Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sometimes we are guests....

Happy Tuesday to you!  Here it is - New Year's Eve 2013!  Do you have any special plans for the evening?  We are staying home!

Sometimes we are actually guests!  Such was the case when Munchomom served a most delicious breakfast for us!  When I was growing up, I don't remember a morning that Mother didn't have oatmeal ready for us to eat.  While it was a healthy breakfast, and my sister and I probably ate it every morning, it wasn't anything like this!

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie Oatmeal Bake

Goodness!  When I first tried this, I knew my oatmeal would never be the same!:-)  I headed over to Munchomom's blog - cafecarol.com - and printed off the recipe!  I had been wanting to make it myself for several weeks, and I finally did!  It also made an appearance on the table for our Christmas Eve morning breakfast!

The recipe is actually found in the book We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook by Becky Johnson and Rachel Randolph.  Thank you so very much, ladies!

For the Oatmeal
4 cups water
4 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups old-fashioned oats (not instant)
2 cups baked sweet potato (about 2 large) or 15-oz. sweet potto puree
1 cup golden raisins (optional) (I didn't add these because of preferences of those present).
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 Tablespoons maple syrup (or two ripe bananas) I used the maple syrup.:-)
For the Pecan Pie Topping
2 cups chopped pecans
4 Tablespoons wheat germ
4 Tablespoons coconut oil
4 Tablespoons brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large sauce pan, bring water, milk, and salt to a boil.  Stir in oatmeal, reduce to medium heat, and add the remaining ingredients.  Cook for about 7 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.  Pour the oatmeal into a 9 x 13 casserole dish. (I sprayed with no-stick spray).
- For the topping, in a small bowl, use your fingers to combine pecans, wheat germ, brown sugar, and coconut oil.  Sprinkle it over the top of the oatmeal and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy on top.  This will make 8 large servings!  Yummy!

I actually divided the oatmeal between two dishes, and one of the dishes wasn't needed.  It is put away in the freezer to bring out at a special time in the future. 

Have a good evening, and stay safe!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.  

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas breakfast....

Happy Monday!  Did you have a good week-end?  Are you ready for a week with another holiday?  If you are employed, do you have another day off in the middle of the week?

Because of varying schedules at our house this past week, our "Christmas morning" came on Christmas Eve.  That called for a special Christmas morning breakfast!

Making its debut!

I have been reviewing my recipe files, trying some of them that have never been tried, and making a decision about keeping the recipe.  This particular recipe has been in my file for awhile.  It is unmarked so I am unable to assign credit to anyone particular.  I will say this - the recipe is staying in the file for later use!  It was perfect to have available, especially since we have some vegetarians in the family.

8 slices white or whole wheat bread (I used whole wheat).
1/4 cup butter (could use less), melted and cooled
6 eggs, well-beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups milk (I used skim).
3/4 lb. sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
- Cut crusts from bread; cut bread into cubes.  Melt utter in saucepan.  Stir together with eggs, salt, and pepper.  Blend milk into egg mixture.  Place half of bread cubes in greased casserole; cover with half grated cheese; repeat; pour egg mixture over all.  Refrigerate at least 8 hours. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake 30-40 minutes.  Six servings.

One of the things I liked about this is that it was assembled the day before, and all I had to do was just set it in the oven when I was ready to cook it.  While I used regular cheese, it would be possible to use low-fat cheese - or even fat-free cheese. 

My, my!  Tomorrow is the last day of 2013!  Where has this year gone?  Are you ready for New Year's Eve?  I still have some Christmas posts for you!  Well, I suppose they will always be good, so stay tuned.:-)

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The last Sunday in 2013....

                            "Great is the spirit of Christmas that brings to every heart

                                   peace, goodwill toward all mankind"

                                                                             - Horace Wilson

                            "But there is a better thing than the observance of Christmas day,

                                    and that is keeping Christmas."

                                                                            - Henry van Dyke

The UMW Mission Focus for today is the Emma Norton Services in St. Paul, Minn.

May this day be filled with special blessings for you!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

More celebrating....

The week-end is here!  Some of you may be having your Christmas gatherings today rather than earlier in the week.  I hope you have been able to spend some time with those people whom you love the most.

As I mentioned in last Monday's post, not only did we celebrate Christmas this week, we also celebrated birthdays!  Munchomom, Machoman, and the Munchkins arrived on Sunday, as did City Girl.  We enjoyed cookies the day before the birthday!

Christmas trees!

More cookies!

The next day it was time to think about birthdays!

Birthday cake!

Whipped cream is the filling!

