Sunday, September 23, 2012

stacks of books

I can read just about anywhere. And at some time or another in a variety of places, I probably have held a book in my hand lost in the written word while the world turns around me. Consequently, a stack of books being currently read resides in my life at all times.

Here is my present stack.

  Within a week's time each of these books will be picked up so that I might read a portion or a chapter. Slow and steady work at times, but rich and serving a purpose. All but two of these books I am revisiting this fall. I have no problem rereading certain books. I find I need the reminders, the jewels of wisdom, the positive influence of a good story in my days. My mind is stretched to claim new territory in areas I have gathered little, but perhaps need further plantings or at least a little weeding. Inspiration drives me forward with the new knowledge gained through a book read for the first time or it might just happen to be a piece of fiction read with the whole purpose being to simply entertain.

This is Charlotte's stack. 
 She enjoys taking her bath, donning a nightgown and listening to me read 100 Cupboards to her almost ever night. The other two she will either read alone, I will listen to her read aloud or she will chose for me to read aloud to her while she sits contently by my side. 
All good.

What books are currently in your hand or on your stacks?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

home educated

"I enjoy doing housework, ironing, washing, cooking, dishwashing. Whenever I get one of those questionnaires that ask what is your profession, I always put down housewife. It's an admirable profession, why apologize for it. You aren't stupid because you are a housewife. When you are stirring the jam you can read Shakespeare."     ~Tasha Tudor~

I love this quote by Tasha Tudor. One evening for supper I was cooking what I consider a very tasty and humble meal of salmon cakes along side a pot of crowder peas. It wasn't Shakespeare that I was reading that particular time, but an excellent record of Roman History that precedes the ongoing Latin lessons.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

herbs in my cookies

It's a shortbread cookie really with a hint of basil and lime juice. Crisp along the edges but very tasty and like most shortbread-type cookies, not very sweet.

Afternoon tea time.

Lime-Basil Cookies

1 cup flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 stick of butter, chilled and cut into cubes
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
pinch of salt

Put all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until the dough clumps together. Roll into 1" balls and place onto baking sheet. Smash the cookie down with a "sugar-floured" flat surface. (I used a ramekin dish.)

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven  for about 10 minutes. The edges will brown quickly. Cool.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


 The brewing of tisanes (pronounced tea-zahns) have crossed over into a small bit of my my day. A glass teapot given to me by a friend, I have discovered, works beautifully for making a variety of herbal teas. The center glass strainer is helpful with keeping most of the plant matter intact.

My first tisanes were prepared this summer with an infusion of dried raspberry leaf brewed for around ten minutes then while the tea was still hot I added about one teaspoon of honey. After straining for the few tiny bits of leaves, it was set  into the refrigerator to cool. This is a delicious and refreshing drink, but I would not hesitate to drinking it hot either.

Lemon Verbena is once more thriving in my herb garden. The leaves of this herb are extremely pungent and it is an ongoing pleasure to brush against them while scavenging and harvesting other herbs. Years ago I stripped the slender leaves and concocted a lemon verbena jelly that turned out lemony and sweet, perfect for serving at tea parties, smeared onto a scone, or even for a topping on a pound cake. But I digress, back to tisanes.

 The other day I brewed a handful of fresh lemon verbena leaves and served the tea hot, since the leaves were whole no straining was necessary.  In my opinion this tea did not even need a sweetener, but honey would have worked fabulously as well.

Tisanes can be made with an assortment of leaves, bark, flowers seeds, berries or roots. May I suggest mint, lavender, cinnamon bark, or echinacea root.

Monday, September 17, 2012

focaccia among the daisies

The splendid turn of the weather has us taking more of our meals outside these September days.

 A list of prepositions are being memorized. I especially love the "a..." ones,
(about, above, across, against, along, amid, among, around, atop)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

inside, outside, in the night

Not exactly the twilight zone, but my photos certainly do have that unfocused look. I was simply enjoying the evening so much I wanted to make a few tangible memories to store.

It was an abiding summer night. We paused for a spell.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

the preparation of chicken stock

If you have ever wanted to make your own chicken stock and have never attempted to give it a try, I am going to tell you the simplest way to make it happen right in your very own kitchen. After you have tasted the difference in the flavor of chicken stock created" homemade" from the boxed or canned stock bought in the grocery store you will think it is every bit worth the extra effort and time.

 Firstly, put the chicken carcass and any extra bones in a pot and cover with water. Then add celery, carrots, onions, bay leaf, parsley, salt and pepper. Bring this to a boil, lower and ladle off any foam that has risen to the surface. Simmer, uncovered, for about 45 minutes or so. I truthfully go about my business and when the vegetables are done I remove the bones and carcass and strain the stock through a sieve. The stock is then set to cool to room temperature and placed in the refrigerator overnight. I strain the stock once more then I either use it in a yummy soup or risotto dish right then or put it into containers to freeze.

A bouquet garni made with some fresh herbs is also a nice addition. This one was strung together with parsley, sage, and thyme.

at the shore cum amica mea

So it was that on Thursday afternoon we headed out to the beach, two young girls (Charlotte and her friend), me and my friend, and Rancher, ...