Thursday, December 27, 2007
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Around the world, where-ever we might be, there is always a special day or event or person to celebrate.
Today I'm celebrating the gift of good friends, friends in business who are always willing to go the extra mile for the good of many.
Looking back over the December blogging project, I must say a very special "thank you" to Dina, if not for her there would have been no blogging project.....a sad thought.
There were others who deserve thanks for different reasons, too many to mention them all, but.... Jeanie, Heidi C., Susan, and everyone who took the time to read and respond, may I say "thank you" and wish you a very "Happy New Year."
To your good health!
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Mars is 55 million miles away, which makes it brighter than all the other stars right now.
The planet Mars was positioned in direct opposition to the sun on Christmas Eve.
And it was accompied by a spectacular full moon, they tracked across the sky together all night of the 24th...Christmas Eve.
The two celestial bodies were very high in the sky at midnight.....I stood outside wrapped in a down comforter and watched the two bodies for as long as my endurance would allow.
Monday, December 24, 2007
The day has been long and filled with excitement and anticipation.
Watching the young and innocent faces of the little ones make it through the day, tracking Santa all across the globe, at times not able to contain their eagerness to have it be Christmas morning already. This is the part of the celebration that warms my heart and makes me know it's all real, it's all worth it, and it's all a wonderful and divine blessing.
Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep....
Tomorrow is almost here!
Merry Christmas to you all.
With gracious thanks.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
In America, Christmas Trees were introduced into several pockets - the German Hessian Soldiers took their tree customs in the 18th century. In Texas, Cattle Barons from Britain took their customs in the 19th century, and the East Coast Society copied the English Court tree customs
Settlers from all over Europe took their customs also in the 19th century.
Decorations were not easy to find in the shanty towns of the West, and people began to make their own decorations. Tin was pierced to create lights and lanterns to hold candles which could shine through the holes.
An updated version of these are the beautiful luminaries we see lining walk ways and garden paths.
Decorations of all kinds were cutout, stitched and glued. The General Stores were hunting grounds for old magazines with pictures, rolls of Cotton Batting (Cotton Wool), and tinsel, which was occasionally sent from Germany or brought in from the Eastern States. The Paper 'Putz' or Christmas Crib was a popular feature under the tree, especially in the Moravian Dutch communities which settled in Pennsylvania.
Our Christmas tree is a special reminder of all the Christmas celebrations of the past, from our childhood through our childrens childhood, and now our grandchildren are adding their unique signatures for the next generation.
I love traditions, I hope you do also.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
My husband and I visited the Moravian community in Winston-Salem, NC many times over the last 15 years. I am always in awe of the many forms the same belief has been used to sustain and bring people to a better place of self fulfillment.
I found this society and belief to be as amazing and enlightening as I have so many others .
I love the history of the star, a guide to lead weary souls home and so much more.
Sage Hill Farms
(The Moravian Star)
Originating in the Moravian boarding schools in Germany in the nineteenth century as an exercise in geometry, the stars were carried throughout the world by missionaries and other church workers. Now, from the Himalayas to the Caribbean, the star proclaims the hope of Advent. While we are most familiar with the white star, the first star had alternating red and white points and was made of paper.
Whatever its form, the star reminds us of God, who caused the light to shine out of darkness and of the light which is the life of humanity. It reminds us of the promise of Abraham that his descendants would be more numerous than the stars; we are reminded of the star that pointed to the "great and heavenly light from Bethlehem's manger shining bright." The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. This is the message of the Advent star, which also points to Jesus, who said, "I am the bright and Morning Star." It is the star of promise, the star of fulfillment, and the star of hope.
(History Of The Church)
For over five centuries the Moravian Church has proclaimed the gospel in all parts of the world. Its influence has far exceeded its numbers as it has cooperated with Christians on every continent and has been a visible part of the Body of Christ, the Church. Proud of its heritage and firm in its faith, the Moravian Church ministers to the needs of people wherever they are.
