Working on a little stitch from Homespun Elegance. Will I keep it or give it away as a gift? Such is my dilemma.
While Sandra's suggested linen is 30 count espresso from R & R Reproductions, I decided to use what I have on hand; it is either 28 or 32 count linen in sand, not sure about the count, but I love this linen, the color is very vintage-looking. I also decided to use DMC floss instead of over-dyed: DMC 500 for the green, and DMC 355 for the old red. Sandra suggested DMC 356, but it looked washed out on my linen and I love 355 for an old red. I am leaving off the word "Noel" under the linen in case the recipient, whomever that may be, wants to keep it out all year.
I found a very nice advent calendar this year at the local Fresh Market. Utterly Victorian and each little window opens to reveal a delicious little chocolate coin which Mr. K. and I share. Beneath the coin is a tiny image. I took this photo on December 1st. I have to have an advent calendar every year, but this is the first year in many that I obtained one with the chocolates. I take a bite and Mr. K. gets the other half. Yes, chocolate before breakfast!
The decorating is almost done, but the gift-making is in full swing. Time to put down my needle and head off into the arms of Morpheus! There is so much to do tomorrow.
Oh, by the way, the stone sitting pretty on my linen is called spiderweb jasper. Isn't it beautiful? And so appropriate for a stitcher.
So... happy November. I am busy making gifts for the holidays and just enjoying life - well, except for a major cold virus. It has hit our area and a lot of people have it. It seems to stick around 2 -4 weeks! I have been dealing with it for about 10 days. I am starting to feel better, but the cough is hanging around and the aches, hacks, sneezes, and mother of all headaches come and go. Lots of tea and soup, as well as naps are the cure.
In any event, I found this video and thought I would share. You just never know... off the grid or a zombie apocalypse, you may need to open a can without a can opener! I don't know what's up with this "thing" for zombies, not my cup of tea! I prefer vampires, witches, ghosts, and haunted, old houses.
Pretty darn neat! And easier than the hand cranking can openers! My poor hands don't like those anymore, I am considering an electric model and will keep the hand opener for power outages or zombie apocalypses! ; )
And speaking of vampires and ghosts, I just finished a cute, cozy mystery, Vampire Bones and Treacle Scones by Kaitlyn Dunnett. A cute small town, Moosetookalook, Halloween, a old abandoned house, and lots of strange goings on including murder and mayhem. I enjoyed it. Thanks Mom for passing it on to me.
Finally... October is here and all the wonderful feelings and things that go along with it. Apple cake and a crackling fire; making pomanders and Halloween crafts; and lots more lovely autumn goodies. I do love this time of year!
I am beginning a Halloween project, stitching what reminds me of an advent calendar, but for Halloween, by The Primitive Hare. I have a little design to stitch each day - 31 in total. They are small designs so I think I can do this and have each one completed at day's end. Of course there is the border, but I'll do what I can and enjoy it. The Primitive Hare has a blog here and an Etsy shop, where designs can be purchased (in PDF format - instant gratification!) here . I love this designer's work, it is a real favorite. She offers a few little freebie charts at her blog as well. Isn't this wonderful?!?!?! I shall post a few photos as I go.
Time for breakfast, a little cleaning, then an afternoon of stitching!
I was browsing through Facebook and came across a recipe for Cannoli Dip posted by my cousin's wife. It is almost identical to mine except I use marscapone cheese instead of cream cheese. In addition, I add a couple of tablespoons of Marsala wine, or now and then, Strega Liqueur. YUM! So... I thought I would share, but no photos, don't think it has ever lasted long enough to photograph!
Mrs. K's Cannoli Cream Spread
2 cups ricotta cheese
8 oz marscapone cheese, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp sweet Marsala wine or Strega Liqueur
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips or coarsely chopped semi-sweet chocolate
1 tsp each of cinnamon and instant espresso coffee
Blend the cheeses, vanilla, and wine until smooth, but don't overdo it. Gently and slowly blend in the confectioner's sugar - so as not to shoot it all over the kitchen, ; ). Fold in the chocolate. Allow to chill overnight to meld the flavors.
When ready to serve, bring to room temperature. Mix the cinnamon and espresso powder together and sprinkle over the cheese.
