Sunday, 31 January 2010

On being a Grandmother . . .

Grandmas are for stories
about things of long ago.
Grandmas are for caring
about all this things you know.
Grandmas are for rocking you
and singing you to sleep.
Grandmas are for giving you
nice memories to keep.
Grandmas are for knowing
all the things you're dreaming of...
But, the most important thing of all,
Grandmas are for love.
~Author Unknown

I became a Grandmother yesterday, for the fourth time!!! Yipee!! Little Luke was born at 3:37 pm Atlantic Standard Time, weighing in at a whopping 7 pounds 12 ounces. What a joyous occasion. I wish so much that I could fly right over and hold this wee little spirit in my arms, but alas . . . that will have to wait for July! It is a special feeling, this being a Grandmother. I am not sure I can describe it with any justice. You love your children and you do the best for them and are so proud of them . . . and just when you thought you couldn't love them or anyone else any more than you already do . . . they get married and begin families of their own and there are these new children to love and it is a love that is different than any other kind on earth. My heart just swells to overflowing with it, and I have no words that can adequately explain how I feel.

From the time my son told me that he and my lovely daughter in law were expecting a new wee one, I have loved little Luke, and prayed for him, as I do all my family. Now he is here safe and sound, I praise God for blessing us with this new baby boy, and entrusting his care to our family.

I don't have many memories of my own grandparents. My maternal Grandmother passed away when I was 6 and my memories of her are very limited, but beautiful all the same. My paternal Grandmother passed away when I was much older, but because of distance and a language barrier, I did not know her very well either.

My own mother was a much stronger presence in my children's lives as was their paternal Grandmother. I made a huge effort when they were growing up to make sure of this, with many visits home to visit, and telephone calls, etc. Now, here I am thousands of miles away from all of my grandchildren as well. I try to be as large a presence in their lives as I can be from over here, which isn't always easy, but I do hope that one day they will always know that I have loved each one of them dearly, and that they will have fond memories of me as the years pass. I do my best from afar, and hopefully it won't always be from afar . . .

Right now though, I am the present Grandma . . . the one who lives very far away, but who sends letters, cards and presents whenever I can. I make sock monkeys, and send them noisy drums and books that my sons can read to them, bed time Noddy's and other odds and sods.

I am also the praying Grandma . . . who covers them daily in her prayers and thoughts. Praying that they are safe, and warm and cared for . . . praying that they know how very much they are loved . . . by me . . . by their parents . . . by their Heavenly Father . . .

Praying that they are happy. Most of all.

I have four Grandson's now. Four lovely little boys entrusted into our family's care. I have held one in my arms, and I hold all four of them in my heart. Oh, I am so very, very blessed. You Grandmother's who are fortunate enough to live near your grandchildren, hug them especially close today, and give thanks to God for the priviledge of being able to do so. You are so very, very lucky.

I feel like celebrating! I think I will! Many thanks for all your prayers and happy thoughts over the past 24 hours. They surely helped!

Here's a little something that I cooked earlier this week. I thought it would be fun to share with you some of what I do at work. This was one of the main courses I cooked earlier this week. It went down a real treat with the ladies. This tasty dish would make the perfect celebratory meal . . . for Anniversaries, or special Birthday dinners, or . . . Valentines Dinner! It's not all that hard to do and with a bit of ahead of time prep, is ready and on the table in about 45 minutes! I hope you'll give it a go!

*Roasted Poussins with Cranberry Port Sauce*
Serves 8
Printable Recipe

A great entertaining dish, which is not only very elegant, but easy as most of the work can be done a day ahead of time.
Be warned however, that these need to be started the day before.

For the Poussins:
4 Poussins
4 tsp of finely chopped fresh sage
4 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 TBS unsalted butter, melted

For the Sauce:
2 cups low salt chicken broth
1/3 cup ruby port
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 TBS butter
1 TBS minced shallots
1 TBS flour
salt and black pepper to taste

First prepare the poussins. Using poultry shears, remove the backbones, by cutting along both sides. Set each half onto a cutting board and flatten by pressing down on the breast bone with your palms. With a chef's knife, split each in two along the breast bone. REmove the last two joints on each wing. Discard any deposits of fat. Arrange the poussin halves on a large rimmed baking sheet, so that they are not touching. Sprinkle with the sage, thyme and 1 TBS of sea salt and 1 TBS freshly ground black pepper. Rub this into the skin. Refrigerate, uncovered over night. Remove from the fridge one hour before you are ready to start cooking them.

