Friday, November 8, 2019

Tea With Dawn - Week 1

🍁Good morning!  Today I am so excited to be joining my dear friend, Dawn, as she hosts the first in a series of Tea Time posts at her blog, By Sun and Candlelight.  She has assigned a lovely seasonal theme for each week, and this week we are reflecting upon . . .

Fading Light ❈ Cranberries  Frost

"Gray November is the most beautiful of seasons"

So lets jump right in, shall we?

I want to begin by welcoming you, whether you are a frequent visitor here or if you've found your way through Dawn's blog, please make yourself comfortable and enjoy your stay.

Today I'm serving up Cranberry Apple Tart Tea, fitting with our theme and the season. It's one my favorite blends from my favorite tea shoppe, The Spice and Tea Exchange. And be sure to help yourself to a few Holly Hobbie Snickerdoodles, fresh from the oven. Why Holly Hobbie, you ask?  The recipe is from a lovely little book The Art of Holly Hobbie, which I have owned for a number of years. For reasons I don't quite understand, I read it every year around this time, and traditionally I always make up a batch of these cookies, as well.  They've become a family favorite, and because they came from the book, they've been dubbed Holly Hobbie Snickerdoodles.
"Pursuing the Pleiades, Orion looms up in the east, winter's hunter returns and amid shortening days and chill nights. Pegasus now dominates the southern sky, his wings beat the late autumn winds into life, bringing and end to the harvest and the onset of cold days. The stars and stories they tell prepare us to close one celestial year and begin another. Orion will soon return to rule for a time, but will flee with the rumor of Scorpio. The summer triangle will drop away south, but invariably return next April. Life small, brief and uncertain, but the ineluctable life of the lights in the northern sky continues beyond human will or hope. In November, constellations not seen for months return to remind us, in the midst of a dying season, of the small certainty of our small corner of the infinite night."

- Michael Judge
from The Dance of Time

❈ Fading Light

On days like these, the light is changing. I've noticed it for awhile now, but with the time change this week it comes earlier, in the morning and again in the afternoon. It shimmers, sparkles and glimmers all through the house, casting its magic upon whatever it touches. Simple beauty at no cost.

There are some who do not care for daylight savings time. They draw up petitions and rally for support to appeal to the government to end it. I guess in some way I understand, and I'm certain that I could easily live without it. But personally, I rather prefer the curtain of darkness that is drawn earlier in the evening come mid-Autumn, just as winter takes its first strong grip. I'm tempted to slow down, gain a few pounds and hibernate, but inevitably, life calls us to rise and keep going, and we must find a way to trudge through the darkness and make our own light!

The Norwegians know how to brighten the darkening season, with a whimsical concept known as koselig, which is best described in images: curling up under a wool blanket in front of a fire, drinking wine by candlelight with friends, sharing a home cooked meal with family, enjoying a good book with a mug of steaming hot chocolate, and sweaters, LOTS of sweaters! It's basically "chestnuts roasting on an open fire", all season long.

You can always make it a point to rise early to catch the sun on a brisk walk before the busyness of the day begins, or perhaps during your lunch break. But inevitably the night comes and the cold descends. The change of light in this season is here to stay, so we might as well make the most of it.  And with some help of the cozy little concept of koselig, there are a few ways you can do just that.

🍂 Stay Social
This season sets the stage for the slow enjoyment of food and friends. In Norway friends and family gather in each other's homes during this time of year, enjoying simple, homemade dinners in the comfort and intimacy of a private, small space. Lights are low and candles are lit, as loved ones enjoy one another's company while wine bottles are passed and a wholesome meal is consumed. Perhaps you could borrow from this idea and organize a weekly dinner night, rotating between the homes of two or three friends, or open up your home once a week and invite friends and family to join you!

🍂 Create Ambiance
With temperatures dropping, once you are home for the evening, you most likely don't want to get out again. So here's a bit of inspiration to kindle some warmth and light into your evening. Heat up some water for a cup of tea, put on your warmest sweater, light a few candles and turn up some relaxing music. Then wrap your legs in a warm wool blanket and read a few chapters from a favorite book. It doesn't take much to create this cozy scene for yourself, and makes for a truly lovely evening at home.

🍂 Take Up a New Hobby
It's easy to find plenty to do in the warmer months, when the outdoors beckon. But the darker, colder days of autumn and early winter is the perfect time for hobbies you can enjoy in the warmth and comfort of home. Why not learn to knit or crochet? Or perhaps you'd like to try out a few new recipes, or learn to bake bread from scratch? Puzzles are another fun activity to enjoy this time of year, a hobby I personally love. My husband even built me a puzzle tray so that I could keep the puzzle out as I am working on it without taking up table space. The tray can easily be moved from room to room, and shared together!

"November, with uncanny withering in its changed trees. With murky red sunsets flaming in smoky crimson red behind the westering hills. With dear days when the austere woods were beautiful in a dignified serenity of folded hands and closed eyes- days full of fine pale sunshine that sifted through the late, leafless gold of the juniper trees and glimmered among the grey beeches, lighting up evergreen banks of moss and washing the colonnades of the pines. Days with a high-sprung sky of flawless turquoise. Days when an exquisite melancholy seemed to hang over the landscape and dream about the lake. But days, too, of of the wild blackness of great autumn storms, followed by dank, wet, steaming nights when there was witch laughter in the pines and fitful moans among the mainland trees."

