Gizzy in Heaven!

Gizzy in Heaven!
I love you forever and ever, Amen!


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The winner for my November Giveaway is...

... Clara of Clara's Crochet Room! Congratulations, Clara, and as soon as you send me your address, I'll mail you the Cross Stitch book with my compliments and best wishes.

If you want to visit Clara, you can also see that she has been a very busy gal crocheting all sorts of cute Christmas ornaments.Again, congratulations and enjoy your book!

I also want to share some honey recipes perfect for gift giving from the National Honey Board that I subscribe to. As you know I'm a big bee fan and love honey bee products.  

Honey Spice Oatmeal Cookie Mix

(Makes 6 dozen)

Honey Spice Oatmeal Cookie Mix

  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 cups Quaker© oats (quick-cooking or old fashioned), uncooked
To make mix In large bowl, combine flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, cloves and nutmeg; mix well. Add oats; mix well. Transfer to resealable plastic bag, an unbreakable decorative jar with lid or other airtight container. Store in cool dry place. Ingredients Needed to Complete Cookies 1/2 lb. (2 sticks) butter softened (no substitutions) 3/4 cup honey 1 large egg To prepare cookies In a large bowl, beat butter and honey with electric mixer until creamy. Add egg; beat well. Add half of cookie mix; beat well. Add remaining cookie mix; beat well. Divide dough into thirds; place each on a piece of plastic wrap and flatten to 1/2-inch thickness. Wrap tightly; chill at least 4 hours. Heat oven to 350°F. Remove one portion of dough from refrigerator. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten to 1/8-inch thickness with bottom of glass dipped in granulated sugar. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake 5 to 7 minutes, just until centers are set. (Cookies will feel soft. Do not overbake.) Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

Tip: Variations Decorated Cookies - Decorate cooled cookies with melted dark or white chocolate, ready-to-spread frosting, decorator frosting in tubes, assorted small candies or candy sprinkles. Thumbprint Cookies - Use thumb to make a deep indentation in center of each cookie dough ball. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until very light golden brown. Remove cookies from oven; press small dark or white chocolate candy into indentation or fill with 1/2 teaspoon preserves. Cool and store as directed.

Rosemary-infused Honey
(makes 1 gift)

Rosemary-Infused Honey

  • 1 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves
Place honey in a double boiler with water in bottom. Squeeze rosemary leaves to release flavor and place in honey. Bring water to a boil, and bring honey to 185°F and keep at 185°F for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. Strain while still warm. Place in sterilized jars and cap.

Holiday Honey Caramels
(makes 30 caramels)

Holiday Honey Caramels

Makes 30 caramels
  • 1 cup butter (no substitutions)
  • 2 cups honey
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • finely chopped almonds, optional
Line bottom and sides of 9-inch square pan with plastic wrap; set aside. Melt butter in medium-sized heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add honey, cream and brown sugar; mix well. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture comes to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium and continue boiling, stirring frequently, until candy thermometer registers 250°F to 255°F, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla; pour into prepared pan. Let cool completely in refrigerator before cutting into individual caramels with very sharp knife. Roll in chopped nuts or coconut, if desired, and wrap each individually in clear plastic wrap. Store, tightly wrapped in refrigerator up to 1 month. Caramels will be soft at room temperature and firm if kept chilled.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 50 minutes
Serving Suggestion: Drop one into a cup of hot coffee or tea or enjoy this delicious treat on its own.

Honey Dessert Sauces

(delicious over ice cream, fruit, bread pudding, pound cake, pie, decorate your dessert plates with it or give a jar or two to a friend)

Honey Turtle Sauce

Honey Turtle Sauce

Makes 12 servings
  • 2 cups Honey Caramel Sauce, see recipe
  • 1 cup Honey Chocolate Sauce, see recipe
  • 3/4 cup pecan pieces
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour into sterilized gift jars.

Nutrition: 139 Calories * 6.4 g Fat Total * 1.6 g Protein * 13 mg Cholesterol * 21.7 g Carbohydrates * 73 mg Sodium * 0.82 g Dietary Fiber * 38% Calories from Fat *

Honey Caramel Sauce

Makes 6 servings
  • 1-1/2 cups honey
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Combine honey and cream in heavy saucepan; cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture reaches 238°F. Stir in butter, vanilla and salt. Cool.

