Sunday, 31 October 2010

Marie's Sunday Six

Welcome to my smilemakers for October 31st, 2010. Happy Halloween!! I thought where it was Halloween I would share with you six Happy Halloween Memories, memories that bring a smile to my face and a warmth to my heart. Who knows . . . some of them may even be the same as your own!

As a child growing up in the 1960's and 70's it just would not have been Halloween without Charlie Brown and The Great Pumpkin being on the telly at least once. It was all a part of what made Halloween so very special. Ever the outsider, Linus waits in the town pumpkin patch for the arrival of The Great Pumpkin. He sits faithfully in the pumpkin patch with Sally (who is only there to be with him). Meanwhile, the other kids plan to go trick or treating. Much to my delight, Charlie Brown ruins his ghost costume by cutting too many holes into the sheet. Adding more humor is Peppermint Patty (dressed as a witch) scaring Marcy senseless. As misfortune would have it, Sally unloads on Linus, blaming him for missing Halloween. Long after Sally has left, Linus sleeps in the patch until Lucy comes and takes him inside (Lucy does have a soft spot). I still love watching it to this day.

Jack O Lanterns! I love the Halloween Tradition of Jack O Lanterns! I love everything about them . . . from the picking out of the perfect pumpkin, to the spreading of the newspapers on the dining room table. Drawing the perfect Jack O Lantern face and carving it out. The way it smelled . . . all pumpkiny and wet newspapery . . . the way each year we declared that . . . "This year's Jack O Lantern was the best ever!" The smell of burning pumpkin and rotting leaves that permeated the cold autumn air as we raced through our town from house to house . . . I loved it as a child, I loved it as an adult when I had children of my own.

It's not done much over here in the UK, but in North America most people decorate the outsides of their homes for Halloween. Bats and spiderwebs, Jack O Lanterns, pumpkin lights, scary music. Everything from small and simple to grande and ostentatious! Halloween Decorations run the whole gamut! It was one of the things I loved most about Halloween when I was a child. My mom never went in for much decorating, but I loved to decorate for my own children. It was fun! I loved seeing everyone's as a child and I loved to see them when I had my own children and would walk them through the neighbourhood. You really have to admire some people's ingenuity and decorating talents!

Dressing up and trick or treating! When I was a child we would have a Halloween party at school and we would dress up for that on the afternoon of Halloween, always assuming it fell on a school day. If it was on the weekend, we'd dress up and have the party on Friday afternoon. It was fun seeing all the other costumes and having a practice run before the night's trick or treating. I can still remember the sweaty feeling on my face after hours of breathing behind the plastic of my mask . . .the weight of my trick or treat bag . . . the excited voices singing out "Trick or Treat!" . . . the horror of someone actually wanting you to sing a song or some such to get your treat . . . getting home afterwards with tired legs, sweaty heads and faces, dumping the candy out on the living room carpet so my parents could go through it with us and the picking of which treat out of them all that we were going to have that night before we went to bed. It was all pretty wonderful!

Halloween Molasses Kisses! Yes, I am one of those wierdo's that actually love them! What I wouldn't give to have one now! They were sticky and gooey and made for a good jaw exercise! I just loved the flavour! They tasted like Halloween!! I loved BB Bats too!!

Bobbing for Apples!! I love Bobbing for Apples. Does anything taste any better than a wet apple, fresh from the bobbing tub??? I think not! One year, when my children were growing up, we hosted a Halloween Party at our house. I believe my husband was away in Croatia that year so I thought it would make the evening more special for the kids with their dad away. We decorated the house all up and our costumes were fabulous. There was lots of food and treats and kids, and we bobbed for apples in our whirlpool tub! It was so much fun! I hope that I built some happy memories for them that they can now look back on with smiles in their hearts . . . just like the smile I have in my own with the remembrance of that one special Halloween!

There is so much more about Halloween that I love, so many Happy Halloween memories for me. It wasn't evil or seen as such. It was good, clean fun, and exciting. Nobody worried about anyone poisoning you, or kidnapping you . . . we knew who all our neighbours were and we felt happy and carefree and very festive. I am very grateful for my Halloween memories and for having been born at a time when I could build some. I wish you all a very Happy Halloween filled with smiles and happy memories and the opportunity to build some fresh ones!!!