Place the cranberries in a bowl. Cover with the port. Leave to macerate overnight.

The next day, about 45 minutes before you are ready to serve the poussins, pre-heat the oven to 220*C/450*F. Brush the melted butter lightly over the poussins. Roast in the heated oven for approximately 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfways through the cooking time. Let rest at least 5 minutes before serving.

While the poussins are roasting, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until tender. Stir in the flour, and cook, whisking gently until it forms a thick paste. Strain the port from the cranberries through a seive into the pan. Whisk for about 30 seconds and then slowly whisk in the broth, adjusting the heat to maintain a steady simmer. Simmer, whisking occasionally until the sauce is reduced by about one third. This should take 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the reserved cranberries and season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Just before serving, pour any accumulated juices from the poussins into the sauce. Serve the poussins drizzled with some of the sauce and pass any extra at the table.

There is a delicious Creamy Parsnip Soup with Ginger and Cardamom on offer today over on The English Kitchen!

Saturday, 30 January 2010

The heart remembers . . .

Our minds might forget . . . but the heart remembers everything. All the joyful times, and the agonies, the hopes and . . . the regrets.

In the depths of a January winter, when the ground lays covered in a blanket of snow . . . the heart remembers April, with daffodils bursting into bloom, hearing on the springtime wind and showers, the sweetest song of all.

The memories of Youth's shining hour are hidden in it's depths, likewise love's golden day. The passing of time may fade the colours and the glory turn to grey, but something of the magic of those times lingers . . . never to depart . . . deep down in the secret places of your quiet heart.

You may think you have forgotten more than you can remember . . . but, in truth, the heart remembers all. Suddenly . . . with the whiff of a remembered scent from long ago . . . a few notes of a favourite melody . . . some strange and wonderful thing your heart will recall . . . something buried and from far away . . . a kiss, a smile, a melody . . . a dream of . . . yesterday.

Yes . . . the heart remembers everything, although the mind forgets.

My sweet daughter in law Anne had her water break yesterday and she went into labour. Still no news to report however. (This is a picture of her cuddling our oldest grandson, Gabriel) I am trusting that no news is good news and I'll quite happily report when the wee one has arrived safe and sound!

This is an old fashioned family type of recipe that I am sharing with you today. It is one of my pasta indulgences when I am longing for home comforts. I could eat a whole casserole dish of this all by myself. Todd hates pasta as you know . . . but that's never a problem for me, coz it just means I have more to enjoy all by myself, coz as you all know. I pasta!!!

*Macaroni with Tomatoes and Cheese*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

This is one of my favourite macaroni dishes. It's old fashioned and simple and very homey. This is a real pleaser.

8 ounces macaroni, cooked and drained
a knob of butter
8 ounces cheddar cheese, cut into cubes
1 small onion, peeled and minced
2 cups chopped tomatoes, with their juices
salt and pepper to taste
2 slices of sturdy white bread, buttered and cut into cubes

As soon as you have drained the macaroni, put it hot back into the pot. Add the knob of butter and stir to melt. Stir in the cheddar cheese, minced onion and chopped tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Stir in the pieces of bread and pour the whole thing into a butter shallow baking dish. Pour enough milk over top just so that you can barely see it through the macaroni.

Heat the oven to 160*C/325*F. Bake the macaroni for 35 to 40 minutes until bubbling and a bit browned. Delicious. Serve warm.

Over on The English Kitchen this morning . . . scrummy Gingerbread!

Friday, 29 January 2010

Friday Musings . . .

A little laughter, a little song.

