Thursday, February 13, 2014

Gluskabe Changes Maple Syrup

Gluskabe Changes Maple Syrup

An Abenaki Legend

Long ago, the Creator made and gave many gifts to man to help him during his life. The Creator made the lives of the Abenaki People very good, with plenty of food to gather, grow, and hunt. The Maple tree at that time was one of these very wonderful and special gifts from the Creator. The sap was as thick and sweet as honey. All you had to do was to break the end off of a branch and the syrup would flow out.

In these days Gluskabe would go from native village to village to keep an eye on the People for the Creator. One day Gluskabe came to an abandoned village. The village was in disrepair, the fields were over-grown, and the fires had gone cold. He wondered what had happened to the People.

He looked around and around, until he heard a strange sound. As he went towards the sound he could tell that it was the sound of many people moaning. The moaning did not sound like people in pain but more like the sound of contentment. As he got closer he saw a large stand of beautiful maple trees. As he got closer still he saw that all the people were lying on their backs under the trees with the end of a branch broken off and dripping maple syrup into their mouths.

The maple syrup had fattened them up so much and made them so lazy that they could barely move. Gluskabe told them to get up and go back to their village to re-kindle the fires and to repair the village. But the people did not listen. They told him that they were content to lie there and to enjoy the maple syrup.

When Gluskabe reported this to the Creator, it was decided that it was again time that man needed another lesson to understand the Creator's ways. The Creator instructed Gluskabe to fill the maple trees with water. So Gluskabe made a large bucket from birch bark and went to the river to get water. He added water, and added more water until the sap was that like water. Some say he added a measure of water for each day between moons, or nearly 30 times what it was as thick syrup. After a while the People began to get up because the sap was no longer so thick and sweet.

They asked Gluskabe "where has our sweet drink gone?" He told them that this is the way it will be from now on. Gluskabe told them that if they wanted the syrup again that they would have to work hard to get it. The sap would flow sweet only once a year before the new year of spring.

The People were shown that making syrup would take much work. Birch bark buckets would need to be made to collect the sap. Wood would be needed to be gathered to make fires to heat rocks, and the rocks would be needed to be put into the sap to boil the water out to make the thick sweet syrup that they once were so fond of. He also told them that they could get the sap for only a short time each year so that they would remember the error of their ways.

And so it is still to this day, each spring the Abenaki people remember Gluskabe's lesson in honoring Creator's gifts and work hard to gather the maple syrup they love so much. Nialach!

Story found at

Since we can, according to the legend, no longer get thick maple goodness straight from the tree, we'll have to find another way. 

Making Maple Taffy in the Snow is a perfect substitute. All you need is some good fresh, clean snow and some good maple syrup. 

Folks have been making this tasty treat for hundreds of years. 

Maple Snow Taffy

3 quarts fresh snow
1/2 – 1 cup real maple syrup

Fill a large casserole dish or roasting pan with clean, fresh snow. 

Place it in the freezer or leave it outside if the temperature is below freezing. 

Pour maple syrup into a saucepan and heat it on medium-high until it reaches a temperature of 232° F (about 10 minutes – use a candy thermometer to measure). 

Stir the syrup constantly to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. 

Remove the syrup from the heat and pour it over the snow in narrow strips. 

Allow it to cool for approximately two minutes. 

Pick the hardened syrup out of the snow and enjoy!

Recipe and photo found at

Other Maple Snow Taffy Recipies:

(Great step by step pictures on this site)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer.... a song a recipes for two yummy reindeer treats!

A Holiday favorite whether in song or story, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. It's also a story/song with a good lesson, Different doesn't mean bad.

Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer

You know Dasher, and Dancer, and
Prancer, and Vixen,
Comet, and Cupid, and
Donder and Blitzen
But do you recall
The most famous reindeer of all

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
had a very shiny nose
and if you ever saw it
you would even say it glows.

All of the other reindeer
used to laugh and call him names
They never let poor Rudolph
play in any reindeer games.

Then one foggy Christmas eve
Santa came to say:
"Rudolph with your nose so bright,
won't you guide my sleigh tonight?"

Then all the reindeer loved him
as they shouted out with glee,
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer,
you'll go down in history! 
I wondered and wondered what kind of "cooking" could I have the kids do with this song and Voila! I found my answer on Pinterest!  I love Pinterest!  I actually found quite a few cute recipes but I decided on just two of them. The first recipe is very simple and needs only 4 ingredients ~ Reindeer Paws and Noses are just too cute! The second recipe  for Reindeer Corn Cookie Bark is just too pretty and too tasty to leave out! I hope you enjoy making both and don't miss the Rudolph cartoon at the end of the blog! Happy Holidays!

