Sunday, January 31, 2016

Kind Gestures~and Je T'aime~

In just a few short hours..February will be upon us..
I don't know about you..but January flew by.Very  easy winter so far,knock on wood.
Rain expected tonight..

Truly ..the Littles inspire me for Vday,and my daughter inspires me for February.

If I was on my own..or even just the two of us..February would not have the same meanings.
I am easily influenced by outside influences;)

I saw a floral arrangement on Martha Stewart..a BEAUTIFUL arrangement in a birch bark pot..
we snowshoe and X-country ski..I didn't even see where to buy it or what to do...instructions as to how to make a birch bark pot.

I Pinned her pic.

 And we snowshoed again..because this keeps happening;)So beautiful.

 I know..I should have straightened the above pic..I love my neighbors homes..on both sides..and like both my neighbors..lucky me.

I am way behind because I am gathering birch bark and taking pics..never a dull moment~
 He's thinking..OMG now what's she doing~
Going anywhere out of the ordinary and even the ordinary..I love taking I am always far behind~

The first day I came home w/ thick bark from a dead tree.. ..dead because it is snapped in half laying across the lay of the land..
I soaked the bark..rolled the bark..hoped..made a mess everywhere ..even of my nails.. not acrylic..mine.But I like them and take care of them;)Mostly in winter..
Threw my first efforts away..the next time..I only peeled off the thin outer layer and came home w/ a pocket stuffed of thin bark..and le tour was joué~
I glued the bark over a diced tomato can;) And used oil paint that was in my palette that day to inscribe my heart w/ my alphabet boys initials.

I added a primula..because I love primulas..and it made my heart sing.
The whole thing.

 Another thing that made my heart sing..

..just before Christmas..I received a surprise package..unexpected..such cute things inside:)
I have shared some..not this yet.. cookie stamp..a set of 3 rubber heads that fit on a lovely wooden base..I am a cookie cutter lover.
I have a few of these..but none as quirky and fun as this set of three..
I truly believe what that stamp says:"Damn it feels good to be a baker"..

some days..baking is all the therapy I crave~♥

Cute n'est-ce -pas?

Terry lives in NY..we "met" through Gardenbuddies and found each other again..

we share Pins and new recipes and ideas..and Littles stories;)

how she knew I would like this I have no idea..;)..but I DO:)

I used this recipe..for the shortbread stamps..and used a half recipe..this is when a scale is of the utmost importance in a kitchen..
I love them..not too sweet at all and a lovely shortbread crispness/flakiness..and it stamps well..I did chill the stamped cookies in the screened in porch first.
The next day..even flakier..keeper recipe !!
Really..and who doesn't have a stick of butter,some flour,a wee bit of icing sugar and rice flour hanging around?:)

Do you see 2 bee stamped cookies?Plain old Michael's $1.50 in Canada $1.07 in the US..
I had seen cookie stamps hand made..from France..and they looked like my ink stamps..
use new ones only and use them only for food. adorable can bags be?
at our Winner's and Home Sense..always bags at the cash..$1.49..perfect gift wrapping no?
I could not resist 3 for 3 girls I know...Saw it ,loved it,bought it~pink and grey and polka dots on sides.

And what about cupcake Dollar store gift bags?

Things that are cheap and cheerful and cute.
I love packaging up something in special ways.
I have received gifts wrapped in fabric:) I have received plain paper w/ an old ribbon:)I love them ALL.

Speaking of Love..this was The movie when I was a teen..
Watching the trailer brought back so many memories..such a different never even thought of growing older..having grandchildren..losing people you love..
it really does fly many people used to say that and I would think:"yeah,yeah.yeah"..and did.
Who can forget gorgeous natural Ali McGraw? And she still is..
and the name Oliver..I adored it when she would call him by name..I was infatuated with that name..little did I know that some almost 50 yrs later I would have a Little by than name♥
That's a love story:)xox

P.S. Did you see the movie..About Time?Not the best link I think..but I LOVED the movie..Jacques..not as much as I did..
I even loved the music..

If you could go back in time and change one you have one? Or two?

I am sure we have many..but my most recent came to mind..

the next morning..after I listened to the soundtrack before sleep on Spotify the night before..

