Thursday, January 27, 2011

In the the kitchen

I'm having a Valentine's special dinner event at Magpie's Diner so into the test kitchen...

I made homemade ravioli, pasta and filling for the first time and definitely a keeper.

The filling is made with ground chicken thigh meat, Parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, breadcrumbs, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and nutmeg. When I make it at the shop I will saute the whole thing and then put it through the processor which I didn't do this time. Having a smooth filling will make it easier to fill the ravioli. If you want to try this make sure you make your pasta quite thin, I didn't and the ravioli took too long to cook and the filling did not really stand out.

I had every intention of taking a picture before I ate.....
but I went back for seconds.... here is my homemade ravioli on a dirty plate.

I also made a Belgian endive and sliced apple salad with a honey and Dijon vinaigrette, topped with diced beets, toasted walnuts and crumbled blue cheese. Again very good but I will make a few changes. I think a tart apple and toasted pecans will taste better. I used a gala apple which was a bit too sweet with the dressing and beet and the walnuts were not crunchy enough, but it was still very tasty.

Stay tuned for the rest of the menu....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem Artichokes also known as sunchokes are easy to grow, in fact they are considered invasive, but only if you don't eat them.

They should be planted in the fall but my mom, who has grown them for many years, just gave them to me a few days ago, so I will plant them now but I will not be able to harvest any roots until next year. I'm taking a wait and see approach and because they can be invasive I don't think they are likely to die off.

Just dig a hole, 6 to 8 inches deep, plop in the tuber, cover and wait. I planted them next to the chicken coop because they grow really tall and will provide some shade for the chickens. Their flowers look very much like a sunflower but sadly they have to be cut off as soon as the plants blooms to promote root growth.

They are delicious roasted on their own as a potato substitute or with other root veggies and they have a light artichoke flavour. Really delicious.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

101 steps to .....

My legs are like jello as I sit here and write this post. I just walked the Valentine Mountain trail with 101 uneven steps to one of the best views around Powell River, shame it wasn't sunny and clear but beautiful none the less. It's a really short hike but all uphill which gets your heart going. There are lots of trails that shoot off the main one but I don't know my way around and with lots of cliffs, slippery rocks and tree roots I didn't want to take a chance. Maybe next time I can talk someone into walking and exploring the area with me.

One, two three


100, and 101 and I'm at the top....

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wildwood Bluffs... one of the best places to picnic. I did not picnic here today nor do I most days but I walk to this spot as often as I can.

I walk to the bluffs from my house and on the way I walk by this empty lot, and every time I walk by I stop for a moment, I just love this spot. If I was a better writer I could explain why I'm infatuated with this particular spot...It seems out of place on the West Coast, the tall grass reminds me of hay or wheat, and it's dry for most of the year, again quite unusual and definitely not West Coast. The wire fence and wood posts in the distance, remind me of a farm which this is not....I've seen lots of deer here, and although I've not seen any bears here, they left lots of "evidence". In the summer swallows dive for bugs and eagles and hawks soar above, no doubt looking for a mouse or two.

An abandoned nest....hopefully new owners will reside here in the summer.

On the way to the bluffs...

Almost can see the bench I'll be sitting on.

Looking up from the bluffs to the bench.

And this is the view as I rest on the Wildwood Bluffs bench, Texada Island to the left, Vancouver Island under cloud cover and Harwood to the right. I never, ever get enough of this view.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Is Spring almost here?

Well's been so warm that I'm almost ready to believe Spring is just around the corner. The forecast calls for mild temperatures for the next two weeks bringing us to the end of January...

February has brought cold and snowy weather but not all that often and not for prolonged periods of time, so could this be it? Could this be the end of winter on the West Coast?

Around the garden pansies, bluebells and primulas are starting to appear. But of course it's not just my garden, everything in this part of the world grows well. In Vancouver and Victoria snowdrops and some crocuses have already bloomed.

Even though the days are still very short, the warm weather has me thinking about my veggie garden. I'm trying to figure out what I'll grow this year. I've decided that Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower are out, too many bugs.

I'm debating adding more peppers this year such as poblano. A few years ago I had great success with jalapenos....hundreds of them, which I froze and used to make jelly. I also grew chili peppers which I dried and then flaked, very good added to pizza, chili, fresh salsa and speghetti sauces.

What are your plans for the veggie garden this year?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Don't you just love surprises? Lucky me, I had two today. Technically they are not surprises because I new they were coming but one is weather related, so you never know and the other was dependant on the mail....

So first surprise, snow!!! Now it may not be that great for some of you, especially if you have to be out in it but for me the snow showed up on my day off, perfect...slow morning, with coffee and muffins and nowhere to go.

The chickens were not too sure about the snow, it took them almost all morning to get out of their house...scurry to the raised garden bed, and there they remained. Not even a hand full of seeds could get them off from there, I wonder if they will make it back to their home when the sun goes down?

The second surprise? A home made ornament from my blog friend the Hobbit. Can you see the little hanger? She made that to, it's absolutely lovely. I can't wait for next Christmas....

