Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Poor Frozen Little Toad

This picture was taken in November, right before the first snow. It was very cold that day and as I was cleaning the basement I could see something out of the corner of my eye. I look up to see this little toad hanging on to dear life to the window. She looked so cold and sad looking. So hubby did the only right thing to do and braved out there and dug her a hole with leaves so she would be all nice and cosy for the winter :-) Stay tuned for Teddy the Toad returning in the spring. (click on the picture to see all the details, pretty amazing). L.

My Favorite X-Mas gifts

This year, I must say, everyone surpassed themselves! I must be very "special" lol. My stepdaugther presented me with a beautiful picture of us together at her aunts wedding. It was very touching and heart warming to receive such a gift. My other step daugther and son (yes, there are 3!) must have been snooping in my wine cellar to find this info. If not, BRAVO! They both gave us 2 bottles that I simply love. Wolfblass "Grey" and the Errazuriz. I also got something very unexpected from my in-laws, a gift certificate from Sephora!! Heaven!! From my hubby, the best gift has to be the book "My Last Supper". A true work of art. I'm a total foodie and I enjoyed browsing through this book so much. The photos are amazing. I will do a complete review later to give it the full justice it deserves.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Winter Bug Buster

Tangy Leek and Ginger Soup

The perfect soup on a cold winter day!

-2 medium leeks, washed and sliced
-2 Tbsp of butter, or Ghee or good olive oil
-2 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
-2 potatoes, peeled and diced
-1 container of chicken stock, or vegetable stock
-1 Tbsp grated ginger and it's juice
-1/2 cup of cream, or to taste
-White wine to deglaze (optional)
-Salt & pepper

Melt the butter and gently saute the leeks until soft, add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds. Deglaze your pot with some white wine and let it evaporate by more the half (optional, if you have not wine, skip this part). Add the potato and stock. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from stove and add ginger plus the juice, then the cream. Puree through blender, food processor or hand held blender (the best). Reheat gently without boiling and add salt or pepper to taste.

MMMMmmmmm Christmas Baking

My favorite part of Christmas is all the baking and eating of course. And coming into a new family usually means new recipes :-) This one is a keeper! Apparently this is a "secret family recipe" and should not be shared at all cost.. Well, as my mom would say (she was a marvelous cook); "recipes are meant to be shared". In my book, someone asking for your "secret" recipe, is the best form of flattery there is.
SOOOOOO, my friends, if you have a few hours to kill and you love donuts, email me and I will be glad to give you the instructions heeheehee.
FYI; they freeze well, however are best eaten right out of the Fryer!

Fountain of youth....

This is one of the occasions where Friskie's cuteness comes out. He has been doing this trick for years now. Not sure how he learned....He somehow prefers fresh water from the tap as opposed to his own bowl. He will sit patiently in the tub, focusing all his mental abilities on willing that water to flow out.When the tap is turned on its like he is amazed that he has this mind over matter power. He will carefully position himself a few inches from the trickle of water and lick it until his tank is full. Keep in mind, he has been doing this for about 14 years, but every time seems like a miracle to him...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Snow...more Snow

Well, here we go again... I have to admit that it is pretty and does put me in the Christmas mood. Note the evil cat in the window, laughing at the stupid freezing people shoveling outside.... I want to be a cat in my next life.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Danglin Kitty

Late the other night Friskie climbed into our bed to sleep. He has his own bed, in the other room, but tries to sneak into ours late at night when we're sleeping. Now the reason we don't let him sleep with us is that he is a big hairy cat that drags around half the yard in his fur and leaves half of it wherever he makes a pit stop. When he jumps onto the bed I hear him. Its kind of like someone dropping a bag of potatoes at your feet. I'll pick him up and he'll cackle and grunt in protest while I carry him back to his room.

