Thursday, January 28, 2010

Magpie's Diner - a personal update

I want to share some of what I'm going through because it feels good to get it off my chest, makes breathing easier...

The diner is going very well but every day that someone comes in...shocks me.

You know it's so weird...I'm sort of a contradiction. On one hand I'm proud of myself for having the guts to start the diner, and fulfilling a long time dream but on the other hand, I just don't believe I'm good enough. Every time food comes back I freak. What was wrong with it? I ask Art...Did it look like they were enjoying it? I almost want to grab the food and taste it...Art just rolls his eyes. Someone told us they heard our coffee was not very good so he ordered tea. I was so upset I wanted to shut the whole thing down and go home. Never mind that so many people tell me the coffee is delicious; it just takes that one person. I have to get a GRIP..

I don't always feel this way but some days....

Tonight my son, daughter in law and Mia are coming for dinner ... I have a lovely evening ahead of me. I hope yours is just as wonderful.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Housekeeping duties

Ah..a day off. I'm loving Wednesday. Art and I decided to stay open on Monday so my new day off is Wednesday. It's 11:00am and I have:

-Vacuumed bags and bags of cat and dog hair.
-Won the battle with the dustbunnys that set up camp under my bed.
-Laundry is hung (indoors)
-Bad pet smells, gone.
-Favorite blogs - read
-Thanks to Art, the decrepit, old and torn greenhouse..gone

Still to do:

-Buy new shoes with lots of support
-Art will tear down the larger decrepit green house that you can see in the pictures above.
-Clean out the chicken shack.
-Work bingo tonight.
And tomorrow start the week all over again.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Almost time to order my seeds but I still need to finalize my list. This year I'm ordering from West Coast Seeds and if time permits I'll attend Powell River's Seedy Saturday. Two seed sources I trust do not sell genetically modified seeds.

I don't know all the science behind genetically modified seeds, nor do I understand the need for them. I'm sure that companies, like Monsanto, which some folks estimate control about 90% of the US nursery market, can offer up some very good arguments as to the whys and the becauses and the needs, and wants of genetically modified seeds. But honestly folks, give your head a shake, do not fool with mother nature, things grow the way they grow because it was meant to be. We gardeners just have to deal with it and make the best of it and as consumers we must try to eat locally and in season.

I don't want to be hypocritical and I totally understand that once we taste bananas, oranges and chocolate just to name a few, it's difficult to turn back and do without these little treats we really need a tomato genetically altered to grow in colder weather by adding cold water fish genes to it?

Want more information? Check this blog, which has much more information on the subject and for more information on the evil Monsanto Company check this out.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Not mom. Now, my mom, has the neatest, tidiest, minimalistic, uncluttered house I know of, but she still declutters, all the time. I guess that's the reason her house is always so neat and tidy. The last time she decluttered she gave me some momentos of when I was just a little girl. These momentos are of my First Communion, the announcement, gloves and veil, from May 25, 1969 and my mom's Holy Gospel which I scribbled on and tore pages from when I was maybe three.

I'm not nearly as tidy as my mom but I wish I had kept more of my own children's momentos but sadly I took decluttering too far and rid myself of some items that I dearly wish I kept.

How about you? Do you keep your little treasures?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


As many of you addition to Mia I have two grandsons. They are cute, they are energetic, I love them to death but they are don't get me wrong..I have nothing against boys but as a crafter and sewer and hater of fly zippers..well sewing fly zippers..there is only so far someone can go when sewing for boys and all the while avoiding fly zippers. I made both of my grandson PJs this past Christmas and that's about all I can see myself sewing for them. Here they both are, Ethan and JD, in their new PJ's. Gosh I miss them.

And now we come to the newest little member of my family, Mia. I have not sewn anything for her...yet...but today I put together this little rag doll. It's only about 12 in high and made from fabric scraps.

I used this pattern.

But added hair made of yarn.

I can see myself sewing lots and lots of these. In addition to Mia, my sister had a little girl not 14 days ago, Bronwyn, she will need one. My very good friend had a little girl, Kathleena, in Nov. 2009, she will need one. I have three nieces in Melbourne, Ella, Charlotte and Delainey, they all need one. I have four other nieces in the Okanagan, Emily, Elizabeth, Katy and Alison, they all need one to, well maybe only Alison..the others are little older, but maybe a girl is never too old for a cute rag doll. With so many girls around why did I wait for Mia to arrive before trying my hands at dolls???

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Brand New

Look at what my son and daughter in law cooked up:

This is Mia. Born on Jan. 17th, 2010. Weighing in at 8lbs 15oz and 22.5 inches long.
Welcome to my world Mia, it will be so much better with you in it.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Spring is in the air???

The Olympics are coming and I hope there is enough snow for the athletes but...

Bluebells are coming up.

and ???


And this petunia on the left and the top center flower, a small purple daisy like flower, made it through winter.. so far. I will be happily surprised if they bloom next summer.

Hollyhocks are sending out new leaves.

And poppies have sprouted. They end up being a nuisance but for now I love to see the new growth.

And finally a tulip is starting to make it's way.

