My goal is to use this forum to share encouragement and inspiration for healthier eating through garden harvest and cooking from scratch more non-processed foods and for treating your family, friends, neighbors, strangers, animals and the earth with kindness.
Kindness is essential in our daily lives.
I will share weekly a new post with a message of how powerful kindness really can be.
Today, being a very cold and blistery winter day, I made a decision to surf the web for a new recipe - one, of course, that required me having a close relationship with the oven to sort of take my mind off of the chill I could see out the window. Not in the mood for anything chocolate (ate too much on Valentine's day) d.i.l. Kelly recommended Monkey Bread. Oooh, the thought of warm cinnamon and butter sounded wonderful.
The recipe I chose to follow required making the dough in the bread machine - couldn't get any simpler than letting the machine do the mixing, kneading, rising, etc. After the machine was finished with the dough-making process I continued to follow the recipe looking forward to my finished product.
Joshua, Ginger and Libby Lu
Ring, ring - phone interruption, grandson Josh calling for
permission to come over for an alone-time visit with us - permission granted. He arrived just minutes before the Monkey Bread went into the oven for baking, and he could barely keep his excitement under control when he laid his big, handsome brown eyes on the bundt pan. Today he will be my taste tester. You see...he said his mom, d.i.l. Andrea, has her own Monkey Bread recipe... and he said that she makes it for the family many times throughout the year... and he said it's always delicious... and he said the family eats the whole thing hot right out of the oven...and it seemed like he said it all in one breath, one sentence. : )
Joshua and the Monkey Bread
Because this was my first attempt at making Monkey Bread, I was really
looking forward to hearing how Josh's taste buds would rate my effort.
Please don't be disappointed but this recipe and the results of the taste testing will be illustrated in a future blog post because today's writing will be dedicated to the title of this post, Josh Haulin' Wood.
Josh, as well as all the rest of my grandchildren, is very well behaved. Their parents have taught them to show respect to their elders and we are very appreciative for this lesson. Just like us adults they have their good days and not-so-good days; some days more energy, some days less energy.
Josh's energy level during his visit with us today was high, high, high as it is most other times he comes to visit. His grandfather was needing to bring in some cut firewood from the freezing outdoor elements and the help that Josh could provide would shorten the length of time to perform this task and lessen the wear and tear to an already aching body. Always looking to pitch in, Josh volunteered to help his grandfather bring in a few trailer loads of firewood from the brutal cold outdoors and re-stack them in the garage. Not only the all-you-can-eat Monkey Bread being provided as a snack today during his visit, Josh also had the privilege of driving his grand-father's garden tractor making the chore much more enjoyable. : )
He drove the tractor three times from the garage
to the woodshed empty
he drove the tractor three times from the woodshed
to the garage
full of cut firewood.
He drove the tractor full of firewood inside the garage where he helped his grandfather empty the wagon as well as
I did notice that his sweet little cheeks were getting rosier with each trip out to the woodshed but
what kind of grandparents are we that we never noticed he wasn't wearing any gloves!
Luckily the oven was still warm from baking the Monkey Bread when he came back indoors so I had him place his hands on the warm flat stove top to warm up his cold little fingers.
Thank you, Josh, so very much for lending us a helping hand today. You can be sure that from this day forward I will always make available to you a warm pair of gloves. I'm also considering taking out an insurance policy on your hands as they are worth a million dollars to us! We love you and appreciate you a whole bunch!
A hint to anyone wondering if Josh liked the Monkey Bread:
1. This picture represents the amount of Monkey Bread left on the plate before Josh went outdoors to help with the firewood.
2. I refuse to show a picture of the amount of Monkey Bread
left on the plate after Josh returned home because that would be a dead giveaway!
I was totally blown away during a 'google' episode when I came upon a recipe for homemade Kahlua. Further searching revealed that there were several different ways to make it - with instant coffee, fresh ground coffee, plain brewed coffee, etc. Sure, Kahlua is a tasty beverage but I would have never in a million years believed the flavor could be duplicated in the confines of my very own comfy kitchen. As another step in being self-sufficient, I accepted the challenge to make homemade Kahlua as follows:
6 cups of your favorite brand of brewed coffee
1 lb brown sugar
3 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups of vodka
While the coffee is still hot, mix in the brown sugar
Let the mixture cool
Mix in vanilla and vodka
Using a funnel, pour the liquid into an appropriate bottle for storage
Serve over ice or in a mixed drink of your choice
Cutting the recipe in half makes the perfect amount to fill a smaller previously used (and empty) Kahlua bottle. : )
I'm not the type of person who likes to 'drug' up on prescription or over-the-counter meds unless absolutely necessary - as would be in the case of a serious infection, heavy-duty pain, etc. (you get the picture). My preference is to take the natural route for get-well (and hopefully quick) recoveries.
