Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner Changed Up

Check out all the Weekend Cooking posts Beth Fish Reads. Then join the fun. I don't regularly post to this meme, but every once in awhile I do something "foodie".

I tried a couple of new recipes this year. Our granddaughter is dairy-free and coconut-free and just recently has cut gluten out of her diet. So Thanksgiving was different than usual.

Turkey Breast in the Crock Pot.I saw it on Pinterest, and the pin links to  Jamie Cooks It Up. It is a can of cranberry whole berry sauce, 1/2 cup orange juice and 1 envelope of onion soup mix. Very good. The sauce thickened to make a wonderful, faintly sweet gravy.

We have a family traditional cranberry salad that uses real whipped cream. I made two versions, the regular one for my husband and me, and one without the whipped cream for our granddaughter. Her husband doesn't do jello salad of any kind and the baby(15 months) did not like it either. Oh well, those of us who are original family like it.!

The real winner was a new dessert: I wish I had taken a picture of the delight in our granddaughter's face as she tasted the first bite.  I found the recipe on Pinterest too. You can find the recipe here on my page and then visit the site.  Here are my "tweaks"

2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup melted butter  melted lactose free margarine
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 eggs but you could substitute 1 cup applesauce
1 cup almond flour   gluten free rice flour with 1 tsp xanthum gum added
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk honey, melted margarine, vanilla, eggs until smooth. I used a small hand mixer. Add flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Stir to blend. I added it in small batches. Pour into a greased 8x8x2 pan, Bake approximately 25 15-20 minutes until center no longer jiggles and top feels cakey. Cool on a wire rack at least until sides pull away from the pan before cutting. (Cutting with a plastic knife helps)

I frosted them before cutting with regular off-the-box Hershey's chocolate frosting recipe, with a few substitutions. It made more than what I put on the brownies. I'll save it for another recipe, then stored them in the fridge.
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine, melted (used the lactose -free margarine)
2/3 cup cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
I added 1 pinch of sea salt

They were chocolaty, gooey and I topped each brownie with a scoop of Haagen Daz Raspberry Sorbet. 'heavenly'.  I was lucky to find sorbet at our Walmart. The dairy free options for ice cream are not prevalent in this part of the country, especially because our DGD can't do coconut. Many more options exist in larger markets. Our daughter-in-law lives in Phoenix and she has many option for dairy substitution. Our son does a pumpkin cheesecake that she loves and he says is really awesome too.

Today, our granddaughter and family will be here again, while her husband helps my husband hang more insulation and sheet rock in the garage. We will finish up Thanksgiving leftovers. YUM!

Until next time,
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Friday, November 28, 2014

Catching UP 2014 Ebooks

As we count down to the end of the year, I find I need to post my last ebook reads.

I read from October 30 to November 1st
Bluebonnets for EllyBluebonnets for Elly by Sandra Nachlinger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Elly's fiance has betrayed her. Her grandmother has fallen and injured her ankle. Her parents are in Italy. So what's a girl to do? She moves in with Granny to help her out. While she is staying with her grandmother, Elly decides to tackle Granny's abundance of treasures. There is one problem with this situation, Elly is only supposed to stay with her grandmother for 30 days, according to the rules in the retirement village where Marge Macauley lives. Elly must rely on various disguises to avoid the prying eyes of the president of the Geriatic Government.

There is one in this seemingly smothering situation. The landscape guy is hunky Derek White. He makes Elly wonder if maybe she has been celibate too long!

This story is your consummate chick lit. Young beautiful red-head, strong viril gardener, a feisty out-spoken grandmother, and of course a jealous ex-wife. But Sandra tells the story with out being schmaltzy or too predictable. It is well written, I immediately became engaged with the characters. I'm more Marge (Granny) Macculey's age, but I could identify with Elly too. It is a great story.

I read from November 4th through the 9th.
I.O.U. SexI.O.U. Sex by Sandra Nachlinger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I started this book I thought it would be a fun read. I was not wrong, but it turned out to be more than that. It is a story about friendship, life lessons, and second chances.

When June and Peggy and Kiki decide during an evening of girl talk and drink, to look up their old boyfriend and pay them back for the sex they withheld in high school, I thought: that will be a disaster!