I didn't take a picture but I even have a little pile of weeds along the path...yippee!!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Biscotti are made

The biscotti are baked and taste delicious. I haven't sold one yet but I'm enjoying them.

Once my daughter in law and I finished cracking the nuts and pinching our thumbs with the nut cracker...I roasted the hazelnuts in the oven for about 15 minutes. Then I wrapped them in a tea towel.

I let them steam in the towel for a few mintues and then I rubbed the towel to get the skins off.

Have you ever heard of Nutella? Well these biscotti taste just like crunchy nutella. And I love dunking so these are perfect.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Specials at Magpie's Diner

Not sure if you know but the menu at Magpies' is not very big and to spice it up a little I've been running some specials. However...the specials have not been doing too well and getting the specials prepped adds more work to an already busy day but...a little bit of a trend has been developing. Tuesday to Friday we have very few breakfast customers but get slammed at lunch and on Saturday and Sunday breakfast is the definite favorite.

So...the plan going forward is to run lunch specials during the week and breakfast specials on Saturday and Sunday.

Today's special was grilled ham, cheese and tomato on rye and tomorrow's special will be a patty melt and Friday I will run a shrimp sandwich. I have Saturday's special figured will be a Mexi-Can omelet with chirizo, diced tomato, green onion and black beans..Sunday???

I'm also trying to figure out how to get folks in for breakfast during the week...ideas???

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


You may remember my post last fall about the hazelnuts I picked before the bears got to them. I was ever so pleased. My plan was to have them at Christmas but...Christmas came and went and the hazelnuts are still in the shells. Well last night, while watching a movie, I started cracking nuts. Not quite finished yet but it's a start.

Once the nuts are all included! I'll roast them, rub them in a towel to get some of the skins off and to the Joy of Baking website for some biscotti.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What's happening at the diner...

Life at the diner is progressing very nicely. Art and I are settling into a set routine and our days are less stressful.
The weekend was very busy but we got through it a little easier. I had much more food prepped which is a real life saver.

But...still so much to learn...this weeks lesson??? Do not buy all the meat on Friday to prep first thing Saturday morning. That was stressful and I don't know why I did it.

We bought our meat on Friday, brought it home, packed it into our fridge. 5:30am Saturday, we take all the meat out of our fridge, into the truck, and unpack it all into the diner. Divide it all, keep some for the weekend and freeze the rest. All the while, cooking sausages, bacon, mushrooms, onions, peppers, slicing tomatoes, cooking for our customers, and getting the soup ready...way to much!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

Super delicious, moist and with a touch of cream cheese..just a little different.

From the Joy of Baking website.
Cream Cheese Filling:
1 package (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
Pumpkin Bread:
1 cup walnuts
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 large eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 - 425oz can pure pumpkin
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in the center of the oven. Butter and lightly flour two - 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pans. Set aside.
To toast nuts: Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 - 10 minutes or until brown and fragrant. Cool completely and then chop coarsely. Set aside.
Cream Cheese Filling: In your food processor, process the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and process just until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, processing just until incorporated. Do not over process. Stir in the flour. Set aside.
Pumpkin Bread: In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
In another large bowl, whisk the eggs until lightly beaten. Add the sugar and melted butter and whisk until blended. Whisk or stir in the pumpkin, water, vanilla extract, and nuts.
Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir just until the ingredients are combined. (A few streaks of flour is fine.) Do not over mix as it will make the bread tough.
Divide the batter in half. Take one half and divide it evenly between the two prepared pans. Divide the cream cheese filling in half and place each half of filling on top the two pans of batter, smoothing the tops. Top with the remaining half of batter. Bake the breads for about 55 - 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Place pans on a wire rack and let cool for about 10 minutes before removing breads from pans. Can serve warm, cold, or at room temperature. Store leftovers in the refrigerator or else freeze for later use.
Makes 2 loaves.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Look at what's coming up....

I'm busy, actually really busy, but never too busy to stop and smell the roses, well in this case primroses...primulas.
Hard to believe that these primulas are throwing up new growth and buds.

And the violas are still here with some new buds showing. Not that my camera captured but they are there.

We could very well get a cold snap that might put an end to this but maybe not. Winter has just started and I'm already in spring mode.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Looking forward

Well Magpie's has been open for just over two weeks and I am pleasantly surprised at how well received the diner was. We have been steadily getting busier every day and with good feedback thus far.

But...the holidays are over, kids are back at school and parents are back at work, play time is over.

I wonder what January holds in store for me? I'm sure it will slow down but how much?? Only time will tell.

The past few months have been a time for long walks, no crafts, no reading...books or blogs, it really feels like my old life ended and I'm now living in a stranger's shoes. Exciting but strange.

I'm looking forward to spring and getting out into the garden. I think I'll be lucky if I can just maintain the existing garden and veggie beds, never mind any new garden plans this year.

And another small but welcome surprise I forgot to mention. It seems my chickens are starting to lay more eggs. I thought they would not be laying very much until spring but they are up to about half production. Maybe I should get more chickens..for more eggs...for the diner..HMMM!!!