Sunday, 14 June 2009

Marie's Sunday Six . . .

What a wonderful week we have had here this past week at Oak Cottage. So many things to smile about, so many blessings . . . it will be hard to pin them down to just six, but I'll try! My cup truly does runneth over!

Friday evening I had just gotten home from work and was settling in to watch the Coronation Streets that we had taped earlier when the telephone rang. Whoever could it be calling that time of night I thought. It was one of my sons! Oh no, I thought, what was wrong??? Au contraire! He was calling me to tell me that we are expecting a new grandchild, long about February! I was thrilled to hear the news and even more thrilled that he had chosen to tell me first before anyone else. I can't tell you which son it is at this point, because they don't want a lot of people to know as my daughter in law is looking for work right now and they don't want this to prejudice any employer from hiring her. I am very excited about this news. I just adore my grandchildren, as any grandmother does and I am so happy for my son and his wife.

Child of my child
Heart of my heart.
Your smile bridges
The years between us...
I am young again, discovering
The world through your eyes.
You have the time to listen
and I have the time to spend,
Delighted to gaze at familiar,
Loved features made new in you again.
Through you, I see the future.
Through me, you'll see the past.
In the present, we'll love one another
As long as these moments last.

Old grandchildren and new grandchildren, well, they make me smile in a very big way.

I have some holidays coming up in July. We hadn't really planned on going anywhere much, perhaps down to Broadstairs to visit some friends there during the second week of my hols, but we were just going to putter around here and there for the first week. Well . . . . a couple of days ago we were sitting here thinking and then we thought, why not . . . we have booked a coach tour to Sound of Music Land! Yes, grab your leiderhosen and drindel skirts, because for 8 days and 7 nights we are going to be traipsing the light fantastic in Austria! Wow! In about 4 weeks time I will be twirling around just like Julie Andrews up in the Austrian Alps! I can't wait. The thought of that makes me smile too! The Sound of Music is one of my favourite films!

Todd makes me smile. He picked up this ball cap in a charity shop the other day. It is from Texas and has a Texas longhorn embroidered on the front of it. He looked at me and said in his best Drill Sergeant's voice . . . "Honey, the only things that come out of Texas are Queers and Steers, and I got the horns now to prove I'm a Steer!" (That's one of his favourite movie lines. I think it's from An Officer and a Gentleman.) Having a husband with such a wonderful sense of humour brings joy to my heart. I love him so very much.

I got an e-mail from the other day to tell me that my cookbook, Recipes From The Big Blue Binder, is now being listed on Amazon, and at a cheaper price! I was very happy to hear that. It makes it a lot more accessible now and perhaps more people will want to buy it. So far it's only available on their American site, right here. This book was a real labour of love for me and I am pleased that now it will be easier for people to get it. It took me several years to put this book together and is a delicious sampling of all my tried and trues, and family favourites gleaned from a lifetime of cooking and love. 178 pages of recipes, colour photos and snippets of my artwork and quotes. I know that the few people that have bought it have given me great feedback from it, which also makes me smile when I think about it.

Getting in touch with old friends makes me smile. I have a wonderful friend Eliza that I met through an online recipe site, Recipezaar. I can't even remember now how we met exactly, but it was on one of the chat forums that we had both posted on and somehow we sussed out that we were both members of the church and so we began e-mailing each other. We found out that we had ever so much in common and right from the start we felt like kindred spirits. We've known each other for some 5 years or so now. Eliza has been able to come over here to visit with her husband Ed, I think 3 times now and it has been so wonderful each time to be able to spend that time with her in person. Pinch yourself kinds of moments to be sure. These past few months we have both been so busy, but yesterday afternoon we were able to catch up with each other on MSN and chatted for a good hour or so. It was so wonderful! We hardly ever find each other online because of the time difference and the hours we each work. (She is a nurse in a very busy obstetrics unit) It was the highlight of my day yesterday.

The gardens make me smile right now. They are bursting out in colour and blossom all over the place. You only have to stand quietly with your eyes closed and every breath takes in a new scent, and the eyes have a wonderful feast to devour with every glance! Oh how I love England on a sunny day. It fills my heart with so much gladness.

We had such a busy day yesterday. Shopping in the morning and then I had to work last night, so I put together a quick supper for us mid-afternoon of a delicious tabbouleh salad and some steak. I know . . . steak on Saturday . . . what are we like!

*Zesty Tabbouleh*
Serves 6
Printable Recipe

This recipe makes a lot, but I find that in these warmer months it's nice to have some salad in the fridge that I can just pull out to snack on or for a quick lunch. This is a little bit different than the traditional tabbouleh salad in that I have added some delicious chunks of avocado to it.

200g of bulgur wheat
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
6 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 bunch of spring onions, or 1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 medium ripe haas avocado, peeled and diced
large bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
large bunch of fresh mint, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
3 TBS olive oil
the juice of 1 large lemon

Place the bulgur wheat into a large bowl. Pour over bowling water to just cover. Cover with a clean tea towel and let it sit for 15 minutes. Once tender, drain well in a colander and squeeze out any excess water using the back of a spoon. Tip the cooked bulgur wheat into a large bowl. Add the cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, onions, herbs, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. Toss all together well. Season to taste with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Serve.

If you are wanting a nice pudding, hop on over to The English Kitchen and see what's cooking there! Yes, it's Summer Pudding!

Note - Dot asked me if my measurements when I use cups and tablespoons are North American. Yes, Dot, all my measurements when I use cups and tablespoons are North American measures. Feel free to cook my recipes with abandon and without fear. It is only when I am using ounces etc. that I am using British measurements, and if you go HERE, you will find a complete conversion table that is quite handy to use then!


  1. It's ever so complicated, this cups business!

    Can I get your book off Amazon, even though it's only on the American site? It gives the price in $ and I need to pay in £.

    I WILL have that book! One of these days I WILL have it!

    love, Angie, xx

  2. Congratulations on the new baby. My garden is making me smile just now too it is so beautiful and flowering so well this year. Have a lovely Sunday. Love Joan

  3. congrats on the baby news and the

  4. You have had so much to smile about. I am smiling from ear to ear for you.... what wonderful news you have had... a new grandchild on the way.. your book on Amazon.... a vacation in Austria to look forward to...a visit from a good friend... it is all so very wonderful and exciting. I wish that John and I could visit Austria with you.

    I am so happy for all of your good news... the only news that will make me happier is when I hear that you have your own card line being distributed.... I keep waiting for that news and I am sure that it will come sooner or later. Then the world will get to enjoy your great art talent the way your blog friends do.

    Have a great week. I send love. Lura

    ps My friend Treva makes tabbouleh for special occasions. Her husband is from Seria. My kids grew up thinking tabbouleh and potato salad were musts at all potluck dinners. Treva always brought the tabbouleh and I made the potato salad.

  5. Gosh, Marie, what a thrill to have your own published cookbook. It has to be a huge thrill to have accomplished that, what with everything else you do! Congratulations!

  6. Happy News, Truly. A new grandbaby. That is the best news ever. Being the first to know is a special, "I love you."
    Congrats about your cookbook. You are such a talented wonderful lady. Thank you for sharing your world.


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