All the pretty things

 

Looking around our little nest today.

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My kitchen is full to the brim with bounty.. From my little patch of garden and from friends love and generosity … Fresh peaches, raspberries … Apples, onions, garlic. I have such an abundance of tomatoes. All colors all shapes. I have actually started giving them to people who walk by and admire our garden.. They go away with a perfect little bag of sweet little tomatoes.

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I planted so many flowers from seed this year not really realizing just how many would pop their beautiful heads up and flourish…

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So today I am giving thanks for all the beauty and generosity of this beautiful ground we call our home.

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For the beautiful people who have blessed us with gifts of love and concern for our happiness and health. Our little nest that is so full of life and simple beauty. I am just stopping to be grateful for all that we have been blessed with. 

 

 

Kale salad and some knitting….

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No big surprise… I love this Kale salad. A few of you have asked me to share my recipe. So here you – go dear ones.

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1/2 C extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 C freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 cloves, mashed or finely chopped

Pinch of pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 Bunches of kale (about 14 ounces),  ribs removed and leaves sliced into 1/4-inch shreds

1/2 C nice quality parmesan cheese (grated) If desired.

In a salad bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, salt and red pepper flakes. Add the kale and toss well to coat. Let the salad sit at room temperature for 10-30 minutes. Add the grated cheese, toss again. Enjoy.  Cover any leftovers. I think this salad taste better the next day actually.

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Also, I’ve been up to some serious knitting….

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This is the poncho I knitted Kate for her birthday. Okay so…. I gotta say this was a whole bunch of knitting! I went ahead and knitted this up with the recommended yarn on the pattern. Which was Paton’s Classic Wool Roving. The yarn knitted up beautifully. My mister and I started calling it Cape Fear… Because the directions were a bit shall I say complicated… Also It took so long to knit… But with every stitch I learned… I loved … I prayed… I believed… So here’s the cape.

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I love the detail!

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Which, by the way Kate wore the whole beautiful time she was in Spain…

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Well… except for this date….

She said she felt like when she was wearing it she was getting a huge hug from me. With every stitch.. I loved her dearly.

 

 

What To Give A Girl For Her Birthday… A Whole New Wardrobe!

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It’s little P’s birthday… I won’t be there in person so I wanted to make sure to get her little gift in the mail on time.

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After a week at the beach in Oregon… Walking and praying and loving and being….

I came home to sew my little heart out for her. What fun I had. Ya know, I think if you want to learn how to sew clothes. Start with making doll clothes. You can actually learn how clothes are constructed and not spend too much money on fabric… Just a suggestion. I actually think that you can do the same with knitting things… Knitting small little sweaters for a baby is a great way to learn all the in’s and outs of knitting a sweater without spending too much money on yarn. Also, you learn just how a full size sweater is made in a short amount of time… Again just a suggestion…

Anyway back to the doll clothes.

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I went to my local fabric store… Along with my half off coupons… Seriously, when did patterns get so expensive… Anyway I bought a few patters with a few options in each pattern. I bought a few half yard pieces of fabric. Some velcro and snaps and thread…. and…. Away I went with a heart full of happy.

This little granddaughter of mine plays with her little babies… She dresses them all.  She feeds them all… She takes them on airplanes and trains rides… She packs them all up. Diaper bags, bottles, snacks and of course darling little clothes.  Little P travels all over the world with them… Sometimes she even takes her papa with her.

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Okay, back to stitching….

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Dresses and pants and tops and jumpers… OH MY!

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I love this little blue printed coat…

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She loves her babies.. So I knew the perfect gift for her… Because making her babies happy will make her happy… And that will make me more than happy.

Okay… Back to stitching.

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And yes …. that is a poncho!

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Everyone needs a vest…right?

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While packing up little P’s special birthday package I slipped in a few little treasures I knew she would love…  Because she is a collector of treasures just like her nema and her mamma. A few treasures I found on the beach… While I was thinking of her… Praying for her…. loving her…  Little P… She is a treasure…. I hope and pray that she knows that for the rest of her life.

