Tuesday, November 1, 2011

HEARTH AND HOME - November 1, 2011

Greetings, Dear Friends!

It's hard to believe that it's November already and that, once again, the holidays are upon us, but it's true! November has arrived! With it comes a renewed determination to get back on track with living and that includes writing! Welcome to the first of two, big, Thanksgiving issues of HEARTH AND HOME! I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have enjoyed putting them together for you! Let's get started...shall we?

(Note - The second Thanksgiving issue is slated to be published on November 15th, so be looking for it!)

“Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make 
a joyful noise unto him with psalms.” 
(Psalm 95:2)

HOUSEHOLD TIPS

* Fit a square of cheesecloth over a canning jar filled with powdered sugar, pull taut, and screw the ring on to dust cookies, cakes, waffles, and pancakes.

* To keep track of whose cup is whose write each person’s name in ink on wide rubber bands and place them around each person’s cup. This helps avoid each person using more than one cup and it aids in ending the spread of germs. Take the rubber bands off when doing the dishes and they’re ready to be used again!

* To remove paper stuck on wood moisten the paper with olive oil and then, rub it off.

* When kneading bread or making cookies on your kitchen table, place masking tape over the seams of the table. This will prevent ingredients from getting lost between the table’s leaves and make cleanup a breeze.

* Kitchen sponges come out clean when thrown into the washing machine along with your other kitchen rags. Dry sponges in the dryer.

* Because nuts are rich in oil, they can turn bitter over time. Keep them fresh longer (up to two months) in an airtight container in the fridge or freeze them, and they'll be good for up to a year.

* Most pie recipes instruct you to cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil when it begins to brown. Before you begin baking form a foil ring around the cold pie edge, then when the edges begin to brown simply set the already formed ring in place.

* Washing your good crystal or china? Cushion the sink first by placing a fluffy towel at the bottom. This way, if you drop a piece, it'll be much less likely to break!

(If you have a household tip that you'd like to share please send it to me at 
proverbs31heart@yahoo.com
  Be sure and put "Household Tip" on the subject line. Thank you!)


“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication 
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” 
(Philippians 4:6)

DOLLARS AND SENSE


* Here's the link to an article by a gal who offers us great tips for having a frugal Thanksgiving...


(If you have a dollar-stretching tip to share please send it to me at 
proverbs31heart@yahoo.com
Be sure and put "Dollars and Sense" on the subject line. Thank you!)

FUN FACTS

* Pumpkins are 90 percent water.

* The largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in diameter and weighted over 350 pounds. It used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs, and took six hours to bake.

THANKSGIVING PLANNER

WEEK ONE OF NOVEMBER-

* Begin holiday organization.
* Invite your guests for Thanksgiving dinner. A cheery phone invitation or a written invitation is always welcome.
* If you’re ordering a fresh turkey, do it now; if you’re buying a frozen turkey you have time, but don’t wait until the last minute. Start watching those sale ads now.

WEEK TWO OF NOVEMBER-

* Make up Thanksgiving dinner menu. At the same time compile your grocery list. You can pick up the dry goods and staples for your meal now. It’s easier on the budget and makes shopping faster later. Check off items on the marketing list as you purchase them.
* Plan your Thanksgiving table setting and centerpiece early. Check your silverware, plates, and serving dishes to be sure you have enough for the number of guests you are inviting.
* Name cards can also be completed ahead of time. As a family sit down and find verses with a thanksgiving theme. Take a blank 3” x 5” index card, fold it in half, and stand it on the table. On the front write the name of the person who will sit at that place and inside write a Thanksgiving scripture. When everyone is seated, each person then reads his verse.

WEEK THREE OF NOVEMBER-

* Make any last-minute arrangements for Thanksgiving. If you’ll be going out of town, ask a neighbor to collect your mail and newspapers. If you are cooking, finalize your menu and entertainment plans.

WEEK FOUR OF NOVEMBER-

* Special holiday events will be happening Thanksgiving week. Decide which event you want to attend as a family, then schedule one special event for each child individually.
FOUR DAYS BEFORE THANKSGIVING:
* Start defrosting a large (15 to 20 lbs.) frozen turkey in the coldest part of your refrigerator.

TWO DAYS BEFORE THANKSGIVING-

* Prepare the serving pieces, plates, flatware, glasses, etc.
* If using cloth napkins or tablecloths, iron them now.
* Make the cranberry sauce; a couple of days in the refrigerator will give the flavors time to develop.
* Cut and cube bread for the stuffing now, and set the cubes out in a single layer on a baking sheet to dry.