Reindeer Paws and Noses


  • Mini Twist Pretzels
  • Rolos Candies
  • Chocolate Candy Coated Peanut Candies
  • Pecans


  1. Preheat the oven to warm.
  2. On a cookie sheet, place a single later of mini twist pretzels.
  3. Unwrap the Rolos and place one on top of each pretzel.
  4. Place into the oven until the Rolo is just melted (3-5minutes depending on the temperature of the oven)
  5. Remove from oven and immediately place a pecan for paws or a chocolate candy coated peanut candy onto the melted Rolo and gently press. Allow to set.
 this recipe was found at free fun christmas


Reindeer Corn Cookie Bark recipe found at YourHomeBasedMom .com

  • 14 whole Oreos, broken up. I used the holiday ones with the red filling but regular will work fine
  • 1 1/2 C pretzels, broken into pieces. I used the small stick pretzels
  • 1 lb. white chocolate, almond bark or melts found in the bulk food section
  • 1 C reindeer corn
  • red and green colored sprinkles

  • Cover a large cookie sheet with wax paper
  • Spread broken cookes, pretzels and about 3/4 C of the candy corn onto the waxed paper
  • Place white chocolate in a container and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes
  • Stir and then microwave for another 30 seconds until melted and smooth
  • White chocolate melts faster and burns easier than chocolate
  • Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookie mixture, spreading with spatula if needed to coat evenly
  • Sprinkle remaining candy corn and colored sprinkles over the chocolate while it is still wet
  • Do not let it harden
  • Place cookie tray into refrigerator until set and firm
  • Remove and gently break bark into small pieces
  • Store in air tight container

Friday, December 13, 2013

T'was the Night before Christmas aka A Visit from St Nicholas

T'was the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

Sleeping Mouse

Stockings in the Fireplace

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,

The children were nestled

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

He sprang from the bed

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

what to my wondering eyes should appear

Flying Birds
Flying Birds
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

Flying Birds

Fig. 103
Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

Reindeer sleigh on the roof

Reindeer sleigh on the roof

Blustering leaves
Blustering leaves
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too.

Blustering leaves
Blustering leaves
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

He looked like a peddler

His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The beard of his chin was as white as the snow

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.

He had a broad face and a little round belly

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He filled all the stockings

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

up the chimney he rose

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

he drove out of sight

Little bear
end cover

 This version of  A Visit from St. Nicholas By Clement C. Moore With Pictures by
Jessie Willcox Smith was published in 1912 by Houghton Mifflin Company and can be found online at the gutenberg project

 Okay, raise your hand if you've always wondered, "What the heck is a Sugar Plum?" Oh please, as if I'm the only one! Well for all of you who will admit that you wondered, according to an article written in The Atlantic by Samira Kawash, a professor emerita at Rutgers University (she also blogs on candy history and opinion at 
" The truth of the matter is that the sugar plum is not a plum at all, nor does it contain any plum-like substance. The sugar plums of Christmas fantasy are in fact sugar, and any resemblance to plums is entirely superficial."
Well, Pooh!! But not to worry, apparently these days a sugar plum is basically considered to be a no bake treat made with dried fruit, honey, nuts and other yumminess and then rolled in sugar. Whoohoo! So, here's a lovely recipe I found online at the cupcake project. These are also the prettiest sugar plums ever!
a a no-bake dessert made with dried fruit (including prunes, dried plums), nuts, honey, and spices, and rolled in sugar.
a a no-bake dessert made with dried fruit (including prunes, dried plums), nuts, honey, and spices, and rolled in sugar.
picture from

Sparkly Sugar Plums for Christmas
Yield: About 50 teaspoon-sized sugar plums

  • 2 cups toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 cup pitted prunes, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cut pitted dates, finely chopped
  • powdered sugar for rolling coating the balls
  • plum purple disco dust (I got mine from Layer Cake Shop - this is optional)
  1. Mix all ingredients except the sugar and disco dust together in a large bowl. Optionally, place the whole mixture in the food processor and process for a few seconds - this will help everything to stick together, especially if you aren't the best at finely chopping. (I'm raising my hand high on this one.)
  2. Form the mixture into teaspoon-sized balls.
  3. Roll the balls in powdered sugar and then roll in disco dust. 
  4. Note: If you let the balls sit overnight, the powdered sugar will absorb into the balls and will be less visible.
Recipe Found at the cupcake project

illustration from The Night Before Christmas by Rachel Isadora

The Last Christmas Tree...a poem and three fabulous Hot Chocolate Recipes!

I saw a truck of Christmas trees
And each one had a tale,
The driver stood them in a row
And put them up for sale. 
He strung some twinkly lights
And hung a sign up with a nail;
It said in red
He poured himself hot cocoa
In a steaming thermos cup,
And snowflakes started falling
As a family car pulled up. 

A mom, a dad, and one small boy
Who looked no more than three
Jumped out and started searching
For the perfect Christmas tree. 
The boy marched up and down the rows,
His nose high in the air;
"It smells like Christmas, mom!
It smells like Christmas everywhere!" 
"Let's get the biggest tree we can!
A tree that's ten miles high!
A tree to go right through our roof!
A tree to touch the sky!" 
"A tree SO big "That Santa Claus
Will stop and stare and say,
'Now, THAT'S the finest Christmas tree
I've seen this Christmas Day!'" 
It seemed they looked at every tree
At least three million times;
Dad shook them, pinched them,
turned them 'round 
To find the perfect pine. 
"I've found it, mom!
The Christmas tree I like the best of all!
It's got a little bare spot,
But we'll turn that to the wall!"
"We'll put great-grandma's angel
On top the highest bough!
Oh, can we buy it?
Please, mom, PLEASE?!
Oh, can we buy it NOW?" 
"How 'bout some nice hot cocoa?"
Asked the man who owned the lot.
He twisted off the thermos top,
"Now, THIS will hit the spot!" 
He poured the steaming chocolate
In three tiny paper cups.
They toasted, "Here's to Christmas!"
And they drank the cocoa up. 
"Is this your choice?" The tree man asked,
"This pine's the best one here!"
The boy seemed sad--- "My daddy says
"The price is just too dear." 
"Then, Merry Christmas!" Said the man,
who wrapped the tree in twine,
"It's yours for just one promise.
You must keep at Christmas time!" 
"On Christmas Eve at bedtime
As you fold your hands to pray,
Promise in your heart
To keep the joy of Christmas Day!" 
"Now hurry home! This freezy wind
Is turning your cheeks pink!
And ask your dad
To trim that trunk
and give that tree a drink!" 
And so it went on
All that blustery eve
As the tree man gave
Tree upon tree upon tree 

