Thursday, December 1, 2016

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS DECEMBER 2016

December...is so much more than Christmas or the month for other religious holidays...which of course is very important to most of us...so I am not trying to discredit or diminish these sacred holidays in any way...because they are important. But I feel the spirit of Christmas...that of giving...and living from your heart and inner spirit ... needs to be embraced...not only at this season...but kept alive...and practiced each and every day... by everyone...not just during the holidays.

I am not sure when or why we as a society stopped caring about each other...the way I know we all should... and could...after all we all are humans...living together on this place called Earth. And I truly believe most people are good and loving...I really do. And to be honest it wasn't that many years ago...that we all in fact...connected more...to our neighbors...to our communities...and to each other. I know this for a fact...because I remember well doing so!

Maybe it is technology... fear...lack of trust of others...world events...the stress we create...the need for constant having more...or the bubble we surround our own lives in... wanting to ignore what is going on around us...that is causing us to retreat...and disconnect more and more from other people. I don't know...maybe it is all of these and more. All I do know for sure...is that within each one of us...is this.We all  have goodness within us...the capacity to care and love...and give to one another...it is part of our story as human beings... our humanity... and encoded in our DNA...that no electronic or machine can ever replace.

Personally...I truly know in my heart that living from a place of the inner spirit or the heart center...is up to each one of us...not our world leaders...or any other institution outside of ourselves. Sometimes I feel that to a certain extent we have all become sheep...you know following what everyone else is thinking and doing...in order to fit in. We all seem to huddle these days in fear and mistrust...and think we are connecting with each other through a computer. Now technology is a good thing......but certainly not the end all to actually connecting to another human being...or giving or receiving a hug...a smile...or extending a listening ear and an open heart heart. It is to some degree...isolation. And making a choice to be distrustful...or live in fear...because everyone else is...is just insanity. If any type of disconnect needs to happen...it is our sheep mentality...fear...worry...distrust...and using technology to relate and connect with others...constantly. When you give in to thinking and behaving like the masses...you are giving away your personal power. This is not in my opinion taking responsibility for your own thoughts or actions...and it certainly is not wise...mature or even emotionally healthy for you or anyone else for that matter.

Make a promise to yourself this month of December...the month of spiritual awakening...of hope and faith...to live from your heart...from this moment on. Reach out to others...stop to talk to others...offer help...listen to how others are feeling...give...lend a hand...care again...like your life depends on it...because in truth it does...everyone's life does. Refuse to get caught up in fear...worry...and distrust of others...because truth is...these negative emotions are a cancer...to your body...mind...and spirit...and to the world.

GIVE...CARE...CONNECT

From this moment on...because no matter what is going on...or what isn't...living from your heart...is the highest calling you will ever have...or hope for.

Live from your heart.

Happy holidays to you,
Victoria

POEM

"From December to March,
there are for many of us
three gardens-
the garden outdoors,
the garden of pots and bowls in the house,
and the garden of the mind's eye."

by Katherine S. White

WORLD TRADITIONS AND CELEBRATIONS...

December 10th...International Human Rights Day...December 12th...Feast Of Our Lady Of Guadalupe...December 13th...St. Lucia's Day... December 21st...Winter Solstice...December 22nd...International Arbor Day...December 25th...Christmas Day... December 25th...Hanakkah begins... December 26th...Boxing Day...December 31st...New Years Eve



FACTS FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER...

The Anglo- Saxons called this month 'Winter Monath' or Yule Monath because of the custom of burning the Yule log this month.

FOLKLORE... Deep snow in Winter; tall grain in Summer-...Estonian Proverb

A fair day in Winter is the mother of a storm- English Proverb

GARDENING TIPS...
Prune back any grape vines...as well as pruning your evergreens. Plant any bulbs...and also plant onions and garlic this month. Be sure to remove dead or dying trees and shrubs.

HOMEMAKING TIP...Be sure to wax all your wood furniture this month...as having the heat on and the fireplace lit...can really dry out wood. Clean out your fireplace..before you light that first fire of the season.