This spread can be served a number of ways. First, break up large cannoli shells into chip size pieces, or serve with a mildly sweet cookie, such as shortbread, Amaretti cookies, or vanilla wafers along with coffee, espresso, tea, or a nice liqueur. I've even served this on my ricotta cookies instead of glazing them. Spread on toast with jam or fruit butter; I love it with my apricot or plum butters!
To make a simple but special dessert, slice fresh peaches in half after rubbing off the fuzz. Place in a buttered glass baking dish and roast at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until soft. Add a small scoop of the cannoli cream, dress with crushed amaretti cookies and the cinnamon/espresso powder - just a bit to taste. If peaches aren't in season, canned peach halves, drained, will do just fine. Roast for 15 minutes or so, until the edges get a bit brown. Or... simply use the peaches right from the can at room temperature. Canned pear halves are very good too.
I've also used pannetone, which I've sliced crosswise like cake layers, and spread this between. I pour a little honey mixed with the liqueur over the whole thing. Another yummy!
This is a versatile spread and the sky is pretty much the limit. Enjoy!
It's that time again, September! I love autumn even though I live in a place without much seasonal change; it is in my home that I make sure everything shouts autumn. I decorate with that theme in mind and I am cooking up our favorite fall recipes, like Fresh Apple Cake from my old Fanny Farmer Baking book, and Apple Cider Beef Stew.
Once again, it is time to make apple butter, so that's what I will be up to in the upcoming two weeks. My home will smell luscious. I also need to make more pomanders, another item on my agenda that will scent my home. I am heaping my fall pot pourri into my large pottery bowl, as well as some smaller bowls to scatter about the house. Fun, fun!!!
I found what looks like a luscious cookie recipe at this blog, Fill The Cookie Jar. Frosted Apple Oatmeal Cookies sounds yummy and very autumn; I'll be whipping up a batch later today. I also found a recipe for a quick pumpkin cake on Facebook. I don't generally use boxed cake mixes, but this sounds so quick and easy, and yummy too, I think I'll try it. Sounds like it could be whipped up while dinner is in the oven and baked while eating. You can find the recipe here, at Big Red Kitchen. There are plenty of comments with suggestions for variations on this recipe. I guess this goes on my agenda too.
Of course I'm stitching away on some Halloween designs, as well as a Goode Huswife design. I have a few more small Halloween designs I hope to get done in time for the holiday; if not, well there's next year!
I hope you're enjoying September where ever you are.
Deliciously tangled in threads and apple parings,
So very, very sad to hear that Barbara Mertz, AKA Elizabeth Peters, AKA Barbara Michaels, passed away on August 8th. I cannot tell you the hours of pleasure she gave me as I lost myself in her books. I originally discovered her in my local library. Of course, my favorite character was Amelia Peabody. Crocodile On The Sandbank remains my favorite novel. From CBS news:
Barbara Mertz, a best-selling mystery writer who wrote dozens of novels under two pen names, has died. She was 85.
Mertz died Thursday morning at her home, in Frederick, Md., her daughter Elizabeth told her publisher HarperCollins.
Mertz wrote more than 35 mysteries under the name Elizabeth Peters, including her most popular series about a daring Victorian archaeologist named Amelia Peabody. She also wrote 29 suspense novels under the pen name Barbara Michaels, and under her own name, she wrote nonfiction books about ancient Egypt.
I was over at the Facebook page for Sweet Tea & Cindy, reading her recipe for Pimento Cheese. Well, I do love Pimento Cheese, it's one of my favorite things to eat on celery sticks, cucumber slices, or crackers. In the south, according to Cindy, they eat it on a sandwich! Yes, I will have to try that. She calls it the caviar of the south, LOL. I was born and raised in New York state, but have lived in South Florida for more years than I lived in NY. And while you can't take the New York out of this girl, I have picked up a love for all things southern. Naturally, pimento cheese is on that list.
Cindy has a great recipe -http://cindyeckhart.com/pimento-cheese-caviar-of-the-south-mamas-secret-ingredient/ - and a couple a gals commented, one adds cream cheese, another, sweet pickle relish. I had to do a bit of grocery shopping today, running through the raindrops, so I picked up what was needed and decided to make a batch last night - we should have enough to get through the weekend, but I'm not sure! Here's my tweaked version:
8 oz block of cream cheese, softened 3 cups of mild cheddar cheese, shredded (I used a package of Sargento pre-shredded) 1 cup mayonaise (I like Duke's) 1 7oz jar of pimentos, drained 3 spoonfuls of sweet pickle relish (I didn't use a measuring spoon, just a dessert spoon) 2 - 3 teaspoons of sugar (or to taste) - trust me, this is the secret ingredient.
