Friday, February 28, 2014

It may be time....

....for you to begin working on this.

King Cake!

For this recipe, I have combined one from the Weight Watchers 2006 cookbook and one from that was submitted by Jo.

1/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees F)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
-In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the warm water and 1 teaspoon of the granulated sugar.   Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until foamy, 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, the remaining granulated sugar, nutmeg, and the salt.  Make a well in the center and add the egg and butter.  Stir until the dough starts to gather around the spoon. 
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured counter; knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes, adding a little more flour if the dough becomes too sticky.
- Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray; put the dough in the bowl.  Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm spot  until it doubles in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Punch down the dough, roll it into a rectangle (about 10x16 inches).  Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough; roll up like a jelly roll, beginning at the wide side.  Bring the ends together to form an oval shape.
- Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray (I used a Silpat on my baking sheet), and place the oval ring on it.  Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until puffy, 30-45 minutes longer.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake until golden, about 30 minutes; transfer to a rack to cool.
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (I used coconut palm sugar)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 Tablespoons melted butter
- Mix filling ingredients together.  Sprinkle over dough rectangle as instructed above.
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 (or less) Tablespoon water
- Blend together, adding water slowly to the sugar to reach desired consistency.  Spread over cooled cake.  Sprinkle with purple, green, and gold-colored sugars while glaze is still wet.

The plastic baby that is customarily placed in this cake is not included in the batter as the cake bakes, but put in place underneath the cake after it is baked.  The person who receives the serving of cake with the baby in it is to be host at the next Mardi Gras party.  A store like Hobby Lobby or a cake decorating supply store will probably have the necessary "extras" for the cake - sugars, plastic baby, etc.  I happened to find the colored sugars at a local grocery store.

We have come to a Friday this week, and it is the last day of the month.  The big question is:  Will March come in like a lion, or will it come in like a lamb?

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

A recreation....

Happy Thursday to you!  Has the week been a good one for you?

Several days ago, I mentioned a salad that I took to the lunch following a performance by the Women's Chorus.  I have recreated this salad for you.

Served for dinner on Friday night.

Assembling the ingredients for this salad is really just dependent on your preference.  First, I placed a blend of organic Romaine and Spring Mix lettuces in the bowl.  On top of the lettuce, I sprinkled 1/4 cup dried cranberries, 1/4 cup walnuts, 1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles, and 1/4 red onion, sliced.  You may add more red onion, depending on your taste.  As there were going to be vegetarians present when the salad was served, I placed bacon bits in a separate bowl to be added by those who wanted them.  This salad served six adults, and there was some leftover. 

Regarding dressing for the salad, if I buy bottled dressing, it will be Paul Newman's brand.  His products are organic, and proceeds are donated to charity.  I sometimes will make my own oil and vinegar, seasoning it with dried herbs to our liking.  I am actually one of those weird persons who is able to enjoy my salad without dressing.

Hopefully this has helped those of you who had questions about the salad. 

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Time to cook....

Happy Wednesday to you! 

It is time for a recipe!  I made this to serve on Friday when our family was visiting.  Creole Shrimp seemed to fit well with the Mardi Gras theme.

I have had this recipe for quite a number of years.  It is from Betty Crocker.

1/2 cup minced onion
1 T. butter (I used olive oil instead.)
1 bay leaf, crumbled
1/4 cup diced celery
1 teaspoon minced parsley
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
dash cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1 can (6-oz.) tomato paste
2 1/2 cups water
1 lb. shrimp, shelled and deveined
- Saute onion in butter.  Blend in rest of ingredients except shrimp.  Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.  Stir in shrimp.  Cook five minutes.  Serve over rice.

Very tasty!

Some of our main roads were treated with brine on Tuesday in anticipation of some predicted light snowfall overnight.   So - that much was ready for the possible snow.  As I am pre-scheduling this post, it remains to be seen just what kind of weather will greet us on Wednesday morning.:-)  I'll be sure to let you know.:-)

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

After yesterday....

How was your Monday?  Was it a good beginning to the week for you?

