Thursday, December 28, 2006

It Pays To Read The Box...

Art by Mike Wimmer - Copyright © 2006 Celestial Seasonings

One of the things that I truly love is sitting down with a good cup of tea. It's taken many years, but I've finally gotten my coffee-loving husband to enjoy it as well. Before Christmas, he surprised me by bringing home a number of special holiday flavored green and herbal teas from Celestial Seasonings. Now I love this company and their teas. Each box is a delight from a design standpoint. The art is wonderful and each box is always covered with wonderful quotations, front, back, bottom and interior box flaps even!

One of these teas (Candy Cane Lane) really caught my attention. Not only is it a delicious decaf blend of peppermint, orange peel, vanilla, and other yummy flavors (perfect for a before-bed cuppa!) but it had this truly lovely quotation from Ernestine Schumann-Heink (1898 to 1903, Schumann-Heink was hailed as "the world's greatest contralto.)

A True Home

"A roof to keep out the rain. Four walls to keep out the wind. Floors to keep out the cold. Yes, but home is more than that. It is the laugh of a baby, the song of a mother, the strength of a father. Warmth of loving hearts, light from happy eyes, kindness, loyalty, comradeship. Home is first school...for the young ones where they learn what is right, what is good, and what is kind. Where they go for comfort when they are hurt or sick. Where joy is shared and sorrow eased. Where fathers and mothers are respected and loved. Where children are wanted. Where the simplest food is good enough for kings because it is earned. Where money is not so important as loving-kindness. Where even the teakettle sings from happiness. That is home."

What a wonderful defination of "home". See how much you can learn, simply be brewing a cup of tea?

And A Happy Christmas Was Had By All


We had a wonderful Christmas at our house. We celebrate in a simple way, just my husband and I with our Maggie the dog and Eli the cat. We munch on poticia, melon, and a good, strong cup of coffe while we open gifts. Poticia is a wonderful, yeasty nut bread that is popular in Eastern Europe. My recipe comes from my husband's great-grandmother, who grew up with it in what was then Yugoslovia. It takes a long time to make, but it's worth it. Not too sweet, and goes great with coffee or tea.(See recipe at end of post.)


Of course, Santa left a little something in the stockings for the animals. Eli received a catnip rat. (We're hoping this spurs him on to actually hunting real, live rodents instead of songbirds...) He only deserved a lump of coal for his bad behavior all year, but Santa is kind.


Maggie got a new fuzzy ball with a squeaker built in. She tried to open it before the gifts were even passed out (a real no-no). Eventually it was her turn and she tore into it. She has been carrying it around ever since.

Later in the afternoon we went down to my Mom's house and celebrated with all the family. We had a wonderful meal and really enjoyed each other's company. I've now got lots of new books to read!

Here's hoping that everyone else had a relaxing, wonderful holiday. Maggie is worn out from all the fuss and relaxing on the couch adorned in her lovely holly scarf.



1 lb. plus 2 handfuls of ground walnuts
1 can evaporated milk
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup warm water (105 - 115F)
1 TBL dry yeast (2 pkgs)
1/2 cup warm milk (105-115F)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter - melted
2 eggs
4 cups all purpose flour

Filling: Combine walnuts, milk and sugar in large double boiler on top of boiling water. Stir in honey. Bring to boil, stirring often and boil for 1 minute then turn down hear so water will continue to cook nut mixture. Check for sweetness. Add a little sugar if needed. Continue to cook, stirring every so often, until the nuts turn dark. Turn off heat and add eggs, mixing them in well.

Dough: Combine water and yeast in larage mixing bowl and stir until yeast is disolved. Add mild and let stand until foamy and proofed. (Mine never foams but works anyway!) Add sugar, salt, butter, eggs and half the flour and beat until smooth. Add remaining flour and mix until soft dough forms. Knead about 10 minutes by hand or five minutes with dough hook of mixer. Place in lightly greased bowl and turn to coat entire surface. Cover and let rise in warm area until doubled in volume, approx. one hour.

Grease pans (bread pans, angel food cake pans, etc.) Do not punch down dough. Put on floured board and roll until fairly thin (1/4 to 1/8 inch). brush surface with melted butter and then spread nut filling on top within 1/2 inch of edge of dough. Roll up like a jelly roll. Put in greased pan and let rise in warm place. Bake in 350 degree oven for approx. 45 minutes or until golden brown and done. Cool 10 minutes then remove from pan to cool on wire rack. Brush crust with melted butter and cover with a cloth while cooling. This helps to keep the crust soft. Wrap in paper towels, and then keep in plastic bag, or foil to keep from drying out. Freezes well.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Catching Up.

Wow! It's been a long time since I've posted here. The holidays are a busy time, but now I'm pretty much caught up and it's time to relax and enjoy friends, neighbors, and family.

We pledged to try to make Christmas more simple this year--to "unplug the machine" as it were. I guess we succeeded somewhat, but I still have a few cards to send, I never made that third variety of Christmas cookies that I promised my husband, and we missed a few parties due to other committments. It seems the holiday season has flown by much more quickly than before and I don't know why exactly.

We put our tree up later this year (Dec. 17th). I thought that might make the prevent "holiday creep" and inspire a greater spirit of the season, but it didn't work. The tree is still drying out quickly, and although I say I want to keep it up until after the new year, I'm not entirely sure that I'll be able to do it.

I spent this morning putting away Christmas clutter and it's not even Christmas yet. I think that the additional clutter of the holiday in a small house feel a bit confining. So we have pledged to declutter severly after the holidays. Stay tuned to see it that works!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Apron Swap Results!

I received my apron from the "What's Cookin" Apron Swap and boy, did I get lucky! Patricia was a wonderful swap partner and made me the most beautiful holiday apron. Plus, I received a delicious carmeled apple that my husband and I will be consuming as we decorate for Chrismas! Isn't her packaging pretty?


Here I am trying to take a photo of me wearing the apron in a mirror. (Sorry for the flash...) The apron is lovely. The fabric is totally "me". The really uncanny thing is that a friend of mine just returned some magazines of mine that she'd borrowed. One of the pages I'd turned down to tear out and save was this exact apron pattern!


In addition, I received some delicious recipes, a 2007 date book, and a holiday planner. All so cute. Thank you so much Patricia. You got everything just perfect! Posted by Picasa