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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Inspired by... Guluptsie


Gul-what? It's actually pronounced (or at least I pronounce it) Hul-op-shee and they are stuffed cabbage rolls! A perfect day-after-Christmas meal, especially if you have four hours to kill. Not sayin' I did, but these were a promised Christmas gift... you get the picture.



My recipe is a variation of the one found here.

  • 2 large heads cabbage
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 pound bacon, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic, or to taste
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups uncooked white rice
  • 1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 (14.4 ounce) cans whole tomatoes with juice
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  1. Bring a large amount of water to a boil in a large stockpot over high heat. Remove cores from the cabbages with the tip of a paring knife, leaving the heads intact. Place the cabbages into the boiling water, and set aside to soften.
  2. In a large skillet, brown the beef over medium-high heat. Drain the meat in a colander. Using a little of the grease from the meat, stir in the onions and garlic; cook until softened and translucent. Stir in the rice, and cook until the rice has begun to brown. When the rice has browned, mix it together with the browned meat, add Mrs. Dash; season to taste with salt and pepper.


3. Remove the heads of cabbage from the hot water. Remove the softened outer leaves, and rinse with cool water. Set the firm, small, inner leaves aside.


4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter two 9x13-inch casserole dishes. Line with small inner cabbage leaves.

5. Lay a cabbage leaf flat on a work surface with the inside of the leaf facing up, and the core-side facing you. Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture on the bottom part of the leaf. Roll the leaf about halfway, then fold in the sides, and finish rolling all of the way. Place into the prepared dish, seam-side down. Repeat with remaining ingredients.


6. Pour the canned tomatoes (with juice) into a bowl and crush by hand into 1/2-inch pieces. Stir in the tomato sauce and chicken broth. Pour this evenly over the rolls, and cover them with aluminum foil.

7. Bake in preheated oven until the rice has softened, and the juices are bubbling, about 2 hours.

This made 20+ rolls, but as others have noted, they do freeze well for later consumption. There are many variations of this recipe, so have fun with it!  And if you have a favorite version, please share!







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Tidy Mom Nap-Time Creations

Monday, December 26, 2011

Inspired by... gifts


Was your Christmas all you hoped it would be?  I certainly hope it was!

Sometimes, though, we can be disappointed if we set our expectations too high. At Christmas-time, with all the hype leading up to the special day, it's easy for that to happen. Especially, if we're focused on the wrong things.

I can still vividly remember one childhood Christmas disappointment. There were several Strawberry Shortcake dolls (and ensuing paraphernalia) under the tree that year. I had wanted them desperately earlier in the year. The only problem was, by the time Christmas rolled around, I had outgrown them! Not only was I disappointed in the gifts, but I was hurt that the Givers hadn't noticed I'd outgrown playing with dolls.

I think that experience may be why I take such care in choosing the gifts I give today, and struggle when having to purchase something for someone I don't know very well.

I take JOY in watching someone open that PERFECT GIFT.



"[The Magi] were overwhelmed at the sight of it and, entering the house, they saw the

child with Mary his mother and bowed low in homage to him; they opened their

treasure chests and presented gifts to him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh."


Can you imagine the expression on Mary & Joseph's faces when the Magi presented their gifts to Baby Jesus?

Gold – big smile!

Frankincense – smile dimming a bit

Myrrh – a frozen, sort of half smile as you remember to be gracious, after all these men are Kings

God, frankincense and myrrh. Not exactly perfect gifts for a toddler, right?

But this wasn't any ordinary toddler.


This was Jesus, The Christ. Messiah.

And the gifts the Magi gave were PERFECT.


GOLD – held great value and symbolized Jesus' DEITY

FRANKINCENSE – is a white resin, a clean burning incense that was mixed with the temple sacrifice and produced a "fragrant aroma unto the Lord." It symbolized Jesus' DESTINY - who, as our High Priest, would offer the ultimate and FINAL sacrifice.

MYRRH – also a resin, with strong antiseptic properties was used for medicinal purposes (pain relief) and embalming. Myrrh symbolized Jesus' DEATH, the bitterness and suffering He would endure.

So you see, the Magis' gifts were perfect and...


God has sent us the perfect gift.

"God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that everyone who has

faith in Him will not perish but have eternal life."




My prayer this Christmas is that you will receive Him.









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Friday, December 23, 2011

Inspired by... Aslan


Aslan wants to share a Christmas story with you today.

He promises that it will make you smile.


He asks that you try to stay awake...



...because this is a very sweet story about how he got the "M" on his forehead.





This is a story of a simple Tabby cat, and her gift on the very first Christmas day to a special mother and child.

There was no snow that night in Bethlehem. Instead, the small cat watched a star-spangled sky from her perch in the window of a stable. She liked the stable, for it was a warm safe place to raise her furry babies, and the innkeeper sometimes left scraps out for her to nibble. Tabby wasn't particularly distinctive, and most humans didn't look at her twice. After all, her short orange/white fur was quite common. But Tabby's striped coat hid a heart bigger than cats twice her size.

This night, though, Tabby was out of sorts, for she'd not been able to hunt and catch dinner. Travelers had poured into town for days, so noisy they disturbed decent cat-folks' rest. Why, they'd even invaded Tabby’s quiet stable, a place she had before shared only with other furry creatures. Tabby hadn't minded the human couple—they were calmer than most. She'd left that morning for her usual rounds, but when she returned, the stable was packed with people.

