May 2018 be what 2007-2017 were supposed to be!
Honestly, I’m looking forward to better things in the days to come.
I’m not going to dwell on the past, BUT I am certainly going to focus on making 2018 the best year yet!
OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE
It’s 22 with the wind chill and I’m staying inside! Highs this week are only supposed to be in the 30’s before wind chill so I’m avoiding the outside except for my follow up with the surgeon later this week.
ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE
Green Tea and Banana
AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE / WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS
- LAUNDRY… quite a few loads this week, towels, bedding and clothing
- LIVING AREAS… hubby is planning on doing a deep clean today and tomorrow – I can’t wait until I can do it again (the way I like)
- KITCHEN… pretty clean
- STUDIO… is mainly storage these days so nothing going on there
- YARD… nothing much after the weekend storms, just too wet to do anything
- BLOG… some recipe updating, future post planning and holiday post planning
CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR
- BIG BANG THEORY, YOUNG SHELDON
- THE GOOD PLACE, AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, GREAT NEWS
- MACGYVER, SCORPION, BLINDSPOT, ORVILLE
- NCIS, NCIS NEW ORLEANS and NCIS LA, CRIMINAL MINDS, S.W.A.T.
- MADAM SECRETARY, DESIGNATED SURVIVOR, WISDOM OF THE CROWD
- CHICAGO FIRE, CHICAGO PD, CHICAGO MED
- BRAVE, VALOR, SEAL TEAM
- LAW & ORDER SVU, BLUE BLOODS, HAWAII 5-0
- Z NATION, WALKING DEAD, FLASH, DC LEGENDS, SUPERGIRL
- THIS IS US, ONCE UPON A TIME, THE GOOD DOCTOR
- GUY’S GROCERY GAMES, BEAT BOBBY FLAY, BOBBY AND DAMARIS, BAKED IN VERMONT, KIDS BAKING CHAMPIONSHIP, WORST COOKS IN AMERICA
- WHEN CALLS THE HEART
MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK
LOL, I get to “switch” diets midweek, but I have to tell you there isn’t much difference between them. And honestly I’m (well, my body) NOT ready for regular food despite the cravings for it.
SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK
- ALMOND WALNUT DANISH
- ASIAGO SHRIMP RISOTTO
- TEX MEX MEATBALL SOUP
- PIQUANT CHICKEN with CHARRED TOMATO SAUCE
- CANDIED MAPLE THYME CARROTS
- BEST HOMEMADE DINNER ROLLS
- SWEET ITALIAN VINAIGRETTE
- EGG NOG CUPCAKES with RUM CARAMEL
- SLOW COOKER BARBACOA
- SWEET ITALIAN VINAIGRETTE
- BBQ BACON ROAST CHICKEN
HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS
ON MY MIND / THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY
On Christmas eve at a party we go to every year that has tons of scrumptious food that I couldn’t eat, a friend asked me if I had hit the depression yet. I just stared at her for a few minutes and thought what are you talking about? Then it hit me, what I’ve been feeling is a form of PTSD, especially after the hospital stay from hell starting with a recovery nurse that deserves to be fired – I did speak with the patient liaison about the major mistreatment that occurred. But, the reality is MY life was completely upended while I slept through surgery. Decisions were made I was not a party to and when I woke up from surgery and was told EVERYTHING about how I lived would be completely different for the rest of my life I have to admit I didn’t even know how to process that information.
Fortunately, I refuse to get depressed. There are some bad days, but I am coping and will continue to think positively, take it as a challenge and adjust.
FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA
Hubby set Ava up to guard the stockings on Christmas Eve. 😀
It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.
- The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
- Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
- Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
- The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
- The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
- The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
- Seven swans a-swimming represented the seven fold gifts of the Holy Spirit–Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
- The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
- Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit–Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
- The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.
- The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
- The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.
Merry (Twelve Days of) Christmas Everyone – and, remember, the Twelve Days of Christmas are the 12 days following December 25th. The Christmas Season runs until Epiphany, January 6.
These are 2 of my favorite country churches from Michigan. I took these pictures in 2011 at Christmas time ON THE SAME DAY. That’s how fast weather changes with lake effect snow!
I JUST LOVE OLD CHURCHES! The bottom 3 pictures was a REALLY neat stone church in the middle of town.
But, my favorite country church is from a teeny tiny little town called Mansfield. It was once a growing little town until there was a mine disaster. Now all that exists is the monument to the disaster, the church and a few random homes.
THE HOLIDAY SEASON…
How I decorate each year changes based on my mood, weather, etc… so it will never be the same twice! EXCEPT for the 1st picture the other pictures are Christmases past. The remodel is almost done and at least we have a FULL tree this year. As for us, we PREFER real trees, but last year we decided with the remodel to break down and buy an artificial tree. SHHH don’t tell hubby, but I really love this tree. Next year we’ll have a real tree again. We figure we actually saved money and can donate the tree to the women’s shelter too.
