Sunday 17 January 2010

Marie's Sunday Six

Welcome to my Sunday Six post for January 17th, 2010, my third smile maker post of the year already!! It's hard to believe that we are more than halfway through January isn't it. Time surely does fly when you are having fun I reckon. With what's been going on in the world these past 7 days, my own blessings have seemed all the sweeter . . .

The blessing of having been born in a country and having the luxury of being able to serve others makes me smile. I may not have a lot compared to some folk, but I am surely blessed to be able to share what I do have with others. It did my heart good this week to be able to send some aid to those brothers and sisters of mine in Haiti which are suffering in an unimagineable way. Yes, I still feel a bit helpless and am wishing I could do more, but I have done what I can for now and that makes me smile. It is an extra special blessing to be able to serve another in any way that we can, and I am very thankful for that.

Letters from home. They always make me smile in a very big way. I really 0nly get them from my mom, but occasionally I do get one from someone else. I can count on a letter from my mom to push through my mail box about every second week and the sight of that envelope and it's postmark always makes me smile. I know that I am going to have about 15 minutes of good reading and it is like having a little visit with her. I read it the first time all by myself, and then I read it again out loud to Todd, and then I'll read it again a little while later just to savour it. I collect them all in a box and it is stogged full, as you can imagine. I cherish each and every one.

This is Faith , the two legged dog. She was born, without front legs, to a junkyard dog in California, back in 2002. Rejected and abused by her mother, she was rescued by Ryeben Stringfellow, now an army E-4 specialist, who had been asked to bury other puppies in the litter.

He asked his mom at the time, Jude Stringfellow, if they could fix the puppy. Her reply . . . "No, but maybe we can help her." Carrying her around at first to keep her off her chest and chin, they eventually trained her to walk on her two hind legs. She now does talk shows and has even been on tour with Ozzy Osbourne, but her most inspiring work has been the work that Faith does in visiting injured soldiers in the many veteran's hospitals across the United States. For many, Faith brings a powerful message . . . a message about overcoming adversity, and that makes me smile in a very big way.

The rain we have been experiencing this past week makes me smile, for it has helped to get rid of a lot of the snow and ice that has been keeping many of us housebound. The snow was surely beautiful to see, but it did cause a lot of problems for a great many people in this country. I hear we have not seen the end of it, but for now it has cleared and hopefully the next time it snows we will all be better prepared! Do ya think??? Nah . . . but that too, makes me smile.

I get the loveliest things in the post and just yesterday morning a pretty brown package dropped through my letter box and inside was this lovely cookbook, a gift from my friend Susan who has the page called Not Quite June Cleaver. I have been reading Susan for a number of years now, having first been attracted to her page by it's name. I always admired June Cleaver when I was growing up and always aspired to be just like her, but like many girls of my age, I have fallen short of the myth. I was really interested to see a page by a woman who, like me, tried hard to meet that expectation, but wasn't afraid to admit that she was her own woman. It truly is a special page and always brings a smile to my face when I go over to read it. She has written this delicious pie cookbook and I was just thrilled to receive it as a gift from her! I promised to tell her the truth about it and my opinion and let me tell you, this is one very impressive book. Very well written and with beautiful pictures. When I think that she published it herself, without the aid of an editor I am even more impressed as she has done a lovely job of it, truly. It reads just like a professionally published cookbook, except that it is even better . . . better because it has heart and personality, and that . . . makes me smile. This cookbook should go on all of your wish lists, seriously!!!

Since we got our big HD television over a year ago we have not been to the movies. We got the telly so that we could save money by not going to the movies and watching films with the same impact of a big screen and surround sound at home. Yesterday we finally broke down and went to a film. We had wanted to see the film Avatar, but it was all sold out and so we picked the next best thing, which was Sherlock Holmes. Wow! What a great film it was and I am glad that we went to see it on the big screen of a movie theatre. I love date nights and being able to go out and about with my Todd, and not just to the grocery store or to church. It is fun to be able to do something like this together once in a while. We both really enjoyed this film and gave it "two thumbs" up! It was funny in parts, very entertaining, well acted and very well directed. I was most surprised as I had not thought that I would really enjoy it that much. I highly recommend. Date Nights are something else that I highly recommend. Every couple should have them. Special times with special people always make me smile.

So there you have it, my special Sunday Six Smile makers for today. Now make me smile some more. What brought a smile to your face this week? I'd really like to know!

We eat a lot of chicken in this house. I like chicken. It is one of those meats that you can put just about anything with and come up trumps. This is a really delicious chicken dish that is simple and quite quick to put together. Slightly spiced, with a lovely sweet/tart combination of honey and lemon, it goes very well with some steamed rice. We usually just have a salad on the side as the dish already contains a vegetable. I think you'll all like this one!