Each of the stories, June's, Peggy's and Kiki's are different, but are a happily ever after ending. I'm not really telling any spoilers as it is pretty clear from the start where this book is going. The character development was great, I felt I knew each of these women. Maybe it was pretty exceptional that the men they looked up were ready, willing and available, but that makes a good chick lit story.

I am married to my HS sweetheart, but when I was talking to my sister about this premise, she doesn't even want to look up her HS crush. He spent time in prison and turned out to be a pretty shady character. Most of us are probably glad we moved forward from whom we were attracted to in high school.

I enjoyed reading this book and I enjoyed Sandra Nachlinger's other novel, Bluebonnet's for Elly. I would recommend either of them to anyone looking for a feel good, easy read.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thankgiving

The turkey is in the crockpot, the pie has been baked, the salads are in the fridge. Watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Coffee and pumpkin donut holes on the table by my chair. We are having a small family celebration, our granddaughter, her husband and 15 month old son. I tried some new tweaks this year. Our granddaughter had given up gluten in an effort to "feel better". She is already dairy and coconut free. I found a recipe for gluten free, dairy free brownies and will serve them with raspberry sorbet. Her husband is making a gluten free, dairy free pumpkin pie to bring.
I also picked up gluten free croutons for stuffing, and our traditional cranberry salad has two versions this year, one with whipped cream and one without.

If the new recipes pass "muster", I will share the recipes tomorrow on Weekend Cooking at  Beth Fish Reads.

Until then,
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Challenges for 2015 - Book related and Quilt related

The end of the year is fast approaching  and I will attempt challenges again. One of my FAVORITES is the What's In A Name Challenge and Charlie at The Worm Hole is hosting it again this year.

Here is what the button looks like. Click on the link to Charlies' blog above, find the button on her sidebar and it will take you to the sign up post. Then on January 1st you can join us as we read at least 6 books with titles that fit the categories that Charlie has presented.

Also I have decided to try this challenge. I have been reading lots of Cozy Mysteries and I might as well challenge myself to read more. If you want to join me. then check out Yvonne's blog, Socrates Book Reviews for the sign up post and let go cruisin'.  I will sign up at:Level 2 - Investigator - Read 7-12 books

I think I will only do these two blog associated challenges. I probably will do a few monthly or quarterly challenges on Goodreads too. Plus I have my F2F bookclub that will have monthly reads in 2015.

Then, I shouldn't forget that my quilting group will have a 6 part Finish Up Your UFO's challenge next year. I will share this challenge with you when I sign up for that one. Yikes!! I may be in over my head.

Until the new year
Stay Happy and Stay Busy

Monday, November 24, 2014

Traveling With Pomegranates

Sue is almost 50. She is struggling with where her life will lead her now. She sees in herself a relationship to Mary, mother of Jesus.
Ann is 22. Graduating from college she thought her life would be to attend graduate school then teach Greek history. She was enamored by the thought of Greece, the connection she felt to Athena.
Sue and Ann are mother and daughter, and this memoir is told from both their perspectives. The chapters are titled either Sue or Ann and where the memories are taking place. Athens, Paris, North Carolina.
I am enjoying this book.

Traveling With Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter StoryTraveling With Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story by Sue Monk Kidd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As I was coming to the end of this book, I was thinking about what I would say here. How I would explain or try to relate to others what this book said to me. I am not sure if I am able to do that.

Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter Ann, traveled together numerous times, to Greece, Italy, France and other places along the way. They each were struggling. Each with a individual journey. But as they traveled, took note of places and mythology associated with those places, and wrote in their own individual journals, each of them discovered a coming together in this mother-daughter story.

Ann was struggling with becoming 50 and what direction her writing was going to take. She kept coming back to a short story about bees in a wall. Ann, thought she wanted to attend graduate school and teach ancient Greek history. Her rejection letter to the school of her choice, left her floundering with no idea of what she would do now.

Both women write in a wonderful lyric style. It is beautiful to read and breathtaking to "listen to". I am a fan and I must admit Sue Monk Kidd is my new favorite author and I hope Ann Kidd Taylor writes more, so that I can say that about her.

I have only one small regret. That is that I wish I could listen to my inner self, listen to my dreams and come to a contemplative,spiritual calm with myself and I wish the same for my daughter. We do not have the kind of relationship that Sue and Ann have, but I wish that we did.

This is a book that I will read again and again.