I just used a whisk and blended the cream cheese and mayo together, then added all the other ingredients - except the sugar, I didn't think I would need it with the relish. I blended it all up and tasted. Hmmm... something was missing, must be the sugar, so I added that. Wow, that sugar, just as Cindy says, makes the flavor pop.
This was so easy to to whip up, and tastes so, so good, I will never buy the pre-made again. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
On another Facebook page, SB Canning, I participated in a kitchen towel swap. The idea was to send... yes, a nice kitchen towel. It was suggested that you might add a kitchen magnate and/or a recipe. I found a really cute 100% cotton towel with an image of a bunch of carrots on it, green tops and all, added a pretty, ceramic kitchen magnate that said, "Housework won't kill you, but why take a chance?", and threw in a recipe for my very favorite Fresh Apple Cake, which I make all the time. It is really very good: buttery, spicy, and packed with unpeeled apples. I have tweaked that recipe a bit too because Mr. K. doesn't like nuts or raisins, which the original recipe calls for.
Years ago, 1984 to be exact, I belonged to one of those book clubs that were so popular; you know, you get ten books for a dollar and agree to buy half a dozen more over the next year. One of the first books I bought was "The Fanny Farmer Baking Book" by Marion Cunningham. I was only married a few years and was delving into baking. I cannot tell you how much I use this cookbook! Well, the Fresh Apple Cake recipe is in that book and I have been making it ever since. I figured it would be a nice recipe to include with my swap, so off it went.
The same day I sent it off, my package arrived, and what a delight it is. It included a pretty towel, small wind chimes with a wooden cardinal (my favorite bird) on top, a little spatula/scrapper, the cutest scrubby, two recipes - one for Texas Hash, the other for Pumpkin Bars, a little notebook in the shape of a handbag, I just love little notebook, two containers of tea, and... a really nice sized tea strainer with stars, moons, and suns on the rim. Marla G. was very generous and I am very grateful for all the goodies.
Before I hit the grocery store, I made a stop at my local needlework shop, Cross Stitch Cupboard, in Fort Lauderdale. The Halloween Ornament issue of Just Cross Stitch had arrived and I had reserved a copy. It is the best issue they have done so far, filled with 51 wonderful Halloween designs. There are ten, yes, TEN, designs I want to stitch. Luckily, most are smalls. By the way, the fabric that I laid my swap stash on is from the Cupboard too, Blackbird Designs - just had to have that. Oh well, I will make a pot of one of Marla's special tea blends, put on some lovely music, and take up my needle! Perhaps a few celery sticks packed with Pimento cheese on the side would not be amiss?
Just in case you would like to check out the Facebook pages I mentioned above, here are the links:
This little gal has made a video in response to an article written by Dr. Oz that conventionally grown food is just as healthy as local and organic food. He went so far as to say canned foods are a bargain food and just as nutritious.
I never watch Oz because he has always come off as an advocate for big agra and his health information is outdated. He states that eating real, organic, local food is "snobby" and "elitist! What??? Is he kidding? He supports the large food companies, with their CEOs who make more money in a year than most of us will see in a lifetime, and calls budget-conscious people who support small farms part of the 1%?
Here's my note to Dr. Oz - stop drinking the Kool-Aid! You have, in my opinion, a serious conflict of interest in most of what you present. Studies funded by the Canned Food Association are going to tell people that those BPA lined lids are not good for you? That the pesticide-laden food one finds in those cans is safe? As Coral says.... puh-leeze!
Take a look for yourself and share, share, share. Let's see if we can get Dr. Oz to see this and respond!
Here is a list of food companies that donated considerable funds to prevent labeling of genetically modified food. You might want to show them how you feel about that by not buying their products. The list also shows companies we thought were OK, but it turns out they are just subsidiaries of larger companies:
Many of the products that seem so good are actually just subsidiaries of the companies that were most complicit in blocking GMO labeling, aided and abetted by everyone’s favorite purveyor of death, Monsanto. (Monsanto, incidentally, donated $7,100,500.00 to the fight against the labeling of GMO-containing products.) Don’t forget that Monsanto is now above the law due to the Monsanto Protection Act, a traitorous rider that Senator Roy Blunt managed to attach to a bill that was subsequently signed into law by President Obama. (you know, that guy in the White House, who made the labeling of GMOs one of his 2007 campaign promises?)
