Monday, 26 November 2007

Christmas Crafts

It is that time of year to start decorating the house for the holidays.
I like crafting. especially making a lot of my Christmas
decorations , a nice sense of achievement especially if they turn out even close to the more expensive ones I copied.
This year I made a new wreath for the front door using copper organza poinsettias and gold angels , tassels, gold bead garland and gold mesh ribbon.
From a few years ago for the back door a bell wreath, a nice sound with guests coming and going.
Some like Santa decorations for me,
I love snowmen and I made this pair with the baby, they are sitting on the quilt my Mother made for the millennium that covers the games table in the family room .

Here is a basket filled with twigs and snowmen , my cousin Shirley gave me this idea.

A wicker sleigh with more snowmen.

Here is a snowman made from a wooden post ,Rosanne gave me him,he welcomes visitors to the back garden.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Applesauce Sour Cream Cake

Ever gone into the fridge and thought oh, oh, better use up these ingredients or I am throwing away hard earned money.
Today in my refrigerator the container of sour cream had today's date on it, also had some homemade chunky applesauce needing to be used up.
My granddaughters had given me a fabulous cake pan for my birthday that just needed to be used so of course I had to bake something.

Searched my recipe books to find a recipe using both ingredients. Nothing.
I loosely followed an Applesauce cake recipe from The Joy of Cooking, with some twists along the way.
Preheat oven to 350.
Grease and flour pan of choice I used the pretty one above and small muffin tin.
Could use a bundt pan or 8 inch square.
2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves or ginger
1/2 tsp mace
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
I like spicy cake so used all the spices but use whatever you have on hand.
Sift together.
In large bowl beat until creamy 3-5 minutes ,I used my Kitchen Aid mixer goes a little faster,
1/2 cup butter or butter flavour shortening I use butter
3/4 cup brown sugar ( can use white if you like)
On low speed beat in
1 large egg
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups applesauce
til just blended.
Add flour mixture 1/3 at a time, mix only til blended in.
1 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts Chopped
I left these out.
Scrape into pan of choice.
Bake time for my fancy pan 25- 30 minutes, muffin tin 20 - 25 minutes.
Bundt would be 40 minutes.
Dust with icing sugar or ice with caramel frosting.
These are very light with a nice appley spice flavour.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Us Shopping !

U.S. Shopping

This last weekend was our annual shopping trip to the US.
Christmas is coming and our dollar is above par for the first time in 40 years.
My sister Donna, my daughters,Rosanne and Sherry and myself departed in 2 vans , yes we really needed both to hold all our purchases.
We left bright and early on Friday morning ,heading for Saginaw Michigan for Deer Widows Weekend at Birch Run.The men go hunting for Bambi's and the women shop.
We met up on the ramp to the 401 were Rosanne presented Donna and I with
a file folder of maps and coupons to Birch Run and Saginaw. Nice touch.
We stopped at the duty free to pick up some liquor products.
Then on to the Blue water bridge and oh, wasn't there a line up,45 minutes to get to the guard booth and then the inspector asks for my sister's keys, open the back door and our vehicle was searched first by a dog and the our baggage was checked, meanwhile my daughters, much younger and cuter by the way,
in the other van were through with out any check and pulled up waiting 5 minutes for us.
Guess my sister and I look like we are a threat to national security or drug smugglers.
Finally we were let through and on we went.
We got to Saginaw and checked into the Fair field Inn part of the Marriott chain. What a clean lovely hotel.
Dumped our belongings then hurried over to Fashion Square Mall , shopped for the afternoon , went to dinner at Outback , so good, then off to Kohl's were one could shop til Midnight Friday night.Donna and I found Kitchen aid mixers on special and bought 2.
The girls shopped til midnight , Donna and I pooped out.
Up Saturday had a nice continental breakfast at the hotel then off to Birch Run, it was very busy some long lineups to check out but great bargains.
Donna and I lasted til 2 in the afternoon then we returned to an afternoon rest, rested for a while then off to Meijers and Target for an hour, meanwhile the girls shopped til 7 in the evening at the outlet
came back went back to the mall called us to meet them at TGIF's for dinner, said we would be there in 5 minutes , we arrive no girls, they were closer than us , we
wondering where they could have gotten to ? They
just had to hit one more store before dinner LOL.
Back to the room to show and tell all our purchases, have some wine and chocolate and generally regroup .
Sunday AM , another good breakfast then Donna and I pack up with the help of the girls , head for home, meanwhile the girls shopped more, we crossed back into Canada around one after a stop at Cracker Barrel , no problem at the border this time , the girls shopped more and got back to Canada around 6, they wait at the border another 45 minutes to cross.
We had a great time , lots of shopping , lots of laughs and we are doing it again.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Congrats Brock!

Brock is now a referee!
Brock is my oldest grandson.
He took an all day course on Saturday and passed with flying colours.
He is now able to ref Tikes and Atom hockey games.
Here he is in his uniform looking very offical.
with the Great One in the background.
Here he is whistling down a play.
Okay not on ice yet.
Could be the start of an NHL career!
Way to go Brock!

