Friday, November 28, 2008


Every family has traditions. In our family, we have quite a few. Whenever we have Thanksgiving dinner, my brother always has to tell the story of my first Thanksgiving turkey. When he is done, then I do the explaining.

You see, my first Thanksgiving turkey was cooked by me - all by myself - at the ripe old age of 18. I was scared to death that the turkey would not be done - so I overcooked it a bit. It came out beautiful, deep golden brown - but it was very dry. However, no one got food poisoning from underdone turkey!

To hear him tell the story, as soon as we punctured the skin with a knife, the whole turkey deflated and turned to dust. And every slice of turkey soaked up a cup of gravy. How we had slices when the turkey had already turned to dust, I have no idea!

I have cooked many turkeys since then and have it perfected now!

Another tradition is going around the table, one-by-one and telling what we are thankful for.

One of my favorite traditional foods for Thanksgiving is sweet potatoes. My mom usually fixes some savory and I fix them sweet. This year she did them with leeks and bacon - ummy yummy! As soon as I get the recipe from her, I will pass it on to you! Today, though, I am going to give you my "recipe" for sweet potatoes. Sorry, no picture as they got left at Mom's!

Sweet Potatoes Raquel

3-4 pounds sweet potatoes, scrubbed and the ends cut off

Bake them in a 350F oven on a cookie sheet lined with foil (for easy cleanup) for about an hour, until good and done.

Take out of oven and let them cool. Slit them open and scrape out the flesh into a bowl. Mash it up good.

To the potatoes add:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or more to taste)
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup orange juice
Grated rind of one smallish orange
1/3 cup butter, diced

Mix that all up good. Place in a greased 11x7 pan. Cover with mini marshmallows and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or so, until marshmallows are good and brown.

This makes a goodly amount (we ended up with 13 at dinner yesterday) so decrease amounts to suit your taste. Also amounts are approximate as I do not measure - so to your taste! This can be made ahead to the point of adding the marshmallows and refrigerated. Just remember to take it out of the fridge at least an hour before you bake it.

The orange juice and orange rind were new this year and I quite like it!

So what are some of your traditions?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

More Pie, please

Well, you just never know. Last night, I was making my pecan pie when I happened to think - I've got peach pie filling in the freezer. I wonder . . . . and I had about 2 ounces of almond paste left-over from making my cookies. So, since I was in for a penny, in for a pound with the pie crust anyway, I went ahead and made two. You know, I took my time and they did not turn out half bad!

Anyway, thought I would share this peach pie "recipe" with you - more of a technique.

Peach Streusal Pie

Filling: (Enought for 4 pies)
9 pounds fresh peaches
2 teaspoons Fruit Fresh, (fruit preservative)
3 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt

Stir all together and freeze in 1-1/2 pint jars. Alternatively, freeze in pie tins lined with foil 4-5 cups per pan. (I am assuming here that you know how to scald the peaches, etc.)

Anyway . . . on the day you are making your pie, pull out your filling and let it thaw a bit. I stirred in about 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract.

Then make a single crust of your favorite pie dough and line a 9-inch pan with it.
Dump your filling in.

2 Tablespoons butter
2 ounces (give or take) almond paste
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup flour

These are approximate measurements! Mix your cinnamon, sugar and flour in a bowl. Cut in the butter and almond paste with a pastry cutter. Sprinkle over top of the pie filling. Bake around 40-45 minutes at 350F. Viola!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Memories

I love Thanksgiving. Oh, not just for the turkey, stuffing, cranberries and pumpkin pie. But for the camraderie of family, the hustle and bustle of getting everything ready and the joy - yes, joy - of preparing food for loved ones.

You see, to me it is an act of love to create a special dish for someone. I make homemade molasses spice cookies for my pastor - they are his favorite. I have not made yet - but will - chicken fried steak for my Honey - it is his favorite. I like to find out what someone likes and make it. It gives me joy in the making, knowing that they will really like it and appreciate it - because it is their favorite.

I love our tradition of going around the table and telling what we are thankful for, one-by-one.

I love the idea that people all over this vast country are doing the same thing we are - giving thanks - on this day.

I love left-over turkey for sandwiches, ho yes!

I love not having to work, being able to relax and enjoy the day - well, mostly, I do have to work this year.

I love having traditional foods - turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, green beans, homemade rolls with real butter, cranberry sauce, stuffing, pumpkin pie. We usually throw in something a little different, too. This year we are doing 7-layer salad, cherry pie, apple pie and pecan pie. Sometimes we have corn and oysters - gack! - or maybe a relish tray, some green goop.

