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Saturday, 31 May 2014

Last Day of May

    Took my camera out when I went to Steve and Alison's for lunch and left it there so no new photos in the near future. We had a lovely day with a tasty barbecue followed by a delicious dessert courtesy of Judy.

  I coerced everyone to try out "Virginia Reel" in preparation for taking Natalie to Dancing in the Park next Tuesday. She caught on quite quickly, it is a fairly simple dance, and should be able to participate on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the weather may not cooperate. A thunderstorm is forecast.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Bleeding Heart

The garden is much enhanced at this time of year by this little bush with its copious, trailing blossoms. I am always surprised when it starts to shoot up in early Spring and it is one of the first bushes to flower.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Chicken Pot Pie

 
 
   So easy to prepare, especially when using bought puff pastry! Under the crust were chunks of chicken breast (from last Sunday's chicken), onions, garlic, mushrooms, carrots, corn and peas. All coated in an "herbes de provence" flavoured sauce. I ate half on Tuesday but it was really too much, so tonight I will have a quarter. With a salad, it is a substantial, well-balanced meal.The aforementioned chicken has so far given me four meals and the other half of the breast is consigned to the freezer for a later date.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

A Few Days' Catch Up

   Out for lunch again on Thursday. It was the AGM meeting of RTO and, for those attending the meeting, the lunch was free! A way to induce the members to attend the meeting. The location was the same as Tuesday - Qssis - but the meal was much improved. Salad followed by chicken or salmon with lots of veggies (I chose salmon and it was delicious). Dessert was a chocolate mousse.

   On Saturday I got all the plants, that had wintered indoors, outside for the first time. They are mostly in pots and I will plant some in the ground and leave some in pots. They have grown very tall and leggy over the winter and need to be cut back quite a bit. After some time outdoors they will adjust to the weather and will benefit from the extra sun and rain, but they don't like the wind! One other job yesterday was cutting all the dead branches from my climbing rose. This is one job for which you definitely need protective gloves! But it looks much improved now and will probably come along better for having more room to grow.

   Today started with an hour on the tennis courts. I was lucky to team up with some other ladies and we had a good set. I also got to talk to Cathy about a plant she had great success with last year. It's a begonia called Dragon Redwing, so I hopped in the car to pick some up. I decided to get two varieties, to see which one does better in a shady location. So they are now in the hanging baskets on the porch. 

   I had my first picking of rhubarb today and made some rhubarb and ginger jam with it. But the pound of rhubarb only gave me 2 1/2 jars of jam. I think I boiled it too long, but it has set well. Dinner tonight is a whole roast chicken which will provide me with, at least, three, and maybe four, meals. It's beginning to smell yummy and I have put in some potatoes to roast along with the bird. I can't wait! I got some lemon yogurt on special this week so that will be dessert.
Impatiens and pansies on the porch. There's a fern and a jade plant at the other end.
 

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Fun in the Sun

   A very early start so that I could get in some tennis before heading out to lunch. I was in the car by 7:50 and arrived at the tennis courts around 8:10 - a very fast trip despite construction on York Mills. Since I was early I got the coffee started and put out the board; only two courts filled but more people arrived shortly after. Bonus -  lots of cake left over from yesterday! I had two good sets (all guys but not big hitters) and left around 10:00.

    On the road again by 10:45 after a quick shower and arrived at Qssis in time to set up the book sale table. Then checked out the plant table - this is a fundraiser we do each spring - people donate cuttings and they are sold for a buck or two. I got two ferns and a bunch of rhubarb. Not many book sales, the books are getting rather stale - all the good titles are long gone. This is another fundraiser with people donating books and/or buying what's on offer. I will have to see if I can revitalise the collection for the fall.

   The lunch was a little disappointing. A nice salad but my veal cutlet was decidedly overdone. The vegetables were OK but dessert was just sherbet in a frozen orange. Quelle domage! However, the speaker today, Lloyd Robertson of CTV news, was very entertaining and stayed for a while afterwards to sign copies of his memoir.

    Something light for dinner tonight, methinks, probably leftovers. I still have some kedgeree left and also the pork shoulder which was fall-off-the-bone tender. I could combine the two...... 

  

Monday, 19 May 2014

A Big Feast

  The weather today was ideal for a morning of tennis. I managed to play for about an hour and a half, with a few breaks. As expected, there was a humungous amount of food brought in, but I think I did it justice. I took a batch of phyllo twists from the freezer (just had to cook them at home and heat them up again before lunch). As well as hamburgers and sausages, there were several salads, couscous, pastas, veggies and dip, meatballs, and tons of cakes, fruit, watermelon and other desserts. Also there was coffee, iced tea and fruit drinks. Not much was left after the gannets descended on the tables. Everyone is so generous with their contributions and time to set up and clean up. I won a pair of tennis socks in the lucky draw!

     stopped in at Home Depot on the way home to pick up some grass fertilizer, nasturtium seeds, and weed killer spray, something to work on in my spare time. I cut the front grass this afternoon and then retired from the garden in exhaustion. Since then I have been vegging on the couch and will have a light dinner of leftovers in front of the TV. It can't get better than that!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Holiday Weekend

   Got all my chores done yesterday, along with some gardening. Today more pottering in the garden - all the plants I bought this week are in the ground now - and there is a little room left for a few extras. So far I have garlic, shallots, tomatoes, red pepper, eggplant and swiss chard. My asparagus didn't come up this year but the rhubarb is doing well and I should be able to pick some soon.

   I managed almost an hour on the tennis court today - not a big crowd again but the courts were filled by the time I left. Tomorrow there is a social at Don Mills with round robin play followed by a barbecue. We have all been asked to bring a little something in the way of food so that should make for quite a feast.