 This was a new recipe that Munchomom had sent along for her birthday cake.  We served it on Monday night, and it was delicious! 

I seem to be missing a picture of Country Girl's cake.:-(  She had requested an Orange Pound Cake with walnuts!  It was very good, too!

It has been a week of great times here!  More details will come in a future post!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas gifts....

We come to another Friday!  Has this week had some special times in it for you?  Perhaps you are still anticipating that gathering of family that many of us enjoy during this time of year.  Will that happen this week-end? 

I enjoy giving books as birthday or Christmas gifts, and I also enjoy receiving them.:-)  Let me share a book a received with you. 

Do you know about this book?

Cherry Menlove lives in Sussex "across the pond."  This is her first book, and it was on my list!  She works through the year with special holidays and gives ideas of how to make them special. 

The Table of Contents.

Hopefully you are able to read the special days she includes in the book.  I was excited to read about Valentine's Day since that is the next special day we have.

A craft!

Wonderful cookies!

Decorating ideas!

Now I am inspired to begin working on plans for Valentine's Day!  How many weeks do I have?:-)

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Sometimes it seems as though the month of December is one special gathering after the other.  It is always nice to be able to meet with special friends on any occasion, and these events seem much more festive during the Christmas season.

Last week, I was able to gather with other retired teachers from my school for lunch.  There were some amazing displays!

The table setting.

The tree in our dining room.

Above the opening.

Over a fireplace.

A lady ready for a special occasion.

One of many Santas who were watching.

Is the Nutcracker ready for action?

Decorative displays abounded.

Another Christmas tree.

More wonderful displays of merchandise!

Yet another tree!

More decor!

Even furnishings joined in the festive atmosphere.

Stained glass - part of the building.

Display in the tearoom area.

Still more decor.

and one final tree!

There is an after-Christmas sale in progress here at this point, but I am staying home. 

Oh, the food was good, and the company was much fun!  It was one of the special celebrations for me during this time.  Were there more?  Oh, yes!  There have been more!:-)  You will hear about them in another post!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Day....

       "I am bringing you good news of great Joy for all the people...."
                                                                         Luke 2:10

                                                 EVERYWHERE, EVERYWHERE,
                                                        CHRISTMAS TONIGHT

Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!
Christmas in lands of the fir tree and pine,
Chsitams in lands of the palm tree and vine,
Christmas where snow peaks stand solemn and white,
Christmas where cornfields lie sunny and bright,
Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight.

For the Christ Child who comes is the Master of all,
No palace too great and no cottage too small;
The angels who welcome Him sing from the height,
"In the city of David, a King in his might."
Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!

Then let every heart keep its Christmas within,
Christ's pity for sorrow, Christ's hatred for sin,
Christ's care for the weakest, Christ's courage for right,
Christ's dread of the darkness, Christ's love for the light,
Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!

                                                                   Phillips Brooks

My wish for each of you is for a happy and meaningful Christmas season!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve....

                                            CHRISTMAS EVE

                                 The door is on the latch tonight,

                                    The hearth fire is aglow;

                                 I seem to hear soft passing feet -

                                     The Christ Child in the snow.

                                My heart is open wide tonight,

                                     For stranger, kith, or kin;

                                I would not bar a single door

                                     Where love might enter in.

                                                                          - Anonymous

                "And she gave birth to her firstborn son...and laid him in a manger...."

                                                                                               - Luke 2:7

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Monday, December 23, 2013

On this day....

....thirty-nine years ago, these precious babies arrived!

Twin daughters!

They joined a big sister, 20 months old, and were a surprise as we had expected only one baby!

Happy Birthday to Munchomom and Country Girl!  You have come a long way since this picture was taken when you both weighed 5 pounds, 3 ounces! 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Fourth Sunday in Advent....

Today is December 22, 2013, the fourth Sunday in Advent.

The Mission Focus in the UMW Prayer Calendar for 2013 is the Appalachian Service Project in the United States.

Our three daughters went with work teams from our church when they were in high school and college to various locations where ASP work was underway.  What a rewarding experience for them!

These words of Zechariah as found in Luke 1:72 ~

                "Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors                   

                      and has remembered his holy covenant."

May this day be filled with blessings for you!                                               


Saturday, December 21, 2013

About that moon....

Earlier in the week, I posted a picture of the moon. 

Do you remember this one?  It was taken the night before the actual full moon.  I was really optimistic that we would be able to view the full moon with a clear sky!  Well, clouds rolled in that afternoon, and I felt that my hopes were dashed!:-( 

However, around 7:00 that evening, this is what I was able to see.

You can see the clouds in the sky.