In the previous post, I only covered part of the week-end here.  Another special event was the Youth Auction/Dinner/Concert at our church.  This event is a fundraiser for the mission trips that are planned by the youth for the months ahead.

We walked through a decorative archway to enter.

Balloons set a festive atmosphere.

Some items for the Silent Auction.

This especially caught my attention. 

There are some very talented youth in our church, and performances ranged from the baton to the violin with vocal presentations as well.  It was a most enjoyable evening!

I know some of you are getting slammed one again with a snow storm!  We actually have a slim chance for snow here by tomorrow morning.  The past week-end, we had temperatures in the mid-sixties!  Take care, and stay safe and warm!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Monday, February 24, 2014

A dozen eggs.....

.....and a pound of bacon.  Oh, and Slow Cooker Pumpkin Pie Steel Cut Oats.  That's the way our Saturday morning began.  There were eight here for breakfast!

Munchomom and family came on Friday afternoon and the Country Couple came later.  It, as always, was great to have them here, although the visit was not at all long enough.

As Carnival Season is now underway in New Orleans, I decided to plan Friday night's dinner around a Mardi Gras theme.

Creole Shrimp

King Cake

Everyone kept watching to see who would wind up with the piece of cake with the baby!  Tradition says that would be the person who would host the next Mardi Gras party!  Well, it was Saturday lunch before Machoman found himself served the slice with the baby! 

So, the Country Couple had to leave early on Saturday morning for work responsibilities.  That meant breakfast by 7:30!   Munchomom and family were able to stay through lunch on Saturday before they returned home.

This is only about part of the week-end here.  There is more to follow in the coming days.

I hope you had a good week-end and are having a good Monday.

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday, February 23, 2014....

"By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is

                                 love, joy, peace,

                                                 patience, kindness, generosity,

                                                                 faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

  There is no law against such things."
                                                                                            - Galatians 5:22-23 (NRSV)

A Christmas gift from my sister.

This Bible reference has been the theme for our Conference United Methodist Women for this year.

The Mission Focus for today in the United Methodist Women Prayer Calendar is the New Bethlehem Community Center, Augusta, Georgia.  I offer a prayer of thanks and praise for the work done here to make a difference daily in the lives of women, children, and youth.

May this Sunday be a blessing to you!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

In honor of....

Happy Saturday to you!  I hope the week-end is looking like a good one for you.

I know that Abraham Lincoln and George Washington have had their birthdays brought together to celebrate as President's Day.  However, I still remember each one on his own particular birthday.  So, today, here is something to remind us of George Washington.

Another book I used in the classroom.

Our first President and the original colonies.

Oops! I'm sorry this turned sideways,  I'm not sure I understand why.:-)

This was from the DAR program where the women's chorus sang last Saturday.

Now, I know we've all heard the story about George Washington and the cherry tree.  That may or may not be accurate.  Nonetheless, we will enjoy cherries for breakfast this morning, and sing Happy Birthday to George Washington, the Father of our Country!

Have a wonderful day!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Time for a book....or two

Happy Friday to you!  Were you affected by yesterday's storms?  Or - do you expect additional storms today and for the week-end?

February in the classroom was a good month to talk about Valentines and Presidents.  It was also easy to include information about our nation's capital.

Kids Discover - always a good source.  It is still being published.

A good map of Washington, DC

A good source for history.

Good pictures give interesting details.

Of course, these books come from a number of  years ago, but there is still some good information to be found in them.  Finding extra books for units of study was always something I enjoyed.

I hope you have some good week-end plans.  We expect to have a good one here!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate  your comments.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Celebration underway....

Mardi Gras season has been  underway for several weeks in New Orleans, and possibly some other locations.  This is the season that precedes Lent, and Lent is the season that precedes Easter.  The calendar marks Tuesday, March 4 as Mardi Gras, translated to mean "Fat Tuesday."  The following day, March 5, is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. 

There are some colorful decorations available for the Mardi Gras season.  Ron at The Uptown Acorn has had a series of posts on his blog showing how he adorns his New Orleans home for Mardi Gras.  Here, my trimmings are not too elaborate.

A mask or two and some beads.

