Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Talking Eggs...a story from Louisiana

A Story from Louisiana

There was once a widow who had two daughters, one named Rose and the other Blanche.

Blanche was good and beautiful and gentle, but the mother cared nothing for her and gave her only hard words and harder blows; but she loved Rose as she loved the apple of her eye, because Rose was exactly like herself, coarse-looking, and with a bad temper and a sharp tongue.

Blanche was obliged to work all day, but Rose sat in a chair with folded hands as though she were a fine lady, with nothing in the world to do.

One day the mother sent Blanche to the well for a bucket of water. When she came to the well she saw an old woman sitting there. The woman was so very old that her nose and her 124 chin met, and her cheeks were as wrinkled as a walnut.

“Good day to you, child,” said the old woman.

“Good day, auntie,” answered Blanche.

“Will you give me a drink of water?” asked the old woman.

“Gladly,” said Blanche. She drew the bucket full of water, and tilted it so the old woman could drink, but the crone lifted the bucket in her two hands as though it were a feather and drank and drank till the water was all gone. Blanche had never seen any one drink so much; not a drop was left in the bucket.

“May heaven bless you!” said the old woman, and then she went on her way.

And now Blanche had to fill the bucket again, and it seemed as though her arms would break, she was so tired.

When she went home her mother struck her because she had tarried so long at the well. Her blows made Blanche weep. Rose laughed when she saw her crying.

The very next day the mother became angry over nothing and gave Blanche such a beating 125 that the girl ran away into the woods; she would not stay in the house any longer. She ran on and on, deeper and deeper into the forest, and there, in the deepest part, she met the old woman she had seen beside the well.

“Where are you going, my child? And why are you weeping so bitterly?” asked the crone.

“I am weeping because my mother beat me,” answered Blanche; “and now I have run away from her, and I do not know where to go.”

“Then come with me,” said the old woman. “I will give you a shelter and a bite to eat, and in return there is many a task you can do for me. Only, whatever you may see as we journey along together you must not laugh nor say anything about it.”

Blanche promised she would not, and then she trudged away at the old woman’s side.

After a while they came to a hedge so thick and wide and so set with thorns that Blanche did not see how they could pass it without being torn to pieces, but the old hag waved her staff, and the branches parted before them and left 126 the path clear. Then, as they passed, the hedge closed together behind them.

Blanche wondered but said nothing.

A little further on they saw two axes fighting together with no hand to hold them. That seemed a curious thing, but still Blanche said nothing.

Further on were two arms that strove against each other without a sound. Still Blanche was silent.

Further on again two heads fought, butting each other like goats. Blanche looked and stared but said no word. Then the heads called to her. “You are a good girl, Blanche. Heaven will reward you.”

After that she and her companion came to the hut where the old woman lived. They went in, and the hag bade Blanche gather some sticks of wood and build a fire. Meanwhile she sat down beside the hearth and took off her head. She put it in her lap and began to comb her hair and twist it up.

Blanche was frightened, but she held her peace and built the fire as the old woman had 127 directed. When it was burning the old woman put back her head in place, and told Blanche to look on the shelf behind the door.

“There you will find a bone; put it on to boil for our dinners,” said she.

She sat down beside the hearth and took off her head.

Blanche found the bone and put it on to boil, though it seemed a poor dinner.

The old woman gave her a grain of rice and bade her grind it in the mortar. Blanche put the rice in the mortar and ground it with the pestle, and before she had been grinding two minutes the mortar was full of rice, enough for both of them and to spare.

When it was time for dinner she looked in the pot and it was full of good, fresh meat. She and the old woman had all they could eat.

After dinner was over the old woman lay down on the bed. “Oh, my back! Oh, my poor back! How it does ache,” groaned she. “Come hither and rub it.”

Blanche came over and uncovered the old crone’s back, and she was surprised when she saw it; it was as hard and ridgy as a turtle’s. Still she said nothing but began to rub it. She 128 rubbed and rubbed till the skin was all worn off her hand.

“That is good,” said the old woman. “Now I feel better.” She sat up and drew her clothes about her. Then she blew upon Blanche’s hand, and at once it was as well as ever.

Blanche stayed with the old woman for three days and served her well; she neither asked questions nor spoke of what she saw.

At the end of that time her mistress said to her, “My child, you have now been with me for three days, and I can keep you here no longer. You have served me well, and you shall not lack your reward. Go to the chicken-house and look in the nests. You will find there a number of eggs. Take all that say to you, ‘Take me,’ but those that say, ‘Do not take me,’ you must not touch.”

Blanche went out to the chicken-house and looked in the nests. There were ever so many eggs; some of them were large and beautiful and white and shining and so pretty that she longed to take them, but each time she stretched out her hand toward one it cried, “Do not take 129 me.” Then she did not touch it. There were also some small, brown, muddy-looking eggs, and these called to her, “Take me!” So those were the ones she took.

When she came back to the house the old woman looked to see which ones she had taken. “You have done what was right,” said she, “and you will not regret it.” She then showed Blanche a path by which she could return to her own home without having to pass through the thorn hedge.

“As you go throw the eggs behind you,” she said, “and you will see what you shall see. One thing I can tell you, your mother will be glad enough to have you home again after that.”

Blanche thanked her for the eggs, though she did not think much of them, and started out. After she had gone a little way she threw one of the eggs over her shoulder. It broke on the path, and a whole bucket full of gold poured out from it. Blanche had never seen so much gold in all her life before.

She gathered it up in her apron and went a little farther, and then she threw another egg 130 over her shoulder. When it broke a whole bucket full of diamonds poured out over the path. They fairly dazzled the eyes, they were so bright and sparkling.

Blanche gathered them up, and went on farther, and threw another egg over her shoulder. Out from it came all sorts of fine clothes, embroidered and set all over with gems. Blanche put them on, and then she looked like the most beautiful princess that ever was seen.

She threw the last egg over her shoulder, and there stood a magnificent golden coach drawn by four white horses, and with coachman and footman all complete. Blanche stepped into the coach, and away they rolled to the door of her mother’s house without her ever having to give an order or speak a word.

When her mother and sister heard the coach draw up at the door they ran out to see who was coming. There sat Blanche in the coach, all dressed in fine clothes, and with her lap full of gold and diamonds.

Her mother welcomed her in and then began to question her as to how she had become so 131 rich and fine. It did not take her long to learn the whole story.

Nothing would satisfy her but that Rose should go out into the forest, and find the old woman, and get her to take her home with her as a servant.

Rose grumbled and muttered, for she was a lazy girl and had no wish to work for any one, whatever the reward, and she would rather have sat at home and dozed; but her mother pushed her out of the door, and so she had to go.

She slouched along through the forest, and presently she met the old woman. “Will you take me home with you for a servant?” asked Rose.

“Come with me if you will,” said the old woman, “but whatever you may see do not laugh nor say anything about it.”

“I am a great laugher,” said Rose, and then she walked along with the old woman through the forest.

Presently they came to the thorn hedge, and it opened before them just as it had when 132 Blanche had journeyed there. “That is a good thing,” said Rose. “If it had not done that, not a step farther would I have gone.”

Soon they came to the place where the axes were fighting. Rose looked and stared, and then she began to laugh.

A little later they came to where the arms were striving together, and at that Rose laughed harder still. But when she came to where the heads were butting each other, she laughed hardest of all. Then the heads opened their mouths and spoke to her. “Evil you are, and evil you will be, and no luck will come through your laughter.”

Soon after they arrived at the old woman’s house. She pushed open the door, and they went in. The crone bade Rose gather sticks and build a fire; she herself sat down by the hearth, and took off her head, and began to comb and plait her hair.

Rose stood and looked and laughed. “What a stupid old woman you are,” she said, “to take off your head to comb your hair!” and she laughed and laughed. 133
The old woman was very angry. Still she did not say anything. She put on her head and made up the fire herself. Rose would not do anything. She would not even put the pot on the fire. She was as lazy at the old woman’s house as she was at home, and the old crone was obliged to do the work herself. At the end of three days she said to Rose. “Now you must go home, for you are of no use to anybody, and I will keep you here no longer.”

“Very well,” said Rose. “I am willing enough to go, but first pay me my wages.”