Jacques said..;'I know which moment you would pick.'
He was spot on.~

I have a little idea up my sleeve for those cute miniature cupcake chocolates..that I did not make......


La Recette de "shortbread"  
From Roti and Rice (adapted version)

1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup rice flour
2 sticks  salted butter softened
1/2 cup icing sugar

1.Combine flour and rice flour in a bowl
2.In a larger bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3.Sift in flour mixture..combine w/ pastry blender until dough comes together..form a ball wrap and chill 15 minutes.

4.Place dough on parchment paper and roll out..cut with desired cookie cutters..when I make stamped cookies..I use the stamp..then cut around with a larger cookie cutter

5.Bake in a pre-heated 350F oven for ap 20 mins..transfer to a wite

Refer to her recipe and instructions for a more detailed version:)~
And don't hesitate to make som of these just for you:)

Half a recipe..makes keep you happy and feeling..not guilty;)

I still remember the felling of Valentine cards  in my hands..when I was a child..I love feeling that feeling all over again..

I wish I had many wishes..

maybe that's my new middle name;).

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Banana bread and lasagna roll ups~

The Medal:)

Really good..not a great pic..but we liked it a lot~

Noah had the smallest baby teeth imaginable..he is 7..grade 2..lost the two bottom minis this year and now a top one..they are growing in quite perfectly:)

Noah approved salad~

On thin ice..if you ask me..

I start early for Valentine's Day here..
not for Jacques and I  but the Littles..and just little things here and there..I do make a special dessert around that date for a family get -together for one of our daughter's birthdays..,but in between now and that day..I like tryng out things on them..
That's Lucas' hot chocolate when he came over one chilly afternoon..and that's Noah's banana bread when he came for lunch..
He knew it was his..there were 4..only one was different:)
Which of these things is not like the other?:)

Overipe bananas + a girl who hates waste=banana bread..
this must be my 50th's very good and moist..sour cream is the kicker here..I made 4 minis in vintage tins..and a larger one for Jacques..the four..because Mylène and Noah came for lunch..
I made this one..

We had that tortellini know the one..and a nice salad..the salad recipe came from Chris..I used roasted walnut oil and it worked quite well:) Love Chris' dressings~Thank you..

By the way I love my empty yogurt pots:) Did you notice I found lids?Just 12..but I now have 12 jars 12 lids:)

Noah entered an Abomini endurance race..he had to run 1.9 very cold weather..dive under obstacles..jump over others..roll a huge log and drag a Xmas tree..all dressed in boots and heavy snowsuit etc..kudos darling..yes..that's what winter sports looks like here:)
See his medal?He is so  proud..he's 7..hang a's like a new necklace on us...I am happy w/ costume new necklaces..:)
He's now got freckles to sell~

Lucas ran track..lost both his races..but in 60..10 yr olds.. he came in medals..and he had cracked his tooth in half the day adult tooth..
both Jacques and I feel that both are lovely in their endeavours..participation is key..winning is great for the Little..but just participating is great for us.
The dentist fixed his tooth.and all is well..some fab Crazy Glue..they had kept the half tooth..

the last photo is a usually over populated ice lake..filled with fishing shacks and streets..all on the lake..well  we had a few cold days and some ventured..but it's been milder..and rained all day yesterday..sunny's just not safe in my opinion and apparently the rest of the usual ice dwellers think so too..
I do miss the sight of ALL of them.My dad LOVED ice fishing..w/ a huge raccoon coat..I can still see him and it's been over 40 yrs..
as much as my mom was composed,reserved,elegant,an artist..a woman of "letters" dad was flamboyant..colorful..over the everything.
Nothing in moderation.
My mom..everything in moderation..even her flickering ,counted I am sure..cigarette.

..and one day I made these Lasagna Roll Ups ..we both really enjoyed them..
I had bought a jar of Trader Joe's Marinara sauce(basil),in Florida.. that I had not used..because..well I love to make our when I saw this recipe..I thought..great..use the jar.
They are easy..and delish..I used the whole jar..8 roll ups make 2 meals for Jacques and I..2 each at each meal..I added my snippets of chopped garlic scapes..JUJJED  it..and parmesan cheese..I used full fat Ricotta..Jacques only enjoys the whole 9 yards.Funny because our main courses are quite non fat...but when it comes to ricotta..cream cheese..etc..full fat.
I use spinach no cook flat lasagna sheets when I make I had to buy cook yourself a favor and buy a well known brand of lasagna noodles to cook/boil..I used Lancia..not one broke..fiou!
I cooked my lasagna roll ups longer at least 1/2 hour covered and the rest I played by ear..sight I mean;) and let  them bake until I knew they were done..I made my roll ups in the all I had to do was bake for dinner.That's me. having Mrs Patmore over in the morning..
I am the girl that lives in a manner of Below The Stairs.Well not quite but if I had to chose..I would be in the kitchen.