View all my reviews

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? again not much progress

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted every week by Sheila at Book Journey. This is the place to find title to add to your Want List!  Log on to Book Journey, grab the button, post what you are reading then link up with the rest of us.

Reading did not take precedence this week. I was at a quilting retreat, then Thursday & Friday, we watched our great grandson while his mom had some doctor appointments.  Saturday and Sunday our grandson-in-law helped Mr Busy put up insulation and sheet rock in the addition to our garage. Why he waited until winter to do that is still a mystery to me!  But it is getting done. That meant our granddaughter and gr grandson were here all day too. No reading except at bedtime and that is minimal. I am nearly finished with Traveling With Pomegranates,

then I will give The Poisonwood Bible my full attention.

I still have Christmas gifts to finish and get in the mail. I am really hoping to complete my Goodreads Reading Challenge of reading 72 books, but I may fail again. I may have to lower my goal for next year. That saddens me. Oh well!!

Until next time
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturday Snapshot Projects , projects, projects.

Saturday Snapshots is hosted by Melinda at West Metro Mommy Reads. Log on to her blog, read the rules and share your photos.

The first 3 days of the week, I attended at Quilt Retreat at The Ranch at Ucross. The weather was beautiful, even though the prior week it was below zero every day. This is the view past the dining hall looking toward the sleeping rooms.
 Below is looking south from the dining hall. They have an old buckboard in the front yard. The trees are definitely bare and winter has begun. The snow was melting in the bright sunshine.
 This is the old ranch house that was remodeled into the  dining room, bar and some rooms upstairs. There is a wrap around deck that would be awesome in the spring and summer, a little too cold for us this November.

Now for some of the quilts and quilted projects that were constructed over the two days. 

I made this tiny Christmas quilt from 2 packs of 5" squares. It is really busy and will have a border before I quilt it. 
 This is a kaleidoscope quilt pieced by my friend Carol. All the centers were cut from the same fabric and put back together in different configurations.
 Eileen is one of our ranch women. Her house is western in decor and so this Christmas Boot table runner will be right at home on her dining room table.
 Jeanine had tons of Christmas fabric scraps and pieced this Scrap Crazy quilt using a set of templates from Creative Grids.

 Kathy is our professional long arm quilter and she is very creative. This is Christmas bird fabric that she cut apart, then machine appliqued to cream squares . She designed a blue and red sashing with 9 patch corner stones.
 Lynn embroidered these 6 snowmen scenes then pieced them into a darling little quilt. Someone very lucky is going to be the recipient of this special quilt.
 Maggie paper pieced the center spruce tree, then appliqued the bottom and the top for this table runner. Very elegant, don't you think?

This is only about 1/3 of the projects that were begun, completed or worked on while we sewed for 3 days.  The staff  waited on us hand and foot, the food was top notch and they kept us supplied with coffee, tea and plenty of bottles of water. We had a great time and have already reserved our rooms for next year.

Until next time
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday Traveling With Pomegranates

Join us at Kathy's blog, BermudaOnion's Weblog to share new words you discovered while reading, or new words you encounters somewhere else.

My words this week are from Traveling With Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor. It is such a well written memoir of the story of a mother and daughter.

vacuity - "Uncovering the need has been like finding an empty room in the center of my house, one I didn't know was there, one I couldn't pass without feeling its vacuity and wondering how it could be filled.

: the state of lacking any real meaning, importance or intelligence
: an empty space

I could discern the meaning of vacuity from the sentence, but it was unfamiliar to me, so I wanted to look it up.

reliquary - "They're over there" she tells me and points to a silver reliquary on the alter.

   :  a container that is used to hold holy objects ( called relics)

   :  a container or shrine in which sacred relics are kept

I goggled reliquary because I had a mental image for the word. This is what I found, and it is what I had pictured. There are other designs of course. Some are like lockets, some more contemporary.
But Sue and her daughter, Ann, are visiting Greece, so I think the reliquary she refers to may look something like this.

What wondrous new words did you find this week?

Until next time
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday - hopefully soon, The Goodbye Quilt

Hooray!  I have internet Access!

 Diane at Bibliophile By The Sea hosts this Tuesday meme as a place the share the first paragraph (or a few) of the book you are currently reading or hope to start soon. Join us to get a glimpse into what some other book lovers are reading.

