Sunday, June 10, 2007

Summer reading

Here is my summer reading list. Of course, more books will probably be added as the summer wears on but this is my must read pile. A couple of the books listed aren't out yet which is why they aren't in the picture. Some of these I've bought, a couple are from the library and a few have been gifts. There are also a couple that I am waiting to get from the library, those are the ones with the LONG waiting lists.

There's nothing like the reading bug!

*Intellectual Devotional by Kidder and Oppenheim

*History of the Ancient World by Susan Wise Bauer

*Whitehorn Woods by Maeve Binchy

*Body Surfing by Anita Shreve

*Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris

*Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

*Gap Creek by Robert Morgan

*Hot Flash Club chills out by Nancy Thayer

*Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows by J.K. Rowling

*Elizabeth by Eileen Dunlop

*The Emperor's Children

*Animal, Vegetable and Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver

*Miles from Nowhere by Barbara Savage

Oh and the two read alouds for the younger kids are "The Penderwicks" and "Tom Sawyer"

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Granny's Cookies

My Granny made the best oatmeal cookies...thin, crisp, with a hint of nutmeg. I finally tracked down the recipe and made them. Almost as good as Granny's!

*Granny's Oatmeal Cookies*

Stir together the following and put aside:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp nutmeg

Cream 1 1/2 cups of margarine or butter.


1 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

Add flour mixture and combine well.

Turn onto lightly floured surface Knead until smooth. Roll into a 10 x 12 inch rectangle. Cut into 1 1/4" squares.

Place 1" apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Makes lots!!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Camp food

Dinner the first night.
Step one
Get it on the fire.

Step two
Get it cooking.

Step three
Let's eat...glazed ribs, carrots and onions, with potatoes. (The hole in the potatoes was my fault. I was checking to see if they were done. Can't blame the cook for that one!) I've got to admit I don't even like ribs but these looked and smelled so good that I just had to try them...WOW, I'm now a convert.

Chef at work. Notice how everything is laid out ready to be used. This was dinner on Saturday night. The Chef made a wonderful meal of chicken with a Jack Daniels BBQ sauce, potatoes baked in the coals and steamed carrots and onions. Absolutely delicious. Too bad I ate it all before remembering to take a picture of the finished product. Sorry!

Sunday breakfast cooked on the fire. Bacon and eggs just don't taste like this at home! Notice the paint scraper...necessity is the mother of invention. (Needless to say it was new)

Breakfast the last day
oatmeal with pears, apples, nuts ,brown sugar and cream

Okay so I am totally spoiled. I admit it. And very, very lucky to have such a great guy in my life.
Other than boiling water, warming soup and making toast I didn't cook a thing all weekend!!

Gone Camping

The campsite was virtually empty, except for a few feathered companions.

View from the ridge on an afternoon hike.

Sharbot Lake campground

What a wonderful weekend. No kids, no schedule, no responsibilities. As much as I love my children it was BLISS!
Mind you the sleeping in didn't work. Steve and I were both up with the birds (literally). It rained most of the day on Sunday. And I almost sat on a big black and yellow spider (thank goodness for flashlights).
Despite all of that it really was the best four days I have had in a long time. Relaxing in nature with someone you doesn't get better than that.

The Water Lily

Beauty can be found anywhere.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Mudd Lake

Mudd Lake

Kids at the troll bridge.

Kids on the dock.

Nathan, Madison, a friend and Sam

Since Monday was Victoria Day and the kids had no school, we had a bit of a holiday at home as well. After a nice lie in, I made banana pancakes which the kids love and I don't make often enough. Very simple to do...

*Banana Pancakes*

Mash 2 large ripe bananas

Blend together:

1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. sugar

Add bananas and the following:

1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. oil

Blend until everything is moist. Batter is going to look lumpy.
Lightly coat a frying pan or griddle. Heat until a drop of water sizzles. Drop spoonfuls of batter and cook on each side until pancakes are nicely brown and cooked through.

Enjoy with maple syrup and extra sliced bananas if you want!

After enjoying the pancakes we packed up the van and headed to Mudd Lake. It was a beautiful day and we all enjoyed ourselves thoroughly (despite my going off the main trail and ending up in a bog!)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Sonja's Pear Cake

My Norwegian friend Sonja brought this wonderful pear cake to our First Annual Single Mother's Day barbecue yesterday. Absolutely delicious and amazingly easy to make.

