Tuesday, January 8, 2019

a collation worth mentioning

For lunch I like to consider eating simple, healthy meals, but I certainly want them to be tasty and enjoyable as well. I love it when I find such a meal that makes me anxious for the arrival of lunchtime just because the meal is so good! I would like to share a particular lunchtime meal with you  that falls into that approbative category

 Brown rice is my rice of choice and I prefer soaking the dried rice for about twelve hours before it is cooked. One cup of rice per two cups of water is placed into a bowl and covered until the next day. The soaked rice is then cooked and kept it in the refrigerator until needed for a dinner or lunch dish. A favorite midday meal is reheating the rice and topping it with a helping of homemade kimchi. Lately, I am  also liking the addition of a dash of Braggs Liquid Aminos. I do not usually include soy in my diet, but I have not noticed any problems with the "once in a while use" of this seasoning.  There is a high content of sodium in Braggs and Tamari sauce (but not as high as in regular soy sauce), therefore, it is a seasoning I would use sparingly and not very often.

What do you prepare for a healthy, delicious lunch? 

Saturday, January 5, 2019

happenings of the home kind

That week beginning immediately after New Year's Day, which  as you know happened to be on a Wednesday this year, I have found to be much kinder to body and soul if that week is eased into  with as much calm and home kind of activities as possible. Not unlike yeast being added to the bread flour, it jump starts the forthcoming return of daily life's schedules.

Usually on New Years Eve I will pull out a new jigsaw puzzle on the table in the sun room. I begin with a marathon amount of hours working on it that evening, then it might rest until I absolutely must finish it. It "calls my name" if you know what I mean. It took New Years Eve and two day bouts of popping in from time to time to complete this 1000 piece puzzle this week.
 And in the kitchen, one of my most favorite places to be when I am home, a non-knead bread from this book was baked, and a  whole chicken roasted,  from which the meat was pulled off the bones in order to make a much requested dish for my husband, a pot of chicken and dumplings. How that man of mine loves a bowl of brothy rich chicken and dumplings! The bones were used to make the chicken stock. Between those two recipes January began with being surrounded with high levels of comfort food!
I  have no interest in drinking Chai Tea until the winter months. Last year I planned to try experimenting with making my own recipe for chai tea. But honestly, this loose leaf tea purchased from  Mountain Rose Herb Company is quite delicious. And having milk warmer and frother is excellent for adding hot milk or froth to any warm beverage. Last winter I spent some time reading reviews about several on the market via amazon and decided that this inexpensive one by eurolux would meet my needs, and it does so, most excellently.  I was pleased to hear how Michelle had created her own recipe for Chai tea this Christmas. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

new year, cables, reading, and yarn along

The first of the 2019 Yarn Alongs, and it almost caught up with me. How about you? The changing of the calendar always makes me breathless, but in a fine way. Newness in the middle of winter, satisfying to say the least.

Back in November a huge desire to knit a project using cables would not settle until I hunted through Ravelry and decided upon a pattern that I would not only like to knit but also wear would enjoy wearing.  This vest by Thea Colman was perfect, especially since I do not have much experience in cabling and it had been some time since I had in fact knitted anything with a cable. You begin knitting the project on the back of the vest where all the cabling is designed. The color of this yarn, Fauna, by Brooklyn Tweed Shelter is not showing up as pretty as it truly is, but I tried to show it with the second photo. I forgot how concentration is key when beginning such a project, but I learned quickly enough! And my magnetic board is extremely helpful in keeping my place.

Back in December I pulled Stillmeadow Daybook off the book shelf. Gladys Taber's books are never far from my reach, particularly her monthly journal books. I read throughout the December entries, many times reading them aloud to my family, now I am enjoying her January entries.

"New Year's resolutions are a chancy thing. I make mine simple. I only pray that I may be a better person the coming year than in the past. More tolerant, kinder, and gentler. Not impatient when things are difficult."

Friday, December 28, 2018

just be

Those quiet days after Christmas...when something inside you might be wanting to get back to the normal schedules of your life, yet it is quite delightful to just throw away the schedule and just be.