In addition, there is a list of the good guys. Here is the link for the complete article:
OH, give us pleasure in the flowers today; And give us not to think so far away As the uncertain harvest; keep us here All simply in the springing of the year.
Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white, Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night; And make us happy in the happy bees, The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
And make us happy in the darting bird That suddenly above the bees is heard, The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill, And off a blossom in mid air stands still.
For this is love and nothing else is love, To which it is reserved for God above To sanctify to what far ends he will, But which it only needs that we fulfill.
Happy Spring! I am trying to get into the season, another words - spring cleaning. I have decided to clear away things I've been saving - just in case; give away some books I have been holding on to, but will never read again; sort through the pantry, that sort of thing. I am also tending some new plants and creative endeavors, making lists, planning, organizing, and dreaming it will all get done. Well... we shall see!
Earlier today I finished "Dust and Shadows" by Lyndsay Faye, an excellent Sherlock Holmes pastiche. It is a story of Holmes and Watson chasing down Jack the Ripper. This is a very credible tale about the Ripper and who he could have been, as well as being an excellent story about Holmes, true to Conan Doyle's characters. I enjoyed it very much and recommend it to you if, like me, you are a bit of a Sherlockian, as well as have a morbid interest in old Jack.
We were having a very lazy Sunday, my dear husband watching television, lying in bed, and occasionally dozing, me in my chair reading my Nook (for a change from my Kindle) finishing Dust and Shadows. When I did finish, I browsed through some non-fiction that has my attention at this time, stitched a bit, and drank too much coffee for my belly's comfort. I went off and took a nap, contemplating what novel next to read.
Upon arising from my nap, feeling a bit worse for it, I browsed through my Nook and stumbled upon "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, a story about a writer who receives a letter from a member of said society just after World War II, about a book he has, formerly hers, and its author. During the war, Guernsey was occupied by the Nazis, which I never knew. It is told, so far, as I haven't finished it, in a series of letters. I know this novel was published in 2009, but I just never got around to reading it. I vaguely recall my mother recommending it to me. I must have thought about it because it has been there, in my Nook, for some time, but I did not look at it until today. And I must say, I am enchanted by it!!!
I am ambling through it, savoring all the stories the various characters have to tell, and becoming rather attached to them, well most. The letters are wonderful to read, the stories interesting, delightful, and sad. I am trying to go slowly, but of course I want to know what happens.
There are a few dishes in the sink, my empty and aromatic coffee cup sitting beside me tempting me despite my tummy, and my needlework hanging off the sofa, while I continue to read. As a side note, I am rather cold and will have to wrap myself up in an afghan while I sit here. The temperature has dropped in South Florida - tonight heading to the 40s!!! For those in the more northern climes, I am sure you are snickering, but my blood is thin from the constant heat. Even at this time of my life, perpetual hormonal summer, this is too cold. I did not venture out into the cold today and will remain, with my needlework and books, hidden in my lair, tomorrow as well!
...I am distracted by beauty. Parked right in front of me is a teal vase containing a garden bouquet of twenty roses, a bright spectrum of colors: fuchsia, blue-red, talcy pink, peach, yellow-white (the Swan), purple-and-white stripe (Purple Tiger), orangey-cream tinged with pink (Abraham Darby), and a hot pink that verges on red (Leonardo da Vinci). They all have names, of course, such as Intrigue, Autumn Sunset, Lasting Peace, and Fame. Some open simply, others are densely ruffled. Some roses seem to be tumbling from the squat round vase, tumbling yet stopped in midair. Others are braced by the lip of the vase, chins resting. Most are fanned out at different angles. But for the green foliage giving them a context and weave, they would seem to be floating on clouds or a rose iceberg of different hues. The whole effect is beautiful enough to make one cry out, not in pain but in beauty. Wow!
Well, I just blew through that Regency Romance challenge in a bit more than a week; read 6 books and enjoyed every minute! Didn't get much else done around the house and drank pots of tea! It's all good.
