Friday, 30 July 2010

Recipe Thursday - How to feed a Soldier

MRE - meal ready to eat
A photo essay on how we fed our soldier one day.  The pictures were taken by my daughter and by my nephew.
Add water to the pan


Turn over to heat other side

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Diamond Anniversary: 'Who Doesn't Love Penguins?'

Diamond Anniversary: 'Who Doesn't Love Penguins?'

Interesting article on the 75th Anniversary of Penguin Books.

Needlework Tuesday - Crochet Project Progress

Camping was fun even though it seemed to rain every day.  I dropped my project on the damp/wet ground a few times, so there are bits of grass and such clinging to it in a few places.  Thankfully I missed the puddles.  I finished the first row and started on the little joining motifs.  Shown in the first picture is the white centre of these tiny snowflakes.  This bit measures about 1 3/4 inches.
The second picture shows four of the large snowflakes attached with one of the tiny joining motifs in the centre.  They went together quite well with minimal ripping out of stitches.  As you can see, there are still millions of yarn ends to be wove in on the reverse.
This is where I am at.  The seventh snowflake didn't fit in the picture.  It measures about 56 inches long.  Progress on this project is good as long as I can find a few minutes here and there to work on it.  I am very happy with the results.
I'm putting this aside for the day and tying myself to my cutting table (read: dining room table).  I really must get to that Betty Boop fabric.  Daughter has also added some fabrics to the stack. 

Next week hope to show you my niece's knitting projects.  She will be enjoying her first Canadian winter this year and is stitching away in the hopes of staying warm.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Recipe Thursday - Cumin Lentils

The whole family was going to be home the other evening for dinner and I wanted to make something that would appeal to the vegetarian in the crowd as well as be hearty enough for the meat eaters.  While at the Company's Coming website I searched the meatless meals and came up with this one "Cumin Lentils".

I like recipes that start with lots of onions, celery.  Excellent vegetable choices once fried up a bit.

The addition of cumin and turmeric gave the onions a lovely golden glow.
A few more ingredients and a short period to simmer and dinner was ready.  I decided that to stretch the meal a side of brown rice was needed. To show how quick this dinner was, I started the rice first, then made the lentil dish and was ready with it before the rice was ready.
A little dash of hot pepper sauce and we were enjoying dinner in no time.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Say You're one of Them by Uwem Akpan

While researching my list of FIFA reading suggestions, I  received a comment from Amy at Amy Reads, who was hosting a Nigerian mini reading challenge.  That lead to me finding this book at my library.  After reading it, I am very glad that they have a great book selection committee.

This book is comprised of 5 stories of various lengths.  They all deal with children trying to grown up in Africa and some of the horrors they are being exposed to.  Like children everywhere, they deserve a safe place to live and grow.  With numerous civil wars and "ethnic cleansings" they have been exposed to and threatened with things that no child should every have to deal with.

Mr. Akpan has presented the stories of these children in such a way that while the attrocities are clear, he has also shown compassion and even hope.

I really can't do justice to this book without telling you in detail of each story, which would then go on for pages and pages..  I highly recommend that you get a copy of this book and read these stories for yourself.   I had heard of some of the things that were happening,  yet I really never stopped for long to think of how they would affect the children involved.  Now I look at my children and say many words of thanks that they wake up every morning safe.

I will be looking for further books by Uwem Akpan.

Author Uwem Akpan's website.

2009 Winner of the Hurston Wright Legacy Award.
Shortlisted for the 2009 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book.
This is my 12th book for the Read, Remember, Recommend challenge sponsored by

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Needlework Tuesday - Crochet Project Underway

This is my sample motif for the Snowflake afghan that I told you about last week.  Turned out well and even approximately the correct measurements.  I have decided that I am going ahead with this one and have bought new yarn.  Since it is snow flakes, I bought a white for the middle flake part as I didn't think the teal was very realistic.  Next is a series of pictures showing the steps in making the block/unit.

This is the completed motif.  Only one unit is completed as this.  For each successive unit on the outer round they join to the neighbouring unit.  Yeah, this means I don't have to sew them together when all the units are made.  I'll be taking this project camping with me and have an update for you next week.  Hopefully I'll have some joined units and then can show you the filler bits needed between the rows.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Camping week

I'm camping and won't have much access to internet.  Sorry about the lack of posts.  I have a few schedualed and will be reading and making review notes.  I'll get you all caught up when I return. 

We are at Rockwood Conservation area.  What a treat.  It is full of potholes, a very cool geological feature that I'm sure I can work into a book or short story.

