Thursday, January 29, 2009

Time to empty the freezer

With spring just around the corner it's time to start using all the frozen veggies and fruit in my freezer to make room for the abundance this year's crops will bring..well I hope anyway.

So first thing, the zucchini..did I mention I planted eight zucchini plants last year? Did I mention that I had enough zucchini to feed the block? Did I mention that I made oodles of zucchini relish, zucchini bread, zucchini fritters, zucchini tarts...

Tonight's menu gets rid of almost all my zucchini in a cream of zucchini soup but there is so much soup that I suspect I'll be having it for lunch for several days.

It was also bread baking day today so I decided to make a focaccia in addition to my regular loaves. The focaccia is dotted with dried tomatoes in olive oil, parmigiano, oregano, sage and rosemary, delicious and low in cholesterol.

I found a fabulous blog full of recipes and beautiful pictures from which I'm making Open Faced Plum Cake, it's to die for. My picture pales in comparison to Alexandra's but tasted wonderful.

Have a nice weekend.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A fun list

I received the following list from Scrappy Quilter, the things I've done are in bold. What about you?

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor Shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Sleep on an overnight Train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden on a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung Karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Guide Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check...yes, embarrassing
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the paper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
9. Had an adult
90. Saved some one's life
91. Sat on a jury
92. Met someone famous
93. Joined a book club
94. Lost a loved one
95. had a baby
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Now onto the second half of my life.

I pray for, want to do and don't want to do:

1. knit socks
2. Grow enough vegetables to feed myself and my husband year round
3. Wear Birkenstocks with socks
4. Never own a cell phone
5. Canoe the Powell River Canoe Route
6. Paint a Bob Ross painting
7. Grow old gracefully
8. Love and be loved
9. See my grandchildren’s children
10. Raise chickens
11. sister parties until the end of time
12. drive and park the darn boat..i guess i should learn the correct terms first
13.make a souffle a souffle
15.always learn

Just 15 for now but so much more to come.

Have a great day everyone.


Powell River Garden Club

Last night the Powell River Garden club held it's first meeting in 2009 and I won the door prize, a $25.00 gift certificate to a local nursery. I'll be using it this weekend.

The garden club held a silent auction which raised enough money to fund 10 Afghanistan farmers through World Vision.

I am excited to report that the bulbs I planted in the fall are starting to show themselves, spring is really just around the corner.

On a separate note I enrolled to receive e-newsletters from a new Seedsavers Blog I was told about last night. Even if you don't live in Powell River the information found on the blog will
be useful to anyone, anywhere.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Never take the easy way..

Unless you know what you are doing. I should know better.

I tried an "easy" English Muffin recipe today that I found on the Internet which turned out to be a disappointment. These little muffins tasted good, in fact they tasted just like bread. BUT, no holes to cradle the melted butter and jam, no delicious sourdough taste, no crunch, just yummy bread, shaped like English muffins.

I guess there could be worse things than little bread buns with butter, homemade jam and tea.

Next time I'll have to tackle the 24 hour recipe. But you know..the longer and more difficult option does not always mean it will work out either.

Live and learn I guess, I'm sure there is a lesson in here somewhere.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Living simply-eating simply

You may have read in a previous post that I was diagnosed with high cholesterol which means I have to change the way I eat. To someone who loves food the thought of eating lower fat meals might seem like a life sentence but..I’m looking forward to the challenge. I would go as far as saying the diagnosis was a blessing. When I moved here on Feb 14th, 2008, I came with high expectations, living towards sustainability. Part of that goal is living more simply, spending less, growing my own food, cooking from scratch and making as many of the things I need myself. Would you believe that for me food was the hardest thing to simplify? I could not get my head around reducing my food bill. In my fridge and pantry on any given day I would have several different types of cheese, deli meats, bacon, all sorts of breads, cookies and other baked goods, crackers, potato chips and all absolutely necessary. To be fair…I also had lots of veggies and fruit, after all I’m sure I was a rabbit in a previous life. Anyway I’ve made some huge changes in the last two weeks but I still plan on meeting with the dietician in mid Feb. I’m really looking forward to learning how I can further improve my diet.

I have not given up red meat but I don’t have it more than once a week, same with eggs and if I have cheese, a real weakness for me then I don’t have red meat. Chicken and fish make up three or four of my meals, red meat one meal and the rest are meatless. This means all my meals, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. By cutting out and drastically reducing red meat, cheese, deli meats and all processed foods like crackers, baked and canned goods I reduced my food bill by about 50%, hard to believe.

For more information on healthy eating please read Canada's food guide and for tips on living simply and reducing consumption please read Down to Earth, a wonderful blog full of useful information.

For breakfast this morning I had oatmeal..simple, delicious, fast and easy to make. I love the way the brown sugar melts into the hot oatmeal and swirls around the milk.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The store is open

I did it. My new online store at Etsy is open for business. Not much in there yet but I must start somewhere. Check out Thistle Garden here.

I'll be busy sewing and embroidering this weekend but I'll still have time for some R & R. Art and I are going to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in the historical Patricia Theatre .

Have a nice weekend everyone.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A new hat for me

Well it was meant for Art but the yarn I chose is not manly enough. I don't think I crocheted each stitch correctly but this is my first pattern and it reads like a foreign language but I'm happy with the result. Heading out now into the fog with my new hat and my old dog.

Why don't you give it a try, the pattern is free here.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Growing decisions

The new veggie patch is coming along very nicely so now what to grow..