I have one of those big chairs, called a chair and a half. We call it the Queen's chair - the queen being me, of course. On one side is my Ott floor lamp and an antique contraption that holds my stitching. I would post a photo of it, but it is a real mess with fabric and threads piled high and spilling over the sides. It is quite an interesting piece which I stole purchased with a mess of old sewing items. I'll just have to wait until I sort it out and share it with you. On the other side of the chair is one of our bookshelves - well, my bookshelf. There is one shelf of ancient history and the rest are gardening, flower lore, herbs, field guides, etc. I love to reach over and grab a book to browse through, it is truly a pleasure. Here are a few favorites.
Probably my most favorite little garden book with the sweetest illustrations.
So interesting, I love this one too. It has so much history and wonderful illustrations and photos.
Plenty of Victorian ephemera in this one.
I love the Brother Cadfael mysteries and have a very large collection, just about all of them, so when this was published, I grabbed it. A beautiful book.
If a garden or plant was painted or used in poetry, novels, etc. it is likely here.
This is from 1936, a little collectable scrapbook issued by W. D. and H. O. Wills cigarettes, a branch of the Imperial Tobacco Company of Great Britain and Ireland. I guess when you bought a pack of their cigarettes, it came with a little card with a botanical illustration. The cards were glued in where appropriate, the name of the plant and information about said plant below the little box where the card was to be placed. Here are a couple of photos of the inside. My copy has all the cards.
Diane Ackerman is a favorite writer, her prose is just beautiful. This book was one I just took my time with, I didn't want to finish it. It is such a delicious journey through a year in her garden. If you've never read it and love a garden, nature, the outdoors, I highly recommend it. I've probably read it several times.
One portion of a shelf with some old flower and garden books, as well as a couple of pieces of Fulgurite. Do you know what Fulgurite is? Just in case you don't, it is sand that has been struck by lightening. That traumatic event fuses the sand into these wonderfully interesting looking tubes, smooth as glass on the inside and rough on the outside.
So there we are, some books I love. I hope you enjoyed this mini tour of my bookshelf.
From Sarah Midda's In and Out of the Garden.
Dreaming of gardens and flowers, tea and radishes with bread and butter,
Good grief, here it is, the 24th of January, and I haven't checked in since the New Year. I have been very busy with various projects, including searching for the Adventure of the Christmas Pudding. This adventure was written by me many years ago, before personal computers, and is typed on a couple of sheets of paper, in a file somewhere. It is a humorous, if I do say so myself, account of my first attempt at making a traditional Christmas pudding. I wanted to share it here over the holidays, but alas, it will have to wait for next year.
Alas? Yes, alas! As you can see I am jumping right back to the Regency as I am prone to do when immersing myself in that period or rereading Jane Austen. One of the JA blogs, Austenprose is sponsoring a reading challenge featuring the work of Candice Hern. Although I have not read Candice's work, according to reviews she writes in the style of Georgette Heyer. I adore Georgette Heyer's novels and so I've decided to jump right in.
The challenge is to read a number of Candice's novels between now and September 30, 2013. One to two novels and short stories bestows upon one the title of Neophyte, three to five - Disciple, and six to nine novels and short stories, Aficionado. There are prizes to be awarded and the sharing of reviews which each participant will be posting to their respective blogs.
So... I begin my quest with "Miss Lacey's Last Fling." It looks to be an amusing read. Review to come. If you are a lover of the Regency romance genre, why not join in? Click on "Austenprose" above which will take you to the page with all the information.
Wading through scattered pages, books, and threads,
We were supposed to have a quiet Christmas Eve and Christmas day, however, friends came last night for a little while, and other friends are joining us for our traditional lasagna. Dinner, of course, to be preceded by the usual good appetizers; not a real antipasto, but close enough.
It's been a busy December and I am looking forward to a peaceful and quiet New Year. This Christmas sure did come upon us quickly, didn't it? I do suppose, though, if you're five, ten, or thereabout, it took an awfully long time. I certainly don't remember the days flying by when I was a child as they seem to today.
Well, off to the kitchen. Have a wonderful Christmas!!!
Happy Birthday to Jane Austen, born in 1775. I thank her for many, many hours of delightful reading, watching movies interpret her stories, and feeding my soul. For Jane, that old saying about living on really is true - she does live on in her novels, the movies, and thanks to the Jane Austen Society.
