Monday, 9 December 2013

Baby, it's cold outside!

You know it's cold outside when you have ice on the INSIDE of your windows.  There's no denying it - that's COLD.  When the temperatures dip below -30C outside, we always end up with frozen condensation on the INSIDE of the doors and windows.  We had temps well below that over the weekend and when we factored in the wind chill, it felt like -43C.   That's just nasty!  

This airborne moisture (humidity) condenses into water droplets on the window glass which then freezes if it's cold enough...    and it certainly has been!  I thought you Aussie gals might get a kick out of it :)   

Thankfully, we have a reprieve today - it's much milder and the ice has melted for now...   One of my winter morning chores is to wipe all the condensation from the windows.  If that isn't done, it can pool and get mildewy very quickly.

On to happier things...

In our quest to have a less "spendy" Christmas with a focus on people and experiences (rather than gifts),  we have a list of things we'd like to do together.  One of those activities is making and decorating  gingerbread cookies.  Our granddaughter, Penny joined in on the fun this weekend and much sweet enjoyment was had by all!

Paige likes to make her gingerbread men look like they are wearing clothes, so she spends lots of time arranging candies to look like trousers and shirts...  The icing decorator in Paige's hand is by Kuhn Rikon.  We love them!  My set was purchased here

Uncle Ian and Uncle Reece always are a source of great fun...  Penny is a very lucky girl to have doting relatives to keep her laughing (and give Mom and Dad a short break!).  

It's important that we work at making lasting seasonal memories for our children and grandchildren for they are the future of our family!  I want them all to have a rich history of traditions and memories  to draw from as they go on to have their own families.     We also want our children to feel a strong sense of family and have a connection to past generations, so our next activity will be writing a group letter to an elderly relative who lives in another province.  We all miss him and know that he will thoroughly enjoy reading a newsy letter written by all of us.  

Have a great week and those of you in the north ~ stay warm!

Monday, 2 December 2013


If you live in a part of the world where you receive regular snow in winter, you'll know what I mean when I say it's hard to pull out of of rut when you're driving.  It's WAY easier to drive on snowy roads when you stick to the ruts that are already there.  Trying to forge a new path requires that you drive up and OVER the ruts which can net some pretty wild results!  The car doesn't respond to your firm steering corrections - those ruts take over and really, you're just along for the ride until you get over the hump.

I've been in a cooking rut these past few weeks, relying far too often on familiar no brainer soups to use up leftovers.   No effort (just autopilot) sticking to the same old safe recipes.   A rut so to speak.   That's all fine and well on a particularly busy day (or even for a whole week when life takes a chaotic turn) but man, a whole month of same old same old?  Blerk.   It took a gentle prod from my daughter to snap me back to my senses.  She asked ever so politely "I wonder what ELSE we could do with this leftover chicken broth"?  Ummmm, you mean YOU don't want to eat that same old chicken stew either?   A tentative squeak of a "not really" was all I needed to jack things up!

We abandoned all previous chicken soup versions and sought to shake it up in a big way.  Predictable no more!   Homemade chicken broth was the base, but there's nothing sedate and quietly soothing about this meal...  After a right and proper fridge raid, we chopped and sautéed heaps of onions, kale and garlic which instantly lifted my spirits.  Who can be cranky when the mouthwatering aroma of sautéed onions and garlic fills the kitchen?   After adding red lentils to the fry pan (and a splash of wine before we covered it), we let that simmer and soften.  To the chicken broth, we added homemade tomato sauce from the freezer, a generous quantity of fresh picked herbs from the windowsill, some honey to tame the acid and cooked carrots, brown rice, peas and kidney beans from the fridge (all leftovers).   Then, cumin, curry and my husband's favorite hot sauce was added along with pasta.   I tossed in a parmesan rind from the freezer once it was all cooked through and (just before serving), added a can of organic corn from the pantry and cooked chicken (also leftovers).  An energizing, warming, flavourful and filling soup chock full of nutrients and fibre.  A winner for certain!

Flash pictures are mandatory at this time of year...  so sorry!