To every last person
Who came to the lot-
Who toasted with cocoa
In small paper cups, 
Who promised the promise
Of joy in their hearts---
And singing out carols,
Drove off in the dark. 
And when it was over
One tree stood alone;
But no one was left there
To give it a home. 
The tree man put on his
Red parka and hood
And dragged the last Christmas tree
Out to the woods.
He left the pine right by a stream
In the cold, 
So the wood's homeless creatures
Could make it their home. 
He smiled as he brushed off
Some snow from his beard,
When out of the thicket
A reindeer appeared.
He scratched that huge reindeer
On top his huge head---
"It looks like we've
Started up Christmas again!" 
"There are miles more to travel,
And much more to do!
Let's go home, my friend,
And get started anew 
He looked to the sky
And heard jingle bells sound-
And then, In a twinkling,
That tree man was gone! 

 I'm sure that after reading this wonderful poem, all you are craving a steaming cup of hot chocolate! Me, too! So here are two three fabulous recipes with variations. The first is making hot chocolate the good old fashioned way and the second recipe is for those of us with a little less patience! And the third is a wonderful spin on making hot chocolate. Hot chocolate truffles that you can drop in a cup of hot milk and Voila, Hot Chocolate! Enjoy!

Hot Chocolate ~ recipe and picture from The Pioneer Woman


  • 2 cups Milk
  • 2 cups Half-and-half
  • 1 cup Good Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar (optional)
  • VARIATIONS: Orange Rind, Orange Syrup, Cinnamon Sticks, Raspberry Syrup, Abuelita Chocolate, Mint Extract, Peppermint Patties, Whipped Cream, Chocolate Shavings

Preparation Instructions

To make the basic hot chocolate, combine milk with half-and-half in a small saucepan.
Warm over medium-low heat, then stir in chocolate chips.
Stir until melted (though there will still be lovely particles of chocolate throughout.)
If it’s too chocolatey for you, splash in a little more milk.
If it’s not quite sweet enough for you, add 1 teaspoon sugar.
Serve in mugs with whipped cream.

Orange Hot Chocolate: Add 4 slices of orange rind as you warm the milk mixture. Add a splash of orange syrup if you have it, but it isn’t necessary.
Raspberry Hot Chocolate: Add 3 tablespoons raspberry syrup to the hot chocolate. Drop a couple of raspberries into each cup.
Mint Hot Chocolate: Drop 1 to 2 miniature peppermint patties into each mug before adding hot chocolate. Stir to melt.
Mexican Hot Chocolate: Substitute 2 discs of Abuelita chocolate for the chocolate chips. Simmer cinnamon sticks in the saucepan with the hot chocolate. Add 1 cinnamon stick to each mug before serving.
Garnish any and all variations with whipped cream or chocolate shavings.

 recipe found at the pioneer woman

DIY Instant Hot Cocoa Mix ~ Recipe courtesy Alton Brown
5 1/2 cups dry mix

2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred)
2 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
Hot water

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and incorporate evenly. 
In a small pot, heat 4 to 6 cups of water. 
Fill your mug half full with the mixture and pour in hot water. Stir to combine. 
Seal the rest in an airtight container, keeps indefinitely in the pantry. 
This also works great with warm milk.

Hot Chocolate Truffles

Yield: 15 truffles
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
cocoa powder, crushed candy canes, mini chocolate chips for rolling 
1. Place all ingredients in a pot and melt together on low heat until smooth. Stir constantly.
2. Let cool in the fridge until stiff enough to scoop.
3. Make small scoops, about 2 Tablespoons each. And place them in the freezer for and hour.
4. Remove scoops, roll into balls.
5. Roll in your choice of decoration. Crushed candy cane, cocoa, cinnamon, mini marshmallows. (If you try the mini marshmallows, you really have to push the marshmallows into the chocolate balls.)
6. Wrap each ball in suran wrap and keep chilled until ready to use.
7. When ready, drop chocolate balls into 1 ½ cups of hot milk and stir!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Four Marvelous Brothers... a harvest tale from Laos

Pumpkin and Gourds by John Small

The Four Marvelous Brothers

Once upon a time, there was a childless old couple who lived near the river bank at the foot of a high mountain. The couple had been poor ever since they had been married. The couple wished to have children to help them work and to continue their lineage. Other families near them enjoyed having children around. Those with children could travel here and there easily. For this poor old couple, they could not enjoy such pleasure. Even when they got exhausted, they could not afford to stop working. They had to work to earn their living.

