Sunday, 26 April 2009

Marie's Sunday Six Smile Makers

A new Sunday has dawned and it's time for me to think about my six smile makers again. The hardest part for me is always pinning it down to six. I have so many things each week happen that bring me joy and peace. I truly am blessed.

It is easy to be pleasant
When life flows by like a song,
But the man worth while
Is one who will smile,
When everything goes dead wrong.

For the test of the heart is trouble,
And it always comes with the years,
And the smile that is worth
The praises of earth
Is the smile that shines thru tears.
~Author unknown

(this is the back of my home)

Seeing the sun when I wake up in the morning and being able to walk home in sunlight at the end of my work day. In the winter months, I often am at work not too long after the sun rises and walk home in darkness each day. I just love these longer hours of daylight. It means I get to enjoy birdsong just that little bit longer and I can sit outside the cottage for a few moments when I get home, just drinking in all the lovely things around me.

Happy little Grandsons. My children are not the greatest at sending me photos it seems. Thank goodness for Facebook. I can go on there and scoop up pictures and save them on my computer. Yesterday one of my daughter's in law posted a bunch of new pictures of my youngest grandson, Joshua who was born this past March, so he's not very old. My, he looks a lovely wee one. I wish that I could hold him just once. Alas, they live too far away. I haven't yet even been able to meet his older brother, Jonathan. We are hoping that next summer we will be able to get to Canada and that I will be able to see them then. The thought of that makes me smile.

Jess. As most of you know, we have a border collie named Jess and she makes me smile. With these warmer and dryer days she is usually out in the garden waiting to greet me when I arrive home after work. That is one of the things I love most about dogs . . . they way they greet you when you have been away. They are always so happy to see you and make a fuss. They are such good company. I love our Jess to bits. She is such a smiling dog and so happy. She makes me happy too.

I have loved buttons since I was a little girl and collected them for many years. I have a big paper mache box that I hold them in. I painted the outside of it myself many moons ago. I just love taking it out every once in a while and looking at all the buttons in it. I feel like a pirate running my fingers through golden doubloons when I run my fingers through the buttons. Every button has a story to tell and holds happy memories for me. They are like a secret treasure to me. My mother always had a button box too. I used to love looking at all the buttons in it when I was a girl and thinking about the journeys each button had taken. Nothing has changed. The girl in me still loves to do that, even now . . .

My paints and brushes make me smile. I enjoy every moment that I spend with them so very much. Everything else disappears and I am in a world of my own. Time just disappears. I am so grateful for this God given talent of mine. No, my pictures are not like Rembrandt's or other famous artist's muses . . . my pictures are a reflection of my own heart and mind. Whimsical and fun to do, they speak to me of the joys and innocence of childhood. I think inside each one of us is the shadow of the child that we once were. I like to take mine out once in a while and give it a voice. This voice springs from the end of my fingertips like water from a well. It brings me joy and hopefully it also brings joy to others . . .

The Gospel. I am so thankful for the Gospel in my life and the peace that it brings. In a world that seems to be going crazier by the moment, it is the one thing that I know will never change, and that I can find comfort there. It is a sure sweet knowledge that calms my heart and fears, that fills my heart and mind with joy. Every word, every thought, even the tiniest of it's principles . . . they all bring such a peace of mind into my life. I wonder how people who don't have it in their lives cope with this ever changing world. I am reading some of the Discourses by Henry B Eyring right now. I am on the first volume, Drawing Closer to God. There is such wisdom there and I am eating up every word like candy.

"Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." (D&C 88:63.)

I rest in that beautiful promise from the Savior. It is my anchor in the troubled waters of these modern times.

Another thing I love about the warmer sunnier days is salads. We tend to eat a lot more salads in the spring and summer. This is one of my favourite ones. Crisp and tasty chicken tenders on a bed of dressed greens and vegetables and all topped with a tangy barbecue dressing. This is better than anything you can get in a restaurant and you feel almost healthy eating it. Shh . . . we won't think about having fried the chicken . . .

*Pecan Crusted Chicken Tenders and Salad with Tangy Maple Dressing*
Serves 4-6

Printable Recipe

This is one of my favourite salads to eat in the warmer weather. I love the crunch of the chicken and the crisp salad greens and it's sweet and tangy dressing.