A little teardrop
When things go wrong.
A little calm,
And a little strife.
A little loving . . .
And that is LIFE.
~Helen Steiner Rice

Oh, I do love the poems of Helen Steiner Rice. She always manages to say things perfectly with wit, wisdom, sensitivity and passion. Born in the year 1900, she was acclaimed as "America's beloved inspirational poet laureate". No stranger to sorrow, her father died when she was 18 from the Spanish Flu, and her banker husband committed suicide after the great Wall Street crash . . . somehow she was able to rise above her sorrows and penn wonderful poems filled with faith and inspiration to all who read them. The strong faith she had in God and the ability she had to express deep emotion have given her poems timeless appeal. For millions of readers the world over, her poetry is a living testimony to the reality of God’s action in human lives. She died in 1981, but her poetry still brings much pleasure and comfort to all who read it. I don't think there is a person alive who hasn't read something that she has written and loved it, or been able to apply it to their own lives in some way. She wrote from the heart and that always appeals to the heart, don't you think?

I am right at the pinnacle of my busy work weekend. It all kicks off today. It's quite exciting really. I just love it when I get to stretch my abilities like this. My hip and back complain about it all, but I am thankfully able to work through the pain most days. It is pouring bucket loads out there this morning, but I am just thankful it isn't snow, which it could so easily be this time of year! If I haven't been visiting your pages like I normally do, don't think I have forgotten you. I am just uber busy this week and haven't had a lot of time for blog hopping. If you haven't done so already, please hop over to my Blossom Times page to get in on the One World One Heart Giveaway over there. It's going on until February 15th.

And with that I must dash! I hope you all have a great Friday! I won't go without leaving you with a tasty recipe though. Who out there doesn't like a tasty burger. These are simple, but delicious. Adapted from the delicious cookery book, which celebrates that great American tradition, The American Diner Cookbook by Elizabeth McKeon & Linda Everett. (A treasure trove of roadside epicurean delights found on diner menus across America!)

*Deluxe Burgers*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

Who needs Burger King when you can make these at home!

1 1/2 pounds ground round
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp garlic salt
4 tsp mayonnaise
2 tsp mustard
4 hamburger buns
1 medium tomato sliced

Blend the ground round, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice together in a bowl, mixing thoroughly. Shape into 4 equal sized patties. (Here's a tip. If you want them to turn out nicely flattened when cooked, make the middles thinner than the outsides but indenting a groove in the middle of the pattie with your thumbs)

Heat a non stick skillet until very hot. Sprinkle garlic salt in the centre. Place the patties in the hot skillet. Reduce the heat to medium and sear both sides. Reduce the heat once more and cook for 3 minutes or until done through as you like them.

Spread the bottoms of burger buns with the mayonnise and mustard. Top each with a burger. Place the lettuce and tomato on top and serve.

Note - I also like to serve some thinly sliced onions and sweet pickle relish with mine. A slice of process cheese slapped on top is also very delicious!

This was a Marbled Fudge Cake. If you'd like the tasty recipe, hop on over to The English Kitchen to check it out! mmmmm . . . tis very scrummy yummy!

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Thursday Thoughts . . .

"So long as we are loved by others I should say that we are almost indispensable; and no man is useless while he has a friend."

~Robert Louis Stevenson

Of all the many blessings in this world, I would count the gift of friendship as being the greatest one of all. I've had a great many friends in my lifetime, each one of them very special to me in unique and wonderful ways.

I have lost touch with some friends through the years, but they still rest in my heart. I take the memories of them out every once in a while, and I revisit them in my mind. I wonder where they are, and what they are doing . . . and how they are doing. They are still very well loved by me.

Some friends are kindred spirit friends. You know the kind of friend I am speaking about . . . the minute you meet, there is a spark of recognition . . . I am not sure what it is, but . . . you feel as if you have always known this person, and that . . . although you have been lost to each other for a space of time, you have finally come together again. These are truly special friends. I do believe that these are eternal friends . . . our friendships having been forged on that special plane of spiritual existance in our lives before we were born to this physical life. Perhaps we vowed in the heavens to find each other again on the earth? I don't know for sure . . . but it is a marvelous thing when we meet again and our souls touch once more . . . These are rare and precious gems.

There are real life friends and invisible friends. Real life friends are the ones you meet and see in real time. They are your neighbours, and acquaintances from work, or church, or every day life. You can touch them and feel them . . . and look into each other's eyes. Invisible friends are those that live much further away. Perhaps you have never actually even met in person, but your lives have touched and you meet together whenever you can through e-mail, or chat, letters, or on the telephone. These friends are every bit as special as real life friends. You love them all.