Serving Suggestion: Serve warm over ice cream, custard or pudding.

Honey Chocolate Sauce

Honey Chocolate Sauce

Makes 2-1/2 cups

  • 1-1/2 cups honey
  • 1-1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
Combine all ingredients in small bowl; mix well. Cover with waxed paper and microwave at HIGH (100%) 2 to 2-1/2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute. Pour into sterilized gift jars. Keep refrigerated.

Serving Size: 1/4 cup
Nutrition: 336 Calories * 80 g Carbohydrates * 10 mg Cholesterol * 6 g Fat Total * 56 mg Sodium * 4 g Protein * <1 g Dietary Fiber * 4% Calories from Fat *

Fruit-infused Honey Vinegars

(makes 2-2/3 cup)

Fruit-Infused Honey Vinegars

  • 2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 2/3 cup honey
Combine vinegar and honey in medium saucepan, then stir in one of the flavor additions below: Apricot: 2/3 cup apricot jam (Makes 2-1/2 cups) Pear: 2 (15 oz.) cans pears, drained and diced (Makes 2 cups) Raspberry: 1 (6 oz.) basket fresh raspberries, mashed (Makes 1-3/4 cups) Fig: 2 cups quartered, dried Mission figs (Makes 1 cup) Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool, then pour through a fine mesh strainer to remove any solids. Store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Serving Suggestion: Whether served with French bread for dipping or drizzled over mixed greens, these sweet vinegars are sure to be a hit, especially as gifts during the holiday season.

For more delectable honey recipes (such as the featured recipe below) go to the National Honey Board's website and be amazed at the power of honey!

Honey Garlic Focaccia with Rosemary and Roasted Peppers

Let's dance!

For those of you having trouble viewing this clip, you can go directly to the jibjab website and watch us dance there:

Doris and Gizzy got elfed!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mostly photos from our morning walk!

Last night, I played my fireplace DVD for the first time of the season and I wished I had a bigger TV, but considering I didn't have a TV at all for the past eight months, I'm satisfied for what I have.

and now with the lights off:

I heard on the news that last night was the coldest we had this season (31-34 degrees) and today it was a nice, crisp morning with very low humidity. I love going walking when I can see my breath and feel the sting in my face...brrrr....Gizzy and I followed Smokey (one of our resident strays that I help feed every day.) He leads the way with Gizzy trailing behind, pulling on his leash in an attempt to catch him:

 There's frost on the grass and on the roof tops. I love it - and so does the Gizz:

From the boardwalk at lake Irma, I look down to see the ducks and their guardian Canada goose. She keeps a watchful eye on her "babies" that she seems to have adopted.

On the other side of the lake, I throw out some cracked corn and seeds for their breakfast:

Here's a close-up of Queen Victoria (yes, we named the fowl.)

By now it's about 9:30 and a toasty 51 degrees, which would be perfect for me the rest of the year. I can breathe so much better in this weather and I hardly cough at all...

Walking back home, I find some pretty blossoms along the way:

Tomorrow, is the last day to enter my November Giveaway!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

First Sunday of Advent

Tomorrow is Sunday, November 28th and the First Sunday in Advent. Advent (from the Latin word adventus, meaning "coming") is a season of the Christian church, the period of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus; in other words, the period immediately before Christmas. Born and raised Roman Catholic, I was taught to celebrate the advent of Christ's birth. For me, this has always marked the beginning of the festive season, full of excitement and anticipation. It wasn't so much about the gifts, because I wasn't raised in a wealthy environment with lots of material things so I didn't expect much, but it was a time of profound wonder, hope and possibilities - when anything could happen. Christmastime (and Easter) has always been my most favorite time of the year. One of the things I remember doing at home with my parents is sitting at the table with the candle(s) lit, reciting a little children's poem (in German) before having our cookies and beverage.

Advent, Advent, ein Lichtlein brennt
Erst eins, dann zwei, dann drei dann vier
Dann steht das Christkind vor der Tuer.

