Saturday, November 1, 2014


I think it turned cold sometime last night. The temperatures may not be arctic yet (upper 40s, lower 50s), but the rain, wind, and high humidity we always have here produce a cold that cuts straight to the bone.
So I'm listening to Christmas music, gazing at Pinterest, and sipping tea. (Yes, a "Moonlight Darjeeling" from Golden Tips Tea Co. -- lovely, deep, nutty, spicy. I wonder ... do they pick it by moonlight?)
If you need me, I'll be knitting.
I'm still working on my friend's shawl. It has made me pull my hair out a couple of times. I've discovered I cannot work on it while I'm in the car, and I cannot work on it while I'm watching a show on Netflix. The pattern is not tricky, but the yarn is thin and slippery, and it's too easy to drop a stitch. Argh!!! But it's turning out well; I'm on the last skein. Twice I've had to lay the shawl out on a clean, dark towel on the table, slip one needle out of the work, rethread/pick up/rework some of it, and find my way anew.
From Adam's kitchen are wafting smells of delicious dinner, mere moments away. Meat for fajitas:
Fresh fajita veggies:
And because it's a cold night, he's making a batch of his wonderful gingerbread -- warm, aromatic, the entire house smells oh-so-fallish! Here's the spiced dry ingredients, and the wet ingredients. (Recipe below.)
And the butter melting slowly on the back of the stove:
It will be a good night, warm and cozy here in our home in Oriental.
And for those who don't think a blog post here is complete without a breath-taking river shot:
Here's my autumnal front stoop. Must bring that pumpkin inside before it freezes and turns to mush!
These mums are amazing. Really a more deep purple than it seems here.
My pumpkin for this year. I love pumpkins.
Stay warm, wherever you are! (Dasha, I know you're heading into summer in Australia, so you need not heed my weather warnings - haha!) There was snow in the North Carolina mountains last night. Bundle up. Light the fire. Make some tea and hold the cup in your hands.

(from Baking Illustrated cookbook by Cook's Illustrated)
(Update: We didn't like this gingerbread much. Adam used really strong blackstrap molasses, unfortunately, and it was just too bitter. With different molasses, it might be better.)

2 1/4 cups sifted unbleached flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp cocoa
8 Tbl butter, melted at room temp.
3/4 cup mild molasses
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 milk
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Grease 11x7 baking dish and dust with flour.
Whisk dry ingredients.
Beat butter, molasses, sugar, buttermilk, milk, and egg in large bowl on low speed. Add dry ingredients and beat on medium speed until smooth and thick, about 1 minute. Do not overmix. Scrape into baking dish and smooth top. Bake until the top springs back when touched and edges have puled away from sides, about 40 minutes. Set pan on wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm. Can be wrapped well and refrigerated for 5 days.


  1. You all being three hours ahead of us, you are right now enjoying that cozy evening with family and gingerbread - it sounds perfect. Last night was noticeably colder here, too, and today the house never warmed up so we had to go out on the front step to get some rays!

  2. Thanks for sharing your lovely day! I'm appreciating my cozy home as well! :)

  3. Hey girlfriend....looks nice and homey 'round your parts, and how nice to have a cooking husband. :)

    Listen, for reference purposes only, when you had your bee sting, did you use the plantain on it by chewing it up and putting it on it? Gary had a spider bite last year, and that's what we did. Curious how you used it.

    And, btw, have clicked follow up comments, so you can answer me here, if it's easier.

    1. Hi you :) No, I didn't chew it up. I picked a couple of large leaves, ripped them up a bit, and pressed them on the sting area. I didn't think of chewing; that might have worked better. The severe swelling did wait until later, so I wonder if the leaves I did apply helped somewhat. By the time I got back home, it was probably 2 hours later, and although I put some salve on it, I think it was too late. It did help alleviate the itch for a bit, but the itch wasn't the problem really. In the past, with beestings (and we've had a few) I've felt that quick treatment is the key. And when it didn't swell immediately, I thought it wasn't going to be a big deal, so I didn't intervene much. Bad choice.

  4. Ok, that's what I wanted to know. There must be a connection between the spit and the plantain. Apparently the two together draw the poison of the insect out quicker. With Gary's spider bite, it cleared up fast. Sorry for your sting, though. Those can be so painful.

    1. Next time I'm in that situation, I'll try that for sure, Melissa. Thank you for that tip. I would not have thought of chewing it, but I'm sure it would have released the oils in the plantain better.

  5. Pure coziness! Simply lovely! It's dark earier now, of course, but my cozy time starts when the pasture and the barn have been cleaned, the waterers refreshed, and the chickens tucked in for the night. It's easier to get up early, though, so mornings tend to be really productive outside. Farm work doesn't change, just the warmth of the clothing!

  6. Oh, what pretty, colorful pumpkins you have. I am happy to read of your enjoyment of the change in season. Fall has finally come to Texas I guess right about the time you get winter.

  7. What a warm and lovely post, MK! Mmmmmm gingerbread!
    Your pumpkin and mums are pretty!


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