FULL MOON...December 13th

FLOWERS...The Holly and Narcissus

GEMS... Blue Topaz and Turquoise

TEACHINGS... Connecting to your inner spirit and opening yourself to live a more heart centered
life.


WINTER SOLSTICE CELEBRATION

Light candles throughout your home...on this longest and darkest night of the year...as a symbol of your own inner light. Find a time at some point during the evening...to sit in silence and pray for others...the planet...and all areas of the world where there is conflict and strife. If you know of anyone who is ill...grieving...or having any problem of any kind...pray for them...too. By praying...you are coming from your heart...and sending "light" and goodness out to the world...in times of darkness.



LIVING FROM YOUR HEART  NEW YEARS EVE CELEBRATION

It really is up to you to make changes in the world and also make a positive difference in the world...and that means living from your heart...instead of the ego driven mind. One of the easiest and most simple ways you can begin to live more from your heart...is to think about what you are going to say...before you say it...allow your heart to guide you on how you treat people...and making choices based on compassion and love.

This of course does not mean...when you live from your heart...that you let others hurt you... stop expressing how you feel...or have feelings of anger or sadness...what it does mean is that you respond differently...not from your ego mind that wants to hurt back or lash out at others...but rather from a place of wisdom...and grace.That is...responding in a heart space of of expressing how you feel in a calm...but firm way...without attacking the other person. It also means...treating others...the way you want to be treated...that timeless but always truthful...living by the golden rule.

On New Years Eve...set your intention to living a more heart centered life...by lighting a candle...and then sit in silence...prayer or meditation...pondering within your heart...how you treat other people in negative or hurtful ways. When you are clear on this...write it out on paper...being totally honest with yourself.

When you are complete...read over your written list...and make a promise to yourself...that you will let go of treating others in negative ways...and begin to live from your heart. Ask for guidance from your understanding of God or the Higher Power...for your desire to be a more loving and heart centered human being. Blow out your candle...and then carefully fold your written list...placing it it a place where you can you take it out and read it each day...as a loving reminder of how you want to live from your heart.



SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS...

...FOR YOUR HOME

Keep candles lit this month throughout your home...to remind you of your own inner light. Use fresh natural pine cones...and evergreen branches to decorate your home with...instead of plastic items.


...FOR YOUR HEARTH

I know you have ham or turkey leftovers...so here is a quick and tasty potato recipe to freshen up those leftovers...in style.


MUSTARD ROASTED POTATOES
Serves 6

2 1/2 pounds small red potatoes
2 yellow onions
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
 2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the potatoes in halves or quarters...depending on their size...and place them on a sheet pan. Remove the ends of the onions... peel them and cut them in half. Slice them crosswise in 1/4-inch-thick slices to make half-rounds. Toss the onions and potatoes together on the sheet pan. Add the olive oil...mustard...2 teaspoons salt...and the pepper and toss them together. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the potatoes are browned on the outside and tender on the inside. Toss the potatoes from time to time with a spatula so they brown evenly while cooking. Serve hot sprinkled with the chopped parsley and a little extra salt.


PARMESAN ROASTED CAULIFLOWER

Here is another easy and very good side to go with those leftovers. And it has cheese!
Serves 6

1 large head cauliflower
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup freshly grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the outer green leaves from the cauliflower and cut the head into florets...discarding the stems.Place the florets on a sheet pan. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Toss well. Bake for 30 minutes...tossing once...until the cauliflower is tender and starts to brown. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and Gruyere and bake for 1 or 2 minutes or just until the cheese melts. Season to taste and serve hot or warm.


...FOR YOUR HEART

Make hand-make thank you cards for your received holiday gifts...tucking a piece of Rosemary in the envelope.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS NOVEMBER 2016

NOVEMBER... I love this month! Very much! I get really excited about buying our turkey... and go to several local resources before I make up my mind...which one will come home with me.I must admit...I do poke them...and pick them up...and of course read everything that is printed on the packaging...just in case...some strange and unwanted ingredient is added to our possible Thanksgiving turkey. I am very careful about the food I buy...and eat...because I care about my family's health and mine too.It is not just buying the turkey that I carefully select...but the mindfulness I put into all the details of this holiday...because it matters.

