Cornmeal Muffins . . . and Music :-)

For this week’s suppers, the cousins made a fantastic stew with umpteen vegetables and we are adding fresh steamed veggies as well on the side.  Not to mention thins like green onions and small home-made dill pickles. Mmmm . . . . . . . could there be anything more appetising? Apparently, the answer to that is ‘yes’.

Muffins!

The first night (Tuesday), they mentioned cornmeal muffins simultaneously. I had made some a month or so ago to accompany the chili that was on that week’s menu). Turned out, there had been a sighting of said muffins in the freezer; it only took a few minutes and the microwave and we were all enjoying one with our meal.

There were only six in the freezer, but there are plenty of bags of home-frozen corn kernels and it didn’t take me long to volunteer! I planned to have them come out of the oven just in time for the meal, but my timing was off. I had not allowed for the fact that I might not be able to find all the other ingredients quickly. Around here, things are kept in identical containers (several types, though) with labels on. I am primarily visual and although in my own kitchen I prefer to use containers, they often have an identifying quality and are always kept in the same location. Around here, things ‘migrate’ from time to time to allow room for new supplies, etc.  so, after opening a multitude of containers and not finding all my ingredients, I sought help.

ASK for help 01

Problem solved! I used cousin S’s wonderful Muffin cookbook, but, of course, I tweaked the heck out of the recipe! I like to maximize nutrition and my thinking is that if people enjoy their food, then they will eat it, so the nutrition goes where it’s meant to go. In case you might like to try this,here it is:

Linne’s Cornmeal Muffins

Single Recipe – makes 12 large muffins Double Recipe – makes 24 large muffins
Dry Mixture

¾ c white flour

¾ c whole wheat flour

½ c wheat germ

1 ½ tsp baking powder

1 ½ tsp baking soda

¼ – ½ tsp salt

Dry Mixture

1 ½ c white flour

1 ½ c whole wheat flour

1 c wheat germ

3 tsp baking powder

3 tsp baking soda

½ – 1 tsp salt

Moist Mixture

1 c cornmeal

½ c powdered milk

1 ¼ c water

 

1/3 c vegetable oil

2 – 3 Tbsp. sugar

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 large egg

 

1 c corn kernels, fresh, thawed or canned

Moist Mixture

2 c cornmeal

1 c powdered milk

2 ½ c water

 

2/3 c vegetable oil

4 – 6 Tbsp. sugar

2 Tbsp lemon juice

2 large eggs

 

2 c corn kernels, fresh, thawed or canned

Method

Assemble ingredients. Prepare the muffin tins (I grease lightly with non-hydrogenated margarine).

.Mix cornmeal and powdered milk together well in a smaller / medium mixing bowl.

Add water and mix well. Leave cornmeal to soak.

Combine the Dry Ingredients in a medium / large mixing bowl and mix well. Make a well in the centre.

Set the oven to 4000 F. (This gives you time to make the batter without having it stand too long. And it saves power, as the oven won’t be on for too long while empty)

Beat the egg/s in a 1 c measuring cup. Add the lemon juice and beat again.

Add the egg & lemon mixture to the cornmeal mixture and stir well.

Measure the oil in the same cup. Add to the cornmeal mixture and mix well.

Measure the sugar in the same cup. Add to the cornmeal mixture and mix well.

Pour the Moist Mixture into the well in the Dry Mixture and stir in gently.

Note: Do not over-mix!

Add the corn kernels (if using) and fold in gently.

Use a large serving spoon to fill the muffin pan/s, dividing the batter evenly.

Bake for 15 minutes and test with a toothpick or knife blade. If it comes out dry, they are done. If not, bake for another 5 – 7 minutes. Test again. The muffins should be light golden and the tops springy to the touch.

Options:

When I make this sort of savoury muffin for my family or just for myself, I also like to add from one to three tablespoons of nutritional yeast, Engevita, for example. Women in my family tend to be Vitamin B deficient, but not me . . .

You can cut the sugar further; I will use only two tablespoons in the larger recipe next time. I cut the amount almost in half from the original, but it’s still too much.

If you have honey, that would work instead of the sugar. I’d make sure it was quite runny by heating it and then add it to the wet mixture.

You can substitute liquid milk for the powdered milk and water; I find the powdered is often cheaper and it’s easy to have on hand.

Yoghurt makes a good substitute, too, for the powdered milk and water, but you may need to add some water if your batter is too dry.

Instead of corn kernels, grate some cheese and add to the dry mixture. I like to add a bit at a time, sprinkling it as I stir, thus making sure the cheese doesn’t clump together. These are wonderful for breakfast with a bit of jam or for lunch with a salad. I made some once with a good cheddar cheese and we ate it with jalapeno jelly, which was an amazing combination.

Instead of corn kernels, add a cup of dark raisins. I like to soak them for a few minutes in very hot water, dry them on a towel, then add them to the dry mixture.

With either the cheese or corn kernel options, you can add finely chopped sausage or ham or bacon. Veggie versions of these work just as well.

I had an extra one before retiring to my room this evening, and I had it with the special cherry jam I made just for Christmas. And then we forgot to open it that day.

I forgot to take photos of the  muffins, except for the final treat, so these pictures will have to do. Trust me, this recipe turns out wonderfully delicious!

By the way, the Christmas Cherry Jam was not made with our own cherries, but with Lapins that I bought at the local organic market in early July. They were the closest I could find  to the Bings of my childhood, which I love dearly. My Auntie M used to make her cherry jam from Bings and I wanted to make some for her that was as close as possible to her own recipe. She told me her secret ingredient was lemon juice, but nowadays the recipes all seem to call for that, so I guess the secret is out!

I took her a small jar marked for Christmas back in July and reminded her to open it in the week between Christmas and New Year’s. She loved it!

 

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A bit of inspiration for you!

And, in case you are feeling musically deprived, LOL,

Life Is . . . by Runrig (of course) from a concert in Bonn in 1999, shortly after their lead singer left to enter politics and was replaced by a Canadian!!! Bruce Guthro, from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. This is an emotional song, so, as an antidote . . .