Of course, my mind goes to food.:-)  In the next several days, we will be enjoying foods like Red Beans and Rice, Shrimp Creole, and King Cake!  Perhaps there will even be pancakes on the Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday!  I remember the times our daughters helped the youth at church prepare and serve pancakes as a fund-raiser for mission projects.

Now we hear about the latest winter storm Seneca threatening parts of the country.  For those of you who may be in the path of this storm, take care and stay safe!  I've never been aware of winter storms being named in the past. 

I send along wishes for a good Thursday to you.  The week-end is quickly approaching!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Anytime is a good time.....

....for soup, in my opinion!:-)  In fact, we enjoy soup the year round here. 

Lentil Soup ready to cook.

Ready to serve!  Yum!

Lentil Soup has been a favorite here for a number of years.  The recipe I use comes from a Southern Living cookbook from 1987.

1 1/2 cups dried lentils
6 cups water (I used part vegetable broth as I omitted the next ingredient.)
1 Tablespoon beef-flavored bouillon granules
1 (16-oz.) can whole tomatoes, undrained and coarsely chopped
2 Tablespoons parsley flakes
1 large onion, diced
1 medium  carrot, thinly sliced
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup chopped ham
- Combine all ingredients in a large Dutch oven.  Bring to a boil; cover reduce heat, and simmer 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Remove bay leaf.  Yield:  12 cups

NBCSP is broadcasting the women's figure skating Olympic short program.  I have memories of our  three daughters being especially interested in watching this event when they were still at home.  I, who have managed to trip on my own toes walking in flat shoes across a flat surface:-), am always amazed at how these skaters skim across ice on that thin blade!

Better news for Tennessee basketball!  Georgia came to town last night, and the Vols came out with a 67-48 victory! 

I send wishes for a good Wednesday to everyone!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Last Tuesday....

Happy Tuesday to everyone!  Has your week begun in a good way?

If you have been following this blog for awhile, you know that I am involved with the United Methodist Women - in my local church, in the district, and in the conference.  Last Tuesday was the day for the first General Meeting for my local church for this year.  It was the meeting for emphasis  on Call to Prayer and Self-Denial.  As has been customary, those attending shared a soup lunch together.

Pasta with spinach.

Potato Soup.

Crackers and water were our accompaniments, and there was no dessert. 

I had been asked to present a book review for the program.

From the 2013 reading list.

There are five categories in the Reading Program - Nurturing for Community, Education for Missions, Spiritual Growth, Social Action, and Leadership Development.  A Country for All is listed in the Nurturing for Community category.  UMW members are encouraged to participate in the Reading Program, keep a record of what books are read (at least one from each category), and receive appropriate credit.  With the in-depth review that I gave, members present are able now to count this as one of their books for this year.

We had an official high temperature here yesterday of 65 degrees, and there was some rain last night.  That may have erased any signs of snow that were lingering.  Some of you are still buried in snow, with more on the way!  Surely spring will come soon for you!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The week-end....

....was a busy one here!

On Saturday. the chorus performed a program here:

It was for a special luncheon.

We were not the entire program:

We were the "special music" while lunch was being served.

We left after we sang as one of the members of the chorus had invited us to her home for lunch.  You may remember this:

My contribution to the dessert offerings.

I also took a salad with walnuts, cranberries, red onion, goat cheese, and bacon bits.  No picture, and none of it to bring back.  There were some cookies, however, that found their way back home.  The hostess had prepared a delicious Shepherd's Pie, and we all had a delightful time!

Not a good week-end for Tennessee basketball.:-(

The men traveled to Missouri.

For the first time since 1985, the Lady Vols lost to Kentucky at home.

We awoke to a surprise on Sunday morning.

We had not expected snow overnight!  The roads were clear, though, and we left for Sunday School and worship - seven miles to church - at 9:30.  When worship was over at noon, the snow had disappeared!  The sun had already gone to work on it.

It is a new week and temperatures near 60 degrees F are predicted!  Perhaps spring is on the way.  I hope your Monday is good, setting the tone for the days to follow!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday, February 16, 2014....

