Agatha

I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming that comes when you finish the life of the emotions and of personal relations; and suddenly find - at the age of fifty, say - that a whole new life has opened before you, filled with things you can think about, study, or read about...It is as if a fresh sap of ideas and thoughts was rising in you. ~ Agatha Christie

Thursday, November 20, 2014

BE THANKFUL

It's a very pleasant 68 degrees here in Houston.  My thoughts go out to those of you caught in that winter blizzard.  

Monday, November 17, 2014

Friday, November 7, 2014

EASY FRUIT COBBLER RECIPE




I started following a new blog "The Weary Cook."  What a great title and a nice little dessert for the Thanksgiving sweet tooth.

Too Easy Fruit Cobbler
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
All you need is frozen or fresh fruit and a few kitchen staples to whip up this delicious and EASY fruit cobbler!
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 10
Ingredients:
  • ½ c. butter
  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 c. turbinado (raw) sugar
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1-1/2 c. milk
  • about 24 oz. of your choice of fruit, fresh or frozen
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut butter into four pieces (optional, but speeds melting) and place in 13x9" baking dish. Place dish in hot oven until butter is melted.
  3. Meanwhile, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in milk.
  4. Carefully remove pan from oven, and spread batter evenly over the melted butter. (Butter will ooze onto the top of the dough, which is a good thing.) Arrange fruit over the top, pressing it down slightly into the batter, and bake 60-75 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through in the center. Serve warm.
Weary Chef's Notes:
If you aren't feeding a crowd, cut the recipe in half and use an 8" square baking dish. (Cooking time will be 45-60 minutes.)
You can use all white flour and white sugar if you prefer.
If using frozen fruit, it will cook faster if you can thaw it at least slightly before baking. You can definitely use it right out of the freezer, but it will need to bake over an hour.
Don't forget the vanilla ice cream on top!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

16 REASONS TO LOVE FALL

There's so much to love about autumn, and so much to be grateful for, it's hard to compile into one list. But we tried our best, and the following are our favorite things about what is arguably the most enchanted time of the year. Which one is your favorite?

1.The sound of crisp leaves rolling against the pavement.

2.The way the earth transforms from verdant green to vibrant shades of fall color.

3.Falling leaves.

4.And more specifically, the way the leaves look like fairies descending sleepily from trees in the early morning sun.

5.That golden autumn glow at dawn.

6.And the auburn glow at sunset.

7.The constant smell of crackling fires in the air.

8.The sound of trees rustling in the wind.

9.The sensation of jumping into a fresh pile of leaves.

10.The warm, haunting beauty of a lit jack-o’lantern.

11.The cozy elegance of candles and decorative gourds.

12.The thrill of wrapping yourself in a scarf on a chilly day.


13.Hot apple cider.

14.Pumpkin spice lattes.

15.A big bowl of soup.

16.Feeling cozy inside while observing a rainy autumn afternoon from the window.

Photo Credits: Oleksiy Maksymenko/Getty, nIGHTANDdayImages/Getty, sUSAN tRIGG/gETTY, Henrik Sorensen/Getty, Cavan Images/Getty, Moncherie/Getty, Tanathedreamchaser/Tumblr, Heartsandmagic/Tumblr, SimplySeasons/Tumblr, Allthewaythingsare/Tumblr



TOMORROW IS A NEW DAY



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

TIME TO START THINKING ABOUT THANKSGIVING



Turkey Cheese ball

2 8oz pkgs of cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons minced onion
1/2 tablespoon minced green bell pepper
1 8oz can crushed pineapple well drained
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 cup chopped pecans
decorations:
pretzel sticks
whopper candy
beef jerkey stick
candy eyes
candy corn
fruit roll up
chocolate icing or melted chocolate 

Mix all ingredients other than the pecans together until well combined, i used my kitchenaid stand mixer.  With damp hands roll the mixture into a ball and then roll in chopped pecans.  Wrap it in wax paper and put it in the fridge to chill and firm up a bit. 

Oh and btw this cheese ball is super yummy. We made this just to photograph it and it was gone in a few days with only 3 people (well really only 2) snacking on it.  It's my favorite go to cheese ball recipe. 

Decorate: 
To make the turkey "feathers" stick your pretzel sticks into the back 1/2 of the cheese ball.  To create mr. gobblers head take a stick of beef jerkey and "glue" a whopper candy on top with icing.  Then attach the nose and eyes also with icing.  We made the gobbler by cutting a little strip of fruit roll up and then laying it over the candy corn.  

Monday, November 3, 2014

TEN SIMPLE THINGS TO MAKE YOU HAPPIER AT HOME



Our homes are an extension of who we are: what we do within the walls of our abodes shapes our mood, affects our productivity, and influences our outlook on life. Scientific studies have shown that we can have an impact on our happiness by adjusting the tiny little habits and routines that constitute our daily lives — we are, in fact, in control of our outlook on life.
It's amazing how a few tweaks to our daily habits can become a catalyst for meaningful, positive change. Here are a few simple things you can do every day to feel happier at home.

1. Make your bed. In a popular post last month, I explained the many benefits of daily bed-making. Gretchen Rubin, New York Times best-selling author of The Happiness Project, explains that this three minute task is one of the simplest habits you can adopt to positively impact your happiness.

