Thursday, December 31, 2009
I have not been posting as much as I usually do...the diner seems to take up all my time but I'm slowly getting into the groove and my time management should be getting better.
The weekend specials at Magpie's are:
Saturday. - Spinach, feta and tomato omelet for breakfast, triple grilled cheese and fries for lunch and the soup of the day will be beef barley.
Sunday - 7 Dollar pancakes with two slices of bacon, one hand made sausage or one slice of Canadian back bacon, BLT and soup for lunch, and the soup of the day will be homemade cream of tomato and basil soup.
See you all at the diner...
Monday, December 28, 2009
Well it's a bit complicated. I suspected my job was about to end quite some time before it actually did and in an effort to protect myself I committed to a part time job. It's a work from home job as an emergency travel consultant which can sometimes be very stressful. Anyway, I was scheduled to work this past weekend, hence the reason for the diner closure. Now, I know, some of you may think that was crazy but I made a commitment and I stand by my commitments so I worked Dec. 26 and 27th but considering the trouble surrounding travel my shifts were uneventful. I'm so very thankful for that.
Which now brings me to today. Monday is a regular off day at the diner and I was not scheduled to work at the other job so it was a true day off and what did I do??? I cooked.. a real home cooked meal.
Now we have have all heard the "simple living" and the "cook from scratch" and save, save, save...I am one of those folks..but I'm telling you right now...when you work full time, outside of your home, in stressful jobs, cooking from scratch and doing daily household chores yourself is very difficult. How did I ever do it when my kids were small because although for very different reasons, mainly financial, that is what I did, worked full time, commuted by bus and all the while cooked from scratch, baked from scratch, attended school meeting and functions, kids games ect...I'm exhausted just thinking about it.
All this time...it was easy for me to preach this lifestyle, while working from home, with a good salary in a job that allowed me to put on a stew in the morning, to simmer slowly all day, stir every so often, to enjoy that night with a home baked roll and side salad. I forgot what it was like..how stressful life can be, how difficult it is not to buy ease...
Tonight I made a home cooked meal just like I did prior to the diner... pork chops, mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, broccoli and salad, we sat at the kitchen table, and ate slowly, savouring every bite, it was wonderful, one of my best nights ever.
So what does it all mean??? Is all this simple living a lie? Are we doomed?
Not at all. Take it one step at a time, start slowly and savour every moment you get to spend with your family. It does not have to be pork chops and the works every night, but just start with one night, it can be toast and scrambled eggs, just make it yourself, it will turn into two homemade meals, which will then be three....
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Right away I can tell you the first week was a whirl wind and hopefully I can remember each day.
I'll start with Monday, Dec 14th. Art and I were at the restaurant for most of the day. We picked up our meat order, our baking order and did our grocery shop. I prepared all the beef patties, chicken breasts, roasted a beef roast, cut the turkey, roasted the breast and made broth with the remainder, made chili. I wanted to start on my baking but we ran out of time. Around 4pm we had to go home and deal with the dog, the cats and the chickens and then back to the diner until about 8:30pm. That night at home I put the menus together, kept running through the to do list in my head but managed to be asleep by 10:00pm.
We opened Tuesday Dec 15th at 7:00am, I was awake 3am and I could not go back to sleep for love nor money until about 5am, yay!!! But we were up at 6:00am not so good! Our original plan was to be at the diner by 6:00am. I was beat, tired beyond belief.
At the diner I bake muffins, scones, brownies and carrot cake. Art cuts the fries and takes care of the first frying. I make cream of mushroom soup and prep the fried onions, fried peppers, bacon and sausages. We get one client from the church, he's happy we are open because there is a small group of folks that go for coffee after daily mass. I'm thrilled.
Where are all the people? Where are my signs? Art starts phoning the local papers and radio stations to get advertising info. They are at the diner in a flash and they all buy lunch. Good plan Art, we have some money in our till. Not sure who we can call tomorrow but we will worry about that later.
