Friday, March 30, 2012

Honey-Pecan Baked Fish

(Photo by Taste of Home)
Last week I wanted to find a new recipe for fish.  I came across this one for Honey Pecan Baked Fish and decided to try it.  We had haddock in the freezer, so of course I used that rather than the cod the recipe calls for.

The other change I made was not to use honey.  I think sometimes the flavor of honey can be overpowering.  So I used 2 tablespoons only of my homemade brown sugar syrup.  Pure maple syrup would probably work, too.  I think either of those has a more subtle flavor than honey.

We liked this fish a lot.  It was delicious and will go into my file of tried-and-true fish recipes.  Maybe your family would enjoy it, too!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hearty Asian Lettuce Salad

(Photo from Taste of Home)
Here's another new recipe I tried recently.  This is from the newest Healthy Cooking magazine, and is delicious:  Hearty Asian Lettuce Salad.  Mr. T and I enjoyed this salad so much that I made another one for the potluck lunch at church on Sunday.  It went over very well there, too!

I did leave out the radishes because they just aren't our favorites -- although they would have added to the colorful look of the salad.  If you enjoy radishes, I would recommend adding them.  The second time I made the salad, I used 2 oranges instead of one.

For the dressing, although I did find the sesame ginger dressing the recipe calls for, it was a pricey brand and I could not justify spending $3.38 on a bottle of salad dressing.  After a little bit of internet research and some brainstorming with myself( I only wanted to use items already in my pantry) , I came up with this recipe, which worked admirably:

Dressing for Asian Salads
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 to 2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 Tablespoon Mongolian Fire Oil

Place all ingredients in a small jar with a tight cover.  Make sure cover is tightly screwed on and shake the dressing very well.   Add to salad just before serving.  This would be wonderful for any Asian-type salad.

This is a delicious and very healthy salad.  The combination of rice, nuts, and edamame is what makes it so hearty.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Weekly goals for week of 3/25/2012

(Photo from Free Photos Public Domain)
 Again I'm a few days late posting these goals, but they have been in my mind all this time and I'm keeping up with some of them already.  So without further ado, my goals for this week:

1.  Memorize Psalm 85:6-7.  (Must get this done this week to keep up with a Scripture memory program I'm trying to do.)
2.  Read 1 chapter in Essential Virtues.
3.  Exercise 5 to 7 times.
4.  Plan and cook healthy meals.
5.  Keep up with Kelly's Missions for zone 5, the living room.
6.  Go back and work on missions for zone 4 which didn't get done.
7.  Keep up with crafting goals.
8.  Work on Sunday School, lesson 8.
9.  Step up water intake.

I didn't do so well with last week's goals.  My hubby is having some time off sporadically due to mud in the woods that hinders logging and trucking.  I don't seem to keep up with my goals as well when he is home -- except for exercise, as we've been going for lots of walks.  So, the sad report on last week:

1.  Didn't get those verses in Psalm 86 memorized ... again.
2.  Didn't get that chapter read in Essential Virtues.
3.  Went for a walk 7 times, so that one is DONE!
4.  Planned and cooked healthy meals, so that is DONE!
5.  Didn't keep up with Kelly's Missions.  I did at least one ... possibly two.
6.  Managed to keep up fairly well with crafting goals, but didn't accomplish as much as I would have liked to.
7.  Worked faithfully on Sunday School lesson 8, so I'm calling that DONE (even though I haven't finished the lesson prep; my goal was only to work on it).

Certainly hoping to accomplish more this week; though I'm not off to the greatest start, some of the goals are in progress.  Hope springs eternal!

Roasted Beet Salad

(Photo by Taste of Home)
It seems I have been in the groove of trying new recipes lately.  I have tried a number of main dish and salad recipes, in particular.  I hope to share some of these here on my blog in the next few days or weeks, so stay tuned.  Here is a salad recipe which I tried last night:   Roasted Beet Salad.

We liked this a lot.  It seems like a really good, and fairly easy, way of getting some very nutritious vegetables into a meal.   I did leave out the fennel because it's not a favorite of ours, but I'm sure it would add another flavor dimension if you enjoy fennel.  Also, I used a bottled balsamic vinaigrette rather than making the recipe for dressing given with the salad.  It seemed to me it would be the same basic flavor, and I had the bottled on hand.

