Sunday, 1 March 2009

Marie's Sunday Six Smile Makers

Wow, it's hard to believe that it is Sunday morning again! The weeks are just whizzing by, but is that only because I am getting older? Or is time speeding up for everyone? It seems like it's Sunday and before I know it, it's Sunday again. I love Sundays. It's the day of the week that I get to go to church and re-charge my spiritual battery. It's also the one day of the week that I get to reflect on all the good things in the week just gone and give thanks for the many, many blessings that I am fortunate enough to have in my life. Life is indeed very good!

I have always loved watching birds and they make me smile. I love to watch them in our garden as they visit out feeders and interact with each other. This is a picture of a British Gold Finch. Quite different than the North American Gold Finch, as you can see. I think it's a really pretty bird, but then again, I think even sparrows are pretty. We have a lot of black birds in our garden and one of them has white spots all around it's eyes. He's been coming to our garden for quite a while now. Sometimes we have crows and jackdaws, and even woodpeckers come to the nut feeder along with the nuthatches. I think at one time we clocked 18 different species of birds in the garden. We have always fed the birds. Todd and I both get ever so much pleasure out of watching them. It's just another one of the many things we have in common. We are both big time nature lovers. I am glad that we live in a rural setting so that we get to enjoy it even more. The birds in our garden make me smile.

Feeding the Missionaries. I love to feed the missionaries and have their wonderful spirit in my home. Having them here in my home has always made me smile. They are such great young men and women and always so very grateful for whatever scraps I manage to throw their way, although to be honest, I always cook a slap up dinner for them. Doing so gives me great joy. Having raised five children, my table has been full of happy faces and hearty appetites for a long time. It seems kind of odd that there is only Todd and myself now, so getting to feed the missionaries helps to fill our table again and makes me feel good inside. They always share a lovely spiritual thought with us while they are here as well, which also makes me feel good inside. It's a win/win situation. You just can't lose if you feed the missionaries. I wish I could do it every day.

Sunny days make me smile and we had quite a few of those this week. What is it about the sun that puts an extra bounce in your step and a song in your heart? I don't know, but whatever it is, keep it coming! I know it has to rain sometimes, and that rain is good, but we get so much of it over here it's really nice when we have a few sunny days together. I have always said you just can't find a lovelier place than England on a sunny day! there's no finer place on earth.

Jess makes me smile. She is such a lovely dog with such a beautiful disposition. Quite often when I am walking back home down the lane to our cottage after work, she is waiting for me in the drive. She always seems so happy to see me. Her whole body wags. That's the nice thing about dogs. No matter how long you have been gone, or how short, they give you the same welcome home. They are always happy to see you. I think Jess is a bit of a psychic. Todd will just be thinking about taking her for a walk and she gets up and walks over to him and starts wagging her tail. I think she is a bit jealous of lamb chop though . . . as soon as I pick lamb chop up she comes right over to me and wants a fuss . . . she also always tries to get in between Todd and I if we are hugging. I think she just wants us to know that she's a part of our family too and we better not leave her out! As if we ever could . . . she's our baby and we love her to bits!

Sock Monkeys make me smile. I have never had a sock monkey of my own, but I have always wanted one. This week I got to make a couple and I really enjoyed getting my hands busy with a needle and thread again. It's been far too long. I wish I could be there to see my grandson's faces when they get their sock monkeys. I hope that they like them! There is a PG Tips commercial over here with a sock monkey in it. I just love the PG Tips sock monkey! He's sassy!

Spring flowers make me smile. The crocus and snowdrops are blooming brilliantly in our garden as are yellow primroses. The daffs are shooting up and some even have buds on them, just waiting to burst into flower. All the rose bushes have leaf shoots on them. Spring is getting ready to burst out all over and I just love it! I know that winter has a few surprises in store for us yet, but I adore the hope that all these blooms and buds give. It makes a body feel all warm inside!

I love broccoli. I could eat it in any way shape or form. I love it raw, or slightly steamed with a squeeze of lemon over top, or in a soup or salad. I could eat it until it comes out my ears. Todd . . . well, he's not a fan of broccoli, even though I keep telling him that it's really, really good for him! He did enjoy this though . . . adapted from the Lion House Classics cookbook.

*Glazed Broccoli with Almonds*
Serves 6

Delicious broccoli, lightly steamed and put to bed beneath a deliciously creamy sauce and topped off with the tasty crunch of cheese and almonds. What's not to like about this??

