Friday, November 22, 2019

Tea With Dawn - Week 2

Cozy Nests  Earth's Bounty  Thankful Hearts

Good morning!  Well, here we are once again, invited to another of Dawn's lovely tea parties.  I've been preparing for days now and I hope you'll enjoy your visit here! Do be sure to visit our host and say hello to all of the other party guests!

I'll let you know right off the bat, however, that this afternoon I am not drinking tea. You see, it's been a particularly stressful day as my baby girl got into a little fender bender, well, maybe more of a trunk smusher. She's fine, other than being shaken up and a little sore, but no major injuries, her little car is fixable, and it wasn't her fault. But, it's still every parent's worst nightmare, THAT phone call. And to be honest, the phone call and the drive to get to her was worse than the wreck. My heart about stopped. All that being said, I did still want to go ahead and share my post, because goodness, I've been working on it for a couple of weeks. :)

So instead of drinking tea today, I'll pass on a recipe that I've enjoyed during the holidays, which are quickly approaching.  Thanksgiving is now less than a week away, and then the Advent and Christmas season will be in full swing.  I like to make this up a couple of times during the holiday season, usually closer to Christmas, and I find it especially nice to enjoy in that lovely week between Christmas and New Year's, which is unlike any other week in the entire year for me. After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I am quite intentional about planning for a week of leisure, my own personal week to hibernate!

 Christmas Tea
1 stick of cinnamon
4 oz. loose green tea
5 cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 vanilla pod
1 Tablespoon dried cranberries (optional)

Prepare a clean and dry glass jar.

Break cinnamon stick into small pieces then place in jar with the remaining ingredients. Close the lid tightly and shake to combine. Wait at least 24 hours, 48 is desirable, for the tea to absorb the other flavors. 

❈ Cozy Nests 
And speaking of hibernating, this week we're discussing cozy nests!

- Dim lighting
- A fire in the hearth
- Soft, warm blankets
- Cozy, comfortable chairs
- Beds piled high with quilts
- A good book or your latest knitting project to occupy the hours.

This is the very definition of COZY!

One of my favorite ways to make my home warm and cozy is candlelight. I especially like beeswax candles, and this is the year that I am **hoping** to try my hand at making my own. I am going to start with jar candles, but I'd love to think that one day I might master taper candles as well.

In addition to the warm lighting, one of the things I enjoy as well are the lovely scents that fill the room. But if you, like me, are trying to be more aware of the toxic fumes that most store bought candles contain, then you might enjoy simmer pots!
Growing up, one of the things that I loved about cold mornings was waking up to the aroma of breakfast coming from the kitchen. Lying in my head and hearing the tinks and clinks as mom worked, listening for the furnace to turn on, assured me that it was safe to come out from under the warm cocoon I'd made of my covers.

My mother always made the traditional spread of eggs, bacon and toast on Saturday's, but when my girls were growing up we ate a lot pancakes. I don't make pancakes as much as used to, and writing this post has reminded me that maybe I should, and when I do, I think I'll try this recipe out first.

❈ Cinnamon Vanilla Buttermilk Pancakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp white sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg
1/4 cup melted butter

Melt the butter and set aside to cool down slightly.

To a mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Use a whisk to combine all dry ingredients well.

In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, vanilla, ground cinnamon and egg. Whisk to combine. Add melted butter and whisk again.

Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, whisking and stirring to mix it all together. Once it's combined, stop mixing. If you over-mix, your pancakes won't be light and fluffy.

Set pancake batter aside and heat up a large skillet or griddle over MED-LOW heat. Add a bit of butter to the preheated griddle and spread it out.

Use a 1/4 or 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop the pancake batter onto the griddle or skillet. Slowly pour it onto the surface, circling outwards to make a nice circle.

Let the pancake cook about 2-3 minutes. You'll notice bubbles popping up on the surface of the pancake, if the edges look set, carefully flip the pancake over. Cook another 2 minutes on the other side.

Remove to a plate and cover with a kitchen towel. Alternatively, you can place the pancakes on a baking sheet and keep it in a low heat oven (175-200 degrees), until you're ready to serve

 Earth's Bounty
The year has turned its circle.
The seasons come and go.
The harvest all is gathered in
And chilly north winds blow.
Orchards have shared their treasures,
The fields, their yellow grain,
So open wide the doorway-
Thanksgiving comes again!"

This time of the year is so lovely, with the harvest gathered, the pantry brimming with jams and jellies, and tomatoes that will taste of summer in the middle of a cold winter day! Life is golden in November, from the dying leaves still hanging stubborn on the limb, to the glow of the firelight in the hearth.  Winter is on the way!