I've often heard it said that friends are family you get to choose for yourself, and I believe that is true, at least that's the way I feel about them. My friends enrich and bless my life in countless ways. They are so very dear to me. I hope they know just how much! If you are my friend, then know now and always, that you are carried around in my heart in a very special way and I love you very much.

"A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

These are lovely little English Muffin pizzas. You can serve them as individual pizzas, or you can use them as tasty little hors D'ouevres the next time you have people over. In any case they are delicious and very easy to make. I roast my own garlic for these. I love roasted garlic. It is so mellow and rich. If you can't find cambozola you can use brie, or even a mozzarella/cheddar mix. You want a rich and flavourful cheese for these.

*Mini Pizzas with Cambozola, Roasted Garlic, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Basil*
Makes 12 mini pizzas, or 48 appetizer wedges
Printable Recipe

Don't you just think that the English Muffin is the perfect mini pizza crust? I do! I roast my own garlic for these. Don't let the amount put you off. Roasted garlic is very mellow and delicious!

3/4 cup oil packed sun dried tomatoes, drained well
and juilienned
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp black pepper
4 large heads of garlic
sea salt and black pepper, fresh ground
2 TBS olive oil
6 English muffins, split in half
6 ounces Cambozola cheese at room temperature
1/4 cup julienned fresh basil

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F.

Place the sun dried tomatoes in a small bowl. Add the balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with some black pepper. Leave to marinate.

Place the garlic heads onto a large sheet of aluminium foil. Cut the tops of off each horizontally about 1 inch down. Drizzle with the olive oil. Scatter with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring the foil up over top and seal the garlic iinside. Bake in the heated oven until the garlic is lightly brown and soft. This should take 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cooled, remove the garlic cloves from the skins by squeezing from the bottom of each clove. Place in a bowl and mash with the back of a spoon.

To assemble the pizzas. Increase the oven temperature to 190*C/375*F. Spread 1 1/2 tsp of the roasted garlic over each muffin half. Top each with 1 tablespoon of the Cambozola cheese and 1 TBS of the sundried tomatoes, distributing them evenly over the garlic. Place on a baking sheet. Bake on the bottom rack of the heated oven until the cheese melts and the pizzas become crisp. This will take from 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle each finished pizza with some basil and serve.

Cut each into 4 wedges if you are serving them as appetizers.

Note - you can purchase the roasted garlic ready made if you wish. This does make a lot, but it comes in really handy for all sorts of things. Try mashing a little of it into your mashed potatoes next time you make them, or adding it to soups, stews or sauces. You can freeze any that isn't used by placing it in small dabs on a lined baking tray. Once frozen, drop all the dabs into a zip lock baggie and then you need only take out as many as you need at any given time.

Over on The English Kitchen today, Sticky Lemon and Ginger Chicken Stir Fry. Delicious!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

If . . .

I was sitting in church the other morning and I got to thinking. I know . . . I should have been paying closer attention to the talks that were being given, and I did for the most part . . . but for a few minutes my mind did wander . . .

I thought to myself . . .

"If you knew that today was going to be the last day of your life would you do anything differently."

The answer was of course! There are things left unsaid that I would try to get said in time. There are things I would do that needed to be done, and people to see and speak to that I needed to speak with. My smiles would be a little sweeter and my deeds a little dearer. I think my priorities would completely change and suddenly what seemed so important would no longer matter all that much, with other more precious things taking their place. Each moment would count in a way it had never counted before . . .

And then I thought to myself . . .

"What are you waiting for? Why should it take the thought of losing all that is dear to you, for it matter more?"

And I declared to myself that I would begin to live each day as if it were going to be my last. We never know how many days we will have for sure. We don't always get notice that they are going to end. The end can oftimes come upon us very quickly and without warning. Lucky are those who have warning . . . they have the precious opportunity to dot all their "i's" and cross all their "t's".

Then I thought of that song about the Saviour, If the Saviour Stood Beside Me."

If the Savior stood beside me, would I do the things I do?
Would I think of His commandments and try harder to be true?
Would I follow His example? Would I live more righteously,
If I could see the Savior standing nigh, watching over me?

