Thursday, August 31, 2006

Tea & Scones?

What better way to celebrate an Autumn afternoon! Invite a friend over, or someone you would like to offer friendship to! It's a shame, but we don't always take the time for 'new' friendships because our established friendships occupy our limited social time. What blessings are we missing when we don't make the effort to draw someone new into our circle of friends? Who knows, but she might be a kindred spirit after all! Only God knows what your offer of friendship might mean to a lonely, struggling mom who could really use your encouragement. Don't miss out on a Divine appointment, an opportunity to bless and be a blessing today. Maybe you'll serve my scones!

Raisin Scones
From the Five Roses Cookbook 1896

Wash 1 cup of raisins in hot water, drain and pat dry.
Sift together:
3 cups of flour
3 teaspoons of good baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
Cut in 1 cup of cold butter with a pastry blender until mealy.
Add 1 cup of brown sugar and mix together. Add washed raisins.
In a 1 cup measure, separate 1 egg, reserving yolk. To the white add enough milk to make 1 cup. Add to dry ingredients and stir gently by hand just until it comes away from the sides of the bowl. Dough should be soft but not sticky. Add more flour if needed.
For Crunchy Scones: Pat on a slightly floured board and brush with egg yolk, cut into diagonals and transfer to greased baking sheet.
For Softer Scones (family style): Pat with floured hands onto greased baking sheet (about ¾” thick) and brush with egg yolk. Bake and then cut into diagonals.

Bake at 425degrees for 18 - 22 minutes, less time if you cut ‘fancy’ before baking.

If you have leftover scones (not likely), they can be served for breakfast by lightly frying in clarified butter until crisp, with a goodly supply of crab apple, red raspberry or grape jelly.

I put on my favorite vintage apron, use my grandmother’s yellow ware bowl and an ancient wooden spoon just for fun when I make these scones!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Family Traditions

We are about to embark on a yearly family tradition - the Mackinaw Bridge Labour Day Walk. It marks the end of the summer for our family and the school year starts with such a wonderful 'field trip'. We indulge in Mackinac Island Fudge, and salt water taffy and nibble on smoked fish. We watch the Ferry Boats and tankers, the sailboats and tugs. We see folks we don't know by name, but they are there each year and we smile when they say 'my how the children have grown!'. We do this because it is just plain fun! We honour the life of my Historian's mother with each step we take, because she started this tradition for our family, and has since gone to be with her Lord.

This is our 8th year, and we are really looking forward to it. It is a hectic time to prepare for a trip - and the weather differences force me to think ahead about long sleeves, closed in shoes and warm pants for the children. I have sweaters laundered and ready to pack and we are all looking forward to Mooney's ice cream at the end of the walk. It is a 5 mile bridge, but since it is about a mile from the parking lot to the Bridge, and at least that far back to the hotel, we figure it is about a 7 mile jaunt - which is pretty far for my out of shape body! The good news is that when you get to the half way mark, it is all down hill after that!

I like having a special family tradition - it is something to hold on to when things are crazy - something to look forward too when life just seems too hard. The thing is though, that storms come and high winds blow, and some years we just can't do the Bridgewalk - in fact it has been cancelled for high winds in the past. I am so glad that our family's hope isn't anchored in our family traditions, but in Jesus Christ who is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.
Hebrews 13:8

Monday, August 28, 2006

Simple Minestrone Soup

I thought you might like this easy, tasty soup! A wonderful older woman gave this recipe to my mom years ago and we have made the 'organic converstion'.

Minestrone Soup

1 lb. bacon (drug free, low sodium) well trimmed of fat
2 lbs. Laura's Lean Ground Beef (4%)
2 large onions minced
4-6 cloves of garlic minced
4 cups sliced celery (cut finer for fussy eaters)
15 ounce can of Hunts organic tomato paste
6 large garden ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled and pureed ( or 2 12 oz. cans of organic sauce)
2 Swanson Organic Beef Broth cartons or 2 beef cubes and 8 cups of water
10 cups of water
5 tbsp. organic sugar
3 tsp. sea salt (or more to taste)
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. fresh oregano ( I used some basil, rosemary, parsley and Greek oregano from my garden too)
4 cups of grated carrots
2 cups of shell macaroni

Cook bacon and drain fat, add beef, onions garlic and brown. Drain any fat. Add celery and saute until tender. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes or if you plan to freeze it, don't simmer, just package and freeze. You can add canned kidney beans if your family likes them or to stretch the batch, but do so just at the end as the fresh tomato will harden the beans and make them unpalatable. Super easy and quick - about 24 servings. Freezes very well or is enjoyed by elderly neighbours!