The poor couple consulted with each other one day: "We should go to ask for blessings from the devata (*similar to guardian spirits or angels) guarding the high mountain. Perhaps we may have a meritorious child who is diligent and may be a great help to us in farming. He can look after us when we get sick or take care of our properties after we have passed on. Then, we can be like others in our village."

Thus, the couple prepared flowers, candles, and incense sticks to go ask for a child as their wish. The two raised their joined hands in a prayer position and together they spoke: "Sathu, sathu, we are so poor and suffering. May the great devata bestow a great blessing on us. May we be granted a child of our own."

On the way home, an unusual incident occurred. It so frightened them that they both turned pale. When they looked up in the sky, they saw a giant dragon blowing multicolored rays of fire down onto a bush right in front of them.

The old couple thought, "There must be something magical happening there." After the dragon disappeared in the clouds, they rushed to look at the bush. They saw a golden pumpkin, a silver squash, and black and white grains, shining like diamonds and jewels. They carefully wrapped those things in a phakhawma, the all purpose cloth, and returned home.

Once home, the couple did not know where to properly put those things. "How about putting them in a corner of the hut?" asked the husband. "Oh, no, they might get soiled," said the wife. "How about putting them in a jar?" asked the wife. "Oh, no, they might be too stuffy, " said the husband. Then, the husband had an idea. "I will weave a bamboo cradle and hang it in the middle of the room. What do you think, Wife?" The wife agreed, "That's a good idea. We could put our children in the cradle and rock them back and forth." The husband then began weaving the cradle. Once it was done, he hung the cradle in the middle of the room, and said to his wife, "Now we must take very good care of our children." And so they did; they loved their "children" as much as their own eyes.

Days and nights went by, the golden pumpkin, the silver squash, the rice grain, and the sesame seed grew unusually large and heavy. The old couple could no long lift them. The wife could only rock the cradle back and forth, taking a very good care of them as if they were their own children.

Ever since they have been in possession of the four things, the old man became stronger and more diligent. He went to work on his farm more regularly. Each day the old man would clear the entire mountain for farming without feeling tired. Each day he would plant his crops without the least fatigue. Each day, the old man would see more and more of the lush squashes, pumpkins, sesame seeds, and rice grains. He could not believe his own eyes, and each day he would say in awe, "Wow, look at all those crops. I can't possibly do all that by myself! That is the work of a hundred strong men."

The old man came to tell his wife about what he saw. Both of them became amazed and puzzled. That night the couple had a plan. They went to bed earlier than usual so that they could wake up at night to watch their "children." Late at night, as the couple were hiding and watching the cradle, they became astounded and speechless. They saw four handsome young lads hatching out of the golden pumpkin, the silver squash, the rice grain, and the sesame seed, carrying farming tools in their hands. The four young men then left the hut. The couple hurried to hide the shells of the golden pumpkin, the silver squash, the rice grain, and the sesame seed before tracing the four young men's track. They wondered what they would be doing in the middle of the night. Once they reached the farm, they saw the four young men digging the earth, making vegetable beds, and planting something at great speed. It seemed as if they were using magic.

As the dawn was approaching and the roosters began to crow, the four hurriedly walked home. Once home, they could not find their shells. They began searching for them, but in vain. Then, they began to discuss and reason. The old couple came out of hiding and said to them, "My sons, don't feel upset about this. You can live keeping your human forms and continue living with us. We love you so much." The four young men replied, "Dear Father, Dear Mother, if you so love us, please allow us to live in our shells until the proper time has come. We shall turn into complete human beings on the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month." The old couple listened in awe. "On that day, you must prepare a tray of flowers, candles, and incense sticks to present to the shells to pay homage to them on our behalf. Once we are out of the shells, we could continue doing the same thing on the same day each year. Then, the shells will become magic and good for healing all kinds of sickness." After so saying, the four young lads said goodbye and returned to live inside their shells again.

On the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month, the old couple followed the young men's instructions. And the young men continued living and taking care of the couple happily until they reached the age of eighteen. Then, the sons begged their mother to carry a golden pumpkin, a silver squash, some rice, and sesame seeds to offer as gifts to the kings of four cities and ask for hands in marriage of the daughters of those kings. When the king of each city glanced at the golden pumpkin, the silver squash, the rice, and the sesame seeds, they became delighted and were more than happy to grant the old woman's request. The sons then became royal son-in-laws. Each son inherited the part of the kingdom together with subjects to be under his care. The golden pumpkin prince became Phya Muang Lum or king of the lowland whose protectorate covered lands along the Ngiew River. The silver squash prince became Phya Muang Fa, king of the great high mountains. The black sesame seed prince became Phya Muang Thoeng, king of the highlands which are Phu Xuang, Phu Saed, and Phu Daedka. The fourth prince became Phya Sipsong Hou Muang, king of the twelve areas.

Since the four brothers went to rule the four cities, the shells of the golden pumpkins, the silver squash, the rice grains, and sesame seeds became mines of gold, silver, gems, and jewels spreading all over the lands. Thus, their subjects who were commoners could use those precious things for their ornaments.

When farming season came, the kings came to help their people work in the fields and farms. Everyone was helping each other year in and year out until it became a custom for the people to lend helping hands in farming. Thus, each city became prosperous with graneries filled with rice, ponds filled with fish, farms filled with pumpkins, squashes, sesame plants, and rice of all kinds and colors, the black rice, the red rice, the brown rice.