The name Moravian identifies the fact that this historic church had its origin in ancient Bohemia and Moravia in what is the present-day Czech Republic. In the mid-ninth century these countries converted to Christianity chiefly through the influence of two Greek Orthodox missionaries, Cyril and Methodius. They translated the Bible into the common language and introduced a national church ritual. In the centuries that followed, Bohemia and Moravia gradually fell under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Rome, but some of the Czech people protested.
The foremost of Czech reformers, John Hus (1369-1415) was a professor of philosophy and rector of the University in Prague. The Bethlehem Chapel in Prague, where Hus preached, became a rallying place for the Czech reformation. Gaining support from students and the common people, he led a protest movement against many practices of the Roman Catholic clergy and hierarchy. Hus was accused of heresy, underwent a long trial at the Council of Constance, and was burned at the stake on July 6, 1415.
The reformation spirit did not die with Hus. The Moravian Church, or Unitas Fratrum (Unity of Brethren), as it has been officially known since the mid 1400's arose as followers of Hus gathered in the village of Kunvald, about 100 miles east of Prague, in eastern Bohemia, and organized the church. This was 60 years before Martin Luther began his reformation and 100 years before the establishment of the Anglican Church. By 1467 the Moravian Church had established its own ministry, and in the years that followed three orders of the ministry were defined: deacon, presbyter and bishop.
By the mid 1500's the Unity of Brethren numbered at least 200,000 with over 400 parishes. Using a hymnal and catechism of its own, the church promoted the Scriptures through its two printing presses and provided the people of Bohemia and Moravia with the Bible in their own language.
A bitter persecution, which broke out in 1547, led to the spread of the Brethren's Church to Poland where it grew rapidly. By 1557 there were three provinces of the church: Bohemia, Moravia and Poland. The Thirty Years War (1618-1648) brought further persecution to the Brethren's Church, and the Protestants of Bohemia were severely defeated at the battle of White Mountain in the early 1600's.
The prime leader of the Unitas Fratrum in these tempestuous years was Bishop John Amos Comenius (1592-1670). He became world-renowned for his progressive views of education. Comenius, lived most of his life in exile in England and in Holland where he died.
The eighteenth century saw the renewal of the Moravian Church through the patronage of Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf, a pietist nobleman in Saxony. Some Moravian families fleeing persecution in Bohemia and Moravia found refuge on Zinzendorf's estate in 1722 and built the community of Herrnhut. The new community became the haven for many more Moravian refugees. Count Zinzendorf encouraged them to keep the discipline of the Unitas Fratrum, and he gave them the vision to take the gospel to the far corners of the globe. August 13, 1727, marked the culmination of a great spiritual renewal for the Moravian Church in Herrnhut, and in 1732 the first missionaries were sent to the West Indies.
After an unsuccessful attempt to establish a Moravian settlement in Georgia in the mid 1700's, the Moravians settled in Pennsylvania on the estate of George Whitefield. Moravian settlers purchased 500 acres to establish the settlement of Bethlehem in 1741. Soon they bought the 5,000 acres of the Barony of Nazareth from Whitefield's manager, and the two communities of Bethlehem and Nazareth became closely linked in their agricultural and industrial economy.
Bishop Augustus Spangenberg led a party to survey a 100,000 acre tract of land in North Carolina, which came to be known as Wachau after an Austrian estate of Count Zinzendorf. The name, later anglicized to Wachovia, became the center of growth for the church in that region. Bethabara, Bethania and Salem (now Winston-Salem) were the first Moravian settlements in North Carolina.
Bethlehem in Pennsylvania and Winston-Salem in North Carolina became the headquarters of the two provinces (North and South), which developed as the Moravian Church in North America became established as an autonomous church body after the Unity Synod of 1848.
After World War II, strong pushes for church extension took the Northern Province to Southern California (where only an Indian mission had existed since 1890) as well as to some Eastern, Midwestern and Canadian sites. The Southern Province added numerous churches in the Winston-Salem area, throughout North Carolina and extended its outreach to Florida and to Georgia. In North America, the Moravian Church has congregations in 16 states, the District of Columbia, and in two Provinces of Canada.
The history of the church and the reformation movement, I gathered through reading different articles published by the Moravian Churches of North America.
