Sunday, December 23, 2012



P E A C E   B E   W I T H   Y O U !





As Christmas arrives, I thank God for the many blessings I have and for the salvation which is possible because of His sacrifice for me! I also pray for comfort and mercy on those grieving loss this year.

The compassionate video below was created by my friend Harry. I do hope you will click the link to watch. As you see the precious faces, please remember their loved ones in your prayers.  

Merry Christmas!

May the fullness of Christ's Love be known to you!






Saturday, December 15, 2012

Vern's Light Display



This crafty light display is just one of many fascinating masterpieces from our friend Vern's Christmas light show which he displays each year outside his home. Through the years Vern has been creating these gems with his very own hands, using pipes to construct the frames and his display has grown to be quite spectacular!  As I drove friends past his amazing winter wonderland, we took numerous photos. I didn't get a good panoramic shot, but loved this one because it really tells his story well. It is a replica of one of his several antique cars he lovingly cares for and still exhibits at various car shows in several states....even now in his 90’s!


Vern gets a kick out of entertaining passersby with Christmas music playing softly in the background. If you open your car window, you can sing along with the carols as you marvel at his handiwork.  He has even constructed mailboxes which look like the real deal where children can drop off their wish lists. I'm not sure if he still does this, but there was a time when he would drive to Santa Claus, IN to postmark his handwritten replies to the letters Santa received.  What a jolly soul he is!  I often wonder if perhaps he just might be Santa! ;)                    
                  
Vern's love of friends, family and neighbors is evident by his acts of kindness and his sense of humor lights up our hearts

just like the December sky outside his
home for the holidays!



VERN’S LIGHT DISPLAY


When December comes,

The sky shines bright

The little drummer boy drums, 

Rudolph leads us through the night,

And under the twinkling sky we see...

The wonderland of Oaksbury!




Snow people and the candy shop,                                      

Ice rinks, dolls dressed up for play,                             

Cause all passing cars to stop,

Enchanted by Vern’s light display!


All made by just one crafty soul,

Assembled with his hands by day...

By night his vision casts its glow,                                         

A thousand lights show us the way...



Just one man so strong and proud,

He need not say a word,

To each of us his hope abounds,

His love is clearly heard...




And we think of Vern not only during Christmas season,                  

But every day throughout the year,                                             


For oh so many reasons...


He always lends a helping hand and always with a smile,

If you ask him for a favor, he goes the extra mile...




A tower of strength, his roots run deep

Like the mighty oaks which line our streets...   

                                         

His life is an example

to all who know him well,          
                 
And each of us have precious

memories we tell... 
                                          




Vern's light display at Christmastime 

Draws crowds from miles away...   
 



But the sparkle from his smile

Warms us each and every day!




(written by Lorraine Brown)

                                                                               








Monday, October 22, 2012

Two chicks and an Old Hen



Once upon a time there were two chicks...
the love of food...and an Old Hen... 

One chick in Washington State and the other in Chicago! Separated by the miles, yet drawn together by similar interests...


          
Deanna Morauski with Joey Fatone





Lorraine Brown with Joey Fatone
                                                                                           
YES That's Joey Fatone...(of "N Sync", boy band fame, movie star, dancing with the stars, star of My Family Recipe Rocks...and all around really great guy!)


The two chicks....my friend Deanna and me (Lorraine) ....united by a  love for cooking, baking, laughter, miniature dachshunds, and God! Our paths were originally led together a few years ago by a cooking contest where we learned of one another through our home made cooking videos featuring our original weekly recipes in an on line cooking extravaganza. Since then, we've been sharing recipes via facebook and our blogs.

Last year about this time, I had the thrill of opening my home to the crew of a new show,  My Family Recipe Rocks with host Joey Fatone , and this year Deanna had that same thrill.  I'm wearing a great big grin as I recall the excitement of my experience and I continue to share in the fun now as Deanna's episode is about to air! 

~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~

Meet my buddy Deanna Morauski...

Deanna’s love for baking and cooking began as she sat upon a baker’s stool as a little girl. Her love for people grew in the midst of church potlucks. She expresses her loves today creatively through speaking, writing for her foodie blog, television appearances as well as hosting guests, including celebrities, at her award-winning inn... The Old Hen Bed & Breakfast, Squanalme, Washington.

Deanna makes me giggle with her quick wit and I love the fact that she is just so real! As far apart as we are, it’s amazing at how technology has made it feel like she is right here. Well, one thing is definitely missing....I really want to sit face to face....hear her voice...see her smile...experience the warmth and coziness of her B&B, gobble up the delicious food she prepares, and laugh out loud  together in person! Until then...I’ll be so delighted to watch her in action in her kitchen with Joey Fatone by her side, cooking up a storm!  I can’t wait to see her episode air!

