Tuesday 15 February 2011

The Simple Woman's Day book

FOR TODAY, February 15th, 2011...

Outside My Window...

It's cold and dry. I overslept this morning and so it was already beginning to get light when I woke up. The days are finally beginning to be noticeably longer. Yipee!!

I am thinking...
I've been put on another medication to take in addition to the one I already take for hypertension. My blood pressure has been way up and they haven't been able to get it down. Scary stuff. I expect I've been rather lucky though in that the first one they ever gave me did the job and I've been taking it for 15 years without any change. Some people really get mucked about with their medications before they find one that works.

I am thankful for...
The many blessings I enjoy in my life. Family, friends, church. Our sweet little Mitzie. Relatively good health, a lovely home . . . My cup truly does runneth over!

From the kitchen...
There is not a heck of a lot! I need to bake a cake or something today!

I am wearing...
A nightie, some jim jam bottoms, my robe. Layering to keep warm.

I am creating...
Still working on new designs. Not long now until the first ones will be out and I can show you them. They are talking about another set in May/June as well, so it's all go! I'm also almost finished constructing my Doll's House, so look to see that in the very near future as well!

I am going...
I have a Primary Presidency Meeting tomorrow night and then a Pampered Chef Party to go to on Thursday morning. Then Sheilagh and her husband Ralph are coming over on Friday afternoon. I'm really looking foward to seeing them!

I am reading...

The Personal History of Rachel Dupree, by Ann Weisgarber
A stunning read, with more than a nod at Steinbeck, yet enough distance to place the writer in her own territory. The two settings, Chicago and South Dakota, convinced me of their authenticity immediately. The family grabbed my sympathy from the opening scene and every character is clear and well rounded. Unsurprising, then, that this novel took seven years to write. Wild as it was, the American west was also a peculiarly democratic place, as a black man - or even a woman - was entitled to stake a claim. Still, there are few black ranchers in the Badlands of Dakota in 1917 where Rachel DuPree and her husband Isaac farm 320 acres of tumbleweed.

"I hated the Badlands," Rachel laments, "the bigness of it, the never endingness of it, the lonesomeness of it, the weight of my hate bore down on me."

Her story, shortlisted for the Orange new writers award, is a catalogue of drought, dirt, expiring cattle and still-born children that makes life in a Steinbeck novel seem rosy. A thoroughly engrossing read thus far. I highly recommend. I'm about halfway through it now. I am wishing I could stay awake longer at night to read it, coz it's really good!

I am hoping...
That this newest tablet is able to bring down my blood pressure. I hate being unsure about my health in that way. It is a bit frightening. Not that I am afraid to die . . . but I'm not ready to go quite yet!

I am hearing...
Early morning sounds . . . the house cracking and snapping as it comes alive. Clocks ticking. Walls creaking . . . cars passing by the front of the house . . . the honk of the taxi's horn. The world is coming alive. The birds are singing more and more in the mornings . . . a sure sign that spring is just around the corner, and I am thinking we are all needing a litte bit of that!!

Around the house...
Not a lot to do really. We've been really good at keeping up lately! My craft room on the other hand . . . I need to get in there and organize it . . . again! I think it gets messed up so quickly because there is a lot of things in it and all it takes is for one thing to get moved . . . and you can guess the rest!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...
Finishing off the last few bits of the Doll's House and just general puttering. It's a slow week. Some weeks are and some weeks aren't. I am glad that they balance each other out, coz it would be hard to keep up if they were all busy, busy, busy!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Todd and I had gotten ourselves an Anniversary Clock, which plays the Westminster Chimes back in November, something which we had always wanted. It never has worked properly. We could never get the Pendulum to work at all and it started making all kinds of wierd noises when it was time to ring, instead of what it should have made. We ended up turning it off . . . we have ordered ourselves this one now, through the Bradford Exchange. We saw it advertised in the TV guide. We both fell in love with it. We both love birds and nature so very much. We basically only get sparrows in our garden here and the odd blackbird and pigeons. We miss all the tits and thrushes and other birds we used to have down south. We don't even get robins here. It's a very quiet garden that way. We shall be able to enjoy some indoors though in this lovely clock! Some might think it tacky, but I think it's lovely.

And just as a closing thought for today . . .