*Sweet and Sour Chicken Thighs with Carrots*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

A delightful combination of honey and lemon give this delicious chicken dish a wonderful sweet and sour flavour. The recipe calls for bone in chicken thighs with the skin on, but I always use boneless skinless ones with no problem at all. I like to think it's healthier that way.

8 small chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 TBS olive oil
1 large onion, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4 inch strips
6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces diagonally
2 TBS minced garlic
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 TBS mild flavoured runny honey
1 TBS finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 TBS finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)

Pat the chicken dry with paper towelling. PUt 1 1/2 tsp of the salt with the paprika, cinnamon and black pepper in a small bowl. Mix together well and then rub this spice mixture into the pieces of chicken on all sides.

Heat the oil in a non stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken pieces, in two batches, and brown all over, turning once. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.

Discard all but 3 TBS of fat from the skillet. Add the onions and carrots. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt and some black pepper to taste. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until the onion begins to soften and colour, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for one minute longer.

Return the chicken to the skillet, right side up, nestling it into the vegetables. Stir together the honey, water and lemon juice until well blended. Pour this over the chicken and into the skillet. cover and simmer over low heat until the chicken is cooked through and the carrots are tender, from 25 to 30 minutes. If necessary skim any fat from the surface when done. Sprinkle with the fresh herbs and serve.

A delicious Tuscany Bean soup today, over on The English Kitchen.



  2. Hi Marie! I love your Sunday Six and I think you probably know what brought a smile to my face this was when I opened the shiny red-paper covered box and Patty Bakes a Cake was looking at me! She has settled in well and feels part of the family already! ~~~Love, Pat x

  3. Wow Marie once again you have inspired me.

    But thank you for the review on Sherlock Holmes. I have thought about seeing it. Perhaps I will get there.

    Take care.

  4. Love these smile-makers you shared this week, Marie--all are so beautiful!

    I love our date nights too--sometimes they don't come very often, but we take them when we can!

    We LOVED "Sherlock Holmes"! I really can't wait to see it again & just enjoy all the details...

    Glad you're getting some relief from all the snowy conditions...will feel good to get around normally, I'm sure!

    I'm off to check out Not Quite June Cleaver--she sounds wonderful! Hope you know how much you're loved and appreciated! Have a wonderful Sunday!

  5. I have realy enjoyed reading your smile makers Marie once again.Like yourself I have a large box full of letters which make me smile when I take time out to re-read them.The thing which made me smile most this week,was my computer letting me enter your blog LOL!!What problems I have had with this of late.It's good to make a comment once again.As for the films.Being hard of hearing I find watching them at home on the tv much better as I can have sub titles on,but I love the date times out for a nice meal.Have a Blessed Sunday.Take Care God Bless Kath xx

  6. Your Sunday post are always so cozy, this one no exception, Marie! We have the Sherlock Holmes film on our to-see list. We rarely got to the movies either. We get a lot of DVDs to loan from our local library, they're got such a great selection. Last night we watched a French film we got at the library yesterday--great fun! So we have date nights at home a lot--especially in winter--LOL! Hoping very much we get a chance to chat tonight--looking forward to it! Happy Day, dear friend--LOVE YOU HEAPS ((BIG HUGS))

  7. Marie, it is always fun to read your
    Sunday Six. I had not heard about that dog, amazing! We loved Sherlock Holmes - well he is my hero, you know! The only thing I did not like is that twice they were able to sneak up on him when he was sleeping. I am sure that would not have happened to the "real" Sherlock! Much love - Raquel XO

  8. You always have a lot to smile about and so do I. The week has been a good one here too. Will be continuing to pray for the efforts to help in Haiti. They have a long way to go in recovering from the shock of that earthquake, but I see lots of help is going there way. I do hope your Sunday is a great one!

  9. what an inspirational little dog! thanks for sharing that story-how amazing.

    and joey and i SOOOO need a date night soon. its so good to make time to do that every now and then, especially when you have little ones at home. its hard to do(finding someone to sit for you) but its worth it to make the arrangements! glad to hear your date night was so fun! have a great sunday marie!

  10. DH and I went to see Sherlock Holmes last week and we loved it. Two thumbs up, too. I'm not into that kind of movie but DH is, so must obliged. I didn't expect I would so enjoyed it.

    These days, what brings smile to my face is reading good posts like yours and seeing more comments coming in to my blog ;-) OXOX

  11. Love your Sunday Six Marie! The rain has melted all our snow, as well. It is nice to see green grass again, even if it is short lived. Love your date night movie recommendation! I'm glad you and Todd enjoyed yourselves. Date nights can be so special.

    Have a blessed week!

  12. Wonderful Sunday 6 Marie! What a inspiring story!

    I have been wanting to see that movie. I will have to check it out.

    Have a wonderful week dear friend!



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