Monday, December 28, 2015

2016 ~Is just around the corner~

Best Wishes for the New Year~
Hope you all had a nice Christmas..

Not only did we have no snow for Christmas.. 
it got better..or worse ..depending how you see pun intended.
On the 24th around noon..I  was in the car ..had the sunroof  open..listening to Christmas music ......trying to find the cool part of no snow for almost 70F..picking up the last of the mail..when howling winds arose..

.. we proceeded to have NO ELECTRICITY from 2PM on..
That's right Christmas and all night through till 4 AM Christmas power.
Thank goodness Frédérick and Caroline were the hosts..if anyone can pull off  Christmas dinner for 12..w/out's them.He had decided  against a turkey this yr..wanted to switch it up w/ different cuts of lovely meats..thank goodness..
How Fred managed to cook duck,lamb,veal,etc..w/ a generator powering the toaster oven,some lights..very few..a tv for 4 active boys..he pulled it off w/ starmanship.
Their stove top is gas....not the oven..the BBQ was fired up..and the toaster oven for apps and my Duchess Potatoes.
We had candles everywhere..a disco battery operated ball that lit up all the ceilings..
It's  a Christmas..I won't forget for a long time..
An Iphone for Christmas music..Alain on guitar w/ Giu singing..
The streets were pitch lights trees lit snow..
What can I say?
Counted my blessings to be with them.
And compared to real issues  as England is facing w/ floods and the southern states of the US w/ tornadoes..this is such small change..not even.

Christmas morn arrived  and everything  was back to normal w/ power..yet still strange sightings..the boys in their pjs throwing the  football on the  green grass.Du jamais vu.
Just like on Christmas movies filmed in California.
Un forgettable.
Brunch was done with a nice little variety of things including a great new salad..the only differences..I used feta..I had plenty ..and pomegranate seeds for Christmas..Keeper.
You have probably noticed the potatoes and salad came from a new to me this year blog that I love..Saving Room For Dessert.
I made a new quiche..I'll type up the recipe and share it and decadent..we had chocolatines..clementines,yogurts,smoked salmon ,bagels,cream cheese, pecan praline bacon,kielbasa,..and Marie's fantastic Christmas Morning cranberry/white chocolate muffins..keepers!
Thank you for inspiring me with these 3 new to me recipes girls~
All of them can be eaten all year:)

Our tree was the welcome recipient of treasured new ornaments.
With every passing year,the memories come out of the boxes..and tender thoughts are associated with each and every one.

Any of you happen to catch the Christmas special of Call the Midwife? Sooo good.
I just love that Christmas special.Always.

I am truly enjoying Shari Blaukopf's second Caftsy Class..the first one was on Landscapes,,the second is  on Sketching The City in pen and watercolor.
I have set up my easel in my craft room..and the light is nice for painting..learning many new things..she keeps her pen and brushes loose and lively..the opposite of I am trying to get out of my comfort zone and it's not that get out of my zone..not to paint well:)..Yet.
I encourage you to look the classes up..the snow is starting here and winter is long.
I love painting..and I can't bake right now..we have leftovers.
Had the boys for a sleepover last night..all 4 of them and it went well..Bingo..Pictureka..coloring..snacking..movies.
I can tell time is flying it was Max who read Noah and I our bedtime story at 11.30's a great feeling to hear your Little read a whole well..we wondered who would sleep in the middle..Noah assured us he doesn't fart :) LOL Jacques and I cracked up.
Out of the mouths of babes..
Jacques slept w/ Lucas and Oli..and as we always do the boys made up a family story before falling asleep.Oli was so tired he said a few lines and then  said ..that's it:)

See those marsmallows on one of my calendars?  All 4 boys liked this idea..I saw beauties here..took a shortcut and used edible markers on bought marshmallows..they are more than adorable floating on hot chocolate..beware must slice the marshmallow in half or else they are top heavy..fall over and drown..I was crestfallen in front of 3 of The Littles..(my first trial)..halved they float perfectly.
Ahah..I am just adding this..this is how cute they daughter took the rest of the bag home and offered hot chocolate to the kids playing w/ Noah outside..:)They make me smile:)

My hyacinths :) Makes me so happy to see something growing indoors..M gave me those for Mother's Day..I left them outside this summer..put them in the August..planted them 2 weeks ago..
We had a touch of snow yesterday.. apparently..a lot tomorrow~

All the best for the coming year..Bonne et Heureuse Année~

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Dear Santa~

Apparently we have had a few green quickly we forget!
In December..the skies are grey if it's not cold and snowy..and the days are bleak..which means taking photos is a pretty bleak affair pardon the newly found TV setting on my camera..that creates a heck of a lot of noise..but hey..the shutter clicks;)

Marie reminded me there are now 5 days left until Christmas.