My Thanksgiving turkey shopping has become a very special yearly tradition for me...something that brings me great pleasure. Traditions matter...they are the common thread of humanity...that always brings us closer together. And make good times and wonderful memories.

As I set my Thanksgiving table with my yellow and gold china...and silver...handed down to me from my husbands mom...I feel connected to all the women...and men...who are doing exactly the same thing as me.. setting their holiday table with the very best...they have...because they too value the beauty...the soul...of following and keeping traditions.And they also know how vital it is to pass these traditions on to their daughters and sons too.

In this season of my life...with grown children...and a grandchild...and seeing our lives becoming more and more about technology...social media...fast...and cheap... I feel now more than ever...the value of traditions and the gifts that they give us to live a more grounded...enriched life...needs to be held on to.

Technology can't and never will replace the sharing of family history or traditions...or the gathering of family and friends around the table for a good meal. Or the pleasant hum of meal preparation from folks in the kitchen cooking together...or the sound of laughing children...playing together while they wait to eat.

And most importantly...taking this one day...when hopefully we need to be practicing it in each moment...the sight of bowing heads and grateful hearts...expressed through a prayer of thankfulness for all each one of us...really has to be grateful for.

We are all so blessed.

This Thanksgiving no matter if it is just you...or a gathering of 2 or 20...make it special...create a day of tradition...of mindfulness and care...that each and everyone present will remember always...close to their hearts...and want to return to...year after year.

Because traditions have soul

And that makes life worth living.

Keeper of Traditions,
Victoria


Thanks for time to be together, turkey, talk, and tangy weather.
For harvest stored away, home, and hearth and holiday.
For Autumn's frosty art, and abundance in the heart
For neighbors, and November nice things, new things to remember.

For kitchen, kettles' croon kith and kin expected soon.
For sizzles, sights, and sounds, and something special that about.
That spells thanks for joy in living and a jolly good Thanksgiving.
by Aileen Fisher

PRAYER...

" Help me be aware in each moment...how much I have to be thankful for."


WORLD TRADITIONS AND CELEBRATIONS FOR NOVEMBER...

November 1st...Day of the Dead...All Saints Day...November 5th...Guy Fawkes Day in Britain ...November 11th...Armistice Day in Belgium...France...November 11th...Remembrance Day in Canada...November 11th...Veterans Day...United States...November 24th...Thanksgiving Day in America...November 30th...St. Andrew's Day in Scotland


FACTS ABOUT NOVEMBER... Throughout much of history November has often been thought of as a somber month...because it signaled the start of Winter. Folks would spend the whole month storing the harvest and preparing their food and homes in order to survive the Winter.


FOLKLORE...

" Dull November brings the blast,
Then the leaves whirling fast."


GARDENING TIP...

Place your cold sensitive potted plants in protected areas or indoors. Plant bulbs now. Reduce your watering on your lawns.


HOMEMAKING TIP... Clean your woodwork in each room...and wipe down your doors and doorknobs with pure Lavender essential oil...it will kill bacteria...will not harm your doors...and leave each room smelling fresh with the scent of Lavender

FULL MOON... Is on November 14th

FLOWERS...The chrysanthemum is the lovely flower of this month

GEMS...The Topaz is the gem of this month


TEACHINGS...This is the month to really see clearly how much you really do have to be grateful for in your life...and make a promise to yourself to always be aware of this truth each and every day. Practice giving more this month...because it is the right thing to do...without expecting in return.


THANKSGIVING GRATITUDE JARS

This Thanksgiving get your family and friends involved in a wonderful creative craft...by providing them all the supplies...to make their own Thanksgiving GRATITUDE JAR. After they have decorated their jars...be sure to tell them...that the purpose of their decorated GRATITUDE JAR is for them to place small pieces of paper...that they have written what they are grateful for each day...and place it in the jar.Also let them know...that they can begin practicing what they are grateful for...by writing their first gratitude slip of paper...that Thanksgiving Day...and then each and every day after that...until the next Thanksgiving day...giving each person a full 12 months to fill their GRATITUDE JAR.

Ask them to bring their decorated GRATITUDE JAR...the following Thanksgiving...to share with everyone.

