Thursday, December 24, 2020

As promised....

 Happy Christmas Eve, blogger friends!  I promised you a Christmas tree tour last time.  Here is a mini-version.  

Through the years, many of our ornaments have gone by the wayside.  These are three of our most recent additions, all gifts from friends.

The top one and the one on the bottom are from the same friend.  How appropriate that a mixer and mixing bowl hang from the tree!  I’ve certainly kept the mixer busy this season!  The lower ornament is actually a gift for The Husband.  He had a good chuckle when he opened the package!  Quite the perfect choice for him!

The one in the middle was sent by a friend in England a few years ago.  I’ve kept the ribbon length for display.

During these very different times, the calendar advances, and we are at a special time.  We plan to join with Christmas Eve services through the online option from our church website.  How are you observing Christmas Eve/Day?

Take care!  Be safe, and stay well!

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Busy days....

 Even with staying home now and not being involved in the usual activities in the community, times become rather busy.  How many of your find that you are keeping busy, especially during this special season?

I’ll begin first with those things that have brought joy recently.


If there are any of you who follow me on Instagram,  you’ve seen these pictures.  One cold, frost-covered morning just last week, I looked out the window of the bedroom to see this activity at the bird feeder and the bird bath.  The woodpecker was a happy thing, rather camouflaged by the rose bush behind him.  The bird bath had a layer of ice over the water, but this blue jay knew how to search at the edge for that water.

2)  Adding the finishing touch to these cookies makes a bit difference!  

I know I’ve already declared Chocolate Crinkles to be my new favorite cookie, but there has to be room for these on the list, too.....Red Velvet Thumbprints!

3)  It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here, and this is my favorite of all the Christmas displays.  It is the first to be put in place, and the last to be stored away after Epiphany.

4)  This special nook has some favorite reading material....

5)  This always brings a smile to my face!  It has been a “Christmas regular” for almost 40 years!

As usual, we enjoyed our Sunday Lunch in the dining room.  The menu included roasted pork tenderloin (one of our favorites), “dirty” mashed potatoes, lima beans, and sour cream chocolate cake!

Do we have a tree?  Why, yes!  We do!  We’ll “tour” that the next time!

Be of good cheer!  Take care of yourself!  Be safe, and stay well!

Monday, December 7, 2020

Plans change....

 How was your weekend?  Have there been some special events you’ve been able to enjoy during these pandemic days?

Sunday afternoon was time for another Tea Party with Susan Branch event.  This one was sponsored by An Unlikely Story, a Massachusetts bookstore.  Are you able to see that stove behind Susan?  I’d love to have one just like it!  It’s a reproduction of those stoves many of us remember from years ago, and it would work well with projects like this one....
                                                       More cookies on the way!

The Sunday Lunch menu had a slight alteration.  Rather than been and noodles, we had a little taste of some beef barbecue, not too saucy.
Loved it with roasted garlic redskin potato wedges and Brussels sprouts!  It was good to follow up with a tasty nibble of these....

                                                        Reindeer Chow!  I believe I’m part reindeer!

We have just heard today that our church will halt in person worship again until January 3, 2021.  The Husband and I haven’t been to church in person since March 7 and have been worshipping online.  That will continue indefinitely.  

While the promise of a vaccine is encouraging, it will be quite awhile before everyone has the opportunity to take it.  We’re certain our doctor’s office will inform us whenever one is available for us.  

I hope you are finding ways to make these moments count.  I send the very best of wishes for the season to each of you!

Saturday, December 5, 2020

It’s all about the cookies....

 Do you have a favorite Christmas cookie?  Is it homemade?  Do you bake it every year?  There are a few that are traditional for us; however, I’m always ready to try something different, and I have one or two new ones to try this season.

This recipe for Chocolate Crinkles is readily available on the Betty Crocker website. 

They look like this on the cookie sheet before going into the oven....

....and here they are after they are baked!  I might just be able to say that they are my new favorite cookie!

Tomorrow’s menu?  Beef and noodles sounds like a good choice to me!  Perhaps a cookie or two for dessert!  

Stay safe and well!

Friday, December 4, 2020

The Friday Five....

 Here we are, another Friday has rolled around!  Did this week pass quickly for you, or was it one of those weeks that seemed to creep along?  

Here are some things that have been the source of pleasure for me this week.


The fog gives a good backdrop to the first picture, though the holly berries are difficult to see.  The second picture is from a different angle.  They are part of the namesake for the blog.

