Saturday 30 November 2019

An Afternoon on the Kitchen

    Saturday is my day for laundry and grocery shopping but the afternoon is often a lazy time with not much accomplished. Not today!

   When I got home from the store I got a pot of leek and potato soup going. I haven't made it in ages but I recently replaced my hand blender and wanted to try it out. It worked very well and the soup was smooth and delicious.

   After lunch and a nap I decided to get cracking on some Christmas baking. Normally I use a pastry mix for mince pies but I have been unable to find it in the stores so had to (horrors!) make it from scratch. They turned out well and I had enough pastry to make a rustic mincemeat pie for my "cook's treat". 

   Still feeling energetic I got dinner started in my new crock pot (not strictly new, just new to me from Value Village). It started with some chicken drumsticks, a can each of mixed beans, corn and chopped tomatoes and some brussell sprouts. However, it seems to be cooking rather slowly so may not be ready until too late for dinner. In the meantime I am having another treat, guacamole and red pepper hummus (homemade) with tostitos.

   The hummus was made with chick peas that didn't go in the crock pot and some red peppers I roasted earlier this week. Along with some garlic, sour cream and lemon juice it made a delicious dip. So, all in all, a highly productive day with enough food to keep me going until later in the week.

Thursday 28 November 2019

Fun in the Afternoon

    A bitterly cold wind but, fortunately, no precipitation. I was out early to play tennis at Hendrina's condo. They have a court in the basement of the building and not too many tenants use it. I was on the losing end for both sets but it was fun and good exercise. We played for about an hour and a half.

   The afternoon fun was another wine tasting - I had a bit of a rush to get home from tennis, change and put together my contribution, a fruit tray. Henny, who was our host today, lives quite far south of me and I had forgotten I would have to cross Eglinton Avenue where they are putting in a new subway line. Luckily I had left quite early (just by happenstance) as the traffic was pretty horrific. But I arrived there just in time.

   We tasted two white wines and three reds and I was surprised how close my scores were to the group average. I really have no idea what I am supposed to be looking for! The categories are colour/appearance, aroma/bouquet, flavour/ smoothness, and finish. I gave the highest score to one of the reds, Pascual Toso, a Malbac from Argentina (priced at $17.95 - I never drink wine that expensive!). We snack all through the tasting (cheeses, veggies, sandwich meats, fruit and dessert) so I haven't even thought about eating since I got home. Maybe I will just have a cup of tea and some of the fruit I brought home.

The lemon ginger tea is caffeine free so I can drink it in the evening.

Wednesday 27 November 2019

Treating Myself

   Very heavy rain today so I didn't have my usual walk to the Senior's Centre and drove instead. I was indoors during the worst of it which was quite torrential. It was also very windy but the wind has died down and, hopefully, things will dry off before the temperature drops.

   Just had a lovely piece of smoked mackerel for an aperitif. I bought three fillets for serving at Christmas but decided I needed one all to myself - so indulgent. It is quite expensive here as it is imported but so tasty on crackers with a piece of extra old cheddar. 

Tuesday 26 November 2019

Sunny and Mild

   Another beautiful fall day -sunny, high of 10C and no wind. I had a long walk this morning (no gloves or hat needed) to make up for sitting at the Bridge table all afternoon.

    I had pretty good cards at Bridge but not enough to put me in the top five. At least I didn't get the booby prize!

   Nothing else to report. 

Saturday 23 November 2019

The Last Cleanup

   I had a really good night's sleep - wakening just before 8:00 - and was quite energised, so accomplished a lot today. The snow is finally gone, despite my prediction that it would be here until Spring, and it was a lovely Fall day. 

   After the usual Saturday chores I got going in the garden. Now the front is looking quite neat and tidy and ready for winter.

Seemingly it is good to leave some leaves in the borders - cover for birds and small animals, and nutrients for the soil. So I just raked the grass.

   After rather a substantial lunch (I had worked up quite an appetite) I had a short nap then got going in the back yard. Two bins filled so now I am ready for whatever Mother Nature throws our way!