You can see Deanna on Joey Fatone's new show "My Family Recipe Rocks" on the Live Well Network this month on October 27th. She will be making four scrumptious recipes throughout an entire episode filmed at her B&B, The Old Hen.  Follow along on her Facebook page or on Twitter for updates .

Here’s a preview of Deanna’s Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes Recipe:







A perfect comforting, hot dish that goes well with any meal!

Servings: 12


Ingredients:


2.5 pounds of russet potatoes

1 large yellow onion

1 cup milk

1 cup heavy cream

¾ cup flour

1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

1 1/2 teaspoons of pepper

1 cup sour cream

5 cups grated cheddar cheese (divided)



Directions:


Rinse and scrub about potatoes until clean.

Prepare a large bowl by filling with cold water and a couple of teaspoons of salt. Set aside.

Cut potatoes in quarters along the length of the potato. Cut out any undesirable spots.

Using a mandolin or… the quicker and easier food processor, slice potatoes thinly.

Place slices into cold salt water after each potato to prevent browning. Slice yellow onion thinly and place into a very large separate bowl.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Pour milk and heavy whipping cream into a medium bowl. Whisk flour into cream mixture.

Add salt and pepper and whisk again.

Drain water from potatoes.

Next, place sliced potatoes, cream mixture. Add sour cream and 3 cups of grated cheddar cheese into the large bowl with onions. Using hands, combine all of these ingredients very well.

Prepare baking dish (size 9 x 13 inches or comparable) by spraying with non-stick spray or smearing well with butter.

Place a layer of potato mixture into baking dish. Then, from the remaining 2 cups of cheddar, place a layer of cheddar cheese. Make about 3 layers total with cheese between each layer then pour any remaining cream mixture over potatoes.

Finally, layer top with remaining cheese. Loosely cover potatoes with foil for the first 1-½ hours of baking so the top layer doesn’t over bake. Remove foil after 1 ½ hours. Bake for about two hours total or until a fork poked into middle of potatoes comes out easily.

It’s a good idea to put a baking sheet on the oven shelf underneath your scalloped potatoes in case they overflow.

For a fancier flavor, you can add some Gruyere or Comté cheeses in place of some of the cheddar, 1/4 cup of white wine in place of 1/4 cup of the milk, or add freshly chopped herbs or ham.

Serve while steamy hot.

**I can't wait to see her remaining three recipes**



(Deanna's episode is scheduled to air at 8:00 central (9:00 eastern and pacific) on Saturday October 27th...and mine will re-air at 10:00 central (11:00 eastern and pacific) that same night! :)

you can check your listings for Live Well Network to find the accurate times in your area.








Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer refreshment ~






SUMMER HAS BEEN EXTREMELY HOT THIS YEAR...




We are in a drought here in the Midwest. Day after day, it has been 100 degrees and more! The sky hasn't released any moisture in weeks!  We're doing whatever it takes to stay cool this year. Even the neighbor's over-sized golden retriever has a buzz cut for summer...looking more like a lab.


Finally, yesterday the heatwave broke and it was as if it was SPRINGTIME all over again!  People coming out of their air conditioned "hibernation";  kids riding their bikes again, mom's pushing strollers, families taking long walks with their four legged friends... 



I WANT TO CAPTURE EVERY MOMENT...




SITTING OUTSIDE UNDER THE CLEAR BLUE SKY...





ENJOYING SUNSETS OVER THE LAKE...






Listening to kids laugh as they splash in the water, reminding me of my own childhood summertime fun, causing me to reminisce about all the wonders of childhood summers...swimming pools, watermelon, the ice cream truck, and Orange Julius!  Do you remember Orange Julius? I haven't seen an Orange Julius store in years! 


As my craving intensified, I decided to make my own...and since I'm off of dairy right now, I used coconut milk and came up with a pretty close likeness to those frothy citrus shakes! 


PUT AN ORANGE

IN THE COCONUT

AND BLEND IT ALL UP!  ;)
  


I wasn't precise with this recipe because I made it up as I went along...
(had fun tasting my way to the finish)
  • squeezed two fresh oranges into my blender, 
  •  added about a cup of ice, 
  • 1 1/2 cups of coconut milk


*(I make my own coconut milk to drink, by opening a can of pure organic 100% coconut milk and placing it into a tall plastic container, adding enough water to make it the consistency of cream or whole milk and shaking very well)*                                  

(I refrigerate whatever is left and use it as cream in my morning coffee)

(the reason I do this, is because many of the pre-packaged coconut milks have additives that I don't want.  This is pure and it's also more creamy)

o.k. back to the "julius" ...


  • then I added one to two tsp. coconut sugar               
(more or less as you desire)     
                       


  • and about 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • and blended really well


Yes, it's summer ~~ my time of year!



