Friday, December 31, 2010

End of a Decade

Tomorrow, when I wake up it will be the beginning of a new day, the beginning of a New Year, and the beginning of a new decade. How better to start it than with a dream of lovely days, lived one at a time, intentionally and with joy.

I always find the new year is a good time to take stock, and though I'm not great at keeping a list of resolutions, rather I like to look at the things I know, deep inside, that make a difference and make life sweeter.

This is what I am pondering.

How to Have a Lovely Day (Year, Life)

Smile when you see someone (even yourself in the mirror).
Slow down.
Say please and thank you.
Give lots of sincere compliments.
Dress nicely.
Wear your favorite perfume.
Really listen.
Pay attention to your surroundings.
Say "I love you".
Deeply wish others a lovely day, even if you don't get to say it out loud.

So Happy New Year to you. May you intentionally seek, and find, that Lovely Day that is within our grasp, everyday.

Do you make New Years Resolutions?

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Re-Make Project

Josh and I went to the local Salvation Army last Saturday and I found a couple gems. A 99 cent globe, and a great little chandelier in a box in the very back of the store. It was garish brass, but for $5 and a little TLC, it was worth it.
This is what it looked like out of the box. I thought the crystals were worth the $5 if nothing else. I like a little bling!

We stripped the crystals, covered the cut glass globe in the center with masking tape, and gave it a couple coats of white spray paint.
I use the term "we" loosely, Josh did the work. I tend to be a little too impatient with the spray paint. I put too much on too fast. Josh has a light touch on the trigger, and does a much better job.
Do you like his paint booth?

I thought I might put it in my half-bath, but the position of the ceiling fixture, door and cabinets make that grand idea impossible. It will likely end up in my studio. I love it now that the brassiness was covered with white paint and the crystals were soaked in OxiClean.
It looks great. I love the sparkle, and it looked great in my mountain ash in the front yard today, with the sun shining and the beautiful leaves.

The really amazing part of this project is that it was completed the same day as we brought it home! I hope this wonderful weather holds...we worked on a couple more projects today. Maybe we will finish them and post here...stranger things have happened.

Monday, September 20, 2010

For Karyn...and only because she's so faithful at blogging her life.

Karyn tagged me in a Q and answer thing. I think I can do it! I have supper on the go, all my laundry is done, I have finished canning my relish and don't have to drive anyone anywhere for 15 minutes!

1. What was your most embarrassing moment? I always have trouble with this question. I guess it's fun to know other people's most embarrassing moments so we can feel better about our own moments when we wished the earth would open up and swallow us. There have been many of these moments in my life. I guess the one that comes to mind now was when I went to the wrong funeral.
Yes, yes I did.
I was attending as the official presence of the church I belonged to, and for whom I was temporarily acting as secretary. I am NOT good with addresses, and I did not know my way around the part of the city (I thought) the church was in. I may have reversed the avenues and streets.
The deceased was an apparently sweet old lady who had no family, but friends who attended the church I went to had adopted her and were the only people really close to her.
The church thought I should attend, take a card, and offer condolences on behalf of the congregation. I agreed, I felt a lot of compassion in the circumstances. I have a huge family and the thought of someone having a funeral in an empty church made me sad, even though I had never met this lady.
I arrived early, as I always do for any function, and was surprised to see quite a few people in the pews of the old church. I didn't know anyone there, so I took a seat in the back and waited for the service to begin. More and more people started to fill the church, some in obvious distress, and as they did I remember thinking, "Wow, for someone with no family, there are a lot of REALLY upset people here". Strange.
Finally, a few moments before the service started, to a full house I might add, I went back to the funeral director and asked if Mrs. Whatzitts (I mean no disrespect, I have forgotten her name) had a family that had been in hiding when she was alive.
He took me aside and informed me that I was at a funeral for a completely different deceased person, and then he looked up the obit for the one I was supposed to be honoring and sent me on my way, with Godspeed.
He was quite unruffled, unlike myself, who found I was on the opposite side of the river from where I was expected.
I wonder if that happens a lot?
I comfort myself with the belief that it could happen to anyone.

2. Do you recycle? Why or why not? I certainly do. I hope it makes some difference, because I feel a deep sense of responsibility to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as I can.