Maymorning, also by Runrig. This is from their 40th anniversary concert in August 2013, Party on the Moor, held at Muir of Ord near Inverness in Scotland. There’s a cute surprise at 6.30, too. And I there isn’t praise high enough for Malcolm Jones’ lead guitar, in my not-so-humble-opinion.

and I don’t think I’ve shared this before: The Ghost of Tom Joad, sung by Elvis Costello and Mumford & Sons. Although I like Mumford & Sons a lot, it’s still the only song I’ve heard by Elvis Costello. {the notes say: Bruce Springsteen titled the song after the main character from John Steinbeck’s 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath. He hoped the song would personify or represent the voices of the hopeless, disenfranchised, and invisible as the book was said to do in the 1930s.}

I guess I’d best share something happier, too, eh? How about this?

That Old Time Religion by Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie (son of Woody Guthrie). This is not what you probably expect (unless you are familiar with Pete’s music).

and this caught my ear, too . . . Precious Friend, also by Pete Seeger.

I have found, in my few years in this Virtual Village, that you are all Precious Friends to one another. It gives me hope . . .

Dream another Dream

And here is Pete Seeger again, singing another favourite, The Garden Song, and ‘garden’, in this case, is a metaphor for many things. So I add it for all of you, who, in your own ways, work ‘inch by inch’ to effect change in this world that needs it so much. Gardening, knitting, yarnbombing, cooking & baking, writing, painting, singing, dreaming, protesting, thinking, sharing your thoughts, your actions and your words in so many ways that words fail me . . .

Pete Seeger banjo 01If you don’t listen to the whole thing, at least listen to Pete’s introduction. So true . . . I also love that his banjo had on it these words:

Much Love and even more Light to each of you. Stay warm, eh?

Unless, of course, you live on the downside . . . can I send anyone a bit of this?

Hugs to you all.  ~ Linne

p.s. While getting this ready to publish, the music was still playing and this came on: This is for all of you, as you do what you can to make this a better world:

Garbage by Pete Seeger. Here’s to a better world in 2018!

 

 

 

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Day 18: Musing about Mishaps on Monday

This is Sunday the 17th and at midnight I shall close commenting on the Day 5 post. Tomorrow I will put names of all commenters in a festive container and pull five. Those lucky people will receive a small ornament (not necessarily a Christmas ornament, I know some of you don’t celebrate Christmas. I’ll be contacting the winners and you may specify then. So DO go and leave me your name, will you? It doesn’t matter to me if you are a long-time follower or someone new who just happened upon this space.  ‘Everyone is welcome to participate.

Musing is a good work, I think. I did think of others first, but they weren’t alliterative enough. Good thing, too. 🙂 ‘Moody’ might have been a tad closer to the mark.  I’ll get to that . . .

Today the cousins made stew for the next five days’ suppers in the crockpot. It smells as good as it looks. I was not involved this time and there were no mishaps.

But I made the dessert for tonight and tomorrow: Selma’s Mocha Roulade.. Back in 2015, Selma was holding crochet  lasses at her home and online followers were invited to join in, which I did.  She was teaching new stitches every week and often shared photos of the participants; work on her blog and on facebook. My red striped ripple cushion is shown on this page and three down is a corner of one of my blankets. It was such fun! And every week Selma baked a special treat for everyone to have with their tea or coffee. It was the only feature I had to miss out on . . .  😦

My Red ripple cushion

Sometimes ‘winging it’ works out quite well . . .

The recipe for the Mocha Roulade is what I linked to above, though. And this is how it went today . . . this is a recipe that I follow pretty closely, in spite of my tendency to follow wild flights of fancy when in the kitchen. I separated the eggs, but partway through realized I had dumped the yolks in with the whites due to being distracted by my thoughts. Arrgghhhh  I took one of the eggshell halves and attempted to fish them out, breaking one in the process. As I’m sure you know, egg white will not whip in the presence of any fat and egg yolks are fatty. In the end, I put the egg whites into a container to use in my baking this week and began again with four more eggs. (two of the yolks had made it into the proper dish).  And then I got out the stick blender and began whipping them. Part of them whipped, but the rest did not. I’m not sure why. I even added a pinch of salt and 1/8 tsp of cream of tartar as both are helpful when whipping egg whites. Finally Cousin  S came to see how it was going, took pity on me and whipped them up in the KitchenAid bowl. I don’t like using other people’s expensive machines, so tend to do things as I always have, by hand.

Then I cut the parchment to go in the pan. But this was a glass pan with sloping sides, so the parchment wouldn’t stay put. I took it out creased it, tore it a bit, got another piece and finally had something that would sort of work.

IMG_5732After I removed the baked sponge from the oven, I did manage to turn it out onto the fresh parchment without mishap. Just . . . I managed to roll it, but it was on the thick side, as the pan was a bit too narrow for this. It makes me miss my own tools and supplies so much . . . And having my own kitchen, with things where I can find them easily.

 

IMG_5733

As seen from one end

 

So, once it was cool and I unrolled it, it looked like the photo above.  But I persevered. I’m nothing if not stubborn . . . or should I say ‘single-minded’?

 

 

 

IMG_5734 Cousin S kindly used the KitchenAid to whip the cream, too, and that went well. I spread most of it on the sponge.

Doesn’t that look tempting? And can you see the potential problem? Yes, it’s just too narrow to roll up again. But I went forward bravely and added the halved grapes; I’d cut enough for the size I usually make . . .

IMG_5735

Well, I forgot to photograph the Roulade in its finished state, I guess. So half of it is already gone somewhere in this picture . . .  I’d held back some of the whipped cream and some of the grapes, as I’d planned to decorate the top of my ‘log’ once it was rolled up. But we added those to our servings and enjoyed them anyway.  The good thing about this sort of kitchen mishap is that it’s all edible, in the end.

The Roulade was pronounced a definite success and cousin S, who is not partial to grapes, had a second helping, which I think is a great compliment.

This is much like a Jelly Roll, but has no flour in it, so it is perfect for people who hae Celiac disease or are simply gluten-intolerant. It is very light, so a perfect complement to a filling winter meal. I hope you try it; if so, do let Selma know how you liked it.

I will be baking some of Selma’s Christmas cookies/biscuits this coming week and will share my experiences with you. And I need to get a move on with the making of gifts. I bought three stockings at the dollar store yesterday (Saturday) and have been planning what to do with them. They don’t need decorating, just filling.

christmas popcorn cranberry strings I have some cranberries, too, so I need to pop some popcorn and get out a needle and thread, to . . .  This photo is from the internet, and it shows cranberry strings exactly like the ones I used to make. I don’t know if we will use them indoors or put them outside for the birds’ Christmas feast. I’ve always liked how these look; the handmade thing is definitely ‘me’!

