Sunday, December 30, 2012

Travel journal part one

It's a long trip; the road was icy and the cold wind whipped the snow into a mini blizzard. We were packed into the covered wagon like sardines - always glad when the flap blew open to let in some fresh air.

Day one was lasagna day. We made fresh noodles and meatball sauce, baked with lots of mozza and served with a very spicy jalapeno. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas treats

We thought that a twenty pound turkey would be a problem (I ordered a 7 kg bird but they came in a little bigger) but it turns out that four people can polish off a quarter of that and then have enough leftovers for lunches and all sorts of other meals such as midnight nibbling.

It would not be Christmas without chestnuts, especially Italian chestnuts. Thanks to TG, we all got to enjoy this holiday must-have.

Normally, Christmas breakfast is a meal rich with eggs, cheese, and whipping cream. This year I tried a new bread - Apple Oatmeal - which is so good that I think it is going to become a tradition. This loaf is full of unpeeled apples, oatmeal, and walnuts. The recipe is from the 1983 issue of Family Circle.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Happy Holidays!

I awoke to the sound of snow falling; tiny flakes coming down fast and furious. The mountains invisible in their cloak of clouds, the tips of the cedars all done in a soft white. Our patio furniture, the cedar table and bench, the blue plastic chairs are slowly disappearing under a fine, white film. The bird feeder has no customers this morning, the birds are sleeping in so it will be brunch by the time they get going. The Siberian crab apple tree is still lush with fruit; tiny, tiny yellow orbs that should have been picked and bottled in our favourite vodka. Instead I decided to leave the tree as is for the birds to feast on. 
I walk out to the garden, snowflakes thickening my eyelashes, and gently harvest the velvety leaves of the sage plants. A gift from the garden; is there anything better?

Friday, December 7, 2012

The shell box

Over the years I have used my collection of seashells sparingly knowing that once I run out I can't just go down to my local beach and get more. One of my favourite projects is the matching bedside lamps that we made, a really fun collaboration between Mr. Cowboy and myself. He made the wood bases and did the electrical. Choosing shells from my collection from Haida Gwaii (I spent hours beachcombing) I encrusted the rectangular pine forms with all sorts of shells. These are true works of art because I did not spend a lot of time in the thought process, I just glued the shells on and that was it. But for the box I designed in the above picture, it took me hours to pick through a new collection of tiny shells that I bought at the Auction House in Penticton. Once I decided on the center medallion, the rest was easy.

The inside of the vintage box is lined with cork and painted a robin's egg blue.
Photographed at Art We Are.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Blue and white

Years ago I made a panel of one inch squares just to use up the scraps. A few months ago I started adding more scraps to that panel and all of a sudden I have a completed quilt. The colour scheme is blue and white as this is for a special little boy. It has been machine-quilted using a baby blue thread and it looks great.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The stamp box

Doing a stamp box is very simple; I just choose a variety of stamps from the millions that I have collected, bought, or been given over the years, decide on the pattern and then with a quick swish of a brush dipped in mod podge I layer the stamps all over the cedar box, smooth out the edges, give it a seal coat and it is done. The inside bottom is given a liner of cork but the rest of the box is left as is so that one may enjoy the grain of the wood.
Photographed at Art We Are.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The butterfly box

Another button box done and ready to go to the store. This one is done in white and silver buttons and other trinkets.

The inside is softened with a mini quilt and a little something extra. As soon as I saw the ceramic hand I knew that it would be perfect for this button box.
And in the corner of the vintage mirror a butterfly button just because.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Move over pancakes, the strata is here. We love this breakfast because we (meaning Mr. Cowboy) can put this together the night before and in the morning while you read and have a coffee this concoction is baking in the oven filling the house with the aroma of roasted tomatoes and spicy mushrooms. The recipe is from the movie The Family Stone.

After that egg and cheese saturated breakfast a walk is in order. First we stopped in at the Hospice to make a donation in memory of our dear neighbour who passed away recently. As we walk, the sunshine warm on our faces, we remember Gus, a sweet gentle man who always put his family first and reminded us to do the same.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Perfect dinner

A glass of wine, insalata mista, a crust of bread, and steaming hot cannelloni. What more could you ask for?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Cookies for charity

The season of giving starts with a fundraiser at work; a bake sale and craft auction with all the proceeds going to a local charity. This year I filled two boxes with two of our favourite cookies; ginger molasses and rolo cookies. The ginger cookies are filled with espresso so these are for adults only. The rolo cookies on the other hand are chewy chocolate chocolate (yes they are very chocolatey hence the repeat of the word) cookies with a rolo in the center that all kids will love.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Know when to fold them

No, this is not a post about one of my favourite flowers, nasturtiums; this lone flower photographed a month ago at the fountain.
A lot has changed in the past month including what we thought we wanted. Our plans have been turned upside down, we gambled, we lost, but in the end we won. It is only after almost losing something, that you realize how precious it is. We are going to re-group, make new plans, and when we have built up our stamina we are going to do it all over again.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hot and bubbly

Sunday suppers don't get any better then this - Mr. Cowboy's Involtini with Penne paired with Ruffino's Chianti. Thin slices of round steak rolled up with prosciutto, raisins, walnuts, breadcrumbs, mozzarella and parmesan. The rolls are seared in a hot pan and then drowned in tomato sauce and put in the oven to bake until hot and bubbly.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Weekend collage

Friday night - A realtor showing our house at 5 and our company couldn't make it because of all the snow. But despite all that we had a fantastic dinner, a dinner that had been planned especially for our visitors. We started with drinks and spiced nuts. We feasted on Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon with buttered noodles, escarole salad, and sourdough bread. The plates were licked clean.