I hope you are enjoying summer...

 with your frothy drink...


relaxing 


 under your clear blue sky!


  





Friday, June 15, 2012

And the winner is...



Drumrolllllll


First number it lands on is the winner...

11

5

14

6

7

15

9

17

1

3

8

13

18

2

20

4

10

12

19

21

16

Timestamp: 2012-06-15 16:10:13 UTC





The Sequence Generator has chosen number 11...

Congratulations to Donna! 


I know this book will bring you smiles

and heartwarming moments with God!



~

For anyone who would like to order
this delightful book, simply visit Debby's web-page

~

Debby, thank you for making this opportunity available
 and I know your book will bless all who read it!




Saturday, June 9, 2012

Here's The Scoop!



I have the "inside scoop" 

and you can have it too!


Think about how many "self help" books exist in our culture...Do any of them really hold the answer to that deepest question which swells within us?

Well, the book I'm holding in my hand is not a self help book.  It is a delightful devotional filled with humor and real life experiences that we can all relate to on some level.  Debby Erdmann's book is a humorous yet poignant look at life. She gives us a glimpse into some of her own episodes, sharing tidbits of wisdom. I giggled through the chapters and I dog eared many pages along the way!  She's real...she's honest...she's witty...she's wise...and she's passionate about people.  Her love for people and for God are lived out through the pages of her own journey as she shares the immeasurable value gained from a life with God and the lessons learned...some sweet..some challenging...some funny...but all profound...from inside her heart which was opened wide to receive the fullness of the love of God and share it with others! 


So here's the scoop...


Simply leave a comment to be eligible to win
an autographed copy of this delightful book...


The winner will be announced on Friday,

 June 15th!

 

~

For a closer look and for ordering information for
 "The Inside Scoop on God"  
you can visit www.deboraherdmann.com
and click on the tab for books at the top.

~


(Debby's blog, Heavenly Humor  is also a delight...
When I first visited, I thought..."I want to know her"!)



Don't forget to check back to see if "The Inside Scoop on God" is yours! :)







Thursday, May 17, 2012



The air is so fresh and sweet today!

We're enjoying the May temperatures;
 flowers in full bloom all around us;
and the vibrancy of the colors, especially the way the sun shines upon the newly cut green lawn!
 
We are spending time on the patio, in the parks and family barbeques.  The kids are collecting a few grass stains as they play touch football and the dog seems to be smiling, as she springs into the air to catch the frisbee! 

Of course there are a few negatives...
it's bug season again!




Fly’s  Last  Supper! 

Fly swatter in hand he sits

Jumping up with each buzz,

Head spinning, arms flailing in fits,

Then down again to wait…

It’s o.k. I’ve set a good bait!

Come on back,

Grab a snack,

I’ll give you a good whack!

I don’t have anywhere to go,

Soooooooo….

Keep taunting me,

You’ll be history!

Careful who you mess with,

I’ve been around the block,

I’ll fix your clock!

Fast little bugger…

Landing on one window then another,

Zipping by from light to light!

Trying to sneak up on me and take a bite?!

Come on in for a landing….It’s alright,

I’ll be your last supper…

GOTCHA….

Nighty night!!!




poem written by Lorraine Brown (c) 2012


Sunday, May 13, 2012

More to remember



Occasionally, my dad's birthday would land on Mother's Day...


Which makes this Mother's Day even more special...


I miss him so...

but he and my mom both live on in the little things I do and say...
their mannerisms, voices, features...

his strength and determination, his love of nature & creativity,
and some say...

his eyes ~
Daddy's little girl


Although my mother is no longer on this earth,
I feel her love imprinted on my heart,

Dad and Mom ~ young love
her words still speak softly
to my soul,  
her grace and unconditional love,
forgiveness and friendship endure;                    
her humor lives on;
I can almost hear her laughter
and many times
I think I hear her voice...
She still holds my heart...

In...

 HER HANDS   
(I wanted to re-post this tribute to mom,
but thought I'd just link it up here)





All the more special this Mother's Day is.
All the more reason to celebrate
  two loving parents...both gifts from God. 



 


Thursday, May 3, 2012



Bright and sunny days replace the gloom,
open windows softly bring
fresh warm breezes to the room
angelic birds begin to sing,
buds of flowers now in bloom...



The cardinal is inviting me outdoors













To enjoy the beauty of God's creation


















The rain has stopped and the sun is shining…



So glad to open the windows,



Inviting the fresh spring breeze to enter…



Along with the fragrance of Lily Of The Valley…



They’ve arrived right on time…






For my favorite month…


May!





'Tis my faith that every flower


Enjoys the air it breathes!


~William Wordsworth
















Monday, April 23, 2012

What a Hoot!




