Saturday, November 24, 2012

Stuart is Three

 Trailer for his birthday present. It's the first thing on his mind when he wakes up. 

Nate would love to paint this set up green. But his wife who actually grew up on a farm yells, "no way!"

 He put all of his gifts in the wagon. Confetti and all.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway! Tea and Trouble Brewing

I have a huge appreciation for Anabaptist authors, artists, songwriters, motivational speakers, etc. We need more of them don't you think?  One of my favorite authors is Dorcas Smucker.  I first heard about her work from my friend Christine. Dorcas writing makes me laugh and you know I am a fan of that. She also has a way of turning everyday moments into thought pondering truths.

After only a few pages into this book I found myself laughing out loud (LOL you know) and before I knew it there were tears in my eyes because she made an important point that spoke to the heart. My heart.

Dorcas' writing style has been compared to Erma Bombeck.  The Lancaster Paper once wrote an article on her titled, "Bombeck in a Bonnet?" Dorcas was raised Amish. She is now the wife of a Mennonite preacher and a mother to six children.

I read more than one paragraph out loud to Nate. In the chapter, "Characters in a Larger Story" Stories were being shared at a reunion.

 "... and John told a nail-biter story about the time he decided to tease cousin Todd, in a wheelchair with muscular dystrophy, by steering him right to the edge of the bank. John had us all digging our heals into the creek bank right along with him as the much heavier Todd slid down the bank and then toppled over into 6 feet of water." 

Of course I read one more paragraph in this story to Nate to let him know that Todd was OK and made it out of the water. But we just looked at each other and laughed, but were mostly terrified when we think of the stunts our children might pull.  There are stories of Dorcas at the ACE conventions cheering for her children that make me smile and hope that I can be a Mom to teenagers like she is.

So, I loved her new book and I think that you will too...

If you would like to purchase this book you can do that online at Amazon.
If you are interested in purchasing this directly from the author you can send Dorcas a check for $15, this includes the postage:

Dorcas Smucker
31148 Substation Drive
Harrisburg, OR 97446

Dorcas also has a special right now. All 4 of her books for $40.00. Again, postage is included in that price. 

I am happy to give away her newest book. If you would like a chance to win this book:

1. Let a comment on this post. Make sure your name is included.
2. If you link this post on Facebook you can let another comment.

 I will end the giveaway Wednesday evening, November 21.  I'll draw a name using the random number generator, whala.... we will have a winner.

If you have trouble getting your comments to post. Email me. ( and I will comment for you.

Comments on facebook will not count! Make sure you get them over here on the blog.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cooking Show (More Recipes Added)

 The ladies at our church threw a cooking show last week. 
We had about 8 demonstrators who had 5 minutes each to share...
1. How to make something.
2. Favorite kitchen tips or tools. 
And then we all got to taste the food. 
In between each demo there were fun door prizes handed out.

Double stuff Oreo cookies, candy corn, whoppers, peanut butter cups, chocolate, yellow and red frosting, black sprinkles for eyes. 
1. take a cookie and put a strip of choc frosting along one side. Put 5 pieces of Indian corn for the feathers.
2. put a dab of icing on opposite ends of cookie and secure it to th base cookie (put next to wall to hold steady until it drys)
3. unwrap p.nut butter cup. Cut sliver off one end. Put dab of choc frosting on pb cup and place on cookie. 
4. put dab of icing on whopper and attach to pb cup and cookie.
5. put 2 small yellow dots of icing for eyes. Put a black sprinkle in center of dot. Place white part of Indian corn for beak. 
6. flip turkeys right side up and when dry add yellow feet and red wattle. You can add a small name card to the top and use for place card holders. 
 My dear Mom organized the whole thing.

 The crooked smile that plagues me. 

 Cheesy Mushroom Pull Apart Bread. Make this for your next party. 

 Mary made cake pops

Joyce made Zuppa Toscana soup.

1lb Italian sausage
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (more if you like very spicy)
1 large diced white onion
4T bacon pieces. (approx. 4 slices)
2tsp garlic puree
3 1/2 c water
3 c milk
1 c heavy cream
5 T chicken soup mix
1 1/2 lb sliced red potatoes
1/4 bunch kale

Saute sausage and crushed red pepper in pot. Drain fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ing. Saute bacon, onions and garlic for approx 15 min or until onions are soft. Mix chicken soup mix and water, and add to onions, garlic and bacon. Cook until boiling. Add potatoes and cook until soft, about  half an hour. Add milk and heavy cream and cook until thoroughly heated. Stir in sausage. Add kale just before serving. Yield 2 3/4 quart. 

 Orayma made some Spanish shrimp salsa type of stuff.  Tostadas de escaviche. (This link is somewhat close to Oramya's masterpiece)  We ate it on tostadas. We could still taste it the next morning. Authentic. Flavors that explode in your mouth type of thing. Loved it.

 Dorcas made a super Oriental Chicken salad that includes bow tie pasta. 
Her sister Kathy invented this one and we've been raving about it ever since.

1- 16oz. box bow tie pasta
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/8 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup oil
1 Tbl. sugar
1/4 tsp. ground ginger, or a small chunk of fresh ginger root
1 garlic clove
a few stems of fresh cilantro
Cook the pasta.  Put all the dressing ingredients in the blender, and process until smooth. When the pasta is done, drain and rinse with cold water.  Pour the dressing over and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
1-9 0z. package of fresh spinach, or torn lettuce
3 cans of mandarin oranges, drained
2 cups cooked chicken
1-1/3 cups cashews or peanuts
1-6 oz. package dried cranberries
6 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
Just before serving, toss everything together, and all the pasta
(directions from Kathy herself) Now this is my version of the recipe- the dressing is actually from another recipe, so you may have to make 1-1/2 or two batches.  And I forgot to add the green onions to mine, and I just skipped the sesame seeds- and I don't think I put in as many oranges

 Eva is an amazing cook. She does not shirk from things that look like too much work. 
She demonstrated Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Salad. This one was the winner to me. The dressing has two kinds of mustard, garlic, maple syrup, cider vineagar, and oil. I have this recipe on my Christmas menu. (it is the only thing on my menu actually, I'm not that organized)

  Sue showed us how she cans her black beans, she also had her own canned chicken and salsa and used these ingredients to make a very fast Taco soup.
One quart of canned chicken, one quart of salsa, one quart of black beans, one quart of corn, one quart of chicken broth. Heat, and of course serve with cheese, chips, sour cream and all of that good stuff. 
{We had company over Sunday night for supper. I was wracking my brain for things to serve and my mind kept going to Sue's stock pile of canned chicken. So handy! Thankfully I found 1 lb of ground hamburger in my freezer.
I also remembered how as a teenager I used to tell myself that when "I"m the Mom" I will always have cookies in my freezer for such occasions. Well guess who is the mom with the bare cupboards now? Ahem}

 Janessa showed us how she makes a snack for her family. The younger girls loved this chance to get up front and center. 

 Joell waiting to show us how she made the adorable candy turkeys.
 And edible fruit arrangement by Darlene.

 Orayma's masterpiece. Avacado, shrimp, tomato, cilatro, lime juice, tomato juice. There is no recipe for this, she dumps and tastes.

 Refrigerator Rolls by Norma.

The soups. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Seniors 2013

Ok, so I stuck a few extra ones in there. Just for fun. Not all seniors. And there are more seniors to take pictures of still! I know the sun will shine again.