Saturday morning - Breakfast consisted of pyrahi with lots of melted butter and dollops of sour cream. Pottery sale downtown; I did not buy any pottery but Maura found a really neat mug (sorry no pictures). Hurried to the airport where we are told that the flight is delayed. But we did get to see the CT-155 Hawk that flew over the city yesterday.

Sunday morning - We had to leave the house at 10 this morning for another showing. We picked up breakfast at Redbeard Roasters on Tranquille and headed to McArthur Island. As we walked around the island the 419 Squadron flew right over our heads.

Sunday night - Another showing this time with less then an hours notice. So we headed to our favourite spot at TRU and came across a herd of deer. There were seven of them scattered on top of a ridge; I took this one shot without the flash and then we just sat back and enjoyed the show.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


I love Sarah Richardson so when I came across her recipe for spiced nuts, I knew they would be good. And are they ever!  I doubled the recipe because we are having company tomorrow (the Beef Bourguignon is simmering as we speak) and as the nuts baked in the oven, the house was filled with a spicy aroma that is just irresistable. I share the recipe with you because we need to spread a little happiness whenever we can.

Sarah's Signature Spiced Nuts

Preheat oven to 350 F
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup cane sugar (like demerara) in a saucepan over low-medium heat. Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon each of cumin, paprika, cayenne, and salt  and mix well. Add 1 cup each of almonds and pecans, stirring to coat, then cook until mixture becomes sticky, at least 5 minutes.
Turn nuts out onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until crunchy. Let cool and serve at room temperature. (Spiced nuts will keep for a few weeks in an airtight container)

From the November 2011 issue of House and Home.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fun game

Jeopardy has always been one of our favourite shows; not only because of the host (Alex is Canadian) but because you can participate, have a bit of fun,and increase your knowledge of trivia. Years ago Mr. Cowboy made a Jeopardy box for the girls; once their school found out about it they wanted one too. Now it looks like he will be heading back to the workshop to build another one.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bacon Sunday

Wet and chilly morning; I am grateful for the extra quilt on the bed as I try to sleep in but the warmth of the fireplace and the aroma of bacon are impossible to resist.
We pile our plates with pancakes and crispy bacon, warming our hands on steaming mugs of freshly brewed coffee, and settle around the fireplace with our favourite books. Someone has the audacity to go out and rake leaves but the rest of us snuggle on the couch with the warm and woolly afghans, comforted by the crackling of the fire and the sounds of pages turning.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Great crates

I have had these wood boxes for a number of years, stacked in a corner, unused. But this past summer, as I decluttered, I re-evaluated my collections, deciding whether to put them to good use or get rid of them. With these crates there was never any question; I would find a use for them. And I did, in my sewing room.
Stacked one on top of the other they now hold my bags of pre-cut quilt strips. So easy I don't know why I didn't do this sooner.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cabbage rules

When you're trying to sell your home, the realtor gives you lots of advice about how to ready your home for a showing. One of those gems is not to cook anything smelly like fish or cabbage. Well, today Mr. Cowboy broke that rule and cooked up a batch of cabbage rolls that were out of this world.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Easy dinner

I knew what Mr. Cowboy had planned for dinner today. The recipe is called Easy Pyrahi; easy because there is no yeast to contend with. As I opened the front door I was greeted by a creamy aroma (the dough is made with whipping cream, buttermilk, and sour cream) which made my mouth water.

We had two choices for dinner; beans and cottage cheese. And dessert; he used the rest of the apples we bought in Osoyoos for some bite-size apple pies.
It certainly doesn't look easy but Mr. Cowboy couldn't stop talking about how quickly everything came together thanks to the new granite counters. Yes, they are nice but we certainly can't take them with us.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pumpkin sunday

It's a tradition; pancakes for breakfast on Sunday mornings. So I'm always on the lookout for new recipes. Found a great one in the October 2012 issue of Prevention magazine; Pumpkin-Bacon Pancakes. I roasted up a Sugar Baby that I bought at the Market, let it drain overnight and then pureed it. With loads of cinnamon and bacon, these were fantastic!
With the rest of the pumpkin we whipped up a batch of Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies; these are the best ever cookies full of oats and chocolate chips. Recipe found in a magazine in 1983.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Photo ops

Two weeks ago I caught the 'gang' stampeding down the street, cutting through the neighbours empty lot, and disappearing down the grassy slope before I could get any more pictures.

But this evening as I walked up the hill, there in the neighbours yard, someone sitting  quietly and not even bothered when I took his picture.