Monday, December 29, 2014

Traditions?


I know that everyone is busy and it amazes me how so many of you
are able to keep up with posting wonderful Christmas stories, pictures and recipes!

Your posts have caused me to think - what are our family's Christmas Traditions?
I found myself feeling sad that we don't really have too many
wonderful traditions like some folks have.
They change from year to year as situations change I guess.
What makes a tradition?

After uploading my pictures I noticed that there are actually a few
things that have become Christmas traditions of sorts:

Homemade Biscotti


Cherry Cheese Tarts and Rheo Thompson Chocolates

Nuts and Bolts - my mom's recipe

Tete de Moine Cheese


Jarlesberg, Applewood Smoked Cheddar, Brie cheeses and Garlic Stuffed Olives

The back Porch "walk out" fridge - so thankful for this!

Chilling with our friends and their growing family on Christmas Day!
Visiting with Grandma Leis at the home - Oh how I wish I could tell her the good news!

As you can see, the pictures I've taken this Christmas are mostly food related
because I have been dubbed the annoying family paparazzi - do you ever feel this way?

Perhaps I need to take a long and hard look at what things our family
can add to make Christmas more meaningful and to savour the moments
even more than the food!

Even though the moments are rare - they are the most important and much
more precious than any food or photos.

I want to be intentional about making 2015 meaningful and precious.
The Lord has blessed us as a family beyond anything we could have asked or even imagined
just as Ephesians 3:20 promises!




Till next time - HAPPY NEW YEAR dear friends ....



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Cookies for your Best Pal

Don't foget your canine friends
this Christmas....

My favourite grand-doggie is a beautiful 
chocolate labrador named Macie
Even though she couldn't come "home" for Christmas this year,
she sent us a wonderful gift!

I decided to make her some homemade
doggie cookies as a thank you.
I used to make these for our Cairn Terriers and thought the recipe 
bears repeating.
They're ever so easy to make and sure to please your "best friend"

There's still time to make them ......



Puppy’s Golden Cheese Dreams

3 Cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp. garlic powder
½ Cup vegetable oil
1 Cup shredded cheese
1 Egg – beaten
1 Cup milk
In large mixing bowl combine flour and garlic powder.  Make a well in flour and gradually stir in the oil, cheese, beaten egg and milk until well blended.  Knead dough on floured surface for 3-4 minutes.  Roll out dough to ½“ thick.  Use bone shaped (or any shape) cookie cutter and place on lightly greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 400F for 25 minutes till crisp and golden.
Makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen large (4" X 1 1/2") bone shaped cookies.  Keep refrigerated or frozen.

Here's to Macie, Daisy, Tucker, Cooper, Lokie, Lucy, Ping and Pong, Kobee, Ellie, Mitsy, Finn, Scooter, Rory and all the others who's names I've forgotten but who's owners are friends, blogdom friends, and family. Cheesy dreams to you this Christmas!


Missing our Cairns Thistle and Poppy!


Good Dog Macie!
Hope your paws are healing nicely.....

Picture taken by Becky 
Till Next Time - on this Eve of Christmas Eve - Merry Christmas from our house to yours. May God bless each and every one of you.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

It's beginning .....

The decorating has begun
Better Late than Never!

Some of my simple solutions are these "icy" crown jar candles:

All you need is a jar (I like using
my vintage Crown jars with the zinc
rings and glass sealers),
some plastic wrap (the heavy duty kind that comes from the florist),
some water,
a bit of ribbon and sprig,
and T-lites.
It couldn't be simpler!

Just stuff the jar with the plastic wrap - fill with water - set the jar ring upside down on top of the jar creating a nifty little tray for the T-lite.









Any T-lites will do but 
these larger than usual T-lites from Ikea (Glimma 2 1/4 inch) are ideal. They burn for up to 9 hours.









Decorate the jar ring and there you have it - some icy looking jar candles.









Another quick solution is to add a few trees, mini candles and wreaths to my Noah's Ark, transforming it for Christmas. 












Even the little Noah's Ark Store just needs the fence and the lamp post turned around to reveal its Christmas bows and wreaths.
The snowman is about to lose his carrot nose!







The mantel is beginning to look
Christmasy.....










..... and the china cabinet is ready!


The tablescape for the upcoming office party
is starting to take shape.



I've been reminded several times today about the importance of preparations
and especially those of preparing one's heart for Christmas.

How are your preparations coming along?



Till next time .......... remembering that Jesus is the reason for this season!



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

November?

How can this be mid-November?
It feels like mid-January - eek!

