Hello from snowy and cold Philadelphia!
Terry and I are really beginning to question why we continue to travel to Philadelphia in January. It does make you wonder!
Did I ever tell you about the time I traveled through Austria with a wooden bowl on my back?
In a nutshell, we took the kids on a trek through the Lake District of Austria several years ago. It was an organized tour in that we would hike 10-ish miles a day from one town to another, while our suitcases would be picked up and magically appear in our rooms when we arrived at the next town.
While it wasn’t the Alps, per se, we definitely went up and down mountains and hills. Our treks took us through charming small towns, as well as meadows and fields. Suffice it to say, it was wonderful!
It was while walking through one of these charming small towns at the beginning of our hike one morning when I stopped into a little Austrian woodworking shop filled with delightful handicrafts. I spied a 14-inch wooden bowl that I knew would be the perfect keepsake and memory from this trip.
I immediately visualized this beautiful Austrian wooden bowl sitting on my kitchen table filled with apples. In my vivid visualization, I saw my family grab an apple on a daily basis from this lovely handcrafted bowl. They would immediately feel their souls warm with the memories of our hike. It was one of those things that would bond us even closer together.
While my visualization was taking hold, Terry was trying to convince me that I really didn’t want to carry this bowl for ten miles through the mountains. My backpack was already filled with my lunch for the day, my rain parka, bottles of water, etc… He could see that logic wasn’t working, so he said, ‘I’m not going to carry this for you! It’s all on you.”
My visualization won. I handed the charming Austrian woodworker the requisite euros for his handiwork and set off on that day’s trek with my ‘find’. I looked a bit like a turtle with this bowl on my back, but whatever inconvenience I experienced paled when I recalled that bowl sitting on my table.
When we got to our hotel that evening, I couldn’t wait to get my bowl out of my pack and admire it. To this day, I remember sitting on one of the beds and rubbing my hands over it, to feel just how smooth the wood was. It was then that I saw the little stamp on the bottom, ‘Made in India.’
I was right though, my family is bonded together over that story! I will never live it down.
- I get the whole aversion to made-up, money-making holidays; but Galentine’s Day is a made-up holiday I can get behind. I mean, how is it not a good thing to celebrate our gal pals, those who buoy us on our dark days and celebrate with us on our bright days. Women celebrating women is ALWAYS a good thing. I‘ve gathered some food ideas if you want to gather with your girlfriends to celebrate each other. There are also ideas if you want to make that gathering craft night or if you want to make some gifts to give.
- I’m slowly expanding my list of food substitutions; I just added honey substitutes. This is the third one I’ve written after Old Bay Seasoning Substitutions and Tomato Sauce Substitutions.
- I have made this delicious, creamy, very low fat, gluten-free Tomato Soup using the tomato sauce subs and copycat Nomato Sauce (made with beets, carrots and pumpkin puree) in the place of the tomato sauce in the soup. My husband, a self-proclaimed beet hater, thought the Cream of Nomato Soup was actually Cream of Tomato Soup!
- I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating; if you have problems sleeping I highly recommend the podcast Boring Books For Bedtime. I am not affiliated with the podcast in any way, I am just a huge believer and beneficiary of her boring stories read in a calm and soothing voice.
I love when readers share how they put their spin on my recipes, in this case, the Three-Ingredient Dog Treats.
My dog loves these, especially the cronch! Sometimes I add a little cinnamon or turmeric for her joints. I’ve eaten them myself- they taste like my mom’s oat muffins!
I am a lazy fur mum, and I use my thermomix to grind the oats at speed 7 for 20 seconds, add the peanut butter and cooked apple, and mix for about a minute on speed 4. It doesn’t come together well in the bowl itself, but I turn it out on a flat surface, and squish it together into a ball before flattening.
Once rolled out, I use a pizza cutter to make rectangles, and a pie slice server to scoop them up into the parchment prepared tray. They don’t need a lot of space, so I can cram a lot onto two trays!
I’ve been making dog treats for years, and this is definitely my go-to. Thank you!
- Kate just asked me to knit another one of these Half-Linen Stitch Blankets to give as a wedding gift. The faux fur trim is the icing on the cake of this blanket.
- It is a good week to bake Snickerdoodle Bars! Wouldn’t you agree?
Well, my friends, Terry and I are off to brave the elements in the frigid tundra of Philadelphia. (says the girl who refuses to buy or wear snow gear! I live in southeastern North Carolina, for heaven’s sake!)
Wishing you a day of wonders!