Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Time-Travelling Christmas Gift

So, I was digging the cabinet.

Trying to pull the crock pot out of its nest, cursing my lack of space.

And these 4 hot pads became dislodged from the back of the cabinet, and fell onto the floor.

Nostalgia and memories spilled over me...and I instantly began to smile. These beautiful handmade pot holders came from my Grandma Marshall. She's been gone 6 years this past September. But she will live in my soul until the end of my own life.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Help Feed Yourself

I love this USDA poster from 1917. I'm excited that the ideas presented in the poster have started to become really popular lately.
Backyard chickens and gardens? Yes, please! Using empty lots? Sign me up! As this poster proves, these ideas are not new, but I feel like the sentiment has become so lost in the past couple of generations. The revival of self-reliance is a movement that I hope continues and grows!
Do you want to be one of the people who strives for more independence? Do you want to provide a good portion of your own food? Me too! Let's keep it up! :)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Royal Icing

This has become one of my favorite icing recipes for sugar cookies, especially at Christmastime. While it doesn't have the rich, buttery flavor of buttercream (my mom's standby), I like how the frosting gets crisp and make the cookies totally portable and stackable. Plus I think they look really pretty with the smooth surface, especially when a few subtle sprinkles are added.

It's also perfect for piping onto gingerbread men!

Royal Icing (from cooks.com)

3 egg whites
1 lb. confectioner's sugar
1/2 t. cream of tartar
1/2 t. almond or vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a bowl and beat on medium high for a full 10 minutes. Icing will become thick and glossy but will not increase in volume. Keep covered with a damp cloth while using, removing small portions to bowl as needed. Tint if desired. To thin, add a few drops of water. Royal icing hardens with a nice sheen.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Uncle Loren's GIANT Garden

Part of my 'The Gardeners in My Life' series!

It was ONE degree outside this morning. The skeletons in the garden are covered under a layer of powdery freeze, and the memories of summer seem impossibly long ago. Here we enter another cycle. Each winter, even though we know the warm days will eventually return, it's just as hard as the year before to imagine that the ground and the world will warm up. Not for months, though. Oh, my bones are aching already from the cold.