ONE DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING-

* Pick up the fresh turkey and purchase perishables.
* Prepare the stuffing. Refrigerate overnight.
* Make the giblet stock for gravy.
* Assemble and bake pies.
* Peel the potatoes; refrigerate in a pot of cold water.
* Make side dishes that require baking and reheat them tomorrow; or assemble them today and cook them right before dinner tomorrow.
* Set the table tonight or first thing in the morning.

THANKSGIVING DAY-

* Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and cook as desired. (Some people...like me...even prefer to slow cook the turkey overnight.)
* Make mashed potatoes and bake or reheat side dishes.
* Prepare coffee, but do not brew until about twenty minutes before it is to be served.
* Prepare iced tea and other beverages early and refrigerate.


“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving...”
(Colossians 4:2)

EATING SMART DURING THE HOLIDAYS

Food is among the many pleasures of the holidays. You may wonder how to eat smart during this busy time. Healthful and good-tasting food choices are really a matter of balance. Be sure to keep an eye on portion sizes and balance a special treat with other food choices that are lower in calories, fat or sugar. If an expanding waistline is one holiday tradition you’d like to skip this year, there is hope. The keys are exercise, self-control and planning. Here are five tips to help trim excess holiday calories.

1. Be realistic. Set a goal to maintain your weight (rather than losing weight) at holiday time.
2. Out of sight, out of mind. Store holiday goodies in the back of the refrigerator or pantry. Leaving them in clear view may create unnecessary temptations.
3. Get moving. Exercise routines are often the first thing that people eliminate during these busy times. Aim to accumulate 60 minutes of physical activity each day and make it a priority. Don’t forget that mall walking and
dancing count towards these 60 minutes of activity!
4. Don’t go to the holiday party hungry. Enjoy a small snack before a party, so you won’t be ravenous and overeat. At the party, position yourself around the people, not the food.
5. Bring a dish to the party. Choose a delicious and nutritious appetizer or dessert. This way, you can be sure that there is at least one good-for-you item being served at the gathering.

TO MAKE
 
EDIBLE CORNUCOPIA FAVORS

Very simple and fun. Kids will enjoy helping.

1. Melt chocolate chips in microwave oven or double boiling pan.
2. Dip the wide opening of a sugar (dark) ice cream cone about halfway into the melted chocolate chips, set on wax paper to cool.
3. Fill with candy (Maybe some candy corn or mallow creme pumpkins for instance?)
4. Also put a little paper inside, asking guests to think of what they are thankful for. Then have volunteers share.

APPLE CANDLE HOLDERS

Take large apples and core out enough to hold a votive candle. Squeeze lemon juice around the cutout area and then insert the candle. The apples can be set on your holiday table in front of each person’s place or down the center of the table with autumn leaves, pods, grapes, pears, corn, eggplant, and even squash and nuts. When the candles are lit, you’ll have a beautiful harvest display.
If you don’t have votive candles, use tall tapers or whatever you have available.
(This idea can be used for Christmas with red and green apples.)

ORANGE SHELLS

Here’s a simple, decorative way to serve your sweet potatoes or yams. Cut oranges in half and remove fruit and pulp. Add the fruit to your holiday punch or let the children enjoy it as an extra treat. Prepare cooked sweet potatoes or yams and spoon into the orange shells. For an extra touch, flute top edges of orange shells with a knife and top with miniature marshmallows. Place in oven until the marshmallow melts. Nestle oranges around turkey on platter.
  
LET‘S TALK TURKEY

* To store a fresh turkey, loosely cover it with waxed paper or foil. Keep the turkey in the coldest part of your refrigerator and cook within three days.
* You can special-order a turkey from your favorite market. Give them the weight you want and request that it be fresh, not frozen. Pick it up the day before Thanksgiving. You now have a fresh turkey that is ready for the oven.
* Fresh or frozen, don’t forget to remove the giblets and save them for gravy stock or for use in stuffing.
* After cooking the turkey, it may be stored three or four days in the refrigerator or frozen and stored up to three months.
* The majority of turkey’s fat can be found in it’s skin. Be sure to remove the skin from leftover turkey before adding the meat to the dish you are preparing.
* Make homemade turkey stock. Put the turkey carcass in a kettle with cold water and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, skimming the foam off the top. When the stock is done, strain it and refrigerate. Remove fat from the surface before using.
* Keep a frozen turkey in the freezer until a couple or three days before you want to cook it. Whole turkeys can be kept frozen for one year, turkey parts for six months.
* The refrigerator is the best place to thaw your frozen turkey. It keeps meat cold while it defrosts. Place the bird on a rimmed baking sheet, and let it thaw in the bottom of your refrigerator. Allow five hours per pound to thaw. 

CRANBERRIES

Interested in finding out more about cranberries? Check out The Cranberry Institute at www.cranberryinstitute.org. Everything you ever wanted to know about that tart little berry can be found on these pages that are chocked full of fun facts. There are lots of recipes, too!

