Saturday 2 October 2010

What is a smile . . .

Try out a smile when you're down in the dumps
And the world seems so dreary and grey;
Laugh at the coulds, when the sky's in a mood,
And you'll frighten the raindrops away!
Look at the bright side of life when you can,
For surely it just goes to show,
By thinking that way, you'll be finding each daay
The bright side's the best side to show!
~Elizabeth Gozney

What is a smile? If you were to look up the definition in the dictionary, you would find it described as a facial expression formed by flexing the muscles, most notably near both ends of the mouth.

A smile is much more than that though . . . It shows in the eyes and in the body language of the giver. A smile that never goes far past the lips is not really a smile at all in my opinion . . . for it is only when the heart is involved that a smile is truly a smile and that shows all over!

According to research, the speed of your smile can shape the first impressions others have of you. Smiling too quickly can lead others to think you are insincere, whilst a slow building grin leads them to believe you are genuine. Fascinating!

Our Jess used to smile. She was one very happy dog. Her whole body smiled . . . right from her open mouth down to her wagging tail. We still miss her very much. Mitzie is a little charmer to be sure, and she, too, brings us much joy . . . but we shall never forget our Jess.

On the BBC Page you can do a little test to spot the fake smile. You can find it here. I thought it was quite an interesting little exercise. I got 16 out of 20 right, so I guess I am pretty good at sussing out fake smiles! Perhaps it's the mother in me . . . coz I'm pretty good at sussing out liars too!

A smile is a gift that gives back, with the giver receiving just as much . . . if not more, in return than the receiver. A smile is a welcome. It radiates the light of our soul. It's warmth permeates as does the sun, and it's rays uplift the spirits of all it blesses.

The world looks a much different place when viewed through a smile, and problems are only half as bad if you can smile your way through them.

Just my thoughts at any rate!

Have a great day and don't forget to smile! You just never know who might fall in love with it!

Now that Mitzie has had all of her shots we are able to take her out and about for walks. It's been raining a lot this past week, so there haven't been a lot of walks, but I thought you might enjoy this little video of her very first walk in the great big outside world! It's in two parts. She did surprisingly well, although someone started their car right next so us and it spooked her a bit. She'll gradually get used to things like that as time goes by.

One of Todd's favourite meals has to be stews of any sort. He just loves them. My son Bruce loved them so as did my daughter Amanda. Now that the autumn is here and the temperatures are dipping a bit, it's the perfect time to make a stew. I always make a big pot so that we can enjoy it for a few days. Stew is one of those dishes that tastes even better the day after! Funny how that goes!

*Favourite Browned Meat Stew*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

This has always been my Bruce’s favourite meal. He could eat this every night of the week, and, if I am being honest I could too! It’s good , honest, un-pretentious home cooking at it’s very best!

2 pounds stewing beef, trimmed of all fat and gristle and cut into 1 inch cubes
¼ cup plain flour
1 TBS olive oil
1 TBS butter
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
6 carrots, peeled and sliced into chunks
3 parsnips, peeled and sliced
1 medium swede, peeled and cut into thick slices
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
2 beef stock cubes
2 tsp mixed herbs
1 bay leaf
1 TBS Worcerstershire sauce
½ cup chopped tinned tomatoes, with juice
1 TBS balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Boiling water

Take the stew meat and lightly season it, then roll it all in the flour to coat. Heat the olive oil and butter together in a large stewing pot on top of the stove over medium high heat and then add the meat a bit at a time. Sear it well on all sides, removing it with a slotted spoon as it is browned.

Once all the meat has browned return it all to the pot and then add the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring over medium heat until the onion is softened, being careful not to brown the garlic. Add the carrots, parsnips, swede, tomatoes, Balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and the herbs. Pour boiling over top just to barely cover. Add the beef stock cubes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to a simmer and pop a lid on top. Simmer, covered, for about an hour. Add the potatoes and stir them down in, then continue to cook for another half an hour to 45 minutes, until the meat is very tender and meltingly delicious and the vegetables are all done.

Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve hot in bowls with lots of crusty bread for mopping up all the tasty juices!

: if you want a thicker gravy you can stir in a mixture of flour and water to thicken it. (just shake about 2 TBS of plain flour in a jar with half a cup of water) Stir it in and keep stirring until the gravy is thickened. Let cook for about 3 minutes or so to cook the flour and get rid of any floury taste.

Cooking in The English Kitchen today, a delicious Rhubarb Compote!


  1. Smashing videos of Mitzi and her first walk with Todd. She had a good day for her first introduction to the big wide world.
    Here's to many more like those.
    Jess was the double of our Guy, rest his soul. He was a tri coloured Border Collie too.
    Have a lovely weekend and......keep smiling! lol
    Jeanie xxxxx

  2. i remembered how excited we were when we could finally take zac on a walk! i love how mitzie's tail is a-waggin! :) she is definitely happy. how fun for her.

    and i love that pic of jess-what a beautiful smile!


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