Thursday, December 30, 2010

I've relabeled "leftovers" as "prepared foods." It's all about the marketing.

Dear patrons and protagonists,

I think I made it so you can subscribe to the blog by entering your email address in the form at the top of the blog.  Let me know if you try it and if it works; I am still tinkering with it!

hammer in hand, 

Mrs H

If you are still wading through leftover turkey from all the holiday dinners, or you know you'll have more after New Year's Eve dinner, here is a simply delicious dinner that Mr H and I couldn't get enough of when we made it.  You could also use chicken or pork or tofu.

Moo-Shoo Turkey Wrap

I got this off of a website after Thanksgiving a long time ago, before Mr H and I were even married.  It's easy to multiply this recipe for lots of people because it just takes some more seasoning and another head of cabbage!

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pound sliced mushrooms
4 green onions, sliced, green and white separated
1 teaspoon peeled grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 - 3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb shredded cabbage
1/3 cup water
2 cups shredded leftover cooked turkey
3 tablespoons soy-sauce (I used Bragg's because it's lower sodium)
3 tablespoons (plus additional for serving) hoisin sauce
I serve these with homemade plum sauce
8 8-inch flour tortillas, warmed

1. In a 12-inch skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon oil on medium-high until hot.  Add mushrooms and cook 6 - 7 minutes or until tender and lightly browned.  Transfer mushrooms to plate; set aside.

2. In same skillet, heat remaining 1 tsp oil on medium high.  Stir in white portions of onions, ginger, crushed red pepper, and garlic.  Add coleslaw mix and cook 2 minutes or until cabbage begins to soften, stirring constantly.  Add water and cook 1 to 2 minutes or until water evaporates and cabbage is tender-crisp, stirring frequently.  Stir in turkey, soy sauce, 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce, and mushrooms; cook 3 minutes or until turkey is hot, stirring constantly.

3.  If you like, spread additional hoisin sauce on tortillas to serve; top with turkey mixture and sprinkle with green portion of green onions.  Roll up to eat out of hand.  Delicious, juicy, wonderful.

What will you do with your life?

Dear companions on the way, 

What human can really ever say what is coming in their future? 

We can certainly do our best to predict things - schedule things, plan things, intend things, hope for things.  But we never really know what will happen, or if it will even be what we thought we wanted.  

But in the end, it is all in the Lord's hand.  And we can either fight it, or we can make peace with it and know that everything happens in His timing; if we seek out the meaning in the events in our lives, and trust that the things we don't understand are still under His control, we will find His will being worked in our lives.  

This new year will bring with it many new experiences for my husband and I.  As you already know from reading his plan to join, his training blog, and about his swearing-in ceremony, Mr H is leaving soon for the Navy to pursue a dream that has been hounding him since childhood.

In March, he will leave for nine months to train his hands to war; then will follow another 15 months of warrior training in different schools, and therein lie the unknowns of our next year of life - where will his training take place?  Don't know. How long will each individual school - dive school, jump school - be?  Don't know.  Can I go with him?  Depends... on how long a given training school is, where it's at, the Navy budget, and our budget.  

Mr H and I prayed long and hard about this; the Lord was speaking to him.  But something like this is costly - in time, in emotions, in personal comfort.  Mr H and I, after many nights of praying and wrestling with it both individually and together, and hearing things from ministers who had no idea what we were thinking about, finally came to rest in the answer that this was the Lord's calling for him.

We knew it probably wouldn't be a decision that was popular with everybody we knew; some people don't believe in godly warriors any more - they were necessary in the days of old, but now humans should be so progressive and advanced morally that fighting against those who would take innocent lives is a thing of the past.

Sadly, we humans have become - if anything - more degraded morally, and less able to keep an innocent peace.  Without the men and women that we never hear about working night and day against evil, there would be no church gatherings or quiet homesteads or placid countrysides.  While we depend on the Lord for protection and deliverance, He still requires of us to take into our hands His appointed works and do the tasks He has enabled us to do.