- L. M Montgomery
from The Blue Castle 


Did you know that November 23 is National Eat A Cranberry Day?

Every autumn, usually from September until mid-November in North America, cranberries reach their peak of color and flavor and are ready for harvesting.

As a child I wasn't fond of that wobbly fat tube of goop that adorned my grandmother's Thanksgiving table each year. But in recent years I've discovered the joy of making my own cranberry sauce using fresh cranberries, and this is my favorite recipe!

❈ Bourbon Ginger Cranberry Sauce

12 ounces Fresh Cranberries,
1 cup Orange Juice
1 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Bourbon
1 teaspoon Fresh Ginger, Grated
2 teaspoons Orange Zest

In a large saucepan set over medium high heat add all ingredients and stir to combine.

Cook down for about 15-20 minutes until the berries pop and the mixture starts to thicken. Stir every few minutes so the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom.

If the mixture is not broken down enough and you want to cook longer you can add more orange juice.

After the mixture has cooked down use your spatula to smash some of the berries until you reach your desired consistency.

Taste and add more sugar if desired.

I have also made an enjoyed a number of other recipes that include cranberries, especially this time of year.

- Cranberry Orange Pecan Butter - wonderful when spread on a bagel!  A great addition to your
Thanksgiving morning breakfast bar!
- Cranberry Butter - makes a wonderful little gift and is perfect on toast and bagels, as well.
- Spiced Cranberry Apple Jam - with just a hint of orange!  I've got my eye on this for this year!
- Cranberry Jalapeno Dip - I made this a couple of years ago for a Christmas party and it was a big hit!
- Turkey Cranberry Almond Wrap - I make these almost every year in the days after Thanksgiving. It's a great way to use up your leftover turkey and cranberry sauce!  So good!
- Bacon Cranberry Walnut Stuffed Celery - I just love the look of these, and so simple!  I am considering them for as a mid-day appetizer (among other things) on Thanksgiving day. We typically have a big lunch and then dinner around six. That may change this year though, as Kate works retail.  We will see. But honestly, I would eat these almost any time!
- Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad - I LOVE cranberries in my chicken salad, and while I have my own recipe (I'll share it another time!), this one looks delicious as well!
And finally,
There is something about this Festive Cranberry Salad that screams Christmas in the 70's to me. My grandmother made something similar, but sadly I wouldn't touch it as a kid, so I have no idea if I would have liked it or not. I might make this up this year as a little nod to her!

And speaking of cranberries!  Are you familiar with the delightful children's book, Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin?  I read this for the first time at some point in my childhood. It was originally published in 1971.

"Every year Grandmother invited a guest for Thanksgiving dinner and allowed Maggie to do the same. "Ask someone poor or lonely," she always said. Thanksgiving was Grandmother's favorite day of the year. The cooking was done and her famous cranberry bread was cooling on a wooden board. But she wasn't happy to find out Maggie had invited the unsavory Mr. Whiskers to dinner. Would her secret cranberry bread recipe be safe with him in the house?"

The book is simply delightful and I highly recommend it for the the littles in your life! There are a number of other books in the series, including.

- Cranberry Autumn
- Cranberry Halloween
- Cranberry Christmas
- Cranberry Valentine
- Cranberry Easter
- Cranberry Summer

and they are all charming! Cranberry Easter and Cranberry Summer are available to borrow from the Internet Archives, but I wasn't able to find the others.

“For winter was coming. The days were shorter, and frost crawled up the window panes at night. Soon the snow would come. Then the log house would be almost buried in snowdrifts, and the lake and the stream would freeze."

- Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods


We had our first frost in this area on Sunday when the temperature dipped down to 32. It was the first time this season we had to scrape ice off of the windshield.

Autumn is my favorite season, but winter is a close second, so I actually look forward to the colder weather each year. I pass the colder days engaged in my favorite hobbies, cross stiching, crocheting, and I tend to read more this time of year, as well, and poetry is one of my favorites!

And so in closing, I thought I'd share a poem that mentions frost. It was one of Kate's favorites back in her homeschooling days, and remains among my favorites as well.

 When The Frost Is On The Punkin'

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,
And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,
And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it’s then’s the times a feller is a-feelin’ at his best,
With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

They’s something kindo’ harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here—
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin’-birds and buzzin’ of the bees;
But the air’s so appetizin’; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur’ that no painter has the colorin’ to mock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin’ of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries—kindo’ lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin’ sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover over-head!—
O, it sets my hart a-clickin’ like the tickin’ of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin’ ’s over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too! ...
I don’t know how to tell it—but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin’ boardin’, and they’d call around on me—
I’d want to ’commodate ’em—all the whole-indurin’ flock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

I hope you've enjoyed the time you've spent here today, and that you'll join Dawn (and join me here, as well), for the next tea time on November 22, when the theme will be.

Cozy Nests  Earth's Bounty  Thankful Hearts

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Anonymous said...

Gosh, but your "Tea with Dawn" post is just beautiful. I cannot imagine the time you've put into it. Lovely.

We are big fans of the "Cranberry" books here as well!


Kimberly Lottman said...

I simply love putting these kinds of posts together, and work on I a little here and there as ideas come to me. I suppose if I added up the time, it might be a bit, but since I break it into chunks I don't really notice, and the end result is worth it! <3

Kelly said...

Really lovely post and blog!

Kimberly Lottman said...

Thank you, Kelly!