SUPPLIES...
markers
tags to write GRATITUDE JAR on
empty clean jars with lids
glue gun or tacky glue
different colored ribbon
gem stones...decals...stickers...dried flowers
glitter



DAY OF THE DEAD...

Day Of The Dead is practiced on November 1st-November 2nd in many cultures throughout the world...including gaining in popularity in the United States.I t is a celebration of taking a day and evening to honor one's families who have passed away...with family altars...the cleaning of grave sites...placing flowers and food out for the deceased family members...including the painting of sugar skulls.

Below is a simple and loving honoring way you can honor family that has passed away...but please feel free to add your own way of celebrating and honoring their lives.

Set out a small table...or use an area on any table... with family pictures of relatives that have passed away. Place a small vase of flowers or Rosemary...an herb that is a symbol of remembrance...on the table...and include a white pillar candle...that you can light throughout the day or evening.

Keep the candle lit...and when you feel it is right...take a few moments to pause...look at their pictures...and recall happy times and memories with them. Bless them and thank them for being in your life.

If you like...share stories about your relatives who have passed away with your family around the dinner table that evening...keeping those you loved...and lost alive in your hearts and minds.


SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS


...FOR YOUR HOME

Keep your November home decorating simple...and natural by setting out trays and bowls of beautiful apples. They look so pretty in any room in the house...and they can also be eaten by family and guests.


...FOR YOUR HEARTH

I am sure by now...you are so over any recipe that has to do with turkey...or pumpkin...so I wanted to give you some tasty and old-fashioned side dishes instead to cook up this month. Enjoy!

CREAMED CORN
Serves 4-6

5 large ears fresh corn or frozen ears of corn work just as well
2 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 chopped onion
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cut kernels from corn into a medium bowl (about 4 to 4 1/2 cups kernels). Using the dull side of knife... be sure to also scrape milk and pulp from cobs into bowl too...as it adds flavor to the recipe. In a blender...or food processor puree 1 cup of the corn kernels and the milk. Set aside.

In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet...melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and the remaining 3 1/2 cups corn to the pan...and cook until the onion begins to soften...approximately 7 minutes. Add pureed corn mixture to skillet...bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low and cook...stirring occasionally...until tender...about 15 minutes.

Add cornstarch...the fresh thyme..salt and pepper to corn mixture...stir well. Cook...stirring frequently...until thickened about 5 minutes. Serve...and enjoy!


BACON BALSAMIC BRUSSELS SPROUTS
Serves 4-6

You say no one likes Brussels sprouts in your family? Put bacon in it and they will!

4 slices thick-cut bacon...chopped
1 pound Brussels sprouts...ends trimmed off and then cut in half
1/2 chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp...about 5-6 minutes.Remove the cooked bacon...and let cool...then crumble and set aside. Keep the bacon fat in the pan.

Add the Brussels sprouts to the pan...and cook until crisp and browned on the outside and fork tender about 10 minutes. Add the parsley...the balsamic vinegar...lemon zest...salt and pepper and stir to combine. Sprinkle in the bacon...and then serve.


...FOR YOUR HEART

Clean out your linen closet...and gather up towels..washcloths...blankets and sheets that you no longer use or want...and pass them out to homeless people you see...or give them to a homeless shelter.




Sunday, October 23, 2016

OCTOBER SEASONAL LIVING SUNDAY SUPPERS 2016

Nothing says home...like the wonderful aroma of food coming from your kitchen. It says to everyone...you are so very welcome to be here.Cooking good...homemade food...also means you care about your yourself... and your family...and friends.

Sunday Suppers is a meal that everyone will look so forward to each week...so make it a special celebration by using your best dishes...silverware and glasses...and add fresh flowers or small vases of herbs to decorate your table with.

Include each family or friend member that is sharing your Sunday Supper with...to share what is going on with them...including their hopes and dreams...and it goes without saying...start your meal with a prayer or a gratitude blessing...for all you have...and being able to spend this time together.

I do not know anyone who doesn't love pasta...or a tasty pasta sauce. It seems to be a universal food...as well as a comfort food...and is my recipe for this Sunday Supper...as well as another apple dessert...as apples are in season this month.