We made candle yule logs for Advent craft night at church one year and they were a HUGE success and soooooooo easy to do.
These are a few of my new favorites.
Do you have a recipe that calls for candied citron? Don’t know what it is? Well, it’s not candied lemon or grapefruit peel. Citron is an actual semitropical fruit that’s similar to a lemon but with a thicker skin. To make candied citron, the citron is blanched in water, boiled in sugar syrup, and dried. It lends a mild floral note to fruitcakes and other such confections. While I love candied citron know that you have other options. Each shines in a different way, but they can pretty much be used interchangeably in most recipes, so if you happen to have one kind on hand, try that in your recipe.
ORANGE SLICES (Top Left) – They’re great as a decorative flourish on top of cupcakes.
CITRON PEEL (Top Right) – Though the pulp is sour, the candied peel is perfect for baking into stollen or stirring into granola.
LEMON RIND (Middle Left) – Finely chop it and mix into muffins and pancakes for a bright flavor.
ORANGE PEEL (Middle Right) – Dip pieces in dark chocolate and serve as an after-dinner treat.
CITRON SLICES (Bottom Left) – Serve thin slices as part of a holiday cheese plate.
CLEMENTINE SLICES (Bottom Right) – You can also garnish cocktails with these.
Candied citrus is available at specialty stores (especially around the holidays) and online at stores like junetaylorjams.com, but you can also easily make your own at home. Either way, store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to a month.
Traditional Lebkuchen German Christmas cookies are a form of gingerbread descended from medieval times and taste spicy and nutty in flavor. They were typically a combination of spices, honey, and dried bread crumbs. They are often cut into “sugar” cookie shapes and ornately decorated. I made a super “simple” version this year for hubby since I am unable to make neighbor plates and do my normal holiday baking.
- Prep time: 15 minutes.
- Cook time: 10-12 minutes.
- Makes 12 servings.
½ cup honey
½ cup molasses
¾ cup brown sugar
1 LARGE egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2¾ cup flour, plus flour for dusting
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, cloves, allspice & nutmeg
⅓ cup candied citron, diced (I prefer candied ginger)
⅓ cup hazelnuts, finely chopped
1 cup sugar
¼ cup milk
½ teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
Candied citron or ginger
- In a medium saucepan, bring honey and molasses to a boil.
- Remove from heat; stir in brown sugar, egg, lemon juice and zest.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and all spices, and stir in molasses mix, citron and hazelnuts. Cover; chill overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- On a floured, hard surface roll out a small amount of chilled dough to ¼-inch thick. If dough is sticky, use more flour.
- Cut dough in 2-inch rounds or shapes; transfer to prepared baking sheets.
- Bake 10-12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make icing by heating sugar and liquids in a small saucepan (do not boil).
- Remove from heat; stir in confectioners’ sugar. If icing crystallizes, reheat and add a touch of water or milk.
- Transfer cookies to rack and while still hot, brush with icing and decorate with almonds, citron, ginger or sprinkles; or, let cool completely and drizzle with melted chocolate.
- Store in sealed container.
Then on Christmas Day we did Christmas morning and “Santa” with just the immediate family and then we would do a BIG turkey with all the trimmings including my dad’s stuffing and giblet gravy with ALL the family as well as extended family, which included crazy Aunt Louise (the corn flake wreath maker) and Uncle Herb who always brought us each a silver dollar.
I thought about this category a lot and decided that since we were still in transition in the HOUSE FROM HELL and our pictures from last year were less than stellar I decided to share the pictures from 2014 with you.
These pictures from the Festival of Lights we used to do each year is now over 20 years old and a great way to kick off the holiday season. It’s ALL Volunteer and NON-Profit. It began as a fundraiser sponsored by the Rotary Club to help get the city out of debt and then took on a life of its own and now helps with scholarships and special projects. The festival runs every night from Thanksgiving to New Years. You can drive your own car or take a horse drawn carriage ride through the displays. They have also coordinated a local radio station to listen to as you view the displays. The night we went through the fog was moving in early so a few of the pictures look a bit “smoky”.
As of 2014 they had the world’s tallest (41 feet, 16,000 pounds with working jaw) nutcracker built by a local company, 500,00 lights, 90 animated displays, 3D displays, horse drawn carriage rides through the displays and a Holiday Village with Santa, hot cider with a bake sale and a synchronized light show in the courtyard. The displays depict fairy tales, the military, patriotism, the local logging industry, local vineyards, local fishing and the traditional Christmas songs and scenes. People come from all over to see it. Unfortunately for locals, it doesn’t change much, but is still fun every few years.