Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lights on the Lynn River

An hour and a half from Toronto, Simcoe, ON. The "Christmas Lights on the River" celebration last weekend. We have not been to Simcoe since our daughter was in a cousin's wedding some thirty years ago. The drive was a reminder of where some of the best farmland in Ontario lies. We got into town with just enough light to get a few shots of the park that would later be completely illuminated.

By the time we left town, it was all lit up and the entire community was buzzing with anticipation. No snow yet, but it will be lovely. Zoë must see this some day.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Sunday afternoon at the Ballet

I was in total heaven yesterday afternoon at the ballet. This production of Romeo and Juliet was utterly spectacular. I was a bit worried when I heard that the director of the ballet had given two of the younger dancers in the company the leading roles. We were so entranced, they did not disappoint. After all, Juliet was only 14 at the time of the story and these "youngsters" made it all the more believable. It is extremely difficult, at the best of performances to get Toronto audiences to their feet for ovations. Everyone was on their feet after this one..the longest I've ever seen!

This happens to be some of my favourite ballet music.
"Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64: No. 13. Dance of the knights"

Photo Credit: National Ballet of Canada

Friday, November 25, 2011

Dinner was a hit

Michael made a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner for the little family yesterday. By all accounts it was a hit! They were thankful to be celebrating with all the right ingredients after coming back from three years in Europe with hard to find fixins.

Zoë is like Jane and seems to love "Elsie's Potatoes" from the Best of Bridge cookbook.

5 Lbs. Potatoes or 9 large
8 oz. Low-fat Cream Cheese
1 cup fat-free Sour Cream
2 tsp. onion salt
1 tsp. salt
pinch of pepper
2 Tbsp. butter

Cook and mash potatoes. Add all ingredients, except butter, and combine. Put into large greased casserole. Dot with butter, bake, covered at 350F for 30 minutes. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate or freeze. Thaw before baking. Serves 10-12

The instructions should also read...give potato masher to youngest child!

When my mother started the tradition of these potatoes at home, it was because you could make the recipe, scoop out balls of the mashed potatoes with an ice cream scoop, place them on a cookie sheet in the freezer until solid and then into a large zip lock bag and back into the freezer. This way, you can thaw and use as many as you need. The recipe is meant for a crowd, but can be just for two if you do it her way!

She did not to my knowledge use the low-fat version of anything!:)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving USA

I sometimes celebrate the American Thanksgiving (as opposed to the Canadian Thanksgiving) in the USA, but not this year. I am really going to miss the Black Friday trek to the outlet mall in the middle of the night :)

Technically, I think from very dubious ancestors to present day family, I sort of qualify to celebrate. I most likely should have cleaned the silver and made a turkey.

It started when we lived in Princeton, for six years of our very young and informative lives. The faculty and students we lived and loved among became family and have remained so for the past 43 years. We are still in touch with all of them despite having been dispersed to places like Norway, Switzerland, California, and Washington DC.

The Professor has been publishing his text book for so long now that the American publishers are like family...he spent one stint in Chapel Hill, North Carolina as writer in residence.

My niece married an American and all her children are American. Our daughter married and American, our son married an American and our granddaughter is an American! I think this qualifies us on some level to be unequivocally attached to the USA, while remaining staunchly Canadian.

There is nothing more quintessentially American than Norman Rockwell. Happy Thanksgiving to all our American friends, in-laws, outlaws, and relatives. We are ever so thankful for all of you!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Speaking of Calendars

The 2012 Milk Calendar was in the Toronto Star today! I love the photo on the cover. I too have saved just about every Milk Calendar for years. It always sends me into a frenzy of wanting to cook again.

One of my all-time favourite recipes is the Mushroom and Leek soup. In the day, I was pasting the recipes in photo album binders with plastic page covers...(the original Martha that I am), and I still have this recipe fall out of my now, rather unorganized folder of odds and sods clipped from newspapers and magazines.

I love the tureen this is served in.

This was the picture that had no recipe for it...the one that attracted me the most of course, so in case you don't get the calendar, here's the link for the recipe.

Chocolate Raspberry Celebration Cake

If you are not in the distribution area to get this calendar, you can access the recipes at MyMilkCalendar.ca If for no other reason, how can you resist this line-up of meals....Classic Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Herb and Sweet Onion Scalloped Potatoes, Nice and Easy One-Pot Macaroni & Cheese, Sun-Dried Tomato Cauliflower Cheese, Chicken and Vegetable Casserole with Basil, Garlic Shrimp and Spinach Linguine.....
Hungry yet???

Photos: My Milk Calendar Canada

Friday, November 18, 2011

Calling America

I'm not sure why the movie Larry Crowne got so dissed. It was the perfect Friday night flick when the Prof. is away.