2. Bring every room back to "ready." I learned this trick from Marilyn Paul's clever book, It's Hard to Make a Difference When You Can't Find Your Keys. It's a known fact: Clutter causes stress; order creates a haven from it. This mood-boosting routine is simple: Take about three minutes to bring each room back to "ready" before you depart it. (Unless you have a toddler, or a partner who likes to simulate earthquakes, three minutes should be sufficient.)

3. Display sentimental items around your home. One reason that experiences (and memories of those experiences) make us happier than material things is due to the entire cycle of enjoyment that experiences provide: planning the experience, looking forward to the experience, enjoying the experience, and then remembering the experience. Make your home a gallery of positive memories.

4. Start a one-line-a-day gratitude journal. Before bed, simply jot down one happy memory from that day. (If you have kids, you can ask them, "What was the best part of today?") Reflection is an important part of happiness, and pausing to reflect on a positive event from each day cultivates gratitude. (An added bonus: Later, when your memory is defunct, you will already have all of your meaningful adventures recorded!) If you have trouble getting started with journaling, consider buying a book to guide you. Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ban Breathnach, is a great one.

5. If you can't get out of it, get into it. This tip comes from The Happiness Project. I love the message: The dishes are not going to clean themselves, so you will do it, and you will like it! (Unless, of course, you can outsource this job, in which case I say: Nice work!) Otherwise, get into doing the dishes. Feel the soothing warm water on your hands. Enjoy the tickle of the tiny bubbles. Crank your favorite album at an unusually loud volume, do a couple fist-pumps while shouting "Can I get a hell yeah for the dishes? Hell! Yeah!" and pretend you love it.

6. Before you get up each morning, set an intent for the day. In The Art of Happiness, the Dali Lama says ""Every day, think as you wake up: today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it." Wow. What a wise man. I tend to wake up with a strong visceral reaction that says, "Attention human beings: Be afraid of me before coffee. Be very afraid!" Setting a daily intent makes a huge difference. Your daily intent could be something like "be productive" or "enjoy today's delicious moments" or it could be something more specific like "say thank you to my loved ones today." But it should not be another "to do" item on your list.

7. Do small favors for your housemates, expecting nothing in return (not even a thank you!). (That's right, I said it: nothing!) Mow the lawn for your husband, but don't expect him to pat you on the back. Make the bed for your wife, but don't try to get bonus points for it. Take the trash out for your roommate, just because. The ability to cultivate strong, healthy relationships is one of the biggest contributors to health and happiness, but when you start to keep score, the benefit is lost. (No! It's YOUR turn to clean up the dog poop!) It's a well-known fact: When you do good, you feel good.

8. Call at least one friend or family member a day. You can do this while you clean, while you make the bed, or while you walk the dog. Texts and emails do not count! Make an actual phone call to a loved one, just to chat and catch up. We humans are social beings and studies show that even when we don't feel like it, even if we are naturally introverted, socializing with our loved ones makes us feel better.

9. Spend money on things that cultivate experiences at home. Save money for a new grill for parties or a new DVD for family movie night — something that will encourage you to have people over and entertain. Plan a summer barbeque, invite your closest friends, kick back and relax. (And don't forget to print out the pictures to remember the good times.)


10. Spend a few minutes each day connecting with something greater than yourself. Whatever your spiritual beliefs — or non-beliefs — may be, studies show that connecting to a high power is correlated with happiness. Just stepping back to realize that we are part of an enormous universe can put some perspective on your annoyance with the those-are-definitely-not-mine-and-they-are-abso-fricking-lutely-repulsive socks under the coffee table. Before bed, spend just a few minutes contemplating something larger than yourself. Take a walk in nature. Write in a journal. Create a sacred space in your home. (Or if spirituality is really not your thing, create a home spa: light some candles, soak in a hot bath, delve into a good book… are you feeling better yet?)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

HOW NOT TO GET SICK


Precaution is better than cure.  ~Edward Coke


Swish salt water.


Putting your shaker to work could pay off. In one study, scientists found gargling with a mixture of 8 oz warm water and ½ tsp salt at least 10 seconds twice daily cut a person’s risk of viral infections as much as 34%. The reason: “When we breathe in sickness-causing bacteria or viruses, they can get stuck in the mucus membrane in the back of the throat,” explains Carrie Demers, MD, medical director of the Total Health Center in Honesdale, PA. “Rinsing with a gargle that contains salt—a natural antiseptic—can flush out problematic phlegm and purge illness-producing invaders.”

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Going with the flow a/k/a learning something new



I was reading an article in Better Homes and Gardens about 7 Healthy Fall Foods and I realized that I have never had Roasted Chestnuts.  Yes they are Christmasy but being a native Texan, they've never been a staple of my fall or Christmas holidays.

Since my retirement I've decided that I must learn to go with the flow and quit fighting change.  Thats food for another post, but small steps .... and I must try something new.

So my fall challenge to try something new will include Chestnuts.  Not a big step but something I know absolutely nothing about.

So look forward to hearing about how, when and where I learn about Chestnuts.  Suggestions appreciated.  In the mean time, here is what BH&G has to say about ....

Chestnuts

These nuts are a snack you can feel good about thanks to their half-day supply of vitamin B6, which plays a role in boosting the immune system, keeping skin youthful, and possibly even fighting lung cancer. Chestnuts are also high in fiber, which helps fill you up so you eat less.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Beauty




That's me.  My own kind of me.