My mom always had a difficult time getting us to eat supper on Halloween night. We were always a bit stuffed from our parties at school and too excited to want to settle down and eat anything. Supper was always something simple and quick. Here's a tasty, quick supper that fits the bill perfectly, even if it's not Halloween! You can multiply it very easily to feed more than two people and can even cook several in more than one skillet! It doesn't even have to be Halloween. This goes down a real treat anytime!

*Potato Wedge Tortilla for Two*
Serves 2
Printable Recipe

I like to use a mature cheddar cheese on this. It has a lot of flavour and a little goes a long way so I don’t have to use very much. This is a really nice light supper and very quick to put together.

1 TBS sunflower oil
1 large potato, scrubbed, dried and cut into 8 wedges
(There is no need to peel it, the extra texture from the skin is lovely)
1 small onion, peeled, halved and cut into wedges
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
6 eggs
A large handful of grated mature cheddar cheese (about 1 cup)
Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a non stick frying pan and add the potato wedges. Cook over medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown and cooked all the way through. Remove from the skillet and keep warm.

Add the onion to the skillet and fry it until it is soft and golden, then add the red pepper and cook until it is softened as well. I like to turn up the heat a bit here and let them get a bit browned on the edges. Return the potatoes to the pan.

Beat the eggs together, seasoning them really well with salt and pepper to taste. Pour this over the potato, pepper and onion in the frying pan. Push it around a bit so that it fills the whole pan around the vegetables. Cook over medium heat until it looks quite set. I lift the edges with a wooden spatula from time to time to let the uncooked egg flow underneath.When it is looking almost done, scatter the grated cheese over top and flash it all under a heated grill (broiler) until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling. Remove and let sit for a few minutes before cutting into wedges to serve.

In The English Kitchen today, Caramel Apple Baby Cakes!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

The Parable of the Redwood Tree

I read a story the other day about a tree. It was not just any tree . . . it was a giant redwood tree! ( My friend Jo has been to California and seen these redwood trees. They are absolutely HUGE. If you ever want to feel really small, just go see those trees!)

This particular giant redwood nad stood, proudly aloof, for over 400 years. Rain and wind had beat upon it's bark. Periods of drought had dried up it's sap. It was said that it had been struck by lightening at least a dozen times. Rumour had it that even a powerful earthquake had failed to dislodge it. One day though, not so long ago, that redwood tree crashed to the ground without warning, making some thunder of it's own.

What could have caused something as majestic as this tree to suddenly just keel over??? The simple answer is that somewhere below it's bark, some tiny beetles had riddled the timber, thus accomplishing in secret what tempest, drought, lightening storms and earthquakes had failed to do in over 4 hundred years.

One could apply this parable, which I am calling the Parable of the Redwood tree, to our own lives. Satan, the great deceiver, would have us believe that little lies and dishonesties . . . small ways in which we are tempted to do or to give less than our best . . . that they are unimportant and of no report . . .

The sad truth is, they gather and collect beneath our skin, deep in our hearts, and they can bring us down like that mighty redwood tree, in a thunderous thump . . . without warning.

We must all beware the little beetles that would riddle our timbers and bring us down.

And that's what I have to share with you today!

Todd is off to spend the day in the Temple today with our friends Audrey and Peter. We can't both go at the same time at the moment, because of little Mitzie. She can't be left alone for that long yet, so we have to go at different times. I have a Sunday School lesson and a sharing time to work on anyways!

This muffin recipe is one that I have had in my big blue binder for a very long time. These are rich and moist and chock full of sweet apple, and with that crunchy sweet and lightly spiced topping they are real pleasers!

*Norsk Apple Muffins*
Makes 12 large or about 5 jumbo!
Printable Recipe

This recipe is one I have had in my big blue binder for a very long time. So long, that I can no longer remember where it came from. You will love the delicate hint of cinnamon and lemon and the moistness from the apples, not to mention the golden crunch of toasted almonds and cinnamony sugar on top!