3. What is the most dangerous thing you've ever done? Probably driving down the trans-peninsular highway in the Baja, Mexico. It may not have been so bad if we a) had more time b) had a clear idea of where we were going (I had booked a house I found on the internet and send money to a bank account in the U.S. After doing so I had this funny little thought, "What if there is no house?"
Too late! I booked flights for 11 of my family members and we flew to L.A., drove like maniacs down to San Diego that afternoon(further than it looks on a map!) to get to the van rental place before it closed. (THAT was one wild ride! Our Motto: "To Brake is to Admit Defeat.")
Then we picked up a huge, 15 passenger van and headed across the border at 5 am the next morning. None of us had been to Mexico before. None of us spoke Spanish. We had 4 kids with us and none of us thought to stop at the border for the required Visa needed to travel more than a few miles inside the country. We were there illegally. Not a big thing going in, but at the armed military check-points every few miles on the way out it would have been a bigger deal. It's a long story , but we managed to bribe an official to sell us Visas in Ensenada. THEN we set out on the scariest road trip of my life, and I've driven on the back roads of BC, the winter highways of northern Alberta, the Trans Canada north of Lake Superior.
The Baja is something else, and we drove like mad to not end up on the road at night. There are not many places to stop, and it's hundreds of miles of just desert, rock, steep drop-off's and cactus. Throw in a few buzzards circling and it's very scenic.
Two 9 hour days and 800 MILES of that, with Levi (then about 11), announcing every few minutes as we squealed around another hair-pin turn on a cliff edge with no guard rail "Oh look! Another burned out car at the bottom of that gorge!"
We did end up where we were going; the house rental was legit and was so much more than we expected, the holiday was grand, and then...the drive back...duh duh duh!
Crazy. Loco. Dangerous.

Oh. And then there was this. Same trip.

4. what is your favorite movie and why? The Blues Brothers, for reasons I cannot articulate. I LOVE the music, Aretha slays me every single time; Jake and Elwood's dance numbers, menu picks, and that hilarious scene with the Penguin when Jake is stuck in the desk?? ROFLMHO!!! There are SO many great one liners in that movie that we all quote frequently...
"The use of unnecessary violence in the aprehension of the Blues brothers...has been approved"
" It's 106 miles to Chicago, we have a full tank of gas, a half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses. Hit it!"
"Are you the Police? No Mam, we're musicians"
"Where's my Cheeze Whiz, Boy?"
"Elwood: Four fried chickens and a coke. Jake: And some plain white toast"
"Reverend: Do you see The Light??? Jake: Yes!! Jesus H. Tap-dancing Christ! I have seen the light!"
"Me and the Lord, we have an understanding ..."
And of course the amazing tag line, "We're on a mission from God".

*warning. Apparently there are 26 incidents of the F-bomb in this movie. I don't really hear them, except when watching the movie with people who have never seen it.
I know!!!
Can you believe there are actually people who have never seen this movie??
We actually made up Blues Brothers Bingo cards and played them at our recent screening of this movie.

5. Do you follow a sport on TV? Does cooking count? I have occasionally had to admit I've been "Eatin' for sport".

6. If you could live at any time in history for 1 year, when would it be? I'm pretty sure I am living in the best time possible. I don't have romantic illusions about historical periods. I like the fact that antibiotics and insulin are readily available should they become necessary.

7. What was/is your favorite school subject? If you asked any of my teachers, it was definitely "socialization".
Now I love math and science and am enjoying studying with my two boys as they start their serious scholar days.

8. What game do you most enjoy playing with a group? Every time we have a family gathering with my family, mom, sisters, nieces and nephews we play Scattegories.
It's a riot.
The police have been called. (I kid).

Dawn, can I tag you on this... Kim?

Here is your mission, should you choose to accept it:
Tag some friends, make up some questions, comment back here if you accept and have fun!

1) What is the nicest thing someone has done for you in the past week?
2) Have you ever made a "mix tape" for a boy who broke your heart?
3) Where is your favorite place on the planet, where you feel most at rest?
4) Do you get up and dance at weddings, or sit out the congo line?
5) Did you write your own wedding vows?
6) How did you meet the love of your life?
7) Which would you choose, a road trip or to fly away to an exotic land?
8) What local business do you like to support?

Have fun!

Kitchen Floors!

