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December 2009

November 2009

Monday Bites ~ Thanksgiving Soup

I know, I know...... everyone is sick and tired of turkey........ but you see, I invented this yummy soup and if you make a turkey for the upcoming December holidays, you'll have something fun to do with the leftovers! This soup was truly invented to use up the last little bits of everything..... excluding the cranberry sauce.... because..... well.... some things just don't belong in soup! And if you love stuffing and dumplings as much as my crew.... keep reading.........



Thanksgiving Dinner Soup

(Turkey Soup with Stuffing Dumplings)

Bones of one Turkey

3 quarts of water

splash of vinegar

**simmer the above for a whole day.... overnight in the crockpot is best.

Drain the bones and pull any meat off if you wish. Now is the fun part. Throw your leftovers into the pot!!

1-2 cups of leftover mashed potatoes

1-2 cups of leftover squash puree

**Stir this up well. Add in some green veggies. (I think onions & carrots would also be good, but seriously who feels like chopping a bunch of vegetables after Thanksgiving dinner is over!??!!)

1 bunch of chopped Kale (or 1 pound of green beans)

thanksgiving soup  


Add spices of your choice.... some good ones would be garlic powder, rubbed sage, paprika, salt, pepper, a pinch of ginger...... Bring the soup to a gentle simmer while you prepare the dumplings.....

Stuffing Dumplings ::

4 eggs

2-3 cups of leftover stuffing (I picked the cranberries out of ours!)

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup wheat flour

3/4 cup white flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

making dumplings

** Mix the eggs, stuffing & milk together. In a separate bowl mix up the flours, salt & baking powder. Mix the dry ingredients into the egg mixture and stir until well combined... the batter should be stiff enough to hold its shape. You can add a little more flour if needed. Drop the dumplings 3-4 at a time into the simmering soup. Stir the soup. You can add 2-3 more dumplings every 5 minutes or so. This prevents them from sticking together. After all the dumplings have been added let the soup simmer for 10 minutes to ensure that the dumplings are cooked all the way through.

Yummy accompanied by a fresh salad. This soup is not pretty, but it is delicious! The entire pot disappeared at my place!

taste tester 



Stubby Pencil Studio :: A Giveaway

I would like to welcome our newest sponsor.....

stubbypencil logo

 Stubby Pencil Studio has been a favorite of ours for awhile now and I am so happy to have them join us here. 

Kate from Stubby Pencil Studio has offered a very generous gift to a lucky reader of Gypsy Forest!! 


Holiday Art Tote from Stubby Pencil Studio

(A $75+ Value)


Box of 8 Washable Markers

Ecojot 6x9 sketchbook (winner choice of design)

Set of 5 Holiday Smencils

3 Jumbo Grip Graphite Pencils

3 #2 Learner Pencils

Finger Printing Art Kit

Snifty Pens Holiday set - gingerbread and candycane

Jumbo Trimax Color Pencils

Color 'n Kids Frosty Friends cards

Set of 16 Crayon Rocks

KUM pencil sharpener

Picky Penguin wooden toy

Red gingerbread (reusable) felt tote


Just leave a comment below to enter! Sunday evening I'll close the comments and draw a name to announce Monday morning. Good Luck everyone!

And a BIG thank you to Stubby Pencil Studio! We're so glad to have you join us :)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

comments are closed..... I'll announce the winner in the morning!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

And the winner is..........

Kyndale :: My kids would love to play with all of that goodness!!

Enjoy your art goodies!!

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Giving Thanks

There are cranberry pumpkin muffins in the oven and fresh bread on my table. Two beautiful pies and roasted squash and sweet potatoes and more..... the house is full of warm beautiful smells. 

Miss 6 making bread




   my littlest helper

 Thanksgiving Morning

My heart is full of thanks for all those so dear to me...... family, friends near and far and all of you who stop by to share this little space with me. The sweet little ones in my house that spent the entire day yesterday helping their mama and the man of the house who never grumbled as he washed dish after dish after dish. When I look at all their beautiful faces and the abundance of good things to eat in my house I feel so very, very blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

Much Love and Many Blessings to you all.