Now this is a flash from the past ELO...Electric Light Orchestra. This is my theme song. I'm constantly calling America to see and talk to my girls!

We really are living in a modern world. Last month I was calling overseas with a 6 hour deficit, now I'm calling LA with a 3 hour lag. At least I can see my muggins' with Skype...the new era of Grandparenting. It would still be nicer to hug them all in real time.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wall Calendars

I have to have a large box wall calendar by the kitchen phone. Lately, the selection of calendars has been anything from weird kittens to lakes of the world, but NOT the sort I want. I'm not sure why I have had so much trouble finding Pomegranate Press, they tend to have the most beautiful. I had to order the 2012 version from Amazon.

Now I'm happy to have my Reading Woman on the wall. It's amazing how 2012 is filling up already. Places to go and people to see!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Twirly Scarf Saga

It all started with a quick trip to Chautauqua this summer. I always see what the latest knitting trends are in the shops there. Sadly, upstate New York and the lake area showed signs of real economic turn-down this year. Many of my little haunts were either closed or totally uprooted. One remaining store had an easy "flippy" scarf that is perfect for knitting while listening to lectures. Of course, the wool that the sample was knit from was no longer available so I decided that this colourful yarn with a bit of silk in it would be fine. The colours are what attracted me more than the piece. I'm not sure if or when I will ever actually wear this, but the combination of hues is inspiring.

The other attraction is that it was knit on darling little Am6/4mm (7 inch long) bamboo needles. I'd never done that before either!

A project gone horribly wrong became the second swirly scarf, just to see how this variegated yarn would turn out. It's heavier guage, so I just used the needle size called for in the baby sweater pattern.

The easy little swirly scarf is a good pattern to use up some of your bits and bobs of wool, or as I did, just another use when the intended went wrong.

Here is the pattern:

Cast on 22 Stitches
K4 Turn
K6 Turn
K8 Turn
Knit all 22 Stitches

Keep repeating until all your yarn is used up. It will twist and turn on it's own.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just a bit too woolly

I'm not sure how long I sat and looked at this basket of woolly skeins. They were really too woolly to be comfortable as a sweater, so finally I found a blanket pattern that I thought suited their Gallic tendencies.

Pneumonia has forced me to sit and do nothing for the past few months, this is the result. It's more of a shawl really. There wasn't enough to finish off a proper throw, but it will be just woolly enough to cover the shoulders and stave off the cold of the coming snows.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

1982-2011 I wish it wasn't so

This is sad news indeed. R.E.M. is calling it quits.

Losing my Religion
Everybody Hurts
Man On The Moon

R.E.M. - We All Go Back To Where We Belong (Kirsten Version)

This is the "going out" album. There are so many great songs...this one will be out November 15th. I wonder if my son would like this for his birthday ? :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A timely little movie

Having just been to this area of France, and in the month of November, this is a very timely little film. It's surprising that I have overlooked Audrey Tautou (Amelie), Marion Cotillard, and Jodie Foster in this movie.

The trailer describes it as a story of:
" The Beauty of Hope
The Absurdity of War and
The Enduring Power of the Human Heart"

I watched it in French with English sub-titles. Makes it even more romantic!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pace Yourself

Was that Pace myself, or BRACE myself. Once again, now that Starbuck's has installed itself at the grocery store, I am alerted to the flavour of the season. Usually I pace myself allowing only one of these per month....they don't stay around much longer anyway. But when you read the specs, you'll see exactly why this is necessary.

The Eggnog Latte with Whip
510 calories

The Gingerbread Latte with Whip
430 calories

The Peppermint Mocha with Whip
470 calories

Now, really. Why would you go without "the whip"???? Isn't that the entire decadent point!!??

It has been suggested that you can have non fat milk and no whip..Bahhhhh Humbug!

Just pace yourself. It's not like you can afford one every day!

Photos: Starbucks

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Reflections of a Pirate

It's all over now but the candy wrappers. This is the first Halloween that Zoë will really have been cognizant of the festivities. I'm sure it was still a bit of a mystery. What IS a pumpkin anyway???

Is this a holiday to celebrate one of Mummy's favourite colours?

It's a bit like the three bears story. One is too small, One is too big,
but THIS ONE is Just Right!

Why are all these people dressed up like one of my movies? I just moved from Belgium to Los Angeles...will we dress like this every day? Are we movie stars now?

Do you think we can find Johnny Depp?

Maybe I should have gone after some furniture. Where do I sit to eat all this loot? I hope the container with all our household goods arrives soon, but for now, it's not unlike living on a pirate ship...is that why I'm dressed like this???

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Tired Out Pirate

Thank goodness for barrettes to hold on your pirate hat!

This is the result of waaaay too much Halloween!