"Because nothing says love...like something homemade."


BEEF MARENGO
Serves 4-6

This recipe calls for veal...but as veal can be expensive...I substitute beef stew meat instead...which is kinder to your budget. It tastes just as good as you will see. You can double or triple this recipe easily.

3 pounds beef stew meat...cut into 2 inch pieces
1/4 cup all purpose flour
salt and freshly ground pepper
7 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic...minced
1 1/2 cups white wine
1 1/4 cups canned crushed tomatoes with juice
1 /2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 wide piece of orange zest...(orange zest is a piece of orange peel)
1 pound white mushrooms quartered
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley ( Italian)
3/4 pound wide egg noodles...cooked according to package directions

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Pat the beef stew meat dry. Put the flour in a large zippered plastic bag and season with salt and pepper. Shake to mix well. Place the beef stew meat in the bag and shake until evenly coated.

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat...heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil.Add the stew meat to the pot...and cook until evenly browned on all sides...about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the meat to a bowl. Add 2 more tablespoons of the olive oil to the pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until lightly browned and softened...about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the wine and deglaze the pot...being sure to scrape up any browned bits. Add the tomatoes with their juice...basil...thyme...orange zest...and salt and pepper to taste and bring to a simmer. Return the stew meat to the pot...and stir to combine.

Cover the pot...place in the oven and cook until the meat is tender when pierced with a fork...about 1 1/2 hours.

Toward the end of cooking...cook the mushrooms...in a frying pan over medium-high heat...with the remaining olive oil...for about 3-4 minutes or until softened. Season with salt and pepper.

Start cooking your wide egg noodles...according to package directions.

Take the Beef Marengo out of the oven...uncover and discard the orange zest. Place on top of the stove...and on medium-low heat bring to a boil...until it is slightly thickened. Add the mushrooms...and 2 tablespoons of the parsley. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Drain the egg noodles...getting ready to serve. To serve...spoon the Beef Marengo over the egg noodles...garnish with more parsley.  Serve with a nice green salad and garlic bread or rolls if you wish.


EASY APPLE CRUMBLE
Serves 8

Who does not love an apple dessert? Talk about a comfort dessert! This is cooked in a cast iron skillet...a basic cooking pan in my house...and is cooked in the oven just like the main course...very easy and ever so good.

12 cups sliced Gala apples ( about 6 apples)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar...divided
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 cup gingersnap cookies
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
1/2 cup walnuts chopped
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Using butter or olive oil...grease a cast iron skillet or baking pan. In a large bowl...stir together apples...1 cup sugar...and lemon juice. Set aside.

In a food processor pulse the cookies until finely ground. In a medium bowl...stir together 1/2 cup cookie crumbs...oats...brown sugar...flour...and the salt. Stir in the softened butter and walnuts until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

Strain apple mixture...discarding excess liquid. Stir in cornstarch...cinnamon and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Pour into prepared pan...and top with cookie mixture.

Bake until fruit is hot and the top is golden brown...about 40 to 50 minutes. Serve with Vanilla ice cream.

Happy Sunday,
Victoria

Sunday, October 16, 2016

OCTOBER SEASONAL LIVING SUNDAY SUPPERS 2016



Who doesn't love the smell of a chicken roasting in the oven on a Sunday afternoon? Or the aroma of a potato dish cooking in the oven? No one that is who! My recipes for this blog post is just that...roast chicken...and a really good French potato dish...that everyone will want seconds with!

If you have never tried cooking or even eating French food...you will be surprised how easy it really is...and ever so fulfilling. And I have also included a French dessert...a delectable apple tart...that is made easy for you...by using frozen puff pastry... I believe it is as good as homemade puff pastry...and a heck of a lot easier on your nerves.

"Because nothing says love...like something homemade."



HERB ROASTED CHICKEN
 Makes 4 servings

1 4-5 whole chicken
2 tablespoons butter...softened
2 cloves garlic minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 375. Rinse chicken cavity...then pat dry. Tuck wing tips under back.Place chicken breast side up in shallow roasting pan. Combine butter...and garlic...then spread over chicken.In a small bowl...stir together remaining ingredients...then sprinkle over chicken.