1 ½ cups plain flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
The finely grated zest of one lemon
1 medium apple, cored, peeled and finely chopped (1 cup)
For The Topping:
¼ cup Demerara sugar
¼ cup toasted flaked almonds
½ tsp of cinnamon

Pre-heat the oven to 190*C/375*F/gas mark 5. Grease a muffin tin, or line it with paper liners, and set it aside.

Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and creamy. Beat in the eggs and the lemon zest. Continue to beat until well incorporated.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in another bowl and then stir it into the creamed mixture just until moistened. Gently fold in the chopped apple.

Spoon into the prepared pan, dividing it evenly amongst the cups. Sprinkle the sugar and almonds evenly on top of each muffin and dust each with some cinnamon.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes before removing from the pans to a wire rack to finish cooling.

In The English Kitchen today, there's Chunky Marmalade Muffins! I guess it's a muffin type of day!

Friday, 29 October 2010

A Hundred Million Miracles . . .

Todd and I are both big fans of the old Musicals. We have a fair collection now and we often like to sit down in the evening and watch one.

One of my favourites (next to Brigadoon) is Flower Drum Song. This 1961 musical is an adaption by Rogers and Hammersteine (Film musical genius's) of the 1957 novel of the same name by Chinese American author C Y Lee. Unusual for it's time, the film featured a nearly all Chinese American cast!

It might not be the best known of American Musicals, but it does contain one of my favourite Musical songs. In "A Hundred Million Miracles" the cast recount just a few of the amazing things that happen each day. Amazing things like the hatching of an egg and the fact that, even after all these millions of years, the sun still rises each morning.

A hundred million miracles might seem a bit much for us to expect to collect each day . . . even on a sunny warm day!! I'm quite sure though, that if we tried, we could, each one of us, collect at least six or seven!!

Six or seven miracles each day! Each one helping to lighten our loads and brighten our moods! That can't be bad can it?

What more could a person want in this life than a day filled with miracles . . . we only need to open our eyes and hearts and look around us. I'm quite sure we may even find more than that.

Here’s something else that is good. I made these delicious omelettes for our supper on Thursday night. It's a Delia recipe, from her How To Cook series, pumped up with my own additions and changes…so I guess that really makes it mine! Enjoy!

*Cheese and Mushroom Souffled Omelette*
Serves 2
Printable Recipe

I have never had a problem making a souffle . . . I guess I am one of the lucky ones! This is the next best thing. It’s easy, (really!!) and very quickly put together once you have all the ingredients assembled.

6 large eggs
2 ounces of mature cheddar, grated
2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
2 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
1 heaping TBS freshly snipped chives (I use my kitchen scissors for this)
1 1/2 ounces unsalted butter
½ pound fresh white mushrooms, sliced
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Melt ½ ounce of the butter in a small skillet and fry the mushrooms, starting over high heat and reducing the heat once they get going. Try not to stir much at the beginning. Stirring brings out the water in the mushrooms and they end up stewing instead of frying. Once browned, set aside.

Pre-heat the grill on your oven to it’s highest setting.

Separate the eggs into two bowls. Put the yolks into a smaller bowl and the whites into a scrupulously clean larger bowl. (I separate the whites into a smaller bowl, one a time first, before adding them to the rest. That way if a yolk breaks I haven’t contaminated the whole bowl of whites) Put a 10 inch skillet on to a low heat on the stove to begin warming it.

Beat the egg yolks with a fork. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk the egg whites with an electric hand beater until they form soft peaks. Put the remaining butter into the heated pan and turn up the heat.

Fold the egg yolks into the egg whites, adding all the cheddar, half the Parmesan and the chives at the same time.

Once the butter is foaming, tip the whole omelette mixture into the heated pan and give it a bit of a shake to even the mixture out. Let it cook for a couple of minutes. (Run a flexible spatula around the edges to loosen it and check if the underside is getting browned) Sprinkle the grated Gruyere all over the top and then spoon the fried mushrooms on top of that.

Slide the omelette, in the pan, under the grill and let it cook for several more minutes, until the cheese is melted and oozing and the top is tinged golden brown. Remove from the oven. Run the flexible spatula around the edge again, to loosen it again….then slide the omelette carefully onto a heated plate, folding and easing one half of the omelette over the other. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese and serve hot, divided in two.

And in The English Kitchen today, a little something I have cooked up for the Missionaries, Chicken Lasagne!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

The winds of change . . .