If the Savior stood beside me, would I say the things I say?
Would my words be true and kind if He were never far away?
Would I try to share the gospel? Would I speak more reverently
If I could see the Savior standing nigh, watching over me?

If the Savior stood beside me, would my thoughts be clean and pure?
Would His presence give me strength and hope, and courage to endure?
Would His counsel guide my actions? Would I choose more worthily
If I could see the Savior standing nigh, watching over me?

If the Savior stood beside me, would I often kneel to pray?
Would I listen to the Spirit's voice, and hasten to obey?
Would I count my many blessings? Would I praise Him gratefully
If I could see the Savior standing nigh watching over me?

f the Savior stood beside me, would I comfort those in need?
Would I try to show the Savior's love in every word and deed?
Would I give to those who hunger? Would I serve more willingly
If I could see the Savior standing nigh, watching over me?

He is always near me, though I do not see Him there
And because He loves me dearly, I am in His watchful care
So I'll be the kind of person that I know I'd like to be
If I could see the Savior standing nigh, watching over me.
~Sally DeForest

I think the answers to both those questions are one and the same . . . and the answer to both is yes, I would do things a lot differently . . .

And so . . . I am.

By the way I am having a Giveaway over on Blossom Time Creations. Why not pop on over and get in on the fun! It's a world wide annual blogging giveaway event and there are also links there to a list which gives you the links to several hundred pages of other creative bloggers who are also hosting giveaways. It's phenomenal!

Here's a tasty salad that I made at the weekend. I love coleslaw and I have to say . . . here in the UK, it's pretty horrible. Way too much mayonnaise, and not enough flavour. I Like to make my own, and this version is one of our favourites. I love the sweetness that the raisins impart, along with the tangy crunch of the apple and the salty bite of the peanuts. All together they just are pretty wonderful. Todd doesn't normally eat coleslaw, but he loves this!

*Firehouse Salad*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

A different type of coleslaw, with raisins, apples and roasted peanuts! Delicious! (If you don't happen to like peanuts, you can substitute cashews for them with great success.)

1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 large head green cabbage, shredded
2 large apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1/4 cup roastged peanuts, chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 TBS vinegar
3 tsp sugar
salt to taste
white pepper to taste

Mix the raisins and hot water together in a small bowl. Set aside for 30 minutes. At the end of that time, drain them well and place into a large bowl. Add the cabbage, apples, and peanuts. Toss together thoroughly.

In a separate bowl blend together the mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar. Season to taste with some salt and white pepper. Toss this dressing with the cabbage mixture. Cover and chill for several hours before serving.

Over on The English Kitchen today . . . Jacket Potatoes with Cream and Walnuts.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The Parable of the Pear Tree . . .

Once upon a time, there was a man who had four sons. He wanted each of them to learn to judge things carefuly, so he sent each one on a questio to look at a pear tree in a far and distant land. The first son went in Winter, the second son in Spring, the third son in Summer and the youngest son in Autumn.

After they had returned home, he asked each to describe what they had seen.

The first son went and came back, stating that the tree was ugly and twisted, and of no possible use.

The second son, upon his return, said that it was covered with green buds and just full of promise.

Upon the third son's return, he reported that it was filled with sweet and fragrant blossoms, and very beautiful indeed.

The last son disagreed with all of them and related that it's branches were heavy with ripe fruit.

The father listened to each of them carefully upon their returns. When the last one had gone and come and spoken . . . he called them all together. He pointed out to them that each of them had been correct in their observations of the tree, but that they had each seen only one season of the tree's life. He then went on to explain that we cannot judge others or circumstances until all the pieces of the puzzle are available to us, to present a complete picture. We must never judge others too quickly, or on the basis of one encounter. To do so is unfair and unwise. All living things should be evaluated only after observation over a course of time, and only after repeated careful inspection. You just never know when something which looks dry and ugly will turn into something beautiful, which bears wonderful and delicious fruit.