With anticipation of an exciting future ahead,

Mrs H
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Next: Anticipation of separation ... 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

To Readers of Literature

Dear readers of all types of literature including but not limited to comic books,

I love reading all types of books.  However, there are two types of literature that I’ve never really been particularly interested in – science fiction, and poetry.  The science fiction genre is a story for another day; but I’ve recently found a book on poetry that has kindled my imagination. 

I always found poetry too boring to read; for me, it takes more energy to understand than prose, and sometimes the poems just seem slapped together with more care given to rhyme than reason.  However, one quarter I took a class from a brilliant English teacher, Tracey Heinlein, and she assigned a textbook that gave me a fairly basic understanding of the fundamentals of poetry – assonance, stanzas, villanelles (which have nothing to do with villains), and an astute appreciation for alliteration.  I’ve always had a passion for onomatopoeic words being used as emotional leverage in prose, so I was delighted to encounter poems like Player Piano by John Updike.  I enjoyed reading the poems with the textbook’s interpretations, criticisms, and technical explanations.  They enlightened me as to the beauty of poetry, and the true depth and skill it takes to write really, really good poetry. 

I have always had a favorite poem, written by a poet I admired very much – The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  I visited his home in Portland, Maine and was enamored of the grooved desk, the tiny garden, the glazed porcelain. 

But, aside from that outstanding poem, for years I did not find that it behooved me to read poetry.  I skipped over the excerpts from Tennyson in Anne of Green Gables because I found the descriptions of limpid pools and snow-frosty mornings excruciatingly dull and wanted to get to the meat of the story. 

But one fateful day at a garage sale, I found a book of poetry that has struck me as some of the most beautiful works I have ever read - in prose or poetry.  It is a reprint of Louis L’Amour’s collection of selected poems, Smoke From This Altar, with twenty additional poems added by his family at the time of the reprint (if you ever find an original of this book, buy it … they are worth a lot!  I paid about $0.50 for my reprint, and I've since learned that the reprints themselves sell for about $60!).  Louis L’Amour lived more in one lifetime than a legion of men in ten lifetimes; his prose is rich and varied enough, but his poetry is sheer genius.  Even the short inscription in the front of the book is telling and poignant: 

To Singapore Charlie, 
….. who couldn’t read

Titles like Banked Fires, Enchanted Mesas, Interlude: Hongkong Harbor, and Words from a Wanderer bespeak of his travels and adventures on the high seas and abroad.  Emotions are deftly interpreted between the lines, metaphors ripe and pregnant with meaning, panoramic scenes depicted in fewer words than a photograph.  His wanderlust is apparent in almost every poem:  

A call that comes whispering, 
softly, enduring - 
Of ways to go wandering,
seas so alluring. 

Out of the ocean depths
soundlessly moving-
up from my memories
disturbing and deep;
a spirit that urges me
restlessly onward,
a dreaming that haunts me
awake and asleep.

Of all the poems, my favorite remains a nostalgic, three-stanza poem entitled To Cleone: In Budapest.  It's a wonder to me that he is able to write it this sensitively, without either bitterness or callousness.  

If you can find a copy of this book, I encourage you to check it out; especially if you are as cynical about poetry as I was.  

Mrs H

Simple Side Dish - Hot Fruit Compote

Dear hibernating chipmunks and other woodland creatures,

This side dish was an excellent addition to our Christmas feast.  I put all the contents in the crock-pot the night before, and turned it on to low the next morning.  It was piping hot and ready to eat by dinner time.


It is very, very simple!  These are the quantities I used; adjust the ratios as your preference and pantry allow.

Hot Fruit Compote

1 quart canned pears, quartered
1 quart canned peaches, quartered
1 quart chunky applesauce
1 pint smooth applesauce
Dash of sugar to taste (I used about 1/4 cup)
Pinch of nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Combine in a crock pot and stir; heat to desired temperature and serve in small bowls.

Suggestions: the next morning, I heated what little bit was leftover and put it on my cream of wheat; try this with oatmeal, ice cream, crusty toast, etc. Very, very delicious!

Mrs H

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Day

Thanks for reading this post, I'm so excited to visit with you!  
After you've gleaned all the good information you need, visit our new blog platform at to read even more fascinating tidbits from the kitchen and the fields. 

Dear friends,

Christmas Day was wonderful!  It couldn't have been more perfect.  What a day to celebrate His birth!  What a way to bring some sparkle to the middle of a long, dark winter.