In English: Advent, Advent a little light burns First one, then two then three then four then stands the Christchild at the door.

Funny, the little things we remember! (...and the big things we forget - or at least try to.) Please note that when I grew up in Germany, eons ago, I recall only seeing red candles on the Advent wreaths; however, it is common to see three lilac and one pink candle, each having a significant meaning (and a name) as does the Advent wreath itself. Anyway, for those of you that celebrate Advent (and by the way, it's not just us Catholics that do, but Lutherans, Protestants, Anglicans and Episcopalians, for instance, do also and any church that uses a Liturgy would recognize Advent), I hope you have a wonderful first Advent Sunday. Celebrating with an Advent wreath during the weeks prior to Christmas is a great way for Christian families to keep Christ at the center of Christmas, and for parents to teach their children the true meaning of Christmas. Another Advent tradition that can be very meaningful and fun for children is to celebrate with the Jesse Tree. Although I have never done that as a child, I think it's a great way to divert children's attention away from themselves and their gifts, but to focus on the real reason for the season.

Remember to get your Advent Calendars out on Tuesday, Nov. 30th, so you and/or the kids can open your little windows starting on Wednesday, Dec. 1st. I still have to buy one for myself. Counting down to Christmas by opening a window every day (some of which have little pieces of chocolate in them) reminds me of my childhood in Germany. I established a whole bunch of little Christmas traditions since living alone, like watching "The Grinch" and "White Christmas" religiously, since family gatherings are a thing of the past.

When I first came to the USA from Germany in 1971, Advent Calendars were not as common, but now they are virtually everywhere, so nobody should miss out on the fun. Anticipation is - after all - a big part of the Christmas celebration..

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Yodeling Thanksgiving

I spent Thanksgiving with my friends Arlene, the lady who makes those lovely wooden treasure chests and her sister, Marcia. We shared an almost vegetarian meal, because it did involve deviled eggs. It goes without saying that my boy, Gizzy, was in attendance and nibbled on the butternut squash with emphasis on the (real) butter.

There was more than enough for us three, plus take homes.

After dinner, we moved into the living room for some R&R  Notice the big Treasure Chest on Arlene's coffee table? She built that one from wood coming from an old 100 year old house, making it extra precious. 

(Marcia reading on the couch and Gizzy on the floor)

Meanwhile, Arlene graced us with a little music on her Autoharp. She played a German/Austrian song called  "the Cuckoo" that involved yodeling - which she did! I was impressed! I doubt very many folks got yodeled to this Thanksgiving. 

Both, Arlene and her sister, are very talented in arts and crafts and musical instruments. They play several instruments each. Marcia is a piano teacher. I shamelessly ask for songs whenever I can.

I hope you all had a peaceful and tasty Thanksgiving today.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone, whether you're celebrating alone or with family and friends. Enjoy yourselves and make it a memorable day, but please, please remember those who are not with their families because they are in the Armed Forces. Let's pray for them and send them our love.

Let's also remember the homeless (especially homeless Veterans) and pray they have a hot meal to eat and a warm bed to sleep in. Amen!

God bless America!

Happy Thanksgiving!
from Doris and Gizzy

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Swap Party Reveal Time!

Parsley at Seasons of My Mind hosted a fun Swap Party. This was only the second time I had participated in a swap, but with the holiday approaching, I thought it would be a fun way to exchange some love with our blogging friends. My swap partner was Sherry of Blessings From Our Nest and she wrote a lovely post about the gifts she received from me. I'm so glad she enjoyed them!

Now to my gift: It was sent to me by Charlotte of Sweet and Southern Life and I must say that she could not have picked a better gift for me, because I can't remember the last time someone sent me flowers!

Aren't they just lovely?

I had just returned from a walk with my Gizzy around the lake when the Apartment Manager's husband asked me "Who sent you flowers?" because the delivery person was inquiring about my apartment at the office. Of course, I was bewildered as I had no clue who would have sent me flowers. They were sitting on my back porch, looking so pretty and cheerful!

Thank you so much, Parsley, for hosting this swap and thank you so much, Charlotte, for that lovely gift of flowers. This was perfect!

