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Monday, December 19, 2011

To All in Texas and Beyond, Merry Christmas, Ya'll!

Twas The Night Before Christmas (Texas Style)

'Twas the night before Christmas, in Texas, you know.
Way out on the prairie, without any snow.
Asleep in their cabin, were Buddy and Sue,
A dreamin' of Christmas , like me and you.

Not stockings, but boots, at the foot of their bed,
For this was Texas, what more need be said,
When all of a sudden, from out of the still night,
There came such a ruckus, it gave me a fright.

And I saw 'cross the prairie, like a shot from a gun,
A loaded up buckboard, come on at a run,
The driver was "Geein" and Hawin", with a will,
The horses (not reindeer) he drove with such skill.

"Come on there Buck, Poncho, & Prince, to the right,
There'll be plenty of travelin' for you all tonight."
The driver in Levi's and a shirt that was red,
Had a ten-gallon Stetson on top of his head.

As he stepped from the buckboard, he was really a sight,
With his beard and moustache, so curly and white.
As he burst in the cabin, the children awoke,
And were so astonished, that neither one spoke.

And he filled up their boots with such presents galore,
That neither could think of a single thing more.
When Buddy recovered the use of his jaw,
He asked in a whisper, "Are you really Santa Claus?"

"Am I the real Santa?  Well, what do you think?"
And he smiled as he gave a mysterious wink.
Then he leaped in his buckboard, and called back in his drawl,
"To all the children in Texas, Merry Christmas, You-all!"

Poem taken from All Saints Hospital staff Christmas cookbook circa 1960's, supposedly submitted by Edna Nowell, Sr. LVN.
I believe the All Saints Hospital is in Ft. Worth.
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Well, I know you are busy with all your last minute Christmas 

preparations, so I will mosey on out of here and have another 

cup of coffee! Go ahead, put another batch of cookies in 

the oven and have the Eggnog ready for Christmas Eve. I 

know Santa will be stopping Buck, Poncho and Prince at your 


Merrily, Susan, Chi and all the StarDragonflyHerbals gang!

I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day. We try

to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of

the whole year. As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little

at a time, all through the year. And thus I drift along into

the holidays, let them overtake me unexpectedly, waking up some

fine morning and suddenly saying to myself:

'Why this is Christmas Day!

Quote by Ray Stannard Baker

Red and Beauty playing in the snow!
This photo was taken
Dec. 19, 2010.
That was today, one year ago!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Saga of the New Pet With A Stinky Disposition!

Sourdough Miner
Photo by
The handsome fellow in the photo is fortunately not the new pet I am talking about.  But, I am sure this fellow would appreciate some of my new pet and he would most likely put it to good use!

Ahh, you are thinking....
"Susan has been hitting the spirit filled Holiday Eggnog again!  What on earth is she talking about this time?"

I am talking about our new Sourdough Starter!  We (Cousin Sandra, Neighbor Ann and I) got a wild hare the other day when we were talking about ways to become more self sufficient.  I think the question was "How can we make bread if we could no longer get yeast?"  Well, me and my big mouth piped up and said "There's always Sourdough starter!"

Sourdough Starter in Jar
What remains of my first
quite successful baking of
a Sourdough Boule
A view of what the new shelving
for spices and teas looks
like in my beautiful orange kitchen!

Okay, now, I did not know what I was getting into when I became the proud owner of a smidgen of Sourdough starter.  It's kinda like getting a FREE puppy or kitten.....uh, there really is no such thing.  Yes, the lovely little creature may not have a price tag when you are happily whisking her away to join your family....but, just wait til you make that stop at Walmart or Pet Smart and buy all the stuff that little critter will need just to start out. Then there are shots, flea drops, tick collars, more dog or kitty food, dogie Christmas presents, obedience school, advanced obedience school, get the picture.  Sounds like the voice of experience, dontcha think!

My favorite baking flour just happens to be King Arthur flour.  Why you may ask.  Well, I hate to admit it, but I just like the whole idea of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and the beautiful Guenevere, the wicked (misguided?) witches and beautiful black stallions decked out in glistening gold armor.  Oh, yes, flour, back to the flour....King Arthur flour is a quality flour and they have a great website....www.kingarthurflour.com.

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Anyway, they just happen to have sourdough starter for sale and the stuff has a pedigree!  We will get into the pedigree business later.  And it was only $6.95 plus shipping (which cost as much as said starter).  You could buy a cute little King Arthur canister to house your starter for $26.95 plus shipping.  Uhh, not at this time Thank you.  My starter can live in a mason jar just like all the starters before it....well, actually, they probably lived in crockery pots but I don't have one of those, so a glass jar will have to do!

Now, I didn't warn you or maybe I did that this is a saga....a tale.....a story about my adventure with my new starter, the history of sourdough, and baking.

Oh, and we may have to interrupt this sour saga because next Saturday is Christmas!  So, I will post something seasonally appropriate.....whatever!

Not to give away too much of the story yet....but if you would like to have your very own Sourdough starter please let me know because this thing is already starting to multiply!  Just email me at:
stdragonfly@yahoo.com and NO!, I will not trade for a puppy, kitten or anything possessing 2,4 or no legs!