Thursday 21 November 2019


   Probus meeting this morning - a fascinating speaker. A dietitian with some interesting ideas as to how what we eat can keep us healthy. Then it was lunch with the ladies at Boston Pizza (how soon we forget!). I had chicken quesidillas and Caesar salad, all for the princely price of $10! The menu said it was 860 calories but I think it was probably more, it tasted so good. So a light dinner tonight.

A perfect avocado - how often does that happen? I made a bowl of guacamole to continue the Mexican theme from lunch.

Wednesday 20 November 2019

Still Eating Home Grown Tomatoes

   More simple eating today - fruit and yogurt for breakfast, coffee and a couple of cookies after exercise class, a bowl of carrot and lentil soup for lunch with a hardboiled egg, some cheese and a half apple. After a big meal out I often feel rather jaded for a day or two. 

   I forgot to take anything out of the freezer for dinner so it may be a vegetarian meal but it will be something simple. I plan to roast some butternut squash so may throw in some other vegetables. I still have some potatoes dug up from the garden last month so a couple could go in too. Full disclosure, right now I am snacking(!) on crackers, blue cheese and grapes so, no rush to start fixing dinner!

   Much milder today but the snow is still lying about. On my walk this morning I noticed how many people hadn't managed to rake the leaves off their lawn before the snowfall and now they are a soggy matted mess - that won't do the lawns much good come next Spring!

Another tomato from the garden that ripened indoors. It was actually quite tasty and juicy in a sandwich the other day. Still a few more to come!

Tuesday 19 November 2019

First Christmas Turkey Lunch

…..not to be confused with the Thanksgiving turkey dinner of early October.

   Actually, all the eating out in the next month won't necessarily involve turkey. This one, the monthly RWTO lunch, I had no control over - it was turkey or nothing. I do like turkey and this was exceptionally good and moist with stuffing, cranberry sauce and lots of vegs. Two of the other lunches will be buffets so I can avoid the turkey and eat something else. For the Probus lunch I chose salmon over turkey as Parkview Manor does delicious salmon. 

   Of course, there will be the Festive Special at Swiss Chalet with the family which will likely be chicken (#1 son and possibly #1 grandson, who are both big eaters, will probably order the chicken and ribs combo). I haven't decided what to serve for Christmas lunch but I usually order a capon from Pusateri's. They are often almost as big as a turkey but much juicier. Another option is a stuffed turkey breast from Longo's but they are expensive if you are feeding hungry guys.

   After today's lunch, which was rounded out with apple pie and cream, I am still stuffed so it will just be soup and a sandwich for dinner tonight!

Friday 15 November 2019

Trouble Comes in Threes

   The snow is still hanging around but much milder today. I had several disappointments today - couldn't find one of my good gloves, hope it turns up, went searching for a particular kind of light bulb for my Tiffany lamp (no luck), and arrived too late for Pickleball - all the spots were filled! I will have to go earlier next week.

   I slept too long this afternoon and woke with a headache - hope I'm not coming down with something. I very rarely have headhaches. Now I am feeling a bit nauseous so definitely something is brewing. Fingers crossed I am OK by Sunday - it's the big birthday party (son, daughter-in-law and grandaughter). Their birthdays are all so close we just celebrate once.

   I defrosted a piece of fish for dinner but think I will just have a bowl of soup. No point in tempting providence (where did that phrase come from?).

Wednesday 13 November 2019

After the Snow Storm

   We are all dug out - truth to tell it was rather a small quantity of snow, just a shock coming so early in the winter. I walked to my fitness class and had to be careful to avoid icy patches. The sidewalks had been cleared but not perfectly. It is still extremely cold for this time of year but should warm up a bit next week.

   While at the senior's centre I had a surprise, impromptu lunch! Two of the other snack bar ladies had picked up Indian food to eat there (they are both South Asian) and kindly shared with me. It was "dosa" - a kind of pancake wrapped around a spicy mix of cooked vegetables. Quite hot (as in spicy) but I enjoyed it immensely. There were two sauces to dip it in, one hot and one cool, and a donut shaped fritter which was also spicy but a little bit sweet, also delicious. I had brought my lunch - I usually work over the lunch hour - but didn't need it. I love to try new tastes!

Tuesday 12 November 2019


   This is what greeted me when I opened the door this morning! Quite a shock to the system so early in the winter. Usually we can get through November and most of December without this much of the white stuff.

