Sunday, December 30, 2012

Lambs, Puzzle, Dressing and Veggie Tree


What a day!

The neighbours new born lambs
So sweet!

The "kids" head back to Alberta
So sad - we had such a nice time!






The puzzle got finished and all the pieces
were accounted for - whew, this was a hard one
and thank goodness we did it with team work!
Meanwhile our eyes and backs
are trying to get back to normal......





It's a gorgeous Peter Etril Snyder Print
puzzle called
"Sunny Morning".
We will frame this one for sure!
Thanks Becky, Patrick and Katie for your 
enthusiastic help and 'sticktoitness' on this one!


Peter Etril Snyder is a famous local artist, well known for his Mennonite paintings!



A Double batch of dressing was made
for yet another Christmas Dinner to be held tomorrow (Sunday)!




A "Veggie Tree" completed!





My sister-in-law, Glennis, first made such a tree
many years ago and I just loved it.
She even added shrimp and her tree was much larger.
This is my attempt at it....
I tried to make a nice yellow pepper star for the top
but it just didn't look right .... thus a
grape tomato tree topper!
This veggie tree will be the centre piece on
a large veggie platter for tomorrow.
Hope it holds together!




Alas, the Christmas hustle and bustle
will soon be over.



Till then ..... I shall enjoy the last days of Christmas and of 2012.




Thursday, December 27, 2012

Boxing Day Puzzle

A 1,000 piece puzzle
"Sunny Morning"
by local artist Peter Etril Snyder!

On Christmas Day,
it started off on the Dining Room Table
Was then transferred to the office table,
only to be moved back into the dining/living room 
on a folding table!




As Boxing day (day two) grew dark
the desk lamps, bridge lamps,
and any available lights came out
and were plugged into an extension cord!



This puzzle had us all puzzling!
The teeny tiny pieces, so much alike
and so hard to piece together.
Totally addictive 
and lots of fun!




The snacks and drinks were brought over
to the puzzle table, breaks were taken
occasionally to eat and to try to figure out
how to get the hockey games on the internet etc.
But for most of the day we puzzled and puzzled!



Even the visitors got into the act ...




It's starting to come together.
Will we ever get it finished .... that is the question.




This has been a fun Christmas Break activity.
What have you been up to on these days of Christmas?






Monday, December 24, 2012

Brown Paper Packages......

"Brown Paper Packages
Wrapped up with String,
these are a few of my
favourite things!"


The Rumtopf
has been stirred and is
ready to be served over
Tapioca and/or ice-cream!





It's Christmas Eve and
my heart is full,
and thinking of all my dear
friends and families
in blogdom and on facebook!

From our house to your house,
Have a joyous Christmas Eve...



Shalom!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Storm before the Calm!

My house looked like
a storm had hit!

The office desk was cluttered with
mail, bills, and various debris.

Before the calm!

After!



Oh and then there was the fridge - eek!
There is no "before" picture
It would just be too embarrassing.

Now there is finally room 
for the Christmas goodies that will be
made over the next days and weeks!!!




Do you ever feel calmer
after cleaning the house?



Now I feel ready to welcome friends and family!

Oops one more necessity - clean the bathrooms - off I go!

Are you feeling calm?








Monday, December 17, 2012

Trimming the Tree

The Tree is finally trimmed!
Most of the tiny lights
are working (discovered that
a whole section isn't - sigh)
Not sure it's worth the time
and frustration to undress that 
part of the tree.

Perhaps, I'll just leave it to
help remind me of the 
darkness and sadness
that we are all feeling
following the unspeakable
horror and tragedies
of recent days in our own community
and in Newtown, Connecticut!


My tree's ornaments are humble and eclectic
and probably almost antique!
The first set was purchased at 
Home Hardware in 1973 for our first tree.  
They cost $1.89!!!!
and I still love them.





This handmade ornament
was made by Bao Lee, our church's Hmong refugee
family mother - how I treasure
this one and remember that brave
family who arrived to our cold country from Laos in 1979!





