Friday, 24 June 2011
Friday this and that . . .
No surprise here, I LOVE children's books. When my children were growing up we had a whole bookcase filled with a beautiful assortment of books. I was always buying them. I'm not sure if I was buying them more for me or for them! To this day I still love to read them and pick them up when I find some at charity shops and such. Next summer when my eldest son comes over with my two grandsons, we will have a nice collection to read to them! (Including all the Rupert Annuals!)
Anyways, I was reading one the other day about a sad little squirrel who had lost her bounce, and who was moping around the forest floor. Her friend the rabbit noticed.
"What's wrong?" the rabbit asked
"I'm so unhappy," the squirrel replied. "I can't hop like you, I can't tunnel like Mole, and I can't swim like otter. I can't do anything and I'm no use to anyone." She hid her head and cried.
"But, Squirrel," cried rabbit, "You have such a beautiful tail! We all love watching you dancing along with it flying gracefully behind you."
The squirrel looked at her reflection in a nearby pond and realized that rabbit was right.
Oh, Rabbit," she beamed, "Thank you for making me ralize that there is something special about me after all!" And she scampered off happily through the forest, displaying her fluffy tail behind her.
How utterly charming this story is and there is a lesson there not only for children. We can learn from it as well. We mustn't sit and always compare ourselves to others and find ourselves wanting things or talents we'd like to have, but probably never will. It's nice to admire others and appreciate their finer points, but we must learn to appreciate our own as well, and we all have them, as much as we may think that we don't!
Each of us brings something special to the table. It could be that your talent is helping other's to feel better about themselves, or maybe you have a smile that lights up the room when you walk in. Perhaps you are good at helping other's to see the positive, or maybe you are really good at praying for others. We are all good at something and have wonderful qualities that should be celebrated no matter how small and meaningless we may feel that they are!
Well, my party last night was a bust! In fact, it didn't even qualify as a party and my consultant will have to put whatever orders we have in with someone else's party. I had only one person show up at first, and she was someone I had only invited at the last minute. She is a friend I have had on facebook for the past year, and she had sent me a message to say that her niece, who lives next door, was unable to come but didn't know how to work facebook. It suddenly dawned on me that she possibly lived here in Chester, and so I told her she was welcome to come if she wanted to. I had not realized before that she lived here or that she was my neighbours Aunt! Oh how lovely she was. I really enjoyed our time together and I was so glad that she came. It was lovely talking together and being able to put a real face and a personality to the name. I hope that we can see each other again soon! The neighbour from across the way came over as well, which was nice, and the little boy next door was there also. It was nice to get to know the neighbour across the way better as well! I think it's a shame that in a lot of cases, nowadays, we don't get to know who our neighbours are. I think we are missing out on something really special.
Anyways, I did feel bad for the consultant that did my party, and for all the trouble she had gone to, but the few of us that were there did enjoy ourselves and I think she did too. I told her I would have another one closer to Christmas and hopefully more people will be able to come to that one! (I think yesterday was just a bad day and people had plans!)
I got through the knee injection ok yesterday, but boy oh boy was I suffering afterwards. I slept in the spare room last night as it was throbbing and I didn't want to disturb Todd. I will be taking it easy today! I have to go next Wednesday and have the other knee done.
We changed our living room all around yesterday as well. It's amazing what a difference it makes and how much larger the room looks. Todd had always said we would never be able to fit an armchair in here, but is now realizing that we probably could! I shall be on the lookout for one now. Actually we have a friend who regularly changes her furniture around. She picks up the most lovely suites at charity shops, second hand. She has a lovely black leather suite at the moment. A full sized sofa and two arm chairs, with wood trim, and I know she will be wanting to change it before too long. I shall offer to buy hers up when she tires of it! (Fingers crossed! Is that naughty of me??? Probably!!)
Two of our missionaries came over yesterday afternoon and helped Todd to dig up the rest of the garden as well, so that next summer we will have more space. We are really enjoying our garden this year and are now picking peas, early potatoes, lettuce and chard. Food you grow yourself always tastes better for some reason!
Well, I have prattled on long enough so will leave you now with a recipe. This is one of the things we had last night at the party. They were delicious and so easy to do. Quite impressive really for the little effort that was taken. I just love the Pampered Chef recipes and the products as well! I have gone to lots of different kitchen parties through the years, and alot of what I've bought has been relegated to the dusty back of the cupboard, but I have to say with all honesty, that every Pampered Chef thing I have ever bought gets used with regularity. Their stuff is Ace, and so is this dessert!!! I hope that they don't mind that I pinched their picture! We were all too busy stuffing our faces to break out the camera!
*Strawberry Amaretto Pastries*
Sort of like a Strawberry Shortcake, but made with scrummy puff pastry topped with sugared almonds, and a mascarpone cheese filling! These are fantastic!
1 sheet of fresh ready rolled Puff pastry, remove from fridge at least 20 minutes before using
60g of flaked almonds, divided (1/2 cup)
3 TBS granulated sugar
284 ml carton of double cream (about 1 1/4 cups)
85g of sifted icing sugar, divided (1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp almond extrt
115g of mascarpone cheese, softened (about 1 cup)
12 large strawberries, sliced
Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ Gas mark 6. Unroll the pastry sheet onto the rectangle stone (OR a parchment paper lined baking sheet) and trim the edges to make a rectangle measuring 12 by 15, discarding any excess.
Finely chop two thirds of the almonds and mix together with 2 TBS of the granulated sugar. Sprinkle this evenly over the surface of the dough. LIGHTLY press the almonds into the surface.
Cut the dough lengthwise into three strips and horizontally into 4. You should have 12 squares. Gently ease them apart and position them evenly over top of the stone. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cooked, puffed and golden brown. Remove from the baking stone (sheet) to a wire rack to cool completely.
Place the remaining almonds into a pan and lightly toast. Coarsely chop. Set aside.
Zest the entire orange and then combine the zest with the remaining granulated sugar. Set aside.
Whip the cream, half the icing sugar and the almond extract until soft peaks form. (It is important you don't over whip) Combine the remaining icing sugar and the mascarpone cheese. Fold this mixture together with the whipped cream.
Slice the strawberries.
Split each pastry square in half, arrange half of the strawberries on the bottom of each shell. Top with a dollop of the cream mixture. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds, then the remaining strawberry slices. Sprinkle with the sugared orange zest and then place the tops of the pastries over all. Serve immediately. Delicious!!
Over in The English Kitchen today, a delicious Tomato and Cucumber Salad!