I hope to finish my two current books and start on this one soon. I am away from home Monday through Wednesday of this week, stitching with a small gathering of quilters. I will be working on a few Christmas quilts. I really need to read some Christmas quilt stories, but do not have any on my shelf or loaded on my Kindle. So this one will have to do.

The Goodbye Quilt
Susan Wiggs
Harlequin 2011

Chapter One

   How do you say goodbye to a piece of your heart? If you're a quilter, you have a time-honored way to express yourself.
   A quilt is an object of peculiar intimacy. By virtue of the way it is created, every inch of the fabric is touched. Each scrap absorbs the quilter's scent and the invisible oils of her skin, the smell of her household and, thanks to the constant pinning and stitching, her blood in the tiniest of quantities. And tears, though she might be loath to admit it. 


Do these two paragraphs speak to you? Would you keep reading this story?

I hope I have internet access where I will be this week. If not this will not be linked up to First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesdays. 

Until next time
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Sunday, November 16, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? no progress!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted every week by Sheila at Book Journey. This is the place to find title to add to your Want List!  Log on to Book Journey, grab the button, post what you are reading then link up with the rest of us.

The first three days of this week, the 17th through the 19th, I will be away from home. I am attending a small quilt retreat with 9 friends. We are sewing at a resort called The Ranch at Ucross. It is 83 miles from home, 30 miles from the next nearest town. I will take some pictures to share when I get back. I am hoping there is wifi there. I am going to prepare this post and ones for First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros and  Wondrous Words Wednesday. If there is no internet I will not be able to link my posts up to the host blogs. So my fingers are crossed.

This has been a difficult week for reading. We has sub zero temperatures and snow. Our granddaughter and her family visited all day Tuesday and Wednesday, so no reading then. On Thursday I always stitch with several friends. I needed to join them this week. I had a touch of "cabin fever". Then I went to the grocery store and home to read a little bit before going out again to play Bunco.  Friday I spent most of the day in my sewing room, I needed to do that to get ready for the upcoming retreat. Whew!  Are you tired yet?

All that being said, I am still reading Traveling with Pomegranates and Poisonwood Bible. Both are very good in very different ways.

Until next time
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Saturday Snapshots Baby It's Cold Outside!

Melinda at West Metro Mommy Reads hosts this fun weekly meme. Its a place to show us a picture or two of places you've been, or people you seen, you get the idea. There are a few easy rules. Link up with Melinda, read the rules and join us.

Its been really cold this week. Last Sunday it was 68 and sunny, Monday it was -5. Wow, huge adjustment. We don't have a fireplace, or a gas stove,or pellet stove.  This is as good as it gets.  A candle burning on top of our entertainment center with my November stitchery. If you can't read it, it says Give Thanks. Between the candle and the stitchery is a small Christmas cactus that I repotted after the cat broke a piece off my large cactus. It is doing well, no blooms yet. Maybe this year. 

Hope you all are staying warm and dry and happy in your corner of the world. 

Until next time,
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You
Jojo Moyes
Louisa “Lou” Clark loves her job at the bakery/cafe. She feels like she belongs here, the customers like her, and her boss appreciates her. All is right with the world.  Until, today when her boss tells her he is closing The Buttered Bun, and this is her last day.  He gives her 3 months pay. Lou is devastated. She is an ordinary girl, never been out of her neighborhood, involved with a long time boyfriend. Settled!
Will Traynor is a handsome wealthy young man, now in a wheelchair. His parents have provided him with separate living quarters and a daily in- home male nurse to do the necessary tasks. They have exhausted the available companion types. When Lou applies for the job, which she is woefully unqualified for, Mrs. Traynor hires her out of desperation and necessity. Will is moody and bossy. Lou refuses to treat him like an invalid. She talks back to him, she doesn’t pamper him.
As they continue to spend time together, they both find in the other a person that they care about. Will encourages Lou to expand her horizons and Lou in turns demands he push his limits. What develops is an amazing friendship. This is a wonderfully told story of two people who are vastly different yet find a common ground of respect and unconditional love.
This novel  not only makes you stop and think, it makes you really dig deep within yourself and discover whether you could make a decision that would make the person you love happy all the while breaking your heart.

I loved this book and will read more of Jojo Moyes’ books. I recommend this book for all who are looking for a love story . It requires a box of tissue and will make you smile, laugh and cry.

