Tonight? One filled cookie jar. And a glass of white wine.
Tonight? One filled cookie jar. And a glass of white wine.
If not for a dear friend reminding me to clean out my fridge today, I would never have dumped my second cup of coffee into the last of the chai mix, tossed in a frozen banana, the icy remnants of a bag of frozen berries and a handful of arugula.
I would have missed out on this deliciousness! Fuel for that aforementioned cleaning of the fridge.
And here’s an honest question I’d love someone to answer for me: Why are green smoothies considered so much better than any other color smoothie?
The ingredients to Autumn. Simple, yes. But combined with a recent cold front and a corresponding renewed interest in my oven, these simple ingredients combined to briefly bring the smell and the taste of Fall into this house.
A cookie recipe based off of my mother’s classic cake mix cookie recipe though I never, ever remember her putting fresh cranberries into cookies. I discovered that trick when I took off for college and it is sooo good! I would have slipped some nuts of some sort into this batch of cookies but there were none to be found in the pantry. That will be rectified long before Thanksgiving arrives!
Quite a simple recipe, as are all the best. Easy to make, easy to send to school for lunch dates in favorite teacher’s rooms (nobody would be so uncool as to eat in the cafeteria down here, heaven forbid!). A recipe to make again and again this year – the taste of Autumn 2011.
Spiced Cranberry Cookies
1 pkg Spice Cake Mix 2 eggs
1 cup oats 1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup fresh cranberries, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease cookie sheets. Combine cake mix, eggs and oil. Stir in oats, then cranberries. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheets. Teaspoon-sized spoonfuls will cook in about 7-8 minutes here at sea level. Tablespoon-sized spoonfuls will take closer to 10-12 minutes in my oven, at least!
Today I was feeling full of words – long, leisurely, lovely words thoughtfully strung together. I could have sat and pondered each carefully selected word, or I could help out a friend. Not just any old friend but a friend in real life who actually lives in my neck of the woods. So that meant rather than a peaceful poetic picnic of a day, I spent it like this:
Today I had a little helper in the kitchen. She was pretty proud of her helpfulness… you know… getting soaking wet, picking up glass plates to hand to me, diving for the sharp knifes and just generally being the cutest thing on all 4s in the kitchen (sorry Mia).
They’re not the best photos I’ve ever taken, but the subject wasn’t exactly posing as a still life either!
It is time to send another box overseas to our adopted soldier. Marianna has been baking cookies for days and days. We bake and freeze a ton of cookies and then pull them out of the freezer, drop them in a flat rate box (the large box ships super cheap to APO addresses) and send it out in the early mail still frozen.
Have you ever sent baked goods overseas? Any hints and tips or favorite recipes that ship well? Marianna is making basic gingerbread tonight and the house smells heavenly!
The word went out at Sunday night potluck in our marina that a friend’s baby had arrived early. Immediately, we ladies put our heads together and decided a baby shower in a box was called for. No time to order fancy baby yarns, I had to use what I had. So I cast on in cotton and knit the cutest, ruffliest baby cap yet! If you check out yesterday’s post you can see just how it received its name, The Candy Cap, it matches my preferred Valentine candy perfectly!
I have plenty of yarn left so I’m thinking I may have to find a baby bootie pattern too. Any recommendations for ruffly booties?
All that knitting yesterday was fueled by candy hearts, today I’m thinking slightly healthier food is in order to nosh on while checking out the Yarn Along! So I made Pumpkin Pie Granola, I wish you could smell the house right now. It hasn’t smelled this fabulous since Christmas time!
Pumpkin Pie Granola
5 cups rolled oats, 1/4 cup sesame seeds, handful of nuts
3/4 cup pumpkin pie filling, 2 Tbsp oil
2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger, 1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup each golden syrup, maple syrup, and honey
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups golden raisins
Mix the oats, sesame seeds and nuts in a large bowl. Mix the wet ingredients with the brown sugar and the spices in a small bowl. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, mix well and spread onto two cookie sheets. Bake for 40 minutes at 325F stirring halfway through the baking time.
Add raisins when you remove from the oven to cool.
As far as reading goes, I’m thoroughly enjoying Small Steps on the Kindle and studying, most enjoyably, Easy Orchids. I mentioned last week that my orchids have all of a sudden decided to sprout buds stalks and I am so, so excited about this! As Mimi Luebbermann says in Easy Orchids,
“Having an orchid rebloom for you is an indescribable pleasure that combines pure satisfaction, one-hundred-percent smug self-congratulation, and awestruck humiliation that you should be so lucky.”
Truer words never spoken! I’ll try and capture some photos this week of the bud stalks and share them here. Happy Yarn Along, everyone!!!
I mentioned on Tuesday that I was pondering a post about red towels but that had been placed on the back burner while I doted on a wee one for the day. Well, now is as good a day as any I suppose to wax on about kitchens and such. Perhaps I should forewarn you that a nice hot cup of tea would be great to grab before delving into this post as I ended up being quite chatty!