So the other night was no different until I went to lay him down. The fat bugger wouldn't let go. He had draped his paws over my shoulder and hooked his claws into my t-shirt. As I bent over he slid out of my arms except for one paw. The back of my shirt went up and over my head and he dangled there.... all 18 lbs of him.. Now he was pissed and started squirming and twisting attempting to free himself. I was blind and any attempt I made to try and grab that stuck paw was met with a swipe from the free one. His weight had my shirt twisted around my head so I couldn't get it off. I was bent over keeping him as far from me as possible...kind of like a cat pendulum. So we kind of just hung there for a few seconds while he got more and more agitated. The embarrassment of yelling and waking up my better half, outweighed exercising that option. He was now on the verge of doing some serious damage. I swung my body towards his bed and pinned him down, one hand grasping his free paw. I reached around the back of my head and grabbed the other paw hoping to pull it loose. No dice. It wouldn't let go and now his back legs were attempting an appendectomy on me. We kind of wrestled for a few tense seconds until the paw popped loose. I held him down for the five count and walked back to bed feeling like Hulk Hogan on a good night. Damage report: a few scratches and a t-shirt that now looks like it was worn by the fat lady at a circus.

Monday, November 24, 2008

THE Hello Kitty cake

...Again, I always bite more then I can chew! But oh, the results were so worth it! I wanted to make a very special cake for my step-daughter's 14th B-day. She loves Hello Kitty, and I must admit, the thing is cute in its own way. This was my first attempt at a decorated birthday cake and I took this project seriously, it HAD to be perfect. So, here I am driving for 1hr in a snow storm in rush hour to this cake decorating store. After paying for my supplies, I came to the conclusion that ordering the cake might have been the cheapest and easiest route...
I made the icing from scratch with loads of butter and icing sugar. The Cake store lady made me purchase icing whitening. It is suppose to make your butter cream bright white. Well, being the skeptic that I am, I decided to test it a small batch of my butter cream. It turned the icing NAVY BLUE!! At this point, the birthday party guess had started to arrive.. I decided to use the icing as is with a piping bag equiped with a small star. If you click on the picture, you will see the details. At the end, I could no longer feel my wrists and fingers from squeezing the pipping bag.
The result was fabulous, I think anyway. Upon presenting the cake to birthday girl, I was rewarded with the biggest smile and hug ever... all the pain & trouble vanished instantly!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Murray Street Bistro

For weeks now, we have been dying to try Murray street, but life got in the way...ya know.

So finally, on Saturday night, 2 hrs after my plane landed from Toronto, we went with my future sister in law and her new hubby. Well, as tired as I was, it was one of the best meals in a long time. My fiancé ordered the poutine, and I knew how good it was by the way he was looking at me and holding on to that bowl. Just like a dog and his bone. I did manage to sneak in a bite when he was not looking, and Oh Boy! Party in my mouth.

Poutine 11$ Shredded duck confit, 3 year old Balderson cheddar, hand cut spätzle, roast duck gravy add ‘tongue & cheek’ grass fed beef chili

As a small plate, I had something called Angels on horseback. It was sort of a round crepe like dish, with a cheese I cannot remember, and smoked bacon as a topping. It was heavenly delicious.

This restaurant is known for their Charcuterie. For 25$ you can choose 3 meats & 2 cheeses or vice versa. Below is a list of the items all 4 of us chose:

Smoked Ostrich 8$
Wild Boar Ham (Maison Gibier) 7$
Duck liver mousse (in-house) 8$
Cendre de Lune (Warwick, Quebec) 8$
Sauvagine (cow) (Portneuf, Quebec) 7$
Pine River 7yr Cheddar (cow) (Bruce County, ON) 7$
Ciel de Charlevoix (raw/cow) (La Maison Affinage, Quebec) 9$

Everything was divine, especially the little crostinis that comes in the cutest brown bag. We asked for refills 4 times.. Oink Oink.

I would order the Pine River cheddar again and again.. The wild boar ham, tasted like ham I found, nothing out of this world. The duck liver mousse, is a different story, it comes in a small crock pot and is simply the best I ever had. The waiter even brought my fiancé a small spoon to get to the bottom of it all!

Our dinner companions both ordered the Fish "n" chip. Yes 1 chip, but a big one! The fish was fresh and perfectly pan fried. It also comes with a homemade ketchup, that is very typical among Quebecois. It is also sometimes called chow chow.

Fish ‘n’ Chip 25$ Pan roast Whalesbone sustainable catch, the Vandenberg’s Superior potato fry, in-house pickle mayo, Spiccoli’s field tomato ‘ketchup’

The wine......we ordered 5oz. Glasses, was not in the mood for a bottle and didn't want to be limited to just 1 wine that evening:

Cabernet Franc 11$
Thirty Three Vines, P.E.C. ON

I recommend it, I am somewhat of a wine snob, and truly enjoyed this wine, 2 glasses of it actually.