My beloved MIL has a birthday the day after New Years, therefore, we are venturing to her house tomorrow a couple of hours away to spend some time with her. I baked a devil's foods cake  selected from the Vintage Cakes cookbook by Jane Brocket. Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a Devil's Food and a Chocolate Cake? It is obvious to the baker when you add a double amount of baking soda  in proportion to the amount of baking powder in the cake mixture. This extra dose of baking soda will raise the ph level causing the cake to be darker and fluffier, along with the addition of cocoa powder and coffee  which also ups the intensity of richness and fluffiness to the cake. Since Claire had made my husband a birthday cake last week using a buttercream frosting which tasted so delicious, I decided on this simple chocolate buttercream recipe. I have all the ingredients on my pantry shelf and the butter is softening on my kitchen counter even as I type this.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

the ongoing advent of Jesus, our Savior

The trappings are fun, the holiday exciting, but more than that, I feel it has significance not lost in the glitter, not really.

It is the birthday of Jesus. And it is good to remember that the carpenter's son was born, and taught, and died so long ago and yet is so alive, that we celebrate His birthday.
Gladys Taber
Stillmeadow Daybook

Merry Christmas! 
  Christ Jesus, we celebrate your first advent and await  your second one with great expectation.
Immanuel, God with us.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

sugar plum fairy

"There was something in her movements that made you think she never walked but always danced".
Rilla of Ingleside
L.M. Montgomery

Another season of the Nutcracker has come and gone. And while I find myself humming the music from the Sugar Plum Fairy as I go about my day, still it feels like a dream that another year's production is finally over, and that this year I had the unsurpassed joy of watching Charlotte beautifully dance the part of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

She was sewn into the dress before every performance . This is done on a precautionary note with any dance that involves a cavalier lifting a dancer, there must not be any opportunity for his hand to get caught in  the back of her dress with any of the lifts.
Since I am privileged to be a part of the costume execution and coordination team, which basically means I rip apart, sew, and help with the fittings of the many costumes for all the dancers, I am back stage for some of the performances. The following pics were some I snapped prior to Saturday evening's performance. Not good photo quality at all, but I do appreciate the concentration in her face as she is gets alone to warm up before going on stage.

And after a full week of tiring late nights and then the culmination of four stage performances, all can truthfully say that is was worth every bit of hard work that putting on such a show like this entails.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

a day of bursting light and promise

After two days of staying home due to the snowy weather, today promises to be different and have daily life ventures carry on. Yet Charlotte asks, "Do you think you can get out of our driveway?"

This morning I enjoyed seeing the sunshine glaring bright on the white crisp snow, my feathered friends feasting on last evening's sunflower seeds that were just tossed onto the snow frequently  throughout the past two days. Time enough to go back to filling the feeders twice a day.

 We received an email that Nutcracker rehearsals will resume tonight. Sigh with gratifying relief. I will pick Breanna up at 3:30 since she too is dancing...a mouse and an angel... on stage  for the first time this year!

Monday, December 10, 2018

snowy days

A world transformed into monochrome,
An aerosol sky spraying its white foam,
Floating in breathless, boundless speed,
Submerging all with voracious greed.
                                           The Silence of Snow
                                        Ruth D. Velenski

We did not doubt when the weather forecasters said 100%  chance of snow with a predicted accumulation of 8-12 Inches. But it still seemed Unbelievable for this time of year; I can honestly say I do not ever remember having this much snow before Christmas...ever! But am I loving it! 

I am warm and snug in my kitchen as I am creating soups and baking bread with the sound of Christmas carols in the background, while my eyes are never far from frequently looking outside the window to stare at the falling, twirling snow.

As the afternoon came, my mind would not release the thought of Little Women, an all -time favorite movie for us to watch every Christmas. But today I decided I would instead view Masterpiece's 2017 Little Women, and I am so glad I did. It is very good. The cinematography was beautiful, and I must admit some of the characters I might even prefer over the 1994 version, but that particular award winning version will still be one I will not give up watching anytime soon.

