A little sweet to tide you over while I’m in the process of making some major changes behind the scenes of this little place on the web. Please allow me approximately a week to get things re-organized and settled in. I need to have things complete in time to showcase the results of the Liberate Your Art 2013 postcard swap in which I participated. Please check back soon.
“The present moment is the substance with which the future is made. Therefore, the best way to take care of the future is to take care of the present moment. What else can you do?” Â -Thich Nhat Hanh
I took oodles of photos this spring during the herring spawn seen from the beach below our place. I thought you might like to see some of the photos I took of the voracious and opportunistic seagulls — literally thousands of them descended upon the area during the peak of the spawn.
Sun-warmed, it was a perfect day to photograph, observe, and take in the feeling down at the beach. The gentle whoosh-whoosh of the sea against the shore was muted by the squeal of the frenzied gulls overhead. Many, either tired or with full bellies, stood on the beach and waited. Taking in a deep breath, the salt air was infused with a fishy hint of the presence of the herring and their spawn. The kind of day you don’t want to walk away; you simply want to remain and be in it.
There is only now. And look! How rich we are in it. ~ Vanna Bonta, Shades of the World
Have yourselves a lovely weekend!
Of course it hurts when buds burst.
Otherwise why would spring hesitate?
Why would all our fervent longing
be bound in the frozen bitter haze?
The bud was the casing all winter.
What is this new thing, which consumes and bursts?
Of course it hurts when buds burst,
pain for that which grows
and for that which envelops.
Of course it is hard when drops fall.
Trembling with fear they hang heavy,
clammer on the branch, swell and slide –
the weight pulls them down, how they cling.
Hard to be uncertain, afraid and divided,
hard to feel the deep pulling and calling,
yet sit there and just quiver –
hard to want to stay
and to want to fall.
Then, at the point of agony and when all is beyond
the tree’s buds burst as if in jubilation,
then, when fear no longer exists,
the branch’s drops tumble in a shimmer,
forgetting that they were afraid of the new,
forgetting that they were fearful of the journey –
feeling for a second their greatest security,
resting in the trust
that creates the world.
This poem “Of Course it Hurts” by Karin Boye was discovered at Shawna Lemay’s blog, Calm Things. I couldn’t help but be inspired to reproduce it here for your pleasure. Shawna is a writer, poet, and a fine photographer and her blog has many interesting and creative perspectives. I don’t get much time to visit other blogs on a regular basis, but it’s always a treat to pop in and see what Shawna has presented.
It was our turn to host Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner with our local newcomer’s club. Eight couples, lots of fine food, and plenty of interesting conversation. I love dinner parties. And then up early this morning, enjoyed our cappuccino, and joined our regular dog-walking group for an exhilarating walk along the beautiful Englishman River.
“One of the delights of life is eating with friends.” ~Laurie Colwin
The ‘kids’ (those two up there) were very well behaved while we entertained.
I don’t get much time to read other blogs but sometime in recent weeks, I recall having read a really interesting blog post about dinner parties. The lady wrote how much she too enjoys having dinner parties but what really made an impact was how she makes them all different by doing “themes”. I’m not talking sappy themes but one that she mentioned involved asking guests to bring something they liked or maybe it was something meaningful to them. I seem to recall each person was to bring something that could be given to the other guests and it could not cost more than six dollars. I can’t for the life of me remember what blog that was or even how I happened upon it. I’d love to find it again to re-read that post so I can get all the actual details about how she does those “themes” (but they aren’t really themes; they’re really ways of making each dinner party interesting). If I ever come across that blog again, I’ll be sure to bookmark it and share it with you (because my explanation of her dinner parties is sorely lacking in details and interest!).
So, how was YOUR weekend? And, do you have unique or interesting things you do to make your dinner parties a wee bit different?
As promised in yesterday’s post, I am finally including some recipes for you. Let’s get started.
Those who wanted the recipe for my Homemade Softening Salts (for bath or foot soak), simply click on that link. Make them for yourself or be a hit and give them as hostess gifts! This is so easy to make, they smell amazing, and it’s far less expensive than anything you can buy — and safer too because there are no chemicals or toxins in the ones you make at home. You may add some colouring if you like but I prefer not to in the ones I make.
Marmalade — Click “marmalade” to visit the post which links directly to the recipe I used. You will also find the writer provides excellent how-to instructions if you are a first-timer to making marmalade. The end result is utterly out of this world delicious and your home will have the divine aroma of oranges all day long when you’re making it.
