Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dessert Carnival

Well there is a party going on right here now…a celebration of good eats!
To join the rest of the Dessert Carnival just click here!

This is my favorite dessert to serve for a special occasion. It tastes and looks fancy, but what I love about this dessert is that I can throw it together, pop it in the oven and serve it up hot for my guests right after dinner.

A disclaimer for my old timer readers. I have posted this before. But it is so good that on behalf of Cielo Carnival I thought it deserved a redo post!


Trust me on this one!
You need just five simple ingredients in your pantry.

Served with a simple scoop of your very favorite vanilla ice-cream and this does deserve the best. Use some elegant little spoons, because you want to slowly savor each little delicious chocolate laden spoonful. Warm, chocolate, rich and gooey! Kind of like a hot fudge cake, but better! Crispy on the edges, molten chocolate on the inside.

Recipe by Nigella Lawson:

Melt: over a double boiler gently, ¾ cups of semi sweet choc chips and 1 stick of soft butter (keep and eye on it, stirring) than set aside to cool

Mix: with a beater, 2 eggs, ¾ cup of sugar, 3 Tlb. of flour, I add the flour at the end

Than slowly add cooled chocolate mixture. Pour into 4 ramekins

Bake 400 for 20 minutes.

I double the recipe easily and can make smaller servings, just cut down on your baking time a little. I have served this 3x now, and I have decided 3x makes it a charm for sure.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Cotswolds

So I have had a little fun this afternoon going down memory lane with my husband. My good friend Barbara from Ramblings in an English Garden asked me where my new header picture was taken. She guessed right that it was in the Cotswold’s...somewhere??? Exactly where…I am still not 100% sure! Seven years ago my husband and I went to France and England for our 25th Wedding Anniversary when on one sweet summer morning I snapped that picture that is now my header.

All I could remember was that we stayed at a lovely old house called Clapton Manor, in this tiny village of Clapton on the Hill. I was able to look up that much information in my journal. There are a lot of places in the Cotswold’s that sound so similar. They have a lot of places that are called:______on the Water, ______ on the Wold. (What’s a wold?) ______on the Hill…. Lower______, Upper _______I got very confused :0)

Here is what some typical roadside signage looks like

On our first outing, we headed off to visit some beautiful gardens, (Hidcote & Kiftsgate) It was all just so quaint, my first day of Cotswold quaint, and I just couldn't stand it another second longer as we were passing through this village. I just told Dan to stop! We simply pulled over and parked and I went around with my eyes bugging out and snapped a couple of pictures and said okay, we can continue now...phew! Dan and I could not for the life of us remember where in the world I had snapped those pictures. So we did a little detective work, using Google Earth. I found another picture that I had taken in this place. We zoomed in on the sign and Google Earthed it.

Redesdale Arms

It brought us to the village of Morton on the Marsh. We played around with Google Earth for awhile, check out some of the pubs we had eaten at. We are still not sure which Fox we ate at? Dan thinks it was at Morton on the Marsh. But I think it was the one in Lower Oddington?
Google Earth is quite a fun program. If you haven’t tried it, just type in your address and it will give you a visual image of you house from the air. Than you can zoom right in on your own backyard...

We had a lot of fun trying to remember all the sweet little places we visited on that quick jaunt to the Cotswolds.

So now I must take you all with me on a little tour ... thanks Barbara for getting me started down memory lane!

Here is the back of Clapton Manor

The fireplace in the sitting room. Big enough I suppose to roast an ox!

Our bedroom

Behind the bookcase is a secret passage. The owner of the B&B thought we were out and she came right through that passage way and scared us both! She was pretty embarrassed , I was pretty freaked out!

Take a look at the depth of those window sills. Had my first taste of Lady Grey tea here!

This manor house was built in the sixteenth century out of the golden cotswold stone of the region...
Here is a glimpes of the manor from one part of their garden

So at this point I haven't even left the B&B this was all the Clapton Manor's gardens

Stay tuned for more of my tour...I will have to break this up into several posts. Hope you all enjoyed it!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My Book Reviews Part I

I haven't shared much lately about what the good Lord has been speaking to me about. That is because I have been letting things percolate a bit. About three weeks ago my husband purchased a book over the internet called The Shack, on a recommendation from my sister. Who had done a review of this book on her blog. When it came in the mail, there were two books. The second book was titled "So You Don't Want to go to Church Anymore?" Well can you guess which one I read first? :0) Some catchy title… I thought what in the world are these books about? My curiosity high, I began to read. It turns out both books were published by a small private publishing firm in Southern CA. They were not able to get major Christian publishers to print them. So they self published. Well The Shack is flying off the shelves all around the country it seems. It appears this book has struck some kind of nerve with the people. Both books are getting across a message that will hit home in some points with many of us. Now keep in mind they are fiction, and I think that is were folks can get into trouble either way. Taking these books too seriously or dismissing them all together, because they are not theologically perfect. I myself have enjoyed both books and as I said previously am letting some of what I have read percolate a bit. I am interested in what others are thinking? I think the message they are sharing could help some of us shake off some of the forms of religion we have unknowingly acquired, for relationship with a living, magnificent, all might, amazing God!

Simplified these books are speaking about a relationship with God and man verses religion, rules, and the boxes we all can find ourselves in at times. Now I think they go a bit hard on religion in places, but what they have to say about relationships trumping religion I think is a great message.

The Shack:
Following is an excerpt I found delightfully refreshing, a conversation between Mackenzie the main character and Papa (God)

"If you put God at the top, what does that really mean and how much is enough? How much time do you give me before you can go on about the rest of your day, the part that interests you so much more?

