Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Pocket Edition.

For Christmas this year I received a pocket copy of "The Hobbit" by JRR Tolkien from a friend who I greatly admire. I have to confess, in high school I was a total Lord of the Rings nerd. I had a "small" shrine in my closet, with posters, the ring, ticket stubs, and a popcorn bucket from the theatre. A friend of mine and I would print off photos from the internet and "laminate" them, aka, putting scotch tape over them and used them like baseball cards.  One time my friend came to school with hair like Elrond the elf, ha ha ha, she came up to me that morning so excited because she thought she could speak Elvish. Truthfully I was amazed by her hair and a new language. Looking back it's strange to me that people think of high school as the "glory days". 

So heres the thing, I just finished reading a fantastic novel full of adventure, satire, sorrow and copious mentioning's of tea and all the delightful treats that come along with it. I love how a good, preferably dead, author can capture your mind and imagination, and lead you word by word in to a place where you feel as if you are a character yourself. I found myself on a small pony with the large party of Dwarfs, a Wizard and a Hobbit, traveling through wooded forests, meeting trolls, climbing up rocky mountain paths, being in storms fighting goblins and spiders, hiding from elves, meeting mysterious creatures all for the sake of a dragon and treasure. I sat in my living room, or Starbucks (mmmmm Caramel Biscotti), my mind and heart fully on an adventure. It was wonderful. There really is nothing like a good book. I am grateful for authors like Tolkien or LM. Montgomery or C.S Lewis and many more who have been gifted with the ability to create wonderful stories.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

if you wanna be a blogger...

"So heres the story from a to z
if you wanna get with me
better listen carefully..
if you wanna be a blogger
you've gotta understand
months between your blog posts
you wont have any friends"

Somehow in the past few months I have had a birthday, I managed to skip over 60 years of my life and turned a ripe old age of 80. I know this because knitting has been my past time for a few weeks. I forgot about technology, iphone 4s, Siri, computers, basically life! Then I noticed something horrific Starbucks has their christmas cups out! American Thanksgiving isn't even over, we missed our Canadian Thanksgiving. Our spots were taken over by this guy called Jared, and my sisters friend. We ate Annie's mac and cheese or popcorn for the Canadian Thanksgiving. This all led me to the conclusion that fall, beautiful fall is almost over.
I have somehow managed to miss capturing the deciduous trees aflame in orange, red, and yellow. The crunch of leaves underfoot as Joel and I stroll arm and arm chatting about the present and future. Spiced cider with cinnamon sticks and cloves swirling in large steaming cups.  Making apple pie like my beautiful nanny Shirley used to make before she met Jesus. The Log House with a roaring fire in its slate fire place. Frost leaving its gentle kiss on the grass. Bursting in to my parents kitchen knowing the kettle was hot and ready to make tea.

Fall is my most favorite season as you can tell. It is the one season I look forward to all summer, and miss as soon as Grey paints over everything with his dark pallet. But there is a tall twigy tree out side my kitchen window clinging to its green leaves, unrelenting to fall's charm. She will have to be my fall!

This is what you miss when you act older than you are! Although November has arrived I did spent october quite productively. I wasn't knitting silly things, but Christmas presents for my wonderful family, I would put some pictures up, but considering my dear family may be the only ones that read this they would know what they are getting in detail!

PS: I may have been over dramatic about my loss of fall, this is a cup of spiced cider, no cinnamon stick, but it was absolutely darling!

Friday, September 16, 2011

POP Pilates

First if anyone knows me and is reading this, I understand how impossible it is to believe me. But I am telling you!!!! As sure as the sun rose this morning I did this.

There I said it!
Ok seriously
its not that funny to imagine!
Yes my face did go bright red
Yes my butt is so so so so so sore!
No I didn't do it once, but today was my 5th day in a row.

I would post a video... actually I would never do that!

I have hit the ripe old age of 23, and I suppose that is when it all stops! Truthfully I was running up the stairs when I noticed an extra bounce in my step, and it wasn't a good bounce! There were sever reprocutions that followed that bouncing! Now I am all for health... sometimes... I do enjoy a cheeseburger on a weekly basis, and I love to dip my fries in mayo! (This could be the reason for the extra bounce!) I also love flax seeds and fiber and drinking lots of water. If I had my way I would probably eat something with squash or sweet potato in it every night. But my fantastic husband would probably die! The reality I know 4 women who I can name that can eat anything and I mean anything and not feel sick after it and are fantastic looking women who have all had kids! ( yes they still look like lovely Top Shop Models)
Most people have to work out, and be active to keep in good shape. I am not a fan of being active. I do not come from an active line of people, accept my Poppy (grandpa) who was a runner when he was in school. In high school I started the year with being able to do a half push up. My teacher would get us to do those 90 degree angle ones, awful awful things! So I could get down to the half way point and couldn't get up, my arms would start shaking, my face would get all red, then I would collapse. By the end of the year I could still only do a half push up. Then there was sports, and I am not going to even go there.
Here I am several years later starting to notice how out of breath I am running up the stairs. On Monday I started to do pilates, and I am really enjoying it. I have some more energy and I can keep up with the instructor... ok fine... I can almost keep up with the instructor. But so far its been really challenging, and I have been really sore.