“Very well,” said the old woman. “I will pay you. Go out to the chicken-house and look for eggs. All the eggs that say, ‘Take me’, you may have, but if they say, ‘Do not take me’, then you must not touch them.”

Rose went out to the chicken-house and hunted about and soon found the eggs. Some were large and beautiful and white, and of these she gathered up an apronful, though they cried to her ever so loudly, “Do not take me.” Some of the eggs were small and ugly and brown. “Take me! Take me!” they cried. 134
“A pretty thing if I were to take you,” she cried. “You are fit for nothing but to be thrown out on the hillside.”

She did not return to the hut to thank the old woman or bid her good-by but set off for home the way she had come. When she reached the thorn thicket it had closed together again. She had to force her way through, and the thorns scratched her face and hands and almost tore the clothes off her back. Still she comforted herself with the thought of all the riches she would get out of the eggs.

She went a little farther, and then she took the eggs out of her apron. “Now I will have a fine coach to travel in the rest of the way,” said she, “and gay clothes and diamonds and money,” and she threw the eggs down in the path, and they all broke at once. But no clothes, nor jewels, nor fine coach, nor horses came out of them. Instead snakes and toads sprang forth, and all sorts of filth that covered her up to her knees and bespattered her clothing.

Rose shrieked and ran, and the snakes and 135 toads pursued her, spitting venom, and the filth rolled after her like a tide.

She reached her mother’s house, and burst open the door, and ran in, closing it behind her. “Look what Blanche has brought on me,” she sobbed. “This is all her fault.”

The mother looked at her and saw the filth, and she was so angry she would not listen to a word Blanche said. She picked up a stick to beat her, but Blanche ran away out of the house and into the forest. She did not stop for her clothes or her jewels or anything.

She had not gone very far before she heard a noise behind her. She looked over her shoulder, and there was her golden coach rolling after her. Blanche waited until it caught up to her, and then she opened the door and stepped inside, and there were all her diamonds and gold lying in a heap. Her mother and Rose had not been able to keep any of them.

Blanche rode along for a long while, and then she came to a grand castle, and the King and Queen of the country lived there. The coach drew up at the door, and every one came running 136 out to greet her. They thought she must be some great Princess come to visit them, but Blanche told them she was not a Princess, but only the daughter of a poor widow, and that all the fine things she had, had come out of some eggs an old woman had given her.

When the people heard this they were very much surprised. They took her in to see the King and Queen, and the King and Queen made her welcome. She told them her story, and they were so sorry for her they declared she should live there with them always and be as a daughter to them.

So Blanche became a grand lady, and after a while she was married to the Prince, the son of the old King and Queen, and she was beloved by all because she was so good and gentle.

But when Blanche’s mother and sister heard of the good fortune that had come to her, and how she had become the bride of the Prince, they were ready to burst with rage and spite. Moreover they turned quite green with envy, and green they may have remained to the end of their lives, for all that I know to the contrary.

from Tales of Folks and Fairies written and illustrated by Katherine Pyle in 1919

Breakfast Tortillas
recipe found at

Prep: 5 min., Bake: 10 min., Cook: 13 min.
Wrap these individually in parchment paper or foil for a portable breakfast.

Yield: Makes 10 servings

* 10 (6-inch) fajita-size flour tortillas
* 1/2 (16-oz.) package ground pork sausage
* 6 large eggs
* Vegetable cooking spray
* 1/2 cup shredded colby-Jack cheese blend
* Salsa (optional)
* Sour cream (optional)


1. Wrap tortillas loosely with aluminum foil, and place in a 250° oven for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 8 minutes or until sausage crumbles and is no longer pink; drain, remove sausage from skillet, and pat dry with paper towels.
3. Wipe skillet clean. Reduce heat to medium.
4. Whisk together eggs and 2 Tbsp. water.
5. Coat same skillet with cooking spray; add egg mixture, and cook, without stirring, 2 to 3 minutes or until eggs begin to set on bottom. Gently draw cooked edges away from sides of pan to form large pieces.
6. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes or until eggs are thickened but still moist. (Do not over stir.)
7. Spoon sausage and eggs evenly onto tortillas, and sprinkle with cheese; roll up tortillas. Serve with salsa and sour cream, if desired.

Note: To lighten, substitute 1 1/2 cups egg substitute for eggs and reduced-fat pork sausage for sausage.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Peasant and the Cucumbers

A peasant once went to the gardener's, to steal cucumbers.

He crept up to the cucumbers, and thought, "I will carry off a bag of cucumbers, which I will sell; with the money I will buy a hen.

The hen will lay eggs, hatch them, and raise a lot of chicks.
I will feed the chicks and sell them; then I will buy me a young sow, and she will bear a lot of pigs.

I will sell the pigs, and buy me a mare; the mare will foal me some colts. I will raise the colts, and sell them.

I will buy me a house, and start a garden. In the garden I will sow cucumbers, and will not let them be stolen, but will keep a sharp watch on them.

I will hire watchmen, and put them in the cucumber patch, while I myself will come on them, unawares, and shout, 'Oh, there, keep a sharp lookout!'"

And this he shouted as loud as he could.

The watchmen heard it, and they rushed out and beat the peasant.

story source: Fables for Children; Stories for Children; Natural Science Stories written by Leo Tolstoy translated by Leo Wiener published 1904 

I have two cool and yummy recipes for you. Both are
great ways to get kids to eat their veggies!

Cucumber Slushie
1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into pieces
2 cups of water
1 cup of ice
3 tablespoons of sugar (or to taste)
the juice of 1/4 lemon or 1/2 lime

Place all of your ingredients in blender, and puree until completely smooth
Serve immediately.

Cool Mint Cucumber Soup
1 cup of plain yogurt
2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
Juice of 1/2 a lemon (add to taste)
1 to 2 teaspoons of chopped garlic (to taste)
1 to 2 tablespoons of honey (to taste)
Chopped fresh mint (to taste)
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
The items that are listed as _to taste_ can be added slowly and you should taste as you go.
Chill soup, well (approximately 2 hours).
Served garnished with a few fresh mint leaves and/or with pieces of very finely chopped cucumber.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Origin of Strawberries....a Native American Folktale

Soon after the Great Spirit created the first man and the first woman, they began to quarrel. Nobody remembers why, but because of it, the first woman ran away in great anger. Soon, the first man became very sad, and began to moan and weep. The Great Spirit heard his cries and felt sorry for him. "Would you like to see your wife again?" he asked. "If only she'd come back," the first man promised, "I'll never quarrel with her again!"

"Go find her, then," said the Great Spirit. The first man ran after her, but the first woman had too great a head start. So the Great Spirit created a huge patch of blueberries in her path, hoping she would stop to eat. But she was so angry, she didn't even slow down.

Next, he tried raspberries, then currants, and even blackberries. Although the thorns tore her clothes and scratched her, she kept going.

Finally, the Great Spirit created a new berry growing along the ground, and she slowed down to try one. It was so good, she stopped to pick more. That was how the first man finally caught up to her and apologized. They made up, and the strawberry is still shaped like a heart because it symbolizes the love of The First Man and The First Woman.
And Native people call it the heartberry.

July is Blueberry Month, unfortunately, I couldn't find any blueberry stories (if anyone knows of any tales with blueberries in them let me know). So, I figured a tale about berries of any kind, that at least mentioned blueberries, would do.

I've found some really simple recipes for jams that kids will love.

Easy No Cook Jam
2 cups of fresh berries, whatever kind you wish
1/3 cup of sugar
lemon juice, optional

  1. Use a potato masher to mash berries
  2. Sprinkle with sugar and let it sit out for half an hour.
  3. Stir.
  4. Add a little lemon juice if you wish.
  5. That's it! Your Jam will keep for approximately three days in the fridge.
This is a really quick and simple way to make jam in a microwave. I love it!