I am ready..I am..I need one gift certificate..and the Xmas eve and day fare..
but Santa has wrapped the gifts..baked the sweets..

I've been keeping busy otherwise too.
I know I said  was done baking..but..I received a very cute package in the post  and  saying those words..
well.. they were not engraved in stone after all..

The fun gift..a snowglobe cookie cutter:)+
 A complete surprise to me..that night I went to bed w/ visions of not sugarplums in my head but snowglobe cookies..

I had recently painted in watercolor ,a small Christmas vignette that I saw.
I don't think there is a law that you cannot try and paint something you have I have seen a lot of Masterpieces recreated)
So I knew I liked practicing this figure..and applied it w/ food colors on a flooded cookie.
FUN.Fun .fun.
The others I used my crazy royal icing(follow the recipes..don't wing it:)..and practiced.
I am happy with them.
Regular sugar cookies..and I modified a royal icing because I want less..I digresssed and it showed.

I also enjoyed stitching a few gift bags together..
I used some of my rubber stamps and scanned them..then added them to text..added vintage tones..printed on Iron-On transfer paper..placed on cotton and then stitched up like a pouch..added charms.
They are just right for gift cards..ornaments..$$..
NYE sleepover is now Dec 27th..and Christmas eve concert may be  off..Max has told me he has stage other words;)
At least they know the song.
I would have stage fright too.

Last year around Christmastime..Caroline and I stopped at a very cute coffee shop here in town..we each ordered a coffee and a shortbread..the coffee came w/ a candy cane in it..I loved the added touch~Don't hesitate to serve a nice cup of coffee w/out sugar and add a cane..cute..minty and delish..I like froth on mine:)

While we were in Florida..I had the opportunity to go to Trader Joe's twice♥
I bought the candy cane tea there and the boys liked it at night while we watched movies after dinner in Fl..
I brought some home and have added candy canes for the boys..they love it♥

I enjoyed packaging up some some shortbreads for my this super cute gift box..
packaging helps so much almost makes food taste better don't you think?

Hahaha..I see I am not the only one who favored bow ties at one point..that's Lucas..:)  And Max has that great smile:) A bit like a little old soul no?
So Caro..would have put the bow tie on L:)

and Giulianna and Adamo who are now 13 and 16 are in the background..they were adorable..and now they are handsome and beautiful.
flew by..all those years..

I used to put place cards make pretty for Christmas morning..I still do them..but Jacques places them..he knows who sits best beside who now..talking Littles here:)

Merry Christmas.

My niece sent me a hand drawn card..w/ her words in it..this is what she wished us..I kid you I am sending the wishes along to you as I could never compose such a straight from the heart over the top greeting.:)I know there are some grammatical errors both in French and in the translation..but believe me..this girls writes better than many university grads I know~So I am leaving it as is.And is.

Her words in French:
" Chère tante Monique,oncle Jacques,Mylène,Caroline et toute la vous souhaite  a tous un Noël  féérique avec gigantesque affection,surprises,jouissance,prospérité,gaité et que le soleil rayonne autour de vous tous."
I wish you all a magical Christmas with gigantic affection, surprises,pleasure,prosperity,delights and may the sun shine around you all.

I just want to add health~

 above...via zsa zsa bellagio

I'll be back in the new year..and way before.. on your blogs..seeing what you are up to before that..
from now..till then..
I just cannot seem to keep quiet..I guess I am not a mouse;)

Not a creature was stirring..not even une souris~

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

It's really not beginning..

 feel like Christmas outside..unlesss it's night..and I am in a car..and outdoor decorations are lit....and the radio is on with all Christmas songs..

It's Grey and Dull and Gloomy here...not indoors ..and not family wise..but definitely landscape wise..
I am not used to this..mais pas du tout.
Everyone loves it..except seems.
I need to see white..well..I would like to see white..none in view  mild until Dec29th at least..