I shall be posting some news on New Year’s Day, my friends, so watch for that. I still can’t believe that a week from Monday will be 2018!

Are you making resolutions? I am . . .  I like making them and I don’t beat myself up if I don’t achieve them. I always manage to master at least a few and I do find that setting goals moves me a step or two closer to the realization.

Well, this is good . . . it’s only 10.30 on Sunday night and all I have to do is find some music to share. I think I’m going to go with classic carols from here to Christmas Eve. And something else for those of you who have different celebrations at mid-winter.

Here are three hours of Christmas carols, all instrumentals, so you can start it playing and then go on with your last-minute making, baking, wrapping, or  . . .

Tears are Not Enough by Northern Lights, a super-group formed of many of Canada’s top performers. The lyrics are”

As every day goes by
How can we close our eyes
Until we open up our hearts

We can learn to share
And show how much we care
Right from the moment that we start

Seems like overnight
We see the world in a different light
Somehow our innocence is lost

How can we look away
‘Cause every single day
We’ve got to help at any cost

We can bridge the distance
Only we can make the difference
Don’t ya know that tears are not enough

If we can pull together
We could change the world forever
Heaven knows that tears are not enough

It’s up to me and you
To make the dream come true
It’s time to take our message everywhere

C’est l’amour qui nous rassemble
D’ici a l’autre bout du monde
Let’s show them Canada still cares
You know that we’ll be there

If we should try together you and I
Maybe we could understand the reasons why
If we take a stand every woman, child and man
We can make it work for God’s sake lend a hand

Mu favourite garage band ever: The Travelling Wilburys. singing End of the Line

“Well, it’s all right, even if you’re old and gray,

Well, it’s all right, you’ve still got something to say . . .”  and so we do . . .

travelling wilburys 01 Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, George Harrison. I wish they had had time to create more than two albums (they made Volume One and Volume Three;  there was no Volume Two; it was a sort of in joke and it makes me laugh.)

Have a lovely day today, my friends; I wish you Sunlight and Serenity.  ~ Linne

 

Day 15: Christmas Baking & a Shortbread Recipe

Well, it’s been an interesting exercise, posting daily. I’ve never tried to do this before and it may be a while before I do it again, at least as a set piece. 🙂  Anyway, I’ve been sitting here racking my brains as to a suitable topic.

I thought about all the Christmas baking I did when my boys were young. Of course I have no photos here, but I think I’ll write about some of that anyway and use pictures off the internet.

Although at the time I was doing most of the Christmas baking we had no electricity and thus no refrigeration, I would begin baking just after Hallowe’en. The things that kept best were made first and the others closer to the big day. My boys didn’t get much in the way of sweets during the year; I didn’t want them to develop a sweet tooth like mine. Generally, bread was the only thing we baked. Christmas was different, though, and I loved to go all-out for the holidays, then we were ready to returnto simple living once it was over.

jam kettle 01The first thing I baked was often the Christmas cakes; I made a variety of shapes and sizes, mostly due to using my bread pans and the like. I used my old jam kettle to mix the dough in. It looked similar to this one, without the handle on the side (just the bale) and, of course, was much older. It showed its long history of jam-making.

The recipe was my own and if I ever find it, I will share it with you all, but not this year. It’s somewhere in the storage.

Once the cakes were baked, I set them, one at a time, on a plate covered with a large piece of cheesecloth, two or three layers. I punctured the cake all over and then poured brandy slowly in the top, letting it soak into the holes; No worries; by the time we ate this, the alcohol had all evaporated, leaving only a delightful flavour. I wrapped the cakes in the cheesecloth, then in waxed paper, then finally in aluminium foil. Then the cakes were packed and put away in the cool mudroom for the next year. (After the first year I made these cakes, we always ate the aged ones.

I made two separate pound cakes, too, in my largest bread pans; one with halved green maraschino cherries and one with halved red cherries. When the cakes were sliced and arranged on a plate with the colours alternating, they looked very festive. Usually, I use whole wheat flour, but the pound cakes were made with white.

Each year I made gingerbread men and also a gingerbread cake. The latter was baked in my largest rectangular pan and was left un-iced. I felt we were going to have enough sugar without icing the gingerbread!

Humdingers 01

Humdingers similar to mine

For cookies, I made hermits (with oats, raisins, walnuts, coconut, and more) and an unbaked cookie that in our family was known as ‘humdingers’. These are rich and chocolatey and I will see if one of my sisters has the recipe. You know where mine is!

 

I loved to make the traditional sugar cookies, too; those we cut out with cookie cutters in Christmas shapes and added the details with icing.

Sugar Cookies 01

Sugar Cookies

I used my Mum’s trick of making a waxed paper cone, then snipping the end off (you have to be careful not to make the opening too large, so go slowly with the cutting if you try this). You can tape the edges or simply be careful. Spoon the icing into the cone, fold the top down and squeeze it slowly. I made several cones and a different colour of icing went into each one.

I made other things, too, but these were the yearly mainstays. And, of course, the Scottish Shortbread! I have made them with oat flour and with rice flour (they are not Scottish if made with only rice flour) and with cornstarch. Our favourite s were the ones with a mixture of oat flour and rice flour.  (using oat and rice flours together goes back to at least the 1800s)

Scottish Oat n Rice Shortbread 01

Scottish Oat Shortbread

Scottish Shortbread

Ingredients:

  •  1/3 cup oat flour or 1 cup porridge (rolled) oats
  • 1 ½ cups rice flour
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar (icing sugar)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease an 8″ round cake pan. To make storage easier, you may want to use an 8: square cake pan.

If you are using the rolled oats, grind them in a blender to make your own oat flour.

Place the oat flour (or ground oats) in a mixing bowl and add the rice flour, powdered sugar, and salt, blend well to combine.

Add the butter and mix well with a wooden spoon (or you can use and electric mixer on medium speed for 2-3 minutes) until the batter comes together and forms a dough.

Press the dough into the prepared round cake pan and use a knife to score it into 16 wedges. If you are using a square cake pan, score the dough into 16 bars.

Bake for 10 minutes at 400°F then reduce the oven temperature to 250°F and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Keep an eye on them the first time you make these, as ovens differ. Remove the shortbread from the oven and turn the oven off. Using a sharp knife, cut along the scored lines while the shortbread is still hot. Place the pan back in the oven but do not turn the oven on. Let the shortbread sit in the oven with the door closed for an hour while the oven cools down to let the shortbread dry out and develop a crisp texture).

