Give Yourself Away

“Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.” ―C.S. Lewis

Today is Valentine’s Day. A modern day celebration of romance, love, and, let’s be honest, people making a lot of money. According to Statistics Brain 13.9 billion dollars will be spent, 180 million Valentine’s Day cards will be exchanged, and the average number of children conceived, 11,000. Needless to say, flowers will be given, candy will be overly consumed, and jewelry will be passed out in great quantities. Homemade Spiced Marshmallows: Pure and Simple Even knowing all the statistics, I still get sentimental and want in on all the fun. Who wouldn’t want a box of chocolates and a bouquet of flowers from someone who thinks you’re special? I enjoy the feelings that come with Valentines gifts. I get all warm and fuzzy.

My relationship with my husband has many of these days, not just on Valentine’s Day and I am thankful for them. On the other hand, we have days that are not so special, no warm fuzzies anywhere to be found. I get mad, slam a door, and go sulk in my bedroom. Tim retreats, withdraws within himself, and moments are tense. You know what I am talking about. We all have them. So, what about love then? Is it still there or has love flown because I can’t feel it? Homemade Spiced Marshmallows: Pure and Simple Today’s general consensus would be; “If (fill in the blank) doesn’t make you feel good, go find something or someone that will”,  and off we go in search of a warm fuzzy to make us feel good. The main problem with this line of reasoning, I think, is that it  tends to be all about me. The focus remains on what I am getting, what I am feeling and frankly, misses the mark by a long shot.

Homemade Spiced Marshmallows: Pure and Simple I can say this with confidence because I have lived this flawed mentality out in my own life, always searching for someone to make me feel good. Fortunately, over time I began to understand that love was not about receiving, but more about giving and commitment. I started to look for opportunities to fill the needs of others and not merely my own. A funny thing happened when I began to give freely and without conditions. I found that my own needs were met.  Have a Happy Valentine’s Day. Now, go give yourself away.

Double Rich Hot Cocoa: Pure and Simple There is nothing like a really good cup of hot cocoa to help tame the “will winter ever go away” blues and this rich creamy hot cup of cocoa with homemade spiced marshmallows and a dabble of whiskey (optional, of course) does the trick. 

Double Rich Hot Chocolate 

Homemade Spiced Marshmallows 

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25 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 21 – Popcorn Snowmen

In the meadow, we can build a snowman…

I know this is not a Christmas Cookie, but these little snowmen are so cute, I couldn’t resist slipping them in to my 25 Days of Christmas Cookies Series. Popcorn Snowmen are so simple to make, and a great way to get your kids involved in a little Christmas Holiday fun. Beats the work and trouble of a gingerbread house, and the kids will love it.

25 Days of Christmas Cookies

Day 21 – Popcorn Snowmen

25 Days of Christmas Cookies:Day 21 - Popcorn Snowmen

 Day 20 –Gluten Free Almond and Pecan Sandies

25 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 20 - Gluten Free Almond and Pecan Sandies

Day 19 – Flourless German Chocolate Cake Cookies

  25 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 19- Flourless German Chocolate Cake Cookies

Day 18 – Black and White Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies

25 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 18 - Black and White Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies

Day 17 – Snickerdoodle Bars

25 Day of Christmas Cookies: Day 17 - Snickerdoodle Bars

Day 16 – Melting Moments

25 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 16 - Melting Moments

Day 15 – Chocolaty Melting Snowmen

25 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 15 - Chocolaty Melting Snowmen

Day 14 – Big Soft Ginger Cookies

25 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 14 - Big Soft Ginger Cookies

Day 13 – White Chocolate and Coconut Sandwich Cookies

25 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 13 - White Chocolate and Coconut Sandwich Cookies

Day 12 – Peanut Butter Cookies

25 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 12 - Peanut-Butter-Cookies

Day 11 – Macadamia Nut Dream Bars

25 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 11 - Macadamia Nut Dream Bars

Day 10 – Coconut Macaroons Dipped in Chocolate

25 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 10- Coconut Macaroons Dipped In Chocolate

Day 9 – Chocolate-Espresso Snowcaps

25 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 9 - Chocolate-Espresso Snowcaps

Day 8 – Florentines

25 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 8 - Florentines

 Day 7 – Chai Gingerbread Men

25 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 7 - Chai Ginger Bread Men

Day 6 – Peppermint Stick Cookies

Candy-Cane-cookies

Day 5 – Chocolate Dipped Pistachio Crescents

25 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 5 - Chocolate Dipped Pistachio Crescents are a small nod to a simpler time.  Buttery crescents that melt in your mouth, dipped in rich chocolate and covered in nuts. It doesn't get much better than that.