Baked Chicken and Mushrooms

I am always looking for new recipes.
In the Autumn 2007 Food and Drink magazine put out by the Liquor Control Board, found a combo I love,Portobello mushrooms and chicken.
Best of all I had everything in the cupboard.
Lots of flavour in this dish and prep time short, good for busy days.
Chicken and Mushrooms;
1/4 cup olive oil
2 TBSP. Balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. chopped garlic ( I used 2 cloves)
1 TBSP.chopped fresh sage leaves or 1/2 tsp. dried sage( used dried)
1 TBSP. Dijon mustard
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 portobello mushrooms , stems removed
Salt and pepper
1 bunch watercress , stems trimmed( romaine lettuce used)
2 tsp lemon juice
2 TBSP. chopped mint ( used parsley)

Combine oil, vinegar, garlic, sage, mustard and lemon juice in large bowl.
Add chicken and mushrooms, toss to coat. Marinate for 30 minutes( marinated mine for 1 hour). Season with salt and pepper.
Heat oven to 400F.
Thickly slice mushrooms and re- assemble into casserole, lay 1 chicken breast on top of each sliced mushroom.
Spread remaining marinade on top of chicken.
Bake for 25 minutes or until juices run clear.
Place watercress(I used romaine salad greens)on serving dish sprinkle with mint ( I used Parsley).
Drizzle with any pan juices.

This was a good dinner and one I will do again.

Saturday, 10 November 2007


Thursday night and Friday I have been playing !
I had a week off from work to do some jobs around the house ( yes I have gotten them all done) so for a well deserved respite I have gone to a Partylite candle party Thursday evening at Rosanne's. Oh such pretty things to buy. I did restrain myself and only get some candles , one new scent is called "Iced Snowberries" soft spicy clean fragrance'
and the other "Frosty Pine" piney will be great at Christmas.
Rosanne as usual had one of the best appetizer tables set, the best pumpkin dip with pecans on top. Served with digestive cookies or fresh fruit. Yummy.
On Friday , to celebrate my birthday Rosanne and Sherry had long ago
planned to take me out for lunch to somewhere new.Finally got a day we could all agree on. Busy we all are.
We spent the day exploring a quaint village called St George, lots of antique shops

and interesting home decor stores

and Rosanne's favourite a scrap booking store.
We tried a new restaurant that Sherry had spied on her way to Rockton fair earlier this autumn. The Troy Cafe . What an excellent spot. It is on a quiet road in a very small village called Troy set amongst hills and trees . It has a lovely garden with a fountain still tinkling away. It was a most relaxed lunch unhurried excellent service. To start a white wine by a small winery called Joesph , very smooth. Sherry had a phyllo wrapped chicken dish,
Rosanne had pasta rotolo
and I had a shrimp, feta, spinach quiche,served with their homemade olive bread and grain bread. The food was served on handmade pottery from the shop next door.
Even the water was served tinged with lemon in chilled pottery cups. Just amazing the little touches that made the experience so good, not any wonder this spot has won awards.
For desserts we had creme brulee and pumpkin pie.
Just next door was Donn Zver Pottery were we browsed so quite a while.

By then the afternoon was waning ,time to head home .
This area has so many unique shops to explore we are vowing to go back and see more of this very picturesque area and dine again at this excellent spot.
Wonderful play day!

Thursday, 8 November 2007

First Snow

The first snow of the season.

Rather early for this area.

After the very mild autumn this is a shock!

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Silver Stick Champions

Grandson Brayden's hockey team won the PeeWee Divison Regional Silver Stick hockey tournament in Collingwood. They are off to the International Silver Stick in January 2008.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Happy Birthday

My Mother is turning 80 this year on December 31st .
She is a New Years Eve baby.
Donna , my sister and I have been scheming for some months to surprise Mom with a gala celebration. Very hard to hide anything from Mom.
We pulled it off yesterday Nov. 3rd. Why so early ?
Mother is able to go to Florida every winter and is flying out on the 15th. She has a wonderful home in Venice, where she gets to soak up the sun all winter.
Donna made up an elaborate story to get her to the hall, Donna lies very well , going to watch her for that!
The turnout was great , so many people came , lots of family and friends.
The weather was excellent so we where able to have the doors open at the hall.
We were worried about having enough food and drink, but we did, silly us we always do.
Mom was surprised, the best treat of all for my sister and I.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

End of Gardening Season

Most of the gardens have been put to bed for this season.
This fall has been amazingly warm and sunny. This area has had enough rain but after the dry summer we could have a bit more. It is only been this week that there was a killing frost. Very unusual . It has been the longest frost free days ever for southwestern Ontario.
I still have a few hardy flowers trying to shine. Purple cone flower , the flowering Kale and a David Austin rose called Mary Rose.
One more day of cutting plants back, some would say leave it until spring but I want to see the first green sprouts of bulbs pushing their way through the dirt. I don't like the slimy vegetation after the winter. Yucky!
I have tried to brighten the now very short days with some pots Decorated for fall with plumes, sedum heads, evergreen juniper branches,holly
and some hydrangea blooms.
2 pots sit at the front door as a welcome and one sits just off my dining room patio door to add some life to the scenery.
I changed the bird feeder from Niger to sunflower seed and hope to attract some blue jays and cardinals to brighten the long winter. The long winter days will give me time to plan next years gardens. Just hoping it isn't too long and too cold and snowy winter.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Another Picture of the Gangster and his henchmen

Trick or Treater

My one scary trickster.

He is a 1930's gangster.
Where do kids come up with these things?