Remove the shortbread from the oven and allow it to cool completely.

Store in a covered tin to keep the texture crisp.

Well,that’s it for today, I think. If more comes to mind, I’ll add it to another post.

Music for today:

Lead With Your Heart by The Canadian Tenors  (The entire album is here)

I have loved this one since I was a girl:

The French Song by Lucille Starr

Have a great day today. The weekend is nearly here!  Peace & Insight  ~ Linne

 

Day 12: Family history discoveries and my eggnog recipe.

Note: I finally got some photos to upload to WordPress, but for some reason I still can’t insert them in a post, so, since it’s now after 1 am, I am going for text only . . . again. I’m sorry about that as I know how much more interesting a post is when there are pictures to enjoy as well.

Today I got a late start followed by an unexpected trip to town. Lucky for me I stayed up late last night and had everything I needed in order. Cousin M is not a planning sort of person and I have lived with others for so long that I automatically plan my things around theirs. It’s easy for me and I like it, so that usually works best. It’s a good thing that we share the same heritage; I understand him and he understands me, so generally things go quite well as a result. And then the post office had a long lineup and my purchase took time, too, so I was in the drug store for over an hour. In the end, I made a mad dash into the grocery store for two bags of cranberries (I’ll tell you about that tomorrow) and then went back to the truck and we made it home before dark.

I didn’t get any knitting done today, which is too bad, but by the time I phoned a dear friend in Victoria and had supper, I wasn’t up for knitting. I did manage to drop in on a few folks’ blogs and catch up a bit more.  And I checked email briefly, then facebook for messages. And on fb I had a wonderful message waiting for me.

I was looking for information on my mother’s parents and grandparents a few days ago. The man who contacted me is a lecturer (professor?) in Norway. He has a group on fb about the island of Leka, very near to Trondheim, where we always thought my great-grandparents and my Mum’s mother had come from. Well, this professor has made a project out of tracking down the descendants of people who emigrated from Leka to the Americas. He had information that I was able to check out with my Auntie tonight and it’s all correct.

Apparently, when people emigrated at the beginning of the 1900s, it was generally via Trondheim, so that was the name that showed on the immigration papers.

I did check this man out and he has fb posts going back to when he was in high school; he’s now in his early 40s, I figure. So I’m pretty sure he’s legit.

One of the exciting things for me was learning the names of my great-great-uncles, two of whom stayed in North Dakota when the others came to Canada and the names of my great-great-grandfather and great-great-grandmother.

An interesting fact to me was that they lived on one of the Western Isles of that area, I lived for over thirty years in what I think of as our Western Isles and the band whose work I love best also hails from the Western Isles, this time of Scotland. Possibly co-incidence, I know, but still . . . I can be quite practical about some things, but I am also quite fanciful about others. This is one of the latter. I don’t much care if it’s a true connection or not; it makes my heart sing.

I first lived on an island when I was a toddler and my Dad and his brother, my cousin M’s father, worked in the open pit mine on Texada Island, near Powell River, BC. We left a couple of years later, so I don’t remember much from that time, but I believe that’s where my love of the sea and islands comes from.

My own recipe for eggnog:

Do read this through in advance. Amounts aren’t really too critical as you will want to adjust to suit the size of your serving bowl and the number of people who will be partaking.

After supper sometime, separate 1 dozen eggs, reserving the whites in the fridge for the next day and putting the yolks in a large bowl. [I used to use my big glass punch bowl, but I didn’t have a fridge, so I didn’t have to worry about space. Our mudroom was always cold enough to serve as a refrigeration area, so I simply covered the bowl with plastic wrap and set it in the mudroom for overnight.]

Using a whisk, beat a cup of icing sugar into the yolks, then add a half cup (4 oz) of rum and 1/2 tsp of grated nutmeg; fresh is fantastic, but if you don’t have it, use pre-grated. I prefer dark, but use what you like. This ‘cooks’ the yolks so that they lose that raw egg flavour. I think brandy would work well, too, but I don’t think I ever tried it. Put the bowl into the fridge overnight or until the next evening.

Stirring gently with the whisk, add a can of evaporated milk to give it a richer,fuller flavor. I always used Pacific, as that’s what I grew up on, but I’m sure any brand would work. Next add 2 quarts (litres) of whole milk. At this point, I like to let the mixture sit another 24 hours to ripen the flavour.

Depending on the amount you want, you may add another two litres of whole milk at this point. Or wait until just before you are ready to serve. (see below)

The day you are going to serve the eggnog, whip a pint of whipping cream until it makes soft peaks. Fold in gently. Last, whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt. 1/8 tsp of cream of tartar can help it to form peaks well, but is not necessary. Fold the egg whites into the mixture as well. Taste the ‘nog to see if it needs any tweaking. I used to make a punch bowl full when we had company coming, so would add more whole milk and often more whipping cream, whipped, of course, as well.

At this point the eggnog is ready to serve. If the drink is only for adults, it’s possible to add more rum to the bowl. Otherwise, you may want to have the bottle handy for guests to use themselves. We rarely drank and our friends were the same, so this once a year indulgence was never a problem for anyone. I have known serious drinkers, though, and if they had come to our house, the rum would have been hidden safely away. 🙂

I like to keep the nutmeg and grater (or bottle of pre-grated) handy to add to each glass as it’s served up.

If you do try this, I’d love to hear what you think.

Music for today: Hymn to Nations, set to Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ and sung by the great Paul Robeson. I apologize for the quality of the recording; it was released in 1953. I couldn’t find a better recording. still I love the words to this song (and the music); I first learned this when I belonged to the school choir in Chase, BC, in grade five. I have never forgotten it and I think we need to hear it often during the challenges of these times.

May your day be filled with Light and Love.  ~ Linne

Three Things / Thankful on Thursday

Thankful on Thursday

I have been sitting here and contemplating what to write about tonight. There are things in the works that I’m not ready to share yet and things I planned and haven’t been able to begin. Still, there is much to be grateful for.