Oh My! I love this. Dawn was doing some *ahem* Research and Development today and sent a link which led me to another blog and then to yet another blog and before I knew it I found this blog and this idea linked and I am loving it. I've seen it done a bit differently where you paint the lines on for the planks, but this looks so authentic and with not quite so much crawling around and trying to get the lines straight I'm thinking.
We are in the midst of considering a kitchen reno, and this is on the top of my list for things I want to do. I love it! I'd put on a few coats of poly-urethane because I am messy in the kitchen, and I think I'd be good to go.
As the Mr. makes plywood for a living, I'd say the chance of actually convincing him to do this is better than average!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Anyone up for a sew date?

So the lovely Dawn and I have recently been talking about altered clothing, and Rice's yahoo group is planning a group submission to Altered Couture, and Judi and I were commiserating this morning about the piles of clothing we are saving to alter and recreate and get creative and productive with.
Some day.
Dawn also sent me a link today to a blog which has a tutorial on making an Anthroemptymypurse (my favorite visit) inspired top. They do sell really unique clothes. Completely coincidentally, this weekend I discovered a series of videos about a designer in the UK who uses repurposed clothing. Even the dad of my boys friends shared that he wants to learn to sew because it is impossible to find stylish, artistic men's clothing off the rack.
I hear ya Ted.
Though it has improved in the last few years, there is such a limited choice in colour and style available to women too, especially if, like me, you're over a size 14. I had never thought of it from a guys point of view, as the Mr is a jeans and T kind of guy, but I'll bet it's even worse for men.
I feel your pain.

It's all coming together like this...all of us love new clothes. All of us are trying to tread lighter upon the planet. All of us desire a more creative existence. All of us are unafraid to try something new. And while we may fail to produce what we have in that perfect place we visit in our minds, where we imagine wearing our new hand-crafted dresses and re-made sweaters, and funky fabulous clothes that
a) don't break the budget, and
b) satisfy that need deep within, to express ourselves in an authentic way through what we wear, we cannot fail to have a good time, learn from the process, and enjoy each others company. (whew! Longestsentenceever)
And I believe we will succeed in coming away with unique wardrobe items. New-to-us clothes! Free and unique outfits! Freedom from conformity! Stickin' it to the man!!! *ahem* My inner hippy does burst out now and again.

I went to Swaporamrama in San Mateo CA two years ago during Maker Faire. It was amazing. The energy and creativity were through the roof. We found a shirt for Levi (darn! Not enough time to *shop* for me!), and had it silk screened by an artist who volunteered his time. I have had a dream of facilitating a similar event here at home ever since. I think I need to start small, and this is the time of the perfect storm, as they say. Here are a bunch of photos we took that day.

How it works:
Bring a bag of clothing, embellishments, buttons, fabric scraps, etc.

Swap with everyone there who has done the same. (It is sometimes sorted by type of clothing, size, colour...The event I went to was HUGE. I envision a much smaller one).

Decide what you want to do and find a sewing machine and/or a designer to help you accomplish this. At Swaporamarama events, local designers volunteer their time and talents. The machines are donated by Bernina for use at the event.

Cut, add, subtract, combine, paint, embellish...make it yours!

Have a fashion show at the end of the day.
There is a photo of me with a bag made by someone at the swap. It was made from fabric samples sewn together. Way cool! ( My post was completely reformatted by blogger grinches, so please do the best you can to make sense of it all. )

If you are interested in playing, the Lyceum is free this Saturday. If you are around Edmonton this long weekend, contact me (assuming you live close) and we will plan a great time.

  • a sewing machine
  • bobbins and thread for your machine
  • scissors (mark them with your name)
  • embroidery floss and needles, felting needles, etc
  • buttons, zippers, elastic, snaps,
  • a bag of clothes to alter and use as raw material, for yourself and some to share
  • extra fabric scraps and pieces
  • T shirts! Lots and lots! (if you have them)
  • iron on stuff for doing appliques (if you sew you know what I mean, if you don't, go to the fabric store and ask someone)
  • Anything else you can think of that you believe can be remade into something new for yourself or someone else.
  • A friend who sews, who is creative, or who wants to have a great time! Artwork you have printed out (in the directions) onto iron on transfer stuff.
  • bring magazines, books, drawings, pictures of stuff you think you can attempt to duplicate or that might just inspire someone else.
Josh is heat setting the shirt we did for Levi. And the half naked guy? He really needs a new shirt...he's come to the right place!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Just getting it off my Chest

I thought that coming back to this blog would be a strange thing to do, as it's been sitting abandoned and idle for so long, but I needed to get something off my chest. Not something deep and dark, just a little something I have been noticing more often lately. Something Daniel has even begun to comment on. Something obvious that still needs noting.