I think this parable is a wonderful little reminder to us that we shouldn't give up when we are going through the Winters in our lives . . . for in doing so, we risk missing the promise of Spring, the beauty of Summer, and the fulfillment of Autumn. ☺

A tasty recipe here today, French in origin. It uses an old fashioned cut of beef . . . the brisket. Slowly braised with carrots and onions, it's very easy to execute and always turns out tender and moist. All you need to serve with it is perhaps some mashed potatoes and a salad, and you will have a meal fit for a King. At least it was fit for the King of this castle!

*Boeuf Aux Carrotes*
(Braised Beef Brisket with Carrots)
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

This is a lovely meal that requires very little effort. You end up with meltingly tender beef with a rich broth, sweet and buttery in flavour from the carrots. I served it with a celeriac/potato mash and some lightly steamed haricots verts. (green beans)

2 TBS extra virgin olive oil

3 pounds of rolled beef brisket

1 pound of carrots, peeled and trimmed

2 ounces bacon lardons

1 onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 fresh bay leaf

1 sprig of fresh thyme

1 small leafy celery stalk

2 cups dry white wine, or unsweetened apple juice

Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat 1 TBS of the olive oil in a large roaster on top of the stove. (Use one with a fitted lid) Add the brisket and brown it slowly on all sides. Once browned, remove it to a plate, salt it generously and then set it aside.

Heat the remaining oil in the roaster and add the carrots, 1 tsp of salt and cook, stirring them occasionally, until they are browned. This will take from 3 to 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Put the lardoons and onions into the roaster and then cook them over high heat until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, bay leaf, thyme, celery, beef and carrots. Pour in the wine or juice, and add water almost to cover. Bring to the boil. Skim off any foam that may surface, then top with the lid and roast in a pre-heated oven at 150*C/300*F. Roast for 3 hours, turning the meat over at least once during the cooking time.

Remove from the oven and take the meat out of the liquid. Let rest for about 15 minutes before cutting in thin slices to serve, accompanied with the carrots and lovely juices spooned over top. Delicious!

There are some scrummy Parmesan and Pinenut Muffins over on The English Kitchen this morning!

Monday, 25 January 2010

The Simple Woman's Day Book . . .

FOR TODAY, January 25th, 2009 ...

Outside My Window...

All is dark, quiet and still. I slept last night, the whole night through without moving a muscle. That is the first night I have done that in a while. I think I was asleep by 9:30 and I didn't wake up until 4:30. I usually wake up at least twice during the night, so that was very good that I slept right through, quite un-disturbed.

I am thinking...
About the miracles we see coming out of Haiti daily . . . like the man they found alive just yesterday. So many day's after the earthquake . . . how very un-expected. And he praises God for his rescue, just as he should. I wonder . . . if more people were faced with "crisis" types of situations would they turn their hearts to God? Is that what it takes for a people to begin to rest in Him once more? Pity that, if it is so . . . I am thankful for a heart that seeks Him in both the good times and the bad.

I am thankful for...
We booked our plane tickets yesterday afternoon for our trip to Canada in July. I am so very thankful that we have been able to do that. It gives me something very sweet to look forward to in the coming months. We will leave here on July 1st and be away until the 23rd. I don't think I'll be able to set up blog posts for that whole time, but I may be able to set up a few surprises before I go. We shall see. In the meantime I am so very thankful that we now have firm plans to go to Canada and that I will be able to see my family, if only for a short time!

From the kitchen...
There's still some cranberry cake left from the other night. It just gets better and better. I am quite sure you could use blueberries instead, or even raspberries. Mmmm. . . . the thought of raspberries sounds so very good. There are some pains aux chocolate left as well. Other than that, not a lot in the way of baked goodies. I must be slipping!! ☺

I am wearing...
My red and white flannel Christmas Nightie. Oh, it is sooooo cosy and warm. I just love it!

I am creating...

Here is a little peak at what I did yesterday afternoon. Of course you can see the full one on Blossom Time Creations. I had done the sketch weeks ago and only just now got her painted. I also have a doll almost finished. Just the eyes, stockings and shoes left to do now, and she is ready for her trip to New York. I have orders for another 3 as well, so that will make my spare time fingers very busy over the coming next few weeks!

I am going...
I have not a lot planned this week. I've a very heavy week on at work, with several luncheons, dinner parties, a Christening luncheon and a special brunch. Most of my time will be spent on the shopping and preparations for those. I do have Seminary on Thursday evening, but that pretty much will be it!