Well, I will leave you now with the knowledge that the sourdough is happily souring in its pretty jar in the frig.  This tale will continue in a couple weeks, so until then, enjoy the holiday season, stay warm and eat a holiday cookie for me and Chi!  Oh, I have tried to take photos of Chi with fake reindeer antlers.  It's not pretty.   I don't know, but some of the Christmas joy is lost when you get a photo of a SNARLING dog with fake reindeer antlers.  Happily yours, Susan

If you are a dog and your owner suggest that you wear a sweater, suggest that he wear a tail.
Fran Lebowitz

The Pug that ate Christmas!
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Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Herbs, Spices and a Holiday Sweetie!

Christmas is coming, the Geese are getting fat!  Well, I am not so sure about the Geese...but I always like to be a little extra careful about my health and the health of those around me at this time of year!  And every year it just seems so much easier to put on fat than it did the year before!  And, even though I hate to admit it, I LOVE cookies!  And jeez, I am not so sure how Santa would react if I left him some fat free granola, apple slices and soy milk.  I am sure the Reindeer would get the granola and apples slices and I could just see Santa hunting around for a potted plant to water with Soy milk.  So, let's not tempt Fate and go ahead and leave the good stuff for Santa and the Reindeer!  Cousin Sandra just informed me that the GOOD STUFF is the fat free granola, apple slices and Soy Milk!  (Who does she think she is fooling?  We are related after all!)

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There are quite a few really wonderful cooking magazines on the news stands now.  And another thing that I absolutely love are cooking magazines.  Actually, the photography fascinates me.  Well, my favorite cooking magazine is the Food Network Magazine www.foodnetmag.com .  It is crammed full of wonderful recipes, tips and stories about the Chefs that appear on the Food Network.  The December 2011 issue has a section called Food News and lo and behold....there is a small article titled....
might be good for you.
Go ahead and indulge: 
These ingredients come with
health benefits!
Yeah, right!

(Okay, to those of you who subscribe to this Blog, there are 8 of you and you know who you are!  My apologizes on the Blog not being finished!  Please bare with me.....I am not sure what button I pushed or what magic incantation I may have whispered inadvertently but the StarDragonfly Herbals computer in its infinite wisdom, PUBLISHED my unfinished blog!  Check back, uhhhh, maybe tomorrow and I should be finished!  Puzzled, Susan)

The first ingredient listed is Ginger.  The article says "Have a little gingerbread after hitting gym:  (Who are they kidding?)   A University of Georgia study shows that about 1/2 teaspoon of ginger can relieve post-workout muscle pain."  According to my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook....a batch of Gingerbread which is baked in a 9 x 11/2 inch round pan, only has 3/4 tsp. ginger in the recipe.   Uhhh, how long did you work out at the gym so that you can eat almost that whole pan of Gingerbread?  Not long enough, honey!

Instead try this:   Ginger Root Tea
Peel a 2 inch piece of fresh ginger root (Brookshires actually has Ginger Root in the produce section) and slice into thin slices. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Once it is boiling, add the ginger. Cover it and reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Strain the tea. Add honey and lemon to taste.
Note: Keep in mind that if you are making ginger tea as a home remedy during cold and flu season, sweeteners are not recommended.

This tea is wonderful hot or iced.  It will be Spicy!  But, I love this tea with Honey.  I have even made this and put Green or Black Tea Bags in and let steep 3 minutes.  Four bags should do the trick.

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 Cinnamon....."New research shows that antioxidant rich spices like cinnamon can help keep your triglyceride levels low after eating high-fat foods." Food Network Magazine  Okay, I agree, but....you cannot  eat a big old buttery Cinnamon Roll and expect the cinnamon to work on your triglyceride levels. Taking as little as 1/2 tsp. a day of ground cinnamon has been shown to lower triglyceride levels. 

So, you need to be sprinkling Cinnamon on lots of things to get 1/2 tsp. daily!  Cinnamon is a pretty potent spice!  So, go ahead and sprinkle that Cinnamon on:  Your morning cereal, oatmeal, toast, yogurt or in your coffee.  Really, adding the Cinnamon to the grounds before brewing works best. Chai tea contains cinnamon and better yet, sprinkle some on sliced apples.  Okay, okay if you have to indulge in a cinnamon roll, go for it, or sprinkle some on your ice cream or in your eggnog.

Talk about Sweet!
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 Peppermint......."This herb has been a natural remedy for indigestion since the late 1600s and now we know why:  New research shows that peppermint activates an anti-pain reaction in the gut, soothing achy stomachs." Food Network Magazine  This is why the Restaurants keep a little bowl of those pretty mint candies by the door!

Using Peppermint is easy.....keep a pocketful of those little mint candies or drink a cup of mint tea.  Celestial Seasonings brand is always a good bet and easy to find.

Nutmeg..."Eating sweets doesn't have to lead to cavities:  Studies show that nutmeg can help prevent tooth decay, thanks to its antibacterial properties."  Food Network Magazine  Yes, nutmeg is a very interesting spice and I think I will give it a blog post of its own.  I am not so sure how much of the Food Network statement I believe.....put then again "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!"

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and last but not least......Cloves........"Of the 425 spices and herbs analyzed in a 2010 study, cloves had the highest concentration of antioxidants, which makes them the most effective at fending off cell-damaging free radicals."  Food Network Magazine

Ahhh, my work here is done.  Now you may go about your holiday baking knowing that you are adding anti-oxidants, cavity fighting qualities, and pain relieving properties to your kitchen creations. If you can figure out how to leave out all the sugar and fat.....well, let me know.  Because I don't think you can create a really yummy cookie without BUTTER and SUGAR!  Until we meet again in cyberspace....Spicely yours, Susan.

Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap!
Robert Fulghum in 1987 at Middlebury College

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