31 December 2011

A season ... to be thankful!

On 31 December, we celebrate Thanksgiving.  It's our family tradition which we started in 1995.   Every year we try a different location and this year we had a picnic at the beautiful Kirstenbosch gardens. 

Joy comes from being thankful, and we have so much to be thankful for.  2011 was a difficult year for many of us, but we can still thank God for taking us through, giving us strength and health and providing us with our daily needs.

We were so happy to have all our children together for the first time in many years this holiday season.  The above photo was taken at the airport when Ruth left after our picnic.

20 December 2011

A Time to ... be challenged!

Are you definitely not a 'morning person'?  I used to think so too, but have discovered that there really is great truth in the scripture: 'Joy comes in the morning'.  However, due to many late nights, I struggle to get up early and therefore miss that most important time of the day... time alone with the Lord.  Do you want this as much as I do?  Well, here's the challenge:

You can sign up, like I've done, for the 2012 Hello Mornings Challenge over on the blog 'Inspired to Action'.  The challenge starts on 15 January and will run for 90 days. 

Will you join me?

13 December 2011

A Season to ... make cordials

With Summer around the corner, it's time to have cold drinks on hand for the family and visitors.  Buying juice becomes very expensive when you have a family constantly opening the fridge door to look for something cold to drink.  Cordials are the way to go and here are 2 easy recipes for you:

makes 4 x 750ml bottles

12 lemons
2,5kg white sugar
15g each of tartaric acid, epsom salts, creme of tartar
1.5L or 6 cups of boiling water

Wash and grate lemon skins to remove peel.  Keep the peel in a large bowl with a lid (I use a plastic cake container).  Squeeze the juice of all the lemons and add to bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Replace lid and leave to stand on a counter overnight.

Next day: sterilize 4 x 750ml glass bottles with lids by boiling them for 5 minutes in a pot of water.  Remove and cool.  Strain the lemon cordial with a large sieve or colander and pour into prepared bottles using a funnel to avoid spills.  Wipe clean and label.  To serve, use 1 part cordial to 5 parts cold (preferably sparkling) water.  Add ice and mint. Yum!

Tip:  The last time I made this, I froze the strained lemon peel and now add it to fruit cakes or when making cream cheese icing.  It is candied lemon peel!

makes 4L

Juice of 6 oranges
Grated peel of 4 lemons
3L boiling water
3kg or 12 cups white sugar
45g each of citric acid and tartaric acid
30g epsom salts

Combine peel and juice and add rest of ingredients in a large bowl or bucket with a lid.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Replace lid and leave on counter overnight.

Next day: Sterilize 4 x 1L or 8 x 500ml glass bottles and lids (as above).  Strain cordial and pour into bottles. Seal, wipe and label.  To serve: dilute 1 part cordial with 4 parts water (or to taste).

Enjoy summer!