This ornament reminds me of the 
fabulous little country store that
my friend and I owned for 7 years in the
late 1980's to the mid 1990's!
It was called "Noah's Ark Studio"
and was one of the most interesting experiences
in my life!





This Angel ornament was given to us
by the farmer's new boss as he
launched into a new "second" career
as a financial advisor.
Another remarkable chapter in our lives!




I even used one of the
wedding burlap table runners
for the skirt - I like this look!





All the while I decorated and cleaned,
my favourite little German Smoker,
an ornament sent to us by friends who 
were teaching in Germany at the time,
scented the room with 
"Tannen-Duft" pine
incense


There are many, many more that all
remind me of special events and people in
my life - too many to post!!

I feel so blessed and life has been
so very good to me,
reminding me to
slow down and make each
day worthwhile!


Till next time.... .have a week of joyful preparation for the celebration of our Saviour's birth!



Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Blooms


Look who decided to bloom after all!
I really thought my Christmas Cactus was not
going to make it this year.
I was so delighted to see it bloom
albeit only on one side, but no matter!





The biscotti is baked.
You can find the recipe that
I use here.



Now .....




Till next time ...... onward to doing my Saturday work and finishing the decorating!!!  What are you doing today?




Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12.12.12

What are you doing on this

Triple Dozen Day??


It's been a wee tradition of ours
to do something special on these
unique number days!

It all started on 7.7.77 
on a trip to Virginia
that we decided to make
these days memorable.

We haven't managed it every year
but in recent years we've done things like:

04.04.04 - were visiting dear friends in Kentucky,
went to the horse races, bet on every 4th placed horse, 
and didn't win a thing - but it sure was a lot of fun
and memorable!

06.06.06 did a little waltz in St. Mark's square
in Venice!  That sure was memorable!

07.07.07 - planned a trip to Newfoundland,
one of the best trips we've ever had!

08.08.08 we met friends in Chicago,
enjoyed a memorable dinner together and
spent the whole weekend in this beautiful city!

09.09.09 - we were visiting our daughter
in Alberta and on that day were in the
breathtakingly beautiful Waterton Lakes Provincial Park.
That was most memorable!

10.10.10 - we stole away to Watkin's Glen in
upper New York State.  The finger lakes are
so gorgeous and especially on this 
our Thanksgiving Weekend!

11.11.11 - we just had to be in Ottawa
on this special Remembrance Day.
We won't forget that day!

12.12.12 - well, it seems all our plans for
a little get-away didn't pan out so.....
we played hookie for the afternoon,
had a wonderful Indian dinner,
went to our favourite furniture store
(plug = St. Jacobs Furniture House)
and ordered a new dining room table and chairs!!!
Yeah - I'm so excited about this one.
To be sure, I'll remember 12.12.12

This wonderful old table has served us well (almost 40 years).
Its finish is gone, some bolts drop out every time
we move it and the table leaves (boards) are
 warped beyond repair. 


This is the new table that we ordered today.
The chairs will be substituted with
6 "pleather" parson's chairs.

I'm excited about this new purchase.
Delivery will be early in the new year.

Perhaps we can arrange it to be delivered on
01.03.13????




Till next time .....  striving to make every day a memorable one!!!!!




Sunday, December 9, 2012

Feeling Like Christmas!


It's starting to feel like Christmas!
The lights are going up
and soon
the kitchen table will be laden with
treats and eats.
The Hoosier cabinet will be decorated
with fresh greens and many candles,
to be lit
 on Christmas Eve.





It's starting to feel like Christmas
when the outside lights are shining!
With or without snow......









It's starting to feel like Christmas
once the china cabinet is decorated
and
the banister garland is placed.
It's still not quite done but this is a good start.






It's really starting to feel like
Christmas
when the German Christkindl Market in Kitchener
is on!
It's always a fun and interesting Market....
not to mention the delicious food like pulled pork,
marzipan, fudge, schnitzel, sausage and saurkraut, creative crafts,
and the organ grinder!






