The Announcement

Monday, March 28, 2011

Guess what came in today's mail -- my review copy of Gooseberry Patch's soon-to-be released Quick & Easy Autumn!! They also sent me a copy to giveaway. YIPPEE!! I browsed through the book this evening and you're going to love it -- autumn is hands-down my favorite season and the recipes all look top-notch. Keep tuned - I'll be choosing some recipes to make and review as well as working on something special to add to the giveaway and will be posting the details in the next week!

From The Hymnal ~ How Deep the Father's Love for Us

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Today I've gone outside of my typical hymns and have chosen a more contemporary song - one I think of as hymn of today. I love this song and use it in my personal time with the Lord as both praise and prayer. As we close in the on season of the resurrection, I pray that it's message touches you also.

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. 1 John 3:1

How Deep The Father's Love For Us lyrics
Stuart Townsend

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocing voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything-
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ-
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

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Bacon & Cheese Muffins

Tuesday, March 22, 2011
I enjoy baking muffins and besides corn muffins don't have many savory versions that I make...I'm correcting that. Savory muffins are perfect on the side of soup and/or salad suppers and since muffins are technically quick-breads, no real effort to make and take a simple supper to a new level.

Bacon & Cheese Muffins
(Printable Version)

1 cup Cheese Flavored Crackers
3/4 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbs butter, melted and cooled
3 slices bacon, cooked crisp, drained and minced
1/2 cup sifted flour
1 1/2 tsp double acting baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar

Crush crackers into fine crumbs. Stir milk into crumbs and let stand 10 minutes. Add egg, butter and bacon, beating well. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together; stir into first mixture until just moistened. Add cheese and lightly mix in. Do not beat or over mix. Divide into 6 large muffin tins oiled on bottom only. Bake in preheated 425°F oven for 25 minutes, or until well risen, browning and shrinking from sides. Remove from tins and serve hot.

Posting to Gooseberry Patch's first Recipe Roundup, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday and Michael's Foodie Friday.

From The Hymnal ~ In The Garden

Sunday, March 20, 2011
Last night I was chatting with a very special friend - I was telling this friend about all my favorite flowers - violets (that represent faithfulness), roses, lilacs, and my list goes on and on. After that conversation, I found myself humming this hymn.....I love this hymn. It has always been one of my favorites but just like flowers, I don't have just one favorite! Happy first day of spring!!

In The Garden

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.


And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.


I’d stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.


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Orange-Current Scones

Thursday, March 17, 2011
I am a self-confessed scone-aholic. For St Paddy's breakfast, I almost always make scones....this year I served these wonderful Orange-Current scones with Sweet Cream Irish Butter, Orange Marmalade and Irish Breakfast Tea....such a treat!

Orange-Current Scones
(Printable Version)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup currants
1 egg
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup cream

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease a scone pan, or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and pulse to combine. Add the butter and using a pastry blender, blend until pea-sized crumbs. Stir in the currants.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, cream and orange zest until blended and add to the flour mixture. Using a fork, stir until large, moist clumps of dough are formed.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press together with your hands until the dough comes together. Roll out the dough, flouring as needed, into a 10-inch round about 3/4 inch thick. Cut into 8 equal-size wedges. Press each wedge into a well of the prepared scone pan, or place the wedges 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake until the scones are golden, about 25 minutes. Invert the scone pan onto a rack and lift off the pan, or transfer the scones from the baking sheet to the rack. Let the scones cool for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 8 scones.

Posting to Michael's Foodie Friday and Alii's Sweet Tooth Friday!

Going Green

Monday, March 14, 2011

I'm joining in the FUN at the wee Kathleen's for her 3rd Annual St. Patrick's Day Crawl. Be sure to visit and see all the creative St Paddy's Day celebrations.

I decided to keep my table very, very simple -- afterall, I am a simple girl with simple tastes. I also purposed to shop my house and come up with all the elements without spending anything -- I think I was able to do both pretty well.

When I think of all things Irish - the things that immediately come to my mind are Irish Lace, Irish Crystal and Belleek China. I own none of these things - but I found elements for my table that remind me of all three.

I started with a tablecloth I picked up Kmart last fall. It is from their Country Living line and I was able to score this beauty for a mere $6.00. While not actual lace, I love the lacy motif and the burlap looking background. Very attractive to me.
Next, I set the table with my favorite everyday dishes - French Countryside by Mikasa. Today though, I will refer to them as Irish Countryside. Is there anything more attractive than a beautiful set of white dishes? Simply stunning!!
I didn't like any of my napkins for this table so I dug into my fabric stash and came up with some lovely greens for 4 mismatched napkins -- I like mismatched!

A vintage shamrock shaped pickle dish will serve as a salad plate - I love these and over the years have collected a total of 6 of them.
Some sweet candle holders found last year at the thrifty stores. I both remembered that I bought them AND where I had stashed them, lol. They are perfect for this table.
One of my favorite African Violets as a centerpiece.
No Waterford on this table but I am using my favorite Dollar Tree goblets.
Vintage silverplate Calvalcade is the pattern name - I use these a lot.