May love and light guide us this special season to look deeper than our own way.
Friday, December 21, 2007
When I first announced to my family what I had in mind for our farm project, my youngest sister ask in a most concerned tone- if, I was going to be wearing long dresses and funny hats.
I sometimes wonder and always get a good laugh just thinking about some of the assumptions people take liberty with.
Also makes me aware of just how much we never know about others, even those we are close to and feel we are deeply connected to.
This is mainly because as time comes and goes, events and things that were once "important" tend to take a back seat to the newer, the now happenings in our life.
We, as a people, are very good at seeing and hearing exactly what we need and wish for.
We attach and pick out the things that relate to our own needs and desires.
Let me share a few things with "you" about "me" that the average person in my life today doesn't know. Not because they are "secret" but simply because they are not relative to my life as it is today. But...they are all very much a part of what makes me who I am.
I actually love books more than any other "thing" in my life.
At the tender age of 16 I took a Greyhound bus to Hammond, IN., from Birmingham, AL., alone...and I wasn't attacked or molested, or in anyway harmed by the experience.
In my mid teens I was a Still model for a large department store in Birmingham, AL.
I once owned a classic, wooden hull ski boat.....loved to ski, hate the water...figure that one out.
I'm an avid hiker, love hiking the NC mountains.
I have 48 first cousins and 51 second cousins.
I once owned a race horse.
Supposedly, Sitting Bull is an ancestor. ( that could explain a lot)
**Now, some things you may or may not know about "tea" herbal or otherwise.**
Tea Tasting Terms...
Agony Of The Leaves...The unfolding of the leaves when subjected to boiling water.
Baggy...An undesirable taint in the dry leaf, as well as in the liquor of the tea.
Banji...Two leaves without a dormant bud, steril.
Coppery...Bright, copper-colored infusion, which is the sign of a well-prepared black tea.
Blistered...Swollen or hollow leaves that carry bubblelike cavities which result from drying too quickly during firing.
Nose...Aroma of tea.
(A Hot Spiced Tea Punch)
12 whole cardamon pods, or you can use whole Allspice
1/2 tsp whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
4 tbsp Darjeeling tea leaves
4 tbsp White tea leaves
1 bottle (750 ml.) hearty Burgundy
1/4 cup honey
Cinnamon sticks for garnish
In a large saucepan, bring 1 quart plus 1 cup of water and the spices to a boil.
Remove from heat, add tea, stir , cover and steep for 5 minutes.
Strain tea and return to pan.
Over low heat, add wine and honey and warm gently, stir gently and do not boil.
Serve in a pretty punch bowl with small cups.
Happy Holidays-Be Safe.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Unless you put some real thought into them they will likely have a wicked lot of calories.
The French picked up the habit of pre-dinner snacking from the Russians, who call such tidbits "zakuskis." The Italians will serve little plates of "antipasto."
Scandinavians tend to do a "smorgasbord" and make a complete meal of it.
To maintain a somewhat healthy guidline around appetizers, think about them two ways.
One, always consider what the main meal will consist of....if plenty and well balanced, then make your appetizers as light as possible and few.
If , on the otherhand dinner will be light, you can feel justified in serving something a little more filling on the Hors d' oeuvres table.
Another point to consider is the balance of the flavors from appetizers to dinner fare.
Two of my very favorite things to work around for the pre-snacking time is ; turkey meatballs, baked in the oven and boiled/seasoned shrimp.
Both can be served with the same sauce and neither is laden with calories/fat.
Making meatballs and boiling shrimp isn't rocket science, so I'll not insult you with how to's. Plus it's a waste of time for me to pass on something you already know how to do...don't you?
Cocktail Dip For Shrimp and Meatballs.
Adjust amounts according to the number of guest you will be serving.
This amount serves about 4.
1/2 cup catsup
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp horseradish
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp garlic powder
Combine and chill if prefered...it's also very good heated just a bit, especially for meatballs.
A big plus with this sauce...all the warm flavors will add a big dose of protection to your immune system.