Re DA..Meh.....this week, bland..apart from Anna..and Mr Bates and even then I knew it was coming..Mary and the car fanatic..NO CHEMISTRY..blah this week..I found, and Jacques also..forgive me:)
Not enthralled with Mercy Street yet..nor Billions..
Looking forward to Call The Midwife.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Bev's Roasted Chicken ~ And Marie's Apple Baked Donuts♥

It was cccold.

It wasn't my fave outdoor sports day.

I glean..from all of you..thank you.

I have always admitted I am not an inventor of recipes..and if I do..they are our year in year out recipes that I make from memory adding this and that..
So I glean..I visit blogs I love ..I am sure I still have many to discover..and sometimes..I guess I am in the mood for what they just made and I have to..too..
This was the case with Bevs' roasted way can I even attempt a cooked photo of it..unless we ate dinner at noon..but you can go visit Bev and see exactly how she made it..I even added the orange zest..and some juice..I am a big fan of fennel but it's so darn hard roasted was a perfect idea for me..
I had acorn squash and in reading Ina's was not I left it out because there was no more room in my little chicken Revol roaster and that's what I wanted to absolutely use..:)

And I want to make my stuffed acorn squash again.

My friend bought a yellow Revol in Europe,so so pretty!I love it!

I realize a sheet pan would roast better but I hardly use this lovely chicken.
I used 2 large pieces that are breasts w/ a bit of back I gather..
The house smells so darn good when meals like this are roasting..Thanks Bev!

I painted a is now scarp watercolor paper to test colors..yes that bad..but this one I kept..

The weather has been darn cold.
One day I had an appt.  and decided to do errands while in that vicinity..the commercial  area was built up in fields..
with the wind chill factor it was almost -15 F.
It literally knocks the breath out of you getting to and fro your car.
You open your car door and it takes super strength to not let it fly open into an adjacent parked car.

The next day..the sun was out and the wind had died down so we ventured out.. in our can see how very LITTLE snow is on our path in between evergreens..once you are in the open..there is much more snow..and I love the scent walking through the evergreens~
 Well  the wind WAS still there and my ears and face felt frozen and miserable.I was happy to come home.I think they were in Omaha in Planes Trains and Automobiles..that's what I felt like.

.. the baked donuts..
I took about 15 photos of those baked donuts..and they kept getting sparser and sparser:)
They are so good..
Our coffee machine stopped working all of a sudden..we filled it..added the fresh ground beans..light went on..then nothing..and it was the coffee morning..not the green tea morning..
so I used our RBC royal rewards points and ordered a new coffee machine..our girls have the single cup Nespressos w/ little cups..and they are a treat..but we stuck to conventional..I ordered the Cuisinart that grinds the beans..we have a Breville cappuccino maker but seldom use it..that was about 4 yrs ago w/ Royal Rewards..maybe 10;) Time flies..

The machine came Friday dinner Sat..after our green tea/ ginger /lemon /honey elixir..I left Jacques to the instructions..I was already flabbergasted it did not fit under the cabinet..where our other coffeemaker lived..he pointed to a very visible spot under the window..and said :"look we could put it there.."in my head I was him..I said :"never."Plants go Nancy Cucina..I don't want to stare at a huge coffeemaker:(..that's like a big TV..
Anyway..we reached a compromise..and it sits at an angle..beside the fridge so you can't see it:)
I don't do instructions..I would have plugged it in and filled it and pushed the "bouton"..
But Jacques is the I leave him to his talents...

Marie had posted these..

I mean c'mon what better way to christen a new coffee maker w/ a fresh cuppa?On a grey cold day w/ flurries..
So good..and of course it takes longer to read instructions..than make  apple baked donuts..
and Marie said serve I put them aside once baked..

and when the machine came together and made  the coffee..