My mom usually does the pumpkin pie and this year she volunteered to do cherry - my Honey's favorite - and apple as well. Dad's favorite, however, is pecan. I love it too, so I volunteered to do it. I got some very nice pecans this weekend when we were visiting in St. Louis. I really do not know why most people fear making pecan pie, it is EASY! Except for the pie crust - you all know how I am with pie crust! I am also making the sweet potatoes, so I will share those with you later. Thus, without further ado . . .

(mind you, pictures will come later)

Pecan Pie

1 cup Karo Light OR Dark Corn Syrup
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) pecans
1 (9-inch) unbaked deep-dish pie crust

Stir first 5 ingredients together in bowl. Stir in pecans, being sure to coat each one. Pour into pie shell.
Bake at 350F for 55-60 minutes. Cool for at least 2 hours before serving.

It is that easy. Serve with pride to those you love.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY November 24, 2008...

Outside my window...Beautiful sunshine and a blue cloudless sky.

I am thinking... that I am glad that I have a humble home where happiness dwells!

I am thankful for... Parents that came to the rescue. No sooner had we started out to St. Louis Friday evening - a 4 hour drive- than the car started making a funny noise. Honey looked at it and said - I think I can fix it when we get to your Mom and Dad's - a 10 minute drive. Come to find out, it was much more extensive than he thought - so Mom and Dad let us borrow their car. Whew!

From the kitchen... cheesy double-decker tacos tonight, venison tenderloin tomorrow, teriyaki chicken for Wednesday.

I am wearing... Purple turtleneck, cream sweater, pink poodle socks, pink housieslippers, navy skirt.

I am creating... Christmas cards!

I am going... to go to Aldi's tonight when Honey gets home.

I am reading... not much right now.

I am hoping... that Honey's new boots will help his feet.

I am hearing... not much, very quiet around here.

Around the house... laundry and vacuuming.

One of my favorite things... is Steak and Shake - I know, my bad!

A few plans for the rest of the week: Put new comforter set on bed today, finish up christmas cards and mail, rake leaves.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

This is just me!

If you like reading these, hop on over to The Simple Woman and make your own!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY November 17, 2008...

Outside my window... Bright sunshine, blue sky with a few horse-tail clouds

I am thinking... of what to wear this weekend (we are going to visit the in-laws)

I am thankful for... a warm home to live in.

From the kitchen... Pancakes and sausage, potato patties

I am wearing... black skirt, cream turtle-neck, pink socks, blue housieshoes

I am creating... cookies to take to St. Louis this weekend

I am going... to enjoy having a couple of days off to relax and be with family

I am reading... I Kings - Solomon and Elijah

I am hoping... that I can find a nice comforter set for our bed this weekend - fairly cheap!

I am hearing... the washing machine whirring

Around the house... kitchen floors to be swept and mopped, bathroom to be cleaned

One of my favorite things... is baking cookies - just something about shaping the dough, baking it and then sharing them with someone - bliss!

A few plans for the rest of the week: Today: Call house insurance, vacuum, do dark laundry. Tuesday: Mail package to Marie, laundry, bake molasses cookies. Wednesday: Make vegetable soup for church dinner, also make cheesecake bars for same. Thursday: Dusting, clean out car. Bake bread and cookies. Friday: Vacuum, pack.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...



Honey said I would never be able to fit it all in there! I did have to do a bit of fancy shuffling, some of the books you see in the case in the first picture have now moved to my office. These are my cookbooks - most of them!

This daybook is hosted by Peggy at The Simple Woman. There are around 200 women who participate. Join in!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Settling In

There are a lot of things to do in a new house. Not to mention all of the cleaning, but there are just things that have to be done. Furniture has to be arranged. Curtains have to be hung. Drawers have to be organized, as do cabinets. Windows may have to be fixed - we had 4 (storm windows)!

Then, when all the flurry is over, you can pause - Ahhhh! that is more like it! Got a nice, comfy home. Very quiet (except for the muffled "Poom, Poom" of the hunter's guns in the wetland). The cat has finally settled and decided he LIKES being the only cat in the house (he can have his pick of the laps now). The kitchen is finally organized so you feel like cooking something other than frozen pizza and fish sticks. It has been nippy, so the furnace is on, making the house nice and warm.

A routine has been established - I get up first and put coffee on, make Honey's lunch and fix him breakfast. He gets up a little later, but he makes the bed. Then I do my Bible reading while he eats and we discuss it afterwards and pray for our day. Our weekends have been busy, so we have yet to have a good Saturday breakfast, but that is coming, too.

