Friday 11 December 2009

I'll take a wheelbarrow please . . .

Whenever I happen upon a beautiful Nativity Tableau of the stable, the Holy Family and the shepherds at Christmastime, I remember this story about a little boy who wanted a wheelbarrow for Christmas . . .

Many years ago there was a Dean of a certain Cathedral who went to check that all was well with the Cathedral's annual Christmas Crib. (That is what they call a Nativity Scene over here.) On this particular year he happened upon a little boy in ragged clothing, kneeling in front of the crip and praying . . .

"Please can I have a wheelbarrow for Christmas?"

The sight of this small boy and the thought of his humble prayer stayed with the Dean for several days and he decided to make a few enquires. He was able to discover that . . . as young as he was . . . this boy was actually the "man" of his household and that he badly needed a wheelbarrow to collect wood to keep the fire going for his mother in their poor home.

The Dean called together a meeting with some of the congregation of his church, and shared with them the boy's prayer. Between them all, they managed to produce a sturdy wheelbarrow, filled it with some Christmas fare and warm clothing for the vamily and left it outside the boy's home on Christmas Eve.

Early the next morning the Dean was in the cathedral when in came the young boy, all scrubbed up and tidy, and pusing the empty wheelbarrow. When he reached the crib, he stopped and gently picked up the doll representing the baby Jesus in the manger, and placed it inside his wheelbarrow and proceeded to wheel it around the cathedral.

"What are you doing?" inquired the puzzled Dean.

"Well sir," came the young boy's reply . . . "I asked Him for it, and I thought t'was only fitting that He should have the first ride in it."

I just loved this story when I came across it. What a beautiful reminder of just who we should be grateful to for our many blessings this Christmas. All too often the true meaning of Christmas gets lost in the commercialization of this most sacred and holy holiday. Just look at the word . . . h-o-l-i-d-a-y. H-o-l-y-d-a-y.

Not much difference is there. I like to put Christ into my Christmas each year. How about you? He is THE reason for the season after all. Every year Todd and I say we are going to buy ourselved a Nativity Tableau . . . and every year we give up on the idea as they are so expensive and we've never been able to afford one. It doesn't really matter I guess, because it is a tableau we carry about in our hearts all year round . . . and . . . most especially at this time of year.

I didn't have a lot of time for cooking yesterday afternoon, especially after getting my Seminary Lesson finalized for the evening and writing up more Christmas Cards. I am really late getting them out this year for some reason. I did have some leftover cooked chicken in the fridge and a few other bits and bobs, and so made this tasty supper dish that we had not had in a very long time. My children always loved it when I made this when they were growing up. It comes from an idea that I saw once in an old Shaker Cookerybook. This is delicious, simple and a real treat. It's equally as tasty when made with leftover turkey!

*Chicken Shortcakes*
Serves 6
Printable Recipe

This is actually just a form of creamed chicken in a delicious gravy, spooned over tasty corn muffins, but chicken shortcake sounds really moreish, don't you think?

3 cups cubed cooked chicken
2 cups well flavoured chicken stock
2 TBS butter
2 TBS flour
salt, pepper and summer savoury to taste
16 ounces sliced mushrooms, lightly sauteed (optional)
For the corn muffins:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 beaten egg
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup melted shortening, or corn oil

Pre-heat the oven to 200*C/400*F. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cornmeal together in a bowl. Whisk the egg, milk and melted shortening together and add all at once to the dry ingredients, mixing only until uniformly moistened. Spoon into 6 large well greased muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned and the tops spring back when lightly touched. Remove to a wire rack and keep warm.

While the corn muffins are baking make the chicken sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking for one minute. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock. Cook, whisking constantly until the sauce is smooth and thickened. Season to taste with some salt, pepper and summer savoury. Fold in the sauteed mushrooms if using and the cubed chicken. Heat through.

Slice the warm corn muffins in half and spoon the chicken mixture over top to serve. Delicious!

I've been baking some nibbles to take to our Scripture Study group meeting tonight. These are my Sweet Chili Cheese Puffs. You can find them over on The English Kitchen.


  1. Once again a lovely story. You are pure genius at finding these. I hope your tooth is feeling much better. Have a blessed day.

  2. Hello dear,
    We just got home from the temple a bit ago. I am so tired from my long eventful day, but I am too keyed up to go to bed. It was such a lovely day. It was a joy having my home brimming with lovely ladies. The weather was beautiful and sunny so I could put 12 outside on patio tables to eat. (Even though we need the rain I was glad for good weather today) The presidency helped me so much with clean up that it was all done in plenty of time for us to leave for the temple. It was a wonderful day. Thanks for your well wishes. I know that you were thinking of me. I could feel your love and support.

    Thanks for sharing another sweet story with us...and that chicken recipe looks so good. I must try it. I hope your tooth is better and that the antibiotics help. It is late so I guess I should go to bed. I had a blessed day...I hope you did too. Love, Lura

  3. What a gentle & loving story. Thank you.

    I wish I could share our Nativity scenes with you. My elder sister has bought two of them for us (three if you count the soft-toy scene she got Cami a few years ago so she'd have one she could reorganize to little-girl delight). Dawn sent the first just before our first Christmas as "Mr. & Mrs. Turner." She told me that as a newlywed without much spare cash, the thing she'd most wanted was a Nativity scene, so she made sure we weren't lacking when we were scrimping newlyweds.

  4. Leave it to you to make some thing special out of leftovers...the shortcakes sound very yummy. I hope your Friday is a great one!

  5. A lovely story. I have my grandmother's nativity set (which is the worse for wear -- we got to "play" with it as children) and I wouldn't have any other -- it's full of memories!

    Love the chicken shortcake. Would make a great luncheon dish!

  6. Great story my dear and the chick. shortcakes looks so good I could take a bite!!! :D

  7. What a wonderful way to start my day, Marie! I haven't heard that story before, and I just love it! Can't wait to share it with my family...

    Oh, my! Those Chicken Shortcakes look dreamy! Talk about comfort food! I've never made cornmeal biscuits or shortcakes before--can't wait to try these! Like every other recipe I learn from you, I know they'll be absolutely delicious!

    I hope you and Todd are having a marvellous winter's day, and know that you're thought of with much love in California...

  8. What a sweet story. I love it. Marie, you and Todd have a lovely Christmas. Love you dearly, Bonnie

    P.S. Heading out your way tomorrow afternoon...still have plenty to do! We are flying the Polar route so I am sure we will pass over your cottage at one point!

  9. This is so lovely, Marie...Thank you! :o) I remember my parents had a beautiful Italian-created manger and figures. I wonder what happened to it, as they didn't have it out last year... I must ask! Hubby would love your recipe today--he loves anything chicken! Hope you & Todd have a very lovely weekend. A very busy one here--errands and shopping tomorrow, and nephew's birthday part to go to on Sunday. Hope we get to catch up soon. LOVE YOU HEAPS! :o) ((BIG HUGS))

  10. Starr's comment made me a little I wanted a beautiful Nativity set when we were first married, too. My MIL got us one....and then another....and now we have three. None of them compare to her amazing setup, but some day...

  11. love the story :) this is my first visit to your blog.i have enjoyed my visit and have become a follower of your other blog and enjoy this one just as much :) i came on over from the vintage chic.

  12. I love the chicken shortcakes! I just got your package today! Yours should be there soon!

  13. What a lovely story. Thanks for sharing it with us.


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