Tuesday 30 June 2009

He was the treasure . . .

"Measure wealth not by the things you have,
but by the things you have for which you would not take money."
~author unknown

One day a little boy sat in the family sitting room twiddling his thumbs. It was raining outside and he was so very bored, not being able to go out and play like he usually did. His father was at work and his mother was busy in the kitchen. As he sat he looked up at the mantle over the fireplace. Sitting on the mantle, just out of the reach of his little hands sat a vase, one of his mother's dearest treasures. It had belonged to his Great Grandmother and his mother had told him now very special it was to her . . .

It was a pretty thing, all white porcelain and gilt trimmed with a beautiful rosebud border . . . and his little five year old hands itched to pick it up and see if the beautiful roses went all the way around to the back. The more he stared at it, the more he wondered . . . and before too long he had pulled a chair over next to the fireplace and was standing on it stretching his little hands up to touch it, not realizing of course, that a little boy's hands are often clumsy and not at all meant to hold delicate porcelain treasures. The vase fell to the stone floor in front of the fireplace and shattered into a million pieces . . .

He began to cry and was soon sobbing, each sob becoming louder and louder. Before too long his mother came running in from the kitchen, her footsteps echoing loudly and quickly down the hall and around the corner. As she entered the room, she stopped and looked at him, taking in what he had done . . .

The little boy sobbing, managed to get out the words . . . "I broke it . . . the vase . . . I broke it."

And then . . . his mother gave him a gift.

"Oh thank goodness!" She said with a look of relief, "Thank heaven's, I thought you were hurt!" And then she held him close to her tenderly in her arms, until his sobbing stopped.

In doing so, she let him know that he was the treasure . . . not the vase. As many years that have passed and however old that little boy has become, this is a gift he still carried in his heart . . . he was the treasure . . .

There is nothing I like more on a hot summer's day than a lovely burger, either cooked outside on the grill (doesn't the smell of a barbecue get your taste buds tingling!) or on a grill pan or skillet. Any way you choose to cook these delicious burgers you will be pleased. These are real winners! My Todd eats them with a knife and fork, and I suppose that just makes sense, as they are a real mouthful!

*Tasty Cheese and Bacon Burgers*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

Delicious and moist beef burgers topped with a mixture of three lovely cheeses and sitting on a bed of shaved onions, lettuce, tomatoes and crisp bacon. What more could a person ask for??

1 pound of lean ground beef
1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
salt and black pepper to taste
8 slices of streaky bacon
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
4 slices medium cheddar cheese
4 TBS good quality mayonnaise (I use French mayonnaise)
1 medium onion, peeled and shaved
lettuce leaves
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
4 large burger buns, sliced in half and toasted

Combine the blue cheese and the cream cheese in a small bowl, mixing them together well. Set aside.

Mix together the ground beef, garlic and a little salt and pepper. Shape into four round, flat patties. Let sit for a few minutes for the flavours to melt together while you slice the onions and tomatoes.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Fry the bacon slices in the heated skillet until they are nicely crisped. Remove to some paper towelling to absorb some of the fat away. Keep warm while you cook the burgers. Cook the burgers in the same skillet, browning them well on each side and cooking them until they are done to your taste. Once they are cooked, top each with one fourth of the blue cheese mixture and lay a slice of the cheddar on top.

Spread the mayonnaise onto the bottom half of each toasted bun. Top each with two slices of bacon, a slice of tomato, some lettuce and the shaved onions, laying these ingredients on top of the bacon. When the cheese has melted on the burgers, carefully place one on top of each dressed bun bottom and then cover with the top halves of the buns. Serve immediately.

To see what I got up to next . . . pop on over to The English Kitchen. You won't be sorry you did.

Monday 29 June 2009

The Simple Woman's Day Book

FOR TODAY, June 29th, 2009 ...

Outside My Window...

It's very early and the sky is that indescriminate colour of greyish early dawn, but rumour has it we are going to have a stinker of a heat wave this week! Not bad . . . not bad . . . I am not really a lover of heat waves, but then again, beggars can't be choosers, and it will be nice to have the sun and heat for a time. It does rain an awful lot over here. Todd will absolutely love it as he doesn't mind the heat at all. Myself, I find it just drains my energy to nil . . .

"Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it."
- Russel Baker

I am thinking...
About all the hooplah re Michael Jackson's passing. I know he was a big star, and I agree that he was close to genius when it came to music and his videos, but, for crying out loud, we are not talking about some great political leader here, or someone who did something great to help and change this world we live in! I just don't get it.

I am thankful for...
Two feet that are firmly planted on the ground and in reality.

From the kitchen...
There is some leftover blueberry tart on the counter, a banana bread, and some cheese scones . . . but not a lot of anything else. I do have plans to do a bit of baking this afternoon, but a lot depends on how hot it really gets.

I am wearing...
A white cotton nightie with pin tucks down the front and some embroidery across the yolk. It's one of my favourite nighties. I only really wear it in the summertime when it gets very hot. I always feel really feminine in it and a bit like a princess. I know . . . me<===wierd. I am creating...
I am still working on something really special that I hope to be able to tell you all about really soon. I hate that I haven't had time these past few weeks to pick up my paints and brushes. I am just itching to get some painting done! I have 3 comissions that I need to get started on and soon!

I am going...
Only a few days more of work and then I am on my summer holidays for a few weeks! I can't wait! I have Young Women's on Thursday evening and then our Scripture Study Group on Friday evening. I think we have a picnic planned for Saturday to kick off our holiday. We will probably go to Sissinghurst for it, or maybe Bodium Castle. It all depends on what kind of mood we are in. We're so lucky to live relatively close to some of these wonderful historical sites. Perhaps we'll go to Battle. We went there with some friends a couple of summer's ago, but it was a very rainy day when we went and we didn't get to see as much as we would have liked to see.

I am reading...

The Commoner, by John Burnham Swartz. Set in the year 1959, this is the story of a young woman named Haruko who married the crown prince of Japan, the heir to the Crysanthemum throne. She is the first non-aristocratic woman to do so in the history of the most secretive and mysterious monarchies in the world. It's both interesting and fascinating and I am quite enjoying it. I do love oriental culture and find it very interesting to read about.

I am hoping...
My play list stopped working for me a couple of days ago, something to do with the titles on it not being available to listen to in this country. I have gone to the site and can find no imformation about this at all and in fact nobody's play list works for me, and I can't seem to be able to listen to any of their music at all. I wish I could find a site that had music on it that I can listen to. I miss it, and I don't understand the why's and wherefore's at all!!

I am hearing...
It's very quiet in here this morning. The birds are being very quiet, which usually means a very warm day and the fridge is humming away. I can hear the clock ticking on the wall and Jess snoring by my feet. A couple of mornings ago I heard a sound like a small humming bird beating itself against one of the windows down here, only to discover that it was one of those huge French Hornets that come over here in the summer from France! I hate those things. They scare me to death, but my hubby the hero took care of it for me.

Around the house...
yayy!! We got the kitchen painting finished. Now all I have to do is get some new curtains made for the windows. It doesn't look much different actually, but it does look a lot fresher.

One of my favorite things...
Is visiting other people's pages and reading their blogs. I have not had a lot of time these past few weeks to do that. I don't know where the time seems to disappear, but it just seems to fly by. I miss visiting them. They become like old friends and when you haven't had a chance to read their words for a time, you really do feel a sense of loss. I know that my readership has dropped in these past few weeks as well and I am wondering why . . . mayhap everyone is busy and feeling a lack of time just as I am.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...
There are a few more days of work until my holidays to get through and then I must get all packed for our trip to Austria. I have to get my mother's birthday present packed up and into the post as well. Speaking of my mother, she had cataract surgery last Thursday and could really use some prayers. It hasn't turned out that well and she has almost lost her sight in that eye altogether now. She had Shingles down that whole side of her head and face for most of the past year and a half, along with a type of infection in that same eye, which has really given her a lot of problems. If you could spare a few prayers for her, I would really appreciate it, as would she.