Enjoy the party!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Bon Appetit......No better time than now to start revamping your recipe collection.
Let me paint you a picture of "yummy" ideas.
Many will declare that food without fat is bland and tastless, but , not so, if we spend a little time learning a few guidelines.
Know your fat facts...oils are pure fat, so skimp and use the best of your choices.
Those being olive and peanut oils. Don't pour the oil straight into the pan or dish, instead keep some in a spray bottle and just spritz the pan lightly.
When sauteing, use fruit juices, chicken or beef broth, or plain water instead of oil, these do a better job of bringing out the flavor of the food and you have eliminated the fat.
Re-think your meat choices...turkey instead of red meat is a marvelous switch for your health. Most any recipe that calls for red meat can be made with turkey without changing any other ingredient.
This is a real biggie...instead of making soups and sauces with egg yolk, heavy cream, etc., use instead pureed vegetables such as carrots, potatoes or cauliflower.
In a bisque soup, buttermilk is a wonderful substitution for heavy cream.
Buttermilk is actually equal to 1 percent low-fat milk in terms of fat content.
"Baked" goodies that you can feel good about eating.
One way is to bake with Stevia...the sweet herb, this takes some trial and error, so holiday cooking may not be the place to start with that.
But you can replace shortening and oils with fruit-based butters. These can be found with the cooking oils in most super markets or in a good health food store.
Applesauce, bananas, or canned pumpkin can also be used to replace some of the fat.
Start by cutting the amount of shortening in half and replacing it with the fruit substitute until you find a proportion that produces a taste you like.
When you get control of the basics, you can transform any food into a lean and delicious version of its former fat-laden self.
A Good Example...
Use unsweetened cocoa instead of semisweet chocolate and pureed prunes instead of butter.
The prunes keep the brownies moist, and the overall fat content is about one fifth of a traditional brownie recipe. And by using a spritz bottle to spray your pan you will save even more fat grams.
The great truth is we don't have to give up the foods we love in order to eat, and be healthy...we just have to alter the way we prepare them.
Family food traditions usually come from an era when fat was the main ingredient....keep the tradition, but make a few simple changes and leave a healthier legacy....it would make any grandmother happy!
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
To watch Mr.Tigger ( the resident cat) carefully make his way through the white stuff that he obviously doesn't care for.
To gear up in my boots and fur-lined garments and spend hours making tracks and feeding the bright red Cardinals.
To watch the lights play shadow games at night when all the world is dark around us.
To see the beauty, feel the charm of fresh falling snow, to watch it slowly cover all the green...and to know it will gently melt away and leave it all as fresh as the first day of spring.
My heart is lighter when there is snow on the ground, it's as though I feel the protection of the boundary that it obviously brings as it's guest....there are places one can't go and things one can't do...just as the gardens must sleep under the white dust, I feel obligated to slow down, take it all in and "play."
And...a good snowball fight is bound to happen...I'll let you know who the lucky reciever is.
Did I mention that I love snow?
Merry Christmas to you all !
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Some common " useful" weeds are actually healing herbs.
Nettle-one of the first spring green herbs, which was often made into nourishing soup.
Dandelion-the scourge of the suburban lawn, which is in fact a source of cleansing, bitter-green leaves and a root that, if roasted and ground, taste a lot like coffee. ( my mother used this during the food rationing in WWII.)
Commy Daisy-the leaves are a wonderful soothing agent for bruises and cuts, and the flower calms digestive problems.
China, India, and Arab have herbal history's that go back thousands upon thousands of years.
Just amazing that in so many ways this old and time tested art of healing has been pushed aside and by so many considered to be useless.
Want to know more about ancient herbal use as it applies to our modern day needs?
sign up for the newsletter and look forward to useful and exciting stuff!
Sage Hill Farms
Friday, December 14, 2007
All herbs are plants, but of course all plants are not herbs.
The usual way of defining an herb- is a plant that may be useful, either as a food, a flavoring, or as a medicine. A special type of plant, with the potential to bring about changes in the body. This can happen either through eating it in food or using it medicinally.