Here are the two videos I have been doing. The instructor is a little too chatty and she plays music in the background. Once you get the basic steps I just turn up something else to drown her out! She does do a lot of helpful movements.

POP Pilates for Beginners:
Butt Blaster:     

If you try it and are sore let me know!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Bobbi! What have you done to your pins!"

Before I was married I had the lovely privilege to live with two wonderful friends. One climbed rocks and was studding to help children with Autism; the other was a seamstress studding to be a school teacher.  The seamstress always had little buttons in her hair! They were so cute and I asked her how she did it, and here's how!

What you will need:

Hot Glue Gun
Good quality Bobbi pins ( Target has some by Conair and they are pretty good. You can also go to Sally Beauty and pick up some professional ones.) 
or fabric
Or other small items you can glue to a pin

Choose a button! This one is greenish grey! Place a dollop of hot glue in the center.

Put the bobbi pin with the shorter side down facing table. (this will insure that the button is on the proper side of the pin. If you happen to stick it on the other side it will be a little trickier when you try and put it in your hair!)

(I was supposed to throw that glue chunk out but i forgot! Now it looks like its trying to make some political statement!)

Pick some other pretty buttons and keep going until you have a lovely assortment of buttons!
These make great little gifts and its a fun craft idea when you have girls night!
You don't have to use buttons either. You can use lace, and other fabric, make bows and stick them on pins or plain head bands. Easy as a wink!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tea Time Scones

I really wasn't planning on writing about food. I love to eat however, and the things that have been taking up my time are making yummy things to eat.

Here is a simple recipe for scones. Every once in a while I need a scone, warm and crumbly, with a large pot of tea ( preferably Yorkshire Gold) I would love a little bit a rain, and a wonderful book. Not a Kindle no matter how "green" it is I want a real book with real pages and that real dust smell which usually accompanies older books. I want to sit in an abandoned room like Emily Starr, by a window and read, drink tea and eat a lovely scone.

 In a bowl...
2c of flour
1/3c of lovely brown sugar
1tsp of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2tsp of Salt
1/4thc  of cold butter.

With a pastry cutter or two forks mix all the ingredients together until mixture is crumbly.
Here is the "dry" mix all crumbly
 Now I know this looks a little questionable.
 In a separate bow
1 Egg
1/4c of milk
1/4c of Greek yogurt or sour cream ( this will make your scones moist!)
1 tsp of Vanilla

Add some lemon rind... Go by feel on this one!
some like theirs really lemony and others don't!
 Mix it all up!
Make a well and dump the wet mix in with the dry and mix it all up in to a wetish ball.
 add the blueberries ( mine were dried)
If you want to add fresh blueberries
coat them in flour and "fold" them gently in to the ball, try and be very gentle or you will have purpleish/grey scones.
People will not want to eat them because they look mouldy!
mmmm the smell is lovely so lemony!

 As you can see I have added a little too many blueberries they are just bursting out of my scones.

Bake these lovely things in the oven at 365 for 10-15 minutes or until they are golden.

Now for that purple/pink topping you see.

2tbs of cream cheese
1tsp of butter
1tbsp of jam
Throw the cream cheese and butter in the microwave for 20 seconds so both are spreadable. Add the Jam and voila! You have a scone topping. its not quite Devonshire cream but its tasty!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Brittney and Pesto

This is a picture of me and my sister in the summer before I left. (Britt is to the right with the glasses and pearls, I have the awkward split bang.) We were at the Asian Night Market in Vancouver. The stuff in our hands are sticky barbeque pork buns. Don't judge it them until you have tried them! They are fantastic, they are sweet and yummy, usually they are small, but these were the size of our faces and we were a happy pair!

There was a sad time when she went away to study in Italy, sad for me, because I was the one who couldn't eat pizza and pasta and drink espresso in a cafe in Rome. When she came home however she made me Pesto pasta, which I had never had before, it is now one of my favorite meals!

