Tuesday 23 August 2011

The Simple Woman's Day book . . .

FOR TODAY, August 16th, 2011...

Outside My Window...

The mornings are getting darker these days . . . it seems only a few weeks ago I was arising in full daylight and now . . . it's only beginning to brighten up when I awaken. Autumn surely is just around the corner. Having said that though . . . today looks to be a dull day anyways, weatherwise!

I am thinking...

Lately every time I do something on the computer I run across an old comment from Angie, or another little something that she posted . . . I miss her so very much. I still have a hard time believing she is gone. It still tears me up . . . I think these little links are like her way of telling me that she is still with me and not far away. It makes me smile when I think of that. She was such a dear and beloved friend . . .

I am thankful for...

All the legal wranglings that I have been messing about with for the past year are now finally over and there is a definite light at the end of the tunnel now. I feel as if I have won the lottery. Not quite . . . but I now have a little nest egg for my retirement years, which will come in handy in about 10 years time.

From the kitchen...

There is a tasty Sticky Orange Marmalade Cake, but little else in the way of goodies! Lotsa lotsa fruit though!

I am wearing...

A blue nightie and slippers. I have decided that I have a lot of blue nighties. I think it's time to break free and buy one in another colour!

I am creating...

I have stacks and stacks of finished cards sitting in my craft room, all glued and glittered, and bagged and stickered up. I still have to list them in my Etsy Shop. I know, I have been saying that for a few weeks now! I am a bit closer to having them done, but yesterday I finished something that I have been working on for a while now. I finished up a lap quilt top!! Yayy!! I should have taken a picture to show you here this morning.

I had purchased myself one of these jelly roll packs of Thimbleberries fabrics several years ago and yesterday I sewed them all together. They look quite lovely . . . very rich, and it will make a lovely big lap quilt for the winter months. I was inspired by this post by my friend Marlene, of Stitching by the Lake. Thanks Marlene!!!

I am going...

A friend of mine is coming over today to view my Craft Room! I hope she is duly impressed! (Somehow I doubt that. I have a long ways to go before it is impressive, but still I count myself very lucky to have a room all to myself!!)

I am reading...

Untied, by Meredith Baxter

“I remember Sarah asking me, when I’d just begun therapy with her, what I looked for in a man. After a few moments of silent, tense deliberation I had it. ‘Hair,’ I blurted. ‘He has to have hair.’”

Meredith Baxter is a beloved and iconic television actress, most well-known for her enormously popular role as hippie mom, Elyse Keaton, on Family Ties. Her warmth, humor, and brilliant smile made her one of the most popular women on television, with millions of viewers following her on the small screen each week. Yet her success masked a tumultuous personal story and a harrowing private life. For the first time, Baxter is ready to share her incredible highs, (working with Robert Redford, Doris Day, Lana Turner, and the cast of Family Ties), and lows (a thorny relationship with her mother, a difficult marriage to David Birney, a bout with breast cancer), finally revealing the woman behind the image.

From her childhood in Hollywood, growing up the daughter of actress and co-creator of One Day at a Time Whitney Blake, Baxter became familiar with the ups and downs of show business from an early age. After wholeheartedly embracing the 60s counterculture lifestyle, she was forced to rely on her acting skills after her first divorce left her a 22-year-old single mother of two. Baxter began her professional career with supporting roles in the critically panned horror film Ben, and in the political thriller All the President's Men.

More lucrative work soon followed on the small screen. Baxter starred with actor David Birney as the title characters in controversial sitcom Bridget Loves Bernie. While the series only lasted a year, her high-profile romance with Birney lasted 15 volatile and unhappy years. Hiding the worst of her situation from even those closest to her, Baxter’s career flourished as her self-esteem and family crumbled. Her successful run as Nancy on Family was followed by her enormously popular role on Family Ties, and dozens of well-received television movies.

After a bitter divorce and custody battle with Birney, Baxter increasingly relied on alcohol as a refuge, and here speaks candidly of her decision to take her last drink in 1990.

And while another ruinous divorce to screenwriter Michael Blodgett taxed Baxter’s strength and confidence, she has emerged from her experiences with the renewed self-assurance, poise, and understanding that have enabled her to find a loving, respectful relationship with Nancy Locke, and to speak about it openly.

Told with insight, wit, and disarming frankness, Untied is the eye-opening and inspiring life of an actress, a woman, and a mother who has come into her own.

I watched her interview on Oprah the other day and was in tears throughout most of it. As I watched and heard her speak of her marriage to actor David Birney, I realized just now many parallels there were in that marriage and my own marriage to my ex. Thankfully Baxter's children are on board with her there and recognize the stigma and horror of emotional and verbal abuse. I was too good at hiding it. I hid it from my family. I hid it from my children. I hid it from my friends . . . as you do. Nobody wants to admit to other people that this is going on . . . a bruise on the face which shows . . . you can't hide that. A bruise to the soul goes much deeper, and is much harder to heal. There is a part of you that believes you deserve it and that it is all you are worth . . . it is shameful, soul wrenching, and debilitating . . . but what hurts even more is when the very people you tried to protect from it, turn on you, because they cannot believe that it even happened.

I am hoping...

That we have nice weather for our holiday in a few weeks time. September in Cumbria . . . rain comes to mind, but we might get lucky!

I am hearing...

