Monday, February 15, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

(February 15, 2010)...
Outside my window...Untouched snow...deceptively beautiful.
I am thinking...Somewhere beneath all that snow are the tulip bulbs my great grandfather planted.
I am thankful for...Quiet evenings.
From the kitchen...Blueberry Pudding Cake.
I am wearing...PJ's
I am creating...Romance.
I am stop cursing the snowfall and take a moment to breathe and appreciate this moment.
I am reading...Oh, Ranger!
I am feel the sun on my back sometime very soon.
I am hearing...Nothing. The snow has seemed to create a veil of silence and tranquility in our home.
Around the house...Small reminders that Spring is near.
One of my favorite things...Putting in my earbuds, opening my Queen playlist and writing like there's no tomorrow.
A few plans for the rest of the week: Start Spring cleaning!
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Charming Chotchkies...

It's that time of year when we pull out our wallets and trade perfectly good cash for perfectly useless chotchkies to pass out as gifts to our friends and families. Not all useless objects are bad though. Take for instance the Punch Card Games and Peepshow Cards available from Red Horseshoe Paper. These small tokens are inspired by the popular fads of the 1940's and as we all know, retro is in. I can actually remember coming across some punch card games at my Grandma's house when I was little (hers were child friendly) and although I can't remember quite what purpose they served, I know they kept me busy for hours! Red Horseshoe Paper also offers some other neat finds which definitely warrants a perusal of their website.

Nifty Notions for A Warm Winter Treat

One of my favorite things to do in the Winter is to curl up on the couch and read a good book while sipping a warm and delicious treat. In those quiet moments, I can come to terms with the grey and hazy skies and frosty temperatures of Winter and let go of my longing for Summer. Here are a few of my favorite hot sippables to warm the soul....

1.) Spiced Hot Cocoa

6 cups skim milk
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat until lukewarm; stir the cocoa powder and sugar into the warmed milk until dissolved. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, chili powder, nutmeg, and cloves. Heat another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2.) Hot Vanilla
1 cup 2% milk
2 teaspoons white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pour the milk into a microwave-safe mug. Stir together the cinnamon and sugar, then stir into the milk. Mixing the cinnamon into the sugar first will help to keep it from floating on top. Stir in the vanilla. Place mug in the microwave and heat for 1 minute and 40 seconds, or longer for a warmer drink. Stir before drinking.

3.) Classic Hot Apple Cider
6 cups apple cider
1/4 cup real maple syrup
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
6 whole allspice berries
1 orange peel, cut into strips
1 lemon peel, cut into strips

Pour the apple cider and maple syrup into a large stainless steel saucepan.
Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice berries, orange peel and lemon peel in the center of a washed square of cheesecloth; fold up the sides of the cheesecloth to enclose the bundle, then tie it up with a length of kitchen string. Drop the spice bundle into the cider mixture.
Place the saucepan over moderate heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cider is very hot but not boiling.
Remove the cider from the heat. Discard the spice bundle. Ladle the cider into big cups or mugs, adding a fresh cinnamon stick to each serving if desired.

4.)Warm Autumn Punch
2 oranges
8 whole cloves
6 cups apple juice
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 1/4 cups pineapple juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Stud the whole oranges with cloves, and bake for 30 minutes.
In a large saucepan, combine the apple juice and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in the nutmeg, honey, lemon juice, and pineapple juice.
Serve hot in a punch bowl with the 2 clove-studded baked oranges floating on top.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Halloween Grinch Wraps It Up.....

The Halloween season has ended and I am truly thankful. This year, no one in the family seemed to be in the spooky spirit. We usually transform our entire home into a creepy haunted house and even have our costumes ready a month in advance, but we just weren't feeling it. Last Saturday my Mother-in-law hosted her annual Halloween party so we half-heartedly pulled together some costumes. I hauled out some of my hiking gear and went as an UNhappy camper, complete with poison ivy, ants, snakes and foliage. Personally, I love to camp and welcome those funny little nuances. Snakes, spiders, I say bring them on! Anything to be out in nature! Okay, back to Halloween....I had spent the majority of my day working on a scavenger hunt for the party but too many people were already drinking by the time we arrived so that game was tossed out the window. Instead David and I became contestants in a Newlywed Game...a three hour long Newlywed Game. I think this game was invented to raise the divorce rates. One husband actually got the color of his wife's eyes wrong! In the end we lost with 177 points, but unlike some of the couples, we were still on speaking terms. Historically speaking, we suck at the Newlywed Game but I doubt you'll ever meet a more happily married and well suited couple. David might not be able to remember the first time I called him by a cute nickname (incidentally, I don't either), but he certainly knows that brownies are the key to my heart and that is a far more valuable bit of information. At any rate, the game ended at about the same time that our son discovered he had, perhaps, indulged in a little too much spicy cheese dip. We made a quick exit. As we were driving home I looked at the clock on my dashboard and smiled. It was 12:25am, Halloween was officially over. I'm sure next year we'll be back to our usual festive selves, I think we'll even get back to hosting our own scavenger hunt. But for right now I'm just happy to move on to Thanksgiving.