It's 3:00pm, closing time. It was not too busy so clean up is pretty fast. Back home, deal with the dog, the cats and the chickens. Dinner is leftover soup, salad and bread from the diner. Bed is at 8:00PM... So tired!!!!
Wednesday, Dec 16th. Not a soul until the group from church comes in. Lord bless them! The man kept is word, he came back and brought is little group. They order muffins and a small breakfast. While Art takes care of them I'm getting soup ready, turkey vegetable. And again I'm surprised that we have lunch customers, not many but enough to get some practice in.
The signs are ready!!!!
We close at 3pm and by the time we clean up, hang the signs it's almost 430PM. Another long day but Art and I are exhilarated but we decide that we want to close shop at 2pm.
Dec. 17th, I think!! I'm loosing track of my days. I boil up some beef bones for beef barley soup, bake some blueberry muffins. I'm feeling at ease and ready for the lunch crowd that never show up..oh oh, what's going on, do we need to change our hours?
Dec 18th, much like yesterday, the church group has come in every day and there is another customer that has come in every day. He loves us, well loves the food and he orders the same thing, sausages and eggs, thank you, thank you and thank you.
Today we ran out of eggs. I go to the farm..."Can I buy some eggs"? I'm told "nope" what do you mean nope? The chickens are not laying right now, yikes. My menu says "farm fresh eggs" where will I find eggs? I start calling around and find them from another farm. They are good but the yolks are not very orange, not sure what they are feeding their chickens but I really want orange yolks so I'll have to keep looking but these will do for now.
We get customers after 2pm but we are closed and we are now second guessing ourselves but I stand firm, we close at 2pm.
Dec 19th. Nothing, nobody on the street, nothing going on. We decide that our sandwich board needs to go down the block to the main road, maybe that will help. We shall see.
The church group comes in again, I'm thrilled! And then nothing. We really think this will turn out to be a stinker of a day and them bam!!!! We are hit, all the tables are filled in five minutes around 12:30pm. I'm in a fog, Art is in a fog, and I hate to admit it but I was very nasty to him, he didn't deserve it but the stress was killing me and I took it out on Art. And they keep coming..they all saw the sign on the main road. Just shy of 2:00pm we have a lull and Art gets the sign off the street and Open neon sign is turned off.
Art and I are stunned, not sure we want to put that sign down there again, we are scared. I'm scared of myself and who I turned into for that hour when we were really busy. People are still coming but the door is locked!!!! Art talks to them and tells them our hours...they will be back next week they say. I hope they do!!
I really have to come to terms with the way I acted today. I think about it all the way home, I'm getting ready for Saturday night mass, still thinking about it and ask God for help all through mass. Tomorrow is another day and I'm only human, I hope to do better.
Dec. 20th. Again nothing for most of the morning. I know we will get some folks after church but I'm ready. Pancake batter is done, strawberry compote is simmering. The soup is heating, the bacon and sausages are half cooked, I'm in good shape.
10:00am and slam, again, all the tables fill up at once. I mess up the church groups order, you know the ones that come in every day, I forget one of their orders. How could I??? Art comps their breakfast, he is doing a fantastic job, talking it up, topping up everyone's coffee. I'm feeling the stress starting to bubble, feel the explosion, start to get snarky again, and Art just says "Margaret stop! We are both doing our best". And he is so right, I calm down, and get on with it.
They all leave around 11:30am and I have no potatoes and we are out of eggs again. My son and his wife show up and he makes an egg and potato run. I'm quickly cooking up some more bacon and sausages..the second mass lets out around noon...and I'm freaking out! I don't know if I can handle it. This is not what I signed up for. I want to cook, put parsley on the plate, make it look nice, take my time, but this??? This is just crap!!!!
Noon comes and guess what no one comes in, deep down I'm happy but now I worry. Where did they go?
And then a table comes in, just one, oh joy, I can take my time. About 10 minutes after that, another table, I'm ecstatic, this is what I envisioned. And that's how lunch went, a table every 10 minutes or so until we closed. Nice and steady but not slammed. The day ends! Art and I are happy and we go home after we clean up to think up a plan of attak for next weekend.