For a main course with this, I baked some potatoes at the same time the beets were roasting.  Then I topped the halved, slightly fluffed potatoes with reheated leftover vegetarian chili and shredded cheddar, and microwaved them for a couple of minutes until the cheese was nicely melted.  This made a tasty and healthy meal for us last night.  You might like to try it too!

Friday, March 23, 2012

A jaunt around the lake

It's been so warm up here in New England ... as warm as summer the past few days.  Today is beautiful and sunny, but the temperatures are a bit more brisk.  These lovely days have coincided with some time off from work for my hubby, so yesterday we took a little day trip -- a jaunt around our state's biggest lake.  Amazingly for this time of year, most of the ice is out of the lake, and the blue water is absolutely gorgeous.  I can't take time to write a lot, but wanted to share a few pictures.
We picnicked on a beach with this view.

Not the best shot... taken from a moving car.  I was trying to get the mountains to the left but got an island instead!

Mr. T stopped the car for a moment so I could take this.  I thought it was so pretty with the mountains, and then the red twiggy bushes in the foreground.

This was taken from a "scenic overlook" which has lost a lot of its scenic value to brushy trees.

We walked out on some of these docks.  No boats tied up here today!

Meredith Bay

It was a special treat for us to see this lake in all its beauty, unaccompanied by traffic and tourists.  There were other people like us, out enjoying the beautiful day by the water, but not enough to make any of the beaches or parks feel crowded.  What a marvelous, unexpected taste of summer we have  had this week!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Weekly goals for 3/18/2012

(Photo by Free Photos Public Domain)
Only a day or so late ... here are my weekly goals:

1.  Memorize Psalm 85:6-7.  (Still haven't got this done.  I keep working on other verses instead.)
2.  Read next chapter in Essential Virtues.
3.  Exercise 3 to 7 times.
4.  Plan/cook healthy meals.
5.  Keep up with Kelly's Missions for zone 4, the bedroom.
6.  Keep up with crafting goals.
7.  Start working ahead on Sunday School lesson 8.

And for last week:

1.  As noted, I still haven't memorized those verses in Psalm 85 which I am trying to learn for a Scripture memory plan I'm using.
2.  Did read a chapter in Essential Virtues, so DONE!
3.  Went for a walk either 4 or 5 times, so DONE!
4.  Planned and cooked healthy meals, so DONE!
5.  Did not quite keep up with Kelly's Missions for zone 3, but I did scrub the tub and shower and wash the shower curtain and tub mat, so was pleased with getting those larger tasks taken care of.
6.  Kept up with my most important crafting goals, so I'm calling those DONE!  (And I've made a more realistic crafting plan for this week.)
7.  Finished Sunday School lesson 7*, so DONE!

*I should probably note that for Sunday School, the ladies and I are working through Elizabeth George's book Breaking the Worry Habit ... Forever.  I prepare the entire lesson in advance, but it usually takes us at least 3 Sundays to get through it all.  That's why I've been working on lesson 7 for awhile.  We will be starting to go over that in class this Sunday.  Today I will start working ahead on lesson 8, although I probably won't be teaching it for at least two more weeks.

All in all, I'm quite pleased with 5 out of 7 on this week's goals.  The crafting part involved finishing up a partly handcrafted gift to send to my granddaughter out West, so I'm very pleased to have finished that and sent it on its way for Emily's birthday.

Sweet party at Prairie Flower Farm!

Photo by Prairie Flower Farm
Join the springtime fun over at Prairie Flower Farm!  The party ends Wednesday, March 21, at noon, so there's still time to take part.  Linda is giving away some sweet crochet-trimmed washcloths, some lavender soap, clothesline and some ribbon-decorated clothespins.  To get in on the party, go here: Simply Sweet Wash Cloth Party!

As a fun bonus, Linda also shares the tutorial for making the crochet-trimmed washcloths.  They look so sweet and pretty.  If you enjoy crocheting with thread, you will want to check out this tutorial.  I am more of a yarn crocheter, but this project makes me want to dust off my thread skills!

