Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Feeling Thankful

On this eve of Thanksgiving as my son and I stir the cranberries and I teach him how to zest an orange, I am feeling very thankful.

Tomorrow morning I will teach a yoga class and then zip home to get ready to have 15 family members for Thanksgiving Day. I am feeling surprisingly non-stressed now. The main reason is because of my Mom.

Today she drove almost an hour from her home and arrived with her car full of pressed table cloths, ironed napkins rolled and tied with raffia, a handmade centerpiece, a cherry jello dessert, and fresh pears, grapes, and cheese for a special appetizer.

We happily worked together all day to get the house clean and festive. My piles of papers and full laundry baskets are quietly hidden in the "no-no room". The extra-long table is set, the china and crystal rinsed and ready, and the scent of cranberry and orange fills the air.

The funny thing Mom is not even coming tomorrow. Of course she is invited but Thanksgiving is typically my Dad's holiday and hers is Christmas. Even so she knew I needed the help and enthusiastically whisked in to save the day. For that I am so thankful.
I love you, Mom!
Kathy Anne

Monday, November 23, 2009

Can't wait for Thanksgiving Leftovers

As I am cleaning my house and clearing my kitchen table and shoe garden in preparation for Thanksgiving I can't help but get excited for the next day's leftover turkey and other dishes.

Before I was a stay at home mom, my sister, dad, and I owned a bustling gourmet sandwich shop in the city. One of the most popular sandwiches on the menu was the Turkey & Cranberry.

I always make it after Thanksgiving and it is so delicious!

Turkey & Cranberry Sandwich
Leftover Turkey pulled in strips
Cranberry sauce (Ocean Spray Whole Berry is good too)
Cream cheese
Crisp lettuce
Thick multi-grain bread or white rolls

Spread cream cheese on both sides of bread. Spoon cranberry sauce on top of cream cheese. Place turkey on cranberries. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Add crisp lettuce and top with bread. Slice in half for a beautiful and delicious sandwich.
Turkey and wild rice soup recipe to come soon....

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bitten by Twilight

I'm the world's best predator, aren't I? Everything about me invites you in- my voice, my face, and even my smell. As if I need any of that! -Edward Cullen, Twilight, Chapter 13, pg. 263.

Yes, this summer I was bitten by Twilight. Two of my intelligent good friends in our book club of nine years became flushed -faced giddy girls talking about this book. Also visiting Twilight websites and listening to the soundtrack on their ipods as they zipped around suburbia in their suvs.

I took it on our summer vacation and was hooked. I even read it to my kids (leaving some parts out). My husband even surprised me and bought me the movie and we all watched it together. I was trying to explain to him what it was about this book. He logically said to me, "It must just be a great story." YES!

Tomorrow a few Twilight-loving friends and I have tickets to the opening sold out showing of New Moon at 12:02 a.m. I have not been out of my house at that time in years. For this I will and can't wait!

Pictured is my son Indy giving Edward some competition on Halloween. I don't think Edward is into skateboarding though.
Shine your light,
Kathy Anne

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Souper Lunches

Good soup is one of the prime ingredients of good living. For soup can do more to lift the spirits and stimulate the appetite than any other one dish. -Louis P. De Gouy, The Soup Book, 1949

It is cool and the rain is falling today. This is a perfect soup day! Instead of taking time to slice veggies and put together a homemade soup, I decided to grab a favorite off the pantry shelf. Today we had Wolfgang Puck's Old Fashioned Potato. I toasted a bagel and buttered it with Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter (Trader Joe's).

Wolfgang Puck soups are my favorite. I usually find them at the grocery in the organic section. Other Puck favorites are tomato basil, in the picture (served with grilled cheese), tortilla, and chicken and wild rice.
Enjoy your soup!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Passion for Books

Gratitude keeps your heart open. -from the book 29 Gifts by Cami Walker

If I have an addiction it is books. I am a voracious reader. It started at six with Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss. My mom kept the Seuss collection and are they are now on my kids shelves. I moved on to Nancy Drew, Judy Blume and by ten I was reading my first unforgettable Danielle Steele novel Palomino. After breezing through Steele's books I went on to the Clan of the Cave bear series by Jean M. Auel.

My passion for books is still burning. My heart pounds wildly when I walk into a Barnes and Noble bookstore. Half Price Books is like a giant treasure hunt especially the back clearance wall. I could ramble on for hours about my favorite books on different topics: Fiction, Non-fiction, Spirituality/self help, Children's and many many more. I will write more on these for sure.

Today I became immersed in 29 Gifts by Cami Walker. Walker vividly writes about having the disease Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and being given a message to heal her body, life, and spirit through giving 29 gifts in 29 days. It is a remarkable story. I am now on my 29 gifts in 29 days journey. Her website is
Shine your light,
Kathy Anne

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Countdown to Thanksgiving

Exactly two weeks until Thanksgiving Day. My family will gather here at the ranch for a festive day with lots of delicious food. I love Thanksgiving. The focus is on being grateful for what we have and reaching out to those in need.
Today I dug out my "favorite recipes" folder. I will be posting some of the dishes that I will serve. When you plan your menu and grocery list make a note to make an extra pie or dish of sweet potatoes and send it over to a neighbor or a friend who could use a little help this Thanksgiving. You will be glad you did.
Shine your light,
Kathy Anne
For Starters:
My Dad's tradition is to bring Lancer's Wine. It is a sparkling blush wine in a unique crockery bottle. I will look forward to a glass with this dip.

