Monday, May 23, 2022

One May Morning




When I first open my eyes...and look out
upon the beautiful world, I thank God I am alive. 
RALPH WALDO EMERSON
 

It's the start of a new week and still in my jammies, I pop out to the garden for a quick peek around. With the sun shining and the birds singing, it's hard to keep a huge smile from my face. These beauties greet me on this gorgeous May morning. Had to share them with you.

I have a busy day ahead so I won't stop to chat. Except I have to tell you one thing not flower related. Yesterday afternoon I went with friends to the new Downton Abbey movie. It just came out here on May 20th. If you are a fan, you do not want to miss this latest episode of the Crawley family where Julian Fellowes once again keeps us in our seats with lots of twists and turns, both funny and poignant, happy and, yes, sad. I laughed. I had tears down my cheeks. I was deliciously satisfied as the credits rolled by.




" Now and then, in this workaday world,
things do happen in the delightful storybook fashion,
and what a comfort that is. "
LOUISA MAY ALCOTT




" Flowers seem intended for the solace
of ordinary humanity. "
JOHN RUSKIN




Yes, this is a tulip, double petalled in red,
and it's wowing us these days.




" In all things of nature there is
something of the marvelous. "
ARISTOTLE



The Clematis is about to bloom. Can't wait. Rick overwintered her in a pot
in our garage and so she's ahead of the game—the clematis plants out
in the garden are just now coming up.  
 



" In every moment, everywhere, we are not
even inches away from the divine presence. "
JOHN O'DONOHUE, Beauty, p.227


I must dash - wishing you a beautiful week ahead.

Heart hugs,
Brenda




Saturday, May 21, 2022

Saturday Brunch: Pancakes with Honey-Orange Yogurt



" Brunch lends itself to feeling casual and laid-back,
though it can still definitely be a celebration. "
GALE GAND


It's Saturday morning and maybe you're wondering what to make for brunch today. These whole-wheat pancakes topped with orange-honey yogurt, fresh raspberries, and toasted almonds really fit the bill on delicious, not to mention good for you.

It has taken me years to get anywhere near liking anything made with whole-wheat flour, which we all know has more nutrients and fiber. To me, the flour smelled like 'chop' - the chopped grain my dad used to feed his livestock on the farm when I was growing up. It didn't smell like something I wanted to eat. And for years, that's how whole-wheat flour smelled to me. For health reasons, however, I have had to make some concerted effort over the last few years to eat more healthfully, including upping the fiber and lowering the sugars. This recipe is adapted from America's Test Kitchen The Complete Diabetes Cookbook. It's a book full of wonderful recipes, geared to individuals dealing with diabetes, but totally good for anyone wanting scrumptious food that is healthier overall. The recipes include helpful tips on how to prepare them as well as great info on 'why this recipe works'. I have learned a few little things that make me feel much more adept in the kitchen.

Last weekend, I shared our brunch photos on Facebook, and a friend suggested I write a blog post and share the recipe with you. So, Lauren, here it is. And, I guarantee there is no sign, not even a sniff, of 'chop' in these 100 percent Whole-Wheat Pancakes. Totally delicious!




Whole-Wheat Pancakes
makes 15 small pancakes

2 cups whole-wheat flour, as fresh as possible
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 cups buttermilk
5 tablespoons canola oil,
plus 2 teaspoons oil for skillet
2 large eggs

Orange-Honey Yogurt (recipe below)
1 cup raspberries
1 cup sliced almond, toasted

Directions

First, toast almonds. Let cool.
Prepare yogurt recipe.
Then make your pancakes.

Set oven to 200F (to keep pancakes warm)

In a small bowl, whisk buttermilk, 5 tablespoons oil, and eggs.
In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt.
Make a well in center of dry ingredients, pour in wet ingredients.
Mixture will be thick - it's okay, don't add more liquid.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in skillet 3 to 5 minutes, until it shimmers.
Ladle batter onto skillet using a 1/4-cup measuring cup.
Cook 2 to 3 minutes until edges are set and surface starts to bubble.
Flip. Cook 1 to 2 minutes. Until golden.
Add a bit more oil, if needed. Repeat. 

