Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Scribble Picnic and HEADS

I don't normally write TWO blog posts in one day but I didn't realize that the Scribble Picnic had been extended again and I wanted to include my painting in the weekly challenge! If you'd like to read about yesterday's Homemade Pasta Adventure, feel free to click on the link! :)

But first, I have to show you my HEADS. How I would love to use these noggins for Halloween, but we ordered them to hold our new beloved hats! These heads are wonderfully creepy though! :))) What would you do with them??? Reminds me a bit of a horror movie...if I come down for a glass of water in the middle of the night and find one out of place, I will freak out lol...

So this week's Scribble Picnic's theme is Fill In The Blank (follow the link to see other artist's interpretations or to join!)...and this is the idea we were fill in the negative space.

As it is the season to be spooky...of course, I couldn't help myself by doing a graveyard scene. That was the first thing that came to very macabre mind lol! ;)

So this painting will join the other two I did this month on the "October Wall of Horrors". I still have more space and we are only half way through the month!! :)

Homemade Pasta: Labour of Love

After yet another store bought, cardboard-tasting pasta experience a few weeks back, we decided NO MORE! From now on, I'll be making my own pasta at home. As I said in the title, it IS a labour of love. It's a long process but I found it really enjoyable! My idea was that I wanted to make fusilli pasta for our dinner, so that's what I started off with.

Making your own pasta is inexpensive and easy. It's eggs, flour, salt and a wee bit of olive oil. I posted my recipe: Homemade Pasta. I found many recipes call for way too much flour, so I kind of made up my own and it worked very well!

After mixing everything up, you knead the dough until it's smooth and let it rest at least 30 minutes. I read a trick online, if you cut it in half and it's got lots of air this:

Then it needs more kneading.

So I continued to knead...I'm developing new muscles from this pasta and my pizza dough kneading! :)

Of course, I had to make my own Ricotta. :) What's a homemade dinner without homemade cheese?

This is a wonderful tool! My pasta maker. I love it. I bought this eons ago and it still works very well. It has an attachment on top for linguine and cappellini as well. 

After the rest period, I cut the pasta dough in four and started to stretch it out with the pasta maker. We like our pasta thin so I stretch it out a good 2 feet per dough ball.

Here's how I made the fusilli. Once you get going it feels like an assembly line! A fourth of the pasta made enough for our dinner.

I had lots of dough left so I decided to make ravioli also for the freezer.

My Ricotta made 2 cups, dinner called for 1 cup, so I made ricotta ravioli. Homemade pasta is very filling, so this amount will make us two dinners. I used up two more balls of dough for this.

With the last ball of dough, I made cappellini. This dried pretty fast on the hangers! You are only supposed to keep fresh dried pasta for a few weeks in an air-tight container. Makes you wonder what they put into the boxed pastas to keep them going for months and years huh?

So that I wasted nothing, I took all the little scraps and made some noodles for chicken soup. This experience was a lot of fun, but it did take a good 7 hours NOT including clean up! :)

We only got dinner on the table around 10pm! That's usually my bedtime lol...It was very good! Fusilli with Ricotta and Ham Sauce. Next time I'll use more chives though, they kind of got lost in the sauce!

Good thing we had dessert ready beforehand! I made individual Trifles. This time though instead of raspberry jam we decided to open up one of our preserved cherry pit with rum concoctions and it was really nice!

Aaah...the canines taking over our bed. Aren't they lazy-looking?? Believe it or not, Alex and I can still squeeze in there and have Oscar the cat on one of our laps too, though it's a tight squeeze!!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Fondue Night and Halloween Ideas

Most of my Blogging friends know I'm a sucker for celebrations and holidays. :) Every month on the 14th, Alex and I celebrate our anniversary. Our official yearly anniversary is March 14th, but I think that it's fun to have a special romantic dinner to celebrate our months together as well! So, the 14th of each month has become "fondue night". The other night I made a French Gruyere and Onion Fondue...oh gosh...I can't describe the delicious flavour, it was out of this world.

The author (who writes for Williams Sonoma as well), describes the fondue like this: "Are you one of those people like me whose favourite part of the onion soup is the melted cheese on top?" And boy was he right!! :)

I like to share our monthly fondue with my friends, to encourage you to MAKE FONDUE!!! :))) It's such a comforting meal! Sure, it's fattening...but I'm getting ready for winter after all right? ;) With some homemade bread and a glass of white wine...what could be better? Alex got me the fondue book last spring and it encouraged us to buy our first fondue pot together. 

With winter just around the corner, Alex and I spent an entire day closing up the summer garden and preparing the yard for winter. I brought in all my herbs and my lemon tree to my "winter window garden". :) There is one more shelf I have to put up for any additional plants I'm going to start this winter. I also want to find a way to grow lettuce indoors without having little feline bite marks all over them. 