Early morning sounds . . . the clock on the mantle humming as the wheels inside it turn. The odd car as it goes by. Mitzie snuffling as she snoozes, all curled up behind me on the sofa. The tap tapping of the computer keys as I write.
They are morning sounds. The sounds as I hear whilst the house wakes up around me and the day begins.

Around the house...

Ironing, hoovering, dusting . . . the usual household chores. I don't mind puttering about in the house really, except for the fact that it prevents me from doing what I really want to do all day long, which is play!

I am looking forward to...

I am having my first committee meeting tomorrow with my enrichment (extra meetings) committee for Relief Society. I am so glad to finally have one. It will be nice to have some extra help with these things. They are a couple of great gals and I am looking forward to working with them!

I am pondering...

I am sometimes really astonished at how quickly life passes away. As a child the summer months seemed to last forever . . . but as an adult they flash by, seemingly in an instant! Is that just me or does everyone experience this phenomenom???

One of my favourite things...

Is watching old television programs. We are just about to start the last in the Andy Griffith Series. They were simpler times for sure. I know that they were only a pale imitation of real life . . . but I do so enjoy watching them. I love Leave It To Beaver as well, and Father Knows Best and My Three Sons. I love them all and they make my heart feel so good and warm when I am watching them. We have the first of the Newheart Series as well. For some reason they have never come out with Season 2. From the minute I hear the Introduction Music and see that car winding through the Vermont Hills, my heart sings. I just love it. We are watching it for the 4th time now. It never gets old.

A few plans for the rest of the week...

My friend and Craft Room today, my meeting tomorrow. daily reading lessons, a Ward Picnic on Saturday, but that is all. The rest is blissfully free!!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

This is our little hedgehog visitor. Isn't he cute? I think him quite adorable. I love that we still have these little glimpses of country life even though we live on a huge housing estate at the edge of a city. I am a country gal at heart. We are so blessed to have such a huge garden at the back of us. I know Todd doesn't think it's so great when he has to mow it, or to trim the hedge, but . . . the rest of the time he glories in it as well. We have discovered this week that we don't just have two frogs, but three! We may even have more, I don't know. But we feel blessed to have even three! What a bonus!!

And just as a closing thought for today . . .

"He who harbours a slight, will miss the haven of happiness."

~author unknown

I discovered a long time ago, the futility of bearing a grudge. It seldom if ever affects the one you hold it against, but it can poison your own life in unimaginable ways.

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 have a tasty vegetarian Lasagne to show you today. Oh, I do love my Lasagne. It is one of my absolute favourite things to make and to eat! Todd doesn 't overly mind it either, even if it is pasta!!


*Roasted Vegetable Lasagna Verde*

Serves 4

Printable Recipe

This delicious version of lasagna is so good you won’t even miss the meat! I love the sweetness of the roasted vegetables and the richness of the Bechamel topping. Together they are heavenly …

For the roasted Vegetable Sauce:

½ pounds of red bell peppers, seeded and diced

1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks

2 medium courgettes, cut into half moons

1 aubergine, cut into cubes

1 red onion, peeled and chopped

1 tsp of olive oil with a dash of toasted sesame oil

1 tsp basil

Cracked black pepper to taste

8 cloves of garlic, peeled and wrapped in foil

One jar of really good quality tomato pasta sauce (cheating I know)

For the spinach layer:

½ tsp olive oil

8 medium mushrooms, cut thick

½ pound raw spinach, roughly chopped

Salt and pepper

For the Bechamel sauce:

1 TBS butter

2 1/2 TBS plain flour

1 1/2 cups whole milk, heated together with a bay leaf

½ tsp salt

Freshly grated nutmeg

To finish:

9 non-cook lasagna verde noodles

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Pre-heat the oven to 200*C/400*F. Lay out the vegetables onto a baking sheet and toss with the oils. Lay the foil wrapped garlic alongside. Bake for 30 minutes and then stir. Bake 15 min more. Remove and transfer to a large bowl. Squeeze baked garlic into the vegetables and stir well. Add the tomato sauce and mix well. Set aside while you make the b├ęchamel.

Melt the butter over medium low heat in a saucepan. Stir in the flour and let the two cook together for about one minute. Strain the milk into the pan slowly, stirring the whole time. Cook, stirring until the mixture is thickened. Season to taste with the salt and freshly grated nutmeg. Remove from the heat and set aside.

To cook the spinach, pour the oil into a large frying pan or wok on medium heat and fry the mushrooms until they start to brown. Add the spinach and seasonings and cook until spinach wilts. Add a TBS of water, if needed, to help steam the spinach down. Transfer to a sieve to drain excess moisture.

To assemble, Put a quantity of the vegetable sauce in the bottom of a nine inch square baking dish. Cover with 3 of the noodles. Cover with 1/3 of the remaining tomato vegetable sauce, the mushrooms and the spinach, 1/3 of the mozzarella, add a sprinkle of Parmesan. Cover with three more noodles, 1/3 roasted vegetable sauce, 1/3 of the mozzarella, and another sprinkle of Parmesan. Cover with last 3 noodles, the remaining sauce and Parmesan and the mozzarella. Pour the b├ęchamel on top evenly. Bake at 400 F for 30 to 45 minutes, until the noodles are cooked and tender and the top is nicely browned. Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Baking in The English Kitchen today, a delicious Sticky Orange Marmalade Cake!!

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