5 Minute Strawberry Jam – easy kids recipe
1-pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
2-tablespoons fruit pectin
1 teaspoon butter
1-cup sugar
2 8-ounce jelly jars

  1. In a medium sized bowl, crush the strawberries with a potato masher
  2. In a saucepan, combine the crushed strawberries, pectin, and butter.
  3. Stirring constantly, cook over medium-high heat, until the mixture boils.
  4. Add the sugar and bring to a boil.
  5. Boil for 1 minute and remove from the heat.
  6. Pour the jam into the jars. Seal.
  7. Refrigerate until the jam is set, approximately 6 hours. 
  8. Keep jam refrigerated. It will keep for up to 3 weeks. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Salad....a tale from the Brothers Grimm (just in time for National Salad Month)


As a merry young huntsman was once going briskly along through a wood, there came up a little old woman, and said to him,
'Good day, good day; you seem merry enough, but I am hungry and thirsty; do pray give me something to eat.'

The huntsman took pity on her, and put his hand in his pocket and gave her what he had. Then he wanted to go his way; but she took hold of him, and said,

'Listen, my friend, to what I am going to tell you; I will reward you for your kindness; go your way, and after a little time you will come to a tree where you will see nine birds sitting on a cloak. Shoot into the midst of them, and one will fall down dead: the cloak will fall too; take it, it is a wishing-cloak, and when you wear it you will find yourself at any place where you may wish to be. Cut open the dead bird, take out its heart and keep it, and you will find a piece of gold under your pillow every morning when you rise. It is the bird's heart that will bring you this good luck.'

The huntsman thanked her, and thought to himself, 'If all this does happen, it will be a fine thing for me.'

When he had gone a hundred steps or so, he heard a screaming and chirping in the branches over him, and looked up and saw a flock of birds pulling a cloak with their bills and feet; screaming, fighting, and tugging at each other as if each wished to have it himself.

'Well,' said the huntsman, 'this is wonderful; this happens just as the old woman said'; then he shot into the midst of them so that their feathers flew all about. Off went the flock chattering away; but one fell down dead, and the cloak with it. Then the huntsman did as the old woman told him, cut open the bird, took out the heart, and carried the cloak home with him.

The next morning when he awoke he lifted up his pillow, and there lay the piece of gold glittering underneath; the same happened next day, and indeed every day when he arose. He heaped up a great deal of gold, and at last thought to himself, 'Of what use is this gold to me whilst I am at home? I will go out into the world and look about me.'

Then he took leave of his friends, and hung his bag and bow about his neck, and went his way. It so happened that his road one day led through a thick wood, at the end of which was a large castle in a green meadow, and at one of the windows stood an old woman with a very beautiful young lady by her side looking about them.

Now the old woman was a witch, and said to the young lady, 'There is a young man coming out of the wood who carries a wonderful prize; we must get it away from him, my dear child, for it is more fit for us than for him. He has a bird's heart that brings a piece of gold under his pillow every morning.'

Meantime the huntsman came nearer and looked at the lady, and said to himself, 'I have been travelling so long that I should like to go into this castle and rest myself, for I have money enough to pay for anything I want'; but the real reason was, that he wanted to see more of the beautiful lady.

Then he went into the house, and was welcomed kindly; and it was not long before he was so much in love that he thought of nothing else but looking at the lady's eyes, and doing everything that she wished.

Then the old woman said, 'Now is the time for getting the bird's heart.' So the lady stole it away, and he never found any more gold under his pillow, for it lay now under the young lady's, and the old woman took it away every morning; but he was so much in love that he never missed his prize.

'Well,' said the old witch, 'we have got the bird's heart, but not the wishing-cloak yet, and that we must also get.'

'Let us leave him that,' said the young lady; 'he has already lost his wealth.'

Then the witch was very angry, and said, 'Such a cloak is a very rare and wonderful thing, and I must and will have it.'

So she did as the old woman told her, and set herself at the window, and looked about the country and seemed very sorrowful; then the huntsman said, 'What makes you so sad?'

'Alas! dear sir,' said she, 'yonder lies the granite rock where all the costly diamonds grow, and I want so much to go there, that whenever I think of it I cannot help being sorrowful, for who can reach it? only the birds and the flies—man cannot.'

'If that's all your grief,' said the huntsman, 'I'll take there with all my heart'; so he drew her under his cloak, and the moment he wished to be on the granite mountain they were both there.

The diamonds glittered so on all sides that they were delighted with the sight and picked up the finest.

But the old witch made a deep sleep come upon him, and he said to the young lady, 'Let us sit down and rest ourselves a little, I am so tired that I cannot stand any longer.' So they sat down, and he laid his head in her lap and fell asleep; and whilst he was sleeping on she took the cloak from his shoulders, hung it on her own, picked up the diamonds, and wished herself home again.

When he awoke and found that his lady had tricked him, and left him alone on the wild rock, he said, 'Alas! what roguery there is in the world!' and there he sat in great grief and fear, not knowing what to do.

Now this rock belonged to fierce giants who lived upon it; and as he saw three of them striding about, he thought to himself, 'I can only save myself by feigning to be asleep'; so he laid himself down as if he were in a sound sleep.

When the giants came up to him, the first pushed him with his foot, and said, 'What worm is this that lies here curled up?'

'Tread upon him and kill him,' said the second.

'It's not worth the trouble,' said the third; 'let him live, he'll go climbing higher up the mountain, and some cloud will come rolling and carry him away.'
And they passed on.

But the huntsman had heard all they said; and as soon as they were gone, he climbed to the top of the mountain, and when he had sat there a short time a cloud came rolling around him, and caught him in a whirlwind and bore him along for some time, till it settled in a garden, and he fell quite gently to the ground amongst the greens and cabbages.

Then he looked around him, and said, 'I wish I had something to eat, if not I shall be worse off than before; for here I see neither apples nor pears, nor any kind of fruits, nothing but vegetables.'

At last he thought to himself, 'I can eat salad, it will refresh and strengthen me.' So he picked out a fine head and ate of it; but scarcely had he swallowed two bites when he felt himself quite changed, and saw with horror that he was turned into an ass.
However, he still felt very hungry, and the salad tasted very nice; so he ate on till he came to another kind of salad, and scarcely had he tasted it when he felt another change come over him, and soon saw that he was lucky enough to have found his old shape again.

Then he laid himself down and slept off a little of his weariness; and when he awoke the next morning he broke off a head both of the good and the bad salad, and thought to himself, 'This will help me to my fortune again, and enable me to pay off some folks for their treachery.'

So he went away to try and find the castle of his friends; and after wandering about a few days he luckily found it.

Then he stained his face all over brown, so that even his mother would not have known him, and went into the castle and asked for a lodging; 'I am so tired,' said he, 'that I can go no farther.'

'Countryman,' said the witch, 'who are you? and what is your business?'

'I am,' said he, 'a messenger sent by the king to find the finest salad that grows under the sun. I have been lucky enough to find it, and have brought it with me; but the heat of the sun scorches so that it begins to wither, and I don't know that I can carry it farther.'

When the witch and the young lady heard of his beautiful salad, they longed to taste it, and said, 'Dear countryman, let us just taste it.'

'To be sure,' answered he; 'I have two heads of it with me, and will give you one'; so he opened his bag and gave them the bad.

Then the witch herself took it into the kitchen to be dressed; and when it was ready she could not wait till it was carried up, but took a few leaves immediately and put them in her mouth, and scarcely were they swallowed when she lost her own form and ran braying down into the court in the form of an ass.

Now the servant-maid came into the kitchen, and seeing the salad ready, was going to carry it up; but on the way she too felt a wish to taste it as the old woman had done, and ate some leaves; so she also was turned into an ass and ran after the other, letting the dish with the salad fall on the ground.

The messenger sat all this time with the beautiful young lady, and as nobody came with the salad and she longed to taste it, she said, 'I don't know where the salad can be.' Then he thought something must have happened, and said, 'I will go into the kitchen and see.' And as he went he saw two asses in the court running about, and the salad lying on the ground.

'All right!' said he; 'those two have had their share.' Then he took up the rest of the leaves, laid them on the dish and brought them to the young lady, saying, 'I bring you the dish myself that you may not wait any longer.' So she ate of it, and like the others ran off into the court braying away.

Then the huntsman washed his face and went into the court that they might know him. 'Now you shall be paid for your roguery,' said he; and tied them all three to a rope and took them along with him till he came to a mill and knocked at the window

'What's the matter?' said the miller. 'I have three tiresome beasts here,' said the other; 'if you will take them, give them food and room, and treat them as I tell you, I will pay you whatever you ask.'