From her perch on the window, Tabby watched the last of the strangers leave. She slipped from the window, and padded silently inside—and froze!

"Meewwww, meewww, meewww," cried a tiny voice.

A kitten? Tabby's ears turn this way and that to find the sound of the kitten's voice. It came from the manger, the very place Tabby often made her own bed. A woman knelt beside the manger, intent on the small mewling that arose from within. Tabby was drawn by the kittenish sound, though she knew her own furry babies were grown to cat-hood. She tiptoed forward very slowly, and passed by a wooly burro, a warm cow, and all the other animals.

The woman looked up, and saw the striped cat. "Oh, little cat," she murmured, "my baby cannot sleep, and nothing calms him this night." She sighed, and turned back to the manger. "How grateful would I be to anyone able to bring him sweet dreams."

And, as Tabby watched, each stable animal stepped forward in turn and tried to soothe the woman's baby. But the kittenish sounds continued, and finally Tabby could contain herself no longer.

Quickly, she washed herself—paws, face, behind the ears, to the very tip of her tail (so as not to offend the child's mother)—and then shyly stepped forward. She leapt gracefully to the manger, and stared into the face of the most beautiful baby (human or kitten!) she'd ever seen. He cooed and smiled, waving his tiny hands at Tabby, and she very carefully drew in her claws and settled beside him. Forgotten was her empty tummy; she could only hear her heart calling out to this sweet human-kitten.

And Tabby began to purr.

The wondrous cat-song filled the stable with overwhelming emotion. The animals listened with awe, and the child's mother smiled as her baby quietly went to sleep.

The child's mother placed her hand gently on the purring Tabby's forehead. "Blessings upon you, Tabby-cat, for this sweet gift given to me and my child," she said. And where she'd touched Tabby's brow, there appeared an M—the sign of the Madonna's benediction.

From that day forward, all proper tabby cats are honored with an M on their brow for the great service they performed that first Christmas night. And Christmas nights often find Tabby cats staring into the night, purring as they recall a very special child their ancestor once sang to sleep.


Blessings on your Christmas,




PS I've seen many versions of this legend on the internet. The one posted above (except for a couple of slight changes made by me) is Aslan's favorite and was found HERE.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Inspired by... 12 Days of Textures {Day 10}


You're either wondering where Day 6-9 went or you're too busy with holiday preparations to have noticed that I've been absent for the last few days.  I wish I could say I've been busy, too, but unfortunately, it's been the flu. {sigh}

But I believe I'm on the mend now and wanted to share with you some of the more favored ornaments on our Christmas tree... and play with some textures at the same time!


Let's start with a smile, shall we?



Here is a beautiful hummingbird my mom gave me one year.



This is one of the older (vintage?) ornaments that has been passed down from my Grandmother's tree.



This one is special because my Nana made it for me.



My dad gave me a set of Hummel church ornaments one year... so sweet!



I think this one came from Wally World... but it's so pretty!



And this one my dad bought for me at a Christmas craft bazaar many, many years ago...

I still love it!



The best thing about decorating for Christmas at my house, is that 90% of my decorations were given to me by family or friends. Every year as I decorate my trees and set out my nativities and other decorations I'm reminded of the sweetness of each person who gifted me in the past. So in a very real sense, their gift continues to bless me year after year.


I hope you have a similar experience in your home this Christmas.




Friday, December 16, 2011

Inspired by... 12 Days of Textures {Day 5}


Sharing my pretty cardinal crackle votive (love) and Kim's Zuzu texture with you today.








Thursday, December 15, 2011

Inspired by... 12 Days of Textures {Days 3 & 4}


Yes, I'm playing a bit of catch up here with Kim's 12 Days of Textures holiday series, with another shot from the Hawaiian archives... using Kim's Edward and Cosmo textures...



The Legend of Poinsettia

Legend has it that a poor child

in Mexico having nothing to

give the Christ Child on His

birthday, gathered some weeds

into a lovely bouquet; the only

gift she had to offer.

When she brought her gift to the manager

this simple weed was transformed

into a brilliant red bloom ~ the poinsettia!

Now known as the beautiful

"Flower of the Holy Night"


It was so neat to find poinsettia's growing in people's backyards!  Even in balmy Hawaii, they spoke "Christmas" to me. Their bold red and green are one of my favorite symbols of the holiday.


Do you have a favorite holiday "symbol" ?





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and then, she {snapped}






Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Inspired by... Noel {Inspiration #7}





I have another {joyfully} Inspired Noel for you today! And since this is also Day 2 of Kim Klassen's 12 Days of Textures it worked out just beautifully that texture #2, the lovely Annabelle, features more "musically noted" edges!




Isn't she sweet? I found her and the two other images I used on these star ornaments over at The Graphics Fairy.

These little wooden stars are 29cents at the craft store, and turned out so pretty, don't you think?



I began by cutting out some music paper and inking the edges, then using modge podge to apply it to the star.

After letting that dry thoroughly I added the Graphics Fairy images.



Then finally some glitter around the edges of each star. 



The Merry Christmas envelope image graces the back of each star.



Baby_Jesus_Star_Ornament You can see the Annabelle texture the best on this one. Love!


Oh, and did I mention that PiliAloha helped with the photo shoot?



Have you made any special ornaments this year?








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12DAYSBANNERpost Photobucket Momma Hens CoopA Crafty Soiree The Shabby Nest  Stuff and Nonsense

 Positively Splendid  bragbuttonfinalsmall