I made this for the ladies at the retreat for lunch and a few asked for the recipe so I thought I'd share!

Scrapbooking Mini-Retreat

I have been away from my computer for a few days preparing for, and now recovering from, a Scrapbooking Mini-Retreat at our home!
I have a small group of ladies who are friends from a Home School Co-op that we have been involved with since moving to the Midwest. The Lord lead me to try to do something pleasant for these busy moms because they are all facing different difficult challenges right now. I once attended a Blessed Memories retreat and I wanted to, in a small way recapture the feeling of enjoyment I had there! We have an inlaw suite with a small kitchen that is used for guests and Poppa and Grammy when they visit from Canada, so we cleared it out as best we could, set up tables and made a day of it! It was a lot of work, but really quite fun. I made 'challenge sheets' for the ladies so that they would try new things in their books, and provided small prizes for them. They accomplished a lot and a few of the ladies were quite competitive! We were a bit crowded, but converstion was easy that way! Some of the pages they made were just lovely - and with added Scripture verses and meaningful journalling, they will be a lasting reminder of God's faithfulness.
I was honored to have some moms who I'd never met in person before come a long way to join our little group. It was a very busy day for me with preparing and serving simple meals, but I was pleased to accomplish 10 finished pages for my scrapbook, so I was content!

Yesterday I slept. All day! Knowing my physical limitation is a blessing, as my dear Historian knew I would have no energy for church and meal preparation. He took over everything and did a very fine job! Our Storyteller stayed with me to bring me comfort - however his fierce hugs and cuddles were a bit too loving! I am still achy and tired today, but since the ladies enjoyed the day and a break from the cares of home, and got something accomplished, it was well worth any little discomfort I feel!

They shall abundantly utter the memory of Thy great goodness, and shall sing of Thy righteousness.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Apron Musings

There is something special about putting on an apron. This morning as The Dreamer and I set out to get a few chores ticked off 'the list', we strapped on our aprons. It is amazing to watch the transformation that occurs when The Dreamer dons an apron. She chose the 30's green print, a full apron that I made 20 years ago - can it really be so long? The fraying bias trim speaks to it's age and use, but it is remarkably free from stains or tears. I really ought to mend it soon before the fray worsens, but in truth I would rather make a new garment from scratch than mend on old one. I wish I had inherited more of my Nanny's frugality!

Anyway, the transformation of our daughter was wonderful ... The Dreamer took on a look of confidence and spirit. She quickly tied the sash around her favorite pink and orange play dress - it was long enough at the beginnng of summer when I struggled to get the zipper in straight, but it is beginning to look ready for the hand-me-down basket. She ran out to the garden to pick green beans and maters, marvelling at how many she could put in the big apron pockets. She attacked all of the everyday stainless with gusto, polishing it in the afternoon sunshine. She made us a simple lunch and served it with her apron on. She played outside, carrying her dollies in the bib of the apron. She wore it to make yet another jug of lemonade, cheerfully this time! She wore it in the sandbox and tucked her flip flops in the pocket. She dried her brothers tears when he scraped his leg. She set the table for dinner. She took it off reluctantly only when sent to dress for bed and sighed, 'I really like this apron'.

Personally, I really like the little girl in the apron. I like her very much! The Dreamer is sweet and brings joy to our family each day, but the Dreamer in an Apron is happy, helpful, confident and industrious. I'm asking my husband to set up my sewing machine tonight, and I hope to make two new aprons, one just for the Dreamer and one for her Momma, who is so blest to be watching her grow. I think she'll still like the old one best!

If only we had a digital camera so I could take a picture and show the results! Of course, I'd have to learn how to use it and I'm still learning the computer!

Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! Psalm 107:8

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Inspired by others ...

For the last few weeks I have been reading the posts of a few other bloggers, and I have found it to be quite facinating. While I have many friends in the real world who are enjoyable and delightful, I find a kinship with those who share their thoughts with the written word. I'm not saying I'll have anything as interesting and informative to share as others I've been reading, but I thought I'd like to try. Perhaps it will inspire me to write more about the things that bring me joy. Whatever this ends up being, my prayer is that God will be glorified in all things.