Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My new creation

I have been wanting to make stuffed animals for a while now...And I made my first yesterday!
It does look handmade a lot and when I look at it I feel proud and warm and fuzzy inside!!! You can see that this kitten had a little snack earlier....hehehe
I had never worked with fleece before and it kept stretching on the sewing machine! I'll surely know what to expect next time.
I have the crafting fever....I'm itching to create jewelry, stray sock animals and more fleece kittens....One of my Xmas gift from Dan was a work lamp with magnifying glass...I can't wait to try it...I might tomorrow 'coz we have no celebration scheduled! Which I find kinda cool, it's certainely different....and full of potential

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cold as a witch's tit....

That means that it is real, REAL cold!!! And the wind! OMG

I love to walk and it was getting difficult with the cold and the wind from the river....So I got some ski goggles for Xmas from Dan. And I got to try them on today! It makes all the difference in the world....The cold wasn't the same at all. And these are specially designed to wear with glasses...Delicious!
Next I give you the Gravlax Chronicles! It has been a couple of years since I made any, but salmon was on sale and it is a nice change especially since it will be ready for New Year's day!
For those who don't know Gravlax is cured salmon as opposed to smoked salmon. It is cured with kosher salt, sugar, dill,pepper and sometimes some kind of vodka or other alcool . You need to cut your salmon filet in half and place a generous amount of curing mixture in the middle, underneath and over the salmon 'sandwich' wrap in plastic wrap put a pan on top of it (in this case Pyrex!) that you will weight with cans. You need to turn it every 12 hours and discard the liquid after 3 days it ready to be thinly sliced and devoured!
It is delicious with a fennel salad. I took my recipe from Martha Stewart's hors d'oeuvres handbook. See you soon! :)

Monday, December 29, 2008

I scanned, I scanned!!!

Last night, on my to do list I wrote: Find postcards and put in frames.

In 2007 I had a vision for the bathroom..Why not a beach theme? Pale blue (aqua) walls, a lot of white, a chandelier, sea glass, shells...(see previous post...we are now just finishing the bathroom...LOL) We went to the Lachute flea market and I found these wonderful vintage postcards. I put them in a drawer for safe keeping and since we never started the bathroon redo, I forgot about them....and basically I lost them! What else is new? We got around to the bathroom in late August 2008 did the paint installed the chandelier, but still had some details to think of....I was still thinking about the postcards...but not finding them. On canadian Thanksgiving we went to OOB (Old Orchard Beach) and I got some frames at the Christmas tree shop for the postcards....And then I lost the

I had a flash of genius this morning and I remembered where I stashed them and 15 min later I found the frames....Guess what? I need to trim them so they can fit....But I wanted to scan them first so I have an intact picture. I had to learn how to scan....install the software etc....But I' really proud of myself I did it!
Now to trim and frame!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

New energy

Filled with new energy (or is it a sugar buzz???)
We decided to complete a couple of unfinished projects....First to clean and install the gorgoeus oval mirror. This is one of my favorite finds of 2008! One of my neighbor is selling his house and every Sunday night he takes out his trash....And me being a curious girl....I usually put my coat over my PJs and run over to see if there are any treasures....I found a coffee table base that is in the workshop waiting for a top. It will eventually go to Veronic (SD) for her living room-she's furniture
And I found this gorgeous mirror, full of snow and quite dirty, but I saw the potential....It was one of my proudest thrifting moments. It took nearly an hour to clean....all those nooks and crannies!
And we also installed the Old Orchard Beach frame I got more than a year ago at Cottage Decor (in OOB Maine). It fits perfectly with my beachy vision....The bathroom keeps looking better and better....We do move really slow when we fix something.....The bathroom is nearly finished and then on to the kitchen! It needs paint soooooo bad. We had painted the melamine cabinets and it chipped. So now even when I clean everything it looks dirty!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Xmas!!!