One: I am grateful for the skills that my mother started me on when I was a wee child; hand-stitching from the age of two or so, for one. Knitting and crochet and embroidery for more. I feel so deeply happy when I knit and crochet; I feel connected to such a long line of women in my family who all did the same, either to keep their family warm and cosy or to be creative or, in most cases, both. Last winter i crocheted an enormous throw for my friends in Tacoma. Out of cotton yarn. It began as an idea for a light (ha!) summer wrap, something to keep  one’s back warm when sitting by an evening campfire. And it morphed into this:

crochet spread teal white mango 01

I used two yarns; one teal and the other a variegate with teal, mandarin orange and white. I started in the centre, crocheted once around, then joined the second yarn. I just kept alternating yarns in a lovely spiral. I changed the pattern a couple of times, too, but now I wish I’d written down what I did. I would like to try this again one day, but with three yarn colours. I did find at first that the variegate interfered with the clarity of the pattern. Next time I will choose solid colours only. AS you can see, it’s five feet across or more. I’m still amazed that I created this in about two months, in the midst of other handwork and with only two to four hours a day, some days not at all, too.

The second thing I’m grateful for is my renewed love of sock making.  When I was in my twenties, my lovely mother in law gave me a pair of work boots for Christmas. I was living with my oldest son and his dad on one of the Gulf Islands and we walked everywhere. They were wonderful boots that fit me exactly and I have never forgotten her thoughtfulness. But I needed some warm socks to go with them. I didn’t than have the patience for knitting with fin yarns and I had some pure wool rug yarn, so I took a men’s dress sock pattern and did the math. The resulting pattern was a perfect fit and I had those socks for many years.

A few weeks ago my cousin and I were driving to Vernon for some of the weekly sales shopping and he kindly took me to Armstrong along the way. Armstrong is a small town about twenty minutes from here, not far off the main highway. We went to The Twisted Purl Yarn Studio and I bought some Jamieson & Smith pure wool two ply jumper yarn in five colours: black, burgundy, red, pink and a sort of sage green. I had not stopped to think what I might make, so gave the colour selection less thought than usual,; the selection was small for my taste and I simply picked colours that I thought I could use successfully in Fair Isle type stranded knitting. A few days later I decided I needed a pair of wool socks and the adventure began. The colours aren’t quite what I like, but I think they are working out fairly well. In any case, they will keep my feet toasty warm.

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AS you can see, I’ve successfully turned the heel and am about to begin knitting my way up the leg. The other sock is ready to have its heel created, too. There are a few errors in the knitting; While doing the hearts motif I was listening to Runrig on my headphones and lost track of the counting, so some of the hearts aren’t quite right. By the time I noticed it was too late for frogging. And while doing the heel, the pattern required using short rows with a wrapped stitch at the beginning and then picking up the wrap with the stitch and knitting or purling them together. Sounds easy, right? Well, try doing that with black yarn in the late evening and under rather dim lighting. Not to mention that my eyesight is not too good at present. However, I got through rather well, I think and the heel looks fine to me.

Today, with snow coming tonight for the firs time this autumn, we went to Vernon again so that I could buy a pair of thick work socks, some heavy work gloves for shovelling snow and the like and some more candied ginger. My cousin is a very kind man and made time to take me to the Twisted Purl again, where I put in an order for a few colours I feel I need before I begin the next pair of socks and another ball of the black for this pair. The Purl was out of the black but ready to make another order, so I asked for not only the black but also a medium green, a slightly golden yellow and I think another colour. And as long as I was in the store . . . I bought these:

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Two balls of dark green, one of a light blue, one of  a darker blue and one each of the three reds I’m already using in the current socks. We were in a bit of a rush to get all the shopping done and get home before dark, so I didn’t want to take time over the colours and order more. I think I can make these work, though. I have a happy pattern in mind for the legs of the next pair and I’ll share that with you all once I get to that. It’s all part of the plan for next year . . .

The third thing I’m grateful for today is my odd knack for baking ‘on the fly’; adapting recipes that I’ve never made before I make them and then having it all work out so well. Usually, anyway. Yesterday my cousin’s wife, Cousin S, gave me five bananas she had brought home from her work as a school custodian. They had black spots on the skins but were still firm. She mentioned that she had been thinking of banana bread and had Googled for a recipe, finding one for Chocolate Banana Bread. I offered to whip that up, as she rarely has time for baking and after lunch I set to. I added chopped walnuts, whole wheat flour and wheat germ to the original recipe (I like to maximize nutrition as much as possible). I doubled the recipe so that I could use all the bananas and when I found the batter a bit dry I added some yoghurt. In the end, we got twenty four muffins out of the recipe. I chose to do muffins instead of a loaf as it makes it easier to pack one for lunch and, wrapped individually, they keep very well in the fridge. They turned out scrumptious, especially hot from the oven with butter after I split them open. The chocolate chips didn’t hurt, either; they formed wee volcanoes of deliciousness that I’m sure you can imagine.

I will share the recipe here, likely tomorrow. It was very easy and well worth it.


Chocolate Banana Muffins 

INGREDIENTS for a single recipe: makes 12 muffins or one loaf.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4  cup wheat germ

1/2 cup cocoa, preferably not processed with alkali

1 tsp baking soda rounded slightly

1/2 tsp salt (less if you like) The original recipe called for sea salt, but we don’t have that, so I used regular table salt.

3 large brown bananas – 1.5 cups mashed

(I find there is a more pleasant and mild banana flavour if the bananas aren’t too ripe, but I abhor waste, so use whatever you have)  🙂

1/4 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled

1/4 cup oil (I used safflower)

Note: you can use all butter, all oil or cut it back and substitute yoghurt or milk for part of the liquid.

3/4 cup packed brown sugar (if you measure the oil and butter first, then the brown sugar in the same cup, you will waste less oil/butter). This will work with less sugar.

1 large egg at room temperature (I didn’t see this recipe in time to take one out, so I used a cold egg. You could use 2 smaller eggs if you don’t have large.)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 to 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 to 1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 to 1 cup raisins (large are great and for special occasions, you can soak them in rum or brandy first; the alcohol is eliminated during baking, leaving only the flavour)

Optional for topping: chop some chocolate chips and walnuts together. You would need a few tablespoons of the chopped mix.

Optional (if needed): plain or vanilla yoghurt OR milk

INGREDIENTS for a double recipe: makes 24 muffins or two loaves.

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2  cup wheat germ

1 cup cocoa, preferably not processed with alkali. I used a couple of heaping tablespoons more; we like chocolate around here.

2 tsp baking soda rounded slightly

1 tsp salt (less if you like) The original recipe called for sea salt, but we don’t have that, so I used regular table salt.