Serve right away. Or, put pancakes on a wire rack placed in a baking sheet.
Set in warm oven until ready to serve.
  
Honey-Orange Yogurt
makes a little over a cup

1 cup 2 percent Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice

Whisk ingredients in a small bowl.
Serve with pancakes.
Sprinkle raspberries and toasted almonds on top.


* * *

" Brunch is always a good idea. "
UNKNOWN

* * *

Hope you are pancake inspired.
Wishing you a beautiful weekend,

Brenda


Friday, May 13, 2022

Do You Sing?

" Sing as though you're summoning the heavens;
silver your voice and bare your throat. "
attributed to ROSHANI CHOKSHI


Happy Friday! It's a beautiful day here. Tulips are just coming out now in our garden. I know some of you have moved on to lilacs and peonies, but we're pretty thrilled with these earlier signs of spring.

Today I plan to carry on the theme I wrote about earlier in the week as Guest Blogger at InScribe—projects that make your heart sing, link HERE. An article came to mind that I published more than a decade ago in a newsletter for consultants in the beauty industry. It's along a similar line, so I decided to share it; I hope you enjoy. Aside: don't you just love that sweet robin in the watercolour above? I found it on Pixabay by Juan Reyes Ruiz.
 


From the Archives

DO YOU SING?

" Singing dissipates sorrow. "
ATTRIBUTED TO LAILAH GIFTY AKITA

Many of us may remember the little tune the seven dwarfs whistled in the old Disney movie, Snow White. It seems even these short fellows recognized that their whistling helped make their work feel lighter and easier to bear.

Sometimes we find ourselves in a work situation or project where the song in our heart has died or has been replaced by a weary sighing or, even worse, a growl-y grumbling. We don't feel like whistling or singing anymore. Maybe that's the time when we need to stop and think about what we do every day. Maybe we need to re-consider the current path we're traveling on. Lady Bird Johnson once gave the sage advice that we should work on projects that make our hearts sing.

Ever since I read those words, I tried to let them shape my decisions. I do not believe that life is meant to be a drudgery. I believe that life is meant to be lived beautifully, joyfully. Oh sure, we go through hard experiences, but we don't stay there. The projects we sign up for—voluntarily or as a career—should not dampen our spirits, but rather they should provide a venue for contentment, abiding joy, and a sense of bubbling adventure. They should energize and fuel us, not drizzle on us till there's only a damp smoldering pile where passion once burned bright.

Many years ago now, my song almost died, because I was afraid to move out from a workplace that no longer gave me joy and fulfillment. Life no longer felt beautiful there. To me, a clear signpost whether we are still doing what we should be doing, is whether the song is still in our heart and if life still seems beautiful and sweet.

If there's no song your heart, maybe it's time to re-think what will make life beautiful again for you. I'm happy to report the nightingale sings again for me. Now I ask you, do you sing?


" I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world
and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. "
E.B. WHITE



Wishing you a beautiful weekend,

Brenda

Top Image by Juan Reyes Ruiz from Pixabay


Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Guest Blogging Elsewhere: When My Heart Sings




" Work on projects
that make your heart sing. "
LADY BIRD JOHNSON

 

Today I am delighted to be a Guest Blogger on InScribe, where I share about writing projects that make my heart sing. You'll find my post HERE. Will you stop in and say hello?

Wishing you a beautiful day,

Brenda

Photo: Jill Wellington from Pixabay


Sunday, May 08, 2022

Birthday Presents to Match the Season



" Books make great gifts because
they're everybody's favourite things. "
JULIE ANDREWS 


The gift card sat on my desk for days. I thought it'd be easy to spend, new books certainly being a top contender, for I have a list a mile long of 'wanna read' titles. But I didn't want to rush my purchase. I wanted to choose something that matched the season—a book that read like poetry, words hanging in the air like fragrance in a flower garden, with pictures that enlivened the senses. I wanted a book in keeping with Spring's awakening.