I am home for an hour or so and have approved all the comments that were in my inbox, though haven't time to send personal replies.  Will try and do that next week.

Dorte, I will look for a small bottle of maple syrup for you.

Bye for now. 

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Maple Sugar Crystals

I don't know about you, but at our house real maple syrup is the rule rather than the exception.  We reached the bottom of the tin today.  I knew it wasn't really empty and when I looked inside I could see crystals.  We had maple sugar hiding in there.  I took the bottom off the time and had to break out the sugar crystals.  They were huge.  It was amazingly hard to get a photo of them.  All the surfaces of the crystal drove my camera crazy, it didn't know where to focus.

To learn more about maple syrup and how it is produced, visit the site for the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival

Friday, 16 July 2010

First Nations/Aboriginal Fridays - Curve Lake First Nations Territory

Last weekend my family visited the Whetung Ojibwa Crafts and Art Gallery located on the Curve Lake First Nation Territory.  I have visited their website a number of times in the past while researching First Nation authors, but didn't imagine that I would be able to visit. 

I was amazed by the wide variety of arts to be found there.  At first glance the building seemed a fair size, but once in the doors, it kept going and going.  There is a large gallery on the main level with hundreds of painting and other works by dozens of artists.  I could have spent hours gazing on them and then could have started at the beginning and looked again.  I wanted to purchase a painting, but there were just too many that I loved  to decide on only one.  I did purchase a book The Bootlegger Blues: A Play by Drew hayden Taylor.   Also bought a mug that features the art work of Norval Morrisseau, Man Changes into Thunderbird.
This wood carving was found inside the front door.
The teepee was located in the backyard.  These three photos were taken by my niece Michelle Eng.

The next day we visted the Petroglyph Site that is overseen by the Curve Lake members.  A petroglyph is essentially a carving in rock.  This picture  of the glyphs is from
Outside The Learning Centre we met Beverley.  She is Ranger and that day was conducting information sessions on butterflies.  The next two pictures are views of the building where the glyphs are located.  They are the last pictures we took at that location. 
We did take one other picture once we left the building.  Hubby made a rubbing.
This was a wonderful park to visit.  The glyph building is designed to preserve the carvings yet it also allows access to the Curve Lake members for their ceremonies.  This was my second visit to the site and I expect that it's not my last.  I was hoping to purchase a book about the site, but unfortunately the gift shop was closed that day. arg.

The Whetung Gallery and the Petroglyph park are about 1 1/4 hours apart and can easily be visited in one day.  Well worth the effort of getting there./

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Recipe Thursday - Coco-Milk Chicken

I've been exploring recipes that can be adapted when camping.  Since I took the electric frying pan with me, this needed no changes.  I did de-bone and cut up the chicken at home and then put it in a large ziplock baggie .  I plan to make this one again next week when camping but will be adding more vegetables, probably a thinly sliced red pepper and perhaps some diced celery.  Don't you just love the Barbie bowl that my dinner is served in.  We have limited dishes in our camper.
Coco-Milk Chicken

3 lbs. chicken cut into bite size pieces
2 tbsp cooking oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced ginger root
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
fresh small red chili (seeds and ribs removed for less heat)
3/4 tsp ground coriander
2 cups coconut milk (select the low fat version)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 ground pepper
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cashews

Fry chicken in cooking oil in frying pan for aobut 20 minutes, turning over once, until golden.  Transfer to large plate.  Cover to keep warm.

Saute next 5 ingredients in same frying pan for about 3 minutes until the onion is soft and starting to turn golden.

Add coconut mmilk, salt and pepper.  Stir.  Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.  Add chicken. Cover.  Simmer for aobut 45 minutes, turning chicken over once, until tender and no longer pink.

Sprinkle with cashews.  Serve over rice.

(I don't know why it tells you only to turn the chicken once, but I ignored that and turned as often as I felt it was needed.)

This recipe is from Company's Coming: Asian Cooking.  This cookbook is currently sold out, though copies may be available in local stores. 
Join Candace at Beth Fish Reads for more food related posts.  On saturday she posts her "Weekend Cooking" meme.  You are invited to join her with your recipe, cookbook review, or other food related post.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Needlework Tuesday - Crochet

A few weeks back I told you that I needed one more pattern for an afghan.  I thought I had found one that would work for me and decided I had better make up a sample before buying all the supplies.  I tried last night and the first block went well.  Then I tried a second which you attach to the first when you hook the final round.  I didn't like how they went together at all.  eww yuck.  The two blocks are shown above.  I'm not going to be making any more of these.