I tell you 10 secs  or less in the micro..they were warm..tender..wonderful..Betcha can't eat just one..:)

And ..well.. see for yourselves..

I didn't have shortening..I used Becel..and instead of 110 grams I used 120..
I did use real butter for the after baking coating..I needed less..I brushed it on..
You can have 2 bites at least!
You all know how I feel about Marie's recipes.:)
I caved in last yr and ordered a silicone donut pan from Ebay..this is the only recipe that worked in it..I did use an apple corer to remove the my little center part on my mold seems too low..the donuts bake over..
all this to say I have tried baked donuts in it..they were awful.This is the first recipe that got me taste wise..but use the mini muffin tins..easier.

I loved the wedding on DA..but I never knew how much I missed Branson until his face lit up the whole screen.Joy.
Cora..yikes..not good..I know you apologized but geesh...
Perhaps Lady Mary will roll her eyes back less now..thank goodness she is being nice to Anna.

I agree w/ Mrs Hughes..

  She looked lovely!

My friend Susan at Savoring Time in the Kitchen..had her 3rd little grandson..his name is beautiful:"Bo"~
Bon Weekend~

Friday, January 15, 2016

Bleu et Blanc de l'hiver~Or Noir et Blanc

I love snowshoeing and x-country skiing..believe me I am not great at either..warmly dressed..with THE SUN..I need the sun..and it has to be hovering close to's just so picturesque and a deserted beach when you can take nature in all alone..a little snowshoeing or skiing gives you that same AWESOME feeling..that's when the word  awesome works for me....the awe of nature.
I found Jacques' pocket Fuji camera from's the only camera that does fit in our pocket comfortably..and I am going to use the my my ski jacket;)
it is zero indoors..but outside on a sunny gives the general idea..
I love looking at the trees..the light..the sky..the trails..♥
It's a cold beach..;)
And then you have the non technicolor and white monochrome~

Apart from seed catalogs..stitching..painting..and the usual subscriptions..
I much prefer the UK Country

I know I am taking a watercolor class..but Jacques likes oil..I'll always love watercolor and just ordered some new books etc....
but I do like to play with oils too..My friend Nancy is GREAT..and she emailed me..a list of things I should have like odorless solvent and some walnut or linseed oil..her fave paints and colors..I had a small sampler set..minute ..the white was finished in a heartbeat..  so I went to a local art store and bought a set of brushes on sale..I don't think I love that boar hair feeling..there was a synthetic set I liked better but the girl said I needed this set..and Pebeo had huge tubes on sale..a really nice young woman/shopper told me they were fine for what I wanted to of the colors on the list were there..but I did pick a few..  I went in for two  things and blush came out w/ more..
it's fun too..I used a pic of Lucas and Oli fishing last yr..because I don't do faces..I see Oli looks out of kilter and I need way more practice..but Jacques walked by and said he wanted it for his car LOL:)♥

The plus to this little expedition is that although my craft room looks the way it did's more's not cute at all .. it's a lovely big room w/ natural light in the basement..because of 2 above grade windows..but there's nothing cute in the decor..a sewing station..a yoga area ;) a tv spot..watercolor table..craft table..kid's craft easel umbrellas.. I like to try it all;)
I love those cute craft rooms where everything is white and shiny and storage looks like Martha Stewart did it..but that's not mine..I have stamp and ink bins under the computer area..fabric in another..a couch..get the picture?
I would love someone to say :"you have just won a craft room makeover to your liking!:)"

And since that's not happening...I'll get back to food~

I saw the above soup on Pinterest..and gave it a bit of a twist.I made half..added mushrooms..and more liquids..there was not enough liquid for the soup..when halved.You will have to make sure you have more stock than would have been a thick stew had I refrained from adding much more liquid..
it's delicious!

Please go see her great shots here that made me want to get up and make it..and here's what I did..

Italian Sausage,Kale and Tortellini Soup~

1 Mild Italian Sausage (Costco),they are long and substantial.
1/2 yellow onion chopped
1 large carrot chopped
 2 home grown garlic cloves;)
3 large mushrooms,sliced..
1 small tin diced Italian tomatoes..ap 14 ozs**I had bought a large  tin..I halved it and saved the rest.
1 tbsp tomato purée in a tube
1 cup water
 4 cups  beef broth
4.5 ounces of refrigerated cheese tortelllini
2 cups torn kale only the leaves not the spine..loosely..stacked..
Italian Seasonings to taste..