'With all my heart,' said the miller; 'but how shall I treat them?' Then the huntsman said, 'Give the old one stripes three times a day and hay once; give the next (who was the servant-maid) stripes once a day and hay three times; and give the youngest (who was the beautiful lady) hay three times a day and no stripes': for he could not find it in his heart to have her beaten. After this he went back to the castle, where he found everything he wanted.

Some days after, the miller came to him and told him that the old ass was dead; 'The other two,' said he, 'are alive and eat, but are so sorrowful that they cannot last long.'

Then the huntsman pitied them, and told the miller to drive them back to him, and when they came, he gave them some of the good salad to eat.

And the beautiful young lady fell upon her knees before him, and said, 'O dearest huntsman! forgive me all the ill I have done you; my mother forced me to it, it was against my will, for I always loved you very much. Your wishing-cloak hangs up in the closet, and as for the bird's heart, I will give it you too.'

But he said, 'Keep it, it will be just the same thing, for I mean to make you my wife.'

So they were married, and lived together very happily till they died.

Salads are delicious and as varied as any food can get. The variety of greens and other available ingredients is endless. Kids do not always want to eat the healthier foods but with salads there's a lot  to work with. If you try, you can find a combination that they will like. Why not have your own salad bar at home?

The salad below is delicious. You can use the dressing below or a bottled dressing.

Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Glazed Pecans ( and other stuff if you want)

10 oz. fresh spinach, washed and patted dry with paper towels
1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
crumbled bacon (optional)
crumbled blue cheese (optional)
1/2 cup glazed pecans

Tear the spinach into bite size pieces.
Mix spinach and strawberries in a bowl together.
Sprinkle in bacon and blue cheese if you wish.
At serving time, sprinkle with dressing and garnish with glazed pecans.

1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. minced onion (optional)
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/2 c. oil
kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Put all dressing ingredients EXCEPT oil in a blender.
Add the oil in steady stream with blender on low speed.
Blend until the dressing is creamy and thick.
Drizzle over your salad and garnish, generously, with glazed pecans.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Three Little Pigs ..... a folktale from England

The Story of the Three Little Pigs

Once upon a time when pigs spoke rhyme
And monkeys chewed tobacco,
And hens took snuff to make them tough,
And ducks went quack, quack, quack, O!

There was an old sow with three little pigs, and as she had not enough to keep them, she sent them out to seek their fortune. The first that went off met a man with a bundle of straw, and said to him, "Please, man, give me that straw to build me a house." Which the man did, and the little pig built a house with it.

Presently came along a wolf, and knocked at the door, and said, "Little pig, little pig, let me come in."

To which the pig answered, "No, no, by the hair of my chiny chin chin."

The wolf then answered to that, "Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in." So he huffed, and he puffed, and he blew his house in, and ate up the little pig.

The second little pig met a man with a bundle of furze [sticks], and said, "Please, man, give me that furze to build a house." Which the man did, and the pig built his house.

Then along came the wolf, and said, "Little pig, little pig, let me come in."

"No, no, by the hair of my chiny chin chin."

"Then I'll puff, and I'll huff, and I'll blow your house in." So he huffed, and he puffed, and he puffed, and he huffed, and at last he blew the house down, and he ate up the little pig.

The third little pig met a man with a load of bricks, and said, "Please, man, give me those bricks to build a house with." So the man gave him the bricks, and he built his house with them.

So the wolf came, as he did to the other little pigs, and said, "Little pig, little pig, let me come in."

"No, no, by the hair of my chiny chin chin."

"Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in."

Well, he huffed, and he puffed, and he huffed and he puffed, and he puffed and huffed; but he could not get the house down. When he found that he could not, with all his huffing and puffing, blow the house down, he said, "Little pig, I know where there is a nice field of turnips."

"Where?" said the little pig.

"Oh, in Mr. Smith's home field, and if you will be ready tomorrow morning I will call for you, and we will go together and get some for dinner."

"Very well," said the little pig, "I will be ready. What time do you mean to go?"

"Oh, at six o'clock."

Well, the little pig got up at five, and got the turnips before the wolf came (which he did about six) and who said, "Little pig, are you ready?"

The little pig said, "Ready! I have been and come back again, and got a nice potful for dinner."

The wolf felt very angry at this, but thought that he would be up to the little pig somehow or other, so he said, "Little pig, I know where there is a nice apple tree."

"Where?" said the pig.

"Down at Merry Garden," replied the wolf, "and if you will not deceive me I will come for you, at five o'clock tomorrow and get some apples."

Well, the little pig bustled up the next morning at four o'clock, and went off for the apples, hoping to get back before the wolf came; but he had further to go, and had to climb the tree, so that just as he was coming down from it, he saw the wolf coming, which, as you may suppose, frightened him very much.

When the wolf came up he said, "Little pig, what! Are you here before me? Are they nice apples?"

"Yes, very," said the little pig. "I will throw you down one." And he threw it so far, that, while the wolf was gone to pick it up, the little pig jumped down and ran home.

The next day the wolf came again, and said to the little pig, "Little pig, there is a fair at Shanklin this afternoon. Will you go?"

"Oh yes," said the pig, "I will go. What time shall you be ready?"

"At three," said the wolf. So the little pig went off before the time as usual, and got to the fair, and bought a butter churn, which he was going home with, when he saw the wolf coming. Then he could not tell what to do. So he got into the churn to hide, and by so doing turned it around, and it rolled down the hill with the pig in it, which frightened the wolf so much, that he ran home without going to the fair. He went to the pig's house, and told him how frightened he had been by a great round thing which came down the hill past him.

Then the little pig said, "Ha, I frightened you, then. I had been to the fair and bought a butter churn, and when I saw you, I got into it, and rolled down the hill."

Then the wolf was very angry indeed, and declared he would eat up the little pig, and that he would get down the chimney after him. When the little pig saw what he was about, he hung on the pot full of water, and made up a blazing fire, and, just as the wolf was coming down, took off the cover, and in fell the wolf; so the little pig put on the cover again in an instant, boiled him up, and ate him for supper, and lived happily ever afterwards.

story by Joseph Jacobs from English Fairy Tales (1890)

Very, very easy Pigs in a Blanket

6 Crescent rolls (package of refrigerated crescent rolls)
6 Hot dogs
6 slices of cheese or you can use shredded cheese

1. Slice hot dogs down the middle and stuff with cheese
2. Wrap in crescent rolls.
3. Place wrapped hot dogs, seam side down, on an ungreased cookie sheet.
4. Bake according to directions on crescent rolls package.

In this video, the cook uses pastry dough instead of crescent rolls or other bread dough.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Stolen Garlic

A POOR man planted a bed of garlic, and as he had no land besides, each plant was separately tended and grew apace. When the crop was almost large enough for pulling he placed beside the bed a portable hutch, and slept there o' nights to guard against thieves. After watching for many nights without seeing sign of trespassers, he concluded that there were none about, and that he might as well sleep at home ; so he left the empty hutch beside the garlic bed, and spent the night in his own house. When he came back next morning to water his vegetables, he found that all had been pulled and carried off.

In consternation and tears he went to the magistrate and entered complaint of his loss. The magistrate called him up for examination, and asked him why he did not seize the thief.

" Because, your honor, I was not there when he came."

" Then why do you not bring as witness some one who saw him ? "

" Because, your honor, nobody caught a glimpse of him."

" Then why did you not bring from the garlic bed some clue by which he might be traced ? "

" Because, your honor, he left nothing in the bed besides the portable hutch which was there before."

" Very well," said the magistrate ; " since the hutch was the only object known to be on the field at the time of the theft, we will make the hutch the defendant in the suit, and to-morrow morning you will appear here as plaintiff against it."

The complaint and the result of the preliminary examination were reported far and wide, with the official announcement that on the next morning a portable hutch would be tried for theft. So remarkable a trial had never before been heard of, and it became the subject of inquiry, comment, and debate throughout the neighborhood.

When the case was called the court was crowded with spectators. The constables brought in the hutch and put it in the place for prisoners. It was charged with the crime, and as it offered no defense the magistrate ordered that it should be beaten until it confessed its guilt. The constables administered blows with a will, leaving it shattered in pieces. As the punishment proceeded, the amazement of the spectators gave way before their sense of the ludicrous, and by the time the constables were following up and whipping the fragments of the hutch the audience were laughing heartily.