Fast food is not that fast. Paying someone else to do something for you does not really save you time. Quality is also a huge issue here, but most people seem to cave in and order takeout because it supposedly saves so much time. I just don't see it.

So many people seem to be in such a time squeeze that they feel they have no time to actually cook. They think it is much faster to order out, or go out to eat, than to make food themselves. I disagree.
In our house, we've been paying attention to what we put in our mouths, what we are using as the building blocks of cells in our body, what we eat when we celebrate, and what we eat when we need comfort, because yes, that is a function of food in our lives. And we are conscious of something that seems counter intuitive to our culture...good food is not hard to prepare.

Last night at 7 pm Daniel pointed out that it was dinner time...did I have plans or should he run out for burgers? We had had a lazy day, caught a movie in the middle of the afternoon and lots of popcorn.
We don't order out when we are home. I looked at him like he was crazy. If we are away from home and shopping we will stop for something, but generally we eat at home. It makes no sense to us to spend $30 on mediocre (at best) fast food because we were too lazy to make a sandwich for ourselves before leaving home.

I gave this a little thought as I got busy in the kitchen. Pizza seems to be the most popular fast food for home consumption. But pizza from most take-out places is not that great...lots of crust, a few greasy toppings and a sprinkle of stringy mozzarella. Not my idea of pizza. Why would you not make it at home? It's so simple. A good pizza dough takes minutes to throw together, and a half hour of resting, raising time is all you need in a pinch. I don't even feel the need for a recipe...yeast doughs are not rocket science.

Here is my method:
In a large bowl, pour in about 2 cups of hot tap water. Add to this two or three good glugs of olive oil, a spoonful of sugar or honey and a teaspoon or so of salt and mix it a bit. Add a heaping cup of flour and stir it with a wooden spoon. Add about a tablespoon of quick yeast...I measure it in the palm of my hand, and mix it all up really well. Then start mixing in more flour, a cup at a time. It takes about 6 cups total, but it's not exact, and if you add a little less you will know if your dough is really sticky. Mix with the spoon until it gets too stiff, then get in with your hands and punch the flour into the dough. It should be soft, but not too sticky. It shouldn't be like a sludge from the black lagoon, hanging between your fingers, but it shouldn't be so hard you have to punch with all your might to knead it either.
All the recipes say you have to take it out of the bowl at this point and knead it for 5 or 10 minutes. I say "bah!" I do it in the bowl...less mess...and this is fast food! I just keep pushing and folding the dough, as the bowl sits in my kitchen sink, neatly containing any mess. Maybe 2 minutes is all I give it on a normal day. When it's smooth and soft and feels like pizza dough it's done.
I give it a little rest and start pulling stuff from my fridge to top it with. I grate some cheese, whatever I have, or grab the soft goat cheese and don't even have to grate it. Same with Feta...crumbling it is fine, and fast. I see if there is any ham, chicken, spinach, onions (I like to saute them quickly in a little olive oil till they are translucent), sliced peppers, know the stuff you like on top...just wing it. My fridge/pantry staples for pizza preparedness are like this:
  • Extra lean ham (sandwich meat)
  • left over roast chicken
  • cheddar or mozza
  • goat cheese
  • Feta
  • olives
  • peppers; fresh or canned
  • sauces: canned tomato sauce, jars of pesto, BBQ sauce, Ajvar (say's a Yugoslav sweet red pepper sauce in a's like their ketchup...mild and delicious. It can be found in the condiment isle at Superstore, an Italian market or sometimes Sobeys)
  • fresh spinach
  • canned pineapple
  • real bacon bits
  • canned artichokes
  • anything else I spy that seems fair game

I gather my loot while the pizza dough sits there resting and as I heat the oven up to 450 or 500. Then I glug a bit of olive oil on a pizza sheet, a cookie sheet or a stone, and sprinkle some cornmeal over that to give it some crunch (or not...depends on how fast we want would only add maybe 60 seconds to my prep time, so I usually go for it).
I then take half the dough and stretch it out right on the pan. It doesn't have to be pretty, or perfectly's handmade and rustic...much better than mass produced, so of course it should look different too. Do the same on pan number two, (or else make one big pizza on your largest cookie sheet.)
Add a sauce of your choice. Add toppings. I put the cheese on last but some people like to get crazy and do it first.