Thank you for stopping by! I'll also be linking up to Susan's Tablescape Thursday!

From The Hymnal ~ Higher Ground

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord. Micah 4:2

Higher Ground

I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I’m onward bound,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on Heaven’s tableland,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where those abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.

I want to live above the world,
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.

I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I’ll pray till heav’n I’ve found,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

Forgotten Skills of Cooking ~ Darina Allen

Friday, March 11, 2011
At Christmas, I got a wonderful gift to Amazon -- I knew immediately, I wanted to purchase Darina Allen's Forgotten Skills of Cooking. I had my eye on it for some time -- I made myself go through my cookbook collection and give 2 books away -- I thought it would be hard but I did find 2 that were really unused and I happily sent them to the thrifty store while I awaited the arrival of my new treasure. Darina Allen, if you are unfamiliar with her, is the founder and operator of Ballymaloe Cookery School at Ballymaloe in County Cork, Ireland. I LOVE this book. The photos are GORGEOUS and if you want to cook it - this book will tell you how. It has occupied a place of honor on my kitchen island since it arrived in my home - and has even made a few trips to bed with me for my nightly reading. I've been eager to share this book with you and pass along my review but I thought it should wait -- since Miss Darina is Irish, I was waiting for the week of St Paddy's Day. She has even been called the Irish Julia Child - no disrespect directed towards Julia, but I prefer to think of her as the Irish Marcia Adams, since Marcia has been my favorite for so many years. I have never had a desire to attend culinary school BUT if I could attend Ballymaloe, I might reconsider.

Many of us Irish-American's and all who are Irish on St Paddy's will have the predicable Corned Beef & Cabbage and Irish Soda Bread on the 17th - I've included Miss Darina's versions of these most American of Irish foods!

Corned Beef & Cabbage
(Printable Version)
4 lb corned brisket of beef
3 large carrots, cut into large chunks
6 to 8 small onions
1 teaspoon dry English mustard
large sprig fresh thyme and some parsley stalks, tied together
1 cabbage
salt and freshly ground pepper

Put the brisket into a saucepan with the carrots, onions, mustard and the herbs. Cover with cold water, and bring gently to a boil. Simmer, covered, for 2 hours. Discard the outer leaves of the cabbage, cut in quarters and add to the pot. Cook for a further 1 to 2 hours or until the meat and vegetables are soft and tender.

Serve the corned beef in slices, surrounded by the vegetables and cooking liquid. Serve with lots of floury potatoes and freshly made mustard.

Irish Soda Bread
(Printable Version)
1 lb. (450 grams/3¼ cups) white unbleached white flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp. baking soda
12-14 fluid oz. sour milk or buttermilk (350-412 ml)

Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Sift the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and pour most of the milk in at once. Using one hand, mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl, adding more milk if necessary. The dough should be moist, but not wet and sticky. When it all comes together, turn it out onto a well-floured surface.

After washing and drying your hands, gather the loaf into a circle and gently flip over. Pat the dough into a round about 1½ inches thick and cut a cross in the top to, as Darina says, “let the fairies out.” Darina recommends letting the cuts go over the edge of the loaf to be sure of this.

Bake at 450ºF for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven to 400ºF for 30 minutes for until the loaf produces a hollow sound when tapped.

Sharing at Laurie's Favorite Things!

Distractions & Delights

Sunday, March 6, 2011
I'm still here -- really I am. I've warned you that this time of year is harder for me because of work - but this week was a huge challenge -- mostly because I had a HUGE distraction occupying my thoughts and some of my time. I'll try to do better and not let this distraction get in my way! Remember me telling you of my love for African Violets (click for that post). I want to share one of my African Violets that lives on my kitchen window sill with you. Isn't it delightful?! This particular violet was one that I didn't know if I would ever see bloom. It had been a division off of a huge mother violet. This division was given to me 2 summers ago at a garage sale. The mother plant was so gorgeous, I was excited to have this one.....well, it wasn't long and it was the saddest looking thing. I nearly threw it away but since I am stubborn, I didn't. I kept watering and occasionally feeding and it never seemed to do anything -- no growth at all. Now I am going to get deep on you -- aren't people like that too matter what good care given, there seems to be no growth and no blooms. Well, all my hard work paid off -- sometime around Thanksgiving, I noticed growth -- lots of new leaves and it just generally looked like it had turned the bend -- then a couple weeks ago, I was washing dishes and I noticed it -- a bloom bud..a couple days later, there was another. Now it is in glorious bloom! I can't help but grin when I walk thru the kitchen. By looking at it, you'd never know what trouble that little violet had seen and now she is a gorgeous as can be! Don't give up -- on violets or on people.

Coming soon - a sweet giveaway, a St Paddy's tablescape, a post on composting, a cookbook review of my newest very favorite cookbook -- AND a Gooseberry Patch review and giveaway soon too.