Wondrous Word Wednesday - overheard on CBS Sunday Morning.

Kathy at BermudaOnion's Weblog host this Wednesday meme. It is a place to highlight words you encounter while reading.

I didn't make note of any words I found while reading this week. But my husband and I were watching  CBS Sunday Morning as we prepared to meet friends for breakfast. CBS correspondent Mo Rocca was giving a brief overview of his upcoming interview of Jon Stewart.  I tried to find a copy of Mo Rocca's comments but was unable to. But he used the word hubris.  Something about Jon Stewart's "humor and hubris"

So I looked the word hubris up in the Merriam Webster Dictionary that is on my laptop. Do you think this word describes Jon Stewart?

hu bris   noun

  : a great or foolish amount of pride or confidence

full definition of HUBRIS

  : exaggerated pride or self-confidence

What new words did you find or hear this week?

Until next time
Stay Busy and Stay Happy


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday - Traveling with Pomegranates

Diane at Bibliophile by The Sea hosts this fun Tuesday meme to share the first paragraph or two of your current read. You can even share the first couple of paragraphs of a book you hope to get to soon.

Traveling with Pomegranates : a mother-daughter story 
Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor
Published by The Penguin Group  2009

National Archaeological Museum - Athens 
 Sitting on a bench in the National Archaeological Museum in Greece, watching my twenty-two year old daughter, Ann, angle her camera before a marble bas-relief of Demeter and Persephone unaware of the small ballet she is performing - her slow, precise steps forward, the tilt of her head, the way she dips to one knee as she turns her torso, leaning into the sharp afternoon light. The scene reminds me of something, a memory maybe,but I can't recall what. I only know she looks beautiful and impossibly grown, and for reasons not clear to me I'm possessed by an acute feeling of loss. 

I selected this book for a number of reasons. I have just begun to read it and have already nodded my head in agreement. It has been a long time since my only daughter was 22 and when she was I was only forty-one, not nearly 50 like Sue, but the feeling were the same. I know I am going to enjoy this read.
What about you?  Does this catch your fancy?

Until next time
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Monday, November 10, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - Kingsolver & Monk Kidd

It's Monday!  What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. She provides us a place to share the books we are reading or hope to start soon. Join us .... it will definitely add to the list of books you want to read!

This week I will start Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. My Face to Face book club read Animal Dreams earlier this year. I really enjoyed it and one of the members stated that Kingsolver is one of her favorite authors. So when I ran across this one the other day, as I was browsing the library shelves, I decided to check it out.

Today I picked up Traveling With Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter Ann Kidd Taylor. I need another non-fiction book for a challenge I am doing and also need a book with a food in the title. I really enjoyed The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings., so I think it is a win/win for me. 

This week it is supposed to get really cold in our area. Good weather to stay indoors and read. However, I am attending a quilting retreat, the 17th  through the 19th, so I need to prep my projects for that time. Since I don't cut well with others ( smile) I will cut my fabric before I go. I will work on two Christmas quilts. One is in progress and the other is a new project that has been on deck for a bit. It is a small tabletop or wall hanging size. So it should be fun. 

Until next time
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Gift of a Quilt

Quilt Chicks 2014 Let's Finish It Challenge!

Several weeks ago, I posted about a quilt I was making for a challenge for a quilting group I belong to. Well, last Sunday I showed it and completed the challenge. I promised to show it to you.

 This is a close up. It was a mystery quilt when I started it. That means I did not know what the pattern would look like until it was complete. I mixed up the medium and dark fabrics as I completed the inside blocks. Can you see my mistake?  The print that reads brown should have gone all the way on the diagonal. But instead I used the wine colored fabric in the squares in the middle of the large block. Oh well, it was a mystery and now it is a miracle, because it works anyway.

Jacob's Miracle   11-2004 to 11-2014  10 years Cancer Free

 I named the quilt for my oldest nephew, my older brother's son. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor 10 years ago and celebrates his 10 year cancer-free anniversary this month. He is 33, married and the father of two beautiful girls, 5 years and 9 months. This will be an anniversary gift for him.

It is a lap sized quilt and I hope he knows it is given in the place of the hugs I cannot give him in person. He lives in Minneapolis MN and I am in Wyoming. My brother and sister-in-law will take it to him when they go there for Thanksgiving.

Until next time
Stay Busy and Stay Happy