Zinfandel 9$
Pedroncelli, Sonoma County, CA

Nothing memorable, but still very good.

We all ordered deserts, they were all finger licking good! Especially the chocolate pudding with rock salt! Yumm.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The clueless cat...& the deck

The cat is Friskie. A large 18 pounder, mature... immature..14 year old Main Coon.One would think that a kitty this big and old is in the prime of his life. A seasoned hunter capable of stealthily stalking any prey and dispatching it with one swipe of his fat paw.
Friskie for some reason however retired from this profession many years ago and took up eating and sleeping as his main interests.

He still goes out and makes the occasional attempt to nab a squirrel or bird but he gallops like a camel and makes no attempt to sneak up on his target... as if he was wearing some type of cloaking device rendering him invisible. The squirrels and birds sit above his head, chatter and chirp their insults, literally laughing at his technique.

There's another problem. Friskie has no sense of where he is going... let alone where he's been.

We have a pool in the yard surrounded by a deck which is completely sealed to ground level. There is about 18 inches of clearance underneath between the deck and the ground. Just enough for a fat tabby to fit in.

Friskie has found an entrance into this space and I'll be damned if I can figure out where he is getting in. He gets in alright but can't retrace his steps to get out. He sits their meowing pitifully for help until we open the skimmer access trap and lure him out. I have left the trap open for him and he still cannot figure out to make his way to the trap door.

It's been three episodes of "Lost Friskie" and counting.You would think that after nine hours of sitting in the dark he would have learned his lesson or established some sort of familiarity with this area. I can just see all the local critter inhabitants laughing amongst themselves.."Hey its that dumb cat again...what a maroon !)

To get him out requires all sorts of cooing and baby talk..,usually in the middle of the night wearing our best reindeer pajamas and rubber rain boots. Eventually I have to climb down amongst the worms and woodbugs and guide him out.

It's a good thing Friskies positive traits outweigh his negatives. He's a big fat lovable lug who loves being petted and scratched plus his daily antics keep us laughing and amused.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My New Toy

....To alleviate the pain of loosing my favorite car, I decided to do some well deserved retail therapy. Oh Costco..How I love Thee. I treated myself to a Roomba iRobot. This thing is the best thing since sliced bread. It is the most beautiful and intelligent invention man has ever created. I am in L-O-V-E with this thing. For those of you who don't know, it is a robot vacuum cleaner. You press a button, it makes the cutest little sound and then goes about cleaning the whole house. Now, I have always been weary of these types of gadgets, and I am not one to splurge on high tech stuff. But this is worth every penny and more, it is almost like having a personal maid. Dog and cat hair is history!!! I could watch the thing for hours, its almost mesmerizing, it slows down when it senses a wall or obstacle, it does not miss one particle of dust. I swear to God this thing has a brain, now if it could only come with an attachable dildo, it would be PERFECT....

Monday, November 3, 2008

Death of a car

This morning I had the somber task of calling scrap yards to find out if they would accept my car. I have now come to a point where I don't have the financial means to repair the old girl... By the second phone call, I am biting the inside of my cheek to prevent myself from bawling my eyes out (I am at work and cannot be seen crying, it would be a sign of weakness, plus I am blond, so have to double prove myself all the time) Anywhoo, my Car was my pride and joy, it drove like a caddie, looked like a Jag and felt like an old pair of comfy slippers.

I wonder why we get so attached to inanimate objects. Maybe because they almost become an extension of ourselves, part of 'us', entwined in our psyche...Maybe because cars go through your life with you, wherever that may take you.. It could also be the fact that 10 years ago I was just out of University, and could NOT afford a car of that calibre, but fooled myself in believing I could and ended up working 2 jobs... Whatever the reason is, at this present moment I feel the same way I felt when I had to take my beloved cat to the vet to put her to sleep. OK, now I'm crying! I have this mental picture of my beautiful car at the scrap yard being crushed and forming a tower with all those ugly rusty cars! I just hope she ends up sandwiched between 2 Beemers, and not some cheap Firefly, it deserves at least that!

Goodbye Betsy! It was a glorious 10 years!
August 14th,1999 - November 3rd, 2008