Roast the chicken about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours or until chicken is done. If the chicken starts to get too brown...cover loosely with foil. When the chicken is dine...remove from oven...covered with foil... for about 10 minutes...then carve and serve.



POTATOES SAVOYARDE
Makes 6 servings

3 tablespoons unsalted butter...cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon melted butter for buttering the pan only
3 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
1 1/2 cups ( 6 ounces) shredded Gruyere cheese
freshly ground pepper
6 russet or Yukon gold potatoes...unpeeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 1/2 cups chicken stock... ( I use low salt organic chicken stock)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush the brush and sides of a 2-quart baking dish with the 1 tablespoon melted butter. In a small bowl...stir together the garlic...parsley...cheese...and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Layer one-third of the potatoes in the prepared dish...sprinkle one-third of the garlic-cheese mixture over the potatoes and dot with 1 tablespoon of the cut butter. Repeat with the rest of the remaining potatoes...garlic-cheese mixture and butter.Top with any remaining potatoes. Pour the stock over the potatoes... sprinkle the rest of the garlic-cheese mixture evenly over the top...and dot with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Cover with buttered piece of foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the foil...and continue baking uncovered until the top is browned and crusty and the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork...30 to 40 minutes longer. Serve at once.

***I add about 1 cup more Gruyere cheese to this recipe to be honest...do what works for you.



TARTE TATIN or APPLE TART
Serves 6

1 cup superfine sugar or granulated sugar
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter
4 Golden Delicious apples...peeled...cored...and sliced
1 sheet frozen...ready to eat puff pastry
all-purpose flour for dusting
vanilla ice cream to serve (optional)

Place an 8-inch ovenproof skillet ( a cast iron skillet is perfect for this) over low heat and add the sugar.Melt the sugar until it starts to caramelize...but do not let it burn...then add the butter and stir it in to make a light toffee sauce... ( a light brown color). Remove from heat.

Place the apple slices in the skillet on top of the toffee sauce. The apples should fill the skillet. Put the skillet over medium heat and cover. Simmer...without stirring...for about 5-1-0 minutes...until the apples soak up some of the sauce...then remove from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.Roll out the pastry dough ( make sure it is really cold...for easy handling) on a lightly floured surface...making sure it is large enough to thickly cover the skillet with extra space on the sides. Lay it on top of the apples...and tuck the edges down between the fruit and skillet until it is sealed. Do not worry about making it look too neat...it will be inverted before eating.

Put the skillet with the apple tart in it...in the oven now...and bake for 25-35 minutes...checking to make sure the pastry doesn't burn. The pastry should be puffed and golden. Remove from the oven and let rest for 30-60 minutes.

When you are ready to eat...make sure the tart is still a little warm...and place a plate on top of the tart.Carefully invert it ( flip it upside down) and lift the skillet off. Serve immediately with vanilla ice cream if you wish. This dessert will get raves...to be ready to bow with pride!!!  

Happy Sunday Suppers,
Victoria

Sunday, October 9, 2016

OCTOBER SEASONAL LIVING SUNDAY SUPPERS 2016

Wishing you all a wonderful and relaxing Sunday...including keeping the timeless tradition of making a Sunday Supper...and gathering around the table with family or friends.

Sunday Suppers have a long history...and used to be a "must" in our culture. Even families who weren't religious would come together on Sundays to share a big home cooked meal and be together.

I believe this tradition should never be lost...especially in our busy and often disconnected world. Make time for your family and friends...and have a big Sunday Supper.Cook...eat...talk and laugh together...because that is really what the tradition of Sunday Suppers is all about.

"Because nothing says love...like something homemade."

The recipes for this post...are good...easy...and budget wise...because as you know...Seasonal living is all about eating seasonal food...which is being resourceful...making it yourself...and living within your means.

I am featuring pork...for the main course...it is darn good eating...budget wise...and most everyone loves pork.