Start off with a storebought flan and put it on a pretty cake plate. Soak the flan with the some of the juice from a can of pears. Dice the pears pile on the flan. Using lightly sweetened stiffly whipped cream build up the cake to make straight sides and a flat top. For the icing: melt semisweet chocolate (however much you want) and add a bit of milk. Pour all over the cake and spread so that it drips over the edge.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Week of dinner menus

Being on a tight budget makes menu planning a necessity for me. I also find it easier to eat a healthy diet myself and feed one to my family by planning in advance.
The whole day can be balanced this way. (At least that is the goal!)

This week:

My niece's first birthday party so dinner at my brother's house.

Single Mother's Day BBQ (potluck at my house)
potato salad
green salad
Chocolate Fudge Cake

Turkey and gravy
mashed potatoes
green salad

Pea soup
home made multigrain bread

Turkey pot pie

Pork chops
harvest medley (4 rice blend)
pickled beets

Tuna Melt sandwiches (from Rachael Ray's show) http://http//
carrots, celery, red peppers and sliced cucumbers
kettle chips

Monday, May 7, 2007

Sunday Dinner

Some of the best memories I have of growing up are of Sunday Dinners. Almost every Sunday we would head out to my grandparents farm after church. They lived in a wonderful old farmhouse, with a huge woodstove and no plumbing!

Granny had 13 children and on Sundays various combinations of aunts, uncles and cousins would appear. The aunts would all be in the kitchen cooking with Granny, chatting and laughing, shooing we children away from underfoot. Sent to play outside we would roam around the farm, sometimes going where we weren't supposed to. Like the hay loft. Despite being told countless times that someone was going to break a leg from jumping off the loft into the huge pile of hay we never really believed that it could happen. (And to my knowledge it never did, although there were some sprained ankles!)

Finally, we would all be called into the house. Granny set a country table and the big meal was at noon. Crowded around the huge kitchen table, we would sit, waiting for all the dishes to be passed around. Oh the food!! Beef with the best gravy that I have ever tasted in my life. That gravy was so good that sometimes I would have a little dish of it after my meal, all by itself! Ham or chicken and always mashed potatoes. Two or three different vegetables. Every kind of pickle imaginable. Fresh baked soft rolls and some kind of salad. Depression glass dishes filled with wild strawberry preserves or molasses. Three or four different pies. The BEST cookies in the world...soft molasses, crisp oatmeal, delicious shortbread.

In the spirit of trying to recreate (in some small way) those Sunday dinners, I have been attempting to make that meal special. Sometimes we have a friend and their children over, sometimes not. However, there are always the six of us.
The table is always set nicely. The good dishes and glasses are used. Sometimes a tablecloth is on the table and the cloth napkins.

Dessert is always served and is always homeade. Sometimes it's simply gelatin with fresh fruit and homeade biscuits on the side. On other occasions I'll make a Martha Stewart confection which is always labour intensive but absolutely exquisite and worth it. This is often made on Saturday.

I think I'll start adding a relish plate: celery, radishes, olives, little pickles. I remember those being on granny's table.

I really enjoy the quiet of early Sunday afternoon spent puttering in the kitchen, listening to music or just the wind chimes and the sound of children's voices floating in through the window.

Last Sunday I served the following:
Pot Roast and gravy (cooked all day on the stove in a cast iron Dutch Oven)
Mashed potatoes
green and yellow beans
steamed carrots
gherkin pickles
cucumber slices
Homeade caramel pudding with fresh whipped cream
Biscuits with butter and strawberry jam.

Sitting around the table eating, talking, laughing...these are the things that memories are made of.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Under construction

My 13 year old son Sam convinced me to begin this blog. As a form of creative expression, I suppose, and perhaps as a way to expand my horizons. In some ways my life is extremely complicated and in others, well...not so much!
I've been divorced for almost eight years now. I've put myself through nursing school, done 4 years of shift work, gotten really sick and am just now getting my life back on track. Again.
I've also got five kids which I've raised on my own for the last eight years. Amazing how many times a woman can reinvent herself isn't it?
So, like me, this blog is now officially Under Construction.