Sunday, 15 March 2009
Marie's Sunday Six Smile Makers
Happy Sunday everyone. The birds are singing and I think we're going to have a lovely day today. We had a pretty nice one yesterday as well. I just love spring and I just love sharing my Sunday Six with each of you. Sunday's are one of my favourite days!
I wander'd lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake,
beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
It makes me smile to see all the daffodils bursting out into bloom around the countryside, in the towns and dales. A lot of the traffic circles near where I live are just loaded with them, as are roadsides and gardens. I just love to see their little yellow heads dancing and frolicking in the springtime breezes. They are so sweet and yellow. They make me happy. They are such a beautiful burst of colour after the dull winter that's waning!! Looking at them just makes me feel all happy inside!
Knowing that people make my recipes and then enjoy eating them makes me smile. This is a picture of John, my friend Lura's husband (Grammy's News ) eating some of the Chicken Pot Pie that she made for him earlier this week after seeing my recipe for it on here. He looks like he's really enjoying it! That makes me happy. All the recipes I post are ones that we love here at Oak Cottage and it really makes my day to find out that some of you are making them and enjoying them too!!
I am so proud of the people of the United Kingdom! They dug really deep into their pockets this year and raised a full 17 and a half million pounds more this year than the amount they had raised in previous years, breaking their record. It is so nice to know that despite the rough times that a lot of people are having during this recession and credit crunch they are still able to think of others that have so much less than they, and that they are so generous and have such big hearts! I love the UK, and I love the people here. They make me proud to be one of them and they make me smile!
I got an e-mail from my son earlier this week to tell me that my grandson Gabriel just loves his sock monkey! That really made me smile! It was so much fun making them and to know that my grandson has fallen in love with the one I sent to him really did my heart good. I wish that I could have been there in person to see his little face when he opened his gift, but at the same time it does my heart good to know that across the miles there is a little piece of me making my little grandson happy!!!
Having guests makes me smile! My sister in law, Barbara and her daughter, June (Todd's niece) are here visiting for the weekend. We have such a small family over here. Todd has a brother, and then of course Babs and June, and an old Auntie that lives in Devon, plus her son and his wife. We hardly ever get to see any of them, so to have Babs and June here for the weekend is just wonderful! I have enjoyed cooking special meals for us all and then yesterday we did a bit of site seeing locally. Last night we went to see the film, "The Young Victoria," which was really, really good! It's just nice to have some family around, and to be able to spoil them is the icing on the cake!
Yesterday when we were out and about, I spied this lovely candle. Sweet Peas are my absolute favorite flower of all. I just adore them. I fell in love with the scent of this candle, and I really liked what it said on the tin . . . "The One I Truly Love," for I truly do love them. I was so pleased that Todd bought it for me as an early Mother's Day present. Now I can smell sweet peas all year round and when I do I can think of my sweetie pie and how much I love him too! He is so thoughtful and kind and . . . well, I just adore him. That makes me smile in a very big way!
And there you have it, my smile makers list for Sunday the 15th of March, 2009. What's making you smile today?
On Friday night I cooked us a lovely chili to have when Babs and June arrived. We had it on a bed of rice with some cheese scattered on top. It was truly delicious. No beans in this one!
*Texas Style All Beef Chili*
I clipped this recipe from a Women's Day magazine, probably about 20 years or so ago. They used to do a series called "The Best of the Best." This was what they considered to be the best chili and I have to say, I agree!
4 slices streaky bacon, chopped
2 pounds timmed beef brisket, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 TBS chili powder (mild)
1 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried thyme
pinch of ground cinnamon
1 cup beef broth
1 (14 1/2 ounce) tin of chopped tomatoes in juice
2 dried chipolte chiles
Cook the bacon in a large saucepan or dutch oven, over medium heat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Remove and reserive drippings. Return 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat to the pan, increase the heat to high and add about 1/4 of the beef. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is well browned and the juices evaporate. Remove to a bowl and repeat with the remainder of the beef, repeating in 3 batches until all the beef has been browned, adding more bacon fat as needed, and placing the beef into the bowl. Set aside.
Add 2 more tablespoons of the bacon fat to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for ten minutes, or until slightly browned. Add the cumin and cook, stirring until it is fragrant and toasted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, paprika, pepper, oregano, salt, thyme and cinnamon. Cook, stirring for about a minute longer. Add the reserved bacon, beef broth, tomatoes with their juices, chiles, 1/2 cup water, and beef with any juices that may have accumulated in the bowl.
Bring to the boil, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to simmer, and cover partially with the lid. Simmer gently for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the beef is fork tender. Stir frequently towards the end of the cooking time to prevent it from sticking and getting burnt at the bottom. You may add up to 1/2 cup of hot water if the chili becomes too thick.
I like to serve this hot, on a bed of steamed long grain rice with some grated cheese to sprinkle on top!