Actually, many herbs are used for both flavor and medicine. Herbs are often aromatic as well, with special fragrances that offer mentally uplifting or physcial effects.
( Example) Rosemary is an excellent flavoring for lamb.
And as a medicinal herb it is helpful for poor circulation and as a powerful fresh fragrance for poor concentration.
Ginger, cinnamon, clove, black pepper, allspice, cumin, etc., are the seeds, berries, or roots of particular plants. They are usually dried and ground and used in cooking for a fiery flavor full of warmth.
They are also used in medicines such as Ayurveda, the natural medicine of India.
Medicinally they are often used to help digestive problems and to support the immune system.
Spices have been part of the Western European medical tradition since Roman times, when they were brought to the west by ancient trade routes.
Stay tuned for part two!
For more information on and about herbs- visit our website and sign up for the "Sage Hill" newsletter......You can find it all here.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Sage has been used as a cure-all for thousands of years. The American Indian mixed it with bear grease to make a salve for wounds.
My interest is more on the culinary side, there I can really attest to the value of all it has to offer.
Sage has a light lemony flavor; when dried it has a stronger, mustier taste.
Dried sage is a staple in poultry seasonings. The herb is compatible with rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley, and bay.
In the summer garden the lovely blue or dark reddish flowers make a special and colorful addition to a tossed salad.
If you are thinking of growing sage, know that it needs a sunny location in light, dry, alkaline soil. It can be grown from seed or cuttings.
Harvest the leaves before the plant flowers, and cut the plant back after flowering. It must also be pruned frequently.
Most often the plant will become woody after about 3 to 5 years and must be pulled up and re-planted.
A few faces of Sage are: Clary....A wild variety that grows in America's Southwest. It's used in American Indian foods such as breads and cookies.
Mexican Sage....Grows up to four feet tall, has beautiful gray-green leaves and lavender flowers.
Variegated and Golden Sage....Has a very mild flavor and not my favorite for the kitchen. It is lovely in a garden bed.
Pineapple Sage....Has large pale green leaves that blushes into scarlet in the late summer and peaking in December. Has the most awesome red flowers. When touched it releases a heavenly pineapple scent.
Then there is Purple Sage...my favorite. Extremely aromatic with soft, purple foliage. It has a strong flavor that is perfect for tea.
Sage as many other herbs make wonderful plants for flower beds and require much less tending.
Why not get to know this awesome herb and introduce it into your garden and your life.
Friday, December 07, 2007
This is so tasty after a long cold day of shopping- or-digging in the winter garden. ( it does happen)
6 slices of buttered whole-wheat bread
Sliced cold, cooked turkey
6 slices Swiss cheese
6 slices crisp bacon
6 large hard-cooked eggs, sliced
Salt to taste ( real or pink salt)
Freshly ground black pepper
Herbed Mayonnaise (Sage Hill Farms own recipe)
Will serve 6 people
Have all ingredients cold.
Place on each slice of buttered bread in the order listed.
Turkey, cheese, bacon, 1 sliced hard cooked egg.
Sprinkle to taste with salt and pepper.
Top each with 1 TBSP Herbed Mayonnaise.
Brown under the broiler
Serve piping hot.
Herbed Mayonnaise Recipe:
Mix 1/2 cup real mayonnaise with 1/2 tsp Poultry seasoning ( Sage Hill Farms)
1 TBSP capers
1/2 tsp dried minced onion
( makes 1-3/4 cups-store in the frig.)
Have a Divine December weekend!
I was a baby in 1941 and my father was a soldier at Pearl Harbor, yes, he was hurt, and yes, by the grace of God he survived.
Many did not, and many came home less than whole.
There is so much that can and has been written about Pearl Harbor, I will not attempt to share this history in my own words, the link below will be very much worth the read. I believe it to be as full and as accurate as we will find.
I will share a few of mine and my family's personal memories.
My first memory is at three years of age........standing on our back porch watching my father walk up the drive in uniform. ( Army) That is the full memory, just the one frozen in place picture.
I have memories of my grandmother and her concern for her two sons, one in the Navy and the other in the Army.