In apparent rage the magistrate charged the whole assembly with contempt of court, ordered all the gates to be shut and locked, and fined each person present a pound of garlic, with no release till the fine should be paid. Many constables were deputed to escort those who wished to go out to buy garlic, and each merrily spent a few farthings in paying his fine.

In the course of the day all the garlic in the market had been bought up, and the adjoining hamlets had been ransacked to supply the unwonted demand. Each, as he handed in his fine, was required to tell where he got the garlic, which was then deposited bunch by bunch in a chamber of the courthouse.

When all the fines were paid, the plaintiff was invited to examine the bunches of garlic, and to state whether he recognized any as his own. He unhesitatingly declared certain bunches to be his, and when the record of the purchasers was examined, these bunches were found to have been all bought at the stall of a certain green-grocer. The green-grocer was arrested, and made to tell where he got the stolen goods. He declared that he knew nothing more about the garlic than that he had bought it from a certain villager. The villager was arrested and was proven by circumstantial evidence to have committed the theft. The magistrate thus got for himself a great reputation for sagacity ; the thief got forty blows ; and the poor gardener had awarded to him all the garlic that had been received in fines for
contempt of court.

from Chinese Fairy Tales By Adele M. Fielde published 1893

Here are two delicious recipe that use loooooots of garlic!

40 Clove Garlic Chicken
recipe found at A Year of Slow Cooking

The Ingredients.
serves 6

3-4 pounds chicken
1 large onion, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon pepper
20-40 garlic cloves, peeled, but intact

The Directions.
The author used a 6 quart oval slow cooker.
Place onion slices on the bottom of the stoneware insert.
In a large mixing bowl, toss chicken parts with olive oil, salt, paprika, pepper, and all of the garlic cloves.
Pour into slow cooker, on top of the onion.

Do not add water.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-6.
The longer you cook chicken-on-the-bone, the more tender it will be.
If you use drumsticks, the ones on the side will brown and may stick to the sides of the crock, burning a bit.
If this bothers you, you can rearrange them with tongs an hour before serving.

If the chicken isn't enough garlic for you, pair it with some:

Garlic Bread
* 1 stick butter, room temperature
* 4 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 long loaf Italian bread, cut lengthwise

1. In a bowl, mix the butter and garlic together.
2. Spread the butter mixture on the bread.
3. On a baking sheet, bake the bread at 375F for 8-10 minutes, on the top rack of
the oven.
4. Then broil the bread for 1-2 minutes to brown.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Oh my, no more Pie!

Another great echo/songtale!

This is a traditional song. I am not totally sure of it's origins. I have seen it listed as an African American song but it may just be a southern traditional song.
This song or chant is also good for teaching steady beat. The beat can be pat out on your legs or tapped out on a drum.
No More Pie

(each line is echoed by children)
Oh, my!
No more pie.
Pie's too sweet.
I wanna piece of meat.
Meat's too red.
I wanna piece of bread.
Bread's too brown.
I think I'll go to town.
Town's too far.
I think I'll take the car.
Car won't go.
I fell and stubbed my toe.
Toe gives me pain.
I think I'll take the train.
Train had a wreck.
I fell and hurt my neck.
Oh, my!
No more pie.

Oh, my!
No more pie.

The last two lines a said just a little slower. As if a train were come to the end of the line.
This is a great song to use for thinking up rhymes or just new actions for the song.
Oh, no. (oh, no)
Too much snow. (too much snow)

or you can use the kid's names

Hello Paul (hello Paul)
Let's walk down the hall. (let's walk down the hall)

Unfortunately, all names are not this simple to rhyme but it can be fun to make up silly words.

"Easy as Pie" Pie
* 2/3 cup boiling water
* 1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin mix
* 1/2 cup cold water
* 1/2 cup ice
* 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
* 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
* 1 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced


1. In large bowl, stir boiling water into gelatin at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved.

2. Mix cold water and ice to measure 3/4 cup.

3. Add to gelatin, stirring until slightly thickened. Remove any remaining ice.

4. Stir in whipped topping with wire whisk until smooth.

5. Refrigerate 15 to 20 minutes or until mixture is very thick and will mound.

6. Spoon filling into crust. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

7. Garnish with sliced strawberries before serving.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Oats, Peas, Beans and Barley Grow.......Sing with Your Child Month

Oats, Peas, Beans and Barley Grow is a traditional British and American folk song.

It's a "play song" and the children perform the actions in the songs verses, basically acting out the planting and harvesting of a crop.

The song can be found on many children's cd's, performed by artist such as Raffi and John Langstaff.

Oats, peas, beans, and barley grow,
Oats, peas, beans, and barley grow,
Can you or I or anyone know
How oats, peas, beans, and barley grow?

First the farmer sows his seed,
Stands erect and takes his ease,
He stamps his foot and claps his hands,
And turns around to view his lands.

Oats, peas, beans, and barley grow,
Oats, peas, beans, and barley grow,
Can you or I or anyone know
How oats, peas, beans, and barley grow?

Next the farmer waters the seed,
Stands erect and takes his ease,
He stamps his foot and claps his hands,
And turns around to view his lands.

Oats, peas, beans, and barley grow,
Oats, peas, beans, and barley grow,
Can you or I or anyone know
How oats, peas, beans, and barley grow?

Next the farmer hoes the weeds,
Stands erect and takes his ease,
He stamps his foot and claps his hands,
And turns around to view his lands.

Oats, peas, beans, and barley grow,
Oats, peas, beans, and barley grow,
Can you or I or anyone know
How oats, peas, beans, and barley grow?

Last the farmer harvests his seed,
Stands erect and takes his ease,
He stamps his foot and claps his hands,
And turns around to view his lands.

Oats, peas, beans, and barley grow,
Oats, peas, beans, and barley grow,
Can you or I or anyone know
How oats, peas, beans, and barley grow?

( the picture at the top of the blog is from Songs for Early Childhood at Church and Home, illustrated by Ann Eshner, 1958)

This video shows kids performing some of the movements in the song.

All Kinds of Beans Soup Mix in a Jar aka French Market Soup Mix in a Jar

(this recipe makes 14 gift jars of bean soup)

1 pound dried navy beans
1 pound dried pinto beans
1 pound dried Great Northern beans
1 pound split peas
1 pound yellow split peas
1 pound dried black-eyed peas
1 pound lentils
1 pound dried baby lima beans
1 pound dried lima beans
1 pound dried soybeans
1 pound pearl barley
1 pound dried red beans

1. In a very large container, combine navy beans, pinto beans, great Northern beans, split peas, yellow split peas, black-eyed peas, lentils, baby limas, limas, soybeans, barley and red beans; mix well.

2. Divide evenly into 14 lidded jars.

3. Attach a card to each jar with the following recipe:

All Kinds of Beans Soup aka French Market Soup:

2 quarts water
1 ham hock
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced

1. Soak 2 cups French Market Bean Mix in water to cover, 8 hours or overnight.

2. In a large soup pot, bring 2 quarts water and ham hock to a boil.

3. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

4. Remove ham hock.

5. Stir in soaked beans, salt, pepper, diced tomatoes and green chiles, onion and garlic.

6. Bring to a boil again, skimming foam off the top.

7. Reduce heat, cover and simmer about 1 hour, until beans are tender.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hanasaka Jiisan...a Japanese Fairy Tale

Hanasaka Jiisan or The Envious Neighbor

Long, long ago an old couple lived in a village, and, as they had no children to love and care for, they gave all their affection to a little dog. He was a pretty little creature, and instead of growing spoilt and disagreeable at not getting everything he
wanted, as even children will do sometimes, the dog was grateful to them for their kindness, and never left their side, whether they were in the house or out of it.

One day the old man was working in his garden, with his dog, as usual, close by. The morning was hot, and at last he put down his spade and wiped his wet forehead, noticing, as he did so, that the animal was snuffling and scratching at a spot a little way off. There was nothing very strange in this, as all dogs arefond of scratching, and he went on quietly with his digging, when the dog ran up to his master, barking loudly, and back again to the place where he had been scratching. This he did several times, till the old man wondered what could be the matter, and,
picking up the spade, followed where the dog led him. The dog was so delighted at his success that he jumped round, barking loudly, till the noise brought the old woman out of the house.

