Monday, 5 October 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook . . .

FOR TODAY, October 5th, 2009 ...

Outside My Window...

It is dark, dark, dark . . . and so very quiet, except for the occasional shriek of that Screech Owl. Kind of spooky really. I wouldn't want to be out walking about right now . . . no siree!!!

I am thinking...
About all the wonderful talks we heard on the Conference this past weekend. I so enjoyed them. Because of the time difference we don't get to watch all of them right away here. We basically only watch the morning sessions on both days, which we get late in the afternoon. The afternoon sessions are on at 11 pm here and Todd and I are both in bed by then! We have to play catch up and watch them on the computer at another time once they are archived. I also love the fact that they are all published in print in our church magazine in the next month's issue, which will be the November one. That way you can go back and read through them all. You always end up picking up little gems that you missed at the time.

I am thankful for...
We had such a wonderful visit yesterday with Angie, and her husband Keith! ( Can You All Hear Me At The Back ) I've known Angie for about 4 years now. We first started stalking each other met over on AOL journals. We saw something that we really liked in the other's words and next thing we were not just commenting on each other's journal, but e-mailing back and forth. Then it was phone calls. A funny thing is Angie's name is right under Todd's name on my cell phone and she is always getting obtuse text's from me that make no sense . . . like "I am finished, come and get me now." or "Did you remember to put out the garbage?". It's rather funny really. I have to say that Angie is just as charming and dear in person as she is on her page. I just love her to bits! (Keith is a real sweetheart as well, but then again, how could he not be?)

From the kitchen...
Hmmm . . . there's leftover Apple and Hazelnut Brown Betty from yesterday and ohhh . . . look!!! There's some lovely mince pies from Aldi!! Angie remembered me saying how much I missed them and she brought me down a couple of packs as we don't have an Aldi near where we live. OH, and there's some of her delicious Plum Bread as well as a jar of her tasty Green Tomato Chutney!!

I am wearing...
A lovely soft pair of pink stripey pajamas . . . the gift from a sweet, dear friend. I was given these last year by Lura of Grammy's News. They were so pretty and I so wanted to be able to wear them, but alas . . . they have always been a bit too small. Yayy!!! I can finally wear them now. They are so soft and pretty and best of all . . . they remind me of a precious, dear, and much loved friend. Oh how the Lord has blessed me to have brought such sweet and wonderful people into my life.

I am creating...

There has not been a lot of creating going on in Oak Cottage this past week. The time has just been evaporating. Lots of lovely things planned, but not enough hours to get any of them done! I am hoping that this week will be a lot better creatively!!!

I am going...
Not a lot planned for this week, activity wise. I have Seminary to teach on Thursday evening and I have to say I am really enjoying it. I have two boys in my class, so it's a really small class. I try to make it as interesting as I can for them, and so far they seem to be enjoying it. Then on Saturday there is the General Relief Society Broadcast which happened a few weeks back over in America. There is a wonderful organization in our church called the Relief Society. Relief Society is one of the oldest and largest women's organizations in the world, claiming more than 6 million members in over 170 countries and territories. Once a year the Relief Society presidency, 3 lovely women, get together along with our church leaders and present to us some lovely talks on things that are pertinent to our lives as women, both in today's world and as members of our church. Because of the time difference over here we are all asleep when it is normally broadcast so we always get together as a group at a later time to hear it. We are going to do so on Saturday afternoon and will also be treated to a delicious three course dinner. It's really a great afternoon. I was able to go last year and they split the broadcast up into three sessions that we watched before the first, second and last courses. Food for the soul and the body. It's a pretty wonderful afternoon!

I am reading...

No change here. I am still reading The Last Concubine by Lesley Downer, and I am really enjoying it very much. It combines three of my loves . . . oriental history, mystery and romance. The Last Concubine is the story of a shogun, a princess and the three thousand women of the women’s palace - all of whom really existed - and of the civil war that brought their way of life to an end. Growing up deep in the mountains of rural Japan, Sachi has always felt different, her pale skin and fine features setting her apart from her friends and family. When at the age of eleven she is swept off to the women’s palace in the great city of Edo, her life changes forever, and when she is chosen as the young shogun’s concubine, it changes even more. But Black Ships have come from the west, bringing foreigners, and as civil war erupts, Sachi has to flee for her life. Rescued by a rebel warrior, she finds unknown feelings stirring within her, but before she dare dream of a life with him, she must unravel the mystery of her own origins - a mystery that encompasses a wrong so terrible it threatens to destroy her. I am only about 1/3 of the way through, so not much progress since last week really.

I am hoping...
That Angie and her husband get home safe and sound today . . .

I am hearing...
It's all very quiet . . . the clock is ticking. Jess is snoring. The refrigerator is humming. My keys are tapping . . .

Around the house...
Not too much going on really. Everything is all tickety boo and tidy. It's nice to have company, if only for the fact that it gets you off your butts and tidying everything up! We had company all weekend because not only did we have Angie and Keith yesterday, but on Saturday evening we had a couple of really good friends come over to watch the conference with us. What a wonderful time we had. It's nice to share something special like that and so inspiring with a few good friends. Aferwards we sat and ate apple crumble with custard that one of them had brought with her as a treat for everyone.