Memories of my mother going to Walter-Reed after her brother was badly wounded. ( Army)
He was very young and had a head wound that followed him throught-out his life.
He is 80+ years old now, and this day will surely be a bad one for him.
Memories of my mother working to help support our family while my father was away.
Keep in mind that the 1940's wasn't geared to women in the job market.
Unless you went away or was close enough to a factory that was making war goods, jobs for women didn't exist. Not in a small town for a farmers wife and the mother of small children.
So, my mother being the gutsy lady she was, made work for herself. Things she could do and stay home with her children...sound familiar?
She bartered a lot for things we needed and couldn't buy.....Using farm goods such as vegetables and milk/butter/eggs.
She sold Watkins products through the help of a dealer who worked our town.
And, I have the most delightful memory of a special trunk in her bedroom. It was always full of the most delicious goodies, candy of all descriptions. ( the aroma from that trunk is with me still today) She would recieve by a special delivery we called the "Rolling Store" boxes of candy from the Queen Ann Candy Co. in Hammond, IN.
We were allowed one piece a week, the rest was sold and the money put into the household fund.
War is not and can never be justifiable from a right or wrong view.
What we must remember is this fact; We live in a free and freedom loving country. There are many through-out this world who do not share this idea. Those who have a desire to control and dominate will always be around. It's very much like the bully on the playground, they will push and shove until someone stands up to the abuse. And someone always gets hurt.
So maybe instead of finding so much fault with our leaders we can just be grateful that we don't have thousands upon thousands of bullies on our streets and in our communities with machine guns and bombs, taking away our freedom and our lives.
Politics puts a different face on everything , it always has it always will.
It is the price we have to pay for freedom.
Will you please join me on this special day of rememberance and throughout this holiday season.....Pray for Peace On Earth.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
A version of this carol was published as early as 1823. This is a version written by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik (1826-1887).
©2007 About, Inc., A part of The New York Times Company. All rights reserved.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Can't let the day end without wishing all my friends and family who celebrate in the Jewish faith a warm and blessed beginning of the Festival of Lights.
From sundown today, the 4th of December until sundown on the 12th of December, the special celebration will be honored in homes and places of worship all over the world.
If you don't know the history of this faith and the celebration around it, you can start here...it's a wonderful way to understand better another part of our history and it's people.
Happy Hanukkah and a blessing for each day.
Twas 24 days before Christmas and all through cyberspace-The bloggers were busy, just keeping pace-The words they were coming, the keyboards aglow-So many elves to keep up the flow!
Monday, December 03, 2007
Regardless what our faith is and where our core takes it belief from, all things must have a starting point.
From this point many practices take form and become the history of many subjects.
Christmas is one of those forms that has been shaped and molded over thousands of years to become what we celebrate today.
Amid the hustle and bustle of the holidays, there is a moment when Christmas happens.
It may be a special Christmas carol you hear that brings back a special memory.
The tinkling of bells on a busy city street that prompts you give to those less blessed.
The smell from your own kitchen when you are baking an old family recipe of a sweet and delicious fare.
But...for me, it is when I first switch on all the holiday lights . The tree lights, the Christmas Village that has been lovingly put together over so many years, the guiding Moravian star that hangs on my front porch, just waiting for a passer-by to stop in.
And last but certainly no less beautiful is the Luminaries that will line the walks of many favorite places on my holiday tours.
All of these lights serve to remind me of one special light of the Christmas season...the beautiful star that served as a guiding light in the history that is the Christmas story, the same star we can look upon in the Eastern sky and know that time has not altered the one guiding light that is always bright and never burns out.
Whatever your belief, and whatever Christmas means to you, may there always be a light to guide you.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
It also brings a new beginning to a brand new year for many of us.
December is a month of wonderment for me, it holds so much joy, magic, and hope.
A month to open up to the truth, if you are a believer, and to the possibilities if you are not, that life as we know it is a miracle, that we didn't just happen, that greater forces are with us always, just waiting for an open door.
All things are connected, all things have a root as far back as we can track, all people are related, isn't it an awesome thought to know that we have the blood of the first man on earth running through our veins in some tiny way.