Curious to know if the dog had really found anything, the husband began to dig, and very soon the spade struck against something. He stooped down and pulled out a large box, filled quite full with shining gold pieces. The box was so heavy that the old
woman had to help to carry it home, and you may guess what a supper the dog had that night! Now that he had made them rich, they gave him every day all that a dog likes best to eat, and the cushions on which he lay were fit for a prince.

The story of the dog and his treasure soon became known, and a neighbor whose garden was next the old people's grew so envious of their good luck that he could neither eat nor sleep. As the dog had discovered a treasure once, this foolish man thought he must be able to discover one always, and begged the old couple to lend him their pet for a little while, so that he might be made rich also.

'How can you ask such a thing?' answered the old man indignantly.

'You know how much we love him, and that he is never out of our sight for five minutes.'

But the envious neighbour would not heed his words, and came daily with the same request, till at last the old people, who could not bear to say no to anyone, promised to lend the dog, just for a night or two. No sooner did the man get hold of the dog than he turned him into the garden, but the dog did nothing but race about, and the man was forced to wait with what patience he could.

The next morning the man opened the house door, and the dog bounded joyfully into the garden, and, running up to the foot of a tree, began to scratch wildly. The man called loudly to his wife to bring a spade, and followed the dog, as he longed to catch the first glimpse of the expected treasure. But when he had dug up the ground, what did he find?
Why, nothing but a parcel of old bones, which smelt so badly that he could not stay
there a moment longer. And his heart was filled with rage against the dog who had played him this trick, and he seized a pickaxe and killed it on the spot, before he knew what he was doing. When he remembered that he would have to go with his
story to the old man and his wife he was rather frightened, but there was nothing to be gained by putting it off, so he pulled a very long face and went to his neighbour's garden.

'Your dog,' said he, pretending to weep, 'has suddenly fallen down dead, though I took every care of him, and gave him everything he could wish for. And I thought I had better come straight and tell you.'

Weeping bitterly, the old man went to fetch the body of his favorite, and brought it home and buried it under the fig-tree where he had found the treasure. From morning till night he and his wife mourned over their loss, and nothing could comfort them.

At length, one night when he was asleep, he dreamt that the dog appeared to him and told him to cut down the fig-tree over his grave, and out of its wood to make a mortar. But when the old man woke and thought of his dream he did not feel at all inclined to cut down the tree, which bore well every year, and consulted
his wife about it. The woman did not hesitate a moment, and said that after what had happened before, the dog's advice must certainly be obeyed, so the tree was felled, and a beautiful mortar made from it. And when the season came for the rice crop
to be gathered the mortar was taken down from its shelf, and the grains placed in it for pounding, when, lo and behold! in a twinkling of an eye, they all turned into gold pieces. At the sight of all this gold the hearts of the old people were glad,
and once more they blessed their faithful dog.

But it was not long before this story also came to the ears of their envious neighbor, and he lost no time in going to the old people and asking if they happened to have a mortar which they could lend him. The old man did not at all like parting with his precious treasure, but he never could say no, so the neighbor went off with the mortar under his arm.

The moment he got into his own house he took a great handful of rice, and began to shell off the husks, with the help of his wife. But, instead of the gold pieces for which they looked, the rice turned into berries with such a horrible smell that they
were obliged to run away, after smashing the mortar in a rage and setting fire to the bits.

The old people next door were naturally very much put out when they learned the fate of their mortar, and were not at all comforted by the explanations and excuses made by their neighbor. But that night the dog again appeared in a dream to his master, and told him that he must go and collect the ashes of the burnt mortar and bring them home. Then, when he heard that the Daimio, or great lord to whom this part of the country belonged, was expected at the capital, he was to carry the ashes to the high road, through which the procession would have to
pass. And as soon as it was in sight he was to climb up all the cherry-trees and sprinkle the ashes on them, and they would soon blossom as they had never blossomed before.

This time the old man did not wait to consult his wife as to whether he was to do what his dog had told him, but directly he got up he went to his neighbor's house and collected the ashes of the burnt mortar. He put them carefully in a china vase, and
carried it to the high road, Sitting down on a seat till the Daimio should pass. The cherry-trees were bare, for it was the season when small pots of them were sold to rich people, who kept them in hot places, so that they might blossom early and decorate their rooms. As to the trees in the open air, no one would ever think of looking for the tiniest bud for more than a month yet.

The old man had not been waiting very long before he saw a cloud of dust in the far distance, and knew that it must be the procession of the Daimio. On they came, every man dressed in his finest clothes, and the crowd that was lining the road bowed
their faces to the ground as they went by. Only the old man did not bow himself, and the great lord saw this, and bade one of his courtiers, in anger, go and inquire why he had disobeyed the ancient customs. But before the messenger could reach him the
old man had climbed the nearest tree and scattered his ashes far and wide, and in an instant the white flowers had flashed into life, and the heart of the Daimio rejoiced, and he gave rich presents to the old man, whom he sent for to his castle.

We may be sure that in a very little while the envious neighbor had heard this also, and his bosom was filled with hate. He hastened to the place where he had burned the mortar, collected a few of the ashes which the old man had left behind, and took them
to the road, hoping that his luck might be as good as the old man's, or perhaps even better. His heart beat with pleasure when he caught the first glimpses of the Daimio's train, and he held himself ready for the right moment. As the Daimio drew near he flung a great handful of ashes over the trees, but no buds or flowers followed the action: instead, the ashes were all blown back into the eyes of the Daimio and his warriors, till they cried out from pain. Then the prince ordered the evil-doer to be seized and bound and thrown into prison, where he was kept for
many months.
By the time he was set free everybody in his native village had found out his wickedness, and they would not let him live there any longer; and as he would not leave off his evil ways he soon went from bad to worse, and came to a miserable end.

from The Violet Fairy Book edited by Andrew Lang published in 1901

How to Make Sushi Rice

The next two vids show you how to use your "sushi rice" to make California rolls. Yum!!
Vid #1

Vid #2

This last video is just plain fun! It shows sushi making as art.
It's truly awe inspiring. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Jack and the Beanstalk......any English fairytale

January 6th is Bean Day!

There was once upon a time a poor widow who had an only son named Jack, and a cow named Milky-White. And all they had to live on was the milk the cow gave every morning, which they carried to the market and sold. But one morning Milky-White gave no milk, and they didn't know what to do.

"What shall we do, what shall we do?" said the widow, wringing her hands.

"Cheer up, mother, I'll go and get work somewhere," said Jack.

"We've tried that before, and nobody would take you," said his mother. "We must sell Milky-White and with the money start a shop, or something."

"All right, mother," says Jack. "It's market day today, and I'll soon sell Milky-White, and then we'll see what we can do."

So he took the cow's halter in his hand, and off he started. He hadn't gone far when he met a funny-looking old man, who said to him, "Good morning, Jack."

"Good morning to you," said Jack, and wondered how he knew his name.

"Well, Jack, and where are you off to?" said the man.

"I'm going to market to sell our cow there."

"Oh, you look the proper sort of chap to sell cows," said the man. "I wonder if you know how many beans make five."

"Two in each hand and one in your mouth," says Jack, as sharp as a needle.

"Right you are," says the man, "and here they are, the very beans themselves," he went on, pulling out of his pocket a number of strange-looking beans. "As you are so sharp," says he, "I don't mind doing a swap with you -- your cow for these beans."

"Go along," says Jack. "Wouldn't you like it?"

"Ah! You don't know what these beans are," said the man. "If you plant them overnight, by morning they grow right up to the sky."

"Really?" said Jack. "You don't say so."

"Yes, that is so. And if it doesn't turn out to be true you can have your cow back."

"Right," says Jack, and hands him over Milky-White's halter and pockets the beans.

Back goes Jack home, and as he hadn't gone very far it wasn't dusk by the time he got to his door.

"Back already, Jack?" said his mother. "I see you haven't got Milky-White, so you've sold her. How much did you get for her?"

"You'll never guess, mother," says Jack.

"No, you don't say so. Good boy! Five pounds? Ten? Fifteen? No, it can't be twenty."