Tonight we were intending to be at at the Theater for the first night of the week-long "tech week" for my daughter's dance studio's annual performance of the Nutcracker. But it was called off due to the weather calm we must all remain even knowing how much work on the costumes (my part) still needs to be done, and how important as ever practice on stage is to the dancers as well as for all other tech workers. So much goes into a performance such as this and I am always amazed at the quality that our local studio puts out and how thankful we are for all the community's support. Opening night is this Friday and the show must go on...

And I must say here that this year Charlotte was chosen to dance the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Therefore, she is wanting to get on stage as soon as possible. This has been a huge opportunity for her as she has had to learn not only the lead part, but how to dance with a cavalier (male partner). She does not act nervous, yet I know she is, and I am nervous for her, but I must not under any circumstance act like it!   


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

caps for their heads December yarn along

Knitting caps are to me a Christmasy thing to do, a gift that is easy, quick and makes me think of Little House on the Prairie days when handmade gifts were the only ones to be had during some of those leaner years, unlike the year Ma received the stove.

Breanna and Ivy's hats were knitted with my very own spun Romney wool that I dyed with Country Classic Dye.  The patterns for these hats can be found free on Ravelry, the Herringbone Hat by Ann Mizoguchi for the girls made for some fun color work while watching Hallmark Christmas movies. Since Riley is still a baby, I did not want his little head with significantly less hair to be in direct contact with the 100% wool, therefore, I decided that leftovers of acrylic yarn would do nicely for  knitting the Luuk by Annis Jones for him. I have so far knitted a pair of mittens for Ivy to go along with her hat, hopefully I will whip up some for Breanna too before Christmas.

With the Christmas season bringing extra events and activities, even so I continue to knit, and likewise, I continue to read. So much so that I presently am reading three books. But I wanted to share this particular cookbook with you. After checking it out from the library twice, I decided I must have it for more than its excellent recipes. Ruth Reichel was the former editor of Gourmet Magazine that left not only its loyal readers, but also its staff, lamenting its passing with the decision to stop its publication in 2009.
I am also reading The Substitute Guest, a Christmas story written by Grace Livingston Hill,  on those nights when even the decaf coffee delays sleep, and a book I received when I visited Operation Exodus in New York back in early October, Exodus II: Let My People Go by Steve Lightle. 
All three books are entirely different in content, technique of writing, and purpose but I am enjoying each one immensely.

I look forward to Ginny's Yarnalongs, please feel free to join in and share your latest fiber project and current reads.

Friday, November 30, 2018

a simple glimpse at the end of this autumn season

These last days of November can be tricky. So many of the trees are still clothed in various stages of dress, while others lay naked.

Mondays can be busy days because Charlotte goes to a piano lesson before lunch and a violin lesson in the afternoon. I find things to do such as grocery shopping at Aldi which is near her piano teacher's house, and stopping by the library or a coffee shop while she is having her violin lesson. But  sometimes I find myself waiting in the car as it was today, and as I'm sitting there I was entertained with the row of maples that were showing off outside the church, caught in the beauty of this day.

This is the view toward down town where the Christmas lights have been strung from the lamp posts, now look at that sky!
Earlier that morning before leaving the house, I was sitting at my desk doing some correspondences on my computer and my eyes kept being side-swiped by the falling leaves outside the window. I could not catch them falling no matter how hard I tried...

The end of this autumn season.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

the weekender

After days of pouring rain, biting cold, steady gusting winds and what we like to term, "down-right nasty weather", autumn decided to give us the finest of its joys giving excellent opportunity to share my newly blocked hand-knitted sweater, The Weekender by Andrea Mowry.

                      Keats called autumn,
"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
                      Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun";

The special November sunlight never fails to soothe me and I am particularly mindful of the constant uniqueness and concentrated beauty involved in the maturing of all things. 

a collation worth mentioning

For lunch I like to consider eating simple, healthy meals, but I certainly want them to be tasty and enjoyable as well. I love it when I fi...