Friday, December 06, 2013

marshmallow world

the snow sifted down one windless night last week.
we awoke to the frosting of real winter, and the kids were out of bed
and into snowsuits in a flash! 
(I would have just tossed them some muffins and carried on to school from there, but under all that insulation, they were still sporting their pyjamas...)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

presto, pesto

the final garden harvest saw us toting home a great deal of kale, and owing to the hardy nature of this veggie, I have procrastinated on 'putting it by'.  i had every intention of freezing, canning, drying, chipping and otherwise preparing vast amounts of kale for the winter.  instead, i have been giving it away, (a pleasure of the gardener) or eating it outright, cooked and in salads.  this morning, however, I tackled the last stalks of kale by whizzing together a pesto.   this reduced my huge pile of greens into five small vacpacs, destined for the freezer.

kale pesto:

Into the bowl of food processor, place lots of washed kale, 
torn from its ribs.
Whirr it down to fine confettii, then dump contents into a large bowl.
Repeat with more kale, but also add 2-3 cloves of garlic,
and about 1/2 cup natural almonds.
Whizz until there are no weird chunks remaining.
 Dump this into the mixing bowl.
Shred up one more batch of kale, this time adding the oil and flavourings
(I used cilantro olive oil and homemade pepper vinegar, but any acid/oil and flavour booster would work well, I think.  Some fresh basil and lemon would be nice,
or cilantro and lime, or maybe simply balsamic vinegar and olive oil.)
Whirr the kale, herb (if using),  about 1/3 C vinegar and a spoon of salt,
then add the oil while the processor is running.
( enough oil to make a good saucy mix.)
dump this into the bowl also.
mix well, take a few nibbles, adjust oil and seasonings.
 i like the bitterness of kale, but a hint of something sweet could be added at this time if desired.
cook up your favourite pasta, dollop on some pesto,
 top with fresh pepper and grated parmesan or peccorino to taste!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Potions and toast

A rainy day brings out the sorcerer in some people...

 so i opened up the pantry, and brought out the eye of newt, toe of toad, and powdered zombie teeth.
(as well as several plates of cinnamon toast!)
 the apprentices went wild,
mixing, grinding, and smelling until each concoction was perfected.

The resulting delights were labeled and admired:
turns you into a werewolf
zombie potion
good potion
frog potion
and one simply marked with a
skull and crossbones.
(overheard during the production: 'this one turns anything into a frog...'
'anything?  even santa claus?  even a FROG?')
very powerful stuff.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

toi et moi, malgre tous.

a couple of months ago, david was approached by a 'locations' guy,
asking if he would be interested in renting out his studio for taping a few scenes of
an upcoming Quebec prime-time romantic comedy.
why ever not!!?
day one of taping saw 40 men and women sporting earpiece communication devices swarm our backyard, filling the space with flight-cases, tables, lights, cameras and action!
the editing van was parked right outside of, and butted right up to, our front/side window. 
 (with a metre between us, the techie and I politely ignored each other through the two panes of glass the entire evening.)
esther was up to the excitement, though. days before she had devised a plan that would keep her right in the soup of things;  the tried and true Lemonade Stand! 
we have done a few lemonade based activities in the past,  so right after school she took to the kitchen, and with total confidence proceeded to direct the citrus squeezing.
I was in charge of simple syrup and ice.

she was unphased by the hustle, set up her station right outside of the studio entrance,
 served ice cold, fresh squeezed lemonade to any comer,
and got a good gander at the proceedings. 
at one point I glanced out of the window to see her pink hoodied self loping in step behind a tall thin grey hoodied gaffer, like she'd rented the place.
she proved to be a very dedicated entrepreneur, and even placed a 'back in 10 minutes' sign on the
table when I called her in to dinner.

and although she made a few $$$,
 her real reward was jotted upon the corner of her shingle at the end of the evening. 
 the whole gang comes back to tape another episode in November...
perhaps a hot cocoa shack next time.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

go fly a kite


the wind was windy.

