Sunday, July 31, 2011

Trees, flowers, and plants

All these trees are around my appartment, and the flowers and plants/vegetables are the ones Im growing. Pretty successful so far! The vegetables are pictures from a month ago though, so they have been transplanted and are just about done flowering, I can see the baby vegetables :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Company is coming

Have you ever had impromptu guests announce that they will be coming over for supper, and having nothing prepared for dessert? Well that is exactly what happened this afternoon. I learned this morning that we had a couple of our friends coming around at 5:00, and with a whole lot to do, I had no time to run to the grocery store for extra supplies, so I had to completely rely on what I already had in my pantry and freezer.

And being an advocate of using what you have rather than running to buy extra for a particular recipe, I thought, no biggie! And then when I finally got home, I realized I had less than 45 minutes to whip something up. Hmm.. Looked in the freezer, and thankfully, I had just frozen some blueberries a few nights prior, and bingo! I knew what I had to do.

A blueberry grunt that is. Yes, I said grunt. I mean talk about fast, tasty, and simple! And announcing that you are serving grunt for dessert is also a great conversation starter/booster! Now the original recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of sugar, which is horrid, so I dramatically reduced that and substituted most of it with some honey (which happens to be one of my favorite flavor combination with blueberries, and also happens to be waaay less processed than white sugar).

Blueberry Grunt

  • 3 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  •  1/8 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Arrange the blueberries in the bottom of a casserole dish; sprinkle 1/4 sugar over the blueberries.
  3. Cream together the shortening, honey, and egg. Add the milk, flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat until evenly combined. Drop by spoonfuls on top of the blueberries.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes.


Monday, July 25, 2011

So, what's up?

I love my new job. Its the first time I get to work with the real little ones, between 4 months (SO TINY) and 4 years old. There is that feeling I get, when I'm rocking the babies while they are feeding, and they are staring straight into my eyes, that I'm at exactly the right spot at the right time in my life. The absolute trust that they give me is humbling. One of my little guys would startle awake from a nightmare and whimpers until I rock him. He then lays his sleepy head over my heart in absolute confidence that I am a good person, and the next best thing after his mother. What a blessing to be the object of such love, trust, and confidence!

Other than that, I've caught up on some sewing, and finished two paintings that have been lying around for, literally, years. I've yet to get cracking on my quilt slash sewing machine, so that is most definitely on my to-do list!

I think my conversation with my mom about canning struck a nerve, because she announced to me that in the fall, I had a date with my grandmother and herself to make some beets and fruit ketchup. I am so excited! Bonding time + family traditions and canning secret being passed down? SCORE!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Reverse Psychology

I love blogging for two reasons, one that I get to express myself and my opinions by writing on my blog, and two because I get to read awesome posts by other bloggers.

Lately, one of my favorite bloggers, the Reluctant Entertainer, is blogging about canning, something which I personally love and wish I had the storage to do in quantity. But it has also brought me back to thinking about what I knew, personally, about canning. What do I remember from my childhood, what memories turned me on to canning? I have a faint image of canned fruit in my great-grandmother's basement. I remember my grandmother and mother always having a few cans of beets and tomato (sauce?) on hand. I don't remember ever eating out of them, but that wouldn't be something that would remain in my memory. I also don't remember ever seeing anybody can, in the preserve-in-the-pantry type of way. Everything would be thrown into the freezer for later consumption, and they were mainly sauces and soups. No fruits, no vegetables, no jams or jellies. Why is that?

When I asked my mother why that was, she said that with two jobs and two to four children depending on the year (she often had to take care of the children by my father's first marriage) who the heck had time for any of that, especially when a jar of pickles was 99 cents. She also said that she remembered her mother and grandmother having a huge garden and having days (usually Saturdays) reserved just for canning everything that could be canned, and the pleasure she and her siblings had getting a spoonful or so of hot jam on a hunk of bread. Then, looking away, she said quietly that she wished she could have done so, also.

There is a french band called Mes Aieux, which I simply adore. They have a song called De-generations, which fits this situation so perfectly, it seems to have been written for me and many of my generation implicitly. We play it every year at Christmas, and I see the look in my family's eyes, where they feel the words to this song, in their hearts and souls, and I wonder. How did my family line go from self-sufficient (or almost) farmers down to wistful regrets and longings for something lost? And why am I the only one of my 17 cousins who wishes to go back to my roots? Why do I want to go back to my roots?

I think in part because I saw and heard the want, the need to live the life that feels natural, once you get right down to it. In part because what I see out there is full of technology and devoid of warmth. I want to take the time, and in the world we live in, there is no time to do anything, even though everything was made to save time, go faster, be better, and produce more.