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Happy birthday little treasure. Forever and ever I pray you know what a special gift you are to this world. Let no one take that sparkle away. I love you beyond.

 

 

Simple Little Bathroom

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I have to say I was dreading this bathroom job. When we had the house inspected before we purchased one of the inspectors stated in the paperwork that there was black mold under the linoleum flooring in this bathroom. That was a bit scary for us but we had to tackle it and so we did. We started by pretty much tearing out all the fixtures. The shower was in perfect shape and we decided to leave it as is. So that stayed. Keeping the cost down and also… Why fix it when there was nothing wrong with it? right?

Our before photo….. not so bad right?   How hard could this be right?

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It was about to get really messy.

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The great news… No mold what so ever!  After I chipped out all the tile on the walls and pealed away  all the creepy linoleum flooring we were ready for the fun part… I was so ready to move on.

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The floor came next. I picked this tile at home depot. I didn’t think this bathroom wanted anything fancy.  This tile was very inexpensive and really easy to work with.

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I painted the walls the same color as my living room. This is a Target paint and I adore the color.

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I made the decision not to paint the pipes. I think they are cool and I wish they had never been painted in the first place. What is that saying about putting lipstick on a pig??? Well… These are pipes that’s what they are and I really love that old industrial look  anyway so…. I am actually taking my time sanding them down and working on getting them down to just old ugly pipes… I just couldn’t put another coat of paint on them. So that was that. My mister thinks it’s a crazy idea. Bless his heart he went with it anyway.

Next came the walls. Kate actually gave me the idea for the wood on the walls. She found this idea on Pinterest and we adapted the idea to fit this little bathroom. My mister is a genius! He also built a small little shelf that runs all along one wall… Just one more place to place treasures upon… The walls are concrete so we were a bit limited to what we could do.

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It was looking good and I was getting so excited to decorate…. On a budget.

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I purchased the mirror and light fixture also, the wire basket at Cost Plus World Market. Everything was on sale!!!   The vanity and sink we bought at Home Depot. We bought the toilet at a resale shop in town. It was brand new. We paid $20.00 for it. The towel hangers I found at Ikea. All in all we spent about $500.00 for this bathroom redo! It was a ton of work as it seems everything is in our little nest.. I love the way it turned out. It looks clean and updated and ready to go. One more room finished… What’s next she says?

 

 

 

Being Me

I have been letting go of dreams and judgements. You know the judgments about …. Just how you thought your life would look like at this point in time. Also the judgements of others… The way they thought your life should look like at this point in their lives….

Who really believes that someday they will actually be … this old? I never did….That my body would actually look this old… That the history of relationships wouldn’t always be tied up in a perfect little bow?

As I grow…. the more letting go I do. The more I decide to just be happy. Ya know, it really is up to me… To set my heart on truth and love. To surrender forgiveness and love to those who have hurt me. I walk towards that daily.

Along with all of that, I made the choice to stay away from social media for a time. It was hard not to turn to FB “friends” when I was feeling anxious or lonely…  I am forgotten, I am not loved and especially…. I am not “liked”… Raced in my head… It all seems so silly …. to race to my fb page to see if I am worthy of someone’s judgement…. Yet it was a part of my life. How embarrassing to actually admit this. How did all of that actually happen?  

What if I lived daily without social media telling me who I am by the likes I received. What if I turned off the computer and lived the life that was right before me. If I  were to love the people who were actually in my life at this very moment. If I stopped watching a movie that someone else had written for me… What would I do if I couldn’t click on FB and find a like to distract me from the uncomfortableness of being me on hard days, or hours…. or minutes?   What if I didn’t have any “likes” …. What if it was just me. and my God and the people who actually knew me…  Could I survive? Could I be happy and true?