In the Garden this morning.....

the garden


The garden is slowly but surely coming along. We ate our first salad yesterday at lunch! What a joy to eat something you have grown from a tiny little seed. It's strange and wonderful to be spending so much time outside near the end of November tending a garden.

I've had to help the pumpkins and squash a bit since there are less pollinating bugs outside this time of year. I've been using a q-tip to do this. It seems to have worked since my first blossoms were shriveling up and now I have fruit on the newer ones! I had no idea there were male and female blossoms..... gardening is so new to me!

sweet peas 

sweet peas


zucchini blossoms 

zucchini blossom


leaf lettuce

 leaf lettuce


My husband screened in our covered patio and now we have a nice bug free place to sit and enjoy a glass of wine in the evening.... it has been SO very nice to have this extra space. And I've got quite the collection of plants starting outside..... peas, sweet potatoes, herbs and 3 fruit trees. A satsuma orange tree, a lemon tree and a fig tree. These will be planted in the yard soon... but I am excited that two of them have some fruit.... it's too late in the season for this, so the large lemons will ripen, but the figs and tiny lemons most likely will not. The lemon tree bloomed after we brought it home and lemon blossom is one of the best smells ever. It was unbelievable, the entire backyard smelled clean and wonderful!


new covered patio and our little homestead beginnings


ripening lemon 

a lemon just starting to turn yellow


lemon blossom 

lemon blossoms


tiny lemons 

after the blossoms fall off, these tiny lemons begin to form


little figs 

little figs


And the fairy's have also been busy gardening, because on my way out to our garden I saw this wee little one next to a fairy house.

fairy garden

Monday Bites ~ Pumpkin Bread Pudding

While driving to New Orleans to go shopping at a Whole Foods and pick up my husband from the airport..... busy, busy night I tell ya...... Miss 11 and I talked the entire time about food. food. food. That girl loves food as much as her mama..... right down to foo-foo olives and stinky cheese. 

So, after an hour of talking about food on the drive...... and two hours of talking about food in the grocery store.... I thought "I should share more of what we eat around here with all of you!"...... the good.... the not so good..... and the wonderful! So today I introduce the first "Monday Bites". Bites meaning food, of course, though I do love that little play on words......

Today's recipe is::

Pumpkin Bread Pudding 


Pumpkin Bread Pudding

(a recipe by the Gypsy Mama)

*1 stale baguette cut into cubes (about 1/2 - 1 inch) (about 8 cups)

1/4 cup butter 

1 cup of pumpkin puree

1/2 tsp salt

**1 tsp each of cinnamon, ginger & cardamom

**1/2 tsp each of nutmeg & cloves

***1/3 - 1/2 cup sweetener of your choice (we used organic evaporated cane juice)

4 eggs

2 cups of whole milk

Cube the bread and put into a large deep dish pie pan. Melt the butter.    (*I browned the butter a bit by turning the heat up until it looks like it separates and turns golden ~ yum!) Pour the melted butter over the bread cubes. In a bowl mix together the pumpkin, salt, spices & sugar until well combined. Add eggs one at a time and mix well after each. Add the milk and mix well again. Pour this mixture over the bread crumbs. Now comes the tricky part, but well worth it. Put a plate or cutting board over the bread pudding to gently press it down. You can set something heavy on the dish to help this pressing.... leave it like this for 30 minutes so the bread soaks up the egg mixture.... if you want to skip this part, the bread might not be "eggy" all the way through. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake until set, about 30-35 minutes. If you like a slightly crunchy top, turn the oven up to 375 for the last 10 minutes.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream as a yummy dessert. 


A la Mode


* if you don't have a stale/dry loaf of bread, cube it and put it in the oven on about 250 for 10-20 minutes to dry it out.

** spices - I like my bread pudding spicy, feel free to halve the spices if you like a more mellow flavor.

*** we try to eat desserts without a lot of sugar.... and I wanted this to be guilt free as breakfast the next morning, so I only used 1/3 cup of sugar. If you like a sweeter dessert, up the sugar to a half cup.



Enjoy :)


**disclaimer** I owe all of this grand brain storming and moment of clarity to the clever little shopping carts disguised as "cars" for little people at the grocery store. It kept my busy Mr Three occupied for 2 HOURS while we shopped for a month's worth of food. Amazing I tell you!


