Showing posts from November, 2011

What's for Dinner Wednesdays? Simply Indian

I LOVE Indian food!  Tonight's dinner is aloo gobi, curried chicken, dahl, store bought naan bread and couscous.  I know couscous isn't Indian but I forgot to start the basmati rice first, and it takes too long to cook.  Indian Fusion it is.  The aloo gobi is from a an excellent cookbook my sister gave me, called Simply Indian, though there are a lot of good recipes on line you can use.  It's basically tomatoes, onions, lemon juice, potatoes and cauliflower with Indian spices. 
My dahl recipe is based on one from a dear friend from Mauritius who's lived in Kelowna longer than I have (and I must admit I haven't seen her in ages!).  I don't usually measure anything and over the years I've added a few extra spices.  I start by melting some butter in the bottom of a small pot and adding about 1/2 tsp each of  cumin seed and corriander seed.
Once the coriander starts to pop I add the chopped stems off a bunch of fresh cilantro along with about 1/3 cup chopped …

It's Book Club, Baby!

I had such a great time at book club I wanted to add it to my pocketful of memories here.

At the dinner table last night when my daughter asked "What do you guys talk about at your book club?  Do you talk about the themes of the book?"  I had to laugh.   Our book club is no where near that academic.  Yes, we are intelligent and educated women who could easily read a book and write an essay on theme, characterization and symbolism, but that's not what our book club is about.    Last evening was a good example of a typical meeting.

We did talk about The Postmistress, discussing character, believability, things that surprised us and things that we learned.  But we also talked about The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Annabel, Infidel, the Qu'ran, the Baha'i faith, how adorable the hostess's daughter is, family members who lived in London during The Blitz, and the merits of starting a specialized daycare for babies 4-6 months old (with exceptions for older babies …

Many Thanks Monday

Time has flown through the month of November and another Gratitude Monday is here already.  Also of note, is the fact that this is post number 200!  Today  I am grateful for:

34.    Artists.  They make the world even more beautiful while they inspire, engage and call to action.
35.    Love.  It too makes the world more beautiful.  The more you give, the more it grows.
36.    Furnaces.  We had some cold nights this past week and I'm grateful it's so easy to warm things up with the press of a button.
37.   MG Vassanji.  I say it grudgingly, 'cause he's making me work very hard....but that's a good thing.
38.   Music.  The world's greatest discovery/invention.  It amazes me when I consider how such a small number of notes can be rearranged in a seemly infinite number of ways using a myriad of instruments and voices to create such a soothing, exciting, invigorating, aggravating, arousing, sorrowful,  (insert your adjective here), powerful art.

Happy Potter

As you can see by his infectious smile and twinkling eyes, potter Stephen Plant has a joy for life that makes it a real pleasure to be in his company.  During the short time we spent together at the Okanagan Potters' Show this morning, we covered a wide variety of topics from 1930's German film scores, to elder care and astrology.  We also dabbled in music therapy, Oliver Sachs, opera, and engineering.  Stephen was inspiring, enlightening and encouraging.  (And those of you who know my dad will surely see a slight resemblance).  It was an unexpected gift to meet  him today.
Another of my favourite artisans at the Mission Hall show was Naramata potter James Hibbert, whose work I have admired and purchased since I  began attending this yearly sale ten years ago.  James will be at the Naramata Heritage Inn next Sunday for another pre-Christmas sale so if you missed this weekend, you can catch him there. The third potter to round out my trio of favourites is Lynda Jones.  I notice…

Peachy Crafts

Drove to Peachland this morning with some friends to go to the craft sale at the Community Centre.  Bought a few neat things and had a delicious and filling bowl of goulash for lunch at the Gasthaus.  Came home with some stocking stuffers and a present or two, including one for myself.   It's a twist on the Christmas glass blocks that I've seen.  I have some beautiful ones made by my Aunts.  Thought I'd share this photo and give you some ideas for decorating glass bottles.  

It makes a cute little night light and you can decorate them in Christmas mode or to match your room decor. They look pretty easy to make.  For directions check out this link.

Show, Don't Tell...

Our one o'clock walk.

