Monday, January 30, 2012

Above the clouds

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.
---Amelia Earhart

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Swan day

A walk along the river seemed like such a good idea until we got down to the park, the wind so strong that Mr. Cowboy acted as my windbreak and tripod as I took all these photos. But the wind burnt cheeks, frozen hands, and runny noses (with no tissues) was all worth it. The geese were the first signs of life we saw on the frozen section of the river.
As we got closer to the beach, we could hear the screeching and screaming of dozens of crows chasing a bald eagle. We watched mesmerized as the murder of crows and flocks of ducks and geese filled the sky with their aerial acrobatics.
When the airshow was over, we walked down to the beach and stood quietly watching the swans glide past.

In the park, Canada Geese everywhere happily munching away on the grass.
A walk and a show!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What a weekend!

First, the exciting news. Found a new salt crock at my favourite thrift store. We had been using a salt box bought many years ago on my first visit to Ikea. It was time for a new one.

Mr. Deer paid us a visit on Saturday afternoon. He really likes our hedge and he cleans up any seeds that fall from the birdfeeder.
For a special Saturday night dinner I decided to try a recipe from Mario Batali's new book called Molto Batali: simple family meals from my home to yours. I chose to recreate Polpettona Ripiena. We love this dish but it is anything but simple. You basically layer spinach, carrots, onions, mortadella, and cheese on a base of sausage, beef, breadcrumbs, grated romano, eggs, milk, and seasonings. You roll the meat up like a jelly roll, put it in a roasting pan, drizzle olive oil over the top and pour in a cup of water. Bake for one hour. The aroma that greets you when you open the oven door will have you thanking Mario for this recipe. I even made my own breadcrumbs for this polpettona, using sourdough bread from Craig's Bakery in Chase. It was all worth it!
I had such luck with Mario I decided to keep going and try another new recipe. This one is for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from one of my favourite magazines - Cowboys and Indians, the July 2010 issue. These cookies are really good. I'm not sure if it's the bread flour or all the oats that make these so scrumptious. This is definitely a keeper!
But I didn't stop with the cookies. The April 2010 issue of Bon Appetit has a recipe for New York-Style Crumb Cake and this, again, is a winner. This is quite the combination; a tender sour cream rich cake topped with a thick layer of cinnamon-scented streusel. Now that is a breakfast treat!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mr.Cowboy's workshop

I love hanging little shiny stuff from the holes in my ears so I have quite a collection of earrings. There are, among the many, the Nina Bagley mother-of-pearl creations (over a $100), the two dollar scratched glass bobbles from The Hudson Bay Co., pine needle ovals from Grand Forks, and the button earrings from a good friend. Sad to say they were all thrown together in an old cigar box; you can imagine what it was like to hurriedly try to find a pair each morning before work. Mr. Cowboy solved that problem for me with a couple of old frames, some screen door mesh, and a hot glue gun.
This is my favourite of the two frames.

Monday, January 16, 2012


The season is almost over but I have been enjoying a pomegranate every day since they appeared in the stores. I look forward to this short but sweet season almost as much as the cherry harvest in July. Not only are the arils great tasting but more importantly they are loaded with antioxidants, vitamin C and potassium. For lunch I sprinkle the seeds on salad or leftovers; they enhance the flavour of just about any food.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Snow day

What to do on a snow day. Reading. Finished another Donna Leon mystery called Fatal Remedies. This one was quite good because Brunetti's wife commits a crime so I couldn't put it down until it was all resolved. Sewing. Yes, I did some sewing. The blue and white quilt is coming along nicely. A movie. Watched a Noel Coward movie called Easy Virtue. Always good for a laugh.

Baking. Tried a couple of new recipes. Pumpkin Buttermilk Scones are super good.
And Ever-Ready Bran Muffins. This is an old recipe for fridge muffins. These are very satisfying but the recipe makes five dozen so guess what I'm taking to work tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

La Bella Luna

One of my favourite scenes in A Year in Provence: The Mayles are washing dishes outside because their kitchen is still under construction. And as they scrub and rinse they sing By the light of the silvery moon.
'We praise you for Sister Moon and all our Sister Stars, who clothe the night with their beauty and, like you, watch over us while we sleep.'

This is from an amazing book called Brother Sun,Sister Moon. Not only is this a great 'reimagining' of Saint Francis of Assisi's Canticle of the Creatures, but the cut-paper illustrations are just awesome. As you read, your eyes are drawn to the full page scissor cuts done in the most exquisite colours on a black background.

Hope you all enjoyed the full moon on Monday night.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Green and yellow

Spaghetti with rapini? Why not. But next time, more garlic and peperoncino.

Maura suggested lemon pie with blueberries. Great idea!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Best Book

This is, without a doubt, the best book I have read this year. No matter that this is only the second book I have read so far for 2012, just from looking at the cover I felt an instant connection. It's not everyday that you open a book and find pictures of long lost relatives looking back at you. To be honest, I have not given Campodimele much thought in the past few years. But as I flip through the book, studying the recipes and looking at the faces in the pictures a little closer, I know that this mountain village is at the top of my list for my next visit to La Bella Italia.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Thought for today

Whatever I do is done out of sheer joy; I drop my fruits like a ripe
tree. What the general reader or the critic makes of them is not my

-Henry Miller

Monday, January 2, 2012

Back to the salt mines brownies

Before I get into the brownies, I want to thank Barbara (Sparrow Avenue) from Toronto for my wonderful moose pillow which was featured in my last post.
This is my last day of freedom and at this point there is not much left of my day. But I did manage to enjoy my Monday with a little shopping (yes, quilting fabric and clothes).
Finished reading a great book by Sharon Shinn called Archangel. This one was recommended to me by both of my daughters and when I got to the last page I did not want it to end.
Did not have to make dinner because as I have said before it is my last day of freedom before I go back to the salt mines tomorrow so my heartfelt thanks to Mr. Cowboy for the spaghettini and meatballs.
This recipe for Pumpkin-Swirl Brownies has been on my list for over a year. No cans were used in the making of these delectable treats; the pumpkin came from the farmer's market. Also made a baby brownie with my heart-shaped pan; makes a great gift for 'someone'.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Moose

Tired from all the travelling but glad to be here.