I should start off by saying I love my kitchen. I love everything about this house actually, but after spending so much time living on a sailboat I really don’t think I take house living for granted, and I hope I never do! I suppose I should pause here for any new readers and explain that my family and I lived aboard a 35 foot sailboat for years and years. You can read more about that at my old blog and here is a post I wrote about that kitchen, Galley Dockside vs. Galley Afloat if you’d care to compare and contrast. In our current housing arrangement we are on post in Navy housing.
Now. On to the talk about where my love of red and my love of the kitchen intersect. Moving to the land after so many years afloat meant that I don’t have a plethora of rags and towels and plates and, well, stuff! That lovely blank slate meant that I could do anything at all I liked when it came time to furnish the kitchen and I liked red! That first batch of towels I bought were shortly followed by red table napkins and then a little red glass bottle that you can see on the windowsill today.
When the sun shines through it in the morning it makes me very, very happy.
Also on the windowsill is my Kitchen Madonna with a little red tealight at her feet. The chartreuse mum is from a huge mixed bouquet I picked up right after Christmas! I am astounded that it is still around.
Recently I was in Pier One and found the one and only glass in the store that had red cherries on it. It immediately became my daily water glass and another of my favorite things in this kitchen. The foliage that you see outside my window, (and yes that window is open today!) is a red hibiscus. The lawn crew just trimmed it up recently so you can’t see any blossoms right now but I think it quite nice that whomever planted that bush knew my love of red and chose it just for me.
Let’s see. What else brings me JOY in this kitchen?
Well, this borders on mundane unless you’ve been following the conversation over at Aunt Leila’s but I am not a washcloth or a sponge girl. I prefer a brush and when a local store had a shipment of these gorgeous red and chrome brushes arrive, I bought handfuls! I really don’t know what I’d use a cloth for anymore, we have a tablecloth on the table so no wiping that down unless I’m polishing it up while cleaning. I keep sponges under the sink for nasty scrubbing jobs but they seriously still gross me out and yes, I’ve microwaved them and put them in the dishwasher frequently. Heck! Back on the boat I used to boil them since we ditched the microwave after a year or so. Any wiping up in the kitchen, I generally use a cleaner for, therefore I use a paper towel.
Maybe I’ll knit a red washcloth one of these days just to compare.
Over at the oven finally, finally there is evidence of the towels that started this whole conversation! I buy any old red towels I come across. Think how many holidays involve red. Christmas, of course, but also Valentine’s Day and 4th of July, I’ve even found red patriotic styled ones for Memorial Day and the start of summer. Now towels usually come in a multi-pack and only the front one will have the featured design of a heart or a candy cane or whatever on it. The others are generally just plain old red towels good for any day of the year. I toss all the red towels and napkins into a dedicated basket in the laundry room and wash them all together. Hot water doesn’t seem to affect them. I mean, really, if they’re going to bleed they’ll just bleed on each other!
A close up of the towel and a candle I picked up just the other day that I burn quite proudly. Though I may not be homeschooling my daughter anymore, I still have that ole teaching bug buried deep inside me! I had to explain and explain and explain to two sales ladies that taking 75% off and then keying in an additional 20% didn’t equal a full 95% off an item. Eventually they gave it to me and one girl was so astounded at the difference (wow! that’s a great deal!) that she ran back to pick up some for herself. I thought about mentioning her employee discount but…
Well, really that previous story leads in quite nicely to this story. You see, my aunt sent me this gorgeous Le Creuset teakettle for Christmas. When I was growing up she had the most amazing and fun closet to play dress up in because she always worked part time at various clothing stores. Employee Discount + Clearance Rack = Rockin’ Wardrobe!
The final corner of my kitchen illustrates why this Navy housing was obviously built in the 1950’s. Cute little corner (once we pulled the door down, who needs doors in all the door frames anyway?) with nary an electrical plug in sight! A little microwave cart or a kitchen desk might be nice here but with no electricity anywhere nearby, I just keep a pretty plant here. And that red berry wreath? Also 95% off. Matches a garland above the window I neglected to take a picture of.
Our current pretty plant is a typical live Christmas tree and I kept the sparkly snowflakes on for January. Red sparkly hearts just might appear for February! Or maybe knit or crochet hearts? I also found battery operated fairy lights that I’ve kept on. I do love to have them twinkling away behind me as I start supper on these dark January evenings!
Well, there is a bit of a tour of the red that makes me super happy in my kitchen. All inspired by the kitchen talk over at Like Mother, Like Daughter. Now, granted there is loads more red items I could show off, red potholders, red aprons etc… but I think you get the idea. Besides, I’m certain if you made it this far your tea is either cold or gone by now!
I do have to say one more thing. This particular style of post is one of the things I missed the most during my year sabbatical from blogging. Inspiration from someone else inspires a deeper appreciation of the small joys that are to be found here at home.
For that, I give heartfelt thanks.