2)  I will confess that I love this season!  

I love to set the table with Christmas dishes!  

3)  I love to have leftovers from a roast turkey!
Turkey Wild Rice Soup!  One of my favorites!

4)  I love to be able to have a fire in the fire pit!
This wood, cut by Country Man, will be fuel for many fire pit sessions!

5)  I love cookies!  Today is National Cookie Day, I hear!
Who can resist a good Molasses Cookie?

How are you preparing for this holiday season?  I believe I’ve mastered the art of online shopping!  That is all too easy!  Are you decorating?  Are you sending cards?  Are you doing any special cooking?  

The weekend is ahead!  Do you have any special plans?  Remember to take care, be safe, and stay well!

Monday, November 30, 2020

A mini-tutorial....

 Hello, everyone!  Just as with so many of you, this has been a very busy time here.  

If you are trying to avoid anything with any kind of corn syrup in it, and you still want to have the taste of pecan pie, this may be an option for you.

This recipe for Tea Time Tassies was in a recipe book compiled by the aunt of a neighbor.  It is probably very evident that the recipe card has received much use.  At some point, I began to see the wisdom in having plastic sleeves for my recipes.:-)  The mini-muffin pans are necessary for this recipe.  The little wooden tool is to help with pushing the cream cheese pastry into the cups.
This illustrates the steps in the process of adding chopped pecans and filling to the pastry-lined cups.
All baked and ready to remove from the pan.  They are really easy to serve, as you are able to see from this picture....

That was our dessert for Sunday Lunch yesterday!  

Turkey Pot Pie!  I look forward to having turkey left over to make some favorites.  

Today is the last day of November....Cyber Monday, it’s called.  That’s a day that didn’t exist when I was a child.  Are you doing much of your shopping online?

I continue to listen to the experts and believe science!  Taking proper precautions is one way to do our part to keep this pandemic under control!  Take care of yourself!  Stay safe and well!

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Five things - a day late....

 Has it been a busy week for you?  It has definitely been a busy one here for us!  We’ve tried to “take time to smell the roses,” though, and that leads into my list!

#1)  Although we have had several frosty mornings and temps below freezing a couple of times, the Knock-Out Rose is letting us know it isn’t ready to be the “last rose of summer!”

#2)  The beauty of this Autumn is still quite evident in our neighborhood.
#3)  This was a huge help as we proceeded with a masked, socially distanced Thanksgiving.
Small Town Girl, formerly known as City Girl, arranged this rental, which was delivered to our place.

#4)  There were no S’Mores on this night....too much feasting earlier....but this was a lot of fun.

A fire in the fire pit!  One of the things I love on a chilly evening!

#5)  I managed to surprise some robins earlier....

I couldn’t get the camera ready in time to show him taking a bath!  I had to act really quickly before it was discovered that I was outside watching!

I’m hopping off the routine this week, and there’s no menu posting today.  I’ll try to catch up with that after the fact on Monday.

Good wishes to all for the remainder of the weekend!

Monday, November 23, 2020

This was on the table....

 Hello, blog friends!  What kind of Monday have you had?  Has it been busier than usual, or have you had less to do?

The past few days have been busy here.  I realize that I let Saturday pass without a blog post; therefore, this is a combination of that day’s entry plus today’s!

On the menu for Sunday Lunch....boneless pork loin roast, carrots, and roasted potatoes along with those tasty cheese rolls from our favorite market.  Yes, there was dessert!

Here was the table as lunch was served....

There was even a little gravy to go along with the meal!

Dessert was this Pumpkin Cake Roll....

It has been awhile since I’ve made one of these, and it was enjoyed....

The weather has been a little cool here recently, and it seemed to be time for this....

                                                       White Bean Turkey Chili, a favorite!

I’ve been thinking about why I blog.  I’m not sure how your screen shows my post, but it may show all the entries I’ve had since I first began blogging, almost nine years ago.  I remember how I designed the page - with three pictures of different berries around our property at the top - and the lettering for the name of the blog on top of those pictures.  It wasn’t easy to read the name, and I very soon did some redesigning.  Then, I wondered what direction I should go with the blog and eventually realized that I would blog about what I do most.....and that’s cooking.  

About a year after I began the blog, I joined Twitter, and today is my 8th “Twitterversary!”  I joined there to follow Susan Branch as she travelled across the country on a train....twitter from the twain.  Are any of you on Twitter?