"I told you you couldn't guess. What do you say to these beans? They're magical. Plant them overnight and -- "

"What!" says Jack's mother. "Have you been such a fool, such a dolt, such an idiot, as to give away my Milky-White, the best milker in the parish, and prime beef to boot, for a set of paltry beans? Take that! Take that! Take that! And as for your precious beans here they go out of the window. And now off with you to bed. Not a sup shall you drink, and not a bit shall you swallow this very night."

So Jack went upstairs to his little room in the attic, and sad and sorry he was, to be sure, as much for his mother's sake as for the loss of his supper.

At last he dropped off to sleep.

When he woke up, the room looked so funny. The sun was shining into part of it, and yet all the rest was quite dark and shady. So Jack jumped up and dressed himself and went to the window. And what do you think he saw? Why, the beans his mother had thrown out of the window into the garden had sprung up into a big beanstalk which went up and up and up till it reached the sky. So the man spoke truth after all.

The beanstalk grew up quite close past Jack's window, so all he had to do was to open it and give a jump onto the beanstalk which ran up just like a big ladder. So Jack climbed, and he climbed, and he climbed, and he climbed, and he climbed, and he climbed, and he climbed till at last he reached the sky. And when he got there he found a long broad road going as straight as a dart. So he walked along, and he walked along, and he walked along till he came to a great big tall house, and on the doorstep there was a great big tall woman.

"Good morning, mum," says Jack, quite polite-like. "Could you be so kind as to give me some breakfast?" For he hadn't had anything to eat, you know, the night before, and was as hungry as a hunter.

"It's breakfast you want, is it?" says the great big tall woman. "It's breakfast you'll be if you don't move off from here. My man is an ogre and there's nothing he likes better than boys broiled on toast. You'd better be moving on or he'll be coming."

"Oh! please, mum, do give me something to eat, mum. I've had nothing to eat since yesterday morning, really and truly, mum," says Jack. "I may as well be broiled as die of hunger."

Well, the ogre's wife was not half so bad after all. So she took Jack into the kitchen, and gave him a hunk of bread and cheese and a jug of milk. But Jack hadn't half finished these when thump! thump! thump! the whole house began to tremble with the noise of someone coming.

"Goodness gracious me! It's my old man," said the ogre's wife. "What on earth shall I do? Come along quick and jump in here." And she bundled Jack into the oven just as the ogre came in.

He was a big one, to be sure. At his belt he had three calves strung up by the heels, and he unhooked them and threw them down on the table and said, "Here, wife, broil me a couple of these for breakfast. Ah! what's this I smell?

I smell the blood of an Englishman,
Be he alive, or be he dead,
I'll have his bones to grind my bread."

"Nonsense, dear," said his wife. "You' re dreaming. Or perhaps you smell the scraps of that little boy you liked so much for yesterday's dinner. Here, you go and have a wash and tidy up, and by the time you come back your breakfast'll be ready for you."

So off the ogre went, and Jack was just going to jump out of the oven and run away when the woman told him not. "Wait till he's asleep," says she; "he always has a doze after breakfast."

Well, the ogre had his breakfast, and after that he goes to a big chest and takes out a couple of bags of gold, and down he sits and counts till at last his head began to nod and he began to snore till the whole house shook again.

Then Jack crept out on tiptoe from his oven, and as he was passing the ogre, he took one of the bags of gold under his arm, and off he pelters till he came to the beanstalk, and then he threw down the bag of gold, which, of course, fell into his mother's garden, and then he climbed down and climbed down till at last he got home and told his mother and showed her the gold and said, "Well, mother, wasn't I right about the beans? They are really magical, you see."

So they lived on the bag of gold for some time, but at last they came to the end of it, and Jack made up his mind to try his luck once more at the top of the beanstalk. So one fine morning he rose up early, and got onto the beanstalk, and he climbed, and he climbed, and he climbed, and he climbed, and he climbed, and he climbed till at last he came out onto the road again and up to the great tall house he had been to before. There, sure enough, was the great tall woman a-standing on the doorstep.

"Good morning, mum," says Jack, as bold as brass, "could you be so good as to give me something to eat?"

"Go away, my boy," said the big tall woman, "or else my man will eat you up for breakfast. But aren't you the youngster who came here once before? Do you know, that very day my man missed one of his bags of gold."

"That's strange, mum," said Jack, "I dare say I could tell you something about that, but I'm so hungry I can't speak till I've had something to eat."

Well, the big tall woman was so curious that she took him in and gave him something to eat. But he had scarcely begun munching it as slowly as he could when thump! thump! they heard the giant's footstep, and his wife hid Jack away in the oven.

All happened as it did before. In came the ogre as he did before, said, "Fee-fi-fo-fum," and had his breakfast off three broiled oxen.

Then he said, "Wife, bring me the hen that lays the golden eggs." So she brought it, and the ogre said, "Lay," and it laid an egg all of gold. And then the ogre began to nod his head, and to snore till the house shook.

Then Jack crept out of the oven on tiptoe and caught hold of the golden hen, and was off before you could say "Jack Robinson." But this time the hen gave a cackle which woke the ogre, and just as Jack got out of the house he heard him calling, "Wife, wife, what have you done with my golden hen?"

And the wife said, "Why, my dear?"

But that was all Jack heard, for he rushed off to the beanstalk and climbed down like a house on fire. And when he got home he showed his mother the wonderful hen, and said "Lay" to it; and it laid a golden egg every time he said "Lay."

Well, Jack was not content, and it wasn't long before he determined to have another try at his luck up there at the top of the beanstalk. So one fine morning he rose up early and got to the beanstalk, and he climbed, and he climbed, and he climbed, and he climbed till he got to the top.

But this time he knew better than to go straight to the ogre's house. And when he got near it, he waited behind a bush till he saw the ogre's wife come out with a pail to get some water, and then he crept into the house and got into the copper. He hadn't been there long when he heard thump! thump! thump! as before, and in came the ogre and his wife.

"Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman," cried out the ogre. "I smell him, wife, I smell him."

"Do you, my dearie?" says the ogre's wife. "Then, if it's that little rogue that stole your gold and the hen that laid the golden eggs he's sure to have got into the oven." And they both rushed to the oven.

But Jack wasn't there, luckily, and the ogre' s wife said, "There you are again with your fee-fi-fo-fum. Why, of course, it's the boy you caught last night that I've just broiled for your breakfast. How forgetful I am, and how careless you are not to know the difference between live and dead after all these years."

So the ogre sat down to the breakfast and ate it, but every now and then he would mutter, "Well, I could have sworn --" and he'd get up and search the larder and the cupboards and everything, only, luckily, he didn't think of the copper.

After breakfast was over, the ogre called out, "Wife, wife, bring me my golden harp."

So she brought it and put it on the table before him. Then he said, "Sing!" and the golden harp sang most beautifully. And it went on singing till the ogre fell asleep, and commenced to snore like thunder.

Then Jack lifted up the copper lid very quietly and got down like a mouse and crept on hands and knees till he came to the table, when up he crawled, caught hold of the golden harp and dashed with it towards the door.

But the harp called out quite loud, "Master! Master!" and the ogre woke up just in time to see Jack running off with his harp.

Jack ran as fast as he could, and the ogre came rushing after, and would soon have caught him, only Jack had a start and dodged him a bit and knew where he was going. When he got to the beanstalk the ogre was not more than twenty yards away when suddenly he saw Jack disappear like, and when he came to the end of the road he saw Jack underneath climbing down for dear life. Well, the ogre didn't like trusting himself to such a ladder, and he stood and waited, so Jack got another start.

But just then the harp cried out, "Master! Master!" and the ogre swung himself down onto the beanstalk, which shook with his weight. Down climbs Jack, and after him climbed the ogre.

By this time Jack had climbed down and climbed down and climbed down till he was very nearly home. So he called out, "Mother! Mother! bring me an ax, bring me an ax." And his mother came rushing out with the ax in her hand, but when she came to the beanstalk she stood stock still with fright, for there she saw the ogre with his legs just through the clouds.

But Jack jumped down and got hold of the ax and gave a chop at the beanstalk which cut it half in two. The ogre felt the beanstalk shake and quiver, so he stopped to see what was the matter. Then Jack gave another chop with the ax, and the beanstalk was cut in two and began to topple over. Then the ogre fell down and broke his crown, and the beanstalk came toppling after.