Random Holiday Musings.....

This has been the question bouncing around in my head the past few weeks......

"What is the true meaning?"

We all have a different reason to celebrate. And although each of our reasons will be a little different, I think all of us could agree it comes down to one thing. 


Our family in celebrating our religious traditions.

Our family in those we were born to, and those born to us.

Our family in those we choose as partners.

Our family in our friends and neighbors.


"Family:: denotes a group of people or animals affiliated by a consanguinity, affinity or co-residence. Although the concept of consanguinity originally referred to relations by "blood," anthropologists have argued that one must understand the idea of "blood" metaphorically, and that many societies understand 'family' through other concepts rather than through genetic distance."                ~from wikipedia


Don't you just love that definition? It basically reaffirms for me, my own belief of having the family we are born to and also the family we choose in our neighbors and friends on our journey through life.

This year I took the time to really, really look at our celebrations. To see if they truly reflect our beliefs. I've carefully chosen a few new traditions to add to what we all ready do.... in hopes to further encourage my family to think deeply about what this season means for us. We celebrate Advent and Solstice in our house and I want both of these celebrations to be rich experiences for my children in their own unique ways. I want our days in December to focus on gratitude.... spirituality.... handmade food & gifts....... simplicity..... family.

I hope for each of you, that before things whirl up into a holiday frenzy, you can take a moment and think about what it all really means to you.

Today, for my kids, I am proposing this ::

"In addition to gifts for our friends and family, what can we give (or do) as gifts for our neighbors in need and our Earth?"

I'll let you know their responses!

Imagine Childhood

I am really excited to share my first sponsor with you all. 

Imagine Childhood!

What an honor to have such a wonderful business support Gypsy Forest. Imagine Childhood has a wonderful blog filled with so many beautiful nature pictures..... I visit them regularly for inspiration. They also have a very lovely shop with so many beautiful toys and nature based kits that are creative, eco-friendly and sustainable. It's always so refreshing as a parent to be able to purchase a gift for my children that is in line with my simple living values.


here are some things we are loving.......

Crystal Kit

Crystal Garden Kit



Fair Trade Instruments


Nature Kit 

Nature Study Kit


Oak Leaf Fairy House 

Oak Leaf Fairy House


baby raccoon

Lifelike Raccoon Friend


Thank you Imagine Childhood! I am so happy to have you join us :)


**photos borrowed from Imagine Childhood's store**


Grammy's Hat

This hat has been frogged 4 times.....

4 attempts were made to create a lace leaf patterned hat...... ugh! 

So I finally decided to do my own thing and inspired by the awesome spiral design of Mr Three's hurricane hat..... I made this for my mom. Feverishly finished just in time for her to take it home with her..... I call it "Solstice".....


Grammy's Solstice Hat


Solstice Hat


I love it! It's got a feminine kick without being too girlie.... the colors are fabulous! It's made from Fleece Artist's Sea Wool in Autumn. Oh my that yarn is gorgeous! And best of all, Grammy loves it too! Which is good because she's on her way home to a whole lot of snow!!


in the swamp

We took my parents & the littlest kiddos out to a trail & bird sanctuary to see the swamp forest. While we didn't see many birds..... perhaps due to singing little ones?? We did have a lovely walk in the sun and when returning to the car we had the surprise of some forest friends......

walk with Papa 

with Papa


on Daddy's shoulders

                     on daddy's shoulders.....


masked babes 


mama & babes




Raccoons!! We must have watched this mama with her four little babes for at least 20 minutes.... even Mr Three was quiet and entranced by these little creatures. They were quite curious and tolerated our closeness. It was a perfect ending to our walk in the woods......


And the winner is.........

Martha:: "It really does look soft and wonderful :) Great first giveaway!"

(drawn using the random number generator)  

Thanks everyone for playing along this weekend - it sure was fun! 

I hope you enjoy your yarn Martha :) 

Amy, thanks again to you too!


As for me, my son & parents made it home safely from Germany (yeah) and I've got family visiting for two more days...... so I am heading out this morning to eat beignets & coffee in New Orleans with the whole lot of them.

Happy Monday all :)