Thursday, December 14, 2017

Crockpot Turkey Breast

With the holidays looming,
turkey is on the menu for a lot of folks
who can't get enough of the stuff at Thanksgiving.
Our Thanksgiving meal is usually pretty simple.
As it's just the three of us, (and one of us doesn't eat meat),
it doesn't make a lot of sense for us to buy a whole turkey,
so we make a few side dishes and enjoy the day together.
To make the preparation even easier,
we have enlisted the assistance of the crock pot.
It couldn't be simpler to make a moist, juicy turkey breast
with enough leftovers to satisfy the natives.

The turkey breast is washed and dried,
then placed into the crockpot.
A dry rub is used to coat the bird.
No water is added to the pot,
but it comes out moist and tender.
This meal is so easy,
it's worth making more than once a year!

Crockpot Turkey Breast
One 3-5 pound turkey breast
2 t salt
1 t onion powder
1 t Italian seasonings
1 t paprika
4 cloves garlic, smashed

Place turkey breast in crock pot
and season with dry rub.
Add garlic cloves to pot.
Cook on high for 6 hours,
or low for 8-10 hours.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Snow Fixation

"Snow provokes responses
that reach right back to childhood."
~ Andy Goldsworthy

 When researching a quote to express my feelings about snow,
this one was spot-on.
I don't know what comes over me.
When enveloped by the white stuff,
I am six years old again.

I grew up with snow.  Lots of snow.
Living in the suburbs of Chicago as a child,
we were inundated with snow almost every winter.
It was enchanting then, as it is now.

 Perhaps this love affair will fade over time,
as winter continues
and is more a factor in our daily lives.
But I'm thinking 
that because I was deprived  of this spell-binding precipitation for forty-odd years,
it will remain something wonderful 
for the rest of my life.

 It humbles me, to know that God created this beautiful winter blanket,
to transform the Earth as we know it,
into a sublime spiritual sanctuary.
What a gift, this season.

During the holidays,
when things get frantic,
it's almost as if the Universe gives us permission
to slow down, take a deep breath
and savor the wonder of it all.

 Majestic views surround us,
with white-tipped trees and bare branches 
giving us a new look at the forest in our back yards.
It's easier to see the birds' nests at this time of year,
and reminds us that Mother Nature is taking care of Her charges, 
even in the harshest of weather.

It always seemed curious to me 
that some grown-ups liked winter.
Most adults I know feel that it is a nuisance,
something that is wished away,
anxious for milder conditions.
But now, having experienced snow again,
I can see the magic in its properties.
When it snows, I am transfixed.
And I hope that never leaves me.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Garden Friday

Here's how our container garden looked earlier in the year
when we were just getting started.
At that time, there were warm temperatures
and abundant sunshine.

But we are in the throes of colder weather
and I spent some time on Wednesday getting the crops ready for the severe change.
A few sheets, some stakes and several clothespins later,
 the garden is ready to face the coldest winds.
The stakes were used for the taller crops,
to keep the sheets above the tops of the plants. 

For the shorter seedlings,
these  empty pots were simply inverted to use as covers.
Then I placed a brick on top to keep them in place. 

With little sun expected in the next few days,
these pots may just stay covered until we see brighter skies.
This is our first fall garden on this property,
so I'm not really sure what to expect.
Hopefully, everything will come out just fine.

What precautions do you take in the garden 
during colder weather?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Upcycled SnowPeople

When we moved into this house in summertime,
we acquired styrofoam in some of the packages we received.
Unfortunately, it is all too often the choice of packing material,
and it doesn't sit too well with my Earth-lovin' self.
I reasoned that if I could reuse it for some purpose,
having it around would be better than sending it to the landfill.
(I also listed it on a local Swap site,
hoping that maybe some art teachers could find a use for it.
So far, no takers.)

With a few other materials,
the winter project was begun.
The white strofoam reminded me of snow or ice,
so I thought it might be a good idea to fashion snow people out of the remnants.

Using a pencil, details were outlined on the foam,
and then traced over with markers and paint.

These skewers were used to attach the heads to the bodies.
If you have toothpicks or small dowels,
that would work too.

I'm no artist, but am happy with the results.

A white blanket acts as a snowbank,
so these two will be right at home
for a good, long stay.
We may be getting a dusting of the white stuff tomorrow!
That is so exciting to someone who spent over 40 winters in balmy Florida.

We will be hunkered down for the next few days,
enjoying our cozy nest and (hopefully) getting some holiday baking done.
What do you like to do on cold, (almost) winter days?

bucket o' "snowballs"