We have things I would like - a dishwasher for one - but that can wait. For now, we are settled in!

I did manage to make these muffins one Saturday. Ummy, ummy good.

Cranberry Sour Cream Muffins

Makes 12

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, Slightly Beaten
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk (I had to add at least another 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups raw cranberries, Chopped
1/2 cup sugar

Sift together flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking soda and salt into bowl. Combine egg, sour cream, milk and oil in small bowl; blend well. Add all at once to dry ingredients, stirring just enough to moisten. Combine cranberries and 1/2 cup sugar; stir into batter. Spoon batter into greased muffin cups, filling equally. Bake in 375°F oven 20 minutes or until golden brown.

These reheat well in the microwave. These were perfect with scrambled eggs and bacon, served with coffee and orange juice!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Home, Sweet Home

I promised some pictures of my new home so . . . .

Kitchen counter with my canisters

Dining room wall - we were shopping at a Mennonite store and saw this sign - we both said "Oh, I like that" - so we bought it - we are truly blessed

My messy, messy desk

One of the walls in my office

Bittersweet on the front door

I will be posting more pictures later on . . . .

Just wanted all of my readers to know that I really appreciate them! We have been rushed for dinners some nights around here, so I wanted to share one of the better ones we have had lately.

Sweet-n-Spicy Sausage and Rice

Serves 4

1 lb Little Smokies - or sliced smoked sausage
1 jar sweet-n-sour sauce - I used La Choy
A handful of chopped green and red peppers
1 small onion, sliced (optional)
1 (8 oz) can tidbit pineapple, drained
1/4 teaspoon (or more if you like it spicier) crushed red pepper flakes
Cooked rice

Bung all of the above in a small crockpot - I used my 1-1/2 quart - and turn it on high for 2 hours or so. Serve hot over rice.

Easy peasy and even my picky DS liked it!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY November 10, 2008...

Outside my window... Gray skies, nothing but gray skies . . . The leaves have almost all dropped and I think it wants to rain

I am thinking... of how great and awesome our God is!

I am thankful for... a beautiful home.

From the kitchen... Homemade potato-sausage soup, molasses spice cookies

I am wearing... Navy skirt, gray t-shirt, blue sweater, purple and white socks and blue housieshoes

I am creating... a very fun package for my 'Zaar Christmas Swap partner!

I am going... to the bank and the postoffice at noon.

I am reading... Heidi - I love that book.

I am hoping... for a good week at work.

I am hearing... not much, very quiet around here.

Around the house... Laundry and finishing sorting out kitchen utensils.

One of my favorite things... is roses - I like pictures of roses, I like the smell of roses, I like roses!

A few plans for the rest of the week: Today - laundry and kitchen. Tue - finish putting up pics. Wed - church. Thu - Do some baking. Fri - Make soups and home-made rolls.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

My tired Honey with our kitty!

This is such fun to do every Monday - hop on over to The Simple Woman and take a look at everyone else's daybook!

Friday, November 7, 2008

In Love

I know, I know - how boring, eh?

Well, let me tell you. When I married my Honey, I cannot say that I was madly, crazy in love with him. Not the knock you down, can't live without them for one second, jealous type of love. Not at all. But my love has grown. And I think that is the best way to go - constantly discovering new things about each other - and delighting in one another. I am happier now than I think I have ever been in my life. Because I put God in the center. If we focus on Him, everything else just falls in place. Like that last piece in a jigsaw puzzle, he makes the picture complete. I now have a comfortable, fulfilling love.

This is a poem I came by on the Internet a while back - it pretty much says how I feel. No idea who wrote it, so if you did - thank you a million times - from the bottom of my heart.


When I created the heavens and the earth, I spoke them into being.
When I created man, I formed him and breathed into his nostrils.
But you, Woman, I fashioned after I breathed the breath of life into man because your nostrils are too delicate.

I allowed a deep sleep to come over him so I could patiently and perfectly fashion you.
Man was put to sleep so he could not interfere with the creativity.

From one bone I fashioned you.
I chose the rib, which protects his heart and lungs and supports him, as you are meant to do.
Around this bone I shaped you.
I molded you.
I created you perfectly.
Your characteristics are as the rib, strong yet delicate and fragile.
You provide protection for the most delicate organ in a man... his heart.
His heart is the center of his belonging; his lungs hold the breath of life.
The rib cage will allow itself to be broken before it will allow damage to the heart.
Support the man as the rib cage supports the body.

You were not taken from his feet to be under him, nor were you taken from his head to be above him.
You were taken from his side, to stand beside him and be held close to his side.

