Friday, October 30, 2009

Family Pictures

Remember Nancy? That wonderful woman that was with us in Paraguay? Well, a few weeks ago she took our family's picture to put in our new church directory. We spent some time with her on Thanksgiving morning (back at the beginning of October, remember?) where she used her gift and snapped shots of all of us. Unfortunately, it was a bit nippy that morning, both in regards to temperatures and with a few attitudes of a certain boy that didn't want his picture taken on a wall ... thus the red cheeks and noses in some pictures. Nancy is absolutely a joy to work with and she does really well with getting the kids to cooperate. We had fun, and we have these beautiful pictures to share with you!
I'll post more pictures later, but here are just a few to share with you for now. Aren't ALL my guys cute?!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Warming Up the Kitchen

Ingrid's Jam Prints

It's that time of year again! I'm warming up the kitchen baking up some trial batches of new cookies for the Cookie Kitchen! This is our third year in business and we've made a lot of improvements.

Here's a picture of one of our new additions this year. This recipe came from our friend, Ingrid, who makes the cutest little cookies every year for our families. When we asked her permission to borrow her recipe for the Cookie Kitchen, she kept saying how honored she would be if we would use her recipe. And here we were feeling all honored that she was excited to let us have it! Ingrid usually rolls hers in crushed walnuts, but because we already have a cookie that is rolled in nuts, we decided to keep these plain. Wow! Are they melt-in-your-mouth delicious! These are Stephen's favorites and he just goes crazy when he sees me trying another batch.

I asked Ingrid what type of jam she used in her cookies and she suggested apricot, sour cherry or rosehip jam. I hadn't thought of rosehip jam for ages! Well, since my sisters and I worked for Angela, anyway. That would have been about 25 years ago. The story of Angela is too long to get into just now, but let's just say that Angela, who was in her 80's and 90's when we worked for her after school, introduced us to many new things. One of those things was rosehip jam. If you've never tried it before, I highly suggest you go to some specialty foods store (or you might have them in your mega grocery stores in the US) and buy a little jar of it. You will be hooked! It's got a smooth, tarty-sweetness and I just can't get enough of it. Mmmmmm!

We're also adding some gluten-free cookies this year. These are not for those who suffer from Celiac disease, but for those people who have a gluten intolerance. Our kitchens are not gluten-free, so we cannot claim that our cookies are either. We have had many requests for gluten-free cookies that actually taste good, and we have found some! I've let some of my gluten-free friends taste test some of our experiments and they have been given rave reviews so we're excited to add these cookies to our list this year as well.

Pray that this year's endeavors will be better than last year for us. Unfortunately, last year the enconomy tanked just as the season started and no one wanted to buy cookies. We did ok, but definitely not as well as we had hoped. We need our "cookie money" to help us get through some rough times here and we're praying that this year people will be willing to splurge again on homemade Christmas cookies. We love baking these and using our creativity this way, and even if no one buys them, our families are thrilled with the abundance of cookies at this time of year!

Here's to another year of The Cookie Kitchen!

Friday, October 23, 2009

YAAAYYY! I'm Back!

Well, I truly apologize for disappearing here for awhile. I have NO idea what happened, but I could NOT get into Blogger no matter how much I tried! Unfortunately, that came exactly the day that I tried to post the WINNER of the chicken soup giveaway! So, let me catch up here.

The winner of the Watkins Chicken Soup and Gravy Base is ... LILLY!! Congratulations, Lilly! As cold as it is up here right now, I'm sure you'll be looking forward to a nice, hot cup of chicken soup yourself! Thanks to all the rest of you who participated in the giveaway. I do wish that more of you silent readers would have participated because I was so excited to share my birthday with you, but oh well. Maybe another time??

Good news for all of you who participated but didn't win. Here in Canada, the chicken soup (as well as all the other soups) are on sale in November for $1.00 off. I'm assuming that the US site will also reflect a savings for the month of November, but I can't guarantee that at this point. Sorry.

Oh, and by the way, for those of you that didn't know, my birthday was October 18 and that's the day that I tried to get on here to tell you all that Lilly had won.

Now that I have access to Blogger again, I'll try to catch up on things. It's good to be back on here with you all! Once again, congratulations, Lilly! Your soup base will be delivered shortly.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blogging Problems

Sorry for no posts lately, but I'm having trouble posting anything to Blogger just now. I don't even know if this is going to go through, but rather than spend more time typing all kinds of stories out for you, just to have them hanging in cyberspace until I finally close it all down, I think I'll just leave it at this for now. This way you know that I am at least TRYING to post some pictures, some stories, and whatever.

Until Blogger is working again for me, it may look like I'm not here ... but I am, really! Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Info on the Chicken Base

Since some of you have been asking, I thought I should let you know how you can get some of this chicken soup base if you don't win my birthday present this week (Hint hint - only a few more days to go!). Watkins' soup bases are $8.99US for the beef, chicken, cream, mushroom and onion varieties. They will make up to 50 servings per can (some a little less), and they can just be stored in your pantry as opposed to the refrigerator. In Canada, the beef and chicken bases are $10.49 each and the cream, mushroom and onion bases are $10.99.

You can order them online at or click on the link on my blog here to start browsing. Because I'm in Canada, the catalog defaults to the Canadian version, so if you're from the US, just click on US Catalog at the top. Local folks, you can always give me a call if you want to combine orders to save on shipping. Non-local folks, you can get a bunch of friends together to combine orders to get free shipping if you order over $150.