  

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

More Showers to Make the Flowers Grow

    A couple of ho-hum days - tennis was rained out yesterday (although it did stop raining at one point but the courts were too wet) and although today was very pleasant, it's now raining again.

  James was here today and we attended the final party at the church play group. So that's it for him and a very tearful farewell (not really) to all the kind and helpful ladies who run  it. There was a pot luck party with plenty of chocolate in which he and I  both overindulged so there was no need to rush home for lunch.

   We stopped off at the park on the way home and James was delighted to discover the splash pad was turned on. He got right down to his underwear to enjoy the (very cold) water. Luckily there was only one other family there and the kids were similarly attired. An unexpected treat for all.

   Elliot was sick at school so Dave  had to fetch him home and therefore wasn't able to come for James so I drove him home, chattering all the way. He really is observant and fascinated by much he sees from his car seat.

   Now off to dance practice for the upcoming White Heather Ball. I don't have a ticket yet but that shouldn't be a problem as they weren't sold out last year. It's in June.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Mother's Day

   A brilliantly sunny day - got down to shorts and T-shirt on the tennis court this morning. Just a small select group surprisingly, as the weather was so nice. But we had fun!

   After a few chores I headed over to Judy's for a Dim Sum Mother's Day lunch. Since she is also a mother (and had run a 10k race earlier in the day), take-out was on the menu and it was delicious. Spring rolls, lots of little shrimp and pork bundles, rice and fortune cookies were served buffet style and eaten at the picnic table. Everyone stuffed themselves with only a little room left for strawberry shortcake with scads of cream. We washed it all down with mimosas (sparkling wine and orange juice), spent some time outdoors with the kids, then I headed home with a lovely geranium from Steve and Alison. It's nice to be pampered once in a while!

   I won't need much dinner tonight but will heat up some leftovers in an hour or so.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Mushrooms!

     After James left yesterday, I quickly changed and headed over to the liquor store for a cooking demonstration - accompanied by well-matched wines. I had no idea mushrooms could be used in so many delicious ways!

   First course was an appetizer of pesto-stuffed mushrooms wrapped in phyllo pastry. Some tips on handling this tricky  Greek pastry were very helpful and the actual tasty bite was fairly easy to assemble, although Chef used prepared pesto which is really cheating. Next came a mushroom gratin - fairly straightforward, except for the addition of white wine to the mushrooms. Next came a chicken breast with leek and mushroom sauce made with crème fraiche - brandy in this dish gave it its unique flavour. Finally Panini stuffed with sautéed mushrooms, caramalized onions (I can never get them to caramalize so I watched closely) and gruyere cheese then toasted - in effect an extra fancy grilled cheese sandwich. To finish off the meal we had chocolate truffles, since true truffles are related to mushrooms. However, these were all chocolate and cream and absolutely delicious!  

   Today was the first day of the Thursday social at Bridlewood TC. Not a great turnout (7) but it was rather on the cool side. I plan to keep track of the numbers this year as we don't seem to be attracting many new members, which was the purpose of having this weekly event.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Tennis Season Begins

   First day for Kaffeeklatch - this is our Tuesday and Friday morning socials at Don Mills TC. A very good turnout - all courts filled - and it was a spectacularly good day, weather-wise. Sunny but still on the cool side although I did get out of my track suit and exposed my pale limbs to the sun.

   I had a busy afternoon. First the duct cleaner with his noisy vacuum spent an hour cleaning years of dust and grime from the ducts. I'm ashamed to say this has never been done since I moved here nearly 16 years ago! He says I'm good for another 5 years, unless I'm in the old folks home before then. Next came a team of guys from the city to replace the water meter. It came with an electronic reader so I don't have to phone in the reading every other month.

   Lastly Judy came by to pick up James' sand table and kitchen centre which she has managed to sell. Now that we can get outside and to the park, we don't spend as much time playing in the basement, so it's time for them to go. They fit nicely in her van and I am glad to be reclaiming the space they took up. I am planning  a garage sale next month so have started filling boxes with other items that I neither use nor want any more. I may not make much money but I will feel much less cluttered.

   Dinner tonight is chicken thighs cooked in a tomato sauce with veggies. I plan to have bruschetta as a starter to use up the savoury bread I made for Easter that didn't rise properly. It will be fine toasted and topped with tomatoes, garlic and parmesan.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Furnace Install

   Up bright and early on Thursday to receive the installers. They were right on time and worked diligently all day, finishing around 5:30 p.m. So now I have central air as well as heating (my previous air conditioner was installed in the attic, prey to squirrels and other rodents and almost impossible to access for repair). Now I can switch back and forth from heat to cool from the main thermostat. Much more convenient!

   I had a problem when it came time to pay, using my credit card. I had managed to get the credit limit raised on one card (still not high enough to pay the whole bill) but neglected to check what the limit was on my other card. Surprise, surprise, it was declined! So I still owe a portion of the bill. However, I have arranged to pay the balance with a cheque next week, once I have transferred some money from my savings account to my chequing account. That will take a couple of days.

   Still need the heat on today, but at a cheaper rate (hopefully) as the new furnace is high-efficiency. Quite overcast all day, and windy, but no rain. This morning I had a crown replaced, my final visit to the dentist for 6 months, thank goodness. As the visit was just to replace the temporary crown, no freezing was required and I was in and out in under half-an-hour, payment made and, hopefully, money back from the insurance company in the next few days. 

   I have a busy day tomorrow - tennis club opening in the morning, including lunch, and then a quick run over to the west end for Gala Day, an afternoon of dance followed by high tea. Shouldn't need any dinner after that. So today was running errands that I usually do on Saturday. Only problem may be the weather, rain is forecast. Off to fix chicken drumsticks for dinner and mashed sweet potato and green beans.