PORK SALTIMBOCCA
serves 4

This is such a very tasty version of saltimbocca...which usually calls for veal...an expensive cut of meat

1 pound 2 ounces pork tenderloin...fat and membrane removed...sliced into 8 equal pieces
16 slices sliced prosciutto
8 sage leaves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon drained small capers
freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees. Put the pork pieces on a cutting board...cover with plastic wrap...and then beat with a meat mallet...or rolling pin until 1/16 inch thick. Season each piece with a little pepper.

Lay 2 slices of prosciutto...slightly overlapping...on a clean cutting board...or large plate...and put a sage leaf in the middle. Sit a piece of pork on top.Wrap the prosciutto around the pork to make a package...the prosciutto should stick to itself...but if you want you can secure it with a wooden toothpick. Repeat this process...making the 8 pork packages in total.

Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over...medium high heat. When the butter is foaming...add the pork packages and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side until the prosciutto is crisp. You might need to cook these in two batches. Transfer the pork salimbocca to the oven to keep warm.

Add the wine to the pan...to deglaze. Let it bubble about 1 minute...being sure to scrape the meat morsels in the pan to add flavor to the dish. Remove from heat...and stir in the capers.Take the pork from the oven and spoon the sauce and capers...over the pork saltimbocca. Serve immediately...garnishing with fresh sage. Serve this dish with fresh green beans...and creamy polenta.


BANANAS IN CARAMEL SAUCE
serves 2-4

Who does not love a decadent dessert? Bananas are always in seasonal...and caramel sauce is easier to make then you think.This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 ripe bananas...but still firm...peeled and sliced into 1/2 thick slices

In a medium frying pan over medium-high heat...melt the butter...and swirl it over the pan. Sprinkle the sugar and salt over the melted butter and stir gently.Cook this mixture...stirring occasionally until it begins to melt. As it melts...scrape the sides of the pan down...using a rubber scraper or wooden spoon. Continue doing this until the mixture is completely melted.

Gently whisk the mixture while you pour in the cream. Let it melt...then start stirring again. Continue cooking until you have a creamy...golden-brown caramel sauce.

Add the sliced bananas and arrange in the pan...so they are submerged. Cook for 1-2 minutes...just until bananas have softened. Remove from heat.

Let cool for 2-3 minutes...then serve over vanilla ice cream. Oh my...you will enjoy this...you will want to lick your spoon!


Happy Sunday Supper,
Victoria


Sunday, October 2, 2016

OCTOBER SEASONAL LIVING SUNDAY SUPPERS 2016

October...I love the tradition of Sunday Suppers...that many cultures practice throughout the world...and I know... many of you also embrace this lovely weekly tradition and bonding with loved ones...each and every Sunday...to share a special meal...and spend time together.

Food...no matter where you live...or who you are...always brings people together... to a common ground... and common connection...the pleasure and joy...of shopping for...preparing...and eating a good meal.

In a world where we always seem to be in a hurry...striving for more...seeking instant gratification...and grabbing food on the go...the value and tradition of Sunday Suppers...can and will add something vital...something special...to look forward to each week...and add so many happy memories to each and everyone you love and care about.

Your Sunday Suppers do not have to be fancy...or perfect...just good food... made with care and love...as well as... good old-fashioned family time.

All of my October Sunday Suppers are seasonal...and call for seasonal ingredients...so this month's recipes work perfectly for this month. Cooking by the seasons...is a resourceful...money wise...and more healthy way to eat...and please be sure to buy your ingredients locally...to support your local economy.

So let's get going on my Sunday Suppers for October...is your apron on yet?

Because nothing says love...like something homemade!



BRAISED SHORT RIBS IN RED WINE
Short ribs are a very inexpensive cut of meat...and very tasty. Your wine you use for cooking does not have to be an expensive wine...just one that you would actually want to drink will do fine.

Serves 6
1/4 cup olive oil
5 pounds beef short ribs
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large onions...chopped
4 large carrots...chopped
3 cups red wine...such as a Merlot
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 head garlic...split in half and sliced
1/2 bunch fresh chives...about 1/4 cup...chopped for the garnish

Heat the olive oil in a heavy- bottomed pot on medium-high heat. Season the ribs with salt and pepper...then add to the pot and brown...turning frequently...until the ribs are nicely browned and caramelized on all sides.