Peanut (Pinotte) Wishes everyone a wonderful Xmas!
I was goofing around and I put santa's hat on peanut....Doesn't she look absolutely adorable? And kinda pissed off!
I love cats soooo much. They make every moment more fun! This year we celebrated Xmas on the 24th with Veronic (step daughter) and Joe (her boyfriend ). We had a lot of fun, played Guitar Hero III and stuffed ourselves. I often feel inadequate and leftout in dinner parties but not last nite. Everything was great! The food, the company,
the presents. Wonderful!!!
Today we went to my dad's place to feed the cats ( He's still in Spain toilling away). We watch a xmas movie and vegged out.
After we had supper at the Deer Garden, one of the best chinese restaurant in Montreal (real chinese-not the north american stuff-not that there's anything wrong with it...LOL) Delicious!
The barware tacky pump was a big hit!(see Dec 19th post). I can't wait to go back to the Salvation :)
Have a nice nite....

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Meatball stew (Ragout de Boulettes)

I believe that you have as many meatball stew recipe as you have french canadian families.
This is definitely winter food. Eat that in California and you will die a slow and horrible death....LOL
I had in July once and couldn't move for 2 days....
To make this recipe (that is not written anywhere in my case) You have to start by toasting the flour for the gravy it tastes better than store bought. Then you season your ground pork with salt,pepper,ground cloves, cinnamon, a big chopped onion ,savory and chopped garlic. I had a bit of nutmeg. The day before I had made my stock by boiling pork hocks in water with celery, carrot, onion, bay leaf ,garlic and savory. After 2 hours I strain the broth and put it outside (covered of course) to cool so I can de-grease it in the morning. I take the hocks and remove the fat and the meat and put it in the fridge. Then I make the meatballs and roast them.
When the broth is de-greased, I heat it and start adding the toasted flour to thicken it and seasonnings too: salt pepper, ground cloves ,cinnamon ,savory and garlic powder. When it is the desired thickness (I play this by the rest of the recipe I tell you) and the desired taste I had the meatballs that have been drained to re-heat and the last 15 minutes the reserved meat from the hocks and add it to heat also. It is tradionnaly served with boiled potatoes. I added green beans and I garnished it with chopped parsley (it looks better) I can hear my dad saying: Did you put lamb neck in your stew? He askes me every year and I say: No dad, I can't find lamb neck in the boondocks (and besides it is not a big favorite here). I could make this recipe all throught winter, but for some reason it has to be made BEFORE Xmas!!! And if you read the post it is a LONG recipe to make....I felt like I ran the marathon after! Anyways we had some for supper and I have 4 dishes of it in the freezer (it freeze really well). Well folks, that's it for today! I hope to blog tomorrow about ..... hihihi

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thrift finds....

In the last week I was quite lucky to find these treasures....Some of them are now for sale in my Etsy boutique, some are for gifts...

For instance...take this handsome Bar pump (is there an official word for it????) Is a Xmas gift for Dan (who is into barware). I laughed sooo hard when I found this at The Salvation Army (I guess it's the pump...) I laughed for 2 days....I did go at night with some girlfriends after we had some wine....LOL!
On the same night I found this Hazel Atlas Ovide cream and sugar set...still bright and shiny!

The Royal Canadian Art Pottery mug is in top shape with both original tags...WoW! The tag from the manufacturer and the one from the store. It is deliciously tacky....
And what about the silver plate creamer? Delicious too lol! I love the retro!

last but not least a treasure from my church basement a super cute crab hand puppet...I shipped it as a Xmas gift to Ethan DND (do not destroy) the son of my flicker and etsy friend Mrs DoNotDestroy LOL. Not everyone embraces the concept of thrifting and recycling quite as much as Michelle (DND). So when I saw that crab, I thought of her son. I will be back soon because I need to tell you about the meatball stew (ragout de boulettes) and my visit to the Salvation Army 50% sale today!

Have a super night!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The tree, the tree we got the tree!!!

