"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers." ~ Charles W. Eliot
"This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook - try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!" ~ Julia Child
"She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain." ~ Louisa May Alcott

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Christmas Tree

Cover of: Christmas Tree by Julie Salamon

This is a book I want to read each Christmas season. It is The Christmas Tree by Julie Salamon. I first found out about this book after having seen the movie years ago while visiting my mother. My aunt had taped it for me to see. I just had to read the book and found it at a bargain price at the bookshop. This little hardback book is charming not only for its story but also for the little illustrations.

Sister Anthony and Tree have been friends since she was a little girl so when she is approached about giving the tree to be used in New York City at Rockefeller Center, she has much to consider. The chief gardener of the Center befriends Sister Anthony and learns what is so special about Tree but also finds his life changed by the nun's stories in a way he had never expected.

Happy reading!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mary's Son: A Tale of Christmas

Mary's Son: A Tale of Christmas

Today I finished a really wonderful tale called Mary's Son: A Tale of Christmas by Darryl Nyznyk. When I first downloaded this to my Kindle (yes...I finally got a Kindle), I was not sure I was going to like this book. What a surprise. This was again a book who's description on Amazon does not do it justice!

Sarah Stone is a spoiled little rich girl. Jared Roberts is surviving in the slums. Both of their lives are effected by the arrival of Nicholas who takes them on adventure which will change their lives forever.

This is a short review but I would not like to reveal too much of this book. If you enjoy the reason for the Christmas season, this is a must read. It is book that will touch your heart and make you want to read it again each year.

Happy reading!

Friday, December 16, 2011

I Saw Three Ships

The Christmas carol I Saw Three Ships has always been a favorite of mine. When I found the book of the same name by Elizabeth Goudge, I ordered it having just read Linnets and Valerians. I was not disappointed and am glad I saved this short read for December!

I Saw Three Ships

It is a sweet story about Polly Flowerdew who lives with her two aunts Dorcas and Constantia. Against their wishes, Polly leaves a window open on Christmas Eve in the event that the Three Wise men decide to visit. The words to the carol come to life on a magical Christmas morning...

This book will become a classic that I read over and over during the Christmas season.

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I love looking up the story behind Christmas carols. This one is very old finding its origins back in the 1600s. Here is a little information from whychristmas.com:

The tune of this carol is a traditional English folk song and the words of this carol (of which there are several versions) were written by wandering minstrels as they travelled through the country. In the original version of the carol, the Three Ships were the ones taking the supposed skulls of the wise men to Cologne cathedral in Germany. However, since the Middle Ages when it was first written, there have been many different lyrics with different Bible characters being on the ships. The most common lyrics used today are about Mary and Jesus travelling to Bethlehem.

Happy reading!

Friday, December 2, 2011

3 Harvest style appetizers

These are three of the harvest table appetizers I used when guests came over. These are also a great idea for around the holidays if you have people coming over for drinks or before dinner.

Fallen log celery sticks
Peanut butter
Dried cranberries

Clean and cut up celery sticks. Cut each stick into 3 sections. Fill with peanut butter and add some dried cranberries on top. I tried this combination and it turned out so well that I will line the entire top with the dried cranberries next time.

Stuffed mushrooms
Fresh button mushrooms
Herb cream cheese

Clean the mushrooms and remove the stems with care. Fill each mushroom with herb cream cheese. Back on a cookie sheet in a 400F/200C oven for about 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

Pesto-ham rolls
Frozen puff pastry
Raw ham
Green pesto
Parmasan cheese

Thaw a sheet of frozen puff pastry. (We are able to get it in little square sheets about 6 inches square. If you need to do so, roll out to a square of 6 inch.) Make pesto from a dry herb mix or use ready made from a pot. Spread a thin layer on the dough. Lay raw ham over the pesto. Sprinkle with some parmasan cheese. Roll tightly into a long spiral roll. Using a serrated knife, cut into 8 slices and lay onto a piece of wax paper. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in a 350F/175C oven.

Bon appitit or eet smakelijk!