Day 4 – Lemon Cardamom Wreaths

25 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 4 - Lemon Cardamom Wreaths. I love the simplicity of flavors in this cookie. The cardamom and lemon play well together, giving a wonderful citrus flavor in every bite, and every time I open the container of cookies, the spicy fragrant aroma greets me with the certainty of Christmas.

Day 3 –  Black and White Peppermint Bars 

25 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 3 - Black and White Peppermint Bars. Day 2 –Iced Ginger Stars

 Iced Ginger Stars are crisp and gingery, with just a touch of sweetness. They make the perfect dunking cookie and can be used for edible Christmas ornaments.  Day 1 –Russian Rocks

Russian Rocks

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Want to help Support PureGraceFarms? If you have enjoyed my blog and the recipes you find here, one of the ways you can help support Pure Grace Farms is by visiting my affiliate Amazon.com and making a purchase through the link on this site. Amazon pays me a small percentage from your purchases with no additional cost to you, and allows me to continue delivering great recipes and content to this site week after week. Thank you in advance for your support. Shop Amazon – Top Holiday Deals

Rich Flavorful Vegetable Stock: Pure and Simple

I try to be grateful for the abundance of the blessings that I have, for the journey that I’m on and to relish each day as a gift. – James McGreevey

Holidays are right around the corner. I get excited when I think about all the opportunities I will have to cook for my family and friends. This time of year always gets my creative juices flowing.

How to make flavorful Rich Vegetable Broth: The flavor and quality can't be compared to what you buy in the store and it is simple to do. As an added benefit,when making your own you know exactly what you are getting.

I work outside the home, so I often don’t have the time I would like to spend cooking and creating in the kitchen. When I find a shortcut offering better quality than store bought, doesn’t take much effort on my part, and adds amazing flavor to the dishes I create, I jump on it.

How to make flavorful Rich Vegetable Broth: The flavor and quality can't be compared to what you buy in the store and it is simple to do. As an added benefit,when making your own you know exactly what you are getting.

Making your own vegetable stock is one of those shortcuts. The flavor and quality can’t be compared to what you buy in the store and it is simple to do. As an added benefit,when making your own pure food vegetable broth, you know exactly what you are getting.

How to make flavorful Rich Vegetable Broth: The flavor and quality can't be compared to what you buy in the store and it is simple to do. As an added benefit,when making your own you know exactly what you are getting.

I prefer to make my vegetable broth gluten free as it is simple to accomplish.  The vegetable broth recipe is mostly made up of vegetables. Soy sauce is the only potential product with gluten. Use Tamari gluten free soy sauce and your whole broth remains gluten free. Simple.

How to make flavorful Rich Vegetable Broth: The flavor and quality can't be compared to what you buy in the store and it is simple to do. As an added benefit,when making your own you know exactly what you are getting.

When making your broth feel free to experiment with different vegetables. Today I made one batch that strictly followed the recipe (go figure, I actually followed a recipe). The other batch I added a few beets that were homegrown from the garden and needed to be used up and pumpkin broth left over from making  a batch of pumpkin puree.  The second pot of broth was a little more colorful but just as delicious. Your imagination is all that is required, along with a few leftover scraps.

How to make flavorful Rich Vegetable Broth: The flavor and quality can't be compared to what you buy in the store and it is simple to do. As an added benefit,when making your own you know exactly what you are getting.

Double the recipe so you will be sure to have enough to freeze. This is the best part. The broth freezes well and is great to have on hand when you need a bit of extra flavor for your pure food recipes. How to make flavorful Rich Vegetable Broth: The flavor and quality can't be compared to what you buy in the store and it is simple to do. As an added benefit,when making your own you know exactly what you are getting.