Where we live our land lady (who is so lovely) has a garden and in the garden was Basil! Basil makes everything better! I love it! So I went out to the garden and said I am going to make a little batch of Pesto!

Pesto is so easy! All you need is Salt, Pepper, Olive Oil, a good handful and a bit of Basil, Garlic, Parmesan Cheese and Pine Nuts.

Yes those are not pine nuts, those are pistachios. I used pistachios because I didn't have pine nuts and it was a delicious coincidence.

 Shell 1/2c of pistachios.

In a blender, or a food processor
Peel three or four cloves of Garlic and chop them up.

Add the pine nuts/ pistachios and chop. You may want to add a little olive oil to help it chop smoothly and grab a spatula to clear the edges.

Next add all your basil and 1/4th c of Parmesan.
Try and chop.. if you have a food processor this is probably much easier!

Add the olive oil slowly to get the right consistency. Mix it all up, and scrape the sides, add the pepper and salt.

Just as a side note, if you are like me at all and you improvise, do not use any other oil!! Make sure its Olive Oil!! Not Canola Oil, not Sunflower Oil, not melted butter, nothing else will do but Olive Oil, and its better for you and makes a wonderful moisturizer.

Voila! You have pesto!
Now boil some water and grab some bowtie pasta cook it, then add the new lovely pesto, eat and be merry!

Thanks Italy for pesto pasta! Britt thanks for making me fall in love with this dish! xx

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Granola Bars

September has arrived, the last moments of summer are fleeting by. I love back to school shopping, and although I am done school nor do I have little ones who are going; there is still a deep longing in me to by notebooks, and black Uniball pens with the liquid ink. I want to go to book stores and buy a big university books on poetry or World War Two history.  I want a cute leather bag, like the one Reed carries in Criminal Minds. I wish I needed glasses so I could get a cute pair and wear a vest and boots, and go to some fancy university like Harvard. Ok well to be truthful my idea of school is a little romanticized. Unless I was taking writing courses or poetry I would probably go a little crazy. 

Before leaving Canada I was making lots of snacks for our road trip, granola, blueberry muffins, oatmeal cookies, etc, etc....( there was no etc, I brought microwave popcorn because that is our weakness. It was a good start for our adventure) I had a new acquaintance who told me that she makes homemade granola bars. I was so excited, too excited in fact I forgot to make them! But now that September has arrived in all his charm and wonder I've decided to make them and my whole house smells wonderful.

In a bowl ( a nice colored one preferably, mine is orange because I love fall, and it was here when we moved in, but it is a lovely bowl.)
1 & 1/2c of Oats
1/2c of - Flour
            - Brown Sugar ( this is my favorite item! I think it goes better with everything!)

    1/2c of - Dried Fruit ( half a cup of each) (currently I had dried blueberries, Goji berries and coconut, I'll let you know how it tastes)

1/4c of Wheat germ
               Flax seed
              Sesame seeds (I didn't have either of these things but I really wanted to have them)

1tsp of Cinnamon
1tsp of Nutmeg ( because these are the flavours of fall)

In another bowl;
1       Egg
1/4c  of vegetable Oil
1/4c of Corn syrup

 I was at the store because I am practicing planning and not just winging it all the time. I walked by the corn syrup and right next to it was the molasses.

  The molasses started talking and it said, " I love you more than the corn syrup does, I am pretty in color, dark and luscious. Corn syrup has the word corn in it and corn is not nutritional, I am. I am an antique, I've been around for ages and everyone from Road to Avonlea cooks with me. Just imagine that your surrounded by cast iron and wooden spoons" I was shocked at my self, staring at the molasses smiling awkwardly. It was pretty. I was surrounded my cast iron and wooden spoons.  So I bought it specifically for my granola bars. If you don't like molasses my heart is broken for you.  Corn syrup will not over power the taste of the granola bars molasses will, so if your not a fan (I say this with a kleenex) use corn syrup.

I did 1/8th c molasses
1/8th c real maple syrup (because I am from Canada)
 2 Tbsp of honey

 Mix the dry goodness of fall in with the wet ingredients

(blurry shot of a spatula)
Press in to a 9 inch square baking pan.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes ( watch so they do not burn, you do want then to be light brown however.)

When they are done set on a cooling rack and cut.
Wrap individually and freeze.

The beauty of this recipe is you really can put anything in to them such as; raisins, cranberries, chocolate chips, marsh mellows, almonds, pecans, flax seed, bran, stevia or sweetener!

Grab the molasses and get cracken!