On a side note here, the mushroom soup is absolutely fantastic!!!! It's soo much better than that goopy canned stuff, especially if you've got a craving for some quick and delicious cream of mushroom soup! There are real, dehydrated mushrooms in it that look, feel and taste like real mushrooms and not rubbery little cubes. It makes a quick and easy mushroom gravy, too. Mmm. Mmmmm! Good!

So remember, just a few more days to tell me about your favorite birthday present! I've been enjoying your stories and memories. Thanks for sharing!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Watkins Chicken Soup and Gravy Base

Well, you still have some time left to tell your favorite birthday present story on my post below! It's not my birthday yet! I thought that maybe while we're waiting for the day of the drawing, I would give you a little taste (Hahaha!) of the soup base so that you can anticipate your gift!

Watkins chicken soup (as well as the beef and cream soup bases) are gluten-free. They are also low in sodium with only 430mg per 1.5 teaspoon serving as opposed to over 700mg in many other soup bases. Watkins has no added MSG in any of their products, including the soups, so no need to worry about those nasty headaches and other symptoms that appear after consuming MSG! To top it all off, there are only 15 calories and ZERO grams of fat per 1.5 tsp serving (1 cup prepared)! We're heading into the cold season and a cup of instant Watkins Chicken Soup on those chilly days is fabulous!

Here are a few suggestions on how to use your chicken soup base (other than that cup of steamy broth):
  • Add a tablespoon of the soup base to your rice when cooking

  • Sprinkle soup base on a roasting chicken in the crock pot. Add a little Watkins Seasoning Salt, some Watkins Poultry Seasoning and a bit of sage and let it cook on low for several hours.

  • Use the soup base in place of any recipe that calls for chicken bouillon, chicken broth, or chicken flavoring.

  • Adding a spoonful of the soup base while boiling pasta gives a delightful flavor

To top off all these wondeful facts suggestions, my friend and I sat down one day to figure out just how much money we save when we use one of these cans of soup. Anita figured out that one can of Watkins Chicken Soup Base equals 15 one liter tetra boxes of chicken broth. Around here they are around $2.50 for one of those 1 liter boxes, so that means that you can save $37.50 by using one can of Watkins Chicken Soup Base! That's a significant savings! Now, I know most of you probably don't use those boxes of ready made chicken broth, but you have to admit that having that available is quite handy. Well, think of this: your recipe calls for one cup of chicken broth. You open one of those boxes, use one cup and then you have the rest of the box that you have to figure out something that will use the rest of it before the two week time that you are supposed to use it expires. Well, you forget about it and a few weeks (months?) later you find that opened box shoved in the back of the refrigerator and it doesn't smell so great anymore. You take it out and pitch it! Money down the drain! Watkins soup bases don't need to be refrigerated and you can always make ONLY the amount that you need for your recipe!

There you have it! If you don't win the birthday present of the soup mix, you can still get a can of it for yourself. This stuff is great and I always make sure I have some in stock because either I'm using it, or someone is calling me to replace their empty one! That's it for my Watkins spiel. Now you can just sit back and wait to see if you win! Good luck!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Birthday Present

My birthday is coming up, and along with birthdays, there are usually presents. I told you about winning the lavender wand on my Aunt Heidi's blog last week and I'm anticipating receiving it close to my birthday, so I'm going to get at least one present this year! Well, I'll probably also get a slew of handmade Monopoly games because that's the latest craze around here, and I'm hoping for a few hours alone with Fred, and maybe an hour or so over a cup of coffee with a friend, so I'm good for presents for my birthday this year.

But I was thinking that maybe this year, instead of having my gift expectations skewed as I highly doubt I will be getting a Wii Fit system which would be BEYOND wonderful as a gift since it's sooooo extremely unlikely to happen, I want to shift the focus on me GIVING a gift as opposed to RECEIVING one.

My inspiration for this was winning the lavender wand from Aunt Heidi on her Steps on the Journey blog. I was so thrilled to find out that I was the winner and I know that people love winning things. Sooooo..... I'm going to offer my own little birthday present giveaway here!

Here's the deal: you readers (including the lurkers) have until my birthday to either comment on my blog here (Anonymous comments count, but I'll have to know who you are if you want to win!) or send me a private e-mail at mjweinhardt at yahoo dot ca. If you know when my birthday actually is, you have an advantage of knowing how long you have to procrastinate in order to qualify for this gift. If you don't know when it is, then comment now. Hahaha. In your comment, you need to tell me about the best birthday present you ever received!

On my birthday, my family will randomly choose the name of one of you who participates. The winner will receive a 10 oz can of Watkins Chicken Soup and Gravy Base. This link is from the Canadian catalog, but if you are from the US, just click on the US Catalog tab at the top of the Watkins page.
The can that you receive will look slightly different than this, but the product is the same.
Feel free to let your friends who may also know me in on this giveaway. Just direct them to my blog and remind them to comment! This contest is open to everyone worldwide, but if you happen to live outside of North America, I can't promise you when you will receive it. If you live in Indonesia or Paraguay, you may need to come visit in order to pick it up (Hint, hint, dear siblings!), but we'll deal with that if you are the winner.

Good luck to all of you! I'm looking forward to hearing your stories of your favorite birthday presents!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Our Little Composer

Please sit back and enjoy this original piece by Timothy. One never knows what this little boy will come up with next. He is quite the artist in all aspects and we love and appreciate him! Unfortunately, I accidentally cut off the first line of his song, but you can still hear the farm-y twang in his voice as he sings the rest. In case you can't hear the words, the lyrics are posted below. Enjoy!

Down By the Farm

Down by the farm, down by the farm, everybody likes the farm!

Down by the farm, down by the farm, everybody likes the farm (meh meh meh)!