White daisies, yellow carnations and orange roses - what a perfect autumn bouquet!

Friday, November 19, 2010

November morning at Lake Irma

Today, Gizzy and I got up and at 'em very early and started our walk down to the lake when the fog was still lingering on the water. It looked like little ghosts hovering on the surface - little wisps of fog being chased by the beams of the rising sun, all floating off in the same direction.

The Canada goose and her two Muscovy duck friends

Two more couples of ducks coming to get their breakfast!

Sunrays chasing little fog wisps over the water's surface

I looked for pretty fall colors in our neighborhood. Looks like autumn has finally come to the Deep South.

"What about me, ma?"
(You are the prince of my heart Gizzy boy!)

We stayed outside for a good long while and didn't come back home till 11 am, so we really took advantage of this crisp autumn morning, feeding ducks (barking at them in Gizzy's case) talking to people, brushing Gizzy's hair and just being thankful for being alive.

If you're interested in entering my November Giveaway, please do so by Monday, 11/29/10.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'm nuts about pumpkin

If you love pumpkin like I do, you must go to and check out their Pumpkin Recipes section. You'll find anything from Spiced Pumpkin Butter, and Fresh Pumpkin Soup, to Gluten Free Pumpkin Gingerbread, including this marvelous recipe for:

Pumpkin and Ricotta Crostata 
(you'll need this too: Tender Tart Dough)

Take a look and see if you can't find a recipe to change someone's mind about the incredibly versatile pumpkin that's loaded with minerals, vitamins and fiber.

Health & Nutrition Benefits of Eating Pumpkin 

  • Pumpkin is very rich in carotenoids, which is known for keeping the immune system of an individual strong and healthy.
  • Beta-carotene, found in pumpkin, is a powerful antioxidant as well as an anti-inflammatory agent. It helps prevent build up of cholesterol on the arterial walls, thus reducing chances of strokes.
  • Being rich in alpha-carotene, pumpkin is believed to slow the process of aging and also prevent cataract formation.
  • Pumpkins have been known to reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a serious eye problem than usually results in blindness.
  • The high amount of fiber, present in a pumpkin, is good for the bowel health of an individual.
  • Being loaded with potassium, pumpkin is associated with lowering the risk of hypertension.
  • The presence of zinc in pumpkins boosts the immune system and also improves the bone density

Pumpkin! It's a good thing!

Don't forget to enter my Giveaway!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Oh, Tannenbaum!

Call me nuts, but I've had my Christmas tree up (well in the living room) since November 1st. It's been up all year, only I kept it in the bedroom so nobody else could see it. It's easier for me than having to disassemble it and squeeze everything in my tiny storage shed.

So, here are some photos to get you in the mood. I know a lot of you will be decorating right after Thanksgiving:

It's all white and silver again (like last year) with my crocheted ornaments made from white yarn with silver thread. I crocheted the angel on top too. I added a (white) Santa amongst the branches as well as my usual little angel dolls. There's white poinsettias and silver baubles and stars and white, glittery snowflakes, white butterflies and of course, icicles to give it a really frosty appearance and only white lights. 
This little wooden ornament is not white (the flash made it white) but natural (light) wood color. My cousin in Germany sent it to me last year, it's right on top for everyone to see. It's a wooden star, intricately carved that she purchased in the Black Forest and it's very special to me.

I added a white Santa amongst the branches to fill in some of the empty gaps in the well-worn artificial tree. I  wanted a real one this year, but they are too cumbersome for me to deal with on my own and also, by the time they offer them in the only grocery store here in town, they're no longer fresh. I miss walking through Christmastree lots, smelling the fresh tree scent and finding the perfect one.

One of Gizzy's beds is right under the tree where he loves to snooze.

He looks so festive beneath that tree - looking at him under there reminds me that he is my "bestest" present I could have got this year and all the previous 10 years since I had him. (I got him when he was 3.) He turned 13 on November 1st and I treasure every day that I have with him. I still say that our dogs (and cats) don't live long enough!

Good night and don't forget to enter my Giveaway. You have until November 29th to enter. Good Luck!