Chicken Tenders:
vegetable oil for frying
1 1/2 - 2 pounds chicken tenders
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten together with a bit of milk or water
1 cup dry bread crumbs or cracker meal
1 cup of pecans, finely chopped or ground
1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly ground
the zest of one orange

1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup of barbecue sauce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
the juice of one orange
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


3 hearts of romaine lettuce, chopped
a handful of cherry tomatoes sliced in half
6 spring onions, sliced diagonally

Place the flour in one shallow dish. Place the eggs in another shallow dish, next to the flour. Place the bread crumbs, nutmeg, orange zest and pecans in third shallow dish, mixing them together well.

Season the chicken tenders with salt and pepper and then roll them in the flour. Dip them into the beaten egg and then finally coat them in the crumb mixture.

Heat some cooking oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Fry the tenders in the hot oil in small batches for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes on each side. Drain well on paper towels.

Whisk together all the dressing ingredients until amalgamated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Combine the chopped lettuce and the spring onions in a large salad bowl. Toss with 3/4 cup of the dressing. Divide the mixture amongst 4 to 6 chilled serving plates.
Top each with several of the chicken tenders. Drizzle the remaining dressing over top. Serve.


  1. Wha must you have thought the first time you saw what your 'tied cottsge' looked like? Takes your breath away doesn't it?

    As for Jess, well of course you are exactly right. Even if a dog is in the house fast asleep, she is still THERE. Our Sally now shows a few signs of her great age (15) - grey hair, very deaf, cataracts, sleeps a lot - but in her sleep her paws are going like crazy, and she wags her tail. I like to think she's reliving some happy moment or other. I don't know if dogs can do that, but if they can.........

    Thanks for a lovely posting.
    love, Angie, xx

  2. You are truly blessed,and your smile makers make me smile as well! Your home is so lovely. It is just what I think of when I think of lovely English cottages, just wonderful.

    Grandbabies....ah nothing like them. We are 6 weeks from our baby girl will be arriving. Your little guy is just beautiful. I know your arms are aching to hold him.

    You have given my Sabbath a wonderful and reflective start. Thanks for your loving thoughts from so far away!

  3. I can't imagine what it must be like to live in that beautiful cottage and have all that beauty around you! Love the recipe Marie!

  4. what a beautiful little grandson you got there! so so cute!

    and i love that you love buttons:) they are cute, aren't they? i need to put all of mine in one place like you have. mine are scattered in drawers everywhere:)

  5. I don't feel very well today but looking at that picture of your chicken salad makes me hungry. I wish I lived next door and I could run over for a plate of salad and a visit.
    I loved seeing your cottage. You live in a beautiful place. That is surely one of the perks of your difficult job. I hope that I can see it in person one day.

    Joshua is so darling. How sad it must make you to be so far away. I surely hope that you will get to visit them next summer. I will keep my fingers crossed and my knees bent.

    Seeing your paint brushes makes me smile too. It is nice to see the medium you use to produce your little treasures.

    I am sending love to you. I got your message on live messenger. Thanks. XOXXO Lura

  6. Marie Love your six, and the pics of jess, your homme and grandson, so nice dear, huggs, xxxGloria

  7. The pecan crust sounds really good!

  8. Oh Marie, your house is just beautiful! You are so very blessed. It must be wonderful to live in that cottage and all the beautiful surrounding grounds! Wow!

  9. What a lovely post, Marie! I have a button can too! My mother gave it to me and it was given to her by her mother. She and I both enjoyed playing w/ them when we were little girls. I'll have to blog about it someday, you've given me a great idea! BTW, the chicken fingers looks super yummy!

  10. Marie, I find such comfort in your blog, it is so beautifully written and so feels like home to me. I have missed being here over the past few weeks and now I want to spend some time and go back to what I have missed. Thank you so much for all your sweet comments on my blog during this crazy time of visitors and remodeling.

    Your little Joshua is absolutely beautiful. I know how you long to be with him and Jonathan. There is nothing quite like the empty arms of a loving grandmother(another thing we share in common.)

    The backside of your cottage is stunning~exactly what I expected a cottage in England to be like. Just simply lovely!

    You speak of your work often. What do you do?

  11. MMMMMM...Lovely salad & chicken!
    I just stumbeled onto your blog & I am glad that I did!
    Lovely foodblog that you have got! well written too!

  12. I don't think there is a picture on this post that didn't make me smile!

  13. I always enjoy the Sunday Six! and Jess always makes me smile too!!!!

  14. You make me smile! I am glad you showed us your house. It looks so interesting. Is it old?

  15. Love the pics - especially Joshua and Jess. Darlings!


Your comments mean the world to me, and while I may not be able to address each one individually, each one is important to me and each one counts. Thanks so much!