One of my favorite things...
is collecting salt and pepper shakers. I just love them. My favourite pair is a set of little roosters, a gift from a dear friend of mine in America that lives in Utah. She and her husband were missionaries over here several years back and I love her dearly. I miss her so very much. She was more than a missionary sister to me . . . she was and is a sweet friend. We both lead such busy lives and we don't get to talk or contact each other as much as I would love to, but each time I see these sweet little roosters, I think of her and the special times we have had with each other and I miss her even more . . .

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...
Work, Seminary, and hopefully some drawing and painting! It's been a few weeks since I have been able to pick up my paintbrushes and my fingers are just itching to get at them!!!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Oh, how I wish it was a better picture and not so blurry! (Todd took it and did his best) This is a picture of Angie and me right after she arrived yesterday! I wish we had taken more, but we were just so darned busy gabbing with each other and enjoying each other's company! I did get a great picture of her talking to Lura on the telephone though!

Oh how I wish Lura could have been here with us. We have great plans though . . . the three of us are going to get together and spend some time in a cottage somewhere out in the boonies and stay up all night gabbing and all day cooking eating and getting up to all sorts of mischief. Sounds like a great plan!!

And there you have it, my Simple Woman's Day Book for today. Don't forget to hop on over to the Simple Woman to check out the other day book entries! (Or better yet, do a simple day book entry yourself! It's not that hard and I am betting you would enjoy it!)

I made us a lovely Cottage Pie for our dinner on Saturday. Todd is a simple man with simple tastes and what better recipe to share with you on my Simple Day Book monday, than one that is tasty, delicious and . . . simple . . .

*Everyday Cottage Pie*
Serves 6
Printable Recipe

My Todd is a real meat and potatoes man. He has simple tastes and this is one of his favourite suppers that I make him. I confess that I don't always make it the same, but this is the barebones recipe that I use. Sometimes I add a bit of horseradish, other times perhaps a splash of balsamic vinegar. It all depends on what mood I am in.

1 TBS vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
1 pound lean minced beef
1 14 ounce tin of chopped tomatoes in their own juice
1 cup of strong beef stock
1 TBS worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp summer savoury
1/2 tsp thyme
salt and black pepper to taste

For the mash:
1 1/4 pound of mashing potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1/8 cup butter
1/4 cup milk, warmed
salt and pepper
freshly grated nutmeg

1 cup of grated strong cheddar cheese

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and carrot, and gently cook them in the hot oil until the onion begins to soften. Add the minced beef and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes, until the beef begins to brown. Add the garlic and cook for a minute longer. Add the tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, beef stock, summer savoury and thyme. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Place the potatoes in a pot of lightly salted water to cover. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until tender. Drain and mash well. Stir in the butter and warm milk. Season to taste with salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg.

Pre-heat the oven to 190*C/375*F. Spoon the mince into a 1 1/2 litre oven proof dish. Spoon the potatoes over top to cover, and rough up a bit with a fork. Scatter the grated cheese evenly over top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is crisp and golden and the centre is piping hot.

Over on The English Kitchen today, I am waxing on about Real men and Quiche!! Plus there's an excellent recipe for short crust pastry!


  1. Marie while your days are closing in we are waking early to bright sunshine.

    I enjoyed reading about your day. Shepherds Pie is a family favourite here so I may just try your recipe.

    To share part of my day one child is in bed and the other is sitting beside me concentrating on her cello. It is such a mellow sound to end the day and way quieter than the advanced French translation the whole fmaily endured.

    God bless you with a wonderfilled week.

  2. Marie! I truly enjoyed my visit with you this morning! I always come away feeling like we've had a lovely chat over tea I'd be remiss is I didnt tell you next time I'd ppreciate a bite of something!!! You might save some of that cottage pie for me.. YUM!!!

  3. Oh, what joy to see that photo of you & Angie! So happy you got to meet for real and have a fun day together! Your trip all three hole-up in a cottage for endless fun and gabbing sounds terrific... I hope the wish comes true one day! :O) I hope to that we will be able to meet up again one day--I think of such so often. You week sounds off to a good start. I'm sorry we didn't get to chat during the weekend. I'll send you an email and tell you why. Any chance we may get to chat tomorrow if you have the evening free? Hope so--miss you! Happy week, my dear friend. Love today's recipe--perfect comfort food for fall! LOVE YOU HEAPS ((BIG HUGS))

  4. Marie you cottage pie looks amazing. My husband would love it!

    How fun that you were able to be with your dear friend. What a cute picture!

    I was thinking about you while watching conference yesterday wondering if you were able to watch it and if so what time it was at your cottage. I am glad you were able to see some of it.

    Have a great week my friend!


  5. The time at your house went too, too quickly! For us it was a magical day. Thanks for showing us on the map the back roads so we could get back to Ashford without resorting to the soul-less motorway. It was actually a shorter and quicker route - can you please have a word with that woman in the sat nav?

    It was a very special day and we loved every minute and we love you and Todd too.


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