Simple Woman's Daybook

For today, September 28

Outside My Window...
The colors on the mountain are continuing to glow with orange, red and chartreuse.  The neighbor's scrub oak which almost touches my office window has a branch that has all these colors on it.  Beautiful!
I am thinking...What a wonderful week it will be! It will be so fun with my two sisters here for Sisters Week.  One is coming from California and the other from another city in the state.
I am thankful for...my sisters.  For years we did not have much contact.  We each lived in different states and seldom saw each other so I am so glad we have decided to be in each others lives now.  There is nothing quite like a sister.  She knows thinks about you that no other person is privy to. (sometimes good, sometimes not so good:)
From the kitchen... I made some of my favorite cookies Big Soft Ginger Cookies.  The house smells warm with cinnamon, ginger and spices.
I am wearing... my capris, maybe for that last week this year as a storm is predicted for this week bringing (oh, I dare not say the S word ) to the mountains.
I am creating...hopefully wonderful memories will be made and shared this week.
I am going... to enjoy our time together this week.  See below for where we will be going

I am reading...I just finished my big novel Katherine. (I am so proud of myself!  If I hadn't been sick and read one whole day it wouldn't have gotten finished!)   It was so good.  Toward the end I would only read a little section so that I could keep the story going and savor it.  I feel sad that I am finished reading it (all 500 pages).  So now I have to find me another good book.  I should take this time to catch up on my scripture reading though.
I am hoping... the weather stays nice so that we can go on our little trips and we can eat outside some before it gets too cool.
I am hearing... Birds and lawnmowers and sister's voices.
Around the house...It is so nice to know that my sisters are here and stirring in the bedrooms or in the bathroom.  Just having their movements and noises is so nice.
One of my favorite things... I love to have friends and family come to my house.  I love preparing the rooms and trying to make them welcoming and homey so that their stay will bring back warm memories when they go home and think back on their time with me.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...

We have such a lot of things on our agenda I hope we can accomplish all of them. Of course, we have to get caught up on all our lives first of all.  We want to go on a color tour of autumn color which are in their peak in the canyons around me.  We also want to go see the beautiful fall gardens at Thanksgiving Point one day and have lunch at Dear Lizzie's-a wonderfully girly shop with all kinds of wonderfully fragrant lotions, and potions, lovely jewelry and all things glittery.  There is a darling little cafe Bistro in part of it so it has a fun atmosphere as you sit eating your lovely sandwich and look at all the antique windows used for display with their old fashioned pictures trimmed with lace and glitter and the wonderful sweets in the display case--cupcakes and brownies and candies.  Oh dear, I also most forgot that I was supposed to be listing plans, so--also we will be making a darling quilt called French Roses.  Each block has different fabrics for the roses that are stitched around with raw edges showing.  We will be making the sweater totes that I blogged about here, a fun birthday gift idea using a cake mix and frosting can all covered with colorful scrapbook paper and includes sprinkles for decorating the cake.  Those are ideas that I will be teaching.  It will be fun to learn what my sisters come up with.  We will be taking a Stampin' Up class one night and I want them to see the Julia and Julie movie.  Neither of them are movie fans so it will take some talking on my part to put that one over to them.  We will be taking lots of pictures and have a cute chipboard album in the shape of a purse (our theme this year is Purses) to put them in while we are here.
Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Welcome Sisters!! 
To read more Simple Woman's Daybook entries click here.


Foodie Friday--Pies

My daughter prefers pies to cake so I made her two for her birthday. For the first pie I coated the bottom of the crust with chocolate, added a cheesecake pudding, then the cherry pie filling topped with cool whip or whipped cream. For the second pie-Lemon Meringue. I love a classic Lemon Meringue but feel they are always too sweet. I cut the sugar to half in the lemon part and cut the sugar for the meringue down just slightly. I also have learned to use the microwave to cook the pudding part. It is faster and you don't get the scorching that can happen when using a pan over the stove. The secret to the Meringue of course, is attaching the meringue completely to the sides of the crust in every spot. This way, the meringue does not pull away from the crust or "weep". Both pies were delicious. I'll share the Lemon one here.