RECIPES

PUMPKIN PANCAKES

2 cups biscuit/baking mix
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1/2 cup cooked or canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
syrup

In a bowl, combine the baking mix, brown sugar and cinnamon. In another bowl, combine the eggs, milk, pumpkin, oil and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients and mix well. Pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto a lightly greased hot griddle; turn when bubbles form on top of pancakes. Cook until second side is golden brown. Serve with syrup. Yield: 1 dozen.
 
PUMPKIN WAFFLES

1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 1/2 cups milk
3 eggs, well beaten
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Stir together pumpkin, eggs, milk, and butter. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and nutmeg. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture. Stir until thoroughly combined. Cook according to the directions for your waffle maker. Serve immediately with berry or maple syrup, fresh berries, or ginger whipped cream.


ACORN SQUASH SOUP

2 large acorn squash
2 T. butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 (14.5 oz.) can chicken broth
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 t. salt
4 (3-inch) pieces Italian or sourdough bread, toasted
4 slices Swiss cheese

Place whole squash on paper towel in microwave. Cook on high 5 minutes (piercing not necessary). Turn each over; continue microwaving 4 minutes until squash are barely tender when pierced with knife. Let stand 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat and saute onion. Cut squash in half; scoop out seedy portion; keep shells intact but carefully scoop out flesh. Add pulp to onion and cook a bit. Add broth, nutmeg, cayenne, salt. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered 10 minutes. Puree in blender or processor. Reheat soup. Arrange squash shells in ovenproof bowls; place on baking sheet. Fill squash with hot soup and top with toast, cheese. Broil 5 inches from heat 3 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

CRANBERRY TARTLETS

Pair leftover pie dough and cranberry sauce for this tasty little treat. Arrange twelve 2 3/4-inch squares of dough in cups of of a mini-muffin pan. Top each square with 1 1/2 teaspoons cranberry sauce; fold in edges. Freeze for 30 minutes. Brush with egg wash (1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon cream or milk); sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown (about 30 to 35 minutes). 

LOW-FAT PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE

In a large bowl beat 1 pkg. (8 oz.) fat-free cream cheese, 1 cup canned pumpkin, 1/2 cup raw sugar, and 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice. Gently stir in 1 tub (8 oz.) thawed fat-free or low-fat whipped topping. Spoon into 1 prepared graham cracker crust. Refrigerate 3 hours or until set. Makes 8 servings.

PUMPKIN PIE COFFEE CREAMER MIX

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon allspice (optional)
1 cup non-dairy creamer

Combine all and use 1-2 tsp per mug of hot coffee or tea.

HOLIDAY CRANBERRY BUTTER

Combine 1/2 cup softened butter with 1 tablespoon of leftover whole-berry cranberry sauce and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar; mix well.

Excellent on hot biscuits!

PUMPKIN PIE SPICE MIX

1/4 cup ground cinnamon
1/8 cup ground ginger
1 Tablespoon nutmeg
1 Tablespoon ground cloves

Combine all ingredients and seal in ziploc or vacuum seal bag (or jar).

APPLE PIE SPICE MIX

1/4 c. cinnamon
2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. ground ginger

Mix all spices well. Store in a spice jar or decorative container.

PUMPKIN SPREAD FOR TOAST OR PANCAKES

Beat together 2 sticks softened butter (regular, light, or unsalted), 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons pure pumpkin puree, 3 tablespoons maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt with a mixer on high speed until pale and fluffy. The mixture will stay fresh in the fridge for up to two weeks.

FOR THE CHILDREN

BIBLE VERSE HUNT

Make a list of Bible verses that relate to Thanksgiving. Just list the Bible references and leave enough space for the children to print out the verses. If you have enough people you can make teams with two people on each team. One person can look up the verses, while the other one writes them out. Make sure you have plenty of pencils with erasers and Bibles to hand out to each participant. This can either be a game or an activity which ever you prefer.

JOKE

Q. Why did the turkey cross the road?
A. To prove that he wasn’t a chicken.

Well, Ladies, that’s it for this time! I pray God’s blessings upon you, your family, and your home. May He be with you and guide you as you seek His will for your life this Thanksgiving season. God bless you!
 
Until Next Time...

All My Love,
~Rebecca 

P.S. - It's that time of year again! Spring forward! Fall back! Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 6, 2011. Don't forget to set your clocks back one hour before you go to bed Saturday night. Also, Daylight Saving Time's beginning and ending is a good way to remember that it's time to change the batteries in your smoke alarm, carbon monoxide tester, and other battery-operated home protection devices. Now's the time! It helps to ensure a safe and happy holiday season. God's blessings upon you! <3

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