Fiesta Corn Relish — I’ve been torn about typing this recipe out because it came directly from a cookbook and I’m not sure whether it’s infringing copyright to do so. The recipe came out of one of my favourite books on preserving, The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard. But if you click on Fiesta Corn Relish, you can have the exact recipe I used. You’ll see this is not your mother’s or grandmother’s corn relish, which would also be great. This one has a bit of a southwestern twist and it’s such a nice accompaniment to roasts, hamburgers, in a grilled cheese sandwich, dressing up a sausage-in-a-bun, or give a jar away as a hostess gift. I love that this one can be made in the middle of winter because you can use frozen corn when it’s not corn season.
One thing about nearly all the savoury dishes I make, other than preserving (pickles, relishes, etc) is that I seldom use a recipe. Sometimes I use a recipe for inspiration and then I do my own thing. But most of what I make for our meals is just ingredients I toss together. Because I’ve been asked several times, I will try to write some of these down in recipe form but some of those recipes may be very general since I don’t measure as I cook either — I just do it. So if there is something that you’d really love to know how I make, keep asking and if it’s something I can jot down for you, I certainly will.
I’ve recently joined Pinterest and can see what all the fuss is — lots of interesting lists and what a great source for recipes and how-to ideas.
PS: Do any of you readers know how to enable the RSS or the Subscribe-by-email buttons on WordPress? I understand a couple people are not able to do so even though I see there is a wide group of followers who did have success. I wonder if it has to do with the WordPress updates possibly? Anyone have ideas? I’ve done some digging online but the information is either way over my head or I come up with no solid answers. I’m ATTEMPTING an experiment below to see if this may work (but it means I would have to manually add the code in every post):
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This post is a series of items jotted down before I forget. I’ve been so busy lately: we’ve been doing a lot of entertaining so I’ve been doing a lot of cooking & cleaning; twice daily dog walks; workouts 3 times each week; some visiting; some exploring; oh yes, and now there’s yard work too; and so on. Just a few reasons for taking so long to say “hi”.
Jot One. In the last post I promised to share some of those recipes. I’m going to have to delay that until the next posting: I’m afraid I have my blog set so that people cannot right click the text or photos and help themselves (photo theft is a big problem online, as many of you may be aware). I’ve learned that I can provide you with a nice pdf of the recipes but first I need to type them up into pdf format and then load them to my dropbox so you can easily access the links — that way you can help yourself to the recipes. You will only have to wait no more than a day for the recipe post so stand by!
Jot Two. My postcards and the rest of the package for Kat Sloma’s Liberate Your Art 2013 project are completed. I chose 5 pieces of art, on postcards, wrote a little something on each one, and the works are in-the-mail! I can hardly wait to begin receiving works of art from the other participants to begin rolling in.
Jot Three. It’s about food, again. It means I need to share more recipes. I make my own pizza dough from scratch, my own Italian pan bread, and cinnamon buns, but I came across a recipe for dinner buns that I knew I must try. Try I did, and they were so amazing, I gave half a dozen to one of the neighbours and now I’m sharing the recipe with you. Credit for the recipe goes to Mary Marshall for her Easy Big Fat Yeast Rolls — easy for sure and incredibly delicious. It’s the addition of an egg and butter to the dough that amps up the flavour. PS: Since I wrote this part a couple weeks ago, I’ve made them again since then and they were equally amazing the second time, so give ’em a try! That’s them up there.
Jot Four. I have also been READING up a storm. The last novel I read was one that’s been out for ages, Chocolat, and although I did read it all the way through I didn’t find it all that satisfying. The book that is currently holding my bookmark definitely has my interest. I have around a half dozen books that have been sitting in abeyance waiting their turn to be enjoyed and I have to share with you that this one I definitely recommend, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fryby Rachel Joyce. I’m nearly at the end and can hardly wait to see how it finishes up and what happens to Harold. I don’t write reviews here since there are hundreds of them online but I will say that the subject matter is definitely unique, the characters and plot are interesting, and I really enjoy the use of imagery in her prose.
We had a lovely Easter. I made an entirely non-traditional meal this Easter because I knew our guests would appreciate something a bit different. I went boring and simple on the appetizers because the rest of the meal was two days in the making. Appies included: cognac pate with sesame rice crackers; a couple (real) cheeses; and a variety of olives & pickles (that was the store-bought portion of the meal). First course was Spanish Pea soup that was really fresh and spring-like with a great flavour. Entree included fantastic (even if I say so myself) Braised Lamb Shanks, Carrot spears with Dukkah, Celery & Radish Salad, homemade Pan Bread, and Couscous with Mint & Peas. Then for dessert because I knew I’d miss my traditional lemon meringue pie, I made a spritely lemon parfait (always homemade) using my own shortbread crumbs to simulate the flavours of the missing pie. I think that’s the first time in my entire life I’ve gone non-traditional for the holiday meal. What about you? What do you make for Easter and do you like to go non-traditional at times?