I sautéed the sausage in a bit of EVOO..added the onion..carrot and mushrooms and sautéed for a few minutes..added the garlic.. a few more minutes..added all liquids and Italian seasonings and salt and pepper to taste.. and simmered for about 15 minutes..added the kale and tortellini..and let simmer an additional 10 mins.
Add shaved parm on top..and some chopped parsley.
Really good..and you may still need to add some liquid..
This makes 6 portions for us..  

One day after school this week Max told me he already knew what he wanted for his birthday even if it was months away.: " a butler"~
I thought why on earth? He already has his mommy:)

I don't know about you..but I would be so uncomfortable having an Anna..if I was Lady pick up my dicarded clothes on the floor while I revealed my fab undergarments.
Never a butler for me:)
It's either blue and white in winter here or black and white.
I'll take color thank you.~
Bon weekend!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Oui,c'est la vie au Québec! And great muffins~

Poor Santa..


X~country views..


And in a heartbeat..we went from the first this one..Oui c'est cela la vie au Québec..en hiver~

I do..I love home..even in winter..I have a roof..a family lives w/ me or close by..a husband who makes paths..see his red marker? One of them..
And all that snow forefront is what falls off..slides off the metal roof..thank goodness Bella was safely parked away from the avalanche.
I have my stuff...warm coats and boots..layers..leggings..leotards..neck warmers and in the warm gloves dept..and a hat that suits me.The latter is very tough.I am a straw hat girl or baseball cap in dire circumstances....I had one hat I loved  100 yrs a Dr Zhivago big fur round box..I gave it away when I was 20.
I want it back..they don't make them anymore..I definitely cannot do tuques.
Suggestions? Earmuffs..not really warm enough..and they slide off..
Big fur..fake fur ones please come back in style;)

I have light..
I have my toys i.e. camera, baking supplies,paints,pencils,paper,brushes, a light box:)
X country skis..albeit old..and snowshoes..skates..and boots..
I have books to read..and music to listen to.
I have food and wine ..
I have  a TV for 7.30-9 PM...Downton and now Doc Martin and movies and yes shameless.
I have a computer..
I have a garden I love in summertime.
That's what I love about home.

I have been painting..again from my class and another cute book by Zoe de Las Cases..but this one is called Parisian Street Style and Marie clued me in on it~
I like this book as much as the first one..
I did this painting on Hot Press paper..which..well when I received it..did not like it at all..but now I do..a lot.
It's texture...but I am getting used to can teach an old dog new tricks.
In QC..our weather can go haywire too..a slight increase in temps and the snow ..well is rain..

At home our fave breakfast muffins these days are Ricardo's..they are bran muffins and so good..this time I have dates, that I plumped, in makes a huge quantity..I bake 6 at a time..the mix lasts 30 days in the fridge..I have made them 4 times now.. I add 1/4  C more of just adds extra moistness.
For the wheat bran I use wheat germ.
You can find his recipe here..I am just so bad at typing..They are Super Bran Muffins..I used white and white whole wheat..a mixture.

I just love a muffin in the morning..
We're now alternating..our morning hot tea drinkers we are w/ lemon and ginger and honey..but we have switched it morning coffee ,one morning tea.
We're on the edge as you can tell;)
The year of living dangerously.

The ornaments are put away..poor Santa..sniffing a stocking for many months;) Just noticed after!I made ind. containers/boxes/ a few unbreakables to the breakables my middle name is whatif...or Xerox..
A complete system restore has been done..the hoover passed..the floors washed..gleam..for 24 hrs..and then life starts all over again:)

Had lunch out..the memories walking still my heart..from being in my twenties..thirties...forties..skipped my fifties,,back there in my 60's.
A whole different story..ies..
Just like the weather..from freezing cold rain and grey skies and snow sliding off the roof~
That is why I need a muffin and tea in the morning;)
Hope you try them..get a big container..and store the batter and you are set for life..  well  a month.
That Ricardo..he knows what he is doing~