Terri, is having her shoulder operated on tommorrow so a few prayers for her would be much appreciated as well. Todd and I went to visit her yesterday afternoon and it was so nice to see her. She's doing quite well, considering she has had a shattered shoulder and arm for almost two weeks now and all the pain involved!! I cannot believe that they have let this poor woman go for so long without doing anything about it. That is the National Health Service for you! Millions of pounds get pumped into it each year, and yet the services go down, down and further down. Where is all that money going to I wonder. It's quite disgraceful. There has to be a better way.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

The Hollyhocks are all in bloom and so very pretty. I just love cottage garden flowers like hollyhocks and larkspurs . . . the garden is at it's prettiest right now. Oh, I do love this time of year . . .

Why not hop on over to Grandmother Wren's to see some of the other daybooks for today!

I went to get some bread out of our bread bin yesterday to make Todd a sandwich and it had all gone mouldy. What is it about the bread today that it goes mouldy so quickly??? It doesn't seem to last any time at all! Anyways, I quickly made him up some of these really delicious cheese scones. You can have them put together, in the oven and on the table in less than half an hour!

*Hurry Up Cheese Scones*
Makes 10 to 12

Printable Recipe

These are so quick to do and very, very tasty. Best of all, they use ingredients which I always have in my store cupboard.

2 cups self raising flour
2 cups of grated strong cheddar cheese (I use Cathedral brand)
1 1/3 cups of whole milk
pinch of salt
pinch of cayenne pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 225*C/425*F. Lightly butter a large baking tray. Set it aside.

Mix the flour, cheese, salt and cayenne pepper together in a large bowl. Pour in the milk and stir all together just until combined and equally moistened. It will be a very moist and sticky mixture. Drop by heaped soup-spoonful's onto the prepared baking tray, leaving a good two inches between each. (about 1/4 cup full each)

Bake for about 10 minutes, then turn the tray around and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until well risen and nicely browned.

Serve warm, split in half and spread with plenty of cold butter.

If you'd like to see what I got up to with the last of my strawberries, take a peek at The English Kitchen. Delicious! (Who says simple has to be boring?)

Sunday 28 June 2009

Marie's Sunday Six Smile Makers

Welcome to my Sunday Six for this, the last week in June. Hasn't the month passed by quickly? I don't know where it has gone but I sure have had a lot to smile about!

We've had some gorgeous weather this past week, with very little rain. The gardens are at their most beautiful. Everywhere you look there is a riot of colour and fragrance. It's so very soul enriching. I just love nature, as you know. This past week we have been able to go for a lot of long walks across the orchards that surround us. Most of the way we can look right out over the Kent Weald and the views are breathtaking. You can see for absolutely miles and miles. It's amazing!

Getting to go to the Temple. I just love to go to the Temple and this past week was our Stake Temple Week. The youth were there on Wednesday night doing Baptisms and then on Friday Night Todd and I were able to go and do some work for ourselves. It was a really special evening. I had a very emotional and inspiring time. It was very precious to me. I just love being able to go to the Temple and doing work for those who have been waiting for so long to have their work done. If you aren't LDS you probably don't understand how special it is or how I might feel, and I'm not sure I could explain it to you. Just know that it is a very good feeling. It feels even better to be able to go there with the man I love. To be in such a Holy Place with your partner is very special indeed.

Yesterday was Helping Hands day for our church Stake. People from all over our church area gathered together at the Stake Centre to do some service for our community. There were several projects that we were able to participate in. It's always a great day and we always get a lot of work done. I love that our church is able to reach out into our communities and make a difference. God is love, and love is about service and serving others. It's just wonderful!

Yesterday there was also a Baptism at our Chapel. I just love Baptism's. It's always such a special time to be able to witness someone making this decision. There is always a very holy and spiritual feeling that abounds when someone is being Baptised. I suppose that is because it always takes you back to the day when you made this very same decision for yourself and how you felt at that time. There is always a really special feeling in the air and it is a most joyful occasion. I can honestly say that I have never been to a Baptism where I didn't feel the presence of the Holy Ghost very strongly. It's all quite wonderful!

Having friends for dinner makes me smile. I just love having company. Last evening we were lucky enough to have some friends over and I got to cook a special meal, one of my absolute favourite things to do! We relaxed over a tasty dinner and got to enjoy each other's company for several hours. It was a lovely time. Food somehow always tastes better when it is shared in good company!

