Saturday, October 1, 2011

Autumn, Season of My Heart

Pumpkin Butter
Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.
~Emily Bronte

Two words describe how I feel about our summer of 2011. We survived.  That word 'survived' says a lot, doesn't it? An online dictionary definition says: to remain or continue in existence or use.  Well, we're here (remaining), we're continuing to exist, and we're still somewhat useful.  I could go on and on about how horrific it was, but truthfully, I think that subject's gone into overkill in most circles in recent weeks, so just suffice it to say, we survived.

Today feels like the first day of fall to me. I know it technically isn't, and we've even had cool days before now (off and on), but it's October 1st, the weather is oh-so-pleasant, the sky is bluer than I've seen it in months, and I am actually wearing capris around the house rather than the cooler shorts I've worn all summer.


Now that I can use my oven without causing the house to feel like an inferno, I'm in a baking mood.  I've been meaning to try the above bread recipe for quite some time. Ever the procrastinator, I'm just now getting around to it.  I guess you would call this a ciabatta?  I don't know. I just know it's super simple, and that's my kind of recipe. Flour, yeast, salt, water, and no kneading. The biggest ingredient is time. You let it sit for 12 hours or more.  What could be simpler?  We had this for lunch alongside leftover tortilla soup from last night's dinner. 

We slathered the bread with pumpkin butter I made from a recipe I found at Bev Gibson's blog, Numbering the Days .  I love, love her blog. It's not a cooking blog, but she does share recipes along the way. I find myself to have so much in common with her, having newly retired husbands, grown children, and time to pursue answering the callings on our lives that we didn't have time for when raising children.  She gives great book recommendations for scripturally based 'bettering yourself' literature (my words, not hers). She's a truly lovely person. I really didn't plan on extolling her merits, but mentioning her pumpkin butter, the rest just had to be said.

The recipe is no longer available on her blog, but the following recipe (which I found on one of her boards at Pinterest) appears to be the same one I used.

  • 1 can (15 ounces) 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves


 pumpkin, sugar, honey, lemon juice, cinnamon and cloves in medium, heavy-dutysaucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently, for 20 to 25 minutes or until thickened. Serve with biscuits, breads and corn muffins. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Recipe makes 2 cups. 
I have lots of Christmas knitting to be done, but I seem to have lost my knitting mojo.  I haven't done anything industrious in quite some time. I did knit a bunch of dishcloths, which are always nice to give as gifts.  I can't remember if I've already shown these on here or not. If I have, then we'll blame it on the missing wrinkles from my brain.

Waffle Knit Dishcloth (free pattern)

To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven
~Ecclesiastes 3:1 Amplified Bible

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Christmas-check! New Years-check! Spring....

Proof that it does occasionally snow in northeast Texas!
I never grow weary of the reason for Christmas, the celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I do, however, grow weary of the season. Before Thanksgiving has even arrived, Santa and all the other Christmas decorations pop up in the stores and neighbors' yards. All the planning of gifts and meals and kitchen goodies, the extra cleaning and shopping and all gets to be a bit much. By New Year's day, I'm glad to put it all behind me and concentrate on the new year.
I don't really sit down and make a list of resolutions, but I do have thoughts, ideas, and goals in my head of what I'd like to achieve in the coming year. It's funny how those goals change as we get older. When I was in my 20's, I don't recall thinking "my goal this year is to get healthier". I do remember thinking I'd like to lose weight so I'd 'look' better. You really take your health for granted when you're young. When you've passed the 50 mark like me, you can't afford to take that attitude any longer. In my 20's, looking good was my goal, and if I felt better too, that was a fringe benefit. Now, feeling good is my goal, and if I look better too, well glory hallelujah, but that's not my motive.

Christmas cactus, blooming right on time!

Every year, I declare I'm going to quit procratinating. Obviously that hasn't yet happened (made evident by my just now posting a draft I wrote weeks ago), hence my need to keep declaring it each year. Last year for Christmas, I knit my niece a scarf. It's very long to accommodate her height. It's warm and wooly to combat the cold of the DC area. How much good she'd be getting out of it if it weren't still in my house. All I lacked to finish it was putting on the fringe (which I did recently). I also knit her matching fingerless mitts, as well as a neck gator (gater? or gator?) and fingerless mitts for her boyfriend. He's blind and uses a cane. Mandi, who also uses a cane to teach cane travel to the sight impaired, has told me fingerless mitts work really well for cane travel. She's loved the ones I've knit her in the past, and requested I knit them in dark colors as her palms get quite dirty using the cane. I also knit her a pair of them to match her scarf. All of it, the scarf, the gaitor, the mitts, they are all here at my house. What am I going to do with me??

That brings me to my next goal, or resolution if you must call it that. I guess I should call it a resolution after all, as I have resolved to finish all partially knitted projects this year. They are many. Another more short term goal I've set is to go on a food-diet. No, I don't mean denying myself food (though goodness knows I should!), but I'm forcing myself to cook more at home, and therefore not buy more food until I've used up what we have. My pantry and freezers are full. There's plenty here to eat, but it doesn't usually get eaten because it's not cooked. I wish I was one of those who loves to cook. I'm not, but I'm forcing myself to do more of it. It's healthier than eating out, and it's cheaper. There's been no eating out since before the holidays. Yea me!

John & Nikki, Christmas 2010

My daughter, Nikki, flew in from Colorado Springs for three days at Christmas. Since she left home 6 years ago, this past Christmas, and a couple or so years ago (when she and her boyfriend drove from Minneapolis, all day and night through terrible snowstorms, to surprise us on Christmas even morning) are the only ones she's been able to spend at home with us. We loved having her here. For some reason, all the inside pictures I took were bad. I was using my son's camera, which takes great pictures, but I guess I had the settings wrong. Picture me sad faced.

I have done some knitting, and will post pictures of it in my next post, which hopefully will be before next Christmas.

PS-Don't hate me, but we've had 70'ish weather with lots of sunshine the past couple of days.

Be blessed!

Proof that I do occasionally knit! Boho Beret, ravelled here
UPdate-Mandi's package of assorted knitwear has been shipped!

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But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).
~Galations 5:15 Amplified Bible