Below is a statue from Prestopans, East Lothian, UK - a commemoration of the large number of women who met their deaths in that area when accused of witchcraft. It is also an astonishing work of art. (Found on Facebook)
|This week's Ganesh fix|
|Ganesh has a rival for cuteness - This is Emma|
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Writing Comments - Good & Bad
This week I read Fortune and Glory, Book 27 in Janet Evanovich's long-running Stephanie Plum series. For anyone who enjoys comedy with their mysteries, these books are not to be missed. They have also divided readers into two camps: Morelli fans and Ranger fans. I am happy to say that Ranger fans (as I am) will love this one. So, even if no one could work "twenty seven" into the title, this is vintage Evanovich. Don't miss it!
Alas, in my search for new authors, I chose a book that had all the hallmarks of a good Gothic and was horrified when I discovered: a whole slew of misused words - bad enough to make me wonder if English was a second language for the author. On top of that, the heroine knew the names and background of people she'd never met. The writing was also marred by labored analogies and that old bugaboo, incorrect titles. And I'm only struggling through Chapter 3. Definitely a book I am now reading as a source of lessons about what not to do, although, admittedly, the plot that drew me to the book still shows promise. (To be continued - unless I toss the whole thing to Archives before finishing it.)
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Below are two tried & true recipes for the holidays. I make the same stuffing year after year. And since no one in the family is a fan of pumpkin pie, we frequently have fruit pie in its place. So if you're looking for something different this year . . . even though the "crowd" will likely be smaller, here are a couple of possibilities:
Grace's Thanksgiving Turkey Stuffing
Allow at least an hour to transform the above into Stuffing.
Prep: Chop onion. Select inner & outer celery leaves (light & dark green); chop finely. Cut 2-3 inner stalks of celery into small slices. Cut sausage in half; freeze half for another time. Select 1/2 - 2/3 cup of cranberries - set aside with onion & celery. (If using dried cranberries, no prep necessary.) Strip leaves from rosemary; chop with other herbs (opt.).
Cook: Spray large skillet with cooking oil. Brown sausage, adding onion & celery when sausage is nearly brown. When onion is translucent, add pine nuts, cranberries & fresh herbs. Stir & set aside.
Prepare stuffing mix as directed on package, using more butter if necessary. Stir in all the additions from the frying pan.
And that's it. Your stuffing is ready for a 20+ lb. bird with enough left over for baking in a casserole dish. (The recipe is easily halved for a smaller bird.)
MIXED BERRY PIE
1-2 packages of frozen mixed fruit* (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries) - enough to make c. 6 cups of berries (or fresh fruit, if available)
3/4 - 1 cup sugar (to taste)
1/4 - 1/3 cup tapioca
½ - 1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Betty Crocker refrigerated pie crusts (pkg. of 2)
*For fatter pie, use more berries.
Thaw and drain frozen fruit. This can take several hours - best thaw overnight in refrigerator, then drain in colander for at least 2 hours. Otherwise you will have an overly juicy pie. Follow package directions to allow 15 minutes for pie crusts to warm up. (If you're a "dab hand" at pastry, by all means make your own crust, but for most of us Betty Crocker will have to be good enough.)
Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, combine thawed fruit, sugar, tapioca & spices. Mix well, being careful not to crush berries.
Unroll one pie crust (preferably on a big pastry board, floured to keep crust from sticking). Place crust in bottom of 9-10" pie plate. Add a bit of flour to the bottom to absorb the berry juices. Add the fruit mix. Remaining crust may be placed on top or cut into strips for a latticed crust. Seal edges. (If using whole crust, make slices in top for venting.) Brush top with egg wash.* Bake 45-50 minutes or until juices form bubbles that burst slowly.
*Egg wash = 1 egg, whisked. Add ¼ cup of water, whisk again.
Grace note: I have always used the fruit mix above, but you might want to experiment with the other frozen fruits available. This recipe should also be adaptable to fresh fruit.
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I would like to recommend the following for your holiday reading:
Two wounded people find each other under the mistletoe.
A poignant tale of Happily Ever After rescued by the spirit of Christmas
Though not written specifically for Christmas, the holiday season plays a large role in this tale of a young woman who, in essence, hires a husband.
Again, though not written specifically for Christmas, a Christmas gift plays an important role in the story. (The Making of Matthew Wolfe should be available within the next ten days.)
Thanks for stopping by,
Grace (who writes as Blair Bancroft)