With the camera on a close-up setting.
The next morning, as I was going out for the paper, 12 hours later, here is what I saw.

Close-up camera setting.
Isn't it gorgeous?  While the top three pictures are from the eastern sky, the last two show the moon in the western sky.  According to Susan Branch's calendar, this moon is called the "Long Night's Moon."

This is the date of the Winter Solstice, the first official day of winter.  Some of you have been having winter weather for a few weeks already!  We are expecting rain here.

I wish you a good week-end.  Christmas Day is fast-approaching!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Before Christmas....and a winner!

Oh, dear!  How did the calendar move to Friday so quickly!  Has this been a busy week for you?  I know it has been a busy one here!

Before Christmas arrives, I want to share a book or two with you.

I love James Herriot's books for children.

The illustrations are by Ruth Brown.

The story is about a stray cat who appears at a house with her kitten on Christmas Day!

Have you ever seen a retriever cat?

I'm not too sure the Bassett Hounds are very pleased.:-)

 Now, I would like to share some books that I have enjoyed with you.

Do you see any familiar ones?

An illustration from Susan Branch! Isn't it charming?

Still another!

The English home at Christmas.

Now, to the winner of the giveaway - as promised!  Karen at Happyone, you have won the subscription to Tea Time!  Please send me your address via email, and I will submit your subscription, plus send you the Tea and Teatime Recipes booklet.  Congratulations!

Have a great Friday, everyone!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas - and Susan Branch....

Here it is Thursday already!  How has your week been?

I want to take time to share with you some of my favorite things to have out for this season.

This book is full of all sorts of "goodies" for Christmas!

I was thrilled to find these mugs, designed by Susan Branch, several  years ago.

This is a documenting what has made Christmas special for us this year.  It has space for five years in it.
I have been a fan of Susan Branch for a  number of  years.  If you are not familiar with her, visit her website at susanbranch.com.  She is a very talented artist, writer, and designer of all sorts of wonderful things!

The tablecloth on the table in the second picture was a gift from a special friend.  I have really enjoyed it.

Remember!  Tonight is the night I will choose the winner of the Tea Time giveaway.  Just leave a comment telling your favorite tea and treat!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

About those cookies....

Happy Wednesday to you!  One more week until Christmas Day!  I hope that didn't bring on a "panic attack" for any of  you.:-)

Cookies galore!

I have been baking cookies for gift-giving.  On this plate are snowballs, candy cane cookies, gingerbread men, sugar cookies (shaped like Santa's boot), and chocolate crinkles.  This was my first try with Chocolate Crinkles, and I want to share that recipe with you today.

This recipe comes from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book, first edition, 1963.  I don't know why I haven't tried them earlier.  They are gems of chocolate and powdered sugar!  Delicious!

1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 squares or 4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup confectioners' sugar
- Mix oil, chocolate, and granulated sugar.  Blend in one egg at a time until well mixed.  Add vanilla.  Stir flour, baking powder, and salt into oil mixture.  Chill several hours or overnight.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Drop teaspoonfuls of dough into confectioners' sugar.  Roll in sugar' shape into balls.  Place about 2" apart on greased baking sheet.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes.  Do not overbake!  Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Oh, in the above picture, the cream pitcher and sugar bowl are designed by Susan Branch, and they are sitting on a tray, also her design.  On the Santa Claus plate are dried apricots that have been dipped in white and dark chocolate.  I do not remember the source of the plate. The teapot is Noel by Salem.  The cookie plate is one from Avon way back in the 1980's!  It was a gift from a friend.

This is just a reminder about the giveaway!

A year's subscription....

....plus this booklet....
....will be awarded to one of  you who leaves a comment telling me about your favorite tea and teatime treat!  A name will be selected on Thursday, December 19 at 8:00, and the announcement will be on the blog on Friday!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Light at night....

Happy Tuesday!  Was Monday a good day for you?  Hopefully you are not feeling too much stress and are able to enjoy this time leading up to Christmas.\

Last night at 8:00, I was outside and noticed the moonlight!  Why was I outside at 8:00?  Well, I was checking for the mail, and it still had not been delivered!  It was actually 8:15 before it came!  I feel like I should leave dinner in the mailbox!

Anyway, not only was there moonlight, there were other lights that had my attention.

Across the street.

Down the street.

In front of our house.

Over our house to the east.

Isn't that moon beautiful?  It was really bright!  We were lucky to have clear skies as we have had lots of clouds and rain.

There are several pretty night light displays in the area.  Perhaps I will be able to go around to some of them and see if pictures will be suitable for including in the blog. 

What about you?  Do you decorate with lights outside your house?

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.