Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

Happy New Year 
to all my blog friends
and families!

I've been reflecting on 
New Year's past,
on the traditions and superstitions.

Did you, as a child, have 
any of these?

My mom used to tell me
not to clean the house on New Year's Eve,
to leave some dust and dirt
to carry over into the New Year.
I assumed to leave the dirt
in the vacuum would be O.K. - right?

Another thing I remember as a child
was waking up on New Year's Day
to a small gift from the "New Year's Baby"
I don't know where this tradition
came from but it was fun at the time.

I've read about some other traditions
and superstitions such as:

Eating good luck foods:
12 grapes - 1 for each month
Black Eyed Peas and Greens - bringing good luck
and prosperity
Leaving bits of food on your plates to carry
over into the New Year to ensure never going hungry.
Pork is a good luck food while
lobster is not (because lobsters walk
backwards apparently).
Lentils which represent coins ensuring prosperity
in the New Year.

This inspired me to make
a Kale and Lentil Salad
for lunch today...
If nothing else, it sure will
be good for my health.

Kissing at midnight to ensure affection
over the next 12 months.
Not to cry on New Year's Day - this could
bring unhappiness in the new year.
Pay all your debts before New Year's Eve
to have a "clean slate" in the new year.
(I also like the idea of forgiving all debts?)
Open the doors at midnight to let the bad
from the previous year out.
It's super cold over here right now so
don't leave the door open too long!
Make loud noises to scare away any evil spirits.
Don't do the dishes in case you
would break something which is bad luck.
(I think I'll leave the dirty dishes in the sink - no problem with that one! Leave some dirt in the house - this is the easiest one! Make lots of noise at midnight, and kiss the farmer even though he has a bad cold tonight).

What are some of your New Year's 
traditions and superstitions?

I want to thank each and everyone of
you for your support over
this past year. 
I love reading your blogs and your
comments and it's been such an
inspiration to me on SO many levels!

Much happiness and health
to you and yours in 2014.....
The Lord is good!

Kale and Lentil Salad Recipe:
1 bunch Kale, stemmed and sliced
1 shallot - chopped or thinly sliced
3 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 Cup EV Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Cups cooked lentils
1/2 Cup crumbled Feta cheese
1/2 Cup dried cranberries
Whisk together the vinegar, honey and mustard.
Gently whisk in the Olive Oil and
season with salt and pepper.
Pour over the kale and shallot - tossing
and stirring roughly to gently bruise the kale.
Toss in the lentils, feta cheese and cranberries.
Cover and marinate for 1 hour before serving.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Balmy Lips

The weather outside is frightful the pits
and the dry air inside 
hurts my skin and lips!

I know that doesn't really rhyme
but it does tell the truth....

It's almost officially winter here
and my heels, hands, and lips
are longing to be ocean side
on a warm and balmy southern beach.

In the meantime, I've been
experimenting with making lip balm 
(next best thing to being on the beach - not).
I think I've finally got the 
recipe that works....

1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. Sweet Almond Oil
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. Olive Oil
25g coconut oil (solid kind)
20g organic beeswax
15g cocoa butter (solid kind)
Dash of Peppermint Essential Oil

Melt oils and beeswax in
a small container over a double boiler
(I used a 2 Cup glass pyrex measuring cup
over some gently boiling water in a saucepan)
Keep stirring till melted
Remove from heat and add essential oil
Pour into 10-12 small (15ml) containers.
I purchased these at the Dollar Store.
Let stand till solid before putting on lids.

That's all there is to it
and now my lips feel amazing and 
practically balmy ....

These will make great stocking stuffers
and purse stuffers.

Till next time ....... be careful out there. The weather forecast really IS frightful!!!!!  I've got candles ready to go, the wood is stacked by the fireplace, and extra water in pails in the laundry room. Praying for safe travels as our kids fly home tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fried Apples

I'm always thinking about
what to make for supper on 
the way home from work!
Can you tell - I don't plan ahead too much?

When nothing comes to mind,
I like to stop in Wellesley at the little
grocery Pym's and pick up
something quick like schnitzel or sausage.