For a long while, I lacked motivation to keep the blog current.  During these pandemic times, I seem to have had more time to ease into blogging again.  With the really serious concerns we have about this virus, it often seems a little trivial to post about food as though there are not other important issues.  

That said, I imagine food will continue to be the focus of the blog; however, I encourage you to take this virus seriously.  Over the weekend I learned of the passing of two acquaintances due to COVID-19 complications.  I consider it vital that we follow guidelines of the CDC to prevent/slow the spread of this disease.  Wear your mask!  Do you have friends or family who refuse to do this?  Are you able to speak to them about why they need to wear one?  Are you able to avoid large groups?  When you are with smaller groups, do you remember to continue to wear your mask?  Are you remembering to wash your hands frequently?  Have you altered your plans for later this week?  The number of hospitalizations in my county was reported today at 99 - a record high!  There is promising news about a vaccine from more than one source, though it will be months before the entire population will have access.  We have a real crisis on our hands, and we must be vigilant!

Stay safe and well!

Friday, November 20, 2020

For Friday....

 How are you doing, blog friends?  Are you staying well?  Has your state begun any new guidelines to help curb the spread of COVID?

Unfortunately, my county experienced record setting one-day totals for new cases, as well as deaths during this week.  I extend my sympathies to all those who have lost loved ones.

1)  The first thing that has brought pleasure this week is the announcement from Pfizer that a vaccine is near approval stage!  

2)  The second thing that has brought pleasure was the announcement by Moderna that they have an effective vaccine, also near approval stage!

3)  Although there have been some cool nights, we’ve had gorgeous weather!  These blue skies have brought me pleasure.

4)  Country Girl came for a short visit, and we enjoyed a walk in a nearby lakeside park.

 5)  Signs of the season are all around us.  Spied this sweet gum leaf, perfectly “doing its thing!”

The weekend is before us.  Do you have special plans?  How are you staying safe while still taking care of  usual routine?  

Take care, wear your mask, be safe, and stay well!

Monday, November 16, 2020

Better late than never....

 How was your weekend?  Were you able to include something enjoyable that contributed to your relaxation and restoration?

The weekend began on a familiar note....a UMW activity!  It was time for our District UMW Annual Meeting, and that meant I had to be up and ready earlier than a usual slow moving Saturday.  It also interfered with taking time to come up with something special for Saturday breakfast.  It was good to be able to connect via Zoom!

I was not interrupted, however, with plans for Sunday Lunch....just didn’t manage to have a blog post about it.  Here it is....only two days late.:-)

On the menu for Sunday....Country-style Ribs (a touch of bbq sauce), roasted butternut squash (from Country Girl’s garden), succotash (with green pepper from our very tiny garden), rolls (a recipe I’ve had for over 50 years).....and pumpkin cake!

Extra rolls are always appreciated....

The Pumpkin Cake recipe is one from a small town newspaper 48 years ago.  It has become a tradition; I’ve baked it at least 48 times!

I hope you are still taking appropriate precautions during these pandemic days.  Today’s totals for our local county for the virus have set a record.  We continue to wear masks and practice social distancing.  We avoid large crowds and wash hands frequently.  We continue to wipe down groceries.  It is encouraging to hear news about the development of vaccines, though it will be a number of months before they are available.  We need to continue to take precautions!  

Stay well!


Friday, November 13, 2020

Time for the Friday five....

 Hello, all!  Have you had a good week?  Are you staying safe and healthy?  What about the progression of the season where you are?

That leads into one of the things that I have enjoyed this week....

1)  We have a couple of dogwood trees that we ordered from the Arbor Day Foundation several years ago. They aren’t native, and have a different “schedule.”  This is one of them this week....

The season of fall has been especially lovely here this year.

2)  I’ve been reading several books, and this has become a favorite....

Reflections on patriotism, as viewed by Dan Rather, a well-respected journalist.

3)  Simple things, such as Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top....

Spaghetti and meatballs!  Always a favorite! 

4)  A surprise included in our curbside order from our favorite market this week....

5)  The Husband has a really strong liking of cornbread!  Planning to bake it lends to other ideas of things in the oven as well.  It was very enjoyable to have this cozy meal on a very rainy day this week....
As he had a favorite, I included one of mine....cauliflower with cheese sauce!  

Today is World Kindness Day.  There are a few hours remaining.  How could you show kindness to someone today?

As always, be sure you are taking appropriate precautions during this pandemic.  The local numbers are not going in a good direction.  Be safe, stay well, wear a mask, avoid large crowds, and wash your hands often!