As time went by, the four kings led their people to build their cities to be prosperous with contented subjects. The old couple alternately went to visit their sons' families and grandchildren. They led the people in the rite of paying homage to the shells of the pumpkins, squashes, rice, and sesame seeds after the harvest was done on the full moon day in the twelfth lunar month.

Since then, Lao people from some areas will hold a merit making ceremony after harvest each year. They believe that by having such a ceremony, the spirit of their deceased ancestors and relatives will receive the merit and would be contented and peaceful. The offering units in these ceremonies often include pumpkins, squashes, sesame seed bags, sticky rice and sesame seeds, sesame rice chips, rice grains, cooked rice, and popped-rice. When people fall ill, they would use dried shells of pumpkins, squashes, rice grains, and sesame seeds to mix with other ingredients to make medicine for healing, as told by the four brothers in the myth.

tale found at seasite.niu

 Pumpkin Stuffed with Wild Rice
 recipe found at

Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 2 Hours
Ready In: 2 Hours 15 Minutes
Servings: 8
1 cup wild rice
1 medium sugar pumpkin
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons bacon grease
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1. In a saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add wild rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour, or until tender.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
3. Remove the top of the pumpkin and scoop out pulp and seeds. Prick the pumpkin interior with a fork and rub with 1 teaspoon salt and dry mustard.
4. Heat bacon grease in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the ground venison and onion. Slowly cook and stir until evenly brown. Remove from heat. Mix in the wild rice, remaining salt, eggs, sage and pepper. Stuff the pumpkin with the venison mixture. Place pumpkin in a shallow baking pan with 1/2 inch water.
5. Bake the pumpkin in the preheated oven 1 1/2 hours, or until tender. Add more water to the pan as necessary to avoid sticking.

 a similar recipe can be found at

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Gingerbread Boy

The Gingerbread Boy

Now you shall hear a story that somebody's great-great-grandmother told a little girl ever so many years ago:

There was once a little old man and a little old woman, who lived in a little old house in the edge of a wood. They would have been a very happy old couple but for one thing -- they had no little child, and they wished for one very much. One day, when the little old woman was baking gingerbread, she cut a cake in the shape of a little boy, and put it into the oven.

Presently she went to the oven to see if it was baked. As soon as the oven door was opened, the little gingerbread boy jumped out, and began to run away as fast as he could go.

The little old woman called her husband, and they both ran after him. But they could not catch him. And soon the gingerbread boy came to a barn full of threshers. He called out to them as he went by, saying:

I've run away from a little old woman,
A little old man,
And I can run away from you, I can!

Then the barn full of threshers set out to run after him. But, though they ran fast, they could not catch him. And he ran on till he came to a field full of mowers. He called out to them:

I've run away from a little old woman,
A little old man,
A barn full of threshers,
And I can run away from you, I can!

Then the mowers began to run after him, but they couldn't catch him. And he ran on till he came to a cow. He called out to her:

I've run away from a little old woman,
A little old man,
A barn full of threshers,
A field full of mowers,
And I can run away from you, I can!

But, though the cow started at once, she couldn't catch him. And soon he came to a pig. He called out to the pig:

I've run away from a little old woman,
A little old man,
A barn full of threshers,
A field full of mowers,
A cow,
And I can run away from you, I can!

But the pig ran, and couldn't catch him. And he ran till he came across a fox, and to him he called out:

I've run away from a little old woman,
A little old man,
A barn full of threshers,
A field full of mowers,
A cow and a pig,
And I can run away from you, I can!

Then the fox set out to run. Now foxes can run very fast, and so the fox soon caught the gingerbread boy and began to eat him up.

Presently the gingerbread boy said, "Oh dear! I'm quarter gone!" And then, "Oh, I'm half gone!" And soon, "I'm three-quarters gone!" And at last, "I'm all gone!" and never spoke again.

Story Source: St. Nicholas Magazine, vol. 2, no. 7 (May 1875),

Recipe and Picture found at

 Gingerbread Cookies

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups dark molasses
2/3 cup cold water
7 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
Frosting and Decorations
4 cups powdered sugar
          1 teaspoon vanilla
4 to 5 tablespoons half-and-half
Food colors, if desired
Raisins or chocolate chips, if desired
Assorted candies, if desired
  • 1 In large bowl, beat brown sugar, shortening, molasses and water with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon, until well blended. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  • 2 Heat oven to 350°F. Grease cookie sheet lightly with shortening or spray with cooking spray. On floured surface, roll dough 1/4 inch thick. Cut with floured gingerbread cutter or other shaped cutter. On cookie sheet, place cutouts about 2 inches apart
  • 3 Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until no indentation remains when touched. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  • 4 In medium bowl, mix powdered sugar, vanilla and half-and-half until frosting is smooth and spreadable. Add food colors as desired. Frost cookies; decorate with raisins, chocolate chips and candies.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Three Lemons..... a Turkish tale

A CERTAIN Sultan had a son of whom he was justly proud, for the young man was handsome and gay of temper, and had never been known to do an unworthy action. In the circle of the court he was the brightest star, and very sweet were the glances thrown him by the high-born ladies who served the Sultan. The Prince was courteous to them all, but he favoured no one, and as years went on, and he showed no signs of taking to himself a wife, the Sultan became disturbed.