5 – 6 large brown bananas – 3 cups mashed. I confess I didn’t measure them. Hence the yoghurt added at the end.

(I find there is a more pleasant and mild banana flavour if the bananas aren’t too ripe, but I abhor waste, so use whatever you have)  🙂

1/2 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled

1/2 cup oil (I used safflower)

Note: you can use all butter, all oil or cut it back and substitute yoghurt or milk for part of the liquid.

1.5 cups packed brown sugar (if you measure the oil and butter first, then the brown sugar in the same cup, you will waste less oil/butter) This will work with less sugar.

2 large eggs at room temperature (I didn’t see this recipe in time to take them out, so I used cold eggs. You could use 3 – 4 smaller eggs if you don’t have large.)

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 to 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 to 2  cups chopped walnuts

1 to 2 cups raisins (large are great and for special occasions, you can soak them in rum or brandy first; the alcohol is eliminated during baking, leaving only the flavour). I didn’t use raisins this time; cousin M has requested them for next timre, as he loves the large raisins we buy.

Optional for topping: chop some chocolate chips and walnuts together. You would need a few tablespoons of the chopped mix.

Optional (if needed): plain or vanilla yoghurt OR milk

Variation: I think these would be wonderful made with chocolate chips and chopped candied ginger, too. But I love candied ginger! lol

METHOD:

Heat oven to 350 F

Grease one or two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans or one or two 12 hole muffin pans, I use a non-hydrogenated margarine made with olive oil. Safflower oil would likely work, too. I like the margarine because it isn’t absorbed so much by the muffins / loaves.

In a medium sized bowl mix the flours, wheat germ, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl mash the peeled bananas with a fork or a pastry cutter.Add the butter and oil. Stir until well mixed.stir in the brown sugar, egg and vanilla extract. Beat well with a wooden spoon until smooth.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, folding in carefully. I usually add the dry mix in three portions; it makes the folding in easier. Don’t overmix.

IF the mixture seems too dry, add a few heaping tblsp of plain or vanilla yoghurt. Milk can also be used. Use your judgement; less is more sometimes.

Fold in the chocolate chips, walnuts and raisins.

Using a large serving spoon or a tablespoon (a small metal measuring cup would also work, I think), spoon the batter into the muffin cups or the loaf pans.

Optional: Spoon a little of the topping mix onto each muffin or top the loaves with it, if using. I didn’t and they were fine without it. It’s my idea, not from the original recipe; I just thought it would fancy them up for a special occasion.

If making a loaf, the original recipe calls for baking it for 50 – 65 minutes. I’d test them from about 30 minutes on, using a toothpick or table knife. When it comes out clean, remove from the oven, let cool for 5 – 10 minutes, then remove to a rack.

If making muffins, bake for about 15 – 20 minutes and then test to see if they need more time. Every oven is different. I had mine in a 400 F oven for 25 minutes and it was a wee bit too long; the chocolate didn’t burn, but it would have if I’d not checked them.

These muffins are fantastic eaten hot, split open and buttered. You may want to make tea, coffee or your favourite hot drink to enjoy along with them.


I have more to tell you, but it will have to wait. It’s well after midnight now and bed is calling me . . .

Correction:

I didn’t link to The Twisted Yarn’s Three Things on Thursday post. And a good thing, too! I was doing my best to get back to more timely posting and typed that from memory. Actually, the Thankful on Thursday posts belong to Mrs. Snail. My apologies to both ladies.

It’s too dark for me to type properly as it is. I’ll add that tomorrow, too. In the meantime, do share your Three Things / Thankful in the comments, if you feel inspired to do so. Love and warm hugs to each of you. I hope you are all doing well.

A final addition: This is what I woke up to today:

And, as to my Peace Poppies for Kendal; they arrived in time. In this photo you can see two of them quite clearly (the ones with the red bit around their black centre):

The second photo shows the WWI medical tent over which the poppies were draped after being fastened together by some wonderful volunteers.

Martha s Original Christmas Cookie (biscuit) recipe

Sorry I had to leave out the apostrophes in the titles; no idea what I did, but this laptop is very touchy and all of a sudden began producing an accented è instead of the apostrophe. I am having trouble with the slanting line for fractions, too, (1é3) so have writtern them out. arrgghhhh

sigh . . .

First tray in the oven . . .

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

:Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper to save on cleanup and extra fat. Trust me, the cookies have their fair share of calories! And that is why I prefer to make recipes like this once a year for a feast, then get back on the straight and narrow; well, somewhat straight and narrow, if I have to be completely honest 🙂

I am adding my notes as I go along, but will put just the necessary items in a list at the bottom. That way you can copy them and print as you like.

It is a good idea to take the butter out of the fridge and let it soften to room temperature. I used Olivina, unhydrogenated margarine, as it stays soft even in the fridge.

In a medium sized bowl mix the following dry ingredients:
2 c flour
(Mum used white, so I did that when making the cookies as gifts in her name. Myself, I would be more likely to use whole wheat, maybe some rye, a bit of wheat germ, etc. But then they would be MY original cookies, not hers. 🙂
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
In a large bowl (I used my small bread bowl, but it is fairly large in size)
Cream two thirds cup butter, softened (or you can use margarine of good flavour)
Add two thirds cup golden brown sugar a third at a time, continuing to cream the mixture
Whisk in two large eggs and cream some more
Add 2 Tblsp milk and mix, then add
1 tsp. vanilla (we prefer the real vanilla, not the imitation)
Method:
Add the dry ingredients to the wet a half cup or so at a time, mixing thoroughly.
Fold in:
One half cu:p chopped walnuts
One half cup chopped almonds
Three quarters cup chopped maraschino cherries
Three quarters cup mixed candied fruit peel
One and a half cups sultana raisins
Stir until fruit is well mixed in, then drop by rounded tablespoons onto the parchment paper. These cookies do not spread, so can be fairly close together.
For smaller (and more) cookies, use rounded teaspoons of dough
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes – do not over bake! I suggest making a few as a test run first to be sure of the time. I baked mine for 12 minutes when I had tablespoons of dough and for 10 minutes when I had teaspoons of dough. Size does matter!
Remove to wire racks to cool, then pack into containers or zip lock bags for storing. Better hide some; they do not last long . . .

A closer view

Here are the easy and more readable instructions.