I suddenly remembered a book I'd been hankering after and went online to order Christie Purifoy's latest book, Garden Maker. Yes, I do select books by their cover. This one, so utterly captivating, was definitely going in my shopping cart. Then, the too-solicitous website recommended another title that would go along nicely with it. Oh yes, I'll take that one, too. And so Andrew Peterson's new book, The God of the Gardenwritten during COVID-19—joined Christie's in the cart. And did you know that you purchased floral stickers in the past, would you like to purchase them again? Why not, it's Spring, and with the flourish of a button pressed, my selections were soon on their way.

While I've not had a chance to sit down and read the books yet, my sneak peek browse certainly sharpened my anticipation. Both authors I've read and enjoyed in the past, I do believe I'm in for a treat. In her book, Christie shares her love of flowers and some of the life lessons she's learned in her garden. Andrew says, "The early Christians believed there were two books of revelation: the book of scripture, and the book of nature. The God of the Garden is the story of what I learned from both." I'm intrigued to read what he learned.
 
Below I've included a bit of the description with a few lines from each book. I hope it whets your appetite to search out these titles for yourself.
Growing a Life of Beauty & Wonder with Flowers
by Christie Purifoy

"Much more than a how-to flower gardening book . . . Garden Maker is for those who want to grow beautiful things that reflect the glory and majesty of the Creator and bring a little bit of heaven down to earth. . . . Lavishly photographed and lovingly written, this all-seasons guide invites you to discover the innumerable joys and wonders to be found in the flower garden." — excerpt from Amazon product description
"When I was a child, my father grew flowers. He was raised on a family farm in Comanche, Texas, and had a very utilitarian approach to any plot of landeven our typical small-town backyardand yet he primarily grew flowers. Our half-acre lot gave hot peppers, tomatoes, plums, and dewberries, but in my memory it's the canna lilies by the back fence that dominate the scene, like giants in a fairy world."



Thoughts on Creation, Culture, and the Kingdom
by Andrew Peterson

"Award-winning author and songwriter Andrew Peterson, being as honest as possible, shares a story of childhood, grief, redemption, and peace, by walking through a forest of memories: "I trust that by telling my story, you'll encounter yours. Hopefully . . . you'll see that the God of the Garden is and has always been present, working and keeping what he loves." — excerpt from Amazon product description
"Due to COVID-19, early 2020 had me literally and figuratively grounded in a way that allowed me—forced me—to work in place: slowly, rhythmically, without the frantic pace to which I had grown accustomed. I had to exercise my imagination, casting thoughts far and wide, thoughts creeping like ivy beyond the confines of this place to other places in the distant past and the distant future, traveling not on an airplane or in a tour bus but in the pages of books and the memories kept by photographs."



image from amazon website
Pkg of 50

Flower stickers in a rainbow of colours, shapes, and styles. Great for decorating journal pages, garden diaries, and envelopes. Creates a sweet surprise tucked into a handwritten note to a friend. If you're like me, you'll wonder why you didn't order two packages right away.
 

* * *

On that note, I'll sign off. Spring is at last in the greening up phase this week. Catkins are trilling out and leaves are unfurling. The garden is alive with birdsong. Oh, the joy of it all! On that note, I'm wishing you a beautiful week ahead. For those who celebrate, Happy Mother's Day! We are having Afternoon Tea with my mom later today. Can't wait! 



Warmest thoughts and heart hugs,

Brenda

PS. It seems Blogger has changed something on the comments section so that there are more 'Anonymous' commenters. Which means I have no idea who is leaving a comment for me😟.

Would you mind please adding your name (whatever you use on public media) when you leave a comment. Thanks!