Tonight I am using my broth for a delicious split pea soup recipe. Be sure to come back on Tuesday and check it out. I would love to hear what you use your vegetable broth for. Make a comment and spread a little inspiration my way, I would surely appreciate it. The following recipe is from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food

Rich Flavorful Vegetable Broth
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  2. 2 carrots, sliced
  3. 1 onion, quartered (don’t bother to peel)
  4. 1 potato, sliced
  5. 1 celery stalk, chopped
  6. 2 or 3 cloves garlic (don’t bother to peel)
  7. 5 to 10 white mushrooms, halved or sliced
  8. 10 to 20 parsley stems or stems with leaves
  9. 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  10. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Put the oil in a deep skillet or dutch oven on medium high heat. When hot, add the carrots, onion, potato, celery, garlic, and mushrooms. Cook without stirring for about 5 minutes, then stir occasionally, allowing vegetables to brown well. Usually about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Add the parsley, 6 cups water, the soy sauce, and some pepper. Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the mixture simmers steadily but gently. Cook for about 60 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender.
  3. Strain, then taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more soy sauce or a bit of salt, before using or storing.
  4. Broth can be used immediately, stored in the refrigerator for about 1 week in an airtight container, or frozen.
Notes
  1. Double your batch to have some on hand in the freezer for later use. Trust me, you wont regret it.
  2. Allowing the vegetables to brown well adds depth of flavor and a richer color to the broth.
  3. When freezing vegetables, I prefer to freeze mine in 1 cup plastic containers. Once frozen, I pop them out of the container and place them in a heavy duty freezer bag. It is easy to grab the amount I need out of the bag and reseal.
Pure Grace Farms http://puregracefarms.com/

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Spiced Apple Cider Mix

“Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!”  – Humbert Wolfe 

Fall is here in all its brilliant glory and my soul rejoices. 

. fall Everything about fall excites me

Spiced Apple Cider Mix: The spicy fragrance greets friends and neighbors at our door, welcoming them in without a word being spoken.  As I walk the neighborhood, beautiful maple trees robed in exquisite jeweled colors of red, yellow and orange, shimmer and shake in the wind. Air as crisp as new linen sheets reaches out and greets me. fall2 Fragrant pine needles assault my senses as they are crunched beneath my feet, demanding to be noticed, not wanting to be left out in this little foray of sights, smells and sounds of fall, while I bask in the magnificence of God’s creation.

Spiced Apple Cider Mix: The spicy fragrance greets friends and neighbors at our door, welcoming them in without a word being spoken.  Along with fall, comes cooler weather and for me, the desire to create. I am hard pressed to create the sights and smells of fall as they are so expertly done in nature, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. Spiced Apple Cider Mix: The spicy fragrance greets friends and neighbors at our door, welcoming them in without a word being spoken.  Spiced Apple Cider is one of my best efforts.

Spiced Apple Cider Mix The spicy fragrance greets friends and neighbors at our door, welcoming them in without a word being spoken.  

Spiced Apple Cider
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Ingredients
  1. 6 oz whole cinnamon sticks
  2. 10 whole nutmegs
  3. 1/3 c star anise
  4. 2/3 c dried orange peel
  5. 2/3 c dried lemon peel
  6. 3/4 c whole cloves
  7. 1/2 c allspice berries
  8. 1/3 c finely chopped crystallized ginger
  9. 20 small bags with drawstrings
Instructions
  1. Place cinnamon sticks, nutmegs and star anise in a zippered freezer bag and close, pressing out all the air from the bag. Place the bag on a cutting board and pound with a mallet or rolling pin until sticks and nutmegs are broken into pieces. Chop ginger into small pieces.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
  3. Spoon 1 1/2 - 2 tbsp mix into each bag, gather drawstrings tight and tie ends.
Notes
  1. To Make Spiced Apple Cider
  2. Combine 1 gallon apple cider and 1 spice bag in a crock pot or a large pot on the stove. Heat for 30-40 minutes or until hot. Remove spice bag. Serve hot.
Pure Grace Farms http://puregracefarms.com/
 Spiced Apple Cider Mix shared with:

2 Crochet Hooks: Retro Re-pin Party *Weekend Craft: Creative Spark *The Newlywed Pilgrimage: Moonlight and Mason Jars

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”