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Guess what? I am happy, I am true. My dear sweet friends are still my friends. Thank you friends for reminding me to sit tall in my saddle, that I have no reason not to… ox   Things are good. I want to say my life is Simple… But ya know it really isn’t. It is beautiful and bright and happy and full of goodness. It is hard and there is sadness and sickness and hurt and pain… Because that is what life is like… Everyday… It is my choice to choose the good. That is not an easy thing to do. Day’s I fail…  The day’s I need  the Likes…  I turn to the truth… I turn to something that gives me peace. I turn to true relationship.. I turn to love.

For the first time in my adult life I have not been working for a living.  To stand alone without support from people you loved and worked with….. That is a very hard thing to do no matter what.

I am meeting life at my own pace. What a total luxury that is! It comes with a price tag which at this point and time in my life I am able and willing  to pay. It is not easy, but for now that is what I choose.  All of this is frightening and freeing at the same time.

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I have also started a simple daily journal. Nothing fancy. I keep track of my daily schedule. What my goals are for the day. What work I am doing on the house. My art and my knitting. My outings…..  I might write something down if it is bothering me, or a quote that has stayed in my heart and followed me around as I moved from room to room.

I actually picked up a book I read years ago. The Vein Of Gold. Written by Julia Cameron.  So once again I have been walking. Actually, last week I walked 28 miles. I needed to walk and think and let go and walk towards…..  I have been cooking beautiful bright food, I have been eating beautiful bright food.  I have been listening to God’s voice. I have been spending time with family and friends. I have been having fun. I have been laughing.

I missed my FB family. I missed them checking in with me….. I am glad to be back. To be back for love, for balance…. for fun and art and encouragement.  To take the good and lovely and fun things I first enjoyed about FB and enjoy that.  To work on myself… The self that needs such distractions from my “real life”… That kind of work not just applies to FB in my life.

Life is good… Doors are opening, people are good. Spring is coming.

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Be bright… Be you. It’s all going to work out.

ox

 

 

The Basement Re…Do ……….. Yup It Was A Ton Of Work

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The first time we saw this room we were in love!  Then we saw it again and we were in like…. Holy Crap. What a mess. Ya know how things look when there is nothing in the room to distract you from seeing all the yuck?

There was a lot of yuck.

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And so we begin!

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Because of the terrible conditions of the windows all of the wood around the windows needed to be sanded and patched and stained.

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It took so much work but It really turned out beautifully.

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The ceiling needed major cleaning, patching and and paint. That was Michael’s job.

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After the windows I moved onto the walls. They were also a mess! I cleaned, sanded, patched and stained all the walls. They now are shinny and bright and look like new. Going over all the walls made such a difference in this room.  50 years of grime and dirt  are gone! Oh and yes… The ceiling is bright and beautiful.

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I haven’t done much decorating in this room, but I did buy a this dresser from one of my favorite new shops Home By Melisa James. The good news? That shop is just down the street from me. I can keep my eye on all the new things that arrive daily in Melisa’s shop! If you are in the area stop in the shop for a visit. Make sure you check out her hours! They do vary.

Seeing some of the furniture painted in the shop Home gave me the idea of painting the bottom half of the dresser gold. As always, the prepping was the hardest part of the job. Well worth the time and effort.  Gotta love gold spray paint!

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The bedding on queen size bed is from Target…  As well as the lamp. The blinds for this room I purchased from Blinds.com. The customer service was great. They even took the time to FaceTime with me to make sure I was measuring correctly. I have since used this company for my living room blinds.   

All in all we totally scored with this room.  I love the beautiful rock fireplace, wall to wall book cases. It even has cozy napping cubby. More photos to follow…

Although, we did spend a bunch of money on new windows for the whole basement, which was an unexpected expense.. After that…..most of the expense for this room was elbow grease, paint and time. Which we have a ton of. It’s fun working side by side next to my mister creating our new nest …. Yes, even at our age!

It’s really not a fancy room which suits us perfectly!  This room is cozy and warm and clean.  Every time I walk down stairs into this room I want to unpack my things and stay awhile.

 

It’s Been All About The Chocolate Cake Around Here.