From Proverbs 25:11 -

        "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold

                                           in pictures of silver."

The Mission Focus from the UMW Prayer Calendar for 2014 is the Wesley House Family Services, Key West, Florida.

May this Sunday be filled with blessings!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

I don't know when....

Yes, 'tis true.  Once I begin baking cookies, I don't know when to stop!

Have a cookie!

The platter includes those sugar cookies that were on the blog.  I dipped the edges in chocolate, then dipped them in assorted toppings to give a nice edge to them.  I did the same with the chocolate cookies, a recipe from the Pioneer Woman.  Then, from my Martha Stewart files, I added the Dried Cranberry Shortbread which was cut into heart shapes after baking.  Next, I added Heart Sandwich Cookies, also from Martha Stewart.  Not included on the platter are any of the cookies I baked for the assisted living center party that our Circle helped with on Friday afternoon.  I sent all of them along to the party.

This platter is going to a chorus gathering following today's performance.  The platter is Strawberry Fair (now discontinued) by Johnson Brothers.

I hope you have a good week-end ahead.  We hope to catch some UT basketball on TV later today.  The men are playing Missouri.

The predicted overnight snowfall did not impact us here, and we have springlike temperatures in the forecast for the coming week!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Friday, February 14, 2014

This is the day.... send you these wishes!

From me to you!

I like to read this on occasion.

I've had this for a number of years.

It is still possible to find something new in it!

Doesn't this look like the perfect dessert for today?

I may be pulling this together sometime later!:-)  I'll let you know if I make a last minute plan.:-)

Yesterday we had high temperatures near 40 degrees and sunshine, so the snow that you saw on the blog has pulled a disappearing act.  There is still some around, but our street is now clear.
Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

That groundhog....

.....has totally lost his credibility!

Wednesday afternoon around 2:30 after about an hour of snow.

Thursday morning around 7:15!

So - it is a good day to stay indoors and get to that cookie baking.:-)

Chilled rounds of dough.

Ready for the oven.

Cooling on the racks.

I am not yet finished with them, and you will see the finished product another day.  Until then, here is the recipe for you in case you want to try some for yourself.

I have had this recipe for about 35 years.  It comes from a calendar that was published by our local bank.

3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon extract
- In mixing bowl sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder.  On low speed of mixer cut in butter until mixture resembles cornmeal.
- In small mixing bowl, beat eggs; add sugar and lemon extract, and beat thoroughly.  Blend egg mixture into the flour/butter mixture.  Chill dough.
- On lightly floured board, roll to 1/8 inch thickness.  Cut with shaped cutter.  Bake at 375 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes.  Yield: 2 to 3 dozen.  Of course, the yield depends on the size of cookie cutter you use.  The cooled cookies may be decorated any way you choose. 

I want to welcome Blackberry Lane as a new follower!  Also, there are some comments from others who have not been commenting.  Welcome to you as well!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

February 12....

"You have to do your own growing

                         no matter how tall your grandfather was."

                                                                             - Abraham Lincoln

In honor of this day, I am having a mini-book review.

When I was teaching, I would bring something special for the children for snack on this day.  Usually it was Little Debbie's Swiss Cake Rolls.  With the more recent initiative in the local schools to insure that students receive more healthy choices, I suppose I would have to substitute something like pretzel rods.  Both give the idea of logs for a log cabin.

I know I gave promise of a recipe today.  I am making these preparations, however.

The first step.

We just aren't there yet.:-)

It seems that the weather continues to give us plenty of  things to say this winter.  We are awaiting the arrival of another snowfall here, and it would appear that the preparations Atlanta made for this recent storm were definitely in order.  I hope everyone will come through the icing and power outages without too much damage.

Thank you for reading.   I really appreciate your comments.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Something for the season....

Happy Tuesday to you!  I hope things are looking good for you wherever you are.

Just a few things here for the season.

A little dining room table setting.

I found the heart napkin rings on sale at Stein Mart, and I am always eager to use them for the table. 

Of course, Susan Branch is front and center.:-)

The teacups and saucers on either side of the cookbook are ones that I won from Nann's Table.