Martha s Original Christmas Cookies

Dry Ingredients:
2 c. flour
One tsp. baking powder
One half tsp. baking soda
One tsp. salt
Wet ingredients:
Two thirds c. butter
Two thirds c. brown sugar
Two large eggs
Two tblsp. milk
One tsp. real vanilla
Fruit and Nuts:
One half c. chopped walnuts
One half c. chopped almonds
Three quarter c. chopped maraschino cherries
Three quarter c. mixed candied fruit peel
One and a half c. Sultana raisins
Method:
Set Oven to 375 degrees F.
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or grease lightly with butter or margarine
Mix dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl
Cream wet ingredients in a large bowl
Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ones, mixing well between each addition
Fold in nuts and fruit
Drop by rounded tablespoons on to cookie sheets, spacing fairly close together
Bake 8-10 minutes – do not overbake! Try a few first as a test batch, then adjust baking time for your oven and altitude.
Let cool on wire racks, then pack into containers or zip lock bags for storing
These are excellent hot from the oven with cold milk, as we would have them on baking day as soon as we were home from school and changed out of our school clothes.

Cookies cooling and snack plate set up

Cookies cooling and snack plate set up

Cookies cooling and snack plate set up

 

 

Life is what happens while . . .

. . . you’re busy making other plans . . . (John Lennon)

So there’s been a lot of life going on here, but first, thanks to everyone who has offered support and sent warm energy over the past weeks. I’m so sorry I haven’t replied to comments and, in some cases, emails. I’m still hoping to catch up soon, but a post is long overdue, so I’m doing that first. I think it may be a rather long one, so get your tea now 🙂

IMG_2522I was at the hospital a few days ago to bring cookies to the unit and on my way back through the courtyard, I saw that the Healing Tipi had been set up for summer use.

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The Nurse Practitioner who was the recipient of the cookies has become a friend; he told me about a Sound Healing – Tibetan Crystal Bowls event that was coming up. It was held in the Bikram Yoga Centre some distance west and south of where we live. It was an amazing experience; I’m very introverted and a bit awkward with groups of people I don’t know, so I went in, laid out the yoga mat I’d been given, and lay down to prepare for meditation. Matt Welke, one of the organizers of these weekly events, gave a brief introduction to the use of the bowls. We were invited to play one if we liked, but I chose instead to spend the hour in meditation and prayer for those I love and also for those who have requested it.

In 1997 I walked a labyrinth for the first time (not to be confused with a maze – you can get lost in a maze; a labyrinth has only one path; you walk to the centre and then back to the starting point). After I’d been ‘there and back again’, I sat nearby and meditated until all of the group had walked. I had an extremely intense experience of energy in my hands, to the point where they felt so swollen I thought the discomfort came from the pressure of the touching fingers. When I opened my eyes, though, my hands appeared normal and the feeling receded. On closing my eyes and resuming the meditation, the feeling returned, as strongly as in the beginning.  I was told later that I should consider studying Reiki.

I’m  sharing this experience because a similar thing happened while I was listening to the Singing Bowls and it was strongest when the largest bowls or a combination of bowls including one or two of the largest, were played.If this is something that interests you, I highly recommend attending a session. I can’t vouch for the healing effects, but my knees were much more flexible after I stood up and walking was easier. The trouble with attributing effects is that I’m currently using more than one approach. Still, the Bowls were pretty impressive. . .

IMG_2540 . . . as is this uniquely Canadian item. Who recognizes this?

I’m still not ready for the move; it won’t happen at the end of June; most likely now is the end of July. And it won’t be to the Crafties’ basement; I am moving back to southern BC, to Chilliwack where the oldest of my sisters lives. Or at least somewhere close to her. Anywhere from Abbotsford through Yarrow to Chilliwack will be just fine by me. I will be…

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Wan to see where I’m going?  Click here!

The first hospital in Abbotsford was built in 1922 and is where I was born some years later.  The town wasn’t called Abbotsford then; at least my birth certificate says ‘Matsqui’ on it. A lovely name, I think. Abbotsford was named after the home of Sir Walter Scott in the Lowlands of Scotland The hospital was replaced in the early ’50s and then again in 2009. I looked for a photo or two online, but couldn’t find one.

Anyway, the new plan is to find somewhere to live and so I’ve reached out to a couple of old friends who’ve lived in Abbotsford, then Chilliwack for over 30 years.

My plan always was to go ‘home’ to BC, but I didn’t expect to be able to go this year. So amidst all the re-structuring of my daily life, there is some joy, too. And that’s a good thing. I knew the decision was the right one for me as soon as I made it; a huge feeling of peace and relief came over me and the dark clouds began to lift. I’m not done working through the sadness, but it’s become easier now that I feel a sense of hope again.

Once settled, too, I’ll be able to visit my sons and their families, as well as some old friends in Vancouver and Victoria. I have’t been to the coast for over seven and a half years and that’s a long time.

In preparation for this move I went with the Crafties to their property where my container sits with some of my stuff. Boy, have they done a lot of work since I was last there (over a year): I should have taken more photos . . .

Their son has a small two storey cabin half finished:IMG_2543

This 16 foot square shed is nearly done, too, and is already in use for storage. On the south side (away from you)  will be a porch for sitting in the shade and taking a break.

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The outhouse was one of the first structures to be put up; here’s the view from outside and in . . . it’s all boards that have been salvaged from here and there.

Three views: the picnic area, the squirrel grove and the garden. The painted tires each hold a fruit tree. All the fruit trees and a sweet little weeping willow have survived the winter.

Before we had our cookout (using the barrel behind the table to contain the flames), Mrs. Crafty brought out some lovely hand-made soap for washing our hands. That’s it there; the round cake just left of the hand towel.

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Mrs. Crafty loves folk art and painting garden ornaments. Here are some she’s brought from home and a panther they found in a discard heap and rescued. It will be painted soon, too, and the other items will be placed in her gardens and along some of the deer trails, which are wide enough to walk on..

Behind this cute picket fence grows an assortment of flowers, domestic and wild, and above the garden hangs a hummingbird feeder. Bird and squirrel feeders are in several places here and it’s so lovely to watch the birds and critters that the feeders attract. The gate was made by Mrs Crafty from twisted branches she cut from small trees they were felling for firewood. The birdbath is a clay saucer I gave her when I realized I was not likely to have my dream garden, with a fountain at each corner.