Rising With The Sun

There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope. - Bern Williams
Sunrise bathed the deck in a warm pink glow this morning and I scrambled for my camera to capture it.  Here on the east side of the lake, it's often hard to catch the break of day.  I live down in the flats surrounded by hills, houses and trees, so there's not much horizon.  I'm often up before the dawn and it seems like the conditions necessary for a colourful sunrise aren't present very often.  Yet there are rare occasions, such as this morning, when for a brief moment you are treated to something quite lovely. 

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Olga's Chili

In a recent post that included things I love about winter I mentioned my mom's chili.  The recipe card that she typed out neatly says "Olga's Chili" at the top.  Olga King was my mother's friend and wife to my Dad's boss when we lived in Sioux Lookout, Ontario, many moons ago.  Though I hardly remember her, I do remember her chili - the chili that is the standard against which all others are measured (and her lasagna recipe remains the best I've ever had).  
I'm thinking there's an inverse correlation between the cleanliness of recipe card and how good the recipe is.   
When I was an inexperienced cook, it always surprised me that there was cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in it.  Now that I'm older and wiser, it makes sense and I'm going to add some cocoa powder next time.  Not today thought, today I'm trying some Chorizo flavoured beef.  I'm thinking one change at a time.  OK, two - I decided to put it in the slow cooker this mornin…

The Way I Are

When I walk the dogs on the lower trail in Mission Ridge Park, I often end the walk along Hubbard and Raymer Road. Near the end of Hubbard, a bungalow that's been having some exterior renos done has this charming retro patio set under a massive tree on the front lawn.  The rich red upholstery and the curly black wrought iron put me in mind of the The Queen of Hearts from Disney's Alice In Wonderland.  I walked past the house a few weeks ago and it made a perfect picture, with leaves dangling from the branches above and seats and table scattered with fallen leaves below.  Of course I didn't have my camera.  

I've deliberately walked passed it three times now, with my camera, but I think you can see that the way it looks now doesn't create the charming photo I'd hope for.  It's kind of messy with the fan rake leaning against the table top and the chair resting precariously on it's front legs.  On Monday I considered walking right in and moving the rake, …

Monday Part Deux

I didn't want to miss Gratitude Monday but I wanted to post the photos I took of the Bevoulin horses this morning so here is post number two for today, where I am grateful for:
29.  Benvoulin Road.  What a lot of photos I've taken on this short cut as I drive from Springfield to Gordon.  It's a little bit of country right here in the city.
30.  the fact that nobody was hurt when the retaining wall collapsed on the overpass at the new Westside Road interchange.
31.  our mostly new city council.  Those who aren't new have a great deal of experience to guide the recently elected. Here's hoping for sustainable growth and balance.
32.  living in a place where snow and ice are no more than minor inconveniences and often a welcome addition.
33.  self-control.  So far today I've been able to resist the call of the cookie jar.  Nicole filled it with her homemade chocolate chip oatmeal cookies yesterday.

All the Pretty Little Horses

Two paddocks stand beside each other on Benvoulin Road.  One holds the sweetest little herd of miniature horse and the other contains a couple of gorgeous standard sized ones. I visited with the minis this morning, rubbing their thick winter coats when they wandered close enough for me to reach a bare hand between the fence rails. I was as sorry as they were that I didn't have any food to share.
I was a little more leery of "Black Beauty", a tall, slender ebony steed who stood like a Buckingham Palace guard, unblinking and motionless while I snapped my way back and forth in front of him.  His only  movement was to lower his head to chew on a yellow sign on the fence with the word "slow" written in black letters.  I think he may have been a bit insulted by the implication.

Just out of shouting range, two people were scooping up what I'm pretty sure was horse manure.  I didn't know if I was trespassing or if they might get upset if I gave into  temptation…

Getting into the Spirits

I just spent a lovely afternoon with my friend Joyce.  She invited me to join her at Women and Wine,  Cedar Creek's Open House to benefit the Kelowna Women's Shelter.  It's something they've been doing for eight years now, at the beginning of the Christmas season. This was my third visit to the event and it's a nice way to kick off the holidays with a girlfriend or two.  I'd love to write more about it but I'm on a deadline today so you'll have to use your imagination.