Your lips, how lovely when they part in prayer.
Your nose, so perfect in form; your hand so gentle to touch.
I've caressed your face in your deepest sleep; I've held your heart close to mine.

Adam walked with me in the cool of the day, and yet he was lonely.
He could not see me or touch me.
He could only feel me.

So everything I wanted Adam to experience with me, I fashioned in you: my holiness, my strength, my purity, my love; my protection and support.

You are special because you are an extension of me.

Man represents My image...
...Woman, my emotions.

Together you represent the totality of Me.

So man, treat woman well.
Love her and respect her, for she is fragile.
In hurting her, you hurt Me.
What you do to her, you do to Me.
In crushing her, you only damage your own heart, the heart of your Father, and the heart of her Father.

Woman, support man.
In humility, show him the power of emotion I have given you.
In gentle quietness, show your strength.
In love, show him you are the rib that protects his inner self.

That poem just speaks volumes, don't you think?

You know, those we love will not always be with us. These earthly vessels fail - all part of God's plan - some fail sooner than others. So while you still have your loved ones - LOVE them. Always. No matter what. TELL them you love them. SHOW them you love them. Because one day, you won't be able to.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Great Pumpkin

I have always liked Linus. You know, the little character from the Peanuts comic strip, who believes in the Great Pumpkin. I guess I kinda feel sorry for Linus, what with Snoopy always stealing his blankie and Lucy being so mean to him.

Anyway, Linus believes in the Great Pumpkin. Kind of a substitute for Santa, just earlier. Even though the Great Pumpkin never appears, he keeps waiting every year. How faithful! He even convinces (or bribes) Snoopy into waiting for the Great Pumpkin with him. Just as we should take our faith and never let it go, always sharing it with others.

The comics are my favorite part of the newspaper. There is so much sorrow and strife in the real news that sometimes I like a little bit of escape.

Hmmmm . . . kinda like this dessert. It is ever-so-easy and gets gobbled up in no time. Much easier than making pumpkin pie (no crust)!

The Great Pumpkin Crunch

1 can (16 oz) pumpkin
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (18 oz) yellow cake mix
1 stick butter, cubed into small bits

Grease a 9 x 13 pan. Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mix first 6 ingredients in bowl until smooth. Pour into pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix over top and then scatter butter evenly over that. DO NOT STIR! You can add chopped pecans if you wish. Bake for 50-55 minutes until golden brown. Best served warm with real whipped cream or Cool Whip.

Very fallish!

If this post is a bit rambling, please excuse - I worked as an election judge yesterday - 14 hours of sitting in a chair. I about went stir crazy!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

This is my daybook, I am sure you would love to read the others. They can be found at The Simple Woman. Go on over and take a look!

FOR TODAY November 03, 2008...

Outside My Window... there is gorgeous fall color - bronze oaks, red maples, yellow maples, orange, burgundy. The trees here have finally gotten pretty. There is even a bit of green left!

I am thinking... of how blessed I am. God has been truly good to me, I have such an abundance of love in my life!

I am thankful for... a husband who irons. I absolutely hate to iron anything - so he does the ironing for me!

From the kitchen... Roast chicken, boiled potatoes with butter, broccoli and cheese, mocha-chip coffee cake.

I am wearing... my big fuzzy fleece teddybear robe. I practically live in this thing during the winter. And, of course, my housieslippers!

I am creating... fleece tie blankets for the grandsons. "Cars" movie characters for Dillon and Spiderman for Austin.

I am going... to be an election judge tomorrow! I had applied in August and now tomorrow I will find out what it is all about.

I am reading... The Heretic Queen. All about Nefertari.

I am hoping... that tomorrow will not be too busy.

I am hearing... the fan running in DS's room.

Around the house... don't get me started! However, my project for today (besides working 8 hours and fixing dinner) is to get the bathroom cabinet sorted. And the curtains put up in my office.

One of my favorite things... is kitty kisses. When your cat looks at you kinda sleepy like and they blink their eyes - that is a kitty kiss. My kitty kisses me a lot!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Tomorrow - at the polls. Wednesday - hook up my printer and finish sorting my office. Thursday - get paperwork at bank taken care of, change driver's license, laundry. Friday - finish sorting out kitchen cabinets.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

This is the baby blanket I made for my niece. We had her baby shower Saturday evening. She is expecting a girl - finally. She has 2 boys already. I thought this would be a little girlie - but not too much. So soft and warm.

I would like to thank everyone for being patient with me during my absence. I have been around, just so *ahem* busy. Things are getting back to normal now, we finally have the living room curtains up!