Searching through the vast knowledge of information we're provided with on the Internet I came across several simple natural cold remedies. Because of the many dying brain cells I've been experiencing of late I thought if I came across one particular recipe that peaked my interest it would probably be a good idea to write it down on a notepad (rather than trust my memory) and tuck it away for future reference.
Then it happened. My yearly cold/sinus infection, which almost comes like clock-work early winter, didn't arrive until late January this year 2013. (Maybe the fact that I had the flu early winter 2012 had something to do with it. That big old stinking flu just wasn't going to step aside for that little old cold.)
After waking up one cold morning with a wicked sore throat - BINGO - I pulled out the notepad which held the written remedy (it was an amazing fact that I found the notepad) and began taking the mixture immediately.
After three days of being diligent with this concoction I WAS HEALED! Sore throat disappeared 1st day. I never had any other associated cold symptoms such as chills or lack of appetite. As a matter of fact I remained quite active in the kitchen during this entire period. During the second and third day the sinus burning and running eyes greatly subsided. On the fourth day, although a slight nasal issue remained, I felt so good I decided to skip my dosage and on the fifth day it was over. Not developing a sinus infection was pleasant! Yes, it could have very well been a mild cold strain but then again this remedy could have been the cold killer of all times and just beat it to death. I'm definitely not wishing for another cold but should one catch me off guard I will not hesitate to follow this miracle mixture again and again and again. Alright (drum roll please) here is the terrific old-fashioned cold-cure recipe I'm thrilled to brag about and hopefully you will be willing to give it a try when 'the cold' gets a grip on you.
1 tsp honey,
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Mix the two ingredients together and take twice a day for minimum of 3 days
I enjoyed it best when adding the mixture to a hot cup of green tea.
Although some sites recommend using organic honey and cinnamon I did not and still had excellent results.
Christmas 2013, being the first holiday of the year for me without my mom and dad to celebrate with, was very painful. I missed them both tremendously and efforts were taken to create new traditions. In looking back at the sadness that prevailed during that period I was able to take special delight from a particular gift bestowed upon me by my Cuz Chris of which I surrendered to humor.
Welcome Chicken Who?. Golden yellow of color with beautiful pink-colored roses adorned on lucious green stems, Chicken Who? masters the art of balance with the long, strong feet of a Ninja warrior, displays a physically powerful neck in resemblance of a WWW wrestler and is supported by a back that can be compared to the strength of a lumberjack.
A beautiful bird (through the eyes of the beholder) none-the-less, Chicken Who? must establish its (pecking) order and need in its new surroundings called home.
A grand welcome would have been appreciated but a nose-to-nose meeting with Libby Lu the Puggle proved not to be above and beyond. Libby Lu, being raised to extend a warm welcome to all the guests who enter our home, left me somewhat disappointed. Not sure but maybe Chicken Who? had bad breath from eating too many worms.
Unlikely to develop a strong relationship with Libby Lu, Chicken Who? considered a friendship with Peter Rabbit (another gift bestowed to me from Cuz Chris.) Hmmm, looked good at first but when Peter realized that Chicken Who? wasn't able to reproduce he quickly removed himself from the picture.
I was kind of glad this relationship fizzled because it was starting to look a little kinky when Libby Lu decided to make it a three-way (if you know what I mean.)
Being a natural instinct for chickens, Chicken Who? took flight and perched on the highest landing in the room (a wall clock almost as high as the ceiling) to assess the situation. Feeling sorry for the tough transition into our home I thought maybe I would perform an introduction to some of the other members of our 'fowl' family.
Enter the ducks. Well first meeting was terrific but these darn little creatures began taking advantage of Chicken Who?'s strong massive back by using it as their primary mode of transportation. The line of ducks kept forming so I had to put them back in their place on the windowsill to eliminate the constant activity taking place on the kitchen counter. NO CHICKEN ABUSE ALLOWED!
I need to put my thinking cap on and help poor Chicken Who? to immediately find its niche! Please, please Chicken Who?, don't turn to the bottle, give me one more chance to make this right!! It looks like my Kahlua may be in jeopardy - I must move quick!
OK! OK! It's official!!
Chicken Who? is now Chickquita Chicken! Yes, she's a girl and the keeper of the bananas. Her attributes are being used to the max and I can tell by the contented look on her face this new responsibility gives her a wonderful sense of accomplishment. I am so pleased that Chickquita Chicken likes her new role because I soooo needed a place to store my bananas.