The other three, and most of my clay pots, are going to a friend who used to be my manager when I worked at her Lewiscraft store. Later she encouraged me to take on the Assistant Manager position and after that, to move up to Manager. I loved so much about working in a craft store; ordering unique colours of yarn, teaching clients to knit and crochet while we stood in the niddle of the store, especially figuring out where a pattern had gone wrong for the more experienced knitters and crocheters.  When Mum was in the hospital before Christmas, she had a room-mate whose daughter remembered me from over a decade ago. She had knitted a sweater, arms and body, to the yoke in six months. Then, for over three years she struggled to complete the patterned yoke. In despair she brought it to the store; we went over each stitch together and found where the pattern was wrong! It was quite gratifying to find that all her family knew the story and knew who I was, just from that one day.

Can you tell that old wooden chairs minus their seats were used as part of the frames for these garden beds? The right hand bed is full of strawberry plants.

We have no idea what this plant is, but my sister thinks it may be cowslip:

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We were out there for over eight hours and besides taking a tour of the property, Mrs. Crafty and I went through over a third of the boxes in the container. The container has settled at the back, so some of the boxes had fallen and others had been placed with heavy boxes on top of half=full or light boxes, so the lower ones had collapsed somewhat. We are re=packing those into stronger boxes and organizing them near the front for easy loading come moving day. I am giving the container to the Crafties and they will store some of my things that are not sensitive to moisture for a couple more years. They will be able to store some of their tools and equipment in it, so it’s a good deal all around. Below you can see how much the container is listing . . . The bottom photo shows some of my boxes. The old bed frames and other things at the front belong to the Crafties. I remembered there being a lot more boxes, so seeing them was a good thing. Much more manageable that I’d expected. It’s helping, too, that I’m giving some of my things to Mrs. Crafty, like the yarns for afghans that are mostly or all acrylic. I’ve decided I’m switching to natural materials, or mostly so, from now on.

If I had a piece of property, I think I’d place two of these 40 foot long containers side by side, but about 30 or 40 feet apart, then roof over the space and the containers and build walls with large windows at the back and front of the large space. A large set of patio doors at each end and a floor would make it complete (and a wood-burning fireplace, of course). It would be easy to fit one container out with a bathroom and two bedrooms and the other with a kitchen, pantry and storage space. The central room would be workspace, gathering room, etc.Using salvaged materials for most of it, I think one could have a great cottae / workshop for about $10,000. I’d extend beams from the roof supports, too, to create a porch on either side. Solar panels could be set up nearby to power lights, etc. The neighbour has several set up next to where he lives and can run a washer and dryer, cookstove, small refrigerator and lights as well as his power tools. Very nice, I think.

The driveway out to the gravel road . . .

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. . . but we didn’t go back to town immediately. Because, in spite of my parents’ being sure that I would grow out of it, my love for horses is as strong as ever and I simply had to see the neighbour’s herd, or two of them, anyway . . . These are quarter horses and I was sorely tempted to hop on the grey and ride home . . . but common sense prevailed . . .

Now, the other news: I have been unable to find my ‘toe-up’ sock that is still sitting at the first toe/ But I have been busy going through boxes and packing (and down-sizing for the first of what I think will be several times). While doing that, I found six skeins of this amazing mohair/wool blend with a little nylon for added strength:

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The colour reminds me of piles of autumn leaves and is more beautiful than the photos.

I have had this yarn for ten years, waiting to be inspired and finally inspiration struck! I decided to make a Pi Shawl. The pattern for this shawl was first created by Elizabeth Zimmerman and is loosely based on the mathematical Pi. You begin with 9 stitches on three double pointed needles, knit two rows, then usising yarn overs you double the stitches to 18. The next section is 4 rows of knitting. The next row you double the stitches again, to 36, then knit 8 rows . . . see how easy? It’s good to keep track of your rows with a stitch counter, though, especially with mohair or other fuzzy yarns. I haven’t located any  of my own counters, so I’m making marks on recipe cards, four verticals and one horizontal to  tie them into a group of five. So far, that’s working just fine. I am now up to 288 stitches and have finished 10 of the 64 rows called for in this section. I have seen this shawl knitted from smooth yarns and some knitters have done patterned knitting in each section between the increase rows. Those are stunning! Now, if I were truly ambitious, I would be considering knitting one using the Fair Isle patterns I love so much. Maybe one day, when I’m spending more time in a rocker by the fire . . . Here’s the work to date:

In the left hand photo, I’d hung the piece on a hook in the hallway, but the light wasn’t good enough. In the other two photos the work is flattened and the pictures were taken under different lights; I think the right hand one is closest to the actual colour. I’m using a circular needle now, so the work has assumed the shape of a bag or maybe a Rasta beanie… Soon I will put half the stitches onto another circular needle and the work will continue to go easily. I’m not sure how large this shawl will be, but I’ve only just begun on the third of the six balls and if I fold the work, it comes nearly to my elbows.

By the end of each day, we are generally tired and partly that’s from the emotional side of . through our mother’s things. Other factors come into it, too, but I won’t be posting about those. So we make our supper and watch some Netflix movie or tv series and I knit. Then it’s off to bed. A good distraction when I just want to turn off my busy mind for a while.

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These are not particularly healthy, although the recipe could be adapted. Our youngest sister found it and I made it up just as Mum used to do for Christmas. This is a double batch and made eight dozen, with some dough left over. No idea what happened to that…

I loved using my favourite bowl (which matches a larger one of Mum’s), Mum’s wooden spoon and my Aunty’s potholders. I felt as though they were just in the other room.

If anyone would like the recipe, let me know in a comment below and I will post it. It’s quite quick and easy to make; the longest part for me was chopping the nuts with a knife. If one had a nut chopper, it would go very fast. These were a great hit and the hospital bag of a couple dozen cookies apparently lasted less than an hour. Made me happy . . .

So . . . my day out in the country with no sounds but those of nature was most refreshing and renewing. I hadn’t realized how much i’d missed it until I was out there again. We had lovely weather, warm but not too hot (although while in the container we were both sweating heavily), with a light breeze to cool us off.  Jtust what I needed, that day . . .

I’m not sure when I’ll get to post again and it likely won’t be so long next time, but I’ll keep you updated on the move and settling in wherever I land.I wish you all a wonderful week / month / year. I’ve been reading your posts as often as possible, but have not been able to comment from my phone (forgot my password . . . again!). I’m still getting used to the laptop, but eventually it will behave itself and then we’ll see . . . Lots of big hugs to all of you in the Virtual Village.  ❤