Check out her blog, Said the Hobbit, she does lovely knitted work, has some wonderful soup recipes and a mischievous cat that keeps the Hobbit on her toes. Thanks Hobbit, the ornament is really lovely.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A story about wild salmon oil pills....

So...I have high cholesterol. I tried to lower my cholesterol with diet but no such luck. For the last year or more I cut out almost all red meat, cheese, butter and cream except for special occasions like Christmas, birthdays or when I've had visitors... ect. Giving up cheese and salami was by far the toughest. There was no change, my cholesterol did not go any higher but neither did it decrease so I now have to take cholesterol lowering pills.

I picked my pills up last week and was advised by the pharmacist to take extra fibre, like Metamucil and wild Pacific salmon oil, and my cholesterol pill at night, okey dokey, I understand.

I went to the store and purchased Metamucil and salmon oil pills. Have you ever seen a salmon oil pill? They are huge...and I have to take two. I decided to split the misery...I will take one in the morning and one at night.

This is a salmon oil inch long.

I have the first one at night, went down ok, nothing to worry about, I went to bed, all was well. The next morning, same thing, take my pill and off to work I go. Now I must confess that the night before I had some olives and with the high salt content I was quite thirsty when I arrived at the diner. Instead of starting with coffee I gulped down some sparkling water, a couple of glasses.
I start working and I have a little burp here and there...hey, what's that smell? Fish? What on earth, I don't have fish on the menu. I looked high and low for a dead fish, was this someones idea of a bad joke, burp....burp....that fish smell is everywhere, oh no, I'll have to tell the landlord that there is some bad smell in the diner....Art do you smell fish? Nope, I don't smell anything...
I finally clue's me! Those darn fish oil pills and sparkling water do not, and I mean, do not mix well. So if any of you have to take fish oil pills be forewarned...take your pill with food and do not drink anything bubbly....

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I need some the diner. The ones I currently use are OK but boring, plain old black, faded black at that.

I was looking online to buy some fabric and came upon Galena Bay Fabrics. The website caught my attention for two reasons, they are a Canadian company and they have $5.00 per yard fabric.

I was looking at all their fabric, taking my time, trying to make up mind, finally I decided on some cute checkered fabric. I follow the instructions for purchase and start to complete the order form and when it's time to choose the delivery I see an option for pick up, I click on it and find out they are located in Powell River, wow... Not just anywhere in Powell River but a block from me. Double wow.

Anyway, I complete my order and walk the one block to Galena Bay. The proprietor's show room is in her home, open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursday from 1pm to 5pm and it turns out she has the largest selection of quilting fabric in Powell River, triple wow and she has plans to move to a larger home and add fashion fabric to the selection, OK so now I'm starting to shake, my knees are weak and I might just faint...I can hardly wait.

So back to the apron, I use my existing drab blackish apron for the pattern, and I finished one apron today...

And cut out a second apron with a bright red pocket.
I have a third cut out but I've run out of the white material I used for the lining. I'll have to go back to Galena Bay for....

Monday, January 3, 2011

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The sea wall

There are many, many beautiful trails and parks in Powell River that are easily accessible, I've written about a few in the past but I don't think I've ever posted about the Powell River sea wall. It's not a long walk, maybe two km, but the views are spectacular and the water is so clear that it's easy to sea the ocean bottom full of starfish, oysters and seaweed.

Art and I walked it yesterday, a wonderful way to start the New Year, never mind that we were eating jelly donuts....

Snow capped mountains on Vancouver Island.

Unbelievably clear water.

Not sure why there is a barge full of rocks here but Art thinks the rocks will be used for a new breakwater at the marina, seems logical to me.

The nice but cold weather will be with us for another day or two, a nice way to start the New Year.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Well like almost everyone else around the world I reflect back on 2010 and look forward to 2011.

2010 was a good year for my family. My diner has been in business for one year. Art and I did not make money hand over fist...but we paid the bills, kept a roof over our head and ate well but we also worked harder than ever before, our old bones ache.

My oldest son finished 2010 with a new daughter. Has found himself working in a new career and will be starting trade school in 2011. His wife, became a permanent resident, and can, if she chooses, become a Canadian citizen. She came to Canada two years ago speaking very little English, today she is fluent and can speak English almost as fast as her native Spanish.

My youngest son and his girlfriend bought their first house in 2010 and, with the help of an accident settlement, they step into 2011 debt free except for their mortgage. He also finished his first year in trade school with high marks and is employed working towards his journeyman papers. Both my grandsons are healthy, beautiful and growing up much too fast.

My mom and dad celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and my dad turned 80. 2010 was a year of celebrations.

2010 was almost perfect and it's hard for me to think 2011 will beat it but I'm positive it will.

I don't have any New Year's resolutions...I just take each day as it comes, make the best of it and look forward to tomorrow.

I have lots of plans for my garden this year, can't wait to get my hands in the dirt. I look forward to summer's long days spent at the cabin and swimming in Powell Lake. I look forward to spending time with my family. But most of all I look forward to a peaceful year spent puttering around my house and finding joy and happiness in a simple, but rewarding life.

Happy New Year, I wish you all the best in 2011.