Sunday, 30 November 2008

My Sunday Six



I forgot to do this last week, but I'm sure I've been forgiven. I got this idea from my wonderful friend Lura, and she was so very kind enough to make this tag for me. I think it's a wonderful thing, to pause for a few moments on Sunday morning and think about six particular blessings you've experienced from the week before, things that made your lips curl up in that very special way we call a smile and that tugged on your heart strings!



1. We had snow here for a few hours last Sunday. No, it didn't last for long. It was soon washed away by the rain, but my oh my . . . those few hours where I was able to watch those fluffy white flakes fall were pure magic to me. Where Todd's daughter lived they had a whole lot more than we did, enough to make a snowman! It's been a very long time since I have experienced enough snow to make a snowman, so here's hoping!!!

2. I've been taking care of a puppy for some people whilst they've been away for the Thanksgiving holidays. He's such a sweet little thing and so full of energy. Every time I look at him I smile. He watches everything I do with this curious look on his wee little face and I just want to pick him up and cuddle him to pieces. He's small enough to sit on my lap and fall asleep there. I never got to experience the puppy stage with Jess, so it's nice being able to experience this, and also kind of nice to know that I can hand him back at the end of it all . . .



3. Getting to spend Thanksgiving with a lovely group of people. The food, the laughter, the wonderful spirit that was present . . . it all made for a really special experience and I shall be thinking about it and remembering it with fondness for years to come. It's been a long time since I have had the joy of experiencing Thanksgiving in that special way and I was truly blessed this week to be a part of this lovely day in such a wonderful way. It was really nice for Todd to be able to experience the pleasures of a true Thanksgiving as well. He also really enjoyed himself!



4. Even though she has been away visiting her family this past week, just about every day I have gotten a lovely message from Lura. Every time I see her name in my e-mail box, my face breaks out into a smile and my heart into song. She is such a dear sweet friend and I am touched that even though she is spending precious time with her loved ones, she takes the time out in her day to remember me. (I hope she doesn't mind me scooping this lovely picture of her from off of her page!) It's rare that one finds a special friend like Lura in life, and even rarer when that person lives thousands of miles away, and you still manage to connect and feel that wonderfully special bond of close friendship. We have never touched in person or been able to look each other in the eye, but our hearts have touched and our souls have mingled and we have recognized kindred spirits in each other. It's all very wonderful! God's special magic!

5. I received a whole passel of awards this week from my blogging companions. I can still remember the first time one of these lovely symbols of recognition came my way and how chuffed I was to receive it. I still feel dead chuffed when I get one of them and they still make me smile in a huge way:

This lovely award came from my good friend Miranda who writes the blog "A Duck In Her Pond," and the lovely Marthe, who has the blog "Culinary Delights."

I was so surprised to get this lovely award from my friend Hannah, who writes on Hannah's Country Kitchen .

I also recently was blessed to receive this lovely Inspiration award from the delightful Bellini Valli who writes at the blog *More Than Burnt Toast.* Thanks so much and for reminding me of who it was who so generously passed me this award! Bellini has a wonderful phrase at the top of her page that I just love . . . "Be yourself . . . everyone else is taken."

This one came from my lovely friend, Jeanie, who writes Genii In The Lakes . I've known here for quite a while, back when we were both journaling on AOL. I just missed the chance to meet her in person this past summer when we were up travelling her way, but alas . . . for some reason it never happened . . . next time, Jeanie, next time!

One thing about awards is you get to pass them on. That's the part I have a hard time with because I love each and every one of you. I have decided that I will pass these on to each one of those blogs that I regularly read, so if I'm one of your fans, grab one of each of these if you wish. I wouldn't be reading you unless I thought that you were already special in every way!



6. I did one final Christmas drawing this week, of a really special little girl. She will grace all of my personal Christmas Cards this year I think. I thought she turned out really well. Todd said that she was his favourite one yet, but then again, he says that every time. He has to love me, he's stuck with me for time and all eternity!

So there you have it, my Sunday Six Smile makers for this, the last week of November, 2008!



I joined another cooking group recently, called Craving Ellie In My Belly . Once a week we each cook something from the lovely book, The Food You Crave, Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life, by Ellie Krieger. This weeks recipe was a delicious recipe for Macaroni with Four Cheeses, as hosted by Mrs Bethorama of Supplicious. The recipe called for using cooked squash in the sauce mixture, which served to give it a lovely colour, thicken it up and add some much needed fibre to my diet, and also give it an additional flavour, so that you really didn't miss all of the cheese that normally resides in Macaroni and Cheese recipes. I had to fiddle a bit with the ingredients as not all of them are available over here, but the end result was truly delicious!



*Macaroni and Four Cheeses*
Serves 8

I cut the amounts of everything in half coz, well there are only two of us and Todd hates pasta. This was really, really good!

cooking spray
16 ounces of macaroni (I used malfalda)
two ten ounce packages of frozen pureed winter squash
(we can't get that here, so I used freshly cooked and mashed acorn squash)
2 cups low fat milk
1 1/3 cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
2/3 cup grated Monterey Jack Cheese (2 ounces)
(I couldn't get this either so used some extra strong process cheese spread)
1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 TBS dry bread crumbs
2 TBs freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 190*C/375*F. Coat a 9 X 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

Cook the macaroni according to the package directions. Drain well, rinse and drain again, then transfer it to the baking dish.