Till next time ............... counting the days and remembering that Jesus is the reason for the Season!!!!




Saturday, December 1, 2012

Jack the Decorator



The Christmas Decorating has begun....
and I didn't have to do a thing!!

Jack came during the night and started it for me....
I couldn't even begin to make things this pretty.

All I had to do was get out of bed
grab the camera
and start shooting.














Here then is my little attempt at getting
started inside.....
Have a long way to go but it too shall get done.







Happy December Saturday to you!




Thursday, November 29, 2012

Caramel Popcorn to Share!


I was thrilled to find O.R.'s original
Gourmet Popping Corn recently at Costco.
Usually they just have the Microwave Popping corn
and we definitely prefer the regular, 
pop on the stove, in the old Popcorn pot, popped corn!
This was a typical Costco gynormous size - 3.6 kg. 
I've never seen one that large!
No problem though - I know we'll use it up in no time.

Tomorrow we are having a staff decorating
party during coffee break so I decided 
to make a roast pan of Caramel Pop Corn to share.




This is the recipe my Mom always used
 to make
this Christmas time treat:

Caramel Popcorn

2 Cups Brown Sugar
1 Cup Butter      
½ Cup Corn Syrup
Boil the above ingredients for 5 minutes then remove from heat.
Add:  1 tsp. baking soda
          1 tsp. vanilla
Pour over large roasting pan of popped corn.  Bake at 250 for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.





There you have it - easy peasy!
I admit that it's not low-cal or lite or any of those things
but it sure is yummy and reminds me of 
Christmases of long ago!

Maybe this is the "medicine" I needed to get me into the Christmas mood?


Till next time ............ what snack food reminds you of Christmas as a child?




Monday, November 26, 2012

Old-time Beef Stew



Time for a nourishing pot of stew.
It's cold outside and this makes me
so hungry for comfort food!







I always go back to my old recipe.
It's from a 1971 edition of Better Homes and Gardens
book called "So-Good Meals"
and falls under the title of "Meals Men Like"!!!
Can you imagine using that language today?
It goes further to say "Fix any of these delicious meals
for your man and you'll be the Best Cook he knows"
Hmmmm.......that is so funny cheesey.

The Menu listed is:
Old-time Beef Stew
Crisp Cabbage Slaw
Bread and Butter
Apple Betty Pie
Coffee, Cream and Sugar




Well - I think I'll stick to the Old-Time Beef Stew
No matter what - it really is my favourite stew recipe.
I think it's because of the seasoning that makes it unique
and it always is good....and the farmer likes it too!
I might add a broccoli salad to this for
supper tonight.
Hmmm the Apple Betty Pie sounds good too.
Maybe this isn't so old fashioned after-all???

What are you making tonight?

Old-Time Beef Stew

2 Tbsp. fat - I used Grape Seed oil
2 lbs. beef stew cut into cubes
1 medium onion - sliced
1 clove garlic - I used three
2 Cups Boiling water
1 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 or 2 Bay leaves
Dash of all spice or cloves
Brown the meat chunks in a dutch oven.  It's the browning that gives the rich colour
and flavour!  Add the seasoning, onions and garlic.  Stir and in the boiling water and 
simmer for about 1 1/2 hours - stirring on occasion.
Prepare the vegetables in the meantime:
6 carrots - sliced
6 potatoes - diced
I like to add 1-2 cups of corn as well
1 lb. small white onions - I didn't add these
Once the meat is tender and has simmered for some time, add in the vegetables.  Simmer another 30 minutes till vegetables are tender.
If desired, thicken the liquid for gravy by pushing aside the meat and vegetables and stirring in 1/4 Cup cold water mixed with 2 Tbsp. flour.


Till next time ............ happy Monday to you.



Thursday, November 22, 2012

Mark it with a "B"



B - is for Becky

B - is for Birthday (it's her 29th one today!)