Disclaimer - no people or horses were harmed
while taking these pictures from inside my warm and cozy home......










Yikes!!!!

Till next time .............. staying fireside!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Get Crackering!

Have you ever tried those tasty
crackers that come in the rectangular pretty boxes
and have the words Rain and Coast 
on the label?
You know the ones that feature dried fruits and roasted nuts...
they're a wee bit expensive but oh so good?

I found a great "knock off" and easy recipe on line.
I also remember that Kathy from
Mennonite Girls Can Cook also made these recently!
My rosemary is still green in the herb garden
in spite of the recent snow and freezing temperatures,
so it is perfect to use for this.





It's as easy as making quick bread!



Rosemary, Pumpkin Seed and Cranberry Crackers
2 Cups All-purpose Flour
2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 Cups buttermilk
¼ Cup brown sugar
¼ Cup honey
1 Cup dried Cranberries or Raisins
½ Cup chopped pecans
½ Cup roasted pumpkin seeds
¼ Cup sesame seeds
¼ Cup ground flax seeds
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and brown sugar. Stir together the buttermilk and honey and pour it into the flour, stir just till incorporated. Gently fold in the remaining ingredients just until blended. Pour the batter into 2 greased loaf pans and bake at 350F for 35 minutes or until golden and springs back to the touch.
Remove from the pans and cool. In fact, it’s best to totally cool them and even partially freeze them before slicing. You can even freeze them at this point and leave the slicing and crisping for another day.
Slice the loaves as thin as possible and lay the slices out in a single layer onto large ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 300F for 15 minutes on one side – flip them over and bake for another 10-15 minutes on the other side until crisp and deep golden.
This recipe makes approx. 8 dozen crackers. Store in an airtight container and try not to eat them all at once J.











These crackers are perfect for serving the Antipasto we
just made the other week.


Till next time ............. get crackering before the rosemary freezes solid!





Thursday, November 13, 2014

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup



It's the perfect time for Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
and Beer Bread Muffins!!

There's snow in the air ...... and on the pumpkins!

This is my favourite butternut squash soup recipe:



Peel and seed a Butternut Squash
Cut it into large chunks.
Add 2 unpeeled cloves of garlic and toss with 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil.
Pour this onto parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with fresh chopped Thyme and Summer Savory.
Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Roast at 425F for 25 minutes.
This smells so good while it roasts!









While the squash roasts, prepare the soup base by bringing 4 Cups of broth (vegetable or chicken) to a simmer.
Add 1 chopped apple, 2 Tbsp. grated ginger and a sprig of Thyme.
Continue to simmer till squash is roasted and apples are tender.






Remove the garlic peel. Combine the squash and garlic with the broth.  Cool slightly.
Use an immersion blender or stand blender to blend the mixture to a smooth and silky consistency.
My vitamix blender made short order of the blending - smooth as silk!
Heat thoroughly and serve with a splash of fresh cream or sour cream.

Serve with a quick bread muffin (we enjoy Beer Bread Muffins from the Muffin Mania Cookbook)




3 Cups flour
5 tsp. baking powder
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Bottle of Beer
Shredded Cheese - optional

Combine dry ingredients.
Pour in the beer and stir with a fork till combined.
Scoop into greased muffin tin (makes 12 muffins)
 Top with some grated cheese.
Bake at 325F for 15-20 minutes.




Till next time .......... find some golden warm recipes to fight the dull drums of a snowy November day! 



Sunday, November 9, 2014

November Days

The days of November started with a bang!
The weather held for a few days,
the combine rolled in,
the dust flew,
and the farmer was extremely relieved .....



... and thankful to have been able to save the soy bean harvest
(it was beginning to look grim and very late).










These few days of fair weather
gave us a chance to quickly plant the  garlic bulbs and to transplant a few rhubarb plants into the front garden.













I saved some of the rhubarb roots
to make an oil infusion ...
for future hand made soap.
Yep, I will surely post something
if this ever comes to fruition,
of course!














The remainder of the first week of November
saw yet more rain and even sciffs of snow!
Awww - the dull days of November have arrived.

There was another bright spot, however,
My friend Louise and I were so inspired by
  

we tied on our aprons
and had an Antipasto chopping and canning party .... that was fun!
Louise has made this in the past and we used
her church's cookbook recipe, tweaking it slightly
with hints from Bev's recipe.
Yum!




We ended this first week in November
with going to see a play - The Drowsy Chaperone,
(it was brilliant!)
and making some Winter holiday plans with dear friends
over dinner.

Maybe November won't be so dull after all??


Till next time .......... remembering the poppies of November!! Lest we forget ....