Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Our Best Gift Ever!

Sweet baby Noa - our Christmas Angel and Star.
Our best gift ever!
How can our hearts hold so much love for this little family?



Happy times with doting grandparents


Selfies ... with Daddy and Mommy



Grammie snuggles


Grandpa snuggles



Relaxing with these beauties.



Baths in the kitchen sink.



Unwrapping Gifts




Oh, how I miss this sweet face! Her quick smiles and happy sounds!



What a special Christmas this was!


Till next time ........... holding on to the memories and looking forward to many more!








Friday, December 11, 2015

Cheddar Thumbprint Cookies



How are your Christmas preparations coming along?
This beautiful Nativity Snow Globe gifted to us many years ago by my
parents-in-law sets the tone for this time of year.
It's also the only "snow" over here right now as we are experiencing unusually warm temperatures (record breaking temperatures) this December!
We just might have a warm and green Christmas this year.

However, soon the 25th will arrive and thus the urgency to prepare some
appetizers and do some baking.

Today I made one of our favourite appetizers,
savoury cheddar thumbprint cookies.

To make these I dug out my food processor (which hardly ever sees the light of day).
This recipe works so well using this pulsing method - and it's quick to make!

A new to me kitchen utensil that is getting quite a bit of use
during this baking season, is my little Tupperware chopper.




This little chopper makes short order of chopping nuts, onions, veggies, fruit, etc.
When I first saw this demonstrated I knew that I "needed" to have one.
It worked perfectly for chopping these almonds.
It will be going with us in the trailer this summer for sure - no hydro needed!
 I also own it's big brother - excellent for chopping salsas, and mixing hummus!











This simple recipe only takes a
few ingredients ...

















A few quick pulses blends the cheeses and the butter







Add the flour and pulse again
till you get a nice soft dough.












Now you just make little balls of dough, dip them into water,
and roll them into the chopped pecans.
Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet.





Thumb press them and
chill for 15 minutes
while you clean up and preheat
The oven to 350F

Pop them in the oven for 15 minutes till golden.







Spoon on a dollop of hot pepper jelly and serve them warm.

They also freeze very well without the jelly!
Be sure to "recrisp" and fill them just before serving.



Savoury Cheddar Thumbprint Cookies

1 ½ Cups Shredded white or Old Cheddar Cheese             
½ Cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese                                                     
½ Cup butter – softened                                                                      
1 Egg yolk
¼ tsp. pepper
1 Cup all purpose flour
1 Cup finely chopped pecans or almonds
¾ Cup hot pepper jelly
Method:

In food processor, pulse together cheeses and butter until smooth.  Add egg yolk and pepper, pulse until blended.  Add flour, pulse just until soft dough forms.  Place pecans on a plate.  Place 1 Cup water in a bowl.  With hands, roll scant Tbsp. of dough into a 1 in. ball – dip into water – roll in nuts.  Place on ungreased baking sheet. With thumb, make indentation in center of each.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes.  Bake in center of 350 oven for 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Let cool on baking sheet and store or freeze until ready to use.  Recrisp by baking at 350 for 3 min. and fill indentations with hot pepper jelly. Serve warm.
Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies.


It won't be long now till we can hold this little beauty in our arms!!!


Till next time - what are some your favourite kitchen utensils this time of year?



Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Preparations

And so it begins ....

Nothing like a beautiful snowfall to get into the mood!


Sometimes I have a hard time getting my Christmas on.

The end of November is always so busy, dark and dreary, 
I struggle to keep up my energy levels.

In spite of myself .... I'm starting with the decor this week.

This special little Christmas incense smoker always helps to get me going.
A long ago gift from dear friends who were in Germany at the time.









Next is the living room mantel.
I used to load it with a collection of snowmen but have simplified this area considerably over the last few years.
I like it better this way.











The front hall banister gets the same old treatment each year.
The chalk board in the background says, 

"Let it Snow"
"Let it Snow"
"Let it Snow"










Oh yes, and the china cabinet!









The wall unit shelf  - the plate called Snow Angel - given to me by my mom
when my daughter, Becky was a little girl - it even looked like her!


Now she has her own little Snow Angel and I can hardly wait to hold 
that sweet baby again
 in a few short weeks when they arrive home.

This will be the best part of Christmas for us this year ....


I suddenly feel much better!!!

Tomorrow I'll work on the outside decorations - one day at a time.

Do Christmas preparations make you tired and anxious or do you feel exhilarated?
I shall carry on and remember the reason for the season!



Till next time ....... wishing all my American friends and families a very Happy Thanksgiving and the energy and spirit to prepare for the most important event of the year!


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Imagine!



.... All the people 
Living life in peace ...

John Lennon's song is going around in my head these days too!


This verse came to me this morning as I walked down our country road.

"He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore."    Isaiah 2:4



Our hearts are broken and deep sadness fills our souls .... let this madness come to an end! Amen.


Praying for the world today!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Golden Gate City

A wonderful opportunity to visit
San Francisco came to us
via - the farmer's work conference.

What an interesting and beautiful city!

The first day there, after checking in to the incredible Fairmont Hotel,






and a quick trolly car ride



Yes this is a fake picture but we really "did" ride the trolley - smile!








We were privileged to have a group wine tour to the Nappa Valley!


The wine was delicious, the scenery was beautiful, in spite of the devastating and long drought they are experiencing there.













New friends were made ...










First time on a "party bus"!!!!


Our beautiful fearless leader!


While our spouses went to "work"shops, we went on several
city tours - what fun!

The first one was an architectural tour of the city - amazing...
the tour guide was so interesting as he pointed out many, many famous buildings and sites.

Can you spot the famous Painted Ladies?








The next day we ventured over the bridge and spent a few hours in Sausalito.
Sooo pretty!


















And then on to hike the Marin Headlands ...










The evenings were spent with incredible conference sponsored dinners with our 
spouses and representatives ....... not the least of these, a dinner cruise to
Alcatraz!!!!


This included a tour of the prison followed by a delicious dinner while cruising back
to Fisherman's Wharf.









The last "bonus" day in San Fran was spent at Fisherman's Wharf where we tasted the famous Ghirardelli chocolate and ice-cream, and browsed through the Boudin bakery where they serve up their famous sourdough bread bowls filled with delicious chowder!!!








And last, but certainly not least, the farmer convinced me that we MUST take 
a Segway tour. After a quick lesson, off we went with a guide zipping through traffic on the 
Streets of San Francisco!!!  I still can't believe we did this.



It was wonderful to be home again ....
the front porch mums were blooming at their peek



And it was time to get back to sensible eating!!!!

Thus, the overnight steel-cut oats for waking us up in the morning ....





This easy recipe is so rewarding to wake up to ...
2 apples diced
1 1/2 Cups Almond Milk (or Cow's milk)
1 1/2 Cups water
1 Cup Steel-Cut Oats
2 Tbsp. brown sugar or honey
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter cut into 5-6 pieces
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. ground flax seed
1/4 tsp. sea salt
handful of dried cranberries













Grease the inside of your crockpot (I used coconut oil)
Place all the ingredients into pot and stir.
Set your timer for 7 hours and cook on low.
Go to bed and wake up to the aroma of delicious oatmeal for breakfast!











Garnish with nuts, maple syrup, and more almond milk.
Definitely worth the bit of effort the night before.





Till next time .......... getting back on track, resting our weary legs from climbing the hills of San Francisco, and enjoying the memories of a fantastic and privileged week.

P.S. If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair lots of layers (it get's unexpectedly cold there sometimes)!