B - is for Boston Cream Pie


B - is for Blog  and exactly 1 year since I published my very first post!!


B - is for Blessings - we have so many!


Becky - we wish you were here
to enjoy the cake
We'll light a few candles for you
and then we'll share it with Dad's office.
I'll make you another one when you are
home at Christmas!!!!

This was just a practice one anyways .......
the cake turned out kind of flat
and when I split it in half  - it wasn't even!
Maybe that's another B for Botch??

Love you lots and lots!!
Have a super B - DAY




Boston Cream Pie

I used the Country Living Recipe as follows:
Cake:
1/2 Cup butter - softened
1 Cup Sugar
2 Large Eggs
2 Large Egg Yolks
*have eggs at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 Cups Cake Flour
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 Cup Milk
Heat oven to 350F.  Line the bottom of an 8 inch round cake pan with parchment paper.
Butter and flour the pan.  
Beat the butter and sugar till fluffy.  Beat in the eggs and yolks, one at a time.  Add the vanilla.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl.  Mix the flour mixture alternately with the milk into the butter, sugar mixture at medium speed.  Beat gently until the batter is smooth.  Bake for 35-40 minutes.  Cool completely on wire rack.
Split cake in half with a sharp knife (easier said then done), fill with Vanilla Bean Pudding, and top with Ganache (I love saying that word!).

Vanilla Bean Pudding:
3/4 Cup milk
1 Cup cream
1 vanilla bean - I used one of the beans that we brought home from Mexico!
3 egg yolks
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 Cup Sugar 
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. butter
Heat the milk, cream and vanilla bean until just simmering.  Whisk the yolks, cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a separate bowl. Stream the hot milk/cream into the egg mixture - whisking continuously.  Return to the pan and cook while whisking till mixture thickens and just begins to boil.  Immediately transfer to a clean bowl, remove, split and scrape the vanilla bean - whisk vanilla seeds back into the pudding.  Stir in the vanilla extract and butter.  Press plastic wrap against the surface of the pudding to cover.  Cool.

Ganache:
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
4 oz. dark chocolate - chopped (4 oz. = 4 squares of bakers dark chocolate)
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter - I used salted because that's all I had on hand
3 Tbsp. corn syrup
Heat cream just until boiling and pour over the chocolate, butter, and corn syrup.  Let sit for 1 minute and then stir until smooth.  Cool slightly before pouring over cake.






Till next time.........lighting some candles for my girl!!!



Monday, November 19, 2012

Ducks in a Row

Life-like Bronze ducks in a row in the Public Garden

We just returned from a mini vacay to Boston!
Well, it was actually a business trip for the Farmer/Advisor
(aka "my financial suggester as he likes to call it")
but a nice break for me.

Boston is a very impressive and friendly city
which is proud of its history and amazing "hawbah".
I just love their accent.....




We were impressed with the Boston Common - a beautiful park
which was right outside our hotel window!



The city is "steeped" in tea and much more, History, that is!
We saw the Granary Burial Grounds where
Paul Revere, John Hancock, Sam Adams,
and many other history makers are buried!

A walking tour brought these events to life
and told the gruesome stories of the
witch hunts, Mary Dyer, the wars, the fight for freedom,
and the hardships of
the early settlers.



The food was a highlight as we
feasted on lobster rolls at James Hook & Co.,
clam "chowdah" at The Black Rose,
the famous pizza at Regina's,
Italian food in the North End, and of course
a drink where everybody knows your name - Cheers!


Me and Tecumseh at Cheers


On the last day we visited the Quincy Market Place
where a giant Christmas Tree was lit that evening.
It was absolutely beautiful and the lights twinkled in time
to music - this really started to put me into the Christmas spirit.


Giant Christmas Tree in Quincy Market as viewed from atop the US Custom House

At the market we shared a small Boston Cream Pie - so, so good!




All in all - it was worth the long drive to and from Boston!!!



Till next time ........... might attempt to make a Boston Cream Pie!  Have you ever made one?