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*
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!
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!