Wednesday, November 22, 2017

thanksgiving food prep, a pretty little store, and gratefulness

I am not hosting Thanksgiving this year; my sister is. But, of course, me and my mom help out by cooking and bringing food. This year I'm making cranberry relish (made with maple syrup and orange juice); corn pudding casserole; green bean casserole (not the one made with cream of mushroom soup and canned fried onions; I avoid prepared foods with artificial ingredients whenever possible...I found a recipe on the internet where you make your own creamy sauce and crunchy onion topping); glazed carrots with maple syrup, orange juice, and rosemary; and for an appetizer - dill pickle dip. You gotta try this dip. It's incredibly addicting.

I prepared and chopped so many vegetables today, my hand was actually sore. This is two pounds of green beans that I snapped and then cut in half for the green bean casserole.

Here's something that wasn't part of my food prep plans. This is what happens when you're not being mindful and rushing around. I went outside onto my front porch to throw the carrot scraps to the birds and squirrels. I lost my footing and started to fall. The wooden railing scraped the underside of my arm when I was falling. Could've been much worse, so I'm grateful this was my only injury. 

Even though I don't decorate my house for Christmas until after Thanksgiving, I do enjoy looking at the Christmas decor in stores around this time. For those of you who live in the area, there's a new store in East Dundee, IL called Midwest Retro. I ended up buying a pair of handmade lined wool mittens (not pictured) that are so warm! I really needed them. All I had was a couple of pairs of cheap, not-warm-enough gloves.

 I am grateful for those of you out there who take the time to read my little blog, leave comments, and email me. I am so blessed by your friendship.
Thank you. 💗

Thursday, November 9, 2017

herbs and leaves

The temps finally dipped enough two nights ago where we had a hard freeze. I was amazed to find yesterday that the parsley, sage, rosemary and not thyme, but chives, were still intact and actually looking vibrant.

I know these fresh herbs aren't going to last much longer, especially with tonight's temps going down to 16F, so I gathered what I could.

I froze the herbs using an easy method from Cathy at My 1929 Charmer. Click here for instructions. I know you can finely chop herbs and then put them in ice cube trays with water, but that limits what you can do with the herbs. Sure, it's easy to drop an ice cube into a pot of stew or soup, but what about when I want fresh rosemary for roasted potatoes? Now I can just reach into a freezer bag and pick off what I need, no water involved.

Even the parsley flower buds were put to use...I love the lacey look in an old milk bottle.

The hard freeze made all the difference for the trees. Just a couple of days ago, Brian and I were marveling at all the leaves still clinging to the trees, and yesterday the leaves were fluttering to the ground like raindrops. The huge maple tree across the street is now completely bare, but it sure left a colorful carpet on the ground.

I had put all my leftover baby pumpkins and gourds on a bench in my side yard for the squirrels and with the falling leaves, nature made this beautiful vignette. 

Brian had the day off work a couple of days ago and we took one of our little day trips. We took a walk in our favorite park along Lake Michigan. See how beautiful the trees still were?

And then there's last night's waning light through the now-bare trees, which has a haunting beauty all its own.

It always makes me a little sad to see the bare trees, but then I read somewhere that said we can now see more sky. I try to look for the positives.

It's a cloudy, windy day but I'm bundling up and heading out to the grocery store. I need fresh veggies to make a pot of vegetable soup this afternoon. There's nothing like the aroma of a pot of soup simmering on the stove on these blustery days. And now I'll be able to reach in my freezer and get fresh herbs to use in my soup, too. Doesn't get much better than that.