Sunday, December 25, 2011

Blessed Joyful Christmas to all

In the stillness of that night, long, long ago....a mother gently swaddles her newborn baby...counting fingers and toes, remarking at the long eyelashes....the dimple here or there..
all moms do it and marvel at the wonder of it all. This is such an ordinarily extraordinary event but so much more that night.
 Mary held God incarnate, Emanuel.
 The savior is born...But on that night, he is just a baby, yet So much more. 
Don't you just wonder at this?
 Merry Christmas friends!

Enjoy a tribute to Mary and her newborn son:

Disclaimer: Thank you to Terry Campbell for these wonderful sentiments.
You put a voice to my heart and soul this Christmas morning.
Mothers and women the world over understand Mary's importance in this world changing event.  
Thank you Google for the images and U-tube for the video.
Mahvelous technical treats! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Traditions

This blog might have started as a 'Sewing Shoppe' blog for updates, events, happenings, designs and such.  But with the actual shop closed and life taking many u-turns along the way, I am expanding my vision to include many other life things.  SO--Sew--on we go to a tale of one of my Holiday Traditions----Sausage making.

It all starts with the baby bathtub, my baby bathtub from 59 years ago! Pink enamel heavy tub. My parents only had the best in 1953.  Young families today have it soooo much easier with their babies bath time.  I did use this for my oldest daughter 30 years enamel is very slippery with a baby in water, the phrase ' don't throw the baby out with the bathwater' comes to mind.

Why a bathtub? because it works when you have many pounds of ground meat ==we have done 20 --this year I am doing 10 pounds of ground fresh pork [a full fresh ham-or shoulder as many call it]. I had the butcher grind it for me and give me the bones and skin back which is what is used to make the soup for mixing the sausage.  Not a very impressive soup...but tasty in the sausage.  When cooking the bones and such, I do add an onion and a pinch of salt.  Just a pinch.

Back to the goes the ground pork, to that then is added some flour, salt, pepper, ground up onions, and probably the hardest thing these days to find...extra fat. Yes, fat.  Lucky for me, my store understands Fat...but they have to take a day to get it together since most meats today are pre trimmed to very lean, which is good in one way, but we have lost the flavors of old with such lean meat.  So now what does the tub look like---see for yourself--- a bit blurry I am sorry...onions can make you cry.

Now the part that many people don't like to know, this all must be mixed together well...and the only piece of equipment that works the best is the Hand.  And this year, only my right hand could mix this since my left shoulder/hand is not being very helpful. A story for another time. So I mix this all together making sure to blend all the components together well.  Then a cupful at a time of soup until it is the right consistency. Something learned from my mom Maren, who learned from her mom Olga, and so on back in time. Here I have to say, I do not know how my grandmom Olga, did this for so many years for feeding the school kids - 200 of them, 5 days a week.  She made sausage at least every other week that I know of.  No...she had big big meat vats in her cellar...and a big grinder...thankful for 'modern' technology. She fed the kids hot lunches until she retired at I believe, 70 plus. I hope I can do similar into my 70s.

Okay, so it gets mixed together...rests for a bit while you prep the containers for the mixture.  Casings...hog casings...not the most appealing vision, but such a biology lesson or anatomy lesson for all. Taking the stringy, rubbery ribbons and rinsing them, opening them with water is actually fun in a way.  Makes you appreciate how those tummy pains and 'wind' can happen. ;-)  As a medically oriented person, I find anatomy fascinating.  We tend to forget how parts of the body can be so small yet so mighty! take a spoonful of meat mix, cook it up in a frypan -like a burger- and taste test.  Official tester is my hubby...this year we are really good to go.  Of course he groans now, because now he has to get involved in the filling of the casings...a manual task requiring four hands...two to work the grinder/stuffer, one to support and judge size and weight of the links.  But once a year, we do this so we have for our Christmas Feast and the rest is frozen for meals in the New Year.  My mom, sister and I have done this for over 30 years, it's been 10 years since mom helped for the last time.  Every year since, I have gone on the hunt for the perfect meat, casings, fat and onions.  Once purchased, it has to get done right away...and that always means going into the night hours after dinner.
                               So we set up the manual grinder and stuff away our tub full of mix.
In the interest of 'sewing' under that lovely plastic table cover is my cutting table...turns out to be the perfect thing to use.
So we filled the casings and have our Christmas sausage...two pieces weighing over 4 pounds total. Plus another 15 pounds of sausage pieces for meals in the New Year.
Freezer bags filled, weighed and labelled in the end we have 17 pounds of Danish style, simple plain pork sausage. No spare fillers, no extra spices, just a simple meat that when prepared and served with mashed potatoes, apple-sauce, pan gravy if you like, and vegetables is just delicious. 'Bangers and Mash' my dear friend Beverley calls it. One of her favourite meals that she requested every time she visited our home. I think of her every time and I remember my family traditions that make the holidays so special.

Merry Christmas everyone...hope you have your traditions to enjoy this Blessed season.  

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A full fourth week we have this year. Seven more days to hope, to wait, to rejoice, to love.  Anticipation is building for the arrival of Our King and Saviour.  And today, we see the faith and trust, true acceptance of God's will, in the Blessed Virgin Mary.  'Let it be done unto me'.  Can we say that?  I can't..yet I have a son who has placed his life in trust with the Marines.  He also trusts that this is God's will.  Like Mary, I kissed his little toes and hands, the top of his head...I nursed him...and now I am very proud of him for serving his country.

Mothers around the world, love their babies and young children. We all do have a small piece of Mary's trust when we let our sons and daughters leave home for their own lives.  It could not have been at all easy for Mary knowing who her son was.  It isn't easy for me [or you] to believe they will be safe in today's world.

There is a novena prayer for Advent.  It is St. Andrew's novena, which tradition says you say this prayer 15 times a day  until Christmas. It started three weeks ago..I have not been able to pray this 15 times a day [once a waking hour?] But I like the prayer's message...and I say it for my son keep him safe.

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which
the Son of God was born of the most pure
Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing
cold.  In that hour vouchsafe, O my God - To hear 
my prayer and grant my desires, through the 
merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of 
His Blessed Mother. AMEN

May we all have a wonderful week preparing for great joy and love!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gaudete Sunday = REJOICE or JOY

Happy PINK Sunday of Advent.  I wish I had our pastor's homily to put here. A very thought provoking and educational talk on the reasons for, the need for and the JOY of Pink Sunday or Gaudete Sunday in churches around the world.

The short version...historically at one time, Advent was another Lent..lasting 40 days before Christmas with the whole fasting and no meat eating, doing penance etc.  Sometime [back ] it was decided to put some 'JOY' in the middle of Advent and stop all the gloomy, penance, sad faces.  SO...tickle somebody pink, make someone laugh, share joy with someone this week.  The Christ child is happy. not sad.

Of course, there was more to the lesson, but why pink?  For JOY...Rejoicing!! and celebrating He who comes.  Only two weeks left! Hope all are rejoicing!!