I think I have finished baking ..except for Christmas Eve and Christmas brunch..
but as far as sweets are..I think I am.
Our home is adorned..with decor from far and near..old and new..
all treasures for certain.

I LOVE getting Christmas cards and sending some..or little things that make me think of someone.
I don't think I will ever stop.
When I worked..I sent out at least 100 cards..but it felt like an obligation..the token calendar etc..a few felt special though so I knew when I stopped working I would continue to do so.
It makes Christmas special.
Thank you.

We had 3 of the boys for a sleepover Saturday  night..dinner and breakfast..Susan had posted about her 2 adorable grandsons decorating the Nordic Ware gingerbread house cakes..I knew it was a brilliant idea..
Sunday morning proved to be an opportune time..
I will do again next year..
the 3 boys..have a new friend since this summer..Katie.. Katie's mom..I knew her as a child..and all these years later..Caroline is friends with her..and they moved on the same little private lane..
Katie's mom.. has said: "Three Men and a Little Lady".
I jumped on the chance to take her pic by Caro's tree..
She is  just a bit older than Oli..and is very comfy w/ all 3 boys.
It's adorable..
And she takes CHARGE.
Grey sparkly tutu dress w/ rose corsage..grey leotards and white recently braided in Turks and Caicos..
I mean c'mon:)
And outside playing in dirt w/ 3 boys in boots and coats.
I wonder what the future holds?:)
I asked the boys what their favorite Christmas song was was..
"Have a Holly Jolly Christmas"...Lucas and Max said..I said well let's sing it..we only knew the first two bars:(
I printed up the lyrics and we watched Michael Bublé sing it..and they started practicing..I am telling you..we had a ball..and they got into hopefully Christmas eve they will surprise everyone w/ a show..
That's what we did as kids..we put on shows..wearing our auntie and uncles coats that were placed on beds..
I still remember the fur smell of my aunties coats:)
I looked though old pics..whatever we have..
This would be about 35 yrs ago..I liked that we matched ..LOL..visibly..I cannot believe he went for his bowtie and my monogram sweater with ruffled high neck and my mom's pearls.the girls in their kilts and white leos and red shiny shoes..because I wanted red shiny shoes when I was  a Little..

And this one of our Mylène who is now 40..she was 2..
See that Santa? He was scary looking but he had been my parents'..hard plastic face..not sure when he was eventually disposed of but M doesn't look too scared:)

Caroline just about 2 also..
on Santa..

I'm telling you..I could have eaten them up.
These were taken w/ a Polaroid..that's what I used to shoot with..ohlala.:(

Remember those little flip albums?

Now we have beautiful BOOKS~
And our daughters have many with their families..memories to last forever.

I find Christmas is a time to linger on the memories of past Christmases..
I actually enjoy feeling a little sad..nostalgic..once in a while..about the past..
all the while hoping for bright futures.

 Ok back to Christmas food:)

I like appetizers..and these caught my eye..
I am glad they did because they are really good..I love a little crisp with wine..
I made minis and reg stars and they tastee good in both sizes;)

La Recette  
Courtesy of La Fourmiele

180 grams of flour
 a large pinch of salt
a turn of your pepper mill
100 grams of cold butter..cut up..
25 grams of tarragon mustard..such as Maille..or just add tarragon to a fine Dijon..or another type which is what I did.

90 grams of grated Comté cheese.I used  a swiss gruyère.

In your stand mixer blend flour and salt and pepper add the cold butter that you have cut into small pieces(or grated)..mix on medium speed until you get a "sablé" textutre.. add the mustard and egg and blend ..add the cheese and mix until homogenous..I still had cheese strands:) Perfect.
Pre heat your oven 180C
Roll out pastry on a floured surface..cut into shapes,place on parchment lined baking sheet and bake ap 15 minutes.
You want golden and baked through..Really good..keeper.

Enjoy enjoy enjoy.
PS You have no idea how I am grateful for your company.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Still baking:)

I was very touched this past week to receive a beautiful,personalized  wooden spoon..
it even has the date marking my first ever blog post..985 posts ago..♥

I love wooden rolling pins and cookie cutters and boots and ballerinas and flip flops.I hope you can feel how it felt opening it.