Put it in the oven. Set the timer for 20 minutes.
I have a little trick to really kick the pizza up a notch or three. I had a wonderful goat cheese and fresh vegie pizza at Brewsters that was finished with a Balsamic reduction. It was unbelievable! If you want to impress someone (or yourself) try this:
While the pizza is cooking, get out a small frying pan and pour in about a 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar and turn the heat on high. Get it boiling really well, and add some honey (or maple syrup maybe? About 2 tablespoons worth) Cook it down till it's syrupy. I then take it off the heat and add a couple cloves of minced garlic and a tablespoon of olive oil, and stir it up. This is liquid gold, and likely to bring about confessions of undying love from anyone you serve it to, so use it wisely!
In 20 minutes look at your pizza. Does it look golden and toasty and melty? Peek at the bottom crust by carefully lifting a corner. Is it done? Take it out or leave it in for another few minutes. Then remove it and gloat. Smirk. Smile. Drool, along with everyone else in your immediate vicinity.
Cut that pizza anyway you like it...pie shaped? Rectangles? It's your baby!
Drizzle with the Balsamic reduction, grate a little Parmesan over it or pass it on the table, and enjoy gloating. You can do 100% better than the pizza place down the street. The total time invested is about 45 minutes, from inspiration to ingestion. I kid you not.

Now, if you had decided to order in, it would likely take that long, at least to have a soggy crust, half naked, mass produced pizza arrive at your door. Would there be love in it? Not likely. It would be OK, I'm sure, as even bad pizza is still pizza, and who turns down pizza? But if you could have a real, lovingly crafted, one of a kind delicious custom made, gourmet pizza in the same time why would you settle? You also have to take into account your sense of immense satisfaction that you...YOU, made this incredibly delectable delight, and fed it to your adoring family. That is, to cop a cliche, priceless.

Also, if you had to earn that money to buy that pizza, you spent a good hour of so working just to pay it off, right? At minimum wage, someone would have to work at least a couple hours. So figure some of that time in. You do have to buy the ingredients, it's true, but a bag or flour, water, salt and yeast and a small bottle of oil will make a lot of pizzas, and the toppings are so much cheaper to buy in the grocery store. There are also savings on taxes. If you buy the ingredients at a grocery store, you don't pay GST, but restaurants charge you tax on that take
out. And a tip...and delivery. See what I mean? You burn gas making a special trip to pick up a single pizza for a single meal, but chances are when you buy the ingredients, it was a trip that will feed you many pizzas of superior yumminess. I LOVE homemade pizza. I do it on my BBQ when it's too hot to use the over. (That's another post.)

If you don't feel like pizza, make a quick and easy tomato sauce like the one from Jamie, while you're boiling up some pasta. Spice it up! Add fresh garlic, some red wine, grate some cheese on top and you are done in 20 minutes! This is what I actually did last night when we realized it was dinner time and we had no plan. I opened a large can of diced tomato, whirred them in the blender, added yummy stuff from the fridge (another great use for Ajvar is to add body and flavour to a plain tomato sauce)
We sat down and gave thanks for a beautiful, delicious, fast meal and also for the prospects of left-overs for a couple of days. That's always a reason to rejoice in a house with teenage boys!

Fast food in our house isn't just pizza or pasta. It can mean throwing a burger on the BBQ, putting a piece of salmon in the oven and cooking some rice and having a salad on the side (under half an hour on the table), or a hundred other scratch meals. With a stocked freezer and pantry, you can have more delicious, nutritious, quick and inexpensive food on the table and more time with your family. It's just a different way of thinking. Don't be intimidated into thinking good food is too difficult. Try the pizza...see what your family thinks. See how great you feel!

Sunday, May 09, 2010


OK, I'm really embarrassed here. That last post, which I have removed, was meant for a (very poorly written) blog I am keeping private just for myself about my getting fit journey, of which a lot is concerned with weight loss and my relationship with food. I am so sorry to subject those of you who happened to check this sadly neglected blog with my navel gazing. *blushes furiously*. Please erase it from your memory. Thank you.

Move along now.

There is nothing to see here.