Papa again interrupted. "You see, Mackenzie, I don't just want a piece of you and a piece of your life. ...I want all of you and all of every part of you and your day. "

Jesus now spoke again. "Mack, I don't want to be the first among a list of values; I want to be at the center of everything. When I live in you, then together we can live through everything that happens to you. Rather than a pyramid, I want to be the center of a mobile, where everything in your life –your friends, family, occupation, thoughts, activities-is connected to me but moves with the wind, in and out and back and forth in an incredible dance of being."

I love this excerpt. It very much describes how I feel when I am centered on God in every part of my life, and listening to Him through out my day, it is like the dance of a mobile in the wind, movement, but connectedness.

Part II...coming... "So You Don't Want to go to Church Anymore."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Puddin Toes Update

Well here she is our first grandchild 7 months old already! She is sitting up, rolling over, scooting and chattering away. I think we have a talker on our hands. Papa does this amazing flying saucer routine, holding baby by her legs way up in the air and flying her all over the place. She is getting so responsive to us now. When she sees us her legs and arms start going, and she gets so excited and reaches for us...Oh my I just become a puddle when she reaches her hands to my face and holds me.
I am forever grateful to the Lord for giving me a third chance at a childhood redo through the eyes of my grandchild.

Pappa and Puddin Toes

Nana and Puddin Toes

Uncle Josh
If you want to see a cool trick Auntie Jen taught her, check this out !

Monday, April 21, 2008

Apple Skivers (Aebelskiver) & another full weekend!

…So I am weathering the weekend in bed through a bad cold I picked up from "Puddin Toes" last week. Saturday morning I woke up feeling somewhat better than the day before. As I began to arise I smell the scent of strong coffee in the air. Hmmm my hubby has made coffee. So I throw on my robe and tread out to the kitchen and behold...my son, my first born, is up making not only coffee, but this amazing traditional breakfast we have only once a year, the day after Christmas, cooked by our dearest Uncle Pat, who shares this with our family, as a tradition from his Scandinavian heritage. My kids always look forward to Uncle Pat's "Apple Skivers” So on this lovely morning hubby has made a trip to the store for special thick cut bacon, Megan and the baby are invited and on their way over, and as I said previously first born son is cooking the whole meal!

Apple Skivers are a yummy little pancake, made in this special cast iron pan.

Well what a special treat this all was. It wasn’t even my birthday or Mother’s day. First born son also offered to baby sit Puddin Toes for younger sister. It was the beginning of another very full but great weekend. Sunday afternoon we had lunch with another family from church. First born son takes all FIVE of their children on a great hike through our sagebrush/wetlands all the way to the park. As mom and I peer out the window, away in the distance, we cracked up as we see my son with the youngest on his shoulders (way to little for the loooong hike) and a trail of children following along. Such a Pied Piper!
He only will be with us for one more week. It has been a wonderful transition for us to have him stay for a few weeks after Jenna has left. Oh how will my poor heart take all this in the weeks to come…?
One more thing I have been meaning to blog about. I have read some interesting novels these last two weeks that have really got me thinking, and I have wanted to do some book reviews on them. Have you all heard about The Shack? My sister first gave me the recommendation! So my husband ordered the book and sort of companion novel that was recommended by Amazon by the same independent publisher. Tonight I read a very good book review of The Shack on a friend’s blog “Write on the Edge.” So for now go check out her review, and if any of you have already read this book I would love to hear your feedback. It is a novel, but throws out some very interesting ideas to ponder about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend too!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Pictures from Down Under!

We finally have got some pictures of Jenna in Perth. She seems to be doing well. Definitely has made some new friends; which is all good! She tells me the classes are really good “like listening to Elijah Waters’s everyday.” He is a former youth pastor from this area that is now serving at City Church, in Seattle. It is a high complement coming from her. She is being kept busy. Sleep is still a bit rough, but she seems to be doing better
Let the pictures speak for themselves.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Spring Barrel Tasting

We shared our first bottle Monday night with some special friends.
It was delicious!!!!!!!!!!1

I have been waiting all week to get some more pictures of our weekend, as my camera battery died in the middle of... I guess the term is called "racking off" some Rose` wine this weekend. (According to Strider, who has been patiently waiting for these pictures all week to be posted?)
This very good friend of ours happens to be a wine vintner as previously mentioned in my past post. He is one of the most generous people I know. He gladly wanted to share his knowledge and expertise with us and helped us through our first wine making experience. It has been great fun. We started last weekend with the Rose` and will soon be "racking off" our homemade Riesling. Our buddy wine maker even has me growing my own wine grapes in my backyard. He just planted...oh I don't know a gazillion more this spring. A variety called Viognier. I can never get the pronunciation correct.

His newly planted grapes, with a fountain in the middle!

I am so far from a wine snob here folks; I barely know a good wine when I taste one, but our friend is kind and patiently educating us. We live in a region of WA state that is getting very well know for their wines. It has become quite the industry here.
So this is what "racking off wine" looks like.

Preparing the equipment

My son helping clean the corking apparatus

Strider in charge of the corks!

So what we did after all the cleaning and prep, Strider filled each bottle with nitrogen oxide, to force all the air out of the bottles. Because it is heavier than air it stayed in the bottles.

Then the wine was siphoned out of the keg and into the bottles.

Here we see my husband and son getting ready to man the corking machine

First bottle!

First taste
The wine maker and his helpers (Strider, Winemaker, Husband, Son)

It took them several hours to do one keg which I think produced 7 cases of wine.

I was also blessed with a gift of their freshly laid chicken eggs. We made omelet's for breakfast the next day! mmmmm

Thanks G. family, you are all amazing, and if you have a chance R. email me those other pic's :>)

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