Lemon Meringue Pie1 baked pie crust (I use Martha Stewart's recipe made in the food processor)

3/4 cup sugar
3 T. cornstarch
3 T. flour
dash of salt
1 1/2 cups hot water
3 beaten egg yolks
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 T. butter
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

Combine sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt. Gradually blend in water. Microwave until it is thick and translucent about 3 minutes. Stir after 1 minute. Stir small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks then return it to the hot mixture and gradually mix the two until blended. Add lemon peel and butter and mix completely. Gradually stir in 1/3 cup lemon juice. Cover entire surface with clear plastic wrap and let it cool for 10 minutes. Then pour into baked pie shell.Meringue
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon lemon juice
5 T. sugar

Beat egg whites with 1 teaspoon lemon juice till soft peaks form. Gradually add 5 T. sugar, beating till stiff peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Spread meringue over filling, sealing to edges of pastry. Bake in moderate oven 12 minutes or till meringue is golden. Cool thoroughly before serving. Tip: A wet knife slices easily through the meringue.The birthday candles were 2 and ? placed on the pie by her husband!
Try this recipe and see if you don't agree that it is just the right amount of sweetness. For other wonderful recipes click here for Designs by Gollum site our generous host of Foodie Friday.


Happy Birthday to You!

Jennifer is having a birthday today.

J - jewel. She is one herself and she also uses jewels to make lovely jewelry.

E - energetic. Is always busy with some project whether it is for family, school or church she dives right in and works with her whole heart. (Check out her blog here and wish her Happy Birthday).

N - naturally artistic. She loved to draw from the first time she held a crayon. Now she uses that talent to make everything around her more beautiful--from hair ribbons for her girls to chairs in her kitchen.

- novel-reader. She loves to read especially those LONG historical novels. (Where does she find the time?)

I -Industrious. Once she gets an idea in her head, she is off working on it until it is finished!

F - Fun and fancy. She LOVES a party and can plan and execute one, with a theme, in nothing flat. For the fancy, she is always "dressed up" . She has been known to mow the lawn in heels and chandelier earrings!

E - enthusiastic. She is always interested in what you have to say and will help you with new ideas and support you in what you want to do or be wholeheartedly.

R - redecorate. She loves redoing her home. She loves to rearrange furniture, paint, restore and revamp every space. She has even given her garage a make-over!

There is one more letter that should be in her name and that is C for she is the most compassionate person I know. She is always making a casserole for or visiting someone who is sick or in need. (She has meals in her freezer in anticipation).

Happy Birthday Jennifer! You are loved!


Fall Harvest Festival

Fall Harvest Festival

It is that time of year to frolic in the colorful leaves and attend celebrations of autumn. Our church had a very fun Harvest Festival Saturday in the local park. It was fun for all ages. Those in charge rounded up canopies, lawn stakes and corn stalks from the members, set up the tables and tents early in the morning and welcomed the guests in the afternoon. Here are some pictures of the day.
There were booths for:Corn Chucking (ears of corn were thrown into circles cut out of wood and painted to look like a corn field. It was harder than it sounds)
Marshmallow golf
Seed spitting (Pumpkin seeds were used) The record was around 22 ft.Jello Snarfing (a bit messy, but much loved by the teenagers)Donut on a String (It seems you had to get your whole face covered in the icing before you even had a chance to get a bite in your mouth!) Harry Potter Bowling (Children's brooms were used to sweep the plastic pumpkins down the lane while wearing witches hats) Bees Baseball (a throwing game with weighted bottles and a baseball) Ring the Pumpkin
Scarecrow Stuffing
(a relay game using stuffing to fill the life-sized scarecrows sitting in their chairs)
At each booth you would get a ticket (whether or not you achieved the object of the game). The tickets could be redeemed at the Bakery and Sweet Shoppe for either candy or homemade piece of pie, or other desserts. You could also "pick pocket" three men wearing denim shirts with big colorful pockets filled with other treats.
In all it was a beautiful day to celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of the season ahead. Fun was had by everyone! Thanks to all those who worked so hard to make a great activity and afternoon.


Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, September 21st, 2009 ... the first day of autumn

Outside My Window...

The air is crisp, only in the 40's. It really feels like the first day of autumn. The sun has not come over the mountain which is just beginning to show colors of orange.

I am thinking...
That I must get down my jeans and longer pants and cardigan sweaters soon. There is work to be done in the yard to prepare for the coming months too.

I am thankful for...
A warm home to live in, shelter and sanctuary. I am grateful for good health. You never really appreciate it until you are strapped with something as simple as a cold to really bring you back to humility about your health, I think.

From the kitchen...
My peach tree has been giving me wonderful peaches that I have been making into Freezer Jam, regular jam, and just plain freezing the peach slices. I have never frozen peach slices before so I only did 2 pints to see if they stay nice and not turn brown.I am wearing...
My jeans (which I haven't worn all summer--they are a little tight--I've put on some weight, or at least some width during that time), t-shirt with lace, and a brown long cardigan sweater. I have my sandals on but if it doesn't warm up in the house, I will find some closed toed shoes to wear.

I am creating...

witch's hats for the Symphony Guild Luncheon in October. Saturday Hannah came over and helped me with them. I just have to buy some fishing line so I can attach a big spider to dangle off the point of the hats and then they will be done. My studio has preparations ready for next week when I host my two sisters for Sisters Week. We will be sewing, quilting, and crafting as well as talking, laughing and sharing. Each of us will be teaching at least one thing to the others. It should be lots of fun. I am looking forward to it. We have so much fun together! I will post the results of our time together.

I am going...
To Park City this weekend to see the autumn leaves, take pictures, sketch a bit and enjoy the colors there. I go with a wonderful friend who teaches art and so I am taught a greater appreciation for all things artistic in nature. My eyes are always opened when I am with her.

I am reading...Katherine by Anya Seton. It is set in England in the 1300's and really depicts life at that time both for the royalty and common folk. Katherine, an orphan, grows up in an orphanage and when she leaves at 16 is proposed to right away by an unworthy knight. She knows no better and marries him and endures a hard beginning at his rundown castle. She meets her true love but she is married and so is he. The rest of the book involves them trying to get together, wars, parliament meetings, arranged marriages. I am enjoying this 500 page book although I am only on page 320.

I am hoping...
That the dentist that I am taking my sweet aunt to this morning is competent and will do the root canal in the proper manner.

I am hearing...
A lawnmower across the street as the gardener makes that yard lovely for me to look at!

Around the house...
I have just put up my fall decorations and I am enjoying their wonderful colors. Last week when I put them up it was still close to 90 degrees. They did not give me the same feel as this morning with the chill in the air.
One of my favorite things...
is making food for the season, which is, pumpkin bread and apple crisp. I made 7 loaves of the pumpkin bread Saturday and look forward to making apple crisp soon.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...
I am trying to get the house ready for the Sisters Week. I have the bedrooms ready with their little welcome gifts on the beds but still the bathrooms need cleaning. I keep putting that off as it is not my favorite thing to do. I will have to wash and pack for Park City. I will return just as the sisters get here so everything for them and the next week needs to be ready. I need to go grocery shopping for next week too. This year they have decided that each one will take a turn making dinner one night so I don't have to make every meal which will be nice.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...Click here to read what other women are doing, planning and thinking on this first day of autumn.