*shuffles off*

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Attitude of Graditude

My list of things to be grateful for is too long to recount, but I can mindfully focus on a few.

Good Friday, all it's symbols and new beginnings and growth.

Being a grandma to two, (soon to be three) beautiful, happy children. Today as Ada got out of the car when the family arrived for dinner, she ran straight to me with her arms out and wrapped them tight around me, and shouted "Hi Grandma!" It was the warmest feeling in the world.
Watching her constant surprise at finding chocolate eggs scattered (not too hidden) around our yard was priceless. Liam ran circles around her, but kept gathering chocolate and delivering it to his sister with a happy "Here Ada!" instead of hoarding it. She decided quite soon it was time for a snack and carefully arranged a spot on the sidewalk to "sitdown" and peel the foil off a little egg and eat it. When she'd had a nibble she got up and continued with Grandpa's finger in her little hand, tip-toeing around the yard until she spotted a bright egg, then yelling "Mine!" as she hurried over to add it to her bag. Such simple things can bring so much joy (to me)!

A good workout this morning, all by myself at the gym. Kicked it up several notches on the leg press after a good 5 mile bike warm up. Did bench press on my own for the first time and did great. It feels so good to enjoy the effort.

Having Liam, with a little tummy ache, ask me to just rub it for him. He settled onto my knee and just relaxed into me for a little massage and cuddle and some sympathy. It was a moment when I knew I was trusted to know what to do. Sweet little Liam.

Having my neighbours not freak out tonight. They started partying early in the day, and here at midnight it was getting out of control, yelling and screaming (though thankfully no fighting tonight). I finally decided I was going to be proactive instead of sitting and seething so I went to the back door and shouted over "Hey guys, can you keep it down?" Immediately two of them shouted back politely, "Sorry" and "Yes, sorry about that" and it's been quiet the last 40 minutes. Silent. Nothing at all. Amazing!

Road trip planning. My favorite thing to do when about to go on a trip is to find out everything I can on the internet, and in books, about the area we are going to visit. I knew there must be a thousand things to do in Vegas for families who are not into gambling or partying, and it has been fun searching them out. We are determined to see a few shows, and not pay full price for any. There are lots of amazing canyons to explore, and great architecture to oogle. Not to mention the food...(OK, I'll go ahead and mention it. Buffet's and hundreds of restaurants and Trader Joe's!) There are date farms in the area, and lots of Native American history. And shopping. Can't wait to leave!

Challenges. I'm glad I have a challenge that I am engaged in. I haven't taken my health seriously for so very long, and now, with some questions there, I have finally realized the world will not stop if I take time for me, and there is really nothing more important. Also, if I wait till things are perfect to focus on this, I'll be too far gone to get healthy. Little steps are a great start to a long journey, as corny and cliche' as that is.

And the biggest thing I am grateful for this week is that my family is close enough to one another to put aside their own busy lives and sacrifice for one another. Matthew, and Cheryl, Holly, my Mom, my nieces, my sister in law., even my family of friends who don't know him...everyone has gone out of their way to reach out and help Michael as he faces this disease with everything he can gather within himself. He is surrounded and loved and cared for and watched over. Cheryl's bone marrow has been harvested to provide him with the strength he needs to recover. I am so proud, and so grateful, and so thankful.
Faith, hope and love are working in his life, but the greatest of these is love. Seeing him recognize this happening is beautiful.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Invitation by Shel Silverstien

If you are a dreamer, come in
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer...
If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire,
Cause I have some flax golden tales to spin,
Come in!
Come in!

Go here if you are all or any of these things.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Vegetarian and Delicious

I love the book (sadly out of print) "The Clueless Vegetarian". It's loaded with classic, easy recipes and ideas. I made this today, and served it with a spicy dal, and with Vanessa's Apple and Green Tomatoe Chutney. It was the perfect combination, everyne loved it, and I do believe it is a new favorite.