Nothing tastes better with schnitzel
than some warmed apple sauce
best of all ....
Mom's Fried Apples - so easy and delicious
and no recipe required!!

Here's how you make them:
Just halve, peel and core some apples,
wet them with some water,
toss them in some flour,
melt a pad of butter in a saucepan/frypan,
place those "dusted" apples onto the melted butter,
fill each core hole with a touch of brown sugar,
and a sprinkle of cinnamon

Cover and fry gently till tender,
adding a splash of water if needed
and voila ... you have a great side dish to schnitzel.
Easy Peasy!

Did your mom ever make
fried apples?

Till next time ...... just a few more sleeps!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Eating the Cookie Crumbs

Things are looking up!

Christmas music is playing,
snowflakes are falling,

The biscotti is made
(click on Baking Biscotti
for the recipe).
Having some tea and
eating the cookie crumbs.

The sugar cookie dough is 

the Nanaimo Bars are
hiding coolin'

the Nuts 'n Bolts
(with Bugles)
are made and
stashed away

Slowly but surely my
Christmas baking list
is getting checked off
I feel much better - smile.

12 more sleeps till 
the kids arrive home.

Spotted a Snow Bunting
in the back yard.

Feeling thankful....
looking up really works!

Now for decorating the tree,
finishing the shopping,
keeping the house in order
and staying positive.

How are you doing?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Blue Christmas

It's beginning to look
a lot like a Blue Christmas....

The twig tree is lit,
the planters have been filled
with boughs and sticks

The holly is in full bloom
and I'm ready to give the
inside decorating a go this weekend.

I'm taking Vee's advice and 
cranking the Christmas music loud
as I whirl around the house
making merry!!!!

There may even be some
sweet smells of baking cookies
wafting from the kitchen
before the day is 'ore!

Looking up and staying calm.

Perhaps it won't be so Blue after all.
(even though I love the colour blue)

Oh, but one more thing,
we'll be spending Christmas at
"Blue" Mountain ...

Monday, December 2, 2013

Lasagna Rolls with Turkey, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Spinach

I'm experimenting with some
Turkey casseroles for our
Christmas on the Ski Hill Dinner...

My plan is to roast the Turkey
the week ahead and then come up with
a make ahead casserole
to take with us to the slopes.

I really like this recipe and
it's a twist from regular lasagna.
I made a half batch of the recipe below
with delicious results:

12 - 14 whole wheat or spinach lasagna noodles (I used the Spinach ones)
 - cooked till tender, rinsed and placed flat on a damp tea towel
2 tsp. Olive Oil
1 small yellow onion - chopped
2 cloves garlic - minced
2 Cups leftover turkey (I used roasted chicken thighs) - chopped or shredded
1 - 2 Cups fresh spinach - chopped
1/2 Cup Sun dried Tomatoes - drained and chopped
1 small container low fat cottage cheese - pureed till smooth in blender
6 oz. goat cheese - softened
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese - divided
1/2 tsp. dried chili flakes or 1 jalapeno pepper chopped
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. sea salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
2 1/4 Cups tomato sauce (I used Tomato/Basil Pasta sauce)
1 - 2 Cups mozzarella cheese
Heat Olive Oil and saute the onion, add the minced garlic and saute for an additional 1/2 minute. 
Add the turkey/chicken and heat till warm. Transfer to a large bowl.
Stir in the spinach, sun dried tomatoes, 1/4 Cup of the Parmesan cheese, cottage and goat cheeses, seasonings and mix thoroughly.
Put 1 Cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9 X 13 baking pan.
Spread 3 heaping Tbsp. of the mixture onto each lasagna noodle. Roll from the short end as tightly as you can and place each roll seam side down onto tomato sauce layer in baking pan.
Top the rolls with the remaining tomato sauce.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 Cup of Parmesan Cheese and the mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil.
Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, remove the foil and continue baking for another 10 - 15 minutes.

Till next time .......... what are your favourite left-over turkey recipes?

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