At 3:30 AM I was finishing my tasks in the kitchen, a little bit of wrapping, and washing up the last few dishes.  The fridge was full of ingredients and half-prepared dishes, ready to be assembled and served on Christmas day.

The turkey had brined all day on Christmas Eve and the brine-water was looking cheerfully ghastly as I took ol' Tom out to lay it in the fridge to dry overnight.

I had to do some fridge rearranging to get the turkey to fit!

Mr H's parents came over in the morning, and the two misters H left to pick up a package.  The first Mrs H and I stayed to prepare breakfast. 

 The menfolk soon returned with a huge, mysterious present.  I had no idea what it was.  

You can only imagine my delight when I opened it and found a giant chest freezer!!!!

 Needless to say, I was ecstatic and taken completely by surprise.  By the time Gary and his dad had put it out on the deck, I was already planning how I was going to fill it up!  

The excitement was too much for the former Mr H and he collapsed on the couch in utter Christmas exhaustion.  

He was later revived with a stimulating cup of coffee!  

The breakfast menu was simple and delicious.  
Christmas Coffee Cake, poured into the pan the night before and ready to pop into the oven
Christmas Sausage and Egg Frittata
Segmented oranges and chopped pineapple
Banana Bread
Coffee, orange juice

During the day, delicious treats floated around the house - creme wafers and jewel cookies made by my mother-in-law, red jelly candies, Clementine oranges... 

The entire day was exciting!  Candles glowing, turkey roasting, song-singing, card-playing.  Max, the dog (not that one!) settled in to the festivities with perfect comportment.  

When my family came over to join the fun, we pulled out all the stops and had a festive feast for dinner. 

Stuffed mushrooms (provided by my mother-in-law)
Crackers and cheese (made by my mom)
Cream cheese and red-pepper jelly
Roast Turkey
Honey-glazed ham (made by my mom)
Sausage and Cornbread Stuffing
Giblet Gravy
Hot Fruit Compote
Homemade sparkling cider
Frozen Pea Salad (provided by my mother-in-law)
Broccoli and Cashew Salad (from my grandma)
Scalloped potatoes (brought by my aunt)
Green salad (from my grandma)
Vanilla ice cream with hot fudge pudding cake, and glazed pumpkin cake 

The box from the freezer was enormously popular!    

And now to wish you a happy, happy New Year; would that you could know that true happiness is found only in Him and the knowledge of His grace, He who came to give us glorious, abundant life.  

Mrs H\

Saturday, December 25, 2010

And to all a good night!

Dear benevolent beings of the Christmas season,

Slush, rain, snow, and dark nights call for hot, thick, steaming mugs of cocoa.

You may find yourself in dire need of this warming drink if you have to trek through the snow to get to Grandmother's house, or play football in the backyard after Christmas lunch, or go for a frosty evening walk.  Make a jar of mix for New Year's festivities!  Give some away to the neighbors and share the joy of chocolate.  This is without question the creamiest, heavenliest cocoa I've ever had.

Cook's Country Hot Cocoa Mix

makes about 20 servings

3 cups nonfat dry milk
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1-1/2 cups Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1-1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine ingredients in a large bowl.

Working in two batches, pulse ingredients in food processor until chocolate is finely ground.  Store in airtight container for up to 3 months (as if it would even last that long at my house!).  To make hot cocoa, stir 1/3 cup of this mix into 1 cup hot milk (whole milk is excellent but any milk will do).  Top with whipped cream or marshmallows.

I have only tried the mocha version of these variations; you can see there are many, many possibilities for variety!

Raspberry Hot Cocoa Mix
Add 1 (3-ounce) box raspberry gelatin and reduce confectioners' sugar to 1-1/2 cups.
Peanut Butter Hot Cocoa Mix
Substitute 1-1/2 cups peanut butter chips for white chocolate chips.
Butterscotch-Mocha Hot Cocoa Mix
Substitute 1-1/2 cups butterscotch chips for white chocolate chips and add 1/2 cup instant coffee to mix.

Back to last-minute Christmas Eve food preparation for the big day ...

Mrs H



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