Each one of you make me smile. I am so very grateful for your faithfulness in coming to my page each day and reading my words. You are all so very special to me. Your love and support mean the world to me and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

two thumbs up Pictures, Images and Photos

I tried out a new recipe yesterday. Isn't that one of the best things about having company for dinner? Getting to try out new recipes? I know! What am I like! (treating my dinner guests as guinea pigs!) It was totally delicious. The original recipe called for chicken legs, but I couldn't find any that I liked the look of and so I used breasts instead. Very brave, as breasts can often dry out and be quite tasteless. I used cornfed organic chicken breasts and they were meltingly tender. Everyone counted this as being delicious, so this tasty recipe got a two thumbs up all around the table!!

*Roast Chicken with Herbed Cheese*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

The chicken in this recipe stays moist and delicious, whilst the cheese melts out to form a delicious sauce over the vegetables. I used breasts and they were wonderfully tender and tasty, not dry at all, and the vegetables, well . . . they were just scrumptious!

150g herbed cream cheese (Philadelphia cheese, with garlic and herbs, or Boursin)
1 tsp grated lemon zest
4 whole chicken legs (thigh and drumstick joints) OR
4 chicken breasts, skin on
2 leeks, cleaned, trimmed and cut into chunks
2 large parsnips, peeled, trimmed and cut into chunks
2 tsp olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 20-0*C/400*F. Mix the cream cheese in a small bowl with the lemon zest. Loosen the skin from the whole legs or from the breasts, and spread about 2 TBS of cheese in between the skin and the flesh on each. Press the skin back down over the cheese and season the meat with some salt and pepper. Set aside.

Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil. Add the parsnips and the leeks. Cook for 4 minutes. Drain well and then place them in a single layer in a baking dish. Drizzle with the olive oil and season well. Place the chicken pieces on top.

Roast for 40 minutes, by which time the skin on the chicken should be nice and brown and the cream cheese should have melted out to form a sauce on the vegetables. Make sure the vegetables are tender and the juices from the chicken run clear. If the vegetables need a bit longer, remove the chicken and keep warm and return the vegetables to the oven for a further 5 minutes or so.

Serve the chicken and vegetables portioned out onto 4 heated plates.

For dessert I had made the most delicious Blueberry Tart ever!! This was sooooo good! Hop on over to The English Kitchen to see more and get the recipe!

Saturday 27 June 2009

Everyday Miracles

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
~Albert Einstein

I like to think that from the moment we awaken in the morning and hop out of bed, until the end of the day when we close our eyes at night, that we are witnesses to a myriad of miracles. Sprinkled throughout the day, we'll find them if we only take the time to look . . .

A spectacular sunrise . . . birds singing . . . a helping hand at just the right time . . . a beautiful piece of music that inspires . . . the feeling of sunlight on an upturned face . . . bees humming amidst the lavender . . . all simple joys, all free for the taking, all soul uplifting and heart enriching

Our days are just filled to the brim with simple pleasures such as these and miracles that are ours for the taking, if only we have the eyes to see . . . They paint our days with glorious colours and are all around us, quite simply waiting to be noticed . . .

We had occasion to go to our Temple last evening, and it was lovely to be able to end the week in such a Holy Place and frame of mind. I just love being at the Temple and being able to be there with the one I love and cherish is just the most special feeling ever. As we drove up, through winding country lanes, they seemed to sparkle with golden sunlight that dappled down, filtered through the leaves of the many trees that hung above us across the roadway . . . kind of like driving through a green fairy tunnel. It truly was beautiful.

Afterwards, at the end of our evening and before we left to drive home, we took the chance to wander about the grounds, hand in hand, just drinking in of the special spirit which dwells there. It was quiet and peaceful and oh so very lovely. We hated to have to leave to come home. I wish everyone could feel these things . . .