Part of the display shelving.

I change the mugs that are on display depending on the season.  I've a story to tell about two of them in this picture.  All the way to the left is a mug with that cute little bear in it!  I remember the student who gave that to me a number of years ago!  Next to it is a Mary Kay mug!  That was also a student gift and came complete with some of that wonderful Mary Kay hand cream!  Of course, the hand cream is long gone!:-)  On the wall behind the mug with the bear is a rolling pin from many years ago!  It belonged to my great-grandmother, whom I never met.

The other end of the shelf.

The mug to the very right of the shelf was also a student gift.  I remember the morning I received it, and I immediately washed it to use for my cup of tea for our snack time!  It was particularly tasty that morning, for some reason.  On the wall at the end of this shelf is another rolling pin!  This is one that we used at home when Mother had some leftover pastry dough.  She let us have the pieces, and we used that little rolling pin to roll them out as we wished.:-)  Do you remember this, Sister?

This is not a very good picture, as the things hanging below seem to be blurred.:-(  I will have to work on that and mention them in another post.

It is actually past time for me to be doing some cookie baking.  I really need to get busy with that so there will be something for tomorrow's blog.:-) 

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The week-end....

Happy Monday to you!  This is the beginning of a new week.  How does the week ahead look for you?  The weather has certainly been much in the news.  If you have been buried with snow, does it seem like it will be letting up for you this week?

It was a busy week-end here.  I was out-of-town for a Conference UMW Executive Committee meeting for part of the week-end.  The weather forecast had been a bit indefinite about our chance of some "wintry weather," but the meeting was able to proceed as scheduled, thankfully.  The United Methodist Women are all about missions, and it was good to have a week-end for planning our various directions.  I returned by Saturday evening after spending time among some very dedicated women.

On Saturday night, The Husband and I were able to attend a dance in honor of the Chinese New Year that was sponsored by the small town nearby.  This was the second such dance, last year's being for the Year of the Snake, and this one for the Year of the Horse.  There were several friends who also attended, and it was good to have time to catch up some with them.

On Sunday, we attended worship with the Country Couple (Country Girl and Country Man) at the country church where they were married.  Afterward we enjoyed going out to eat lunch at a nearby Cracker Barrel. 

So - it seems like the week-end passed in a bit of a whirl.  Include some time spent to fine-tune a book review that I am scheduled to give this week, plus some wonderful Facetime with Munchomom and family, and the week-end was quite full!  Oh - also of interest to The Husband was the PGA tournament at Pebble Beach.  It appeared to be a little cold there!  Also, it is cold where the Olympics are being held!  I admire these athletes for making the sacrifices they have had to make in order to be able to compete at this level.  Their accomplishments are just amazing!

I have been missing from my blog rounds for a few days because of the schedule.  Hopefully I will be making it back before too long.  Thank you for hanging on with me.
Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sunday, February 9, 2014....

Words of Ralph Waldon Emerson -

             "Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful,

                          we must carry it with us, or we find it not."

The Mission Focus for today from the UMW Prayer Calendar is the Neighborhood House in Wilmington, Delaware. 

I send along my wishes for a blessed Sunday. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Seasonal decor out and about....

Happy Saturday to you!  Do you have some enjoyable week-end plans?  Are you a fan of Olympic competition?  This is the first week-end for that to be televised.  Sochi is nine hours ahead of us here in the Eastern Time Zone, so all the activity has already occurred by the time we are able to watch it.

Out and about - mainly to the Senior Center - I spied some readying for the season at hand.

It is easy to see that the receptionist has been busy!  The Senior Center is where I go to rehearse with the Women's Chorus, as well as where I go to play bridge.  There are many activities scheduled that are of interest to many!  Just a couple of weeks ago, an estimated 200 people attended a special program!

February is also the month for us to bring our awareness of heart health to the forefront.  Hopefully you are aware of all the ways you are able to take care of your heart, in addition to knowing all the signs that you may be experiencing a heart attack! 

There are a few more February trimmings around, and they will appear in a future post!  Until then, spread some love around!  Let those you care about know you love them!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.