Thursday, December 29, 2011

Paying the Piper

So much running around, making, cooking, visiting, having a marvelous time. And then, BOOM! Up jumps my old adversary, rheumatoid arthritis. One day I'm full of pep and energy. The next day, stiff, sore, and exhausted.

"Mmwahahahaha," it cackles. "Thought I forgot about you? Having a little too much fun, were we?" Well, here's my response--down, but not out, pal.

I have this lovely hot water bottle cover that my daughter-in-law Michelle knitted for me. A Christmas gift, and a timely one at that. So comforting.

I have the charming glow of candlelight,

a stack of delicious books that were under the tree this year,

a cozy, colorful spot to recover in, and the power of prayer.
Take that, R.A. You don't know who you're messin' with.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Making Merry

We've been busy Christmas-ing, but I wanted to stop by to say, may God bless each and every one of you swell readers. My prayers are that in this coming year, you will experience all that is good, even beyond your imagining.

How lovely are thy branches

Nothing better than a Christmas card winking at you on a gray December day

sugar in a tin

two of the most beautiful words - edible glitter

Scrooge under glass

Shiver me timbers

Jolly St. Nick

old-fashioned trimmings

Here We Go a-Wassailing


Place a shining star upon the highest bough

tidings of great joy


Friday, December 16, 2011

and visions of orange peel...(repost)

Have you all ever tried these? They are scrumptious. I'll be making some up today. Oh, and guess what? My better half may be doing a guest post at the Acorn! We shall see... ;) Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

The Margaret Rudkin Pepperidge Farm Cookbook; an awesome thrift shop find! In it is a recipe for candied orange peel, an old fashioned sweet popular in colonial times and a family favorite of ours for the Christmas season. It's easy to make, too.

Can you believe it only took four oranges to get this much peel? This recipe suggests removing all the white part of the orange skin, but I prefer to leave some. It's less fiddley to prepare. Having tried it both ways, I think it tastes better, too.

Love the vintage pen and ink drawings that are through out the book. Click on the photo to enlarge the recipe.

You'll have to imagine that there is a picture of the peel cooking in a pot of sugar syrup, which I forgot to take because I was too busy trying to avoid burning myself while stirring the molten hot lava-like syrup. This is what the peel will look like after being cooked, at which point you sprinkle it with sugar.

Ta - da! When it finally dries, the peel is all sugary sparkley-warkley Christmasy nice. Much better than sugar plums, in my opinion.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Temptation - sometimes the mother of invention

Years ago when my kids were little, we happened to be passing through one of those upscale department stores in a mega-mall during the Christmas season. This particular store had a dazzling display of gourmet chocolates. The peppermint bark looked so delicious, and the tins they were packed in were spectacularly irresistible. The price tag, however, was enough to make a frugal mother faint. But I was so sorely tempted, and my kids' eyeing it up weakened my resistance all the more. Can you hear the whine in my voice? Ohhhhhhhh..... Only the lack of funds gave me the moral fortitude to walk away. But those darned things looked so delicious that I was determined to find a way to treat my family to something like it.

Well that, my friends, is the humble beginning of my invention of the no-bake peppermint bark cookie. Are you game?

You will need plain chocolate wafer cookies (or chocolate graham crackers if you can't find them), white chocolate, dark chocolate, and candy canes.

Crush the candy canes. I use my food processor on pulse to get fine chips. Melt the white chocolate. Using the back of a spoon, I spread a nice thick layer onto one side of the cookie. Then sprinkle with the crushed candy canes before the chocolate hardens.

When you're finished, they should look like this - let the chocolate dry completely. It only takes a few minutes.

Next, melt the dark chocolate, then go mad wild and drizzle it all over the cookies. I load up a whisk with the chocolate and sort of lash it on. Sprinkle with any left over crushed candy canes. If you haven't splashed yourself and your kitchen cabinets by the time you're finished, you've held back.

You can store them in your own spectacularly irresistible cookie tin. They keep well. But I doubt they'll last that long.

My son Alex called while I was making them. "Great! They're still my favorites," he said. Shortly after, while chatting on the phone with my husband, I mentioned that I made peppermint bark cookies today. "Oh, they're my favorite. They're our dentist's favorite, too." "What? I don't remember making any Christmas cookies for our dentist...oh, wait - I get it. Ha, ha, funny guy."

Disclaimer: This cookie truly did come from my own fevered imagination. Any similarity to any other cookie, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Paper, Color, Rock

Have you ever made a crayon rubbing? You know, where you take some paper and a crayon, and create an image of the object you want to transfer onto a piece of paper. I have, lots of times. On Sunday, our pastor used this very illustration to explain a bible passage.

"For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow in His steps" I Peter 2:21

The Greek word for 'example' here is 'hupogrammos'. It means to copy, to overwrite--bless me--I could see it!

It was my prayer that morning - every morning: I want to be like You. Show me. God answered. I asked for water, and He gave me wine.

Hupogrammos, our pastor said. A pattern to trace on living stone. And I - we - the paper. Can you imagine it?

Allowing the Holy Spirit to inscribe us with His color, to overwrite, copy. And we yielding.

Peter goes on to say this of Christ: He did not sin. He never deceived. He did not retaliate when insulted. He did not threaten to get even, but left his case in the hands of God.

And it can be done, it can. Peter tell us so. He knew from experience. I'm learning from experience. Jesus, the perfect original, oversees our makings, and calls us His masterpiece.

I'm undone. Yes, let that imprint continue to be born in me, saturating every fiber. I'll wear your colors.

Joining Emily today

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Making Joy

"I salute you! There is nothing I can give you which you have not, but there is much, that, while I cannot give, you can take. No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take Heaven. No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present instant. Take Peace. The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet, within our reach, is joy. Take Joy.
And so, at this Christmas time, I greet you, with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away."

Fra Giovanni

Awhile back, while on one of my thrift shop excursions, I noticed a glittery little cardboard box. Being the curious soul that I am, I took a peek inside

A hidden treasure

Alas, no crib for a bed

Shall I play for Him? pa-rum-pa-pum-pum

Let ev'ry heart prepare him room

Make joy!


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