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The other day my mister and I were invited to a dinner party. I volunteered to bring the dessert. My mister and I don’t eat many desserts so this would give me a chance to enjoying baking something. I found out that many of the guest don’t eat sugar or flour so I set out to find a recipe that I would enjoy making and would fit the bill for no flour and no sugar. I found the recipe here.  The Vibrant Family blog  is a  great source of information and recipes, I think you will enjoy it.

Looking at the ingredients I was hopeful this cake would be wonderful. My mister… had another opinion. He couldn’t see how putting these things together would in any way shape or form possibly equal a delicious chocolate cake.  Personally, I think having avocados as the main ingredient in the frosting put him over the edge. 

Okay here we go!

This cake makes a 9″ one layer cake.

1-15 ounce can of unseasoned black beans

5 large eggs

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

6 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)

1/2 cup honey

1 teaspoon pure stevia extract (liquid vs powder)…. This is optional.. I opted out.

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

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1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9″ cake pan with extra virgin olive oil cooking spray, or just grease it with a thin layer of butter. Dust cocoa all over the inside of the pan, tapping to evenly distribute. Cut a round of parchment paper and line the bottom of the pan, then spray the parchment lightly.

2. Drain and rinse beans in a strainer or colander. Shake off excess water. Place beans, 3 of the eggs, vanilla, stevia (if using) and salt into mixer or food processor. mix until beans are completely liquefied. No lumps!

3. Wisk together cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix together honey and coconut oil. Add remaining two eggs, beating for a minute after each addition. Pour bean batter into egg mixture and mix. Stir in cocoa powder, and beat the batter on high for one minute, until smooth. Scrap batter onto pan and smooth the top. Grip pan firmly by the edges and rap it on the counter a few times to pop any air bubbles.

Bake for 40-50 minutes. Cake is done when the top is rounded and firm to the touch. After 10 minutes, turn out cake from pan, and flip over again on to a cooing rack. Let cool until cake reaches room temperature, then cover in a plastic wrap or with a cake dome. (I use and overturned bowl). For BEST flavor, let cake sit over night. I promise this cake will not have a hint of beanies after letting it sit for eight hours.

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I used my food processor and once I had strained the beans simply added all the wet ingredients and blended them together. In another small bowl, I mixed the dry ingredients until well blended then added them to the wet ingredients in the food processor. In just a few minutes it was all mixed together.

Okay, now for the frosting.

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3 avocado

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 drops of vanilla stevia (optional)

Blend all of the ingredients together in the food processor and once it is the right texture of a fluffy mousse, refrigerate until ready to serve.  I also think this frosting is better after sitting in the refrigerator over night.

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I have to say everyone loved the cake, or they were being VERY POLITE!  I will be making this cake again. I liked the frosting, I didn’t love it… But I would give it another try.  Seriously girls, no flour and no sugar… Pretty much all natural ingredients it was amazing!

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Okay girls… This recipe is my all time favorite chocolate cake recipe. I found this recipe a few years ago in one of my favorite magazines. Where Woman Cook. This recipe was found in the Summer 2012 publication.  If you just want to make a killer cake with plenty of sugar and flour and beer. Girl’s this is your cake!  Hang on to your hats cause here it comes.  Enjoy every single bite!

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Guinness Dark Chocolate  Cake

2 cups Guiness Stout, in bottle (do not use pub draft cans)

2 cups unsalted butter (Kerry Gold) if you can find it.

1 -1/2 unsweetened dark cocoa powder (Hershey’s Special Dark)

4 cups all-purpose flour, well sifted

4 cups sugar (Trader Joe’s organic sugar)

1 Tablespoon baking soda

1-1/2 teaspoon sea salt

4 large eggs

1 1/3 cups sour cream – do yourself a favor… don’t use low fat!!

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 3, 8″ x 2″ round cake pans. Line with parchment paper and butter paper.

2. Simmer 2 Cups Guinness Stout and 2 cups butter in a heavy, large saucepan over medium heat.

3. Add dark chocolate cocoa powder and whisk well, until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

4. Sift flour, sugar, baking soda, and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt into a large bowl.

5. Beat eggs and sour cream in separate large bowl until very creamy.

6. Add Guinness-chocolate mixture to egg mixture, and beat just to combine.

7. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed; do not over mix.