I was just about to end my afternoon stroll with my near to the ground sniffing four legged friend. As we approached a small ravine several yards from home, we were awed by massive wings fluttering above our heads exiting one of the lush old oaks nearby. It was one of our neighborhood owls! 
I'm so intrigued by owls and was thrilled to see one in the middle of the day!  I’ve spotted one or two during the several years we’ve lived here…usually at dusk and I’ve still not been able to grab my camera in time to capture them in a photo. Same goes for today!



As he landed in another towering oak, perched on one of the open limbs, staring back at me, I grabbed my antiquated flip phone and clicked on the camera (which of course has no zoom and if you don’t hit the save button, everything disappears)… no luck. One of these days I just know I’ll capture a good one. Until then, I’ll have to remain content with the sound of their night-time serenade, listening to their cooing as I drift peacefully off to sleep.


When we first moved to this neck of the woods, we were introduced rather quickly to sights and sounds we had not experienced since childhood, if ever. Coming from the city, where the nightlife is a different type of wild, we found this to be refreshing…until we heard the howling of coyotes in a marsh behind our neighbor’s lot. That was a sound that I had never heard before. I much prefer the peaceful sounds of nature.





A few months after we moved here was first time we heard our resident owl. I was excited to announce it to my husband who immediately replied, “how do you know it’s an owl? It could be someone hiding in the bushes making the sound of an owl as a decoy!”   Really? I replied…Really! ;)   I like to remind my city boy of that comment now and then.

Of course, I’m not innocent either because I did call the cops on a deer once!  It was dusk and I glanced out the window to see someone standing on a hilly area near our window. I could only make out the silhouette and I swear I saw a head and broad shoulders of someone wearing tan or dark grey…not moving…head pointed in my direction.
























 



I panicked, closed all the blinds and called to report a peeping tom!





Fortunately, the police encouraged me to never resist calling, even for deer because “you just never know”!  Whew...glad they are close by!


They did locate the perp...the big guy was hiding with his accomplices behind the hedgerow...




Ah, the wild wild woods ~ A few adjustments here and there and a few years later, and I’m finally settled in…calm, cool and collected…keeping my eyes wide open and my camera nearby.




Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Bowl of Sunshine



It's a gloomy day in April...
 damp from the storms we had last night...
the sun can't decide if it wants to make an appearance today...
after all it is Sunday...day of rest...
but not for the sun...
the sun always shines...somewhere!
well, if it IS shining on you today,
I hope you enjoy every moment...
every warm golden ray! 
may today be a gift you embrace...
whether the sun is shining or not...
and may this soup be one to warm you
from the inside out...
loaded with antioxidants
to bring you good health...
flavor to satisfy your taste buds...
warmth from the spice of ginger and garlic...

I like to call it

A BOWL OF SUNSHINE!




C a r r o t  -  G i n g e r   Soup




Ingredients:

Approx. 2 - 3 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 Large yellow Onion, minced
3 - 4 Garlic cloves, minced (use more or less according to your taste for garlic)
2  - 3 tsp. grated fresh ginger (for more heat and if you love ginger, feel free to add more - I've been known to use quite a bit more - ;)
1 ½ lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
6 cups chicken stock (organic/all natural, no msg, lower sodium)
1 tsp. juice of fresh squeezed lemon
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


~      ~      ~    ~
   
Steps:

Since I like to do as many steps in one pan, I use a large soup pot for this entire recipe...

Drizzle the olive oil into the soup pot and warm over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until softened, 3-5 minutes. (I chop all ingredients right into the pan - no extra plates, cutting boards or utensils needed). 


I press in the garlic, grate in the ginger and chop in the carrots and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, and then add the stock.  Cook the ingredients over medium heat until the carrots are tender, about 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes (or when carrots are tender), remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.


Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. Stir in the lemon juice and season with sea salt and pepper. (**You can also do this in a regular blender but wait until it is cool then re-heat in your soup pot, but of course, my immersion blender allows me to keep it all in the pot with less clean up)


Ladle hot soup into bowls (preferably warmed bowls). Garnish with a dollop of fat free sour cream or creme fraiche.. I like to use plain Greek yogurt.  Add a sprig of parsley or cilantro. Serve immediately.


Serves 4 to 6. 

I enjoy this soup with popovers!
click here  for my quick and easy popovers recipe ~





P.S... If by chance there is soup left over, sometimes I'll use it to prepare a unique pasta sauce:  Depending on how much soup is left, I like to stir in a tablespoon or so of plain Greek yogurt to the soup (just enough to thicken the soup into a sauce) and simmer over medium heat; add grated parmesan cheese and stir until bubbly and the consistency of a pasta sauce.  I ladle over my favorite pasta, sprinkle with toasted chopped walnuts, fresh grated parmesan cheese & fresh basil and serve!  I also love this sauce drizzled over a grilled chicken breast on a bed of quinoa or rice!)





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