Make sure you include the sounds of women's laughter, and the murmur of conversation, warmed fingers around a cup of cinnamon mulled wine, the sight of stacked oak barrels and wine bottles on their sides, green fir branches and red candles, the taste of bitter sweet chocolate, tangy rosé sauce over tender meatballs, and the strawberry notes of a 2010 rosé.  Don't forget the fragrance of expensive powders and perfumes, cold fresh air that sneaks in each time the heavy wooden door …

Let It Snow!

Today brought this year's first real snowfall to the valley.  There's even a snowfall warning and we're expecting up to 10 cm of the fluffy stuff.  I'm really hoping to break out the snowshoes this weekend - tomorrow is calling for sunshine and -5 C. Hello Winter, I welcome you with open arms, but for now I'll take a photo from the safety of my deck and stay inside with a cup of tea while I order take-out dinner from Dawett Indian Cuisine.

At Last!

The last room in our renovation that was begun in November 2009 is almost complete! Dan and Stacey from Okanagan Closet Concepts showed up just after nine a.m. this morning to install the fittings for our walk-in closet.  I am thrilled with the results.
The door needs to be installed on the cupboard where the laundry basket is but other than that, it's done!  (The door will be hinged on the bottom and tilt outward with a handle that matches the drawer above it.)
Can you guess what's in the drawer above the laundry basket?  Have a look below....
Still not sure?  Look down a little further....
Tah dah!  Pretty neat eh? 
There's six of these hanging units, which might sound like a lot, but my husband's shirts will take up at least two of them. 
If you're looking for someone to do a closet, laundry room or garage organization system for you, I  can't say enough about the husband and wife team at Okanagan Closet  Concepts.  Dan was so helpful and patient with my qu…

What's For Dinner Wednesdays

Writing a blog post every day is more challenging than you might think, so I've been scouring the web to see what other people are up to. What's for Dinner Wednesdays seems to be a common food blog title so I don't think anyone will mind me borrowing this one.
I love trying new recipes and I've come to use Google as my new recipe file.  It is nice to have an actually book in front of you sometimes and that's where the library comes in.  On a recent trip to the Mission Branch I returned with "Mediterranean Cooking" and a great vegetarian paella recipe I thought I'd share it with you.

Heat 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium low-heat.  Add 2chopped onions and 3 garlic cloves minced (I like to add a couple more, unless the three you have are really big).   Saute 3 to 4 minutes until softened.  Add 2 chopped and seeded bell pepper and 6 tomatoes cut in wedges, cooking until softened.  Add 2 cups of medium grain risotto rice, 5 ou… least he didn't eat my homework

As seen on Facebook:

Suzan Wood-Young  Here's a new one:  My dog ate my glasses.

Gisele Babahani likes this

Kristen Bell  wha???

Suzan Wood-Young well, he didn't actually eat them, but he decided to chew on them, breaking one lens and chewing the end of one arm.

Kristen Bell  well close enough then...does that qualify under house insurance or pet insurance?  ack

Suzan Wood-Young  I think it's under "Stupidly leaving things out where your dog can eat them insurance", which I forgot to renew. :(

Grateful for World Diabetes Day.

In the Fall of 1975 at the age of 13, I was not a healthy person.  Every night after a full dinner I would get up from the table and make myself a sandwich, yet I was losing weight at an alarming rate. I was horribly thirsty all the time and it was agony to sit through the last ten minutes of a class at school because I had to go to the bathroom so badly.  I knew that something was not right, but for some reason no one in my family, including myself, thought I should see a doctor. Then one evening a voice on the television announced "These are the symptoms of diabetes: increased thirst, frequent urination, extreme hunger, weight loss, fatigue and blurred vision."  I saw a doctor the next day. 
He did a urine test and discovered there was sugar in my urine, but it was a Friday so he decided to wait until Monday to send me for a glucose tolerance test, thinking, in the ignorance of a 1970's doctor in a town of 3,500 people that might have had one other Type 1 Diabetic, th…

Happy Birthday Dear Puppies!