what can I say?

sometimes a little thing can seem miraculous.


bursting with fun

I spy with my little eye:


there are times when I LOVE the children's conspiracies.
 one of those times.

because after all...
summer is for ambushes.

fire pit passion

the cottage is the perfect place to try out less conventional cooking methods:

the manly art of digging a fire pit.

there was much debate on how deep, how wide, how much fire, depth of coals...
but it doesn't seem to be an exact science in any case.
fire pretty.

 we eventually threw in the foil/newspaper/foil wrapped chickens,
laid down some lovely sweet fern for additional protection, and buried the lot.

six hours later, we dug for our supper.

proud cave man bringing home the chickens, trailer park boys' style.
the-non exact science outcome?
the poultry still had to finish on the bbq...but it was very fun endeavour.
next time, deeper pit, more coals, longer time cookin'.
'cause the WILL be a next time.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Garden file, #2

A small haul from my morning garden visit.

Friday, July 19, 2013

valentine's, christmas AND easter in july?

the blackboard looks like this....

the table looks like this,

the egg looks like this,

and the kid looks like this.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

'guess-the-theme' theme day

seriously, it's time to face summer

some summer fun so far:
edgar fashioned himself rose-colured glasses, which he then taped to his head,

esther contemplated a thing or two,

and today, they compared species dimorphism in the common canine.
the guinea pig definitely outweighs this little feller.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday, June 16, 2013

dog breath

a rainy day after many rainy days...
already we have made so many cookies,
muffins, and human treats...
time for doggie snacks.
(a great way to use up a few odd ingredients in the pantry also.)
(and no, we don't have a dog.)
Dog Biscuits:
mix up in bowl:
1 C oats
3 C whole wheat flour
1/2 cup ground nuts
(whatever is on hand...I used toasted pumpkin seeds, hull on)
1/4 C wheat or oat germ
1/4 C flax seeds
cut in:
1/3 C fat
(I used bacon drippings...yum!)
1 beaten egg
1/2 C milk
when that looks like the mix is in even chunks, stir in 1 C boiling water.
 then when cool enough,
knead until a nice elastic ball of dough.
(add flour as required.)
roll out about 1/2 inch thick,
cut out with your favourite ironic cookie shape,
pop onto a cookie sheet and
bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes.
to let them get nice and hard,
leave the snax in the oven after you turn it off.
pack in paper bags, and
deliver to dog households around your 'hood.
enjoy the love that love brings.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

summah time

nothing like having a couple of the girls over for a splash in the driveway....

Garden community part one

it is allotment garden time again...
my plot last year was challenged by drought and weeds,
this year seems to be rain and flea beetles.
so far.

ok, let's face it. 
the wisdom of regularly driving 15 minutes one way, in order to dig around in the dirt, seems questionable most days. 
the tools, seeds and baby plants rattle around in an already chock-full vehicle,
and the hot sticky van interior is not the most inspiring start to a gardening adventure.
we also live in an area of town that has plenty of green space close by.  parks and small lawns, sports fields and large planter boxes dot our area with greenery.  we also have a small back garden with some herbs and hostas, and always plant a container or two of little tomatoes to savour.
downtown, even the cracks in the paving sprout life.
why, then, did I decide to tackle a 25x25 foot plot of clay and weeds so far away?
I can easily buy local organic veggies, either at a market, or through a CSA.
even the local big box grocers have a selection of Ontario produce this time of year.
well, I knocked the dirt off of a couple of this year's tiny flea beetle bitten radishes,
and found my answer.
it is simple. seeds are a bit of magic. 
 I never quite believe that those tiny little things contain a whole plant inside...every time I place a few in the ground, I fully expect them to fail.  and yet, without smoke or mirrors, a little green shoot pops up almost before my eyes.
so, those spicy little globes, pushing forth in spite of my inadequate ministrations,
the bugs and heavy soil,  encourage my feelings of hope and pride, and my belief in magic.
 if all other of my crops fall prey to hydration issues, weed competition or become bug snacks,
I have had my money's worth of magic already, as well as
a tasty little salad!