Oh right it's Christmas!!! We will be closed..
And now it's Monday morning. I've taken care of the accounting for the last week, our bank deposit is ready. We have to take our garbage to the dump and sort our recycling. I have a catering job tomorrow night so I'm getting that list ready...and I have to think about our Christmas dinner? Duck I think...
Buon Natale Aanz..che cosa e saponnette?
Friday, December 18, 2009
My oldest son bought a house, married, found a good job, and I will, very soon, be a third time nonna.
My younger son and his two children were able to fly out for three weeks in August to attend his brother's wedding and I enjoyed my grandchildren who I don't see often enough. Phew!!! they sure tired me out. It was a shame that my daughter in law could not come out but we chat on the phone and by email and she is a real joy, full of spunk and a real firecracker. My son enrolled in trade school to apprentice as an electrician and is doing very well.
I fulfilled a long time dream by opening up my restaurant with my husband of 29 years. Wow!!!
We are all healthy, have a roof over our heads and enough food to eat, we are very fortunate.
Christmas will be quiet this year, just four of us and who knows maybe a 5th little person. I tried my hardest to have a home made Christmas but I ended up spending a little bit of money, however I'm happy to report that it was much less than previous years.
I hope you have a Merry Christmas full of happiness and spent with the people that you love.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Furthermore...it turns out that the fiance is a farm boy, known and cowpoke. Very experienced in all farm things, good and bad, if you catch my meaning, so if any of my chickens get sick....I know who to call.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
My sign...I love it. Thanks to Jeff at Cranberry Signs.
Art's coffee station
The worst job of all that both Art and I share.
And this is my domain..I have a stainless steel work table on the opposite wall.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
All day breakfast
“Magpie’s Big Breakfast” $12.00
The ultimate “big breakfast” 2 hand made pork sausages, 4 slices of bacon, 2 large fried or scrambled free range eggs, hashbrowns, 2 thick slices of buttered toast.
“Magpie’s not so big breakfast” $8.00
1 large fried or scrambled free range egg, hashbrowns, 1 thick slices of buttered toast and 1 hand made pork sausage or 2 slices of bacon.
The Diner Breakfast $9.50
2 large fried or scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, thick buttered toast, 2 hand made pork sausages or 4 slices of bacon.
“Eggs in a basket” $9.50
Two eggs fried in toast with 2 hand made pork sausages or 3 slices of bacon and hashbrowns.
“Stack’m high” $7.00
4 buttermilk pancakes with butter and syrup
“Stack’m not so high” $5.00
2 buttermilk pancakes with butter and syrup
Add 2 hand made sausages $3.00
Add 2 slices of bacon $2.00
Add fruit compote and whipping cream $3.00
“French Toast” $6.00
Three thick slices of French bread or raisin bread dipped in a special egg custard served with butter and syrup.
Add 2 sausages $3.00
Add 2 slices of bacon $2.00
Add fruit compote and whipping cream $3.00
Omelets your way $6.00
3 large fresh free range eggs, hashbrowns and thick buttered toast.
Add your toppings: $.50 per
Peppers, tomato slices, cheddar cheese, mushroom, onions, bacon
Breakfast Bagel $4.50
Toasted buttered bagel with a fried egg, 2 slices of bacon, cheddar cheese and tomato slices
All platters are served with home cut fries or soup and Magpie’s salad. Everybody needs to eat their veggies ..no salad substitutions!
Magpie’s Wildwood Burgers $10.50
Pick your patty
-1/3 LB. fresh lean ground beef
-whole chicken breast
With grilled onions, mushrooms, melted cheddar cheese, and lettuce and tomato on a grilled buttered kaiser (white or whole wheat) with Magpie’s special mayo and mustard.
Grilled Turkey Club Platter $11.00
Two thick slices of sourdough bread, roast turkey, bacon, Swiss cheese, tomato slices all grilled to perfection.