Happy Spring, and enjoy the party!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Soft pastel sunrise

It's been a busy day and is shaping up to be a busy week.  Mr. T is off work for a little bit, due to mud, so we are tackling some reorganizing around the house and my time is somewhat rearranged for the duration.  I have a lot of posts in mind to share, but may not get to post them this week.  However, I thought I would share this muted, but pretty sunrise I saw this morning.  When I first noticed it, there was a blue cloud with thin streaks of pink.  By the time I got the camera, it was more of a lavender cloud with touches of peach or apricot.  But still pretty.  Such soft colors seem appropriate for spring!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Weekly Goals for 3/11/2012

(Photo from Free Photos Public Domain)
Yes, I am a few days late posting these.  But they haven't changed much, if at all, from last week's goals.  Here they are:
1.  Memorize Psalm 85:6-7.
2.  Read next chapter in Essential Virtues.
3.  Exercise 3 to 5 times.
4.  Plan and cook healthy meals.
5.  Do Kelly's Missions for each day -- this week it's bathrooms, zone 3.
6.  Keep up with crafting goals.
7.  Finish Sunday School lesson 7; work ahead on lesson 8.

As for last week's goals, I did okay, but there's always room for improvement.
1.  Scripture memory work; didn't get this done but did work on another verse instead.
2.  Did read a chapter in Essential Virtues, so DONE!
3.  Exercised 3 times, so DONE!
4.  Planned and prepared healthy meals, so DONE!
5.  Kept up with Kelly's Missions in the kitchen every day but one -- still need to clean cabinet fronts.
6.  Kept up with crafting goals, so DONE!
7.  Continued working on lesson 7, but did not complete it as I hoped to.

Four out of seven is not bad, but I would certainly like to make it seven out of seven this week!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A prayer for my grandchildren

Some years ago, I wrote a poem about a moment in which God impressed upon my heart a prayer for our grandchildren.  You can read the poem here:  A Birthday Moment.  (It had been a long time since I had read the poem, but I recently found it again "accidentally" while searching my blog for a poem by someone else.)  This poem of mine was written about the four of my grandchildren who were present at the time.  Now there are quite a  few more!

I pray for my grandchildren every day, but recently I've been teaching a ladies' Sunday School class using the Elizabeth George book Breaking the Worry Habit .. Forever.  In a recent lesson we covered the topic of worrying about our children and grandchildren.  At the end of that lesson we were reminded that there are physical and spiritual battles being waged around our children and grandchildren.  Then we were assigned to write out a statement of our resolve to pray for, protect, and guard our children and grandchildren.  I chose to write my statement of resolve in the form of a prayer.  Here is the prayer I wrote: 


"You know the concerns I have for each one of our precious grandchildren.  I recognize that they are in Your hands and that You have a purpose and a plan for each one of their lives. You are the One who will do the necessary work in their lives to accomplish Your purpose for each one.

"Yet there are things you would have me to do, as well.  Help me to pray for them faithfully, fervently, intelligently, and daily.  May I keep Your Word ever before them in every way possible.  Help me to know how best to instruct them, and give me the opportunities and the words to do so.  Help me and my husband to continue to maintain the standards in our home that will guard them from the world during any time they spend with us.

"I thank You for how You will work and for the wisdom and strength You will give for this task as I am faithful to look to You.

"In Jesus' name,

I placed this prayer in the front of my prayer journal so I will pray it on a regular basis.  One morning as I was doing so, I thought back to the poem "A Birthday Moment" which, due to my poetry search, was now fresh in my mind again.  And do you know what wonderful thing God brought to my mind?  He  has answered that prayer that I prayed years ago in the light of the birthday candles.  Each one of those four children has now asked Jesus to be their personal Savior.  What an encouragement to this Grammy's heart to be reminded of that answered prayer!  And what an added incentive to keep on praying for our precious grandchildren.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Saturday snowfall

Last evening Mr. T was taking another glance at the weather forecast in our daily paper [not always the most accurate forecast one could ask for] and noticed there was a chance of snow showers overnight.

I was awake around 1:30 a.m. and noticed that the balcony railing was lightly dusted with snow.  I concluded that the snow showers had come to pass, and went back to sleep.

They must have been quite the "snow showers"!  When we got up at five, we had about four inches of new snow, and the snow was still falling!  Now it's partly sunny and the snow is coming off the trees somewhat, but I snapped a few pictures [all from indoors] before it did.
The contrast of the snow-covered branches and the blue sky is so pretty!
The window in our balcony door; the horizontal lines are our clothesline.

Our back woods.

Love this snow-covered evergreen.

This little cluster of small snow-covered evergreens is so sweet.

Path out into our back woods.  This leads to our campfire pit.