8. Fold batter gently with a rubber spatula until completely combined.

9. Divide batter equally among pans. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean. About 35 minutes.

10. Cool for 10 minutes, then turn cakes onto rack and cool completely.

Icing

2 cups heavy cream

1 lb. bittersweet chocolate, chopped. (Baker’s bittersweet baking chocolate)

1. Simmer cream in a heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat.

2. Add chopped chocolate, and whisk until melted and smooth.

3. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable. stirring frequently, about 2 hours.

4. Frost as desired.

5. Top with freshly whipped cream!

So, my dears, two very different chocolate cake recipes. I hope you enjoy them both. Take extra good care of yourselves during this holiday season. And for goodness sakes eat some cake!

I love you all,

Patrice

Just a bit of Christmas stitching

There is a new little stitching pattern for sale today at my crafts shop.  These mitten’s stitch up in no time. All the art and directions you need are included in this little pattern.

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Get your stitching basket full of wool scraps and beautiful embroidery floss and start stitching each little mitten by hand or use your sewing machine to speed up the process.  I hope you enjoy every single stitch.  Just click and download. It’s that easy.

From my heart to yours,

Patrice

Taking Care a few little tips

Happy Wednesday.

December 2nd… really?

My darlings, I have been thinking about how it is so easy not to take care of ourselves during this season. Holidays can be stressful and I have found the very first thing that goes out the window is me taking care of ME.  I just wanted to remind you to take extra good care of yourselves. I am sharing my morning green shake recipe with you. This is one way to start your day at least with some vegetables and fruit. Follow it with a healthy protein and your  morning will be brighter for it!

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4 Cups of spinach

1/2 Cup of berries. Fresh is best. If you can’t do that then frozen will work.

1/2 Cup of Orange Juice Fresh is best

2 Apples

A few ice cubes

Blend together.

I add what I have, fresh fruit in season.  Maybe some low fat Greek yogurt. Pineapple or mango’s too. I also put chia seeds and flax seeds in my shake. Find what works for you. Go easy your first few mornings… Your tummy will appreciate it especially if you’re not used to many greens in the morning.

You know that saying… Just do it.. I am trying so hard!

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But, I am finding it harder and harder to get my exercise in with the cold weather. I have been hitting my rowing machine for twenty to thirty minutes four days a week. Still working on my upper body with my eight pound weights. Then the basement stairs… Up and down all day helps. I know it is horribly hard to find time to get that twenty minutes or so in a day but please keep trying to fit it in. You can always put on some great music and dance and dance and dance!

I also wanted to share this littl treat you can make when you want something tasty to munch on. Give it a try. I know, I know it doesn’t look very inviting but try it.

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This is what you will need.

3 cups /15 ounces chick peas

Drained and patted dry with a paper towel. Or if you have one use a salad spinner.

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil

1-1/2 t. sweet paprika

1-1/2 t. smoked paprika

1-1/2. t hot paprika  This is very spicy… If you don’t like spicy use less

1 t. garlic salt

1/2 t. pepper

1/2. t fine grain sea salt

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Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees with rack placed in the top third of the oven.  Pour  dried chickpeas onto a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and roast 10 minutes. Shake the pan and roast for another 8-10 minutes until chickpeas crisp up a bit. Keep a close eye on them to avoid burning!!!  In the meantime, combine the olive oil, paprikas, salt, Lemon zest, rosemary and thyme garlic salt, pepper, and salt in a large mixing bowl and toss. Carefully transfer the chickpeas to the bowl and toss until well coated. Return them to the baking sheet and roast for another 3 – 5 minutes. I used dried seasoning today. I had no fresh herbs. It was snowing and I didn’t want to go out. The chickpeas still tasted great.

Make sure you drink your water today!  64 oz a day… Someone very smart informed me that was the recommended amount to drink everyday…

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Also, go without your favorite adult beverage in the evenings. Sounds boring I know, but you will sleep better for it! This is my new favorite tea. Its called Candy Cane Green Tea. 