I was very lucky to receive several gardening books this Christmas which I'm now using to help me decide how to arrange and what to plant in my garden. If my plans work out I should have enough produce to preserve and freeze most of the harvest for use through the winter.

Last year I purchased the BAll Complete book of Home Preserving on Amazon. It has 400 recipes for making jams, sauces, pickles and salsas which I'll use to process my fruit and vegetables.

There are several vegetables I can grow 4-6 weeks before the last frost and for me that can be as early as April 1st. I'll start with leeks and peas and a few weeks after that I'll plant carrots, beets, parsnips, radishes and turnips.

Dagwood is doing much better but still not as active as he used to be. He has about 6 stitches which will have to be removed in about a weeks time.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Foggy Powell River

Powell River is experiencing a temperature inversion, it's warm up high and cold down low; the result is fog. We have been sitting in thick fog for several days but I think today the sun will win and burn some of this fog away.
Art is heading outside and digging up a new veggie bed, it's hard work as he manually peels away the sod. Once that's done, he will add top soil and compost and then rototill the bed to mix it all up.

A fence will then be built to keep the deer, cats and dog out of the garden. While Art is doing all this I will be inside with a big cup of tea mulling over seed catalogs. Sheesh!!!! my work is never done, I don't seem to have a moments peace.

Have a great Sunday everyone.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Dagwood is sick

Dagwood has an open gash on his upper front leg. Not sure how or when he got it but he is at the vet today getting stitched up..poor kitty. Dagwood pictured above over the heating vent and lying on my grandson's PJs and a felt Christmas hat, very comfy.

Today I also made liquid soap, it's really easy and costs pennies per load, the recipe is here and I'll be baking some bread as well, I posted a recipe here. Now that I have high cholesterol I'm replacing the milk and butter with water and olive oil and will only whole wheat flour and add some ground flax seed.

I finished a second hanky, seems to go faster now, and on to the third.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Why live simply?

Many of my friends know that I've yearned for a simple life; growing my own food, making the things I need and generally working towards self- sustainability for a long time. I'm still far away from this goal but I work at it every day. I don't really know why I want this except it just feels right. I don't necessarily choose this life style to save money, although saving money is a nice perk, but rather because I believe you can only poop (pollute) in your own back yard (our world) for so long before we run out of space to grow, live and breathe.

To this end I decided that I will no longer buy paper towels, paper napkins or paper tissues. I made and continue to make rags from old towels and t-shirts. I hem and sew cotton material into large rectangles to use as cloth napkins, nothing fancy.

I just finished my first cotton hanky which is causing me some grief. The problem with the cotton hankies is that it takes time to design and embroider. At this rate I might have a dozen hankies done in the next year..not good enough. So I guess I'll have to simplify and just hem and sew cotton just like I did with the cloth napkins and embroider cloth hankies as a hobby.

They are gone

My son and his family flew back to Newfoundland yesterday and the house is so quiet. For three weeks my life revolved around the grand-kids' schedule and their limitless energy, I miss the chaotic normalcy that kids bring into a household.

So..that's it, the holidays are officially over. Just before Christmas the doctor told me I have high cholesterol and although I tried to be careful over the holidays I still over did it with foods that are a big NO NO..but no more excuses. I have an appointment with the dietitian next month but I'll not wait until then, I'm starting today to live a healthier life which will include a sensible diet with lots of veggies, fruit, legumes, fish, chicken and exercise.

Truly..I'm excited about legumes, fruits and veggies..well my arteries and my heart are happy, my brain, not so much.

Today's lunch.

I bought a bunch of dried beans at Bosa Foods when I was in Vancouver on the weekend and left the salami, Italian sausages and cheeses behind, didn't seem quite right.
I just have to tell myself beans are good for me, actually I'll call them legumes, sounds better than beans. I'm soaking and then cooking the legumes. Don't know yet how I will use them but they are on the menu for tomorrow.


Thursday, January 8, 2009


Powell River, BC does not offer free garbage pick up. Curb side garbage pick up is provided by the city of Powell River but each bag costs $2.00. Curb side recycling is available at no additional charge. This was quite a shock because the town I lived in prior to Powell River had almost limitless garbage pick up in the form of large bear proof metal garbage containers distributed throughout the community. I tried to recycle as much as I could but it was so easy to get rid of unwanted items, out of site out of mind I guess. I don't really know how much garbage my little household of two people, one dog and two cats produced, I seem to remember taking one bag of garbage out every day, yikes, every day...

My garbage now has meaning because, although I try to live an environmentally green life, garbage here affects my pocket book directly. If I want my garbage picked up I have to buy a ticket, and garbage sure accumulates, and fast.

I now recycle and compost everything I can. I have reduced my garbage to one bag every two weeks.

Pretty good but what about bigger items, things I don't need or want but are still usable?? Let me introduce you to Freecycle. Freecycle is a world wide organization trying to keep "good stuff out of landfills". I found out about it when my husband and I remodeled our home, it's really fabulous and urge you to join.


Monday, January 5, 2009

It's a new year

It's been a long time since I posted anything. I hope everyone had a great Christmas and I wish you all the best in the New Year.

My son and family visited for Christmas and New Years and will be travelling back to their home in Newfoundland on Jan 13. Three glorious weeks with the grand kids and the reason I've not been on the computer.

Shopping in Powell River is limited but I did get a great deal on Christmas fabric, $1.50 per meter, hard to believe. I'll use this fabric to make Advent Calendars for next Christmas.

I started crocheting a lap blanket with left over yarn, no real pattern, just whatever is in the yarn bag.