Today's church bible study was a little different.... no bible study. But we did have a wonderful morning of Fellowship... food .. a lovely talk from a guest speaker... and the singing of Christmas carols. We also had our annual ornament exchange. with this years theme 'A Homemade Christmas' All the gift bags were put in the middle of our circle of chairs and all the ladies each took a number from a basket. Then in turn we had a choice. We could either take a bag and unwrap it...or take the someone else's unwrapped gift. That gift could only be 'stolen' twice and then it was frozen and the person who had it kept it.
There are many talented ladies in our group. I chose a ribbon tree and I must be honest I am happy with my choice. To swap it would be giving away someone's time and creativity. it is now hanging prettily on my tree
My contribution for the food table was one of the easiest cookies ever...and again uses a cake box mix. it only has four ingredients.. and instead of oil... it actually uses Cool Whip!.. And it works! Of course anything lemon is a winner in my book...
Lemon Crinkle Cookies
1boxlemon cake mix
(1) 8oz.tub of Cool Whip 1egg 1/2 - 1cuppowdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350F.
Spray cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, cool whip and egg until well combined.
Use a small cookie scoop or two spoons to drop rounded cookie dough into powdered sugar.
Roll dough ball until completely covered.
Set cookies on cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.
Bake at 350F for 12 minutes or until very lightly golden around the edges.
The center of the cookie will still be soft, that's okay.
Let cool on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes
Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Store at room temperature in airtight container.
These are best eaten within a day or two of baking
So ...yesterday morning..my lovely friend and I drove over to the park to start our walking. At 6.30 in the morning it was a chilly 47 degrees... perfect for me .. but my friend who is pure Californian... found it too cold. After half a lap... she exclaimed.. "that's it for me... lets go for coffee"! So..it was back to the car..and we headed for a 'famous named" coffee shop. As we were passing the houses.. we saw them...
a couple of coyotes in someones garden. One of them was in the process of killing a cat and ran away with it... and the other followed. My friend was very upset. It is the first time since I have been living here that Ive seen coyotes...although I am told there are a lot around here. Makes me think twice about walking so early by myself
The coffee was much appreciated... and I'm not sure what was in my friends cup...as she suddenly blurted out..."How about a hike!!" ...When??"I asked... "now!!" she replied.."I have my second wind". I was all for it and so began a six mile hike through the La Puente Hills
It started with a flat trail...
and all sorts of plants
berries and foliage
and then began the climb...to a height of about 900ft
and the views were amazing..
That's the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Memorial Complex at Rose Hills Cemetery...
with Los Angeles in the distance.
and..we saw more coyotes...
I'm so glad my friend found the weather too cold....lol
Can you believe its just fifteen days til Christmas Day. Honestly this Christmas season is going so fast. But.. for me.. I can start chilling a bit and enjoying it more. All the cards have been written and sent.. although that doesn't include the ones that will have to be done in return for the unexpected ones that turn up in the mail. The family parcel has been mailed to the UK. Holy smokes... the postage cost almost as much as the contents! Thank goodness for the Internet..Face time and Pay pal...I told my daughter and daughter in law what I wanted for everyone... I sent the money..they bought the items..wrapped them and will deliver to each others houses on Christmas Eve. I have even bought MrD's gifts and they are under the tree...he hasn't noticed yet....
So this morning I went walking with my dear friend.. It wasn't quite as expected.. with a change of plan and a surprise... and I will tell you tomorrow. But I wanted to show you the sky at 6.30 this morning. No filter...and absolutely gorgeous.
Foodwise....Hubby has his works Christmas meal on Friday ...so I have a break from cooking dinner.. and on Saturday too. The rest of the menu is pure comfort food.
Have a great week...and here's the dinner menu
Weekly Plan - 10th December 2018 Monday Shepherds Pie, Cabbage Tuesday 'Breakfast' Burritos WednesdayOrange Chicken, Vegetable Rice ThursdaySpicy Vegetable Stew Friday Hubby out so probably leftover stew
Its been a busy couple of days. All our presents for the UK are wrapped and ready to send... the cards are written and our home is looking very festive. The weather has turned chilly here in California.. and it rained all day yesterday..and more is forecast for today. With the Christmas lights shining and my baking underway.. it all looks and smells very cosy and inviting
Yesterday I made the great British Christmas staple....Mince Pies. Mr D loves them... especially when the are still warm from the oven. He had never had one before we were married...now its an annual tradition. Now.. in the past..I made my own mincemeat..(recipe here) but I have found that for the amount I need.. this shop bought jar is quite acceptable...especially with a couple of additions. I also make my own sweet crust but shop bought pre rolled pastry works just as well...but tastes slightly different
Pie crust dough (enough for two crusts) or
Homemade using the following recipe:
2 1/2 cups / 350gplain flour
Pinch of salt 1 cup /225g butter, diced tsp sugar 1 whole egg Cold Water 1 Jar of Mincemeat 1 orange, juice and zest 1apple, finely diced Dusting icing sugar
Heat the oven to 400°F/200°C/Gas 6
Place the flour, butter and salt into a large bowl.
Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
Stir in sugar,
Add the egg to the mixture and using a knife stir,
Add cold water a teaspoon at a time until the mixture binds together.
Roll in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
Meanwhile add orange juice, zest and apple to mincemeat and stir well
Choose a muffin or bun tin for the size of the pie you want.
Dust a work surface lightly with a little flour and roll out two-thirds of the pastry to 1/8"/3mm thick.
Cut circles to line the cups of your tin.
Fill the pastry lined tins 2/3 full with mincemeat.
Roll out the remaining pastry to the same thickness and cut smaller circles to fit as lids or cut out star shaped lids to be decorative.
Lightly brush the tops with milk or an egg wash.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 mins or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the icing sugar.
For an extra special treat...serve warm from the oven with a drizzle of cream...or a dollop of Brandy Butter
Its 2.30 in the morning...and the lights have gone on for Mum.
Its a bitter sweet day as Christmas is so close but for the woman who loved the season so much..it is a tribute she would appreciate.
"Do's Tree" back in the UK wont be lit this year. After fourteen years the little fibre optic garden memorial has given in to the elements and fallen to pieces. Last year the lights on it failed but God gave it even prettier decoration. My aunt has decided to look for a smaller one and put it in her front window. I'm looking forward to seeing it.
In the meantime... I think we have enough lights for all of us to share as we remember the strong, wise woman who ruled with a rod of iron and who never found the words to say "I love you" but showed it every second.. of every day.. with every thing she did.