Favorite Jane novel: Persuasion
Favorite movie version: 1995
Favorite Anne actress: Amanda Root
Favorite Captain Wentworth actor: Ciaran Hinds
Favorite Quote from Persuasion: "I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me that I am not too late, that such precious feelings are not gone forever." Capt. Frederick Wentworth to Anne Elliot.
I actually have many favorite quotes from this novel, but this one, well, it is quite romantic and I do love it. The Sampler Girl ( click here) designed a cross stitch pattern with this quote and naturally I purchased it. The Sampler Girl has a whole series of designs inspired by Jane and her novels, so if you enjoy stitching, take a browse. I have yet to stitch this particular design, but it is in my new collection of projects that I recently put together for the next year's stitching. I always do this around Christmas time. Another little cushion, perhaps, for the connubial couch.
To be honest, by this time of my life, after years of collecting and stitching, I have enough ornaments and more! However... that doesn't stop me from stitching new ones or, at least one new one every year. I have a stash of ornament designs to choose from and now.... The Stitcher's Village, click here, will have a free ornament each day until December 1st. This began yesterday, so there are two ornaments so far.
Yesterday's ornament, Colorful Christmas Trees is from Rosewood Manor, a designer who's work I really like. It is very pretty and looks like a quick stitch. Today's design is by Moonflower Designs, Linked Hearts. She stitched it on silver perforated paper and the colors do not appeal to me at all, but stitched on linen in either one color, or some others, it has potential. I prefer more primitive and traditional designs, so other's milage may vary.
If you sign up for the newsletter, you will have access to the designs. Who can't use free designs? Many thanks to the designers for donating their design freebies and Stitcher's Village for hosting this ornament design give-away!!!!
Now... back to my holiday cleaning marathon, tearing apart our little condo and scrubbing it down within an inch of its life!!!
Well, I certainly hope your Thanksgiving was as lovely as mine. That nasty stomach virus I had been dealing with finally let up and I was able to enjoy my dinner. I made sure not to over-indulge. Although the wine didn't sit well, otherwise I am back in fighting form! Yay! I don't do sick well.
Our Thanksgiving was spent at my husband's cousin's club (what a mouthful!) which included very moist and delicious turkey, naturally, but also excellent ham, apple cider glazed salmon, and prime rib that didn't require a knife to cut. Along with these, there were traditional fixings, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, a wonderful salad table that included a sauteed mushroom and Brussels sprouts salad with bits of bacon that was out of this world. I will be figuring out that recipe, for sure. There was plenty of breads; cornbread, rolls, sliced breads of all types, butter and honey butter. Then there was dessert... two rooms worth, traditional pies and everything in between and around, including a sugar free table that I don't think anyone touched, hehe. The chef even made his own truffles and white chocolate covered almonds. OH...... delightful. However, with my tender tummy, I did not over indulge, enjoying a few little bites of this and that along with a lovely cup of tea. Best of all, Mike's cousin and his wife, Aunt Harriet and her friend, Arlene, were there to share the day. We sat a good long time, chatting, laughing, and remembering. My own mother was home with my nephew and a few friends. She said she cooked up a feast that she hasn't done in years when we talked on the phone. Thanksgiving, a wonderful day!
How appropriate that Common Sense Homesteading had this post today - all about natural remedies for.... you guessed it, upset tummy! See the post here. Good information to add to one's housekeeping book or file.
Do you remember those old Victorian housekeeping books? I have a number of them, including Mrs. Beeton's, of course. My edition is probably early 1900s, but there were many editions. I also have a copy of A Jane Austen Household Book, which includes Martha Lloyd's receipts; not an antique, but most interesting. I do have many actual antique books which I love to peruse and even attempt the recipes - adjusting measures and ingredients as needed. There is a lot of advice about remedies too, which Laurie's post at Common Sense Homesteading reminded me of.
Folks are so quick to take a pill when, most of the time, a cup of chamomile tea with a just a pinch of mint will do the trick for the upset tummy. A tea of crushed fennel seeds also relieves the, pardon the expression, burps. Herbal tinctures are also very good - melissa, passionflower, chamomile, all relaxing when stress is about to overwhelm or you can't sleep. Of course, there are good medicines today, so I like to utilize the best of both worlds; the ultimate tummy soother: Pepto Bismol! Works for me, LOL!
