts the first of April and continues until the end of the month. The two largest tulip gardens are Tulip Town and Roozengaarde. Both these growers allow visitors to stroll among the tulips or take a trolley ride through the tulip fields. At Tulip Town, an indoor exhibit displays more than 60 varities of tulips. Roozengaarde's has 1,200 acres of field blooms and another 15 acres of greenhouses. A 3 acre display garden that displays an authentic windmill that is perfect for posing pictures at. Both the Tulip Town and Roozengaarde gardens are owned by farmers who immigrated to the Skagit Valley from Holland. And both gardens are a delight for the eye!

Enjoy the pictures, courtesy of my Dad. And thank you, Dad, for sharing them.  If you'd like to see more, Lovella of  What Matters Most blogged on this subject today as well.  Go take a peek!  She's posted many photos.

A side note:  The tulips in my garden have started to bloom, but the tulip bulbs given to me by the honeymooners after their trip to Amsterdam in September are only budding.  I'll be sure to post pictures when they bloom!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Greet the Day with Love

I will greet this day with love in my heart.
And how will I do this?
Henceforth I will look on all things with love
and I will be born again.
I will love the sun for it warms my bones;
Yet I will love the rain for it cleanses my spirit.
I will love the light for it shows me the way;
Yet I will love the darkness for it shows me the stars.
I will welcome happiness for it enlarges my heart;
Yet I will endure sadness for it opens my soul.
I will acknowledge rewards for they are my due;
Yet I will welcome obstacles for they are my challenge.
Og Mandino

Be very careful, then, how you live -
Not as unwise but as wise,
Making the most of every opportunity,.
Ephesians 5:15, 16 NIV

Photo:  Elm Street Antiques

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Holiday Cactus

My "Christmas cactus" is a little late for Christmas, and may be done blooming by Easter, but I'm enjoying it just the same. Placing it in an unheated room with only natural night from a window really woke this zygocactus up! After five years, I think I've finally found the formula (for this specific plant, anyway). I just had to share a few more pictures. I think the tri-layered blossoms are so beautiful! Thanks for indulging me with this little "show and tell". 

You can learn more about this beautiful plant by going here. I notice that they call this a Holiday Cactus, a term I am not familiar with, obviously because of the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter seasons for blooming.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Signs of Early Spring

Early spring is a time for planning gardens. . .

A time to figure out what to plant, to get the sprinkler system working, and to amend the soil.

It's the time of the year for trinket pieces from the dollar store because your heart and soul crave color!

It's the time for planting seedlings in small trays in the garden shed or greenhouse as you await warmer days and nights free from frost.

And it is a time to think about all those delicious foods you'll be eating in the summer when the harvest begins!  Heirloom tomatoes are at the top of my list.  What's at the top of yours?

I'm waiting for spring!  And for some fun days of plant shopping with Karleen.  Hurry up, spring!

To everything -- a season, and a time to every delight under the heavens...
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cake and Flowers!

"Flowers have an expression of countenance as much as men and animal. Some seem to smile."
Henry Ward Beecher

Decorating with flowers is really fun and helps create beautiful and unusual cakes and cupcakes. As you can see, the yellow miniature roses were accented with mint leaves and fresh lavender and were the decoration on the gluten free, chocolate cupcakes. The red and white baby roses were accented with fresh lavender and were what distinguished the wheat flour cupcakes from the others. They were served at the culmination of a family birthday dinner.  Here's the recipe so you can enjoy it too.

Chocolate Cake

1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour* (or all-purpose flour)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar (Florida Crystals)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. vinegar lemon juice
1 tsp. pure vanilla
1 cup cold water
1/2 cup chocolate chips

In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in liquid ingredients. Using a hand mixer, blend until batter is smooth and creamy. Work quickly, as the lemon juice activates the baking soda and starts the leavening action. Gently stir in chocolate chips. Measure into cupcake papers in muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 20 - 25 minutes. 

*To make your own gluten-free flour blend, consider Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Flour Blend or a mixture of equal proportions of cornstarch, garbanzo/fava bean flour, and potato starch. Add 1 tsp. xanthan gum for every cup of flour.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Planning for Lavender

Do you enjoy the fragrance and flavor of lavender?  Some do, and a few don't.  It will be a month or so before the Spanish lavender starts blooming.  A few weeks after that, the Grosso, Hidcote, Munstead, and other lavenders will start to bloom proficiently!  If you don't have any lavender in your garden, it's time to plan ahead.  If you buy a gallon container of lavender from a nursery and plant it in your garden, you can enjoy blossoms of your own this summer.  Once the lavender starts to bud, keep watch.  Just before the buds start to blossom, harvest the lavender and place them in a warm place (outside of direct sunlight) to dry.  Once dry, remove the bud by rubbing the stems and bud between your hands.  Use a screen large enough to allow the bud to pass through, leaving the stems and leaves on the screen.  You can then use the cleaned lavender for cooking or crafts.  Here's one way of using lavender in your kitchen or for gifts, so plan ahead!