It was -5C (-15C with the wind chill) and stayed there all day. The wind was bitter!

I spent the morning shovelling the driveway. The sun helped a lot.

Where's the pool?

    Today has set all sorts of records - temperature, amount of snow etc. - it is the snowiest November day in 70 years! We got about 10 cms. My back is killing me!

Monday 11 November 2019

Remembrance Day

   "The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month"

"Lest We Forget"

   A very cold snowy day for people attending Remembrance Day services here and at the National Memorial in Ottawa. I went to my local community centre where we watched the ceremony on TV and stood for the two minutes of silence. The bugle playing the "Last Post" always makes me teary eyed. But it is better to share the experience with others. 

   Evening plans were curtailed today as I had had enough of driving on slippery roads and cleaning off the car (three times!). So I decided not to go to dance group this evening. As it turned out the teacher decided to cancel, as he had so many people phone and say they weren't coming. Very wise decision IMHO!

   The snow is supposed to stop around midnight so tomorrow will be the big clean up. Out with the snow shovel for the first time this winter!

Friday 8 November 2019

A Difficult Read

   Woke up to a layer of snow on Thursday morning and was almost late for my early morning RTO meeting by having to sweep the snow off the car. We were hard at it from 9:30 until just after noon. Then it was straight to Book Club (with a quick stop at Burger King for a Bacon cheese 'burger - ooh it was greasy but sooo good!).

    Claire and I were hosts this month at book club, presenting "Educated" a memoir by Tara Westover. The discussion went very well, especially since the book dealt with some heavy issues. Tara and her siblings were very inadequately home -schooled and suffered several types of abuse, both mental and physical, but at least two managed to escape the domination of their parents and go on to lead normal, productive lives. Tara herself received several degrees from prestigious universities. However, I wouldn't recommend the book to anyone with a weak stomach!

    Our treats went down well also - not as elaborate as last month's but most appreciated. We didn't have a big turnout - just 16 of us - maybe because of the disturbing nature of some sections of the book, but most were glad to have read it.

Wednesday 6 November 2019

Winter! Bring It On!

    My painful back and hip are much improved - I had a 40 minute walk in two 20 minute stints today and managed a fairly active fitness class. However, I am still very stiff if I am inactive for any length of time, limping for the first few steps when I get up out of bed or a chair. This wears off quickly but is a bit worrying.

   The weather has definitely taken the first steps toward winter this week. Snow flurries are forecast in the next few days and there will be an overnight low of -8C by the weekend. And the dreaded words, "wind chill", were mentioned today in the weather forecast. This is how cold it feels when the wind is added to basic temperature, as in "The temperature is -8C with the wind chill making it feel like -15C". Brrrr!


Sunday 3 November 2019

Fall Back

   Clocks went back last night and now, at 6:00 p.m., it is completely dark. And so it begins , the dark and dreary days of late Fall until we reach the Winter equinox in December, the shortest day.

   A nothing day today, just glad to be cosy indoors. I did take a walk down to the drug store to mail a letter and check the P.O. Box. I have my personal mail delivered but the P.O. Box is for the RWTO luncheon cheques. Our next lunch is November 19th so the cheques are beginning to come in thick and fast. Last month we had 119 members attend.

   In the afternoon I bundled up and did a bit in the garden. I trimmed back the roses and covered them with mulch from the composter as frost is forecast tomorrow night. While out there I felt some stings on my face - it was tiny ice pellets! They didn't last long but the sky got very dark. Hopefully we will have a warmer spell before the real winter weather arrives!

Saturday 2 November 2019

Early Preparations

   Plum pudding made and ready to be packed away to mature until  Christmas.

   Started this yesterday but couldn't get the photo of the plum pudding to load. It's rather pale as I forgot to add the molasses but I'm sure it will taste fine. I'm definitely not making another one!

   Still cold and windy but the rain seems to have petered out. No sunshine, though. Hurt my back/hip yesterday bending over the dishwasher, so am moving rather slowly today. It is worst when I have been sitting for a while so must keep moving! Just as well it is too miserable to be out working in the garden anyway. Feet up for the rest of the evening, I think.