Moving along, it is now officially THAT time of year, the countdown to the holidays! On the agenda for me, finishing handmade gifts, candy and cookie making, cakes, homemade eggnog, and, of course, decorating. I like to have my tree up on December 1st so I can enjoy it all month. Last year, I was way behind getting my decorating done and that definitely will not be happening this year. I am ready to go!
We, in this household, celebrate Chanukah as well as Christmas, Mr. K being Jewish. I love it!!! Getting a little Chanukah gift takes the edge off waiting for Christmas, LOL! (oh, I have to stop with the exclamation points! Argh, there I go again.) After all these years being married, we curb the gift giving to just little goodies, but still, it is the excitement of a sweet little something wrapped in pretty paper. So, in addition to the Christmas food making, there will be LATKES!!!! And no latke incident as happened a few years ago - I will post that another day, a funny story, just before Chanukah which begins the evening of December 8th. Out with the menorah and blue paper!!! Onward potatoes, onions, applesauce and sour cream!!! The smell of frying will permeate my home for a few days, but it IS worth it. Nothing like homemade potato pancakes!!!
What about all of you? Ready to decorate? Recovered from the wonderful gastronomic indulgences of Thanksgiving and plotting those for Christmas? My Christmas pudding fixings await me!
Did I say Christmas pudding???? I certainly did. Today is Stir-up Sunday, the Sunday before Advent or the Sunday after Thanksgiving, according to some. In any event, mine is not a traditional plum pudding, but a dried apricot pudding. Each and every Sunday after making it, I unwrap it and douse it in rum, wrap it back up and leave it in the fridge to do its thing. By the time Christmas Eve rolls around, that baby is potent! And quite delicious with a lovely, buttery rum sauce drizzled over it. Lights up like a torch too, hehe! Yes, we set it alight in the traditional manner. Fun, fun.
So, off I go, because in addition to the pudding and some ham steaks for supper, there is stitching to be done.
When I was a child, Thanksgiving was a very exciting time. Most years, family joined us for dinner, but sometimes, it was just the immediate family, my parents and us kids. My dad always cooked breakfast for us on Sundays and holidays, pancakes! He made great pancakes and we ate piles, literally. He would just keep cooking until he could see we were full, then he'd sit down and have his breakfast.
There was one thing my dad, who's gone now three years as of October, did for us on Thanksgiving when we were kids, that I always remember with such sweetness. We'd come to the breakfast table, waiting for those pancakes, and there was a little gift at each of our places; just small things, a little mini tea set, a little girl's make-up kit - not really make-up, but the play stuff. My brother would find Match Box cars, little tools, those sorts of little toys and goodies one found in the Five and Ten, or in our case, the Hopewell Pharmacy. We could never wait to see what he got us. Small things, big memories.
Yesterday, as I am just getting over a stomach virus from hell, I made a pot of homemade chicken soup. I had a large pack of chicken thighs in the freezer, so I used those. I cooked the chicken with some onions, garlic, celery with leaves, and a couple of carrot. When the meat was cooked, I removed it, but threw the bones and skin back into the pot, cooking another couple of hours. I then strained the broth and put it back into the pot. Along with more fresh onion, lots of garlic - all told, about 8 cloves, carrots, and celery, I threw in a leftover half bag of frozen spinach, some barley, about a third box leftover ditilini macaroni, and finally, some cheese tortellini. That is the best chicken soup I have ever had, and I consider myself a connoisseur. Love chicken soup.
Wasn't sure how Mr. K. would react to such a mixed pot, but he ate three bowls and told me I better make it again just that way. He said I could always add matzoh balls too! As I've mentioned before, we mix it up in our home and it's all good.
Tomorrow we are off to Mr. K's cousin's club, as we have been doing for the past few years, joining relatives and friends. They put on an incredible spread, so it will be a wonderful meal. For leftovers, I've got that pot of soup in the fridge, but who knows, maybe Sunday, as I stir up my Christmas pudding, I'll make a little turkey dinner just for the two of us. As for the pudding, I'll share the adventure of the first one I made later in the week.
You must visit Cakespy for the directions/recipe for the above - it is an amalgam of mini candy bars melted into one large one. You've got to take a peek, I almost fell into a diabetic coma just reading about it. It looks quite scrumptious as one could add all one's favorite candy bars!!! A fun treat.