Sunday, December 26, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Do hope everyone had a great Winter Solstice and Christmas last week. Our's was wonderful and blessed! Solstice we found ourselves recieving a gift of a deer for the winter freezer and Christmas we found ourselves invited to our oldest son's house for Christmas dinner! It's about time someone else took this  task over. Now what we call  our busy season is over (October, November, December) it's time ot sit back, breathe and clean before we begin school next year. We home school year round beginning in January through December. It drives me nuts to try to keep track of half a year here and the other half the following year. Any whoo this is what we are munching through this week - -

steel cut oats with dates & walnuts, hot tea (x2)
buttered toast & hot cocoa
breakfast burrito, clementine
rice pudding, pears, hot tea
pumpkin muffins, hot cocoa
biscuits & gravy, clementine

veggie soup, crackers, apple slices, cheese stick
poorman's meal
eggsalad & crackers, carrot & celery sticks
Banana Protien fruit smoothie
left over baked beans, corn muffin
peanut butter & jelly, cheese stick, banana(x2)

penne with roasted vegetables & pesto, garden salad, whole wheat roll
baked beans sugared parsnips & carrots, corn muffin
roasted chicken, rosemary roasted potaotes, sauteed garlic& spinach
salmon cakes, baked sweet potatoes, green beans
roasted red pepper & carmelized onion pizza, garden salad
poched egg on sauteed mixed greens & whole wheat toast, baked apples
pork chop casserole, steamed broccoli

Have a brilliantly blessed week!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Merry Christmas Wish for You

We hope your Christmas Day is filled with
love, gratitude, friendship and family.

The Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

~ Clement Clarke Moore ~

Victorian Christmas Recipes

Christmas Coffee
1 square chocolate
1/4 cup sugar
Dash of salt
2 cups boiling water
1 cup milk & cream, mixed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups hot coffee

Melt chocolate in top of double boiler. Add sugar, salt and boiling water. Stir for about 5 minutes. Pour in milk and cream. Do not let it boil. Add vanilla and hot coffee. For a cold drink, add a pint of vanilla ice cream. Mix in big bowl with electric mixer. Top with whipped cream and use candy cane for stirrer.

Sugar Plums
4 pounds dried mixed figs, dates and raisins
1/2 lb crystallized ginger
2 lbs walnuts
2 large grated orange rinds
3 tbsp brandy
1 cup granulated white sugar

Finely chop up the dried fruit, orange rinds, ginger and walnuts. By hand, but if you prefer, you can use a food processor. Add the brandy and mix. For into balls (1" diameter), then roll each one in the sugar until it is completely coated. Store in a cookie tin for two to three days before eating, to allow the flavors to thoroughly soak in. They can then be eaten and/or used to fill your cornucopia.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Things are a whirlwind around here as I am sure it is at your place this holiday season. I do hope every one has a very blessed Winter Solstice and a very Merry Christmas.
buttered toast, hot cocoa
gingerbread with lemon sauce, spiced cider
banana muffins, hot cocoa (x2)
oatmeal with pecans & dried cranberries, spiced cider (x2)
French toast with bananas & cinnamon, hot tea

grilled cheese, tomato basil soup
toad in the hole, applesauce
macaroni & cheese, carrot & celery sticks with ranch dip
chabatta roll pizzas, side salad
peanut butter & jelly, celery sticks, apple slices (x2)
each man is out for himself - I'm cooking Christmas dinner!!

cider glazed pork chops, mashed potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts
Winter Solstice - Granny's potato, garlic toast, baked apples
salmon patties, fried potatoes & onions, peas
Beans, cornbread, seasoned greens
Christmas Eve at Mom's - finger foods & desserts
Christmas Dinner at our house - cinnamon apple baked ham, mashed potatoes & gravy, brown sugar glazed parsnips & carrots, rolls, Black Forest cake
scalloped potatoes & ham, green beans, Harvard beets

Have a Brilliantly blessed week!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Booklist from 2010

In the past years I know I read books, however, I never could recall what or when unless I came across the book on the shelf or at the library. If you were to ask me if I even read I would answer, "Not Much." So this year I kept a running list of books as I read them – I guess I can officially answer, "Yes, I do read. And it would seem on a variety of literature, poetry and topics. The ones in Bold print are my favorites.