"My son," he said, "why do you not choose a bride? It is time you were married, for I should like to see you the father of children before I go to my rest. Surely it would be easy to find a mate amidst these fair women you see around you? I should experience no difficulty were I in your place."
The young Prince looked at him thoughtfully.

"I must have something more than any of them can give me, my father," he replied, "and if you really wish me to take a wife, I will go on a long journey, perhaps even round the world, and seek a princess whom I can love. She must be fair as the morning, white as the snow, and as pure as an angel."

"Well said, my son," replied the Sultan. "I wish you good fortune and a safe return." And without more ado the Prince departed.

The air was crisp with frost, and the glittering crystals of the snow threw back the radiance of the sunlight from bank to meadow. The waves that tossed and tumbled on the distant shore seemed to beckon him towards them, so he hastened to the coast, where he found a splendid vessel resting at anchor. While he was yet wondering how it had come there, and whither it was bound, invisible hands drew him on board, and, as his feet touched the deck, the anchor lifted, and the ship set sail.

For three days and three nights it glided swiftly over the sea, steered by a shadowy pilot who spoke no word. On the morning of the fourth day it came to a stop beside a little islet, and the Prince was amazed to see his favourite horse issue from the hold, ready saddled and bridled. Concluding that he was expected to land, he led the horse on shore, and when he turned round to take another look at the ship, it had completely vanished.

No sign of any habitation was to be seen, and the cold was so intense that he could scarcely hold the reins. In spite of this, he rode on and on, till at last he reached a small white house that stood by itself on the top of a hill, unsheltered from the wind. He knocked at the door with eager haste, hoping for the glimpse of a fire, and perhaps some food. His summons was answered by a venerable woman with scanty hair like wisps of snow, who stared at him inquiringly.
"I seek a wife, good mother," said the Prince. "She must be the most beautiful princess in the world, and as good as she is beautiful. Can you tell me where to find her? "

The old woman half shut the door. "You will not find her here," she said, "for I am Winter, and this is my kingdom. My sister Autumn perhaps may help you, but I have no time for thoughts of love. You will find her if you go straight on."
The Prince thanked the old lady, and remounted his horse, hoping that Autumn would at least give him rest and refreshment. After a while he found that the snow had disappeared, and that luscious fruit now hung in clusters from the trees. The stubble of the corn tinted the fields with gold, and the squirrels were busily engaged in storing nuts for the winter. A little further on he came to a small brown house beside a wood, and, again dismounting, he knocked at the door. It was opened by a woman with abundant dark hair and eyes like sloes. Her cheeks were ruddy, and her look was kind; she did not, however, ask him in.
"What are you seeking, young man?" she inquired in a gentle voice.

"I seek a wife," he answered briefly.

"Ah," she exclaimed, "then I cannot help you. My name is Autumn, and I am far too busy gathering fruit to have time to spare for such things as love and marriage. My sister Summer is full of dreams, and she may find you what you want."

So saying, she shut the door, and as there was nothing else for him to do, the Prince resumed his journey.
H E noticed ere long that the grass by the roadside was very tall, and that the fields were heavy with corn ready for harvest. The air was so warm that it touched his cheek caressingly, and the sun shone down so hotly that he was fain to unloose his coat. He was very glad when at last he saw a small yellow house shaded by a group of trees. As he knocked at the door, he heard the sound of a distant waterfall, and the hope of quenching his thirst was more in his mind just then than the fairest wife in Summer's kingdom. His summons was answered by a stately woman crowned with auburn tresses.

"I am sorry I cannot help you," she said, when he had told her the object of his journey, "for I too am very busy. Hasten you to my sister Spring; she is the friend of lovers, and will surely aid you."

So the Prince went on till he saw a little green house in a bower of lilac. Hyacinths and violets, jonquils, narcissi, and fragrant lilies-of-the-valley bloomed beneath the windows, and, when he knocked at the door, a little lady with flaxen hair, and eyes of soft deep violet, appeared on the threshold.

"Won't you take pity on me?" he asked her eagerly. "Your sisters sent me on to you. I seek a wife, who must be fair as the morning, white as the snow, and pure as an angel from Heaven."

"You ask a great deal," Spring told him, smilingly, "but I will do my best for you. Come in and rest–you must be tired and hungry." And to his great delight she ushered him into a long, low room, filled with the scent of flowers.

When he had feasted on bread and honey, and quenched his thirst with sweet new milk, she brought him three fine lemons on a crystal tray. Beside them was a handsome silver knife, and a quaint gold cup of rare design.

"These are magic gifts," she said, "so guard them carefully. Return at once to your own home, and make your way to the great fountains in the palace gardens. Having made quite sure that you are alone, take your silver knife and cut open the first lemon. As you do so, a lovely princess will instantly appear, and will ask you to give her water. If you at once offer her some in this golden cup, she will stay with you and be your wife, but should you hesitate, even for the space of a second, she will vanish into thin air, and you will never see her again."

"I am not likely to be so foolish," said the Prince, "but if I do, shall I have no wife at all?"

"You must then cut open the second lemon," Spring answered gravely, "and exactly the same thing will occur. If you hesitate this time also, and she too disappears, you will have one more chance with the third lemon. Should your wits fail you a third time, you will die without a mate."