Looking out into the garden today all seems a chaos of leaves and branches blown and scattered all over the place. It's always the same after a spell of windy Autumn weather . . . it's hard to know just where to start cleaning up!

You'll often find that a day or two later though, that the wind will change direction, a new wind will blow through . . . and all those scattered leaves will be whipped up into neat little piles . . . sorta . . . and be laying against a wall or hedge in the garden . . .

Life can be like that sometimes don't you think? Sudden change can whip into our lives, bring chaos and problems that seem forbidding and insurmountable at the time. But often . . . if we wait, life will settle down, order will return and things may even be better than before.

That's the way it has been for us this year . . . it began early iin the year with lots of upset and uncertainty but has settled down now into something quite comfortable and yes . . . things are better in many ways than they were before.

Change is often difficult and can be very painful when we are going through it all . . . and we may think we'll never see the light at the end of the tunnel, but there is always light, and the tide always turns. Faith and perseverence are always rewarded, and sometimes in the most unexpected ways!

We should always, as the American aviator and explorer Richard E Byrd said, "Give wind and tide a chance to change."

Do you know what this is? It's a Russell Hobbs original K1 Kettle!! Fascinating looking isn't it!
Russell Hobbs is celebrating it's 50th anniversary by launching a worldwide search for an original K1 kettle. They are using such media as facebook, twitter and Flikr. They hope the search will allow them to build a full collection of pictures of Russell Hobbs products across 50 years, including the K1 kettle. They are asking people to tweet their pics to @russellhobbsuk and put them on the Russell Hobbs UK facebook page, email them in to , or upload them to the Russell_hobbs_uk flickr group. Every picture they receive will win a 10% discount off a Russell Hobbs purchase and Russell Hobbs promises the lucky owner (s) of a K1 the full Russell Hobbs unique Heritage Collection.

Jason Steer, European Marketing Director comments: "Despite all the nice stories we hear about the newer K2 product, we sadly haven't been able to track down a working version of it's older brother the K1, and this is why we have decided to launch this competetion to find a fully operational version. We would like people everywhere to check in their relatives' attics and basements - anywhere they think one could be hidden."

Sounds fascinating to me! I hope they are able to find one and boy oh boy the person (s) that do have one are in for a real treat! I am thinking to myself if anyone at all has one, it could very well be our Angie from Can You All Hear Me At The Back! Put that Keith to work checking out the Attic, cellar and shed Angie! It will give him something to do and you never know what he may find!!!

Speaking of antiquities, I just love Brussells Sprouts. I could eat them in any way shape or form. I think they're just lovely . . . boiled, steamed, stir fried and roasted as I have done them here today. I do hope you'll try this method. Roasting helps to bring out all the wonderful flavours and natural sweetness of this lovely vegetable! Delicious!!

*Roasted Brussels Sprouts*
Serves 6
Printable Recipe

I dare say these will be the best Brussels sprouts you will ever eat. Crunchy and nuttily flavourful on the outside and creamy and delicately sweet on the inside, these are truly to die for! You can multiply and divide this recipe according to however many people you are serving. It’s a very forgivable recipe!

1 ½ pounds Brussels sprouts
3 TBS olive oil
½ to ¾ tsp of sea salt
½ tsp lemon pepper seasoning or freshly ground black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 200*C/400*F. Pour the olive oil ontoa large shallowbaking tray with sides and set aside.

Cut the ends off the Brussels sprouts and trim off any yellow or tatty leaves. Throw them onto the baking tray and sprinkle with the salt and lemon pepper. Give them a good shake to roll them around in the oil and distribute the seasonings.

Roast them in the pre-heated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until crisp outside and tender inside. Give the pan a good shake every 15 minutes or so to help them to brown evenly.

Remove from the oven and taste one to see if you need any more seasoning or not. Serve hot.

*Note - You may find that if you are doing fewer than 1 ½ pounds you will not need as long a cooking time. I only did about ¾ of a pound last night and they only needed about 25 minutes.

Over in The English Kitchen this morning, some delicious Fruit Fritters!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The Heaven Within . . .