"There is no harvest for the heart alone. The seed of love must be eternally sown."
~anne morrow lindbergh

A reminder to us that love is much more a doing word, than a taking word.

And there you have it . . . my day book for this week. Don't forget to hop on over to the Simple Woman to check out the other day book entries! (Or better yet, do a simple day book entry yourself! It's not that hard and I am betting you would enjoy it!

I made this lovely casserole for our tea on Saturday night. It was absolutely TDF! (TO DIE FOR!) I only ate a little bit of it, but the little bit I had, I savoured, and savoured, and savoured . . . I think I gain ten pounds every time I just look at the picture!

*Peppy Mac and Cheese*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

This deliciously spicy version of macaroni and cheese is to die for. Rather high in calories, but well worth it, once in a blue moon. A treat once in awhile never hurt anyone! A nice tossed salad is a good go with. It will also help ease your conscience!

1/2 pound of dry Festine pasta (or similar type)
Olive oil
3 TBS unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
3 TBS plain flour
1 ¼ cups whole milk
1 ¼ cups double cream
1 ½ cups freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided
4 ounces strong cheddar cheese, grated
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
8 ounce stick of pepperoni sausage, peeled and thinly sliced
½ cup fresh bread crumbs (use a good Italian loaf)

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for the allotted time on the package until al dente. (You want it slightly underdone) Drain well, rinse with cold water and set aside.

Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant. Don’t let it brown as it will turn bitter. Stir in the flour and cook for one minute. Stir together the milk and cream and then add to the butter/flour mixture, slowly, stirring to combine. Whisk and cook until thickened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of the parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese melts and the sauce is smooth. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Cover and set aside.

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/375*F/ gas mark4. Combine the Cheddar, Mozzarella and ¼ cup parmesan cheese, tossing to combine.

Lightly grease a baking dish. Spoon some sauce in the bottom of the dish. Top with a single layer of the noodles. Spoon on some more sauce to cover. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese mixture. Top with 1/3 of the pepperoni. Repeat laying with the remaining ingredients for 2 more layers. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top and sprinkle on the remaining Parmesan cheese.

Bake uncovered for 40 to 45 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Wonderful!!!!

Note: If you are not fond of the spiciness of pepperoni you may use ham instead. You can also make it lower in fat by using low fat milk, evaporated skimmed milk (undiluted) instead of the cream and half fat cheeses. It won't be quite as tasty, but will be much lower in fat!

Over in The English Kitchen today I'm doing a Cream Tea for Todd. (I wonder if my sis will recognize the tea cup she gave me for my birthday a long time ago. I have and cherish it still. ☺)


  1. Sounds like a very good week ahead, Marie! So exciting you have more designs in the works. And can't wait to see you doll house! Hope you new medication will help as well. A cream tea... Oh, that sounds good. Actually a busy week here, as I'm hoping my nieces & sisters-in-law can come over on Saturday for a girlie tea & craft party... so thinking menus now, cream tea in mind. ;o) But I'll be home tomorrow if you'd like to chat. Let me know if you have time... Happy Day, dear friend, LOVE YOU LOTS ((HUGS))

  2. I want to Thank you for your sweet surprising visit to my blog Marie. What a blessing. Always love your posts, very full of amazing words, wisdoms and inspirations. Can't wait to see what you are creating to show us. I too am praying for your Health, hope you are able to work through this medication and find the right one for you. So happy this is a slow week for you to relax & enjoy. God Bless and keep you. Love, Nene

  3. Marie: I do hope that your medicines work well. Take care of yourself and watch your salt intake. That's a hard one for me because I like salt on my foods. I can hardly wait to see your designs and also your doll house. You are so talented. I think I mentioned this before; but I think you should write a book; I love reading your thoughts. You could do a great recipe book. I think you have awesome recipes.
    I sent you an email on thoughts about dogs; it was so adorable.
    Have a wonderful week.
    Blessings and hugs to you! LeAnn

  4. Love reading your daybook as usual Marie. I haven't been visiting this week as I have been so busy with trying to get postings on my own blog and then doing all the house and church stuff. I think I am still struggling with how to fit it all in these days. Our church calling takes up ten hours per week counting driving time so it is a bit much and makes me tired to tell you the truth. But I am working on it. Hazie is finally getting a little better and so I feel I can not worry and concentrate on catching up with everyone, especially you!

    Love you dear friend. B


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