Friday, November 26, 2010

The Day After

The china and the crystal have been washed and put away.  Cloth napkins are washed and drying.  The extra leaf  has  been taken out of the table.  Another Thanksgiving has come and gone.  But the warm, festive feeling still remains in the air.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  I spend several days prior to the holiday cooking for our feast; and even though the day always slips by much too quickly, I enjoy it immensely.  My sister, Molly, expressed it perfectly to me last night.  She said, "I love Thanksgiving - always feels just right."  I agree with her.  It does always feel just right.  I have so many memories of happy Thanksgivings, that each year just adds another one to he mix.

With Thanksgiving also comes the beginning of the Christmas season -- my favorite season of the year.  And what a way to herald it in than by having a day for giving thanks.  Because of all things that we can be thankful for, the birth of our Savior is the greatest of all.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Arrival of Winter

Even though the official start of winter is still a month away, it has definitely arrived in north Idaho.  It began snowing yesterday morning; but didn't begin accumulating too much until last night.  This morning we woke up to six inches of fresh powder :-)  

I know everyone doesn't necessarily share my love for the white stuff, but I love winter.  And to have it begin before Thanksgiving makes it even better.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Apple Butter

Apple season has been going on for a while around here; however, I seem to be running a bit late with making all of my apple goodies.  Nonetheless, the time has begun, and I have started this year with apple butter.  I particularly like this recipe because it is all done in the crockpot.  The recipe calls for not peeling the apples first, which I have read gives you a much better flavor in your final product.  All of the ingredients make for a perfect blend.  And the aroma in your kitchen while it is cooking is delightful.  In fact when my kids were younger, they would tell me that "it smelled like Christmas". 

Cider Apple Butter

5 lbs. cooking apples
1 1/2 cups apple cider
about 3 cups of brown sugar
juice and grated peel of 1 each lemon and orange
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. each cloves and nutmeg

Core and quarter apples, but do not peel.  Place in crockpot with apple cider.  Cook on high until very soft, about 1-1/2 hours.  (Note:  It takes about 2-1/2 hrs. in my crockpot).  Press cooked apples through a food mill or sieve.  (I don't have a food mill, so I just very patiently remove all of the apple peel).  Measure.  There should be about 6 cups.  For every 1 cup fruit pulp, allow 1/2 cup brown sugar.  Return to crockpot.  Stir in lemon and orange peel and juice, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg.  Cover and cook on high until thick and dark, about 4 hours.  Immediately pour into hot, sterilized glass jars and seal according to proper boiling/water bath canning requirements.  Makes about 8 cups.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Playing with Dishes

As a little girl, I always loved playing with dishes.  I think most little girls do.  However, I don't think I have ever outgrown that particular pastime.  I really like dishes still to this day.  One of my sets that I particuarly enjoy are my "pink" dishes.  They were a gift from my mother-in-law a number of years ago.  She had received them from her mom who had obtained them as part of the furnishings in a house that they had purchased.  My mom has helped a great deal in adding to my set by keeping an eye out for them at antique stores.  They are hard to come by at a reasonable price, but we keep looking for them. 

Recently I pulled them all out of the cupboard where they have been stored, washed them, and found a new spot for them where I can see them on a daily basis, and appreciate them more.  I just couldn't resist taking a picture of them on my table before they found their new home.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Trying to Hold On

We have been blessed with a very nice fall here in northern Idaho.  The leaves have been beautiful, unlike last year when we had a very sudden hard freeze that actually just killed all of the leaves without letting them ever turn into their beautiful autumn shades.  In the past couple of days most of the leaves have now fallen to the ground; but I noticed on one of my maple trees, a couple of remaining green leaves refusing to accept the idea that fall is indeed here, and winter just around the corner.  I've never noticed such a rebellious trend in this maple tree before.  But it kind of parallels people in that sometimes they think they know better than God, and can control an outcome outside of Him.  God has His own plan though, and try as they might, these leaves aren't going to stay green.  They will eventually turn, and fall off of the tree.  But that is all the better for the tree in the long run.  Next year it will be even stronger and taller than it was this year.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Waiting Contentedly

Today is a very rainy, dark day.  One of those days that you really would like to just stay at home, eat warm soup, and maybe watch an old movie.  Instead, I have been running errands, and am now waiting to pick my daughter up from her volleyball practice.  But I really don't mind waiting.  The reason is a cup of hot tea, and pumpkin bread.  Yum!!  I wish you could come and join me :)