Chickadee at the feeder.  You can just glimpse our neighbor's red barn through the trees.
Hope you enjoy the beauty produced by our "snow showers" this morning!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

My creative friends

Every now and then I like to post some creativity from some of my friends.  We like to share little handmade gifts with one another -- sometimes for birthdays or other occasions, but sometimes for no reason at all.  I want to share today two newer items -- and an older one which looks new again.

My friend M. gave me two lovely handmade items for my birthday.  The first is this adorable holder for purse size tissues.  I love the black tea-themed print and the vintage button trim!
 It is constructed in a similar way to these criss-cross coasters shown below.  (Those were made by me.)  The pieces are folded diagonally, but the pinning/sewing/turning technique is the same.  If you have ever made this type of coaster, then you know how this tissue holder is put together.

M. also made this pretty necklace for me.
The dark beads look black in the photo, but are actually blue.
M's gifts were in this pretty bag -- which she did not make, but is still so pretty...
 The other item is a sweet pincushion made for me some time ago by my friend J. It has a little embroidered design on every side.

 I had noticed it was becoming dusty, so put it through the wash with a load of towels.  It came out just perfect and looking brand new again.

Are you as inspired as I am by the creativity of others?  Please share some of your thoughts -- and maybe some of your friends' creativity -- in the comments.  I would love to hear what you share!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Goals for the week of 3/4/2012

... just a bit late!  I was thinking about prefacing this post with a quote from Anne of Green Gables ... remember, the one where Anne says that tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes in it yet?  I thought I could consider the week ahead as a new week, with no mistakes in it yet (since I failed miserably at meeting last week's goals).  Too late!  I've already made plenty.  But I decided to go ahead and post goals for the week anyway, remembering the old adage that if you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time.  So I'm aiming at something!  Goals for the week:

1.  Memorize Psalm 85:6-7.
2.  Read 1 chapter in Essential Virtues.
3.  Exercise 3 to 5 times.
4.  Plan and cook healthy meals.
5.  Do Kelly's Missions for each day.
6.  Keep up with crafting goals.
7.  Continue working ahead on Sunday School, lesson 7.

As to how I did with last week's goals, well, as noted above, not very well.  I managed three of them.  I planned and prepared healthy meals, kept up with my crafting goals pretty much, and finished Sunday School lesson 6.  Needless to say, I'm hoping for a better week this week!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The newest super hero cape!

Three more of my grandchildren requested super hero capes for their birthdays.  Here is the first one:

The cape is red with bursts of black stars all over it.  As before, I used this pattern:  Clever Little Cape  which I have enlarged considerably from the original pattern.

A closer look at the emblem.  Just a plain "S" for Sam, or for "Super [fill in the blank]".  The emblem is done in his favorite colors.

You can just see the edge of the lining as it's flipped up here.
 It's a black background with bright drips of paint in many colors.  I chose the same lining fabric for all three capes.  When I made the previous three capes, I didn't buy fabric -- just used what I had on hand and it was great.  But this time I didn't have much left for appropriate fabrics in the right amount of yardage.

The birthday boy with his mom adjusting the cape for a picture.
 In hindsight, I should have made this cape larger.  It fits him now, but for how long?  When he outgrows it, assuming he still wants a cape, I'll remove the emblem which is just hand-stitched on and sew it to a larger cape.

One cape down and two to go!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Nice pot roast recipe for the slow cooker!

(Photo by Taste of Home)
On Sunday, I made this recipe for the potluck lunch at church:  Melt-in-Your-Mouth Pot Roast.  I think I had tried this one time last year but had not posted about it.  I put more potatoes and carrots in than the recipe said, and I also put all of the ingredients in the slow cooker insert the night before and refrigerated it, so I cooked this at High for all but the last hour or two, when I turned it to Low.  (I thought I remembered that when I made this last year, the potatoes didn't get cooked.)  This time, everything turned out just right.  To serve this at church, I cut up the pot roast and put it in the center of a large platter (we have a number of these in the church kitchen).  Then I arranged the potatoes and the carrots (I just used regular carrots, cut in sticks, rather than baby carrots) around the meat and drizzled a few spoonfuls of the broth over everything.  I put the remaining broth in a pitcher to serve alongside.

People really enjoyed this pot roast, and I will not hesitate to make this recipe again the next time chuck roasts are on sale.  Definitely a "keeper" recipe!