Roast Beef Cheese Melt Platter $10.50
Tender slices of seasoned roast beef, with fried onions and grilled peppers and melted Swiss cheese on a grilled hoagie.
Chili dog Platter $8.50
A plump all beef dog topped with homemade meat chili and shredded cheese on a toasted hoagie.
Soup with a slice of home made bread $5.75
Simple Green Salad $3.50
“Big Salad” with a slice of home made bread $7.50
Greens with shredded cheese, chopped turkey and eggs.
Salads are served with Magpie’s balsamic vinegar and olive oil vinaigrette.
Magpie’s Hot chocolate $2.50
The hot chocolate is thick, creamy and made on the stove with real milk, cocoa and sugar, patience is required but well worth the wait.
Home baked goodies
Jumbo Muffin $2.00
Sour Cream donuts $1.00
Carrot Cake $3.50
Loaf cake $2.75
Apple or Berry pie $3.50
a la mode $4.50
Friday, December 11, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Very tasty but a bit too big..I'll keep the tart shells but I'll make quiches instead.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
What do I mean? For a long time I've worked towards simplifying, being self reliant and being kind to this Earth we all call home. It's always been my dream ... homesteading! Well the dream was alive and well when I had a paycheck every two weeks. I assumed the company I worked for practiced it's business in an ethical way. I guess I just thought about the way I wanted to live my life and not so much about the company I worked for. But now the buck starts and stops with me. Will I conduct my business in an ethical and moral way? Will I do anything to make a dollar?
I'm asking myself how a diner with not very healthy food is going to work? How am I going to feel good about it all? The health regulations don't easily allow for cloth hand towels, I hate single use anything....Paper napkins and placemats, take out containers...
Bleach and other chemical sanitizers are encouraged..vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda are virtually unknown.
On a positive note - I have decided to try and use local food where I can, not easy during winter, but I will try. And I will try my hardest to shop locally rather than having a National food supplier deliver to my door in an effort to keep my neighbours employed. The local butcher, fish monger, bakery and grocery store will supply my food and miscellaneous supplies. It won't be easy, it will definitely take more time, and it might turn into a logistical nightmare but I'm giving it a shot.
Food waste will be go to my chickens, my neighbours pigs and I will compost whatever I can.
Tomorrow I'll be visiting my local farmer's market..I heard there is a seller who is certified to sell her home made jams made from her homegrown fruit and I want to source out some locally baked sourdough bread, I heard it's also very good. Well wish me luck!!!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
See Winchester the lama on the right hand side? I usually run into him when his mom walks him in the afternoon.
Looking Northwest towards Vancouver Island as I left Sunset Park.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
With three other pieces, a vanity with no mirror, a small desk and another dresser. All old, all hard wood, even the bottom of the drawer and the back of the dresser is hard wood, no pressed board and all free. Very cool and so lucky we drove by at just the right moment.
Painting and cleaning still continues on the diner but it's coming together.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
The menu board
The blue will be yellow...soon.
The fryer will be between the grill and stove once the electrician gets it all set up.
We hope to have the diner renovations done by early next week and then I can start trying out my recipes. Stay tuned.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
What was I thinking? What are we all thinking? Clothes dry, naturally, on their own, it just happens, for free and with very little effort on my part. Why oh why was I paying and using more electricity for something that happens for free?
No I don't have 5 kids at home, but you know my mom did, all girls, and she managed. We wined, sulked, I mean in the 70s those jeans had to be super tight, and nothing would tighten a pair of jeans like the drier. But..my mom held fast.
And now here I am, hanging my laundry, saving money but even more important than saving money, I'm doing my small bit to save this great, big world of ours and you can to.
