Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The most, the best, the greatest

I am fascinated by Mother Teresa. I'm not Catholic but I have great respect for the Catholics and every now and then I enjoy attending Mass.  Something that always rubs me the wrong way is when people say they aren't Christians (I can't stand that kind of division of the Body of Christ but that's a post for another day.)  With social justice, sometimes I want to laugh when someone will tell me about something "new" that's being done.   Don't get me wrong social justice is a great thing and if I didn't have kids at home I'd probably be out doing something about human trafficking.  What I want to say is "Ever heard of the Catholic church or Mother Teresa?"

Anyway, today I stumbled upon this and thought it was beautiful, and I'm always looking for something filled with beauty to inspire me.

Until next time....Ciao.

The most beautiful day: Today
The easiest thing: Equivocate
The biggest obstacle: Fear
The gravest error: give up, to despair
The root of all evils: Egoism
The most beautiful occupation: Work
The worst route to follow: Faintheartedness
The best teachers: Children
The first necessity: TO communicate
The greatest happiness: To be useful to others
The greatest mystery: Death
The worst defect: Bad temper
The most dangerous being: The liar
The most wretched feeling: The grudge
The most beautiful gift: Forgiveness
The most indispensable: home
The quickest way: The correct one
The most comfortable feeling: Interior peace
The most powerful weapon: The smile
The best remedy: Optimism
The greatest satisfaction: The duty done
The most powerful force: Faith
The most needed beings: The parents
The most beautiful of all: Love

Mother Teresa

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Crustless Sweet Potato Pie

About 15 years ago I started making sweet potato pie, the greatest compliment I ever got was from my late father in law....he grew sweet potatoes and was from the south, he said mine was the best he'd ever had!  I really don't care for pie crust or pumpkin pie but I like the flavor (I make pumpkin pie squares as posted here).  Sweet potatoes are a great alternative, in my opinion the texture is much better.  Today I decided to use up the left over sweet potatoes and make a crustless pie (mostly Paleo friendly...I used buttermilk but you could use coconut milk).  We're having it with whipped cream but you could certainly have ice cream or yogurt.  Let me know what you think.  A Votre Sante!

3-4 medium sweet potatoes baked and peeled (about 1 lb)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp salt
a pinch of nutmeg
a pinch of cayenne pepper
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk or sour cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl or stand mixer mix the cooked sweet potatoes with the spices and sugar.  Add the eggs.  Beat lightly, gradually stir in buttermilk.  Pour into a greased deep dish pie pan.  Bake for 25-30 minutes with foil over the top so it doesn't over brown.  Remove foil and bake another 25-30 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.  Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, enjoy!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Recipe of the week: Autumn Fruit Crisp

Fall is my favorite season and this has all the wonderful flavors of fall and will make your house smell amazing!  You need a large deep dish pan for this (I used a super stone pan I got a long time ago from Pampered Chef.)   Thanksgiving is just around the corner and this is a great alternative to pie.  Let me know what you think.  A Votre Sante!  (This is the recipe I submitted to Whole Foods but I'm not sure it made it, seems like there was a glitch with their system.)

6-7 cups sliced granny smith apples (about 3 large, I peeled half and left the peel on the other half)
4 cups sliced bartlett pears
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped cranberries
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
4 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup  organic rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1/2  cup whole wheat flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  
In a large bowl combine apples, pears and cranberries, toss with lemon juice and granulated sugar.  For the topping, in a medium bowl combine the oats, flour, brown sugar and spices.  Cut in butter until the texture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in the walnuts.  Place 1/2 of the fruit in a large baking dish, sprinkle 1/2 of the topping over fruit.  Top with the remainder of the fruit and the the rest of the topping.  Bake crisp at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until fruit is tender and the topping is golden.  Serve with vanilla ice cream, frozen yogurt or whipped cream.  Serves 8.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sack Lunches

I got this as an email and had to share!  Thanks again to all who have served.

Sack Lunches

I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight. 'I'm glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I will get a short nap,' I thought.  

Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I decided to start a conversation. 'Where are you headed?' I asked the soldier seated nearest to me. 'Petawawa. We'll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we're being deployed to Afghanistan.'

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five
dollars. It would be several hours before we reached the east, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time...As I reached for my wallet, I overheard a soldier ask his buddy if he planned to buy lunch. 'No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch.  Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks. I'll wait till we get to base.'  His friend agreed.  I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch. I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty dollar bill. 'Take a lunch to all those soldiers.' She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. 'My son was a soldier in Iraq ; it's almost like you are doing it for him.'

Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated. She stopped at my seat and asked, 'Which do you like best - beef or chicken?' 'Chicken,' I replied, wondering why she asked. She turned and went to he front of plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class.  'This is your thanks.'

After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room.  A man stopped me. 'I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here, take this.' He handed me twenty-five dollars.  Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane. When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand and said, 'I want to shake your hand.' Quickly unfastening my seat belt I stood and took the
Captain's hand.  With a booming voice he said, 'I was a soldier and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot.' I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the passengers.

Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A man who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.

When we landed I gathered my belongings and started to deplane.  Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five dollars!

Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base.
I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars.  'It will take you some time to reach the base.  It will be about time for a sandwich 'God Bless You.'  Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow travelers.

As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our country. I could only give them a couple of meals. It seemed so little...

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America ' for an amount of 'up to and including my life.'

That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.'

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Recipe of the week: Cranberry Rosemary Muffins

Several months ago I had breakfast at a restaurant called The Curious Palate in Mar Vista (Venice).  If you're even in that area I highly recommend you check them out, they're all about farm to table, and you know how much I love that!  Anyway, we had breakfast, everything was delicious.  They had these muffins and I've been looking for a recipe but I haven't been able to find one, so after experimenting a little bit, this is what I came up with.  Let me know what you think.  A Votre Sante!

Cranberry Rosemary Muffins

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 unbleached flour
1 egg
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp orange rind
3/4 tsp salt
2-3 tsp fresh rosemary
3/4 fresh squeezed orange juice
1 cup chopped cranberries

2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a muffin pan with muffin liners.

In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients and the orange rind.  In a separate large bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, beat in the egg and then the orange juice.  Add the dry ingredients one cup at a time until just incorporated.  Fold in the chopped cranberries.  Scoop into muffin cups.  In a small bowl mix the brown sugar, flour and rosemary, cut in the butter until mixture is crumbly.  Sprinkle tops with brown sugar mixture.

Bake at for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Things I'm thankful for...

It's November 10th and I realized I haven't posted since last month.  I can hardly believe the Holidays are upon us.  I love fall, as you already know and Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  At our house I like to go around the table and have each person say what they are thankful for.  This month I see a lot of people on Facebook saying each day what they're grateful for, I'm late coming into it so I thought I'd just list a few things here.

  1. A God who loves me no matter what!
  2. My health
  3. A loving husband
  4. Three smart, healthy, talented children that are growing up to be amazing people
  5. Having a loving family (parents, sister, cousins)
  6. Being able to live in a free country
  7. Dear friends that love and support me
  8. My job and getting to work with great people
  9. Opportunities to grow and change
  10. My talents/skills 
I encourage you to take a little time this month and reflect on what you're grateful for.  Even in hard seasons we have a lot to be thankful for (trust me, on this one!).