I am reading...

The Recipe Club, by Andrea Israel & Nancy Garfinkel

A delightful novel about food and friendship which spans several decades in time. Valerie and Lily have been friends since childhood, when they created a very special club, with just two members, in which they exchange recipes . . . it is called The Recipe Club. As the book opens they have been estranged due to some mystery unknown to the reader (you). Valerie's mother has passed away and in going through her mother's papers she comes across the letters and recipes that she and Lily had exchanged as children. This prompts her to get in touch again and they begin a guarded, written conversation with each other once more.

I have only just begun this book, but it is delightfully written. You feel like you are reading someone's special diary as it is written almost completely via e-mails and recipes shared by these two wonderful characters. Very well written, it shows the spirit and character of these two special lives and the heart of their special friendship. There's also more than just a few recipes there as well!!!

I am hoping...
That I can get all the things that I need to get done, done this week, and that everything goes smoothly at work! Wish me luck!

I am hearing...
It is silent in here, save the ticking of the clock and the tap tapping of my fingers on the keyboard. I have the little heater on as well, so that is humming. It is a bit chilly in the mornings and it helps to take some of it away and warm things up.

Around the house...
All is normal. I tidied up the table on Saturday and it's cluttered again. Oh my, it doesn't take me long . . . .

One of my favorite things...
Is talking to people in my family! I got to speak to my sister via the telephone yesterday afternoon and it was soooo good. I had not talked to her in ages. It was nice to her her voice and words. We have always been very close but these past couple of years we have not spoken that much. We both lead such busy lives. At one time we spoke on the telephone each and every morning, for at least an hour. Ahh, those were special days. I treasure them in my heart. She told me the most peculiar story yesterday. She and I used to do a lot of craft sales together. We made dolls and teddies and other things to sell. One day recently she was in a Charity Shop and she spied a doll that she had made and sold! She knew it was hers as the tag was still on it! Of course she bought it, but how peculiar that you would come across something that you had created in a place like that and be able to by it back!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...
Work, Seminary, cooking and baking. Would be nice to find a little play in there as well. We'll just have to wait and see how it all turns out!!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Snow drops from the garden. The perfect reminder that Spring is just around the corner. Tis really only weeks away . . . . or at least we can pretend that it is. We've only the rest of January to get through and the few weeks of February and then it truly will only be a few weeks away. Crocus, and primrose . . . daffodils . . . lilacs and the cherry blossom, the beautiful cherry blossom . . . Oh how very much we have to look forward to!!

And there you have it, my Simple Woman's Day Book for today. Don't forget to hop on over to the Simple Woman to check out the other day book entries! (Or better yet, do a simple day book entry yourself! It's not that hard and I am betting you would enjoy it!)

I made this simple, yet very tasty lemon dessert yesterday afternoon. Todd is not overly fond of lemon desserts, but he did like this. Me, I love lemon. I could eat it in any way shape or form! I loved this. It was rich and tasty and very quick and easy to do!

*Lemon Pudding*
Serves 6
Printable Recipe

A delicious lemon pudding that is light and rich and topped by fluffy sweet meringue. Just perfect for when you want the flavours of lemon meringue, but without the hassle of baking a pie crust.

2 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup sugar
3 ounces cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup double cream
1/3 tsp cream of tartar
2 TBS sugar

Beat the egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Whisk in the 1/3 cup of sugar, the cream cheese and the sour cream. Blend until smooth. Whisk in the lemon juice and the zest.

Place n the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Cook and stir until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Pre-heat the oven to 205*C/425*F. Whip the cream until thick. Fold this into the lemon mixture. Divide the lemon mixture between 6 custard cups or ramekins.

Beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture forms stiff peaks. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the lemon pudding in the ramekins. Place the ramekins on a baking tray and then bake in the oven for about 6 minutes, until the meringue topping is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool completely before serving.

There's a deliciously Creamy Potato, Onion and Cheese Soup over on The English Kitchen today!

PS - today is the first day of the One World One Heart Giveaway blogging event. TO learn more hop on over to Blossom Time Creations where I am giving away a beautiful doll.