I had bought a Christmas one at Hobby Lobby while in Fl..(Oh do come to QC..HL..I would like that..)..but nothing compares to a personalized one.Coup de coeur.♥

And I baked a couple of days..there are pre-requisites here..

Magic Bars and Nanaimo Bars..I have been making them for 40 yrs..I skipped nanaimos the last 2 yrs and Jacques..felt it;)
If you have never had a nanaimo bar..have it..
I don't cut my bars when the chocolate is cold..chill your bars..but let the chocolate top come to room temp..afterwards..then cut..then store.. chilled..I have even frozen nanaimo bars..
that way your chocolate will not crack..also follow the tips on adding the beaten egg..I add the chocolate to the egg all works out..
So they are now safe and soundly put away.

How good does a home smell while baking is going on?

And  what about the look of fresh boughs w/ mini twinkling lights?

Rod Stewart singing Old Lang Syne..Bing Crosby and White Christmas..André Gagnons instrumentals..James Taylor..Andrea Bocelli..

We are very very very lucky.

I  also made Auntie Bernice's shortbreads..w/ my twist..I switch up some rice flour for reg.flour...experiment and find your spot~
You know..I missed Walkers..and bought some..what was I thinking..nothing beats home made.
There's a little added taste to Walkers it seems..and it seems off..

I made 2 of Sue's that I have been making quite regularly since I found them..these I love the peanut butter addition.. and these..  as I like the espresso addition..I like shortbread variations..:)
Variations on a theme..Thanks Sue for being a part of my pre-requisites now..
and then..well ..Sprinkle Bakes..totally got me w/ her  festive chocolate gingerbread..was it the wee bottles? You bet..ok and her decor..but I am new to piping and although I could have been a surgeon 5 yrs ago my hands were so steady..not so much worked..
I don't know if I would have made them if the wee bottles weren't staring at me one day when I walked into a store..
but..they were..
I think they are super cute for a gentleman gift too..
or a lady..;)
I love using little bottles for small objects instead of piping bags..I am short on piping bags..and long on projects:)
There is an ease for me w/ a can see it in photo 2..and they came from Amazon..a set of 3..2 smalls one large.
I still want to bake Linzers etc..
but I have to  calm down..we are 2 now..and sure we share..but still..
I'd like to volunteer to make a Christmas Eve cake to go w/ my daughters desserts..that's how much I like baking.
I think my parents must be very very surprised..
Bon weekend!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Hansel and Gretel~And mittens hung up to dry~

 My fave one..

Minis are fun too..

She's sweet isn't she...

I enjoy making gingerbread houses..

Hansel and Gretel were surely responsible:)

I think that is where my love of gingerbread houses came to be..
Last year..I bought Ricardo's gingerbread cookie cutter set.
It is no secret that I love Ricardo and everything Ricardo.
In fact his Christmas magazine is so far the best..Martha Martha Martha..?
The set is great..sturdy..quality..makes indentations etc..I cut out the front and side windows and used gelatin sheets to mimick lead glass windows..hoping to put a small battery operated candle..measure your door..that's all I can say..once you close that baby up..if your door is not big enough..that piano is not getting in;)
For the snowman and the trees I used the cute little set above..
I placed the house on the board my son-in-law made me..and added Lindt Snowmen..
For the house I used Ricardo's Gingerbread house  recipe..and for the royal icing..Bridget's.
And..I used my new Imperial Sugar w/ Bridget's cookies on the box:)
I also did what I said I would not do..but I added to the landscape of The Littles arbor..trees..etc..yep..I did..
it's now got a kitschy edge..cause Littles like that:)

I made a mitten garland for the kitchen can find the pattern at this beautiful blog.. Nana and Co.
I first loved it in 2013!
It's a fun little make 6 mittens..and decorate to your heart's desire.
A friend finds the most beautiful animated gifs for her FB..
I borrowed the above little girl from her..will share more..

And finally..I've signed up for another wonderful Shari Blaukopf art through Craftsy..
 I signed up on her blog..which I follow.. I love her perfect building designs..yet they are loose and fun and interesting..
go have a peak;)
Maybe you will want to take the class along with me..
I want to loosen up:)~
Saturday should do it.. 3 Littles are coming for dinner and a  sleepover~♥