Crab Melt Dip

1 8 oz container of sour cream (reduced fat is fine)
2 8 oz pkgs of cream cheese, softened (reduced fat is fine)
1/4 c. Mayonnaise
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. dry mustard
1/2 t. garlic salt
1 lb. fresh crab meat, drained (canned is fine)
1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
Garnish with parsley and serve with crackers or crostini

Combine first 7 ingredients and fold in crab meat.
Pour into an 11 x 7 baking dish or round pie plate
Sprinkle with cheese and bake at 325 for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Munchkins

Above all watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it. -Roald Dahl

I snapped this photo recently as the kids were having fun on our swing set "the monster castle" as they call it.
They just happen to be lined up by age (9, 7, 6, & 2).

My nicknames for them:
"Blaze " is my oldest at nine and is the trailblazer for the other three. He probably gets the harshest discipline like most firstborn but he helps keep the rest in line. He's my only left handed child which I have found that to mean structure is a good thing. He enjoys school, soccer, and anything having to do with race cars.

"Indy" is seven and is the family spokesperson. He is my "Indiana Jones" free spirit adventurer. He will climb a tree and say, "Hey Mom - I can see the whole world from here!" He can talk to absolutely anybody and make you feel special. He likes basketball, computer games, and anything social.

"Phoebe Fireball" is my sweet and sassy six year old. She can keep up with her brothers and then some. She loves books, horses, tumbling, Hannah Montana, chocolate, and purple. I think she has an artistic streak.

"Scout" is our happy and lively green eyed two year old. The three bigs just adore him. Most of my time is now spent keeping his curious mind out of trouble. There is never a dull moment with our little Scout.

Shine your light,
Kathy Anne

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pancakes Make People Happy

For Christmas a few years ago our friends Jan & Charlie gave us a set of white plates that say in bold red "Pancakes Make People Happy".

These plates have become family treasures and are only used when making pancakes on the weekends. I truly think they make the pancakes taste better and make the mornings more festive.

Last weekend I made three different kinds of pancakes using the Krusteaz Mix we buy at Sam's Club in a huge bag. I like sneaking a little nutrition into the mix like oats, cinnamon, fruit, etc.

Plain pancakes for Blaze: I added 1/2 cup oats and a little milk and cinnamon.

Chocolate chip for Phoebe, Indy, & Scout: Plain plus chocolate chips.

Mixed berry for my husband: Plain plus blueberries, raspberries, & blackberries (from frozen bag).
They like me to make extras and leave them piled on a plate so they can eat them like cookies for snacks throughout the day.

Shine your light,
Kathy Anne

Indian Summer Beef Stew

This is the season where I pull my crock pot off the shelf and start cooking. This past weekend was so beautiful that I wanted to spend time with my family outside instead of living in the kitchen. I created this stew recipe with most of the veggies in my fridge and a quick trip to the store for some fresh stew meat and rolls. My sister and her family and my 94 year old grandmother joined us for a wonderful Sunday on the ranch. We went hiking and creek stomping and then came inside for the stew and hot crusty rolls. I knew it was a hit when there were few leftovers and my sister asked for the recipe. So Libby and friends, here it is.
Indian Summer Beef Stew
This recipe will feed up to 12-15 and can be halved.
4 lbs. stew meat, browned
1 lb. baby carrots
4-6 Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
4 celery ribs, sliced
2 onions, chopped
3 bay leaves
1 pkg onion soup mix
1 T. paprika
2 T. brown sugar
3 cups water
1 jar of tomato sauce - I use Ragu traditional old world
grated black pepper
fresh parsley to garnish

Brown stew meat in large skillet. I like to heat the pan and drizzle olive oil, a splash of red wine, and Worcestershire sauce and then add the meat to brown. While the meat is browning chop all veggies and place in slow cooker. Add bay leaves, water, spices, soup mix, tomato sauce, and black pepper. Add browned stew meat and put lid on. Heat 6-8 hours. Served with crusty rolls and butter and be ready for a delicious meal.

Shine your light,
Kathy Anne

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Retreat Will Move You Forward

Retreat will move you forward.
quote from Wake-Up Calls by Joan Lunden

I am a collector of quotes. They can be so insightful and moving. This quote spoke to me. I am rarely alone. At any given moment I hear "Hey Mom!", "Mommy watch this!", "Mama I need help." Most times this is music to my ears. However, I feel everyone needs to retreat from their daily lives to rest and gain perspective. We can become exhausted and caught up in the small stuff of life. Make a little time to retreat. It can be a Sunday afternoon nap (my favorite), a quite morning walk, a drive in the country, a trip to the bookstore, or anything your heart desires. After retreating by yourself I promise you will return refreshed and grateful for the good things in life.
This makes me want to reread Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

Shine your light,
Kathy Anne

Friday, November 6, 2009

Joy of living: Goodness, Beauty, & Truth

The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness, beauty, and truth. Albert Einstein

It is late Friday evening at my home and I am enjoying the solitude as my children sleep. I am the mother of four beautiful children ages 9, 7, 5, and 2. I put my heart and soul into being a good wife and mother among many other things.
I would like to use these writings as a creative outlet that can help shine a light to a more joy filled life.
The nature pictures I post are taken on our walnut tree farm where we live. Every day I am inspired by the beauty that surrounds me.
Shine your light,
Kathy Anne