2 pounds of broccoli
pinch salt
1 chicken bouillon cube
3/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup light cream
2 TBS lemon juice
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup slivered blanched almonds

Pre-heat the oven to 190*C/375*F. Lightly butter a shallow 9 inch square glass baking dish. Set aside.

Trim and wash the broccoli thoroughly. Place in a pan. Cover with water and add a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until just barely tender. Drain well and arrange in the prepared baking dish.

Dissolve the bouillon cube in the hot water. Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook and stir for one minute. Gradually blend in the cream and the dissolved bouillon, whisking constantly. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and smooth. Remove from the heat and whisk in the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour the sauce over top of the broccoli evenly. Sprinkle with the Parmesan Cheese and the almonds. Bake in the heated oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot.


  1. Nice post Marie - I love those sock monkeys!
    I like the brocolli with almonds and the parmesan cheese!!

  2. Oh I did enjoy the things that make you smile today even Jesse is smiling,lol I loved the pictures too ,have a good and Blessed Jan xx

  3. Hello MAJ! Your dog looks just like our old Sammy dog, it's such a shame he's not with us now.
    I'm going to nick the recipe for broccoli, I hope you don't mind?
    Gaz xxx

  4. Hi, Marie! That British Gold Finch is a dazzler--WOW--what a beautiful creature! So is your Jess! :o) Your sock monkeys are fantastic!! Look at those happy smiles. Your broccoli recipe gives me smiles too. I love broccoli--could eat it everyday! Hope you are having a good weekend, my friend. I am feeling better, thanks! :o) Just one of those weeks, last week...But hoping we'll get to chat today. We've been having a slight problem with the home computer all weekend, so I hope to be able to be on later--LOL! LOVE YOU HEAPS ((HUGS))


  6. I might just be tempted to eat this broc recipe in secret! Well Keith might get a little bit but I wouldn't share it with SIX PEOPLE! As you say, broc is ever so good for yo so it can't be fattening can it?

    So that's what a sock monkey looks like. I had no idea that was one on the advert with Jonny Vegas.

    Not only has your Jess got that huge grin but - what a tongue. Surely all that never fits in her mouth?

    Happy Sunday (sun's come out now)
    love, Angie, xx

  7. You have some wonderful smiles there this week. I always think of Sunday as R&R day -- the day to renew and refresh myself. Now I can add another R -- as you said reflect. I know what you mean about being used to cooking for a house full of people. It is good to be able to have company around the table. I hope your day is a great one!

  8. I LOVE the picture of the bird Marie!!! It's beautiful!! I love the colors and that little birdie!! Your recipe is perfect!

  9. This recipe looks so is so often the case with all you many comfort food recipes!! And we certainly NEED some comfort in these difficult days. And cooking from scratch enables us to eat so much cheaper and better too! Thanks for the encouragements and I do not know how you come up with so many different interesting yummy looking recipes...but please keep on doing so!! And after cooking all day for another come home and do some more!! Awesome lady you are!! I enjoy your other food blog too. Such different foods than I have ever tasted...may get brave enough to try some one of these days! Thanks for a pleasant place to come and read each day!! Blessings on you and yours!!

  10. as soon as I saw Jess's face, i smiled! What a beauty she is!

    I bet those missionaries love coming to eat with you!!!!

  11. we have had lots of sunny days this week too. we had a high of 83 the other day-it felt like summer! i was sweating and thinking, this is february? :) but i do love the sunshine, it brightens my mood!

  12. jess would make anyone smile.
    I miss reading your journal and others , I have been so out of the loop lately

  13. I love all your smiles... :)
    and I love brocolli...
    I think time is faster now, cause even the boys say the days are flying...
    Have a good week!!

  14. Hello dear Marie,
    I have been working on my post all afternoon and time has gotten away from me. I don't know why it takes so long for me to do a simple post. I am amazed that you can do it every day.

    I love reading your Sunday six. I smile at the same things you do.... except Jess of course... but I would love the opportunity to smile at him.... maybe someday.

    I smile when I think of you. I have your fairy dust candle burning beside me. It smells so good. It warms my heart and makes me thankful for the love and friendship we share.

    I will have to try this recipe. I am sure that we will love it.

    Have a good week to come. I hope that you will have lots to smile about.

    Love, Lura

  15. What a great list this week Marie! You are so lucky to have your beautiful Spring flowers poking through! I was in California over the weekend for my sister's baby shower and all of the trees were in bloom with all of the daffodils out in all of their glory. It was beautiful!

    I am sure your grandsons will love their sock monkeys - what a wonderful gift!



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