If you're still looking for a few ideas for preserving your harvest why not try out one of these recipes. Each one is small batch, meaning, in most cases, it makes one jar, and requires no pectin or canning!

Small Batch Fig Jam

Small Batch Strawberry Vanilla Bean Jam

Small Batch Blueberry Jam

Small Batch Blackberry Jam

Small Batch Mixed Berry Bourbon Jam

Small Batch Sweet Cherry Jam

Small Batch Spiced Plum Jam

Small Batch Candied Jalapeños
(aka Cowboy Candy!)

Small Batch Hot Pepper Cranberry Jam

 Thankful Hearts
For most of my life, Christmas was my favorite holiday, and I'm not going to lie, I still love it!  But as I've grown older, the sweet simplicity of Thanksgiving speaks more and more to my heart every year. There was a time when putting up the Christmas tree right around my birthday happened every year, my excuse being, well, "It's IS my birthday!???", and I wanted the sweet glow of the tree to enjoy during our Thanksgiving meal.

But now there is something stirring in me to preserve and hold this day close, all on it's on, and to reflect on the blessings that are ours. Rather than "what do you want for Christmas", Thanksgiving asks us to stop and reflect upon what we already have, and it-is-enough.

While I believe that placing our focus on all that is ours and being thankful should be a year round discipline, at Thanksgiving, especially, it is important to take the time to reflect.  Here are some ideas I've found for bringing this forefront to our attention, tangible reminders to give thanks each day for the blessings that are already ours.

Light A Candle, from gratefulness.org, is a beautiful online activity that encourages thoughtfulness and thankfulness.

Make A Thankful Tree Using Real Fall Leaves

Printable Thankful Dice - roll the dice and share what you're thankful for!

Gratitude Stones - I love this idea! You could set them out in a pretty basket along with a few chalk pens and allow people to reflect and add to the basket of gratefulness throughout the day!

Family Gratitude Pumpkin - I love this idea, as well!

Gratitude ABC's Printable - This would be great for the littles in your life, and for the not so littles, too!

Gratitude Scavenger Hunt - This would be a fun family activity after everyone has enjoyed the big meal.

And when you have the time, I encourage you to listen to this speech, Jack Canfield - How Gratitude Changed This Multi-Millionaires Life

I hope you've enjoyed your time here, and be sure to visit our host and leave a comment to be entered into a special give away she's hosting, I know I'd love to be the winner!  And join us next time, on December 6 when the themes will be. . .

Heaven and Earth   Holiday Greenery ❈ Christmas Trees

4 comments:

pam said...

So much goodness, Kim. Thank you for all your lovely, rich, and well thought out posts. I've been having trouble keeping up with them all, and unfortunately I've just been able to give a quick scan. We'll have a houseful (well we're a houseful to begin with) over Thanksgiving and then again over Christmas, too. On top of it all, this is "birthday season" as well. Probably in that glorious week between Christmas and the New Year, which you mentioned, I'll finally have the time to carefully peruse your writings. Sadly, it will be after the fact, but I'll tuck some ideas away for the next year.

I'm grateful your precious daughter is alright. Such a scare for a mama's heart, I know.

I did want to mention that as I've gotten older, as well, I, too, really love Thanksgiving. The simplicity of it along with being grateful FOR WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE is just so appealing to me.

Also wanted to say that I'm a big fan of Sister Schubert, too! And I love your idea for the special butters to serve alongside.

Kimberly Lottman said...

Thanks, as always, for your encouragement, Pam. I really struggle with whether this all too much, but since I waited so last minute to decide to incorporate more this Advent season, I want to get it all out there. The days between Thanksgiving and Christmas hold so much to begin with, and it is birthday season for us, as well. Mine is on the 11, my aunt's on the 25, and our Jenna's is one the 30, and my granddaughters is on the 1st. I can hardly keep up. But thanks for always finding time to comment, it's a real encouragement. <3

Dawn said...

Kim, first let me say I am so very sorry to hear about Kate's accident. What a scary thing for her - and for you!! I am so glad she is ok. Please give her a hug from me!

And thank you, SO much for this beautiful post!! I am printing it out so I can refer back to all these lovely recipes!! I am thrilled you are joining me for tea ... thank you for your support and kind encouragement!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, my friend!

Kimberly Lottman said...

I always enjoy joining with you and supporting you in our efforts, my friend! :)