The pattern  is from Coats and Clark and is called soft squares throw

 I went to their website and found a different pattern Snowflakes Throw that I am going to try out tonight.  The person that I am secretly making it for looked at the picture online and said she likes that one better also.  Now that's a relief.

I'd better go now and get on with testing the new pattern.  Pictures next week.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

The Mystery of the Hansom Cab by Fergus Hume

This murder mystery is set in Melbourne, Australia at some point in the late 19th century.  It was the first novel by lawyer Fegus Hume.  After the success of this story he went on to write dozens of other books.   

The story starts when the driver of a hansom cab goes to the police station to report a murder.  His last passenger of the night, Oliver White, had been murdered right in the cab.  From the statement of the cabbie, it appears an open and shut case and very quickly a young man is arrested and sent to trial.  That is the last simple thing that happens in this story.  Mr. Hume then leads us along a number of twisting trails, until at last in the final pages the true murderer is revealed.

I downloaded this book from LibriVox (direct link to this book) after reading about it at a fellow blogger's site.  Thanks to Miri at Milk and Honey Quilts for introducing me to LibriVox (general website) and this author.

I will definitely be visiting LibriVox for more audio books in the future.

Photo Credits:

Gallows - David Hunter

Friday, 9 July 2010

The Neddiad: How Neddie Took the Train, Went to Hollywood, and Saved Civilization by Daniel Pinkwater

I have to start off by telling you why I sought out this book.  I was minding my own business one morning and reading a post from Shelf Awareness and came across a listing for a new book.  It contained a blurb by Neil Gaiman that highly recommended this author.  Now mind you, I haven't read any books by Mr. Gaiman, though have listened to a few interviews with him and have been quite impressed.  I decided that I would look up this author and try and figure out why he was so highly recommended.  My library had a copy  of this particular book, so I requested it and am extremely pleased that I did.

This story is set after World War II in approximately 1950.  Young Neddie Wentworthstein and his family are moving west to Los Angeles.  While on the train Neddie meets an assortment of interesting characters.  On a stop  in Albuquerque he meets a Navajo shaman who gives him a small stone carving of a turtle and implores Neddie to take care of it.  This is where his adventures really begin.  First he misses his train andhas to stay the night in  haunted hotel, then he travels to the...  Oh wait, I can't tell you all these fun details, you have to read this story for yourself.  The action is fast paced and totally entertaining for both adults and children. 

This book is full of adventure, magic and the making of solid friendships.  I really liked the sections where the kids use their imagination and deal with a new bully to their school.  I highly recommend this book for both boys and girls in the eight to twelve age groups, though parents, go ahead and read it as well. 

The story continues in The Yggyssey: How Iggy wondered what Happened to All the Ghosts, Found out where they Went, and Went There.

Author Daniel Pinkwater's website

Photo Credits:
Brown Derby Restaurant - Historic Photo Archive
La Brea Tar Pits -
Steam Calliope - Circus History

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Holiday Mode: Recipe Thursday - Chocolate Martini

I'm in holiday mode and keep forgetting to take food pictures before eating everything.  I will attempt to get you into the same mode with a simple cocktail recipe. This one is for sharing, don't try and drink it alone.

Chocolate Martini

6 oz vodka
3 oz clear cream de cacoa
1 tsp orange flavoured liquor

Combine and shake with ice.  Strain into chilled martini glasses.  Remember to add a maraschino cherry with a stem. 

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis

Daniel Addison has one thing left to do before is done with politics;  he needs to find a candidate to run in the Tory stronghold of Cumberland-Prescott.  Even though there is essentially no chance of a liberal candidate winning he is finding no one willing to take up the challenge.  After speaking with every possible contender he turns to his landlord, Engineering Professor Angus McLintock.  With essentially no fund, no campaign workers and no committed party representative, Daniel somehow has to run a very convincing campaign against the extremely popular Conservative incumbent.

I want to tell you more, but even one more word will start to give away plot developments and I don't want to deprive you of the fun of reading about them.  I wasn't too sure about reading a book about politics, but I was assured that it was funny.  Well, politics is funny all on its own, if you don't believe me, get a bowl of popcorn and turn on the house of commons channel one day and start watching.  I was hooked in the first pages.  From back room dealings, sexual escapades, campaigning to lose, this book has it all and more, lots more.  There were times I was laughing so hard the tears were streaming down my cheeks.  My family thought I had lost it for sure.  One section kept me laughing page after page.  I could image the press reporting on "that story" and not letting it go.  Oh yes, Canadian politics rocks.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes politics, for anyone who doesn't like politics, even those who are indifferent will be amused.  The Best Laid Plans is not limited to Canadian readers only, readers in any country will enjoy the antics portrayed within its covers.