T HE Prince would have thanked her for her kindness, but she waved him away with a smile and a sigh, telling him not to delay. Full of joyful anticipation, he rode once more through the kingdoms of Summer, Autumn, and Winter, and when he arrived at the coast found the same stately vessel awaiting his pleasure. The wind was favourable on his homeward voyage, and in a very short time he had once more gained the precincts of his father's palace. Giving his horse into the care of a groom, he hurried into the great gardens, and, when he had filled Spring's gold cup with water from the splashing fountains, cut open the first lemon. He had no sooner done so, than a most exquisite Princess appeared before him, and with a timid glance asked him to give her water.

"I am thirsty," she murmured. "Will you not let me drink from your golden cup?"

The Prince was so lost in admiration that he could only gaze at her, and with a gesture of reproach the lovely maiden vanished. It was in vain that he lamented his stupidity. Do as he would, he could not call her back again, and with many regrets he cut the rind of the second lemon. Once more the gleaming spray of the dancing fountains took the form of a beautiful girl.

"Fair as the morning and white as snow!" cried the Prince in rapture, too delighted to heed her request for a cup of water. He did not regain his senses until she also had disappeared, when he again bewailed his neglect of Spring's injunctions. With trembling fingers he inserted the silver knife into the third lemon, and as the pungent odour of the golden fruit escaped into the air another Princess appeared before him. Closing his eyes, lest they might be dazzled by her exceeding beauty, he immediately offered the golden cup. The maiden raised it to her lips with a bewitching smile, and drained it to its dregs. The Prince laughed aloud for joy; now at last he had found the bride he sought.

No summer morning was fairer than she, for the whiteness of snow gleamed on chin and brow, and her expression was pure and gentle as an angel's. Drawing her down beside him on to a flowery bank, he held her hand and looked into her eyes.

"Will you be my wife?" he whispered, and to his delight she answered, "Yes."


When his first raptures were over, he noticed, with some disappointment, the simplicity of his bride's gown. It was of some simple stuff the colour of running water, and hung in long flowing folds round her lissom form. No necklace broke the outline of her dainty throat, and she looked so different from the maidens of the court that the Prince, who, after all, was only a man, and not, perhaps, a very wise one, felt that something was lacking to complete her beauty.

"Your robe is not worthy of you, dear love," he cried. "If you wait for me here, I will fetch you one of rich white satin from my father's palace, and a rope of pearls to twine around your neck."

But the Princess knew that she needed no ornaments to enhance her beauty, and she did not wish him to leave her. Her lover, however, was so insistent that she consented to stay by the fountains while he went home, and, more in love with her than ever, he hurried away.

Now the Princess was very timid, and as the Prince tarried long she grew frightened of being alone. So she stretched out her arms to a tree above her, and swung herself up that she might nestle amidst its branches. The foliage hid her slender limbs in their flowing draperies, but her exquisite face gleamed like a flower from a setting of glossy leaves, and was mirrored in the deep basin of the fountains. A very plain looking serving girl who came to fill her pitcher caught sight of its loveliness, and, since she had never gazed into a mirror, believed it to be her own.

"Oh, how very handsome I am!" she murmured. "I am far too beautiful to do the bidding of any mistress. I will never draw water again." And flinging the pitcher from her, she strutted home with the air of a peacock.
"Why have you come back empty-handed, Deborah?" inquired her mistress.

I HAVE seen my face in the fountain," was the reply, "and I am much too lovely to fetch and carry like a poor slave."
"Why, you are as plain as pudding!" her mistress retorted sharply. "Go back at once, and do as you are told."

Deborah fetched another pitcher and went back to the fountains, grumbling the while. Again she caught sight of the Princess's face reflected in the water, and again her swarthy features became distorted with pride.

"It is true!" she cried. "I am lovely as a dream. I will marry a prince, and live in a palace." With this she threw down the second pitcher, and flounced into her mistress's presence with such an assumption of dignity that that lady burst out laughing.

"If you only knew how plain you are," she cried, when she could speak, "you would never talk such ridiculous nonsense." And daring her to return again without the water, she handed the mortified woman a third pitcher and sent her back to the fountain.

The flower-like face of the fair Princess smiled back at the angry serving girl as she bent over the pool, and the poor creature grinned and ogled.

"But I am handsome," she cried triumphantly. "As handsome as a queen."

She spoke so loudly that the Princess heard her, and her laugh rang out like a peal of bells. Looking hastily up, the Deborah saw her in the branches, and disappointed vanity rendered her almost speechless.... Her mistress was right then, after all, and the lovely vision she had seen in the water was not the reflection of herself. As she stared upward with dilated eyes, there came to her thoughts of revenge.

"I will make her suffer for this," she murmured, but wreathing her wide lips in a false smile, she bade the Princess "Good morrow."

"Why do you hide in a tree, lovely lady?" she asked her gently.

"I am waiting for my Prince, who has gone to fetch me a satin robe, and a rope of pearls to twine round my neck," answered the Princess shyly.

"Your golden hair has been tossed by the wind," remarked the servant girl. "Let me come up beside you, and I will make it smooth. It will not do to look untidy when your Prince arrives!"

"How kind you are!" said the Princess, and as she bent her silken head towards the servant girl, the treacherous woman stabbed it with a long sharp pin.

The Princess fell back, faint with pain, but before her body could touch the ground she turned into a snow-white pigeon, and flew off uttering plaintive cries.