So my dears a few little tips for taking care of your beautiful self.

My wish for you today is that you take the time to give yourself the gift of caring for yourself. Even if you can only do one thing today to take care of yourself that is a start. I love you!

 

 

 

 

Warming my soul

The weather has already turned chilly.  I retreat  into my little knitting nest most nights.  A friend saw this darling bit of knitting goodness on  Pinterest . She asked me if I could possibly knit it up for her. I found the pattern at The Velvet Acorn. I ordered the pattern and went to work. How great is it that you can download a pattern with a click and start knitting!

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I knitted up the adult size.  I  can hardly even believe how darling this will be on a little one!  If you are looking for a fun gift that knits up quickly for someone you love this holiday season get out those knitting needles and give this pattern a try.

I have been busy knitting up special orders in bright and happy Fall colors. These hats and scarves are going in the mail tomorrow. They are sure to bring warmth and some happy to some very special souls.

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I have also been baking bread… The smell of fresh baked bread…… As cozy as a knitted hat!

Please don’t let the whole YEAST thing scare you!It’s really not hard.

I have two go to recipes that I use.  One is a honey wheat bread. I have had this recipe for so long I am not sure where it came from. This recipe makes two loves of bread. The good news about making your own bread – NO preservatives involved. Also remember you can always split the recipe and make just one loaf.  With this recipe you can mix up the flour. You can put all wheat flour or mix almond flour or a spelt flour. Just keep the amount of flour the same…. About 8-1/2 cups total. You can also add a bit of rosemary, or Flax seed. Even add a bit of oats for a hardy loaf.

You will need:

3 C. Warm water

2 pk of dry active yeast

5 C. white flour

3-1/2 C. wheat flour

3 T. butter melted

1/3 C. honey

I mix all dry ingredients together. Set aside.Dissolve yeast in 3 cups warm water. (about 10 minutes). Mix honey and melted butter together.When the yeast is completely devolved- add the honey and butter mixture to yeast mixture and begin to mix with flour. I place all the ingredients together and mix with my mixer using the “bread” paddle. When mixed together place dough onto a flour board.  Begin to knead until smooth. Add more flour if necessary. Let rise in a buttered bowl covered in plastic wrap until doubled in bulk. Butter 2 loaf pans. Punch dough down, divide in half, form loaves, and place into pans. Cover with plastic and let rise again until loaves almost reach pan tops. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 40-50 minutes until browned and hollow-sounding when tapped. Remove from pans and cool on racks.

This recipe comes from My very first of many Martha Stewart books.  This book inspired me so much as a young homemaker. Weather you like Martha or not in my opinion she really did put the “art” back into keeping a home.

This recipe is called Breakfast Bread. It is perfectly wonderful all by itself. Also makes Great French toast.

Things you will need:

2 C. milk

8 T. (1 stick) of butter

1 t. salt

2 T. sugar

2- packages dry yeast

2/3 cup warm water

6-7 cups all-purpose flour

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Dissolve yeast into warm water.

Scald milk in a small pot. Stir in the butter, salt, and sugar.

Cool Milk to lukewarm and add to the yeast and water mixture.

Mix 3 cups of flour into the liquid ingredients. Stir in egg. Add rest of flour and knead until smooth and elastic. Add more flour if necessary. Let rise in a buttered bowl covered in plastic wrap until doubled in bulk. Butter 2 loaf pans. Punch dough down, divide in half, form loaves, and place into pans. Cover with plastic and let rise again until loaves almost reach pan tops. Preheat oven to 350. Bake for 40-50 minutes until browned and hollow-sounding when tapped. Remove from pans and cool on racks..

Oh and the BEST EVER – Loaf pans- Glada’s found at Target.

So there you have it…. Just a bit of what has been keeping me busy. I hope you are warm and toasty and taking exquisite care of your beautiful heart.  Making a bit of time each day to do a little something that brings you some goodness.