For those of you who have asked, Terri is doing alright. She is still waiting to have her operation, and is in a lot of pain, but the painkillers they have given her help to keep it at bay somewhat. They need to give her a new shoulder. She is having her operation on Tuesday so please keep her in your prayers. An operation can be a traumatic thing at the best of times, but when you are 84, well . . . I told her we would be able to call her the bionic woman afterwards, and she laughed. We'll be going to see her after church tommorrow.

We had an early supper yesterday and I threw together a tomato salad using some tomatoes I had ripening on my countertop. Oh, but it was good. I just love tomatoes. I always keep them on the countertop and let them ripen at room temperature. There is just no comparison in flavour when you do this. When you bring them home from the shops, they are hard and tasteless, but after a few days on the countertop, they are sweet and juicy and full of flavour.

*Tomato Salad*
Serves 3
Printable Recipe

You could roast the tomatoes before using them in this salad, but why bother. If your tomatoes are lovely and ripe and juicy they taste lovely just the way they are.

3 ripe tomatoes
1 tsp capers, rinsed and drained
3 fresh basil leaves, torn
1 spring onion, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 TBS balsamic vinegar
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1/2 teaspoon honey
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cut the tomatoes into quarters and lay them on a plate. Scatter with the spring onion. Whisk together the capers, basil leaves, olive oil, vinegar, garlic and honey. Season with some salt and pepper and drizzle over top of the cut tomatoes. Toss gently and serve.

If you'd like to see what we had with it, hop onto The English Kitchen to see what I cooked next!

Thursday 25 June 2009

Be Prepared . . .

The things we see in life, more often than not, depend very much on what has gone on in the background, the result of well thought out planning . . .

Have you ever thought when you sit down to relax and watch the television in the evening, about all of the hard work and planning that has been put into the program that you are about to watch?? The writing of the script, the rehearsal of the actors, the lighting crew, the recording crew . . . all the things that went into the making of that particular program which fit together to make a perfect mix . . .

It occurs to me this morning that it is the perfect metaphor for life. Our lives, in order to be fulfilled and relaxing, should too, be well thought out in advance. Most things can be successfully achieved if well prepared. A marathon runner runs the perfect marathon only when he has put in hours and hours of training, and even for the shortest of performances, the musician practises for weeks ahead of time . . .

Lord Robert Baden Powell, the founder of the Scouting Movement, always spoke and wrote about being well prepared . . . in fact the words "Be Prepared," were his motto. He knew that being prepared for even the smallest things in life and learning to practice this habit consistently, would help to train youngsters to be able to meet the great challenges in life with courage, the tasks of life with strength, and even life's most challenging disasters with a measure of serenity.

There's something in those words for each of us to take in and make our own . . . be prepared.

"Life, believe, is not a dream
So dark, as sages say;
Oft a little morning rain
Foretells a pleasant day."
~Charlotte Bronte, Life, 1846

When I was 18 yaers old I started collecting cookbooks from Better Homes and Gardens. There was a whole series of cookbooks, a cookbook library as it were, some 10 or so volumes of various titles. These and the penciled notes written in my mother's hand were the backbone of my early cookery years in married life. One of my favourite volumes was the one entitled "Good Food On A Budget," and it's pages are splattered and time worn . . . This is one of our favourites from between it's pages. I've adapted it here and there through the years and now I think it's about as perfect as perfect can be! (Economical too!)

*Frankly Potatoes*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

This is comfort food plain and simple. You can't get much better than smokey flavoured hot dogs (frankfurters), slice potatoes and cheese. What's not to like?

8 ounces of smoked frankfurters
1 TBS butter
1 TBS flour
2/3 cup milk
1 cup process cheese spread (I used McLelland's Seriously Strong spreadable cheese,
but you could use Dairy Lee spread or even Cheese Whiz)
2 TBS minced onion
2 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley
4 medium potatoes, cooked, peeled and sliced (4 cups)
2 ounces grated cheddar cheese for topping

Remove 3 of the franks and set aside. Slice the remaining franks into 1/4 inch slices. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring for about a minute. Slowly whisk in the milk until smooth. Bring the boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Whisk in the cheese spread, parsley and onion, cooking and stirring until the cheese spread is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Lightly butter a shallow 1 litre casserole dish.