Today marks a special day for two of our beasties.  It's Pitou's second birthday and Max has reached his five month milestone.  Our boys seem to get along well for the most part, unless Max tries to get up on our bed, which is Pitou's territory.  Then Pitou makes some frightening noises that make you think he's gargling himself to death.  Max ducks his head in embarrassment, looking to one side. trying to see Pitou out of the corner of his eye.  The thing is, Pitou sleeps with us every night (despite my protests from the start) but I put my foot down when it came to an animal that had the potential to be a 100 pounds and take up my half of the bed.  Some nights there's a cat or two in there as well. Max sleeps on a dog bed nearby, which he appears to have gotten used to.  But hope springs eternal, so every morning he comes over to the bed and tries to get on and Pitou gives him what for.

They play well together out in the back yard often running inside to chase ea…

There's Snow In Them Thar Hills!

All evidence points to the fact that winter is well on it's way to the valley, and the rest of BC.  Yesterday my daughter spent most of the day on a Greyhound Bus bound for the coast.  A drive that usually takes us four or five hours,  took eight and she was stranded on the Coquihalla Highway for two hours held up by a couple of jack-knifed tractor trailers.  Across Georgia Straight, power is still out on parts of Vancouver Island with downed trees and hydro lines.  Even over the phone I could hear the wind whipping violently through the trees as I talked to my sister in the lower mainland yesterday afternoon.  
Today, the temperature made a sudden drop mid morning and we received our first dump of snow in the hills, putting smiles on the faces of skiers and snowboarders all over the valley.  The wind was bitter at the dog park and I hunched my face into my coat collar stuffing my frigid hands into my pockets, mentally kicking myself for forgetting my mittens.  On the way home I …


None so Beautiful - Gino Vannelli

Well there's a cross, on a hill where the ragweed has grown
Where a mother's young son sleeps all alone
All for the land that he dreamed he could save,
Yeah, there's none so beautiful as the brave

Oh, there's a stone in the meadow with all the weight of the world
Where the flowers are watered by the brown eyes of a girl
She cries for the life that her one true love gave
Yeah, there's none so beautiful as the brave

None so beautiful as the boy who cries freedom
None so beautiful as the voice that carries far
None so strong as love beyond all reason that fears no evil
Undaunted by the dark or any wicked man's heart

Oh there's a cross on a hill where no steeple
bells ring
A shrine with no name where the little children sing
To the rhythm that rocks us
From the cradle to the grave
Yeah, there's none so beautiful as the brave...

Oh there's none so beautiful as the brave.

Such A Crock!

While I've been beavering away on my novel I decided to free up some time and use my crock-pot a little more often.  There's lots of slow cooker recipe books out there, probably more than necessary, and some recipes I've made - particularly two that I made last week make me wonder "What's the point?"  
Last Tuesday I made ratatouille that I must say was delicious, but it took more than two hours of prep and clean-up, dirtying almost every pot in the place before I deposited the ingredients in the crock-pot to basically re-heat all day. It would have been easier to just throw it in a pan at the end,  stick it in the fridge until 5:00, then cook it for half an hour.
This morning I selected a recipe from  Canada's Best Slow Cooker Recipes, by Donna-Marie Pye.   This is the best kind of slow cooker recipe.  Chop everything up, throw into the pot with some stock and spices, turn it on low and fuhgedaboudit. 
Donna's Spicy Vegetable-Lentil Soup calls for …

Back In The Day...(which I believe was a Wednesday)

My daughter is an old soul.  If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I like to think that she was my grandmother in a previous life.  I've a few reasons for this thought, one being that our family has pet names for each other, all starting with then letter "B" and I called my daughter "Bubbie" when she was little, without knowing it was Yiddish word for Grandma.  I often wonder if she might have been on the Titanic.  She's always been interested in it, and is afraid to travel by boat.
My daughter just seems to be drawn to the past.   She loves to wear vintage clothing and I think her favourite boutique is Value Village.  I was recently drawn down the hall towards her bedroom  by a vaguely familiar tune, which turned out to be the sound of 1920's big band jazz.  You know, the really old stuff with the wah wah of muted trumpets and a string section that's missing from the post 1935 stuff.  (You might think that having a jazz singer for a mom woul…