Indian Vegetable Pilau

5 TBsp butter (I use olive oil)
2 onions
1 " stick cinnamon
1 TBsp chopped fresh ginger
4 cups mixed, diced fresh vegetables, whatever combination, depending on what is in your fridge--potaoes, sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, green or red peppers, cauliflower, green beans, zucchini, cooked chick peas. It's a great way to use of the dribs and drabs before you do a grocery run.
(I used cauliflower, carrots and cooked spaghetti squash).
2 1/2 cups basmati, or long grain rice, raw
1 tsp turmeric
4 cups water
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup raisins

Heat the oil in large pot and cook onions till golden. Add cinnamon and ginger, stir then add all the vegetables, the rice and the turmeric. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring.
Add water and salt and bring to a boil. Turn heat down very low, cover pot and cook 20 - 25 minutes, till water is absorbed.
Fluff pilau with a fork, and add raisins. Let sit a few minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings.

It is such a beautiful golden colour, with an incredible flavour that goes with any other Indian dish, or is great as a side dish. Wonderful the next day, heated up. It is so healthy (I know...I should say healthful) loaded with vegetables, and with a nice dal it is a complete protein.

If you can get any of the "Clueless..." books I highly recommend them. I have Clueless in the Kitchen, and The Clueless Baker too. They are a great introduction to basic cookery that explains how to begin cooking real food from scratch. The aim of the books is to show that cooking is something everyone can do. It assumes little prior knowledge, but all the recipes are fantastic, and not intimidating.

Jamie would be proud!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Marrow for Mike Fund Raiser

Here are some of the prizes for the fundraiser for my brother.

These are baskets I made up with the beautiful products made by the Creations From Eden swap group. They looked so gorgeous in the baskets, and the bidding was fierce.

This basket was mostly baby products from Autumn and Sage. I did it in a mini suitcase, and all the future grandmas at the sale were in a bidding war for it.

A friend of a friend ended up with both of these. I am still jealous!

I'm so thrilled with the enthusiasm of the community, and with the generosity of people who donated prizes, bid on items, and supported my brother. We're counting the days till the transplant. It's happening on April 1st. The secret fund raiser project has been revealed to him, and I honestly don't know which means more..the $40,000 raised, or the outpouring of love and support from so many wonderful people.
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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Story Time with Liam

One of the really great perks of being a Grandma is that I now have stories read to me. Liam and Ada were here this week and story time was so much fun. We were sitting on the couch and Liam picked up a book (it was a program from the Citadel...Josh went to see Sweeny Tod) and said "Oh, this is my favorite book. I've had it for five years!" He cracks me up.
The video is really bad on this, but the audio is so sweet. Liam didn't know we were recording and as a result he was much less self-conscious.
Notice Liam's new hair cut. It wasn't exactly supposed to look like this, but things happen...haha. He was too shy to show Partner his haircut and hid in the bathroom because he thought Partner would laugh. (You know what? I think he looks adorable. His eyes look so big and expressive!)

I also have projects to show but they are for a certain birthday girl who's party I missed, so I can't post them yet.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hand Made Something

I've been wanting to get lots of stuff made and it just hasn't been happening. I joined the gym a few weeks ago, and that is one great thing that is taking my time and energy that I will not cmplain about.
At Christmas time I did get a few gifts made. Then my sewing machine stopped working. My sister got it fixed up right when she was here visiting. It seems the bobbin thread was too loose. Who knew?

Anyway, I did make some bags as gifts before it quit. I wanted to make a bunch more. My "crap" room, as Liam has innocently and hilariously dubbed my craft/computer/studio room is clean and it is calling me. What is stopping me?

This is a bag I made for a sweet friend...little Maya, the youngest member (mascot?) of The Tempest crew. She was at every rehearsal and was front and center at all of the performances. When everyone in her family ordered silk screened T's from Josh of his original Tempest design. we really wanted to make one for her too. However it proved impossible to find her size in a plain, white cotton T. This was my solution. I sewed a smallish denim bag from thrifted fabric I got at the Re Use center, and lined with a pretty multi colour stripe from my stash.
Josh had done a test run of the screen on some plain cotton muslin, and I used the resulting print as a big pocket on the outside of the bag. Reports came back that Maya adored her one-off, and used to to carry stuffy pals Kanga and Roo with her.

I made three other really nice bags too. My seesters Holly and Cheryl got bags, as did my Aunt. For hers I made a sturdy denim with another of Josh's silkscreened designs. It was of a photo of the mission in Loretto Mexico from our family road trip down the Baja we did for Cheryl's 50th a couple years ago. Great memories, and my Aunt loved it. She was in Hawaii for Christmas and was thrilled to have a new tote to haul all her stuff to the beach.

No photos of the other bags. Ooops.