Then Jack showed his mother his golden harp, and what with showing that and selling the golden eggs, Jack and his mother became very rich, and he married a great princess, and they lived happy ever after.

story source: English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs published in 1890

This is an extremely fun, easy and kid friendly recipe:


* 2 cans (16 ounces each) baked beans
* 3/4 cup grape jelly (the secret ingredient)
* 1/2 cup chopped onion (optional)
* 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
* 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1) In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients.
2) Bring to a boil.
3) Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until thickened.
4) Enjoy!

Makes 6 servings.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Old Woman and the Tramp .....a tale from Sweden

January is National Soup Month!

Boil stones in butter, and you may sip the broth.
English Proverb

There was once a tramp, who went plodding his way through a forest. The distance between the houses was so great that he had little hope of finding a shelter before the night set in. But all of a sudden he saw some lights between the trees. He then discovered a cottage, where there was a fire burning on the hearth. "How nice it would be to roast one's self before that fire, and to get a bite of something," he thought; and so he dragged himself towards the cottage.

Just then an old woman came towards him.

"Good evening, and well met!" said the tramp.

"Good evening," said the woman. "Where do you come from?"

"South of the sun, and east of the moon," said the tramp, "and now I am on the way home again, for I have been all over the world with the exception of this parish," he said.

"You must be a great traveler, then," said the woman. "What may be your business here?"

"Oh, I want a shelter for the night," he said.

"I thought as much," said the woman; "but you may as well get away from here at once, for my husband is not at home, and my place is not an inn," she said.

"My good woman," said the tramp, "you must not be so cross and hardhearted, for we are both human beings, and should help one another, it is written."

"Help one another?" said the woman. "Help? Did you ever hear such a thing? Who'll help me, do you think? I haven't got a morsel in the house! No, you'll have to look for quarters elsewhere," she said.

But the tramp was like the rest of his kind. He did not consider himself beaten at the first rebuff. Although the old woman grumbled and complained as much as she could, he was just as persistent as ever, and went on begging and praying like a starved dog, until at last she gave in, and he got permission to lie on the floor for the night.

That was very kind, he thought, and he thanked her for it.

"Better on the floor without sleep, than suffer cold in the forest deep," he said, for he was a merry fellow, this tramp, and was always ready with a rhyme.

When he came into the room he could see that the woman was not so badly off as she had pretended. But she was a greedy and stingy woman of the worst sort, and was always complaining and grumbling.

He now made himself very agreeable, of course, and asked her in his most insinuating manner for something to eat.

"Where am I to get it from?" said the woman. "I haven't tasted a morsel myself the whole day."

But the tramp was a cunning fellow, he was. "Poor old granny, you must be starving," he said, "Well, well, I suppose I shall have to ask you to have something with me, then."

"Have something with you!" said the woman. "You don't look as if you could ask anyone to have anything! What have you got to offer one, I should like to know?"

"He who far and wide does roam sees many things not known at home; and he who many things has seen has wits about him and senses keen," said the tramp. "Better dead than lose one's head! Lend me a pot, granny!"

The old woman now became very inquisitive, as you may guess, and so she let him have a pot. He filled it with water and put it on the fire, and then he blew with all his might till the fire was burning fiercely all round it Then he took a four-inch nail from his pocket, turned it three times in his hand and put it into the pot.

The woman stared with all her might. "What's this going to be?" she asked.

"Nail broth," said the tramp.

The old woman had seen and heard a good deal in her time, but that anybody could have made broth with a nail, well, she had never heard the like before.

"That's something for poor people to know," she said, "and I should like to learn how to make it."

"That which is not worth having, will always go a-begging," said the tramp.

But if she wanted to learn how to make it she had only to watch him, he said, and went on stirring the broth. The old woman squatted on the ground, her hands clasping her knees, and her eyes following his hand as he stirred the broth.

"This generally makes good broth," he said, "but this time it will very likely be rather thin, for I have been making broth the whole week with the same nail. If one only had a handful of sifted oatmeal to put in, that would make it all right," he said. "But what one has to go without, it's no use thinking more about," and so he stirred the broth again.

"Well, I think I have a scrap of flour somewhere," said the old woman, and went out to fetch some, and it was both good and fine. The tramp began putting the flour into the broth, and went on stirring, while the woman sat staring now at him and then at the pot until her eyes nearly burst their sockets.

"This broth would be good enough for company," he said, putting in one handful of flour after another. "If I had only a bit of salted beef and a few potatoes to put in, it would be fit for gentlefolks, however particular they might be," he said. "But what one has to go without, it's no use thinking more about."

When the old woman really began to think it over, she thought she had some potatoes, and perhaps a bit of beef as well, and these she gave the tramp, who went on stirring, while she sat and stared as hard as ever.

"This will be grand enough for the best in the land," he said.

"Well, I never!" said the woman, "and just fancy -- all with a nail!" He was really a wonderful man, that tramp! He could do more than drink a sup and turn the tankard up, he could.

"If one had only a little barley and a drop of milk, we could ask the king himself to have some of it," he said, "for this is what he has every blessed evening -- that I know, for I have been in service under the king's cook" he said.

"Dear me! Ask the king to have some! Well, I never!" exclaimed the woman, slapping her knees. She was quite awestruck at the tramp and his grand connections.

"But what one has to go without, it's no use thinking more about."

And then she remembered she had a little barley; and as for milk, well, she wasn't quite out of that, she said, for her best cow had just calved. And then she went to fetch both the one and the other.

The tramp went on stirring, and the woman sat staring, one moment at him and the next at the pot.

Then all at once the tramp took out the nail. "Now it's ready, and now we'll have a real good feast," he said. "But to this kind of soup the king and the queen always take a dram or two, and one sandwich at least. And then they always have a cloth on the table when they eat," he said. "But what one has to go without, it's no use thinking more about."

But by this time the old woman herself had begun to feel quite grand and fine, I can tell you. And if that was all that was wanted to make it just as the king had it, she thought it would be nice to have it just the same way for once, and play at being king and queen with the tramp. She went straight to a cupboard and brought out the brandy bottle, dram glasses, butter and cheese, smoked beef and veal, until at last the table looked as if it were decked out for company.

Never in her life had the old woman had such a grand feast, and never had she tasted such broth, and just fancy, made only with a nail! She was in such a good and merry humor at having learnt such an economical way of making broth that she did not know how to make enough of the tramp who had taught her such a useful thing. So they ate and drank, and drank and ate, until they become both tired and sleepy.

The tramp was now going to lie down on the floor. But that would never do, thought the old woman. No, that was impossible. "Such a grand person must have a bed to lie in," she said.

He did not need much pressing. "It's just like the sweet Christmastime," he said, "and a nicer woman I never came across. Ah, well! Happy are they who meet with such good people," said he, and he lay down on the bed and went asleep.

And next morning when he woke, the first thing he got was coffee and a dram. When he was going, the old woman gave him a bright dollar piece. "And thanks, many thanks, for what you have taught me," she said. "Now I shall live in comfort, since I have learnt how to make broth with a nail."

"Well it isn't very difficult, if one only has something good to add to it," said the tramp as he went on his way.

The woman stood at the door staring after him. "Such people don't grow on every bush," she said.

* story source: Gabriel Djurklou, Fairy Tales from the Swedish, translated by H. L. Brækstad (London: William Heinemann, 1901), pp. 33-41.

story found @

Make Your Own Nail Broth

2 pounds beef stew meat
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup carrots, sliced thin
1 cup celery, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup parsley leaves, snipped
4 cups beef broth
1 (16oz)can diced tomatoes
1 cup spaghetti sauce
2/3 cups pearl barley
2 teaspoons basil, dry & crushed
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons black pepper


Cut meat into 1 inch cubes.
In a large skillet brown meat, half at a time, in hot oil.
Drain well.
Meanwhile in crockpot combine carrots, celery, onion, green pepper, and parsley.
Add broth, undrained tomatoes, spagetti sauce, barley, basil, salt, and pepper.
Stir in browned meat.

Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 10-12 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 1/2-5 hours.
Skim off fat.
Enjoy your Nail Broth!!