It has been a dream of mine for quite a while now...To go to a farm and choose my tree ( I don't say a tree farm because where I got it they grow so much more than trees....strawberries, corn, blueberries, pumpkins, asparagus, apples....). I wanted to go local because it is so important to me, because if you don't buy local then the local farmers will sell out and some developper will build condos we need more condos??? I don't think so!!!
So yesterday we drive buy and there's nobody, so I call and leave a message and Elwood Quinn the farm's owner call us back this morning telling us he'll be in today. So we go this afternoon and I am aware that you can pick your tree only on weekends and I ask Elwood how it works and that I wished I could go and choose my tree and next thing I know we are following him (us in the car, him in his van) we stop in a big field and I look at the trees (but I love trees that haven't been pruned-with lots of space between the branches). Elwood says" just hop in the van I will take you to another field where trees haven't been pruned at all". He is quite a character full of stories and tales and I take advantage of it and ask him tons'o'questions, about the U pick and the fields and the asparagus.
Then I see it: the tree I remember from my childhood ! Only smaller coz I have a small living room. The farmer asked us if it was ok to cut it a bit shorter because the tree will 'regrow' in a couple of years...Of course I said yes! I hope to go back next year and see where my tree came from....Back at the barn Elwood offered us some warm cider (just like in the movies...) and told us a couple of tales from his ancestors.
It was such an amazing experience! Thank you God! Thank you Elwood, I hope to see you again and buy some amazing products from your farm!!! La ferme Quinn in Ile perrot 2495 boul. Perrot sudNotre-Dame de l'Île-Perrot, Qué.J7V 8P4
tel (514) 453-1510
Check it out!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hum...Meat pies!!!

Monday I made meat pies (tourtieres). This is traditional french canadian winter food and served at Xmas in most households...
You can buy pretty good ones, but since I got the bestest (yes bestest) dough recipe in the world...Thanks to my friend and ex-collegue Chantal Cardinal (and one of the most accomplished cook I know...) I just have to make some....They truly are a joy to eat (for us meat eaters). The filling is a mix of ground beef and pork and bacon and leeks and garlic,onions and herbs and spices....
Usually I make the small ones because we are only two and I give some to my Dad and to my step daughter (who was a vegeterian at one point but could kill for some rib roast or proschiutto). This year I didn't find any small plates but a had a big bunch of new large foil plates...They came out perfect, so perfect actually I might need to make another batch!!!
My friend Chantal makes at least a dozen this time of year....
I eat mine with green beans or broccoli and fruit ketchup!
Delightful....Next time I will show you today's snowstorm...TTFN

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cold, sooooo COLD

Yesterday there were big waves on the Ottawa river and today presto-changeo ICE!!!
I never saw the river freeze so fast!
On the first picture the steam you see is the only spots were it's not frozen.
And the temperature dropped by time too with the wind chill factor it is minus 30 celsius (it's minus 22 F). My morning walk lasted only 10 minutes...LOL
Oh well I'm occupying myself by cooking....A vegeterian stew in the crockpot, a big borscht on the stove and I'm also working on tradional tourtieres (Quebec meat pies). No Xmas is complete (for me at least) without these delicious meat pies....Good eating!
And I'm also posting new things on Etsy. Business is picking up! How exciting!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Birthday Cupcakes

Yesterday was my significant other's B-Day (Happy Birthday Dan!!!).

I made cupcakes with butter icing, but since the household is on Weight Watchers I only served 4 (2 each) and froze the rest (un-iced). I'm sure the cake with be ok, but I don't know about the icing...

When I really needed my mother's advice on cooking, she was already in the hospital (and not knowing the time of day) so I could not benefit from her experience....I kept some recipes from her books but a lot of then weren't relevant anymore....So please people, get your family's recipes while you can! Now I am the gardian of Granmimi's (my paternal grand mother) little sugar pies (diabetic pies) and Rejeanne's (my mother in law) Fruit squares (another diabetic When I say diabetic dessert it means that the whole thing is sooooooooo sweet; you will get diabetes!!! Or at least a good sugar buzz...

So much of our lives revolves around food...especially at this time of year...Let's get out our family recipes and make them, and celebrate the traditions!!!