Place the frozen squash into a saucepan with the milk. Cook and stir over low heat, breaking up the squash with a spoon until it is completely defrosted. (I just heated up the milk with my cooked squash) Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the mixture is almost simmering. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheddar, Jack cheese, ricotta, salt, mustard and cayenne. Pour this mixture over the cooked macaroni and stir to combine.

Combine the dry bread crumbs with the Parmesan cheese and oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over top of the macaroni and cheese mixture. Bake until the cheeses are bubbling around the edges, about 20 minutes, then pop under the grill for another 3 minutes, until the top is crisp and nicely browned!

18 comments:

Jan said...

Loved reading your Sunday six Marie!
I'm loving the idea of four cheeses and the Macaroni!

Marie said...

I laugh every time I read that Todd hates pasta. I've never met anyone who doesn't eat pasta!

This sounds like real comfort food - yum!

Joan said...

Loved reading your Sunday six and macaroni cheese that's one of our favourite suppers. Have a peaceful Sunday. Love Joan

LYN said...

I am always inspired by you marie..this morning was no different...

Bellini Valli said...

I am so glad you were able to pass along the Inspiration award Marie. With so many well deserved awards coming your way I know it is hard to keep track of them all. Congrats on all your awards and for being an inspiration:D

Sheryl said...

You are amazing! Your Sunday Six brought a smile to my face as well. Lura is a sweetie! She is in my ward, and funny enough blogging has brought us closer together. I love the Macaroni and Cheese recipe as well. Have a great Sabbath!

swmpgrly said...

I love that drawing

Sybil said...

Hi MArie, I have another try at making a coment...Thank you so much for being such a wonderful writer and friends to us all. Although I no longer have a journal after the AOL fiasco I still very much enjoy looking in through my friends windows !! to feel "included",, You have even got Jeanie back with me thank you I have been e mailing but neither of us had realised I didn't know she was back writing...Love for now Sybil xx

Tracy said...

Love the Sunday Six, Marie...and love your latest illustration with your Christmas holiday girl--so cute! This mac & cheese recipe is scrumptious...four cheeses...mmm...So great to get to talk to you today...added that extra sparkle to the weekend! :o) Happy evening, my friend ((HUGS))

The Blonde Duck said...

I love that macararoni! How can Todd hate pasta!

I'm shipping out your Christmas present tommorow! I'm soooo excited!

Grammy Staffy said...

Ahh... my dear Marie,
How good you are to me. I truly do believe that we are kindred spirits. I think that you would be amazed at how often I think of you during the day...with a smile on my face and in my heart. You are indeed one of my smile makers. I love you to bits too.

We got up very early and left Lynell's. With tearful goodbyes, (I was hoping they would all stay in bed and we could slip off without me having to say goodbye, but they all got up)we drove an hour and 15 minutes down to Erin and Patrick's house and went with them to church at 9:00 a.m. Patrick sang a solo in Sacrament meeting and Erin gave a beautiful lesson in Relief Society.... Patrick's solo brought tears to my eyes and Erin's lesson on the atonement left me (and everyone else) sobbing....and then your kind words about me made me tear up again....so now my nose is stopped up and my eyes swollen from all of the tears today....but they are happy and thankful tears.

But...guess what??? Lynell drove our car yesterday and we forgot to get my keys back....so sweet Lynell and family are going to drive all the way down here(I think it is about 75 miles) after their church today. We will have dinner together here at Erin's. I hate to cause them the trip...and I hate to have to say goodbye again, but I am happy that we get to spend one more evening together. The only house key we brought with us is on that ring so we have to get it before we start home tomorrow. We offered to drive up and meet Lynell half way but I am glad they are coming down for dinner instead. How I love these precious girls.

I brought Erin and Patrick a piece of your caramel cake that Loni and I made yesterday. They both loved it. Did you get the pictures of us making it and eating it that I emailed you last night? Yummy stuff

Thanks again for the nice things you said about me...I say DITTO..DITTO...DITTO ... right back to you. Have a great Sunday my sweet friend. Love, Lura

Raquel said...

what a lovely read! The pasta looks spectacular! Much love, Raquel XO

Rhondi said...

Hi Marie
Congratulations on all the awards. Every one is well deserved. Your blog is wonderful. I really enjoyed the Sunday Six and your latest drawing is so sweet.
Hugs, Rhondi

Ursula said...

Oooo yum-I love Ellie Kreiger's recipes! There is a Greek shrimp recipe I'm dying to try of hers!

Tricia said...

Hi Marie! Lura sent me your way, she and I spoke at Lynell's on Thanksgiving day, isn't she just sparkly?? No one can be a grump around her. Anyhoo, thought I'd let you know I'll most likely be visiting your site ALL the time, because A: I think you're a great writer, B: I LOVE new recipes, and C: WOW you are SO gifted! Love that drawing, and I've been looking into ETSY, I crochet and wondered if it was a good place to sell... Your opinion?

♥ Tricia

Jen said...

Hates pasta???? How is that possible? I'm glad you liked the mac and cheese. I wasn't such a fun of it.

Gillie said...

That mac & cheese looks delic! I would eat Todd's share if I was there! :)
xx

Lucy said...

Aww your Sunday Smile Makers did make me smile! I hope you are not missing the puppy too much as I presume he has gone home now :( He sounds adorable !

Congratulations on the awards too.