He is faithful


This weekend I am with family, enjoying the privilege we have to relax and take a few days off.  Everyone is in a good mood for the most part as you spend time with people you sometimes only get to see once, maybe twice, a year.  I can’t help but notice older people these days; both the cute couples holding hands, who you imagine have been together for 50 years, and the man with his cane sitting on a park bench alone.   I think about my grandparents and the stories that come with their age.   My grandparents are quiet and yet I know there is a tale in there somewhere, waiting to be told.  I was sitting next to an older man tonight from my Aunt’s family and couldn’t help but think of everything this one person has been through that has brought him to this day in 2011.  He is so dependent on people now and what they offer him physically and emotionally, but at some point he made his own decisions and thought clearly for himself.  Aging is a difficult thing for everyone involved.  Some people age and become “difficult” to deal with while some mentally leave our world, never to return as we have known them.  Then there is the sadness for the people who have parents changing right before their eyes and a swap of the role of caretaker.  In any case, it makes you thankful for the people God has allowed you to have, even if they are changed.  One day you might not have them at all.

I am thankful for the times I had with my other Grandma before she passed away.  I miss her.  I was purposefully thankful for her when she was alive, and am thankful for her now.  I also remember that God is faithful to her.  So comforting to know that my love could never be enough, but His is enough.

$3 wreath. True story.

SO, Miss F and I were looking for a quick project one day.  I had just bought these wreaths for $3 at Joanns.  I knew I wanted to make a banner because banners are awesome.  I make a banner every few weeks for all sorts of things.  If you’re like me, you have a few things you wanted to complete (Pinterest, anyone?) before thanksgiving.  So, go out and do them!

Miss F jumped on board and made hers all by herself.  We used some of my old scrap-booking paper.  Oh, I never mentioned I was an avid scrap-booking from like the 5th grade until my baby girl was about 1 1/2?  Hmmm.  It is a crazy hobby and I’m glad I am now recovered.  For a while there, I would spend hours on only a few pages.  I can’t imagine doing that now.  Anyway, that means I still have a ridiculously large modest amount of scrapbook paper to be used.

All I did was put a dot of black ink down for her to cut towards.  She cut triangles from the paper folded in half.  The triangles were then glued onto the string and left to dry.

Next, we added the embellishments in the form of fabric and fabric flowers.

So, these elusive fabric flowers are super easy to make.  I have tried a few tutorials and never find them to work quite the way I want them to.  The best way I have found to make them is to take a 2 in. wide strip of scrap fabric.  I then fold it in half.  I don’t iron mine the way some crazy people do.  I suppose if you were running a  business, from the flowers turned into jewelry, that would be a great idea.  I, however, am running a tight operation which has a a time budget of, oh, 10 minutes for such a project.  After you fold them in half, you start rolling the fabric from one end.  After a few rolls, secure it with a glue-gun.  At this point, I start twisting the fabric around that secure portion.  It will start to look like a cinnamon bun.  I secure mine with a dot of glue from a glue-gun at each pole (N, S, E, W).  I twist it around and glue continually on the poles until I have reached the last 3/4 in. of the fabric.  Then, I wrap that piece of fabric towards the back are glue it there.

I wrapped some fabric around one side, hung my banner across, and secured a few fabric flowers in a way that made me smile.

Wreath complete!

So, go out and get one before company arrives.  You know you’re crazy like me and go to Joanns for last-minute Thanksgiving projects too, right?

It would make a great hostess gift or a gift for your neighbors.

Junkfood Remade: Can O’ Cranberry Sauce

Yes, I love ocean spray too.  In fact, I have always preferred it and have even been known to buy a few extra cans to open when the company leaves.  I don’t think any of us can explain it.  Who would have ever thought that any food with ridges on it would be appealing? We just like it, right?  Our parents served it to us and it became a tradition and comfortable.

Small problem.  There is so much corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup jammed into one can now that I can’t even stand it anymore.  Last year, I attempted a homemade version that I put in a can to pop out like our favorite.  It tasted pretty close, but didn’t “jell”  the way I would have liked.

Enter: 2011 version which definitely has that “jell”.

These berries capture the holiday spirit all by themselves.

 

Combine cranberries, sugar, and water until the berries start popping.  Usually this takes about 20 minutes, but it totally depends on your pan and its heat conduction.  After the majority of them are popped, you can strain it in a sieve.  I’m not cool yet and don’t own a $100 dollar sieve, but I just strain mine once through a colander and then again through my small sieve.  It works.  I do hope to join the sieve club soon, though, because it will save me some serious time.  You just need to strain it until you have 3 cups of liquid.   You might need to use a spatula to move the cranberries back and forth to get them to pass through.  While it is straining, combine the water with the gelatin and let it sit for a few minutes.   After that, return the liquid to the pan and add the  gelatin/water combo.   Simmer until the gelatin is dissolved and remove from the heat.  Immediately, pour the cranberry sauce into the mold.  In my case it was a BPA-free can.  That way you don’t have to worry about a weird chemical transfer after all that work.  Yes, many cans are actually labeled BPA-free so you should have no problem finding one.