Sunday, May 05, 2013

lemonade redux

it was summer-enough to break out the entrepreneurial spirit this weekend...
the kids had so much fun with last year's lemonade stand,
that at 8:00 a.m. of the second warm-enough day, the poster paints were out.

edgar filled-in the bubble letters, and disagreed with me about the price.
he figured a glass should cost $5.00, not 50 cents.

i figure no lemonade stand should ever offer the canned stuff, so we squeezed and squeezed!
i made up a simple syrup and mixed the juice up with that, plenty of ice, and cool H2O.
the resulting beverage drew good-sport neighbours and passer-by;
we met at least a dozen people from up and down the street,
and one couple who had just happened to take a wrong turn...
we were soon offering up our small kiddie ikea stools
 for rest and conversation while the sippers sipped.
the whole project took up a lovely portion of the day;
the street was reclaimed for commerce and camaraderie,
esther sang out her lemonade hawking song, even when there was not a soul in sight, and
edgar decided we should do this EVERY weekend.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

photo op

grandpa and grandma swain recently had all of their grandchildren
in the same place at the same time,
and even managed to have them all seated in the same area at once!
esther, julian, alexia, lily-anna and edgar.
we missed having all of the of the uncles there though...


as long as it has nothing to do with a bath,
the children find soap a very interesting substance...

bubbles are considered to be such fun, in fact, that some rainy-day times 
 I just fill a very soapy sink
and let the kids scoop out handfuls of foam
for free-form art projects, disguises, or just plain hurling about.

the best place to enjoy the world's best toy,
 though, is out in the street, where they shimmer and float like feathers,

and invite passers-by to stretch out a finger and pop a few along their way.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

safety first

scene yesterday:
the family is in the van, racing to the girl's dance class.
daddy is driving.
 chaos reigns in the back seats;
cheerful, rowdy, pain and suffering exchanges between the two siblings.
a bellow from the driver is issued:
"HEY!!!   settle down back there!!!!  i could have an accident!!"
silence, then a small voice replies:
"you mean pee your pants?"
i almost peed my pants.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

apricot red lentil soup.

tulip sprouts are popping up, so comfort food should be loosening its alluring grip,
but this april snowfall had me turning to the soup pages of my recipe books. 
this one I have already made 3 times...mmm.
apricot red lentil soup
(adapted from 'color me vegan' by colleen patrick-goudreau)
sauté in 1T oil:
1 medium onion, chopped
2 minced garlic cloves
 1/2 C chopped dried apricots
when soft, add:
1 1/2 C red lentils (rinsed and picked)
5 C stock of choice (i used chicken)
cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 minutes.
then add:
3 chopped tomatoes
1 t ground cumin
1 t dried thyme
1/2 t dried rosemary
1/2 t salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper.
simmer until soft and smooth.
the original recipe added 1 can of rinsed chickpeas,
but I stopped short.
super yummy served over piping hot brown rice.
the apricots are a lovely sweet surprise.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

permission impossible?

a friday evening, a stray ball of yarn and two
inspired and conspiring  kittens resulted in this obstacle course...
how could i possibly discourage someting so outrageously fun?
i just sat back, and enjoyed the mayhem.
constructing the thing seemed to be painstaking and exhilarating team work,
and clambering through?  priceless.
days later, i am still finding wool knotted around chair-legs and posts...
i think i might leave one or two tied on, as furniture friendship bracelets.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

sew what now?

i should have taken a 'before' photo,
as i imagine this still looks chaotic to the untrained eye,
but many hours of committment
have turned my sewing/etc. nook from stash-pile to comfort zone once again.

i'm now prepared for my next project;
 i just need to find the next block of 'hours of committment'.