Peach Jam

Over the weekend I was visiting my daughter in Idaho. We bought 5 beautiful peaches at the local farmers market. I made a peach tart with them using just what was in the house. I made a pastry crust in an 8" cake pan. After it was baked I used some tapioca pudding and mixed it with some aerosol whipping cream for the base of the tart. I layered the fresh peaches and raspberries on top. For the glaze I watered down some raspberry jam and coated each peach. It turned out to be a delicious treat that evening. Sorry I didn't think to take a picture of it. When I came back home I checked the tree in front of my house that has about a million small peaches on it. Yikes! All of them are ripe!!! There are enough for me, my family, the mailman, the neighbors and of course, the deer who have already made them their snack each day. So, I got out my jars and made some fresh Peach Jam.

Freezer Peach Jam
3 cups finely chopped peaches
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
4 1/2 cups sugar

Prepare the fruit and add lemon juice. In separate bowl measure sugar. Add sugar to peaches and stir well. Let it stand for 10 minutes In a pan put 3/4 cup water and 1 box of pectin. Bring to boil then boil 1 minute stirring constantly. Stir pectin mixture into peaches and stir for 3 minutes. Pour into prepared jars. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours then either store in refrigerator for 3 weeks or freezer for up to 1 year.
Yummy on toast or bagels!
Now, what to do with the rest of them?
To see what other bloggers are cooking this week click here and check out Designs by Gollum, the wonderful host for Foodie Friday. Thanks for stopping by.


Christmas in September

Almost as magical as Santa himself, a cold barren exhibit hall transforms into a warm, festive holiday haven. Each year, the magic of Festival of Trees unfolds, and with it the hope and future of children in need at Primary Children's Medical Center.

The Festival of Trees was inspired 39 years ago by a group of 15 women from along the Wasatch Front. These women were challenged to identify a way to raise funds for the hospital.

That project was inspired after a vacation in Hawaii and a Christmas boutique featuring small, decorated Christmas trees, centerpieces, and Christmas decorations. The Women expanded the concept to include full-sized decorated Christmas trees, a gift boutique, and a sweet shop.
That first year, there were approximately 60 trees for display and sale in the gymnasium of
an old Armory. To everyone's surprise and delight, $47,000 was raised!
Over the years, this beautiful event has blossomed into a forest of more than 800 trees, a gift boutique featuring handmade articles, a sweet shop filled with freshly made candies and baked goods, a display of wreaths and door decorations, centerpieces, gingerbread houses, and backyard playhouses. There is also Santa, activities for children, hot scones and sweet rolls, and continuous live entertainment. In all, the Festival spans over 220,000 square feet of display space. Perhaps the greatest phenomenon of all is that everything is donated. The trees are decorated and purchased by individuals, families, organizations, businesses, and church groups. In addition, others generously donate items to fill the shops. Businesses provide the paper and printing of posters and tickets. Corporations offer their covered trucks and drivers to help deliver the trees, and so much more! Thousands of people join efforts by contributing countless hours and means to give “A Gift of Love" to children in need. In 2008, the Festival raised $1,495,840.74 for children in need at Primary Children's Medical Center.

Over the years, Festival of Trees has been copied many times throughout the United States and Canada. However, the Salt Lake City Festival of Trees remains the "granddaddy" of them all.

Two weeks ago our service group helped contribute to this wonderful event by learning to make (10) these wreaths for the festival this year thanks to the generous help of Kathie, Val and Jay. We had a great time and learned a new skill too. Now we can't wait to actually go to this event to see the other wreaths, trees and other things that will be there for sale!


Happy Birthday to Someone Special!

It is someone special's birthday today.

W-is for wonderful friend, sister, wife, daughter and mother

E-energetic for all things new. In just the past two years she has home schooled her 4 children, run marathons, designed and built her house, hosted a foreign student, and taken up photography besides all the usual mom and wife things.

N-is for nice. It is a classic saying in our family because all her report cards in school would have the comment "A pleasure to have in class". Everyone loves Wendy!

D-is for dedicated to her family. She is a great mom!
Y-yellow is her favorite color and the color of her personality too.

I would like to add another letter to her name, and that would be P for patient. She is the most patient person I know!

So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU WENDY!!!! You are Wenderful, wonderful!


