Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas in a World Cup Kind of Way

There is a farming family a few kilometers out of Tirau who love to make a show in one of their paddocks by the main road.
Every year for quite a few years they to something with a Christmas theme and it brings a smile to my face when I see it

Last year was this

New Zealand hosted and won the Rugby World Cup in September/October and this was their take on the build up and winning result

This year they have combined the two events and made an amusing display of Santa with the world cup.

One is always reminded when on the drive south for errands in the next town, you suddenly see the display, so know that there are only a few more days until Christmas.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mumsey's Christmas Mince Pies

The making of Christmas mince pies is an annual occurrence in our home that has developed into a tradition. The oldest child home tends to make them with me, and then when they leave they take the recipe with them and they try them on their own. Almost to bring a taste of home into their own home.

This recipe was given to me by a dear friend Helen and I have changed it slightly as I tend to do with a lot of my recipes.

You can make the fruit mix in advance and keep it in an air tight container in the fridge for when you would like to use it.

Fruit Mince

1 cup currants
1 cup sultanas
1 cup raisins
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup orange juice
1 tblsp grated orange zest
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tblsp Brandy
1 ½ tsp cornflour

Simmer all ingredients except a little of the orange juice (about 2 tablespoons), brandy and cornflour for 3 minutes.
Mix the cornflour and leftover orange juice to form a thin paste.
Thicken the fruit with the cornflour mix and stir in the brandy.
Allow to cool.
This may now be stored.

Christmas Mince Pies

125gr butter
½ cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

Cream the butter and sugar to a light colour.
Beat in the egg.
Sift the dry ingredients and stir in. (don't put all in at first as you don't want the mixture crumbly. Leave the last 1/4 cup and check to see if it needs it. - to dry and the pastry will crumble when cutting out)
Roll mixture out onto a lightly floured surface.
Cut circles and place into well greased pie tins. (I use some old curved base cup cakes tins)
Place a spoonful of fruit mix in the pastry base then top with a smaller circle or a star shape.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 15-20 minutes - Watch them as they will burn quickly.
Allow to cool slightly then remove from the pans to cool on a wire rack.
If the fruit mix has oozed out a bit and you leave them too long in the pans they will be glued in!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

'A Little Art Makes A Big Difference'

Art on Main in Tirau is a gallery where eight artists display their work for sale .

Art on Main held a fund raiser offering a selection of miniatures by the artists of the gallery and all funds went to Hospice Waikato.
Entry was a gold coin donation and there were nibbles supplied by the Tirau branch of Rural Woman.

Each piece of art was displayed on its own little easel and they were arranged on a Christmas tree. These could be bought for $20.

I chose one that was by artist Lynnette Smallwood. I had first seen the piece of art on display and having a passion for all things purple it had caught my eye.

Looking over the tree I found the miniature and knew that was the one I was going to buy.

As soon as I find out how much was raised for Hospice I will add it to the blog

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Morning's Refrain

Morning's Refrain is the second book in a series of three , The Song of Alaska, written by Tracie Peterson.

As dark family secrets threaten the tranquility of the life he's come to love, Dalton Lindquist must make difficult choices about the future. Dalton’s sister Evie must return to Kansas City to deal with her husband’s death, so he goes along to learn more about his heritage. To complicate matters, he leaves behind a budding romance with Phoebe Robbins, newly arrived in Sitka (as part of the third governor’s entourage) who falls into his life quite literally when Dalton rescues her after she tumbles overboard in the Sitka Harbour. He quickly loses his heart. But Dalton is not the only one who decides to seek Phoebe's attention - his best friend, Yuri Belikov, whose father owns the local boat-building firm where both work, decides to court her when Dalton must travel from Sitka. But when Dalton realizes the depth of his love for Phoebe and returns, there is an estrangement from his best friend and the two friends find that their battle for Phoebe's admiration is only the start of the problems that face them.

Peterson’s second historical inspirational romance set in late-nineteenth-century Alaska builds on the events of Dawn’s Prelude (2009) as they affect the next generation. Evie can move forward with her feelings for local mill owner Joshua Broadstreet, and Dalton will meet his other siblings in order to evaluate their temperaments and intentions for himself. Although critical readers may find some of the characters’ inappropriately modern sensibilities discordant, engaging descriptions of the Alaskan setting and cultural tensions and rapid pacing help the reader enter fully into the drama.

I enjoy the easy reading of this series and the content of Christian life.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Salmon Macaroni

With Christmas coming there are often pot-luck dinners we attend and so I have to make a salad and/or desert. This is an easy salad that can also be a main meal for the summer if you add all the vegetables. When adding the vegetables think about colour. Make sure the mayonnaise is a good quality one with a nice flavour.

There weren't enough peas in this salad!

2 cups of uncooked macaroni
1 ½ cups frozen peas
I dtsp olive oil
1 x 210gr can salmon
I spring onion, finely sliced.
1/3 cup mayonnaise

(optional extras) 1 large tomato, 1 each of yellow and orange bell pepper, 1 stick of celery – chop all about the size of a pea.

Cook the macaroni in boiling salted water for 12 minutes then add the frozen peas and cook for another 3 minutes or until the peas are coked.
Drain, toss in the olive oil and allow to cool.
Empty can of salmon into a bowl and mash so all the bones are crushed.
Add spring onion (and any other vegetables you may be using).
Mix together and add to the macaroni and peas.
Stir in the mayonnaise and chill before serving.

As a main meal you can serve this in lettuce leaves or on a 'bed' of mixed salad greens.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas is Coming

You will notice I haven’t posted much on my blog over the last month or so but I found myself chanting this rhyme earlier this morning as December is moving along.

Christmas is coming,
The geese are getting fat,
Please put a penny
In the old man's hat.
If you haven't got a penny,
A ha'penny will do,
If you haven't got a ha'penny,
Then God bless you

The charitable words of the "Christmas is coming" poem were to associate the Christmas feast with geese which are eaten in traditional English Christmas feasts. The author of the lyrics is unknown but the popularity of this traditional rhyme is handed down from generation to generation in the form of a nursery rhyme. The meaning that is conveyed to a child is that the Christmas festival of celebration, is a time of plenty, but that in the festive period is where each should give to the less fortunate, according to the givers means... even if all they could give was their blessing (If you haven't got a penny...)

I saw this from one of my online friends. Please watch it.

I found the tears were falling when it had finished and I was reminded of how for most of us Christmas has become so materialistic and commercialised.
Do we really need all the “stuff” we spend up large on for one day?

For me the answer is “No” and I am reminded of the part in the story of Little Woman where some of the sisters give away what they were going to have for lunch to a family who had nothing.

Christmas day for us is celebrated with stockings being opened in the morning and going to Church after Breakfast. We come home to a hot roast lunch like they have in the Northern Hemisphere, even though it is summer here. Once all the dishes are done we gather around the tree and open the presents from each other and play games or with our gifts, read or fall asleep. Tea is a smorgasbord of nibbles to graze on as many are just too fill to eat.

This year, although we are a family of seven with Jennifer and Sarah married with their own children and Theresa engaged, (we are up to 13 with another on the way) lunch will only be Harry and I and our two youngest, Daniel and Katrina. I felt like, “Why bother?”

But then I knew it’s not about me it’s about Christ. We are celebrating His birth when he came as a baby to earth.

 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16

God loved us so much that He sent His Son Jesus at Christmas to then, about 33 years later, be crucified on a cross, the penalty for sinners. A man who was without sin did this for us, who are sinners, because God loves us that much that He wanted us to receive this gift of forgiveness so that we would believe and be allowed to go to heaven. There is no other way.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins - 1 John 4:10

Who am I to not want to celebrate this beautiful gift? So not only will I be still doing a lot of what I do for Christmas, I am going to give some gifts to those around our community through different charities and overseas because we really do have plenty.

Join me in this special time and bless others. It makes you smile on the outside and the inside.

Luke 2:10-19

10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

All scripture is from New International Version 1984 (unless otherwise started)