Remove the ribs from the pot...and most of the fat...leaving about 3 tablespoons...and then add the onions and carrots...and cook over medium heat until the veggies soften and are lightly browned.

Add the wine to the veggies...turn the heat to high and boil until the wine is reduced by about half.

Return the meat to the pot...add the thyme...garlic...and add 4 cups cold water or beef broth...so the meat is just covered. Cover with a lid...and simmer for at least 3 hours...or until the meat pulls away from the bone.

Transfer the cooked meat to a plate...and discard any bones or fat.Strain the liquid into a bowl. Next put the strained liquid back into the pot...and cook until it has thickened or reduced about 15 minutes. Put back the short ribs and bring to a simmer over medium high heat to heat through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve...sprinkle fresh chives over the short ribs and sauce. This would be really great served with mashed potatoes or  wide egg noodles.


And of course no Sunday Supper would be complete without a really good dessert.


CHOCOLATE GANACHE TART
Make this ever so yummy tart early in the day...or the day before serving... as it requires cooling...and chilling. This is a very rich and wonderful dessert.

Makes 8 servings
CRUST
1 1/2 cups finely ground chocolate wafer cookies...about 30 wafers
6 tablespoons unsalted butter...melted

GANACHE FILLING
8 ounces 60% bittersweet chocolate baking bar...broken or chopped into 1-inch pieces
6 tablespoons unsalted butter...cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 large eggs...beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
unsweetened powdered cocoa for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, Butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform cake pan.

To make the crust...in a medium bowl...stir together the ground wafers...and melted butter until the mixture is evenly moist. Transfer to the prepared pan...patting the mixture onto the bottom and three-quarters up the sides of the pan. Bake for about 10 minutes...and then cool completely in the pan.

To make the filling...melt together the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water...stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from the heat and let stand for several minutes.

In a medium bowl...mix together the eggs...cream...sugar...salt...and vanilla, Mix in the chocolate mixture and stir until well combined. Pour into the prepared crust. Tap the pan several times on a flat surface to eliminate any bubbles.

Bake for 20  or 25 minutes...until the filling has risen to an inch from the top of the pan...is set...and has slightly raised in the center. The center will continue to set...then fall slightly as it cools.

Transfer the tart still in the pan...to a rack and let it cool completely... about 2 hours. Then transfer to the refrigerator...uncovered...until the center is firm...3 to 4 hours. Remove the sides of pan...and sprinkle tart with cocoa...serve with whipped cream.




Tuesday, September 27, 2016

SEPTEMBER OLIVE OIL RECIPE 2016... LEMON POPPY SEED OLIVE OIL POUND CAKE

September is slowly waning...as October gently awaits to appear...so celebrate this month with a really great cake recipe...that you will want to make again and again. With the holidays right around the corner...so to speak...by you having this cake recipe...you will not only have a great dessert... for holiday company...but a wonderful homemade gift to give as well....when the occasion arises.

This cake recipe below continues my month of September Olive Oil recipes...and I hope you make and enjoy this wonderful recipe. This is a super moist cake due to the olive oil...as well as the sour cream. Because nothing says love...like something homemade!


LEMON POPPY SEED OLIVE OIL POUND CAKE
Makes 1 Bundt cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon  fresh lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream

Glaze (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 to 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a Bundt pan with olive oil. In a small bowl...combine the flours...baking powder...baking soda...salt...and poppy seeds. In a large bowl...beat the eggs with a handheld mixer...until light and slightly increased in volume. Add the sugar slowly while continuing to beat.The mixture will become light and fluffy. Slowly add the olive oil...then the lemon zest...lemon juice...and vanilla extract and beat another 2 minutes.

Alternately add the dry ingredients and the sour cream to the batter...beating between additions.Pour the batter in to the prepared pan and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the Bundt pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then invert the cake in the pan to a cake or serving platter to cool completely.

If you are making the glaze ...just whisk the fresh lemon juice...powered sugar...and vanilla extract in a small bowl until the mixture has a smooth consistency. Drizzle over the cake...when the cake is cool.

Eat more cake,
Victoria