Fold the cooked potatoes and sliced frankfurters into the cheese sauce. Pour this mixture into the prepared casserold dish. Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over top. Slice the remaining frankfurters in half on the diagonal and place in a decorative manner on top. Bake in the heated oven for 40 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling away, and the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

To see what we got up to next, hop on over to The English Kitchen . . .

Tuesday 23 June 2009

Two Temples

Two Temples

A builder built a temple,
He wrought it with grace and skill,
Pillars and groins and arches,
All fashioned to work his will,
And men said as they saw it's beauty,
"It never shall know decay,
Great is they skill, O builder!
Thy fame shall endure for age."

A mother built a temple,
With infinite loving care,
Planning each arch with patience,
Laying each stone with prayer.
None praised her unceasing efforts,
None knew of her wondrous plan,
For the temple that the mother built
Was unseen by the eye of man.

Gone is the builder's temple
Crumbled into the dust;
Low lies each stately pillar
Food for consuming rust.
But the temple the mother built,
Will last while the ages roll,
For that beautiful unseen temple,
Was a child's immortal soul.
~Hattie Vose Hall

Just a little thought today. I just arrived home from working all last night and the birds were already singing their little hearts out as I walked down the lane. The sun was peeking up over the horizon and the grass was glittering with early morning dew. Along the way I felt the brush of gossamer spider webs, woven across the path from one hedgerow to the other . . . I hated to break them as I know how much work was involved, but what can one do . . . I'm too tired to do otherwise!

I am hoping that Blogger has finally worked out the kinks that have caused problems these past few weeks for visitors visiting my page, and a few others. I switched to Mozilla Firefox and it made all the difference in the world. I don't think Blogger likes Internet Explorer at all!

Off to bed I go but before I do, here's a little something to whet your appetites. Nothing could be any tastier or easier! (This tasty dish is one of my favourites!!!)

*Chicken Rarebits*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

I just love this easy chicken meal. The chicken turns out so moist and tender and covered in a deliciously cheesey sauce. The roasted cherry tomatoes provide a tasty contrast. I like to serve this with crusty bread to mop all the delicious juices.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
5 ounces strong cheddar cheese, grated
1 rounded TBS grainy mustard
3 TBS single cream
1 (150g) packet of cherry tomatoes, preferably on the vine
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 200*C/400*F. Taking a sharp knife, slice the chicken breasts in half through the middle almost all the way, so that you have two thinner pieces that you can fan out.

Lightly butter a shallow baking dish that is large enough to hold all the chicken pieces fanned out. Lay the chicken in the dish. Season with salt and pepper.

Mix the cheese, cream and mustard together in a small bowl. Divide equally amongst the chicken pieces piling on top of each. There is no need to smooth it out.

Place the tomatoes, still on the vine, around the chicken.

Cook for 30 minutes, until the chicken is golden and the tomatoes are nicely roasted.

Serve immediately.

If you're looking for a tasty salad to serve on the side, hop on over HERE and you'll find a real winner! (Little Gems with a Blue Cheese Dressing, delicious!)

Nighty Night!

A bit of this and that . . .

I know, I know . . . today's Tuesday and I am supposed to have a delicious recipe from that Baking Group I belong to, Tuesdays With Dorie here, or at least pictures of it. I just didn't have the time to do it this week, so I hope y'all will forgive me. This week Andrea of Andrea In The Kitchen decided on Coconut-Roasted Pineapple Dacquoise on pages 293-295. I am sure lots of people made it and loved it. The name alone sounds amazing enough to me. Hop on over to the blog roll to see what they all got up to and also don't forget to pop on over to Andrea's page as she will have the recipe there!

Some weeks just get ultra busy don't they? I know they seem to just whip by me. Todd says that he is busier now that he is retired than he ever was when he worked! I hear that from a lot of folk . . . dare I look forward to retirement? hmmmm . . . perhaps not!

I found this little piece about time yesterday and thought that I would share it with you all. I thought it quite inspiring and thought provoking. I hope you do too!

Your Next Twelve Hours

Just for today . . . I will try to live through this day only and not tackle my whole life problem at once. I can do something for twelve hours that would appall me if I felt that I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

Just for today . . . I will be happy. This assumes to be true what Abraham Limcoln said, "That most fols are happy as they make their minds to be."