Just try changing one small thing in your daily life that will help you go green and save the earth and some money. Turn the lights off when you leave the room, grow some lettuce and herbs in a container outside your backdoor, buy a drying rack and start hanging your dedicates, take transit, recycle as much as you can...change one or two of your not so green habits and before you know it you will be changing some of your bigger not so green habits.
laundry hanging in my unfinished basement
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I'm opening a restaurant, well actually a diner serving breakfast and lunch with some sweets thrown in for good measure. My offer has been accepted by the seller, but the deal is subject to me getting a lease. On top of that there are health and building inspections, government tax and business numbers , bank accounts, business licence, CHEAP renovations to think about and a menu to prepare and test and of course a name.
The name that came to mind right away was the Elbow Room because the diner is so small but I have since found out another restaurant in Vancouver has the same name so I'm not sure if I want it now. The second is Magpie's Diner and the third is Maggie's Diner...
Tomorrow I'm off to the bank to set up an account as well as POS account to accept debit, Visa and Mastercard.
I'm so scared I can hardly think and at the same time I'm as excited as a seven year old on Christmas Eve, I'm having a blast but oh how I hope it all works.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
And Christmas is still coming, same day as last year and again I'm a little behind with my "homemade" Christmas.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
In the meantime try as I might I can't think of anything else but my future and what it will look like. I have lots of things to do but I'm having trouble staying focused.
I'm off to Vancouver this weekend for some shopping and family visiting so I probably won't post anything until Monday.
Fingers crossed everyone that my little dream comes true.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
I will soon join the hundred of thousands of unemployed Canadians as well as the millions of unemployed the world over. I'm still trying to get my ahead around it..unemployed..
So now what to do? I know I'm better equipped than many folks, I don't have a huge overhead and I know how to do lots of jobs myself. I don't have to totally depend on others for my well being but I still need some money.
But where to get that money??? Change profession altogether? Stick with what I know? Start a new business?
A few things I do know. I don't want a "downtown" career, I don't want to get dressed up and I don't want to wear makeup. I mean...I wore socks with sandals for the first time yesterday, a small dream of mine and I'm not giving that up.
So my life takes a new path and I fully embrace it. I'm excited about the future and look forward to the new challenges that this new path will bring. It won't be easy but it will be exciting.
The sun is out, just like the weatherman predicted, the air is crisp, my yard beckons me and I can't wait to get out there and get some dirt under my fingernails. My worries and problems seem to disappear and solutions seem so clear when I'm out in the garden.
Today is a great day full of promise, with infinite possibilities and change is in the air.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Part of my dream has come true. I have a small house on an acre. I grow many of the vegetables I eat, have chickens for eggs, some of the food I don't or can't grow, yet, I try to buy locally. I make many of the things I need, cook from scratch, and bake. But there are more things I want to try, cheese, yogurt - again, meat chickens and maybe a goat...and definitely more fruit.
In the backyard I have fruit and nut trees but I would like to increase the amount of fruit I grow by adding berries. I never thought about berries but I as I get to know people in my neighbourhood and speak to other gardeners it seems that berries grow very well here. Just a month ago I won two blueberry bushes because of my participation in the Powell River 50mile food challenge, to these blueberry bushes I plan on adding raspberries and strawberries.
But I don't have a garden bed for them so this past weekend, with a little bit of nice weather, my husband and I started the berry patch.
We put down some cardboard to kill the grass and weeds, then topped it off with yard cuttings, leaves and the soil from my flower baskets, then we ran out of nice weather. The weather man tells us that Tuesday and Wednesday will be sunny....fingers crossed.
We will extend the bed to run the length of the veggie garden and add some of our compost, more leaves and some seaweed. Then we leave it, next spring, we will add some more manure or compost, whatever we can get our hands on, then till the bed. Find someone with whom I can barter or trade some berry plants, but will buy some if needed. But it's so much more fun to trade. And hopefully the following year we will have berries. Not sure if it will work but that's the plan...
Has anyone tried putting this type of garden bed together? It's not quite a lasagna bed but it's somewhat similar. If anyone has suggestions to pass along I would love to hear them.
Now a less lofty dream...socks and sandals, I always wanted to wear socks and sandals, and look, I'm living the dream, here in Powell River.
Friday, October 30, 2009
HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE