Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday, November 30, 2014 - First Sunday in Advent....

Advent is a perfect opportunity for us to still ourselves and listen for God's voice as we prepare ourselves for the birth of Jesus.  Do you have opportunities to be still and listen to God, or is your schedule so full that there is no room to be still and listen?

The Mission Focus from the United Methodist Women Prayer Calendar for 2014 is the Bethlehem Center in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

May you have a day of love, joy, and peace, and may you be able to calm your mind, body, and spirit as we prepare for the birth of Christ.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Quality control....

....has been at work in the kitchen again today!  It is the very best kind of quality control - the Munchkins!  They were both at work with these:

This is the beginning.....

...and this is the finished product.  Another cookie to add to that holiday cookie tray!

Happy Saturday!

Friday, November 28, 2014

The first of the season....

Christmas cookies!  It's that time!  Munchkin 2 was a huge help with these Thumbprints!*

There has been a "quality control committee" at work!

*Recipe coming another day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Day....

"Come, Ye Thankful People, Come"
                                          by Henry Alford (1810-1871)

                "Come, ye thankful people, come,

                         Raise the song of harvest home.

               All is safely gathered in,

                        Ere the winter storms begin;

                God, our Maker, doth provide

                        For our wants to be supplied;

                 Come to God's own temple, come.

                        Raise the song of harvest home!"

In the beginning....

It has been 52 years since I graduated from college.  Yes, I'm "as old as dirt.":-)  The first year, I was employed by the college on the library staff and lived in a room in a house in the community.  

It was the next year that I ventured further down the road to Abingdon where I accepted a position at Abingdon Methodist Church to work in Christian Education.  That necessitated an apartment, which meant a kitchen!  Yay!

This is the first cookbook I bought:

It was the basis for much of my cooking those two years I lived in Abingdon.

This one was added following a move to Bristol, VA where I began teaching.

And there is a recipe for Corn Pudding, such an appropriate dish for this season.

Do you remember the first Thanksgiving dinner you prepared?  Mine was the first year I was in Abingdon.  My parents, sister, cousin, and great aunt came to visit on that first Thanksgiving Day.  
The guidelines I followed came from the Dinner for Two cookbook.

I even made the creamed onions.  The Pumpkin Chiffon Pie was repeated a few times - until the scare about consuming raw eggs motivated me to put it aside.  This recipe for Bread Stuffing has been the one I have followed through the years, varying it just a bit.  One year, I had an assortment of bits and pieces of homemade breads in the freezer, and that was probably the most flavorful.  In recent years, The Husband has requested Cornbread Stuffing, and that's what I make these days - no other bread crumbs included except cornbread.  That makes it a good gluten-free choice.  Using broth rather than butter for sauteing the onion makes it lower in fat.  Using vegetable broth rather than chicken broth makes it acceptable for vegetarians.

Here it is for this year, ready to pop into the oven!
Baking dish - Longaberger All-American series.

For a few weeks, on Wednesdays I will be sharing some of my cookbook collection with you.  

Happy Thanksgiving!  

Monday, November 24, 2014

Staying on task....

That is a school teacher expression that is in order for a week like this one.  

One of my favorite flavors of this season is the cranberry!  You've seen these:

Now they are being joined by these:

These are Betty Crocker's Impossibly Easy Mini Pumpkin Pies (front), and Pecan Pie Muffins from Home is Where the Heart Is.

Here is that Betty Crocker recipe.  
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 cup Bisquick mix
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F.  Spray 12 regular-size muffiin cups with cooking spray.
- In medium bowl, stir all ingredients until blended.  Pour scant 1/4 cup of mixture into each muffin cup. 
- Bake about 30 minutes or until muffin tops are golden brown and edges are starting to pull away from sides of pan.  Cool 10 minutes.  With thin knife, loosen sides of pies from pan; remove from pan and place top sides up on cooling rack.  Cool 10 minutes longer, and serve topped with whipped cream, if desired.    

It will be helpful to have things already in a serving size.  That makes it much simpler.  They will be served on a three-tier serving tray, with Pumpkin Pie Almonds scattered about and a dish of whipped cream nearby.  If I remember, I will take a picture.:-)

Are you making preparations ahead of time?

The turkeys are coming.....

....and here they are!

This one looks a bit harried.  Do you think he has an idea what is coming later in the week?

Waitiing to be put to service....

...and waiting for that turkey gravy!

I send wishes for a good week as you prepare for all that is coming your way!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday, November 23, 2014....

Quoting from Apples of Gold, compiled by Jo Petty -
                             "The highest reward that God gives us for good work

                                       is the ability to do better."

As listed in the United Methodist Women Prayer Calendar for 2014, the MIssion Focus for today is the 

Alpine Community Center in Alpine,Texas.

May this be a day of love, joy, and peace for you!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Is it too late....

....for me to read this book?

I want to be sure I have everything I need to cover the first Thanksgiving feast!:-)  

Perhaps this one would be more up-to-date.

While beginning preparations for Thanksgiving, this might be a good focus.

Creating images of times past!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Another favorite....

Apples and pumpkin are favorite flavors around here during this season - or anytime, actually.  There is another that we enjoy - cranberries!

I am not sure where I found this recipe.  It may have been in some newspaper advertising at some point, but this is delicious!

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 1/4 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease an 8-inch baking pan.  Beat eggs in medium mixing bowl until thick.  Gradually add sugar, beating until thoroughly blended.  Stir in flour and melted butter; blend well.  Add cranberries and walnuts, mixing gently just until combined.  Spread evenly in pan.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool and cut into bars.  Makes 16 servings.

What will be on your table for dessert on Thanksgiving Day?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Following the last post, you may wonder what we have done with the pumpkin we roasted.  Well, it has been used in a variety of recipes.  

Are you able to notice that the end piece - the best part - has been cut from one of these loaves?  There had to be some "quality control," you know.:-)

I do not remember where I found this recipe.  One good thing about it is that it makes three loaves!  Another good thing about it is that it combines three flavors that are in demand during this season.

2 15-oz. cans pumpkin (4 cups)
2/3 cup milk
1 cup oil
4 eggs, beaten
3 cups sugar
3 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
- Mix pumpkin, milk, oil, eggs, and sugar in mixing bowl.
- Sift four, baking soda, salt, and spices.  Add to pumpkin mixture.
- Stir in nuts and cranberries.
-Pour into three greased 9x5 loaf pans, filling each 1/2 full.
- Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

One for you to enjoy, and two to share!  Enjoy!

Monday, November 17, 2014

A pumpkin story....

We have been enjoying our pumpkin harvest.  It is not something we had anticipated when the garden was planted earlier in the season.  Turns out some pumpkin seeds did some sneaking into the compost at some point last year, and they "volunteered" for us this season!  The result has been better than we had when we intentionally tried to grow pumpkins!  

Anyway, we have been enjoying these unexpected blessings and have roasted a few of them.

These halves are just out of the oven and transferred to the rack to continue draining.  This picture below shows what was left behind in the pan where they were roasted.

Are you able to see the pumpkin juice?  It is a wonderful natural sweetener, and we've used it in several ways - from sweetening pumpkin soup to serving as a natural syrup on pancakes!  

We've been enjoying a bit of a Pumpkin Fest around here and have discovered some real favorites.  What is your favorite pumpkin treat?

Computer woes....

Strange happenings with the computer, and I have lost all my bookmarks!  This makes it difficult for me to check in with some of you.  Hopefully all will be back to normal before the week is over, though I've actually no idea how long it will take.  I'm checking into that!

Safe safe and warm - wherever you are!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014....

Rev. Sally Dyck reminds us in her book A Faithful Heart to remember "who we are, what we have, and what we can do."

Today's Mission Focus from the United Methodist Women 2014 Prayer Calendar is the Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia.

My wish is for you to be surrounded by love, joy, and peace on this day - and every day.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Just in time....

Before the sub-freezing temperatures moved in, I took these pictures.

The knockout roses made it through the couple of episodes of frosty mornings, but I was taking no chances this time - especially with no warming trend expected for several days   

I am not much of a flower arranger, but these have brought some cheer to the house, regardless. :-)

Take care, and stay warm!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Kudos.... World Market!

The topic of some conversations has been how Thanksgiving sometimes becomes "lost" as it is "sandwiched" in between Halloween and Christmas.  Take a look at the following flyer that was in our Sunday newspaper.

It is easy to see that this is all about Thanksgiving!  

On the last page, I did see this:

Just a little reference to their "Holiday Shop!"  

Incidentally, there is also the notice that World Market will be closed Thanksgiving Day!  That gives employees time to enjoy a day off work!  That's great for them!

I've noticed new followers!  Welcome!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Another delivery....

Have you ever read Maria Elena's blog Our Home Away From Home?  She sponsored a giveaway recently, and my name was drawn as the winner!  It was a real surprise to me to win two giveaways in the same week!

Yesterday, the second package arrived.


Lovely tag!

Here you see three bookmarks, a crate with a candle and a mug with tea bags, biscotti, and chocolate, and a book to read while enjoying that tea!  And - that's not all!

There are three pillow covers - two with the stripe down the middle and one with the fall trim!  Just perfect for this season!

Thank you, Maria Elena!  These gifts are really appreciated!

Head over to her blog.  You will be glad you did!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Before it disappeared....

.....I hurried to take a picture!

1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 pound ground turkey (to make this vegetarian, omit the turkey and add another can of beans).
1 15-oz. can black beans
1 15-oz. can kidney beans
1 15-oz. can white beans (I used cannellini).
1 29-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 15-oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 15-oz. can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- In large pot, over medium heat, warm olive oil.  Add garlic, onion, and peppers, and saute until onions start to turn translucent.  Add meat, breaking it up with fork, and cook until no pink remains.  Add remaining ingredients and heat until mixture starts to bubble.  Reduce heat to low.  Cook 1 to 2 hours to blend seasonings.
- Serves 8 to 10.
This is almost a standard recipe from Muncho Mom for this time of year.  

November 11, 2014....

This is a tribute to all our Veterans, honoring all of them today!

Monday, November 10, 2014

A delivery....

...arrived at our house over the week-end.

Susan at "Writing Straight From the Heart" recently celebrated her fifth year of blogging by hosting a giveaway.  My name was drawn from the group!

She had packed it so very well!

This wonderful note card, designed by Susan Branch, was enclosed.

Each part of the giveaway was individually wrapped!  Didn't she do a lovely job with that?

After all the opening was done, here are the wonderful gifts!  They are all much-appreciated.  Thank you, Susan!  

If you have a chance, check out her blog!  It is evident that she devotes a lot of time with creating an attractive and interesting blog.  You will enjoy it!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday, November 9, 2014....

"O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever."

                                                                          I Chronicles 16:34  NRSV

Today's Mission Focus from the United Methodist Women Prayer Calendar for 2014 is the Open Door Community House, Columbus, Georgia.

May love, joy, and peace surround you on this day!

Friday, November 7, 2014

How often....

....are you stopped by this while driving?

Just missed the engine!  Shucks!

And it continues....

....still more....

....until the very last car passes.  We were able to see that all the cars were filled with coal.   I didn't know the train wouldn't have a caboose!  

Have a good week-end!

Some common sights....

Sights along East Tennessee roadways.