It makes me laugh when people ask me what will I do with myself, with my time, when I become a housewife. How will we ever survive? I wonder how they survive, not having a stay at home mom, where they find the time to do anything, how they can raise their kids successfully while holsing full time jobs, and then some. The answer, is simply that they have other people raise their children, eat other people's food, and have other people manage their lives. Is it, in the end, their lives to live at all?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Just received The End of Food & The End of Oil by Paul Roberts. Eeeee!

Also, that bread was friggin delicious, keeping that recipe! Now I need new culinary challenges, Im getting bored in my own kitchen..

Friday, July 8, 2011


So I have been hearing so much about soaked grains that I decided to give it a try. I took one of my tried and true recipes and added in the soaked aspect, hopefully I did it right!

Honey Oatmeal Bread

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • .25 ounces of active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 4  1/2 cups flour (I used a mixture of whole wheat and all purpose)                    
  • 2 tablespoons honey, warmed slightly
  • 2 tablespoons rolled oats


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine boiling water, oats, 1/2 cup honey, butter and salt. Let stand for 1 hour.
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  3. Pour the yeast mixture into the oat mixture. Add 2 cups of flour; mix well. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 20 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  4. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and form into loaves. Place the loaves into two lightly greased 9x5 inch loaf pans. Cover the loaves with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  5. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Remove loaves from pans, brush tops of loaves with 2 tablespoons honey and sprinkle with oats.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Niagara Falls

Jeff and I are travellers at heart (Ive got the travelling bug more than him, he just gets swept up in the adventure) and we were pretty stationnary for a long time. School and work got in the way of getting to know the world, and that's ok. But we came to the point of feeling a bit caged in, and wedding planning takes an incredible toll on you, everything needing this or that, people calling you, and really I just needed to get away where noone would know me or call me and ask me every little detail about every little thing. So I randomly said we should go away, not meaning it, and Jeff looked at me and said 'Why not?' And so about 48hrs later, we left for Niagara Falls.

I must admit, we defiently made many mistakes on the trip. We got a little crazy with seeing things and made mistakes as to where and what we saw and paid for, we unfortunately went the Type A tourist rather than the traveller way. So I figured I would recount  my dos and donts for anyone out there who is wondering what the heck to do and not do in Niagara Falls:

- Get the adventure pass. All those things included are absolutely worth it and it is defintely worth the money!
- Go visit the Butterfly Conservatory and the Botanical Gardens. That's a must and it does not cost much, especially compared to everything else. We took a horse carriage ride around the Gardens and it was great to be told history and facts by the very knowledgeable driver.
- Visit the Bird and Reptile Atrium. They have bats and insects too.
- Hit up Clifton Hill at nighttime, and visit the Ripley's Believe it or Not museum, the Wax Museum, and the House of Mirrors.
-Take a ride on the SkyWheel. I would even say do it twice, once at night and once during the day.
-Watch the fireworks over the falls every Friday and Sunday during the summer. Stunning.
- Take a walk down the boardwalk right beside the Falls and take your time watching and listening.
- Go visit the Niagara Nature Centre, they have maps of beautiful trails which is absolutely free and so beautiful to see!
- For the history buffs, there is a historical tour given which includes Fort Erie and the Laura Secord Homestead.
- If you like getting scared, hit up the Nightmare Fear Factory. Probably the scariest 'haunted' house.
-If your budget allows, you can go horseback riding at sunset on the shores, or jet-boating on the river.
-Go visit Niagara on the Lake.
-Go visit a winery. They have so many wineries that make wines on the location, and there are good tours also, many of them free of charge with sampling at the end.

-Eat at the restaurants around the Falls, ridiculously expensive for average food. If you must do it, then I would suggest the Hard Rock Cafe, alot of cool things inside as well as a good variety of food.
-Take any alcoholic beverages in a restaurant, they charge a VERY hefty alcohol tax, and it hurts. Case in point, my strawberry daiquiri ended up costing me 18$. I ahd a heart attack.
-Fall in to all those attractions on Clifton Hill, really not worth it.
-Buy any souvenirs until you have seen everything!
-Buy any of those pictures that the places take for you (like on the boat). You will take much better ones yourself and you will not have paid 30$ + for them.
-Pay full price for anything. They have a coupon booklet for just about everything and they give them out just about everywhere.

I am iffy about Marineland because although it was really awesome to see the whales and other sea creatures, I dont know if it was worth 50$ a person.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Jeff!

Chicken and sausage chili


Double Chocolate Caramel Drizzle cookies