The serving girl took her place in the tree, and when at last the Prince appeared, bearing a satin robe and a bridal veil, it was she whom he saw looking down on him.

W HERE is my sweet Princess?" he asked. "She is fair as the morning, and white as snow. What have you done with her?"

"Alas! dear Prince," answered the plain girl sadly, "while you were away an enchantress came and changed me into my present form. When you have proved your love by making me your wife, I shall, in three days' time, once more become a fair and beautiful Princess; but if you desert me, I must remain as I am for ever."

Although he missed his lovely Princess, the Prince was a man of honour, and would not break his word. Calling the ladies who were waiting in the carriage which he had brought to convey his bride to the palace, he bade them array her in the satin gown, and, pretending not to see their astonishment, drove back with her to his father, introducing her as his promised wife.

The Sultan was naturally surprised at her appearance, but when the Prince explained to him how matters stood, he agreed that he must marry her, and hope for the best.

While the father and son talked thus together, the serving girl wandered over the palace, giving unnecessary orders to the servants, and making herself hateful to all. She even ventured into the great kitchens, and commanded the chief cook to prepare rich viands for her wedding ceremonies. As she issued her orders in a loud, harsh voice, she passed by the window, and noticed a slim white pigeon sitting on the sill.

"Kill me that bird," she cried, "and cook it for my supper."

Not daring to disobey her, the chief cook killed it immediately, plunging a sharp knife into its snowy breast. Three drops of blood fell from the windowsill into the courtyard, and a tiny seedling sprang from each of these. As if a fairy had waved her wand, they grew into trees of fragrant blossom, and in an instant the blossom turned into golden lemons.

Meanwhile the Prince was seeking for his bride, for since he had set himself so distasteful a task, he wished to perform it well.

"She is in the kitchen, your Royal Highness," he was informed by one of his shocked courtiers, and in going to meet her, the Prince passed under the lemon-trees. The sight of their fruit brought him a ray of hope, and gathering three of the finest that he could find, he hastened with them to his own room, where, having filled the golden cup with water, he plunged the blade of the silver knife into the rind of the first lemon.

As before, a beautiful girl appeared, and stretched out her fair hands for the golden cup.

"Ah, no!" he cried. "You are very charming, but you are not my Princess."

He cut the rind of a second lemon, and as he did so the second Princess took form before him. He shook his head at her mute entreaty for a cup of water, and she too disappeared. Then he cut the rind of the third lemon, and lo, his own Princess was once more in his arms!

G REAT was the joy and relief of the old Sultan when he heard from the Prince that this beautiful girl was his real bride, but he listened with a frown of anger as she told them all that had happened when her lover left her by the fountain. He ordered the serving girl to be immediately brought before him, and, regarding her very sternly, asked her what she would think a fitting punishment for an affront offered to the future wife of his dear son.

"Nothing less than death," declared the spiteful girl, "and death by burning. Let the offender be cast into your Majesty's oven, and the great door shut."

"Madam, you have passed sentence on yourself," replied the Sultan dryly, and, shrieking with terror, the serving girl was led away.

But the sweet Princess would not let her suffer.

"She is but a poor ignorant woman." she said, "Set her free, I entreat you, and let her go. This is the boon I ask you for my wedding gift."

The Sultan could not refuse his new daughter's first request, and the Prince regarded her fondly.
"I saw you were fair as morning, and white as snow," he murmured, "and now I know that you are sweet as an angel."

And though the years to come brought him trouble and sorrow as well as joy, he was indeed blest. Beloved of all, his Princess wielded a gentle sway, and he never saw the fruit of a lemon without sending a grateful thought to Spring for the magic gifts by which he had fared so well.

"The Three Lemons." from: Folk Tales From Many Lands. retold by Lilian Gask published in 1910
original story can be found here  This story has been, for the most part, left as it appeared in the 1910 books I have changed a few descriptive words.

Lemon Turkish Delight seemed  to be just the right treat to make after this marvelous tale !

Meyer Lemon Turkish Delight

    • 3 (1/4 ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin
    • 1/2 cup cold water
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup hot water
    • 2 large meyer lemons, juice and grated rind
    • yellow food coloring (optional)
    • confectioners' sugar


  1. Soften the gelatin in the cold water.
  2. Combine the sugar, salt and hot water in a saucepan; heat to boiling, stirring constantly.
  3. Stir in the softened gelatin; turn the heat down and simmer, without stirring, for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the grated rind and lemon juice, and a little yellow food coloring to tint the mixture, if desired.
  5. Let stand 3 minutes.
  6. Strain the mixture into a 8 x 4-inch loaf pan which has been rinsed with cold water.
  7. Let stand without disturbing until slightly jellied (to prevent filming the sides of the pan); then refrigerate overnight. Loosen around the sides of the pan with a wet spatula.
  8. Slip the spatula down one end and underneath the jellied mixture, then pull it out of the pan with your hands onto a surface liberally dusted with confectioner's sugar.
  9. Cut into 1-inch squares.
  10. Roll in confectioners' sugar to coat. Store in one layer in a tightly covered container at room temperature.
  11. The candies will stay moist for about 2 weeks.

*If you don't have Meyer lemons, you can use regular lemons. You can also substitute oranges for lemons.

recipe found at