Lavender Sugar ~ flavor sugar by burying a few sprigs or bud in a bowl of sugar, and let the mixture sit for few weeks; this makes a sweet gift! Place lavender sugar in a small glass jar. Add a jar with ring and cover with tulle or cotton print. Tie with a pretty bow and add a silver teaspoon for serving into a delicious cup of tea!

Friday, April 08, 2011

A Cup of Tea

"Meanwhile, let us have a cup of tea.  The afternoon glow is brightening the bamboos, the fountains are bubbling with delight, the soughing of the pines is heard in our kettle.  Let us dream of evanescence, and linger in the beautiful foolishness of things."

Kazuko Okakara
The Book of Tea

Thanks to Brandon for taking pictures of my Asian tea tray.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Blooming. . .finally!

Finally!  You may recall that I have had an ongoing love-hate relationship with this lovely zygocactus.  I wrote about it here and here . For five years I have been nurturing this stubborn plant.  When I received it, it bloomed immediately.  But every year since, it has refused to produce flowers.  I will say, though, that it has magnificent foliage!  The green parts of this plant have thrived under my constant care.  This year it again did not bloom for Christmas.  I had tried all the things I was supposed to do, like putting it in a dark closet for a month or placing it in a room that is kept cooler than others.  I finally gave up and decided to move it out into the unheated shop with a scented geranium plant I am wintering over.  It has sat in a south facing window in an unheated room since January.  Occasionally I have remembered to water it.  And look what happened!  Finally, it has decided to bloom!  Such simple things bring so much joy to the day!  After I was sure that it was not teasing me, I brought it back into the house so we can enjoy it daily.  It makes me smile every time I look at it.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Everything but the Kitchen Sink

I love the saying:  It contains everything but the kitchen sink.  It sounds so interesting to think of a recipe that includes everything but the kitchen sink.  I'm sure you've heard the saying, right? 

"Her soup is SO delicious and contains everything but the kitchen sink." 

About the time I settled into the concept, along came a recipe that evidently included not just everything in the kitchen, but the kitchen sink as well!  I know, simple silliness, but fun just the same.  Here's the recipe and you may make alterations to the recipe as necessary to fit your lifestyle.

Kitchen Sink Cookies

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup unbleached white flour
1 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1/3 cup milk powder (dairy or soy)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
2/3 cup raisins
2/3 cup chocolate chips (or carob chips)
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs, beaten (or egg substitute)

Stir together all of the dry ingredients.  Beat the eggs in a small bowl.  Measure the oil, then the honey and molasses in the same measuring cup.  Beat all the ingredients together thoroughly.  Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and combine until the dry ingredients are moistened.  If the mixture seems too dry, add some water until the dough is of drop cookie consistency.  Drop the cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes.  Remove from oven when barely done, as they will continue to "bake" on the cookie sheet when to take them out of the oven.  Allow to cool on the sheet and then remove.

These make a great BREAKFAST cookie!

Tea Party in your Cupboard

There is a new book gracing my shabby chic coffee table. It fits perfectly there and is special not only because it's a great book, but because it was written by my friend, Marilyn. Her book made its debut this month, and such a beautiful book it is. In it, she has combined her love for afternoon tea and photography. She's also included instructions for making a perfect cup of tea and recipes for many of her favorite tea foods. In her book's introduction she says that her book "is for the impromptu or simple tea party for yourself, one or two people, or a small group". Her book illustrates perfectly how this can be accomplished by serving something as simple as tea and toast or by using ingredients you have on hand in your kitchen cupboard to put together quick fillings for tea sandwiches, simple scones, and sweets. Each time you turn the page there is one of her beautiful photographs illustrating a recipe or cup of tea. Marilyn's book is hardcover and the perfect size to add to a home vignette when not being used for the delicious recipes inside it's covers. I found the forty pages perfect for perusing and a great inspiration to take a look at what's in my kitchen cupboard that would be good for afternoon tea! 

You can visit Marilyn's blog at Delights of the Heart. She can also be found at Marmalady's where she sells her lovely tea jams and original patterns that she has designed for tea time convenience (tea cozies, aprons, and table quilts and more). Additionally, you can see pictures of a delightful tea we shared together at Maryhill on one of my previous blog posts. Note the beautiful copper tea kettle that Marilyn uses to make perfect cups of picnic tea. So delish!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Snowdrop Teacup

The snowdrops of February and March are done blooming, but I really must share this picture with you before we say good-bye to this delightful little flower.  Snowdrops were always one of my mother's favorite flowers, probably because they were one of the first flowers to bloom in the early spring.  When they bloomed at her house, they were always clipped and brought into her house.  She collected tiny vases which worked very well for this delicate little flower.  Mom also had this sweet little teacup in her collection.  Can you see the design?  Hand-painted snowdrops on this unique English teacup.  I thought it paired so nicely with snowdrops from the flower bed, I couldn't resist pairing them for a photo.  As spring bursts into bloom, flowers with much more showy vibrancy are appearing, but they do not take take anything away from the beauty of these little gems.

Teacup:  Laurentian Snowdrop, Royal Albert Bone China, England