JUst for today . . . I will try to strengthen my mind. I will study. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.

Just for today . . . I will exercise my soul in three ways: I will do somebody a good turn, and not get found out. I will do at least two things I don't want to do . . . just for the exercise. I will not show anyone that my feelings are hurt; they may be hurt, but today I will not show it.

Just for today . . . I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress becomingly, talk low, act courteously, criticize not one bit, not find fault with anything and not try to improve or regulate anybody except myself.

Just for today . . . I will remember that language is the dress of my thoughts. Everytime I speak, I will remember that my mind is on parade. I will recall that someone said, "You can always tell what kind of wheels are a man's head by the spokes that come out of his mouth."

Just for today . . . I will have a program. I may not follow it exactly but I will have it. I will save myself from two pests: hurry and indecision.

Just for today . . . I will have a quiet half hour all by myself, and relax. During this half hour, sometime, I will try to get a better perspective of my life.

Just for today . . . I will be unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful, and to believe that as I give to the world, so the world will give to me.

The Happy Cook over on My Kitchen Treasures is holding a strawberry feast in June. I decided I wanted to play along and so I made Todd some delicious Strawberry Shortcakes at the weekend.

When I was growing up this was the ultimate summertime feast! We all loved it when my mother made us Strawberry Shortcake for dessert! Mom always used baking powder biscuits and put vanilla ice cream in the middle of hers. I know that other people use sponge cake and I have even seen it made by layering crumbled baking powder biscuits, strawberries and whipped cream.

I have to say that my favourite way of making and eating Strawberry Shortcake is with biscuits and I have my own tasty version of those that I like to use. These are very akin to butter scones. If you give them a chance, I think you'll agree that these be mighty tasty!

*Strawberry Shortcakes*
This makes enough for 9 to 12 biscuits
Printable Recipe

These are wonderfully short and buttery and just the perfect biscuit to be used in a strawberry shortcake. Not too sweet and nice and crumbly.

13 1/2 ounces flour
1 TBS sugar
1 TBS baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
6 ounces cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups double cream, plus more for brushing on top of the biscuits
1 TBS extra of sugar for sprinkling on the tops

Pre-heat the oven to 190*C/375*F.

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder,sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Drop in the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like cornmeal and the largest pieces are pea sized. Add the egg to the cream and beat together with a fork. Make a shallow well in the dry ingredients and then add the wet ingredients slowly, stirring with a fork, until you get a shaggy dough. You may or may not need all of the wet ingredients.

Generously flour the counter top and turn the dough out onto it. Flour your hands and lightly knead a few times to bring it together, then pat the dough out to a rough rectangle. Fold it together in thirds, putting the bottom fold over the centre third, and then the top third down on top to finish. Repeat this again. Finally pat out about 3/4 inch thick. Cut into circles or squares and set them out onto a non greased baking sheet. Brush the tops with some cream and then evenly sprinkle with some sugar.

Bake in the heated oven until the tops are lightly browned and the bottoms are golden brown, about 20 to 22 minutes. Remove from the oven and onto a wire rack to cool.

To make strawberry shortcakes:

Use as many strawberries as you would like for however many servings you want to serve. Wash them and then pluck off the stems and leaves. Cut into halves or thirds and place them into a bowl. Add a few tablespoons of white sugar and give them a stir. Let them sit for 10 to 15 minutes in order to release all their juices. You can mash them a bit with a fork if you like, but you really want them to be quite chunky.

Whip some double cream until it softly mounds, adding a bit of sifted icing sugar as you go. You will probably need a large tub of it, depending on how many people you are serving.

Split the short cake biscuits and place the bottom halves into a bowl. Spoon the sliced berries along with some of the juices over top. Add a healthy dollop of the whipped cream and then place the tops of the biscuits on top. Serve immediately.

If you'd like a delicious entre to go along with that fabulous dessert, hop on over to The English Kitchen to see what else I got up to!

I have to work really late tonight so don't be upset if you don't see a post here from me tommorrow morning first thing. I shall be sleeping in, hopefully!