Julia Child Dinner Party-Part 4-The Food

Each guest at my Julia Child Dinner Party was assigned a particular recipe of Julia's to prepare. See the menus here. I also sent them an e-mail to the affect that Julia's recipes were not exactly hard to prepare but did take time to make, so please plan enough time in their schedule to do them proper justice. My particular dish was the Terrines de Legumes au Coulis de Framboise (or vegetable mold with raspberry sauce). It called for celeriac. What in the heck is that? I went to the best grocery store here and low and behold there it was a bulbus root with stalks attached! It is actually celery root although I am not sure where we get our celery from. It didn't look like the celery we normally buy. But, anyway. Also it called for 1# of young, sweet carrots. I bought the long young carrots with tops attached. And also fresh peas. But since pea season has past, I purchased frozen petite peas. With petite in the description I figured they must be french peas! I peeled the celeriac then sliced it, then I peeled every piece of brownish root off it again until it was nearly all white. After peeling and quartering the carrots, I had to cook each vegetable separately in its own pan, then puree each one separately. ( It kind of reminded me of when I made my children's baby food). To each vegetable puree was added some heavy cream mixed with a couple of eggs (to help thicken and hold it's shape). After using all my pans and almost as many bowls on these vegetables, I used 3 pastry bags when I filled each one with a different vegetable then squeezed first the carrots in an even layer in a loaf pan, then the peas were layered, and last the celeriac. This loaf pan was put into another pan in the oven and boiling water was added to the outer pan then they were baked for an hour. I think it was kind of like making custard pudding only of vegetables. After it came out and cooled some, it is turned over onto a serving plate. While it is baking a sauce of raspberries, raspberry vinegar was cooked then strained into a sieve to make a most delicious sauce to serve around the individual slices on each plate.It was a very beautiful presentation for the first course.
Dinner was to begin at 7pm. Guests started arriving just after I had put the terrines into the oven at 6! Help!! Luckily I had some lovely light Peach/apricot and Lemon slush Punch to serve them on the porch (and get them out of my kitchen while I tried to unmold those terrines.)
I didn't want an audience if it didn't come out of the pan!. Everyone's food was absolutely delicious and the best part was hearing their stories of their day in the kitchen. Just a sample: the Boef Burguoine has 47 steps! and the French Bread took 10 hours! But it was so worth it. For the Chocolate Almond cake above, the almonds had to be pulverized in a mortar and pestal.

But everyone loved doing it, having the party and would do it again and every dish was so wonderfully delicious. Hats off to Julia and to those who try her recipes,
Bon Apetit!!
To see directions for making the chef hats click here.
For more delicious recipes click here. for Designs by Gollum our host for Foodie Friday.


Julia Child Dinner Party-Part 3-Getting the table Ready

French Dinner Party
My Julia Child-inspired Dinner Party is Friday and today is the day to set the table and get the food in place for it. (I posted the menu Tuesday.) I chose a yellow French looking voile with blue flowers for the topper over a classic white tablecloth. Since Julia is all about the proper way to do things I thought it should be a very formal table. I used my Aunt Gladys' silver because she has soup spoons in her set. It is International sterling in a pattern called Spring Glory. The china is my wedding pattern of Noritake, Whitehall. It is white on white with a silver rim. The stemware is Syracuse and the blue glasses I purchased at HomeGoods. On each plate is a Chef's hat to be used as the placecard, with each guest's name on their hat. A very formal white and silver flower arrangement is the centerpiece. Pre-dinner drinks are served on the porch while the appetizer, a colorful layered terrine is plated.
A small buffet to the side is decorated with a chef hat on an antique marble cake plate, a copy of Julia's book, a lovely old ladle I purchased in the French countryside at a flea market. a French santon figure anda small blackboard with the words Bon Appetit written on it. There is just one thing to do now, I must get dressed. And most importantly, I must remember to wear my pearls--just like Julia!. Tomorrow I will tell the tales of the actual preparing of the food. To see more beautiful tables click here. Thank you Susan from Between Naps on the Porch for hosting.