Do you know the history of man?
Do you know the history of plants?
Do you know the two have a very close relationship as far back as times beginning.
Many plants that we admire and cherish today have a Bibical history.
One of those being "Cloves," an early writing by Dr. Pigafetta, the physcian who accompanied Magellan around the world. In his book published not long after his return in 1522, he said: " I went to see how the clove grows. The clove tree is tall and thick as a man's body...its leaves resemble those of the laurel and the bark is of a dark color...the cloves grow at the end of the twigs, ten or twenty in a cluster...When the cloves sprout they are white, when ripe, red, and when dried, black. They are gathered twice a year, once at the Nativity of our Savior and the other at the nativity of St. John the Baptist...These cloves grow only in the mountains, and if any of them are planted in the low lands near the mountains , they do not live...Almost every day we saw a mist descend and circle now one and now another of these mountains on account of which those cloves become perfect."
Don't you find that little bit information to be just " chilling." For most of us I'm sure we tend to think of cloves as just another spice in the cupboard.
My grandmother taught me much about our beginnings and much about cookies.
I share this recipe with you in honor of my grandmother Lily .
(RICH CLOVE COOKIES)
1 cup real butter
1/2 tsp ground mace
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
2-1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
Sifted confectioner's sugar
Combine the first 4 ingredients.
Gradually blend in the sugar.
Beat in the egg yolk.
Gradually stir in the flour.
Chill dough one hour until it is stiff enough to handle.
Shape into 1 inch balls.
Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Insert a whole clove in the center of each.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 325* for about 20 minutes( until lightly brown)
Do not over bake
Roll in powdered sugar and store in an airtight container.
Makes about 4 dozen.
Good with hot Apple Cider!
Make these for your grandmother if you are lucky enough to still have her.
If not, make them for your grand-daughter and share a grandmother story.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Christmas gets a lot of back tracking from me, it has always been and still serves as a great lesson in just how awesome the human race is .
Granted we hear a lot about shopping, spending big bucks on big items. The retail markets have a field day to see who can ring the register the loudest. Our mail boxes are over flowing daily with once in a lifetime deals, discounts that have never before been offered, and there is truely magic on every corner!
What I see is the same thing I saw as a child growing up in a farming family where needs and wants were considered very carefully. Our neighbors were a real part of our concern, and where family came first regardless.
I see total strangers who will take up a cause to feed or raise money to help a family or child in need.
I see people pooling small amounts of money to make big donations possible to send boxes to our troops overseas and in hospitals here at home.
So , where and how have we changed over the last 50, 60, 100 years.
I really don't think we have changed that much or in that many ways.
We may have bigger and better things to enjoy, we certainly have more access to everything.
To those ends much change has taken place.
But...all the things that really matter is still the same as I remember.
Home is a warm and safe place.
Family and friends will love you and you in turn will do the same.
Prayer, faith, politics, and our comfort zones are personal issues, we are free to share them or not.
Food will ease most any pain and help you to reflect in a much better way.
So, with that being said and understood...I will share my comfort food from my mothers kitchen when I was a little girl.
The best way to enjoy this is to make two and share with someone.
( RICE CUSTARD PUDDING)
1/4 cup long grain rice
2 cups hot milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBSP dried peppermint leaf
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1 TBSP real butter
1 large egg-beaten
2 large egg yolks-beaten
Cook rice, salt, and milk in top of a double boiler for 20 minutes or until rice is almost tender.
In a small pot boil 1 cup of water and steep the peppermint leaf for about 5 to 7 minutes, strain and add the water to the rice water.
For chemical free peppermint leaf ......
Combine the next 7 ingredients and gradually add to rice.
Turn into a buttered 1 quart casserole.
Bake in a pan of hot water, in a preheated 350* oven for 1 hour, just until softly firm and light brown.
Top with Lemon Meringue and bake in a slow oven (325*) for 15 minutes longer.
You can enjoy this curled up in a favorite place with a good book, or you can serve it to your dinner guest. Both ways will bring you great pleasure.
Make December all about then and now.....