“Seek not outside yourself, heaven is within.” ~Mary Lou Cook

Popeye the sailor man knew who he was and made no apologies for that man. “I yams whats I yams and that’s all whats I yams.” He had almost no hair on his head . . . squinty eyes . . . a very protruding chin . . . odd shaped arms . . . and a ridiculous laugh . . . but he was Olive Oil’s sweetie pie when push came to shove. She accepted him for who he was, and I think that was partly because he was confident in who he was as well, accepted himself as who he was, made the most of all that he had to work with . . . and loved himself.

Then there’s Olive Oil . . . when I was a child, I could never understand what the big attraction was. Skinny as a bean pole with that odd nose that looked like a peanut stuck into the middle of her face . . . her hair severely drawn back . . . flat chested . . . she was hardly the picture of feminine allure, but she had men fighting over her . . . regularly. I think I finally get it though . . . she, too, accepted herself for what and who she was, made the most of it and then celebrated and loved herself.

Together . . . they made beautiful music.

I think that is the secret to true beauty . . . to be able to love and accept oneself just the way we are. To make peace with all the lumps and bumps . . . the freckles and the wrinkles . . . the parts that sag in the middle and the parts that stick out where they shouldn’t stick out . . . hair that is always too frizzy, or too curly . . . or too straight . . . boobs that are always either too big or too small . . . The list goes on and on. How can we expect others to love us and accept us when we cannot love and accept ourselves?

“Here in this body are the sacred rivers: here are the sun and moon as well as all the pilgrimage places . . . I have not encountered another temple as blissful as my own body.” ~Saraha

Sometimes it’s really hard to love yourself. At least it is for me. We know things about ourselves that nobody else does. We know all our secret thoughts, our secret wishes . . . we are privy to things we’d never want anyone else to know.

We need to accept that we are not perfect. We may never be perfect. But . . . we are who we are . . . and we are each unique and special in our own right. It’s our uniqueness that sets us apart and makes us beautiful. We can and should love ourselves . . . not tomorrow, or the day after that, but . . . today.

We, each one of us, have a spirit that is unique only to us . . . a part of us that is a beautiful creation, sent here by our Heavenly Father, who is the Father of that spirit . . . the part of us that can shine regardless of those big hips or skinny legs . . . this is the part of us that glows, that shows and evokes our genuine beauty . . . the beauty from within . . . the only beauty that truly matters.

I have probably never been a real beauty in the sense of the physical word, but I have felt beautiful and I feel beautiful and I know that I am beautiful . . . and that beauty comes from within. My Todd would probably never win a Mr. Universe contest, and I can’t remember the last time I saw women lining up just to catch a glimpse of him . . . but, when I look into his beautiful blue eyes I melt. The eyes are the windows to the soul and this man has a beautiful soul. I think we make each other melt, which is a good thing.

I really hope that you will, each one of you, today take a few minutes to celebrate yourself and love yourself. Find that little bit of heaven that is within. Be gentle and kind and remember who you really are . . . the daughter or son of a Heavenly Father who created your spirit . . . a divine presence that exists within. How could that ever be bad???

It’s not . . . it’s beautiful . . . and it’s real . . . and it’s you. Love and embrace you today!!

I love chicken wings, especially the hot ones. Back in Canada I could always find them in the grocery store but I have had a hard time finding them here, well, not separated from a whole chicken at any rate, and I really can’t afford to buy a dozen chickens just to get the wings. I have developed this way of getting the delicious flavour of chicken wings and all the satisfaction from using chicken breasts. I love these and I bet you will too! Not to mention they are probably a whole lot healthier without all that skin and fat!

*Boneless Hot Wings*
Serves 2
Printable Recipe

These are so delicious and tender, I could eat them every day. It might look like a long list of ingredients and complicated, but once you get everything organized they go together very quickly and before you know it you’ll be enjoying them and coming back for more. Deeeee licious!

1 cup plain flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp sweet paprika
1 large egg
1 cup milk
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Sunflower oil
1 TBS butter, melted
1 tsp hot sauce (You can use more ifyou can take it . . . I can’t!)

Blue cheese dressing (store bought or homemade)

Combine the flour, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and paprika in a bowl. Set aside. Whisk together the egg and milk in another bowl and set aside.