Here they are, ready to throw into the refrigerator for at least 12 hours but at least a day is best.

Can O’ Cranberry Sauce

(adapted from Epicurious)

4 bags (12 oz.) cranberries

2 1/2 cups sugar

3 c. water

3 envelopes of unflavored gelatin

If you dare…

Yes, I really did that.  What can I say, I love Legos and I love my boys.

You could put this in any mold you want.  If I was Martha, I would put it in a cute little turkey mold, but I’m not.

So, I made Lego cranberry sauce.

Note:  If you wanted to can this, you would just process it for 5 minutes.  After you sterilize the jars, add the liquid to the sterilized jars at the same point you put them in the can.

Awesome Brussel Sprouts…say wha?

Aren’t they just beautiful?  I have to say I love to take pictures of vegetables.  It’s weird I know, but I love that this color isn’t fake or added.  It’s just right there…the way God made it.

Radiant as they are, these fellas come with a power-punch of bitterness.  Don’t worry though, the fat from the bacon and the sweetness from the apples cuts right through the bitterness.  Then, they become awesome.

The only thing to note about brussels’ is to cut them lengthwise from the “stem” down.  This keeps all of the leaves from falling off the brussel unit.  They like to stick together, these guys.

I’ve been seeing recipes floating around with bacon, but I thought the apples and curry would add a new twist.  They were ridiculously yummy and my kids ate them.  Actually, my roast chicken and potatoes weren’t done in time for dinner so that’s all they ate.

Curried Brussel Sprouts with bacon and apples

1 stalk of brussel sprouts or 2-ish lbs. if you can’t find a stalk, removed and cut in half

1 package of bacon, chopped into lardons (don’t you just love that word :/)

2 apples, cored and sliced

4 garlic cloves, pressed

1 tsp. curry powder

salt and pepper, to taste

Throw it all in a casserole dish and bake at 375 for about 25 minutes or until the brussel sprouts are  softened.

Serve with roast chicken like this.  I’m making more for thanksgiving!

Cupcakes 2 ways

 

Julian is a place San Diegans’ go to make us feel like it’s fall even though often it’s almost 80 degrees.  It just so happened that the day we went to Julian it was actually cold.  Like really cold.  I went with a group of friends from church to pick apples and none of us thought we might actually have to bring gloves or hats.  My 3 kids didn’t pick much because they could only think of how cold their hands were, but it was so much fun.  I got to chat for a few minutes with the owner and she said many of the trees are heirloom trees and they don’t even know how old they actually are.  Pretty cool.  You might be thinking that I don’t have a picture of apples above and you would be correct.  The apple place was closed so we picked pears instead.  No biggie.  I also learned on my visit that the apple pies in Julian are no longer made with local apples and sometimes even canned ones which is so so soooo very sad.  Apparently they are pretty much all from Washington unless you request one from a local orchard that makes them from fresh picked apples.  Oh bother.  What is the world coming to.  So, we didn’t stop for pie but we did get cider :).

 


I had plans for these but alas we were leaving just a few days later for PA.  I had a pile of bags to sew for a non-profit I help out with and a birthday party for a sweet 3-year-old.  So, we basically ate them raw mostly.  I also made a tart and put some in a panini with prosciutto and goat cheese brie.  Pears make all things yummy.

One thing I made were these pear muffins.  I had just read flipped through Martha’s kids magazine and saw different fruit muffins at the end.  The recipe for apple muffins didn’t look mind-blowing, but it was perfect timing for me.You can find it here.  My pears were ripe so mine turned out a little sunken.

Here are some shots of our day:

Fun day.

The second muffin is the pumpkin spice latte muffin.  I saw this recipe and knew I had to make it.  I just so happened to have that birthday party to bake for so it was a done deal.  I don’t like the pumpkin spice latte (gasp!  I know.  How could I?) or pumpkin pie.  I thought maybe I would like the flavors in a cupcake and, oh man, I do.

I would like to dedicate this cupcake to Jeff Rush who thinks the Pumpkin Spice Latte is the most awesome of all coffee drinks.  I’m glad I was finally able to post this recipe so that he might enjoy baking this whenever he pleases.  That good, Jeff?

The recipe was from Annie’s Eats.  I HIGHLY recommend it and didn’t change a thing (gasp again!).

 

The little guy celebrating year 3 at his soldier birthday.  Birthday parties are a necessity if you ask me.  It’s a single day a year to celebrate one person’s amazing life.

 

It was sweet of my sister to take a picture of me with my buddy.

So, I returned the favor.

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