This book has been chosen as the "One Book One Community" read for Waterloo Region for 2010-2011.  Mr. Fallis will make several visits to the area for book readings and signings.  I was lucky to win this book in a contest sponsored by the local newspaper, The Record

This is my first book for the 4th Canadian Book Challenge hosted by John at The Book Mine Set.   All readers are welcome to join in the fun.  You don't have to be Canadian.

Photo Credits:

Liberal Party Logo - Liberal Party website
Conservative Party Logo - Conservative Party website
NDP Party Logo - NDP website
spiked collar - Hand Made Dog Collars
hovercraft - from Terry Fallis's website
I'm celebrating today.  This is my 500th post.

Thanks to all my readers.  A few of you have been with me almost since the inception of my blog.  It started out with book reviews and then a relative of hubby's asked for some family stuff and such, and that was when the stitching was added in.  I like the format that I am now using; book reviews when they are ready, needlework updates on Tuesdays, recipes and cookbook reviews on Thursday and First Nations posts on Fridays when ever I have something of that nature to share.

I like what I have achieved here and mostly intend to keep on doing it this way.  Author interviews are planned in the near future and I might even try a contest again (once I finally send out the promised prizes that are still sitting here, I keep sticking extras into the envelopes in a hope to compensate for my tardiness ).

As long as I am having fun I plan to keep at this.  Hope that you are planning to keep reading and encouraging me in all these pursuits.


Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Needlework Tuesday

While knitting the star afghan for my daughter a few months back I came across one ball of Glittallic yarn.  I fell in love with it.  When I went to the Patons website I found that it was long discontinued.  oh, woe is me.  I really wanted to make a shawl or wrap from it as it is so wonderful.  I even checked ebay and other resellers and the prices were outrageous for single balls.  I finally was able to get back to the shop where I bought the original ball and found that they still had some in their clearance area.

I bought every ball in that colour.  I now have fifteen full balls and one partial ball.  I am looking forward to making something for myself once I finish the afghans that I need to stitch before the end of the year.

I haven't gotten back to the wonderful Betty Boop fabrics.  They are still sitting in my sewing area waiting to be pressed before I can start cutting.  Fortunately fabric ages well.  With any luck I'll find additional prints by then and have even more variety.

I'll be camping this weekend for four days, so I'm not sure what if any needlework I'll get done this week.  Perhaps I'll take a book with needlework in it?

Monday, 5 July 2010

Queen Elizabeth visits Waterloo Region

Queen Elizabeth is visiting Waterloo Region while I am writing this post.  She flew into Region of Waterloo International Airport on a Porter Air flight.  My niece and I went to the airport about 1 1/2 hours prior to her arrival.  It was hot and sunny, perfect Queen watching weather.   The first picture shows two motorcyle Police escort.
Don't know who is in this car of her escort.  I sure did get a perfect photo though.
This is the car that the Queen is riding in.  Too bad I clicked a couple hundredths of a second too soon.  She was smiling and waving to the gathered crowd and I missed the photo. oh boo.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Recipe Thursday oh so many days late - Blueberry Scones

Last week there was a great sale on blueberries.  Everything I made had them scattered on top or mixed right in.  We were almost getting sick of them, almost.  I realized that I hadn't made scones in years, and with everything on hand they were begging to be baked.  The recipe is from an ancient copy of Five Roses Flour Cookbook.  There is not printed variation using blueberries, so I had to wing it.

Blueberry Scones

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 eggs
1/2 milk or light cream (I used milk)

1 cup blueberries
grate rind of a lemon

Preheat overn to 450 F.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon rind and salt.  Cut in shortening with pastry blender until mixture is the consistency of coarse cornmeal.  Set aside.  Reserve a little of the egg whites,   beat  remaining eggs until light; stir in milk.  Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add liquid all at once, stirring with a fork vigorously until it comes freely from the side of the bowl. Gently stir in blueberries.  Pat dough into a circle 3/4 inch thick  on an ungreased baking pan.  Cut into 8 triangular wedges, but leave in place.  Brush top with egg white and sprinkle liberally with sugar.  

Bake in hot oven for 12 to 15 minutes.

Let cool a bit and eat while warm.  Wonderful spread with butter. 

Join Candace at Beth Fish Reads for her "Weekend Cooking" meme.  Readers are invited to share their food related posts.