Slice each chicken breast crosswise into 1 inch thick slices. Dip each slice into the egg/milk mixture and then coat in the flour mixture. Repeat the process until each piece has been double dipped. Set aside on a plate and then, once you have double dipped each piece put the plate in the fridge to chill the chicken for at least 15 minutes.

Heat about a half inch of sunflower oil in a skillet over medium high heat until hot enough to fry. Fry the chicken pieces in the hot oil for about 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove to drain on paper kitchen towelling.

Put the melted butter and hot sauce into a plastic container with a lid. Add the chicken pieces, put on the lid and shake gently until coated.

Divide amongst two plates and serve with some blue cheese salad dressing on the side for dipping. Just wonderful!

And in The English Kitchen today, what I did with Nigella's Spaghetti with Marmite!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Simple Woman's Day book

FOR TODAY, October 26th, 2010...

Outside My Window...

It is dark and quite cold. It's also been raining . . . blah . . .

I am thinking...
We always watch Country File on Sunday Evenings. It's kind of like a topical news magazine type of show, but it covers the people, places and stories making news in the British countryside. One of the topics they covered this week was Intensive Farming and the farmer dude, Adam Henderson, had gone to America to see how it was done there. I have to tell you my heart just broke into a million pieces. (And I could tell his was breaking too.) I hope and pray that Britain never embraces the idea, I really do. It's horrible and inhumane in my opinion. There is no excuse on this earth that could ever justify the practice, not ever . . . Imagine thousands and thousands of dairy cattle that never get to wander in a field, but spend their whole lives in a tiny cubicle, even giving birth in muck . . . and two of three times a day being pushed into a circular milker machine that rotates. It was just horrible to watch. Humanity has sunk to a new low. Imagine caged battery hens, but on a much larger scale. And the pigs were equally as distressing.

I am thankful for...
Mormon Messages on YouTube. A series of short little videos that also uplift and inspire. I always enjoy them and they are always topical and current to whatever is going on in the World at any given moment. I am not sure how often they post a new one, every couple of weeks or so I think. I can watch them over and over again. I hope you'll have a look/see! If you enjoy my page you will enjoy them! Don't worry they won't hurt you! They'll touch your heart!

From the kitchen...
I really need to bake something today . . . cake, muffins . . . cookies . . . just something! There is a dearth of baked goodies! I have had a sore throat again for the past 3 or 4 days, and I've been coughing again. I think that darn infection is coming back. grrr . . .

I am wearing...
A blue nightie with pink roses covering it, and some pretty pearlie buttons on the bodice (which is pintucked) and a ribbon with a pink rose decorating it on the bodice as well. It's very pretty. I like pretty things. I may not wear pretty things in my day to day life, but when I go to bed I do. Pretty nightgowns and jammies are a lot cheaper than pretty every day clothes!

I am creating...
I have all sorts on the drawing board at the moment. Nothing I can speak about just yet, but when the time is right I'll be shouting it from the rooftops! Let's just say it's very exciting.

I am going...
I have a Primary Presidency meeting scheduled for tomorrow night and so I have to get some things ready for that. I hope that I feel better by then.

I am reading...

Susan Boyle, The Woman I was Born to Be

"My name is Susan Boyle. A year and a half ago, if you weren't from Blackburn, the village in West Lothian, Scotland, where I have lived all my life, you would almost certainly never have heard of me. Today you've probably heard all sorts about me, some fact, some speculation, some pure invention, so I'm writing this book to tell my story from my point of view, and I hope you'll enjoy reading it."

She inspired the world a few years ago when she was on Britain's Got Talent, now she has written her autobiography and has a new album coming out as well. My father just loves Susan Boyle and so do I! I'm really enjoying this book. It is just as charming as she is!

I am hoping...
That I am able to shake off this congestion and coughing, etc. soon!! I'm getting more than a little tired of it!

I am hearing...
One of my favourite singers is Mindy Gledhill and I am listening to her Anchor Album right now. It's beautiful. I also have Mitzie snozzling next to me here on the sofa. It's just a special time . . . you, beautiful music, and my Mitzie.

Around the house...
I need to hoover and dust, but the Ironing's done!!