Books Read in 2010~

The Conscious Cook – Tal Ronner
The Pioneer Woman Cooks – Ree Drummond
Rustic Fruit Desserts – Cory Schreiber
Earth to Table – Jeff Crump
Plenty – Alisa Smith
Spaghetti for the Soul – Kathy Troccoli and Ellie Lofaro
Simply in Season – Cathleen Hockman-West
Radical Homemakers – Shannon Hayes
Charlotte Mason Companion – Karen Andreola  (I re-read this once a year- it helps me to keep my focus on our educational journey) 
Farmers Market Cookbook – Richard Ruben
Harvest of Hope – Jane Goodall
Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austin
The Age of Innocence – Emma Wharton
Entertaining with the Sopranos – Allen Rucker
Story's Basic Country Skills
The Creative Family – Amanda Blake Soule
Handmade Home – Amanda Blake Soule
The Self Sufficientish Bible – Andy & Dave Hamilton
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – Barbara Kingsolver
Flower Fairy Library – Cicely Mary Baker
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austin
Nature Study and Life - Clifton Scott
Lady of the Lake – Walter Scott
Little Men – Louisa May Alcott
Under the Lilacs – Louisa May Alcott
Vegetarian Soups for All Seasons – Nava Atlas
Vegetariana – Nava Atlas
The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas – Linda Dobson
The Inner World of Farm Animals – Amy Hatkoff
The Backyard Homestead – Carleen Madigan
Faith Books and Spiritual Journaling – Sharon Sonefe
The Face on Your Plate – Jeffery Moussaieff
Nature's Playground – Fiona Danks & Jo Schofield
Three Cups of Tea – Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin
The Wholefood Harvest Cookbook – Rachel Hunt

 The running list worked so well for me that I can wait to get started on the list for 2011.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Death of Autumn

When reeds are dead and a straw to thatch the marshes,
And feathered pampas-grass rides into the wind
Like aged warriors westward, tragic, thinned
Of half their tribe, and over the flattened rushes,
Stripped of its secret, open, stark and bleak,
Blackens afar the half-forgotten creek,—
Then leans on me the weight of the year, and crushes
My heart. I know that Beauty must ail and die,
And will be born again,—but ah, to see
Beauty stiffened, staring up at the sky!
Oh, Autumn! Autumn!—What is the Spring to me?

~ Edna St. Vincent Millay ~

Menu Plan Monday

Do hope everyone is doing well at this busy time of the year. Life has been filling our lives fully so I haven't been posting. One week was down with a cold, the next my uncle who lived with my mother passed away, the following week was Thanksgiving dinner for the family- thankfully we have finished up school for the year and plans for the next are already laid out. Did get a spot of wonderful news this week. Our oldest son and his wife are going to have a baby - that will give them 5 and us and even 10 grandchildren. It's hard to belive that it was just hubby and me thrity-three years ago!

So the plan is just Christmas  for the next three weeks. We have all our shopping done except for one person. Planning to put up the tree this week and do some baking. Now about the baking - My mom and the boys went to Braum's for ice cream the other night and they were putting out  fresh bananas. My mother made the off hand remark that they should make them down in stead of throwing them away to one of the boys. The salesman asked her if she was interested. She asked what the price was and he asked,"How about $2.00?" She said, "I'll Take them!" Now this is a woman who doesn't cook much and bakes even less. Guess who ended up with a large brown grocery bag filled to the top with speckled bananas! So I peeled, sliced, froze and bagged up all the bananas to use in smoothies and baking. I only had to toss out three that were mashed and had holes poked in them. I ended up with 3-one gallon freezer bag full. I was amazed at how many sliced bananas could fit into a freezer bag! The boys and I figured out that 13 slices equal one banana for recipes.

rice pudding, hot cocoa
banana muffins, hot tea (x2)
toad in a hole, applesauce
oatmeal with walnuts & figs, hot tea (x2)
peanut butter on toast, banana, hot cocoa

veggie fried rice
grilled cheese sandwich, carrot, celery sticks with ranch dip
Leftover Irish stew, soda bread
baked sweet potatoes, ants on a log
Leftover ziti, orange slices
peanut butter & Jelly sandwich, apple slices (x2)

beans, fried potatoes, spinach, cornbread
feta & pea egg cups, herb roasted potatoes & carrots, bread & jam
baked fish, fried okra, french style peas, seasoned greens
Irish stew, soda bread
ziti, garden salad, garlic toast
creamed turkey on biscuits, roasted parsnips & butternut squash
chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes & gravy, green beans

Have a brilliantly blessed week.

Banana Fruit Cake

3/4 cup butter, room temperature2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
3 cups candied fruit
1 cup crushed pineapple
2 cups chopped dates
1 Tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1/2 teaspoons orange extract
 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas

Prepare two loaf pans (9"x5") and preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  In a large bowl combine the fruit, dates, and walnuts. dredge them with 1/4 cup of the flour. Sift the remaining flour together with the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Set the bowl aside.
In another bowl cream together the butter and the sugar and beat the mixture until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the orange rind, orange juice and orange extract. Mash the bananas with a fork. Alternately stir in the bananas and flour mixture into the creamed mixture. Stir in the flour fruits and nuts.

Turn into the prepared pans and bake for 2 hours or until a skewer inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then turn our onto baking racks. Each loaf makes 12 servings.

Banana Spice Cake

2 2/3 cup sifted flour2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2/3 cup shortening
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1 2/3 cups mashed bananas
2 teaspoons vanilla

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together. In another bowl cream shortening with sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and beat throughly. Add sifted dry ingredients and bananas alternately in amall amounts, beating after each addition. Stir in vanillla. Pour int greased pans and bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes. Makes 2 (8-inch) layeres. This recipe can also be used for 24 cupcakes frost with cream cheese frosting if desired.