One of my favorite things...
is watching old films. I am a real classic movie buff! I have always loved old films. That was something my ex mother in law and I had in common and we would always watch them together when we were visiting her. She would tape them from off the telly and save them for those times. I think one of the worst things about divorce is that you end up losing people in your life that have been your family for years and years. I miss my MIL. She was a lovely person and a friend.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...
Not a lot. It is a fairly quiet week. We had hoped to go to Blackpool this week to see the Illuminations but it's just not going to happen . . . sigh . . . I have too much on that I can't just leave.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Have you ever seen anything cuter than this??? I bet not! Mitzie crawled up onto the sofa last evening and proceeded to plunk herself down in between Todd and I and watch the telly with us. She's sitting just like a person would. I just had to grab my camera and take a picture. Amazingly enough she stayed just like that for ages! Oh, I just love her to bits! This surely warmed my heart!

And just as a closing thought for today . . .

Housework is something you do, that nobody notices unless you don't do it!

Now ain't that the truth! (And the one day you decide to stay in your jim jams without makeup, that's the day people come a callin!)

And there you have it . . . my day book for this week. 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!)

One thing I have always loved is potatoes. They are my favourite vegetable and I could eat them in any way shape or form. I have two cookbooks that contain nothing but recipes for potatoes and I could eat a meal of just them. There is no way I could ever give them up . . . never. Next to chocolate, they are my biggest weakness.

*Baked Potato Wedges*
Serves 4 to 6
Printable Recipe

These delicious potato wedges are a bit more trouble to put together than others…but TRUST me…the end result is well worth the effort . . . crispy edged potatoes…with buttery flavour that goes right down to the crispy skins . . .

4 TBS butter, melted
¼ cup tomato catsup
1 tsp prepared mustard
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 large potatoes, unpeeled

Pre-heat the oven to 220*C/425*F. Combine melted butter, catsup, mustard and seasonings.

Scrub potatoes and dry well. Cut each into 4 wedges. Slash each wedge crosswise at ¼ inch intervals, but don’t cut all the way through the skin. Place on a foil lined baking sheet, skin side down. Brush with 1/3 of the butter mixture.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender, with crispy brown edges, basting periodically with the remaining butter mixture. Serve hot.

And, in The English Kitchen this morning, Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Monday morning prose . . .

High above the fallow fields a lone lark hovers . . . scattering June's melody across bare brown earth . . .

earth that seems to melt in the frost and bring back memories of sunny shining hours . . .

hours when days were warm . . . and bright . . . and long.

Though the sky be grey and dismal . . . there floats an echo of summer song.

Blue smoke curls thickly from the cottage chimney's which line the lane . . . my heart fights the truth . . . wintertide cannot . . . must not be nigh . . .

a keen wind sweeps the pastures . . .

Trees stand gaunt . . .

stark sentinels against a darkening sky . . .

but still I hear the song of summer . . .

in the music of the lark . . .

I was feeling all nostalgic yesterday afternoon, and so I made Todd some sweet and sour meatballs for his tea. Meatballs are kind of hard to photograph so it’s not the best picture in the world, but they sure were delicious! This is my ex Mother In Law's recipe for sweet and sour sauce. I use it for lots of different things . . . spare ribs, chicken . . . and these delicious meatballs!

*Sweet and Sour Meatballs*
Serves 4 to 6
Printable Recipe

I always keep a bag of meatballs in my freezer ready to make into this delicious favourite or Swedish meatballs. You can have it on the table in less than half an hour. Really tasty with steamed rice and a green vegetable.

2 dozen meatballs (either from your own favourite recipe or good commercially prepared ones)
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup cider vinegar
1 TBS tomato catsup
2 TBS plain flour
2 TBS soy sauce

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F gas mark 5.

Blend the flour and the brown sugar in a small sauce pan. Add the vinegar, catsup and soy sauce and blend well. Cook and stir over medium heat until it comes toa boil and thickens somewhat. This will take about five minutes.

Put the meatballs into a 1 ½ litre casserole dish. Pour the sauce over top and give it a stir. Cover and bake in the heated oven for about 20 minutes until the meatballs are all coated in the sauce and have absorbed some of it. I always remove the lid for the last five minutes or so. Serve hot with rice on the side.

In The English Kitchen today . . . Bakewell Scones!