And look, another lemon! That will make 4 lemons this summer that we were able to grow! I wish we could get more, but one day I'll have more lemon trees now that I know they can handle the climate! My garlic patch is planted and my winter garden is all ready for the cold frames. We'll be tackling that this week. Maybe then I can get back to some knitting!

So here it is, the pumpkin harvest! :) Just one turned orange, but that's okay. They will sit on the front stairs until Halloween when they will receive their carved fate! I'm in Halloween mode and I'm getting some great ideas. Any to share? Put a link in the comments if you do please!! Here are a few good ones I found online! (if there was a recipe, I included the link to it, you can get there by clicking the photo).

Friday, October 13, 2017

Superstitious? :)

I had to do's Friday the 13th, so what better a painting to do than Jason from the horror movie Friday the 13th? :) I wouldn't want to run into him in the woods...he has something against people...wants them all chopped up in creative ways lol...he's especially angry against sexy young teenagers who go to abandoned camp and cottage sights. Have you ever tortured yourself by watching a series of horror movies in a row? Alex and I did that last year, we watched all ELEVEN Friday the 13th movies in one weekend...oh the horror for us lol!

Actually we do start watching horror movies in mid-October, one each night to get us in the mood for Halloween! :) This year Alex downloaded a bunch of mummy-themed movies. It'll be fun. Do you watch movies for Halloween? Are you superstitious today? I'm not particularly, but I have some quirks about me. I toss salt over my shoulder if I spill some...I throw a silver coin out the door on New Year's Day to start the new year with prosperity...I believe in "three's"...when two bad things happen, I'm always waiting on the third...but it works with three good things too! :)

Last night was day four of having turkey meals! I made turkey quesadillas with my Fart and Dart Beans again. I don't have a recipe for the quesadillas, it's basically a tortilla, a load of cheese, salsa and turkey, another tortilla on top, all fried up in a non-stick pan. It was wonderful comfort food! We still have another meal's worth of turkey but it's now in the freezer, we're all turkey'd out! :)

The pack having dinner. Things are going pretty well I'm happy to report! 

I wake up to this each morning now. Frosty mornings below's just a matter of time before it snows, so today Alex and I will be finishing up all of the garden work and I'm planting my garlic in containers today. I have to find time to put up my cold frames VERY soon. And we have to go shopping for winter tires soon too. So many things to do this month!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

'Tis The Season!

The weekly "Scribble Picnic" has been postponed, but I wanted to paint anyway. Alex and I are slowly getting back into our routines as the pets all adjust to their new pack! Now that Thanksgiving is over, I am concentrating my thoughts on Halloween and all things spooky! :) I did this acrylic when I woke up today. Fun and creepy! :)

How is this for breakfast? :) We didn't even bother with plates, the pumpkin pie is a thing of the past now!

Oscar has commandeered my yarn basket it seems...these cats can fit into any small space they can find!

A familiar sight...Jack's big butt sticking out from under our covers...he's not as stealthy as he thinks he is. Just as I snapped this photo, I called out "Jack! Where are you?" His tail started wagging but he made no move to come out, too cozy in there! :)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Thanksgiving Dinner, Disappointing Colby, Cherry Bounce and Tidbits

I hope everyone is having a nice week! We had our big Thanksgiving Day yesterday and I went all out with the food! So much so that my body was aching last night from being in the kitchen all day, but it was so worth it! For an appetizer, I made my Fried Stuffed Olives with Blue Cheese and we opened the Colby cheese that I'd made in August. The olives were fantastic but the Colby was a bit sour at the finish. I'd read the same thing on the Cheese Forum, a few other people who used the New England Cheese Making Company's recipe were also disappointed. Oh well, it's not bad, just not great. We'll still snack on it, but I hope my other cheeses are MUCH better!!

Here are some photos of my decorations. I really love the holidays with Alex, we are making such lovely memories. :)

I can't wait to have a real dining room one day! The "breakfast bar" is fun, but with big meals, we had to improvise with my painting table hosting the spread:

The cheese may have been disappointing, but THIS was definitely not!! This was my first turkey dinner that I made completely from scratch! Well, you know, I didn't raise the turkey or grow the cranberries, but you get the point!

All of my recipes come from the Williams Sonoma cook book called "Thanksgiving". It's pretty awesome. I made their Roast Turkey with Citrus Pan Gravy. I stuffed the turkey with Bread Dressing too, using my No Knead Bread - we have so many leftovers! For my first turkey, I cooked it perfectly I must boast! It was so juicy, the gravy was great and the stuffing reminded me of my grandma's. :)

The side dishes were mashed potatoes, Braised Mushrooms and Carrots, and Cranberry Sauce which I made on Saturday to let all the flavours mesh together. Success! I was lucky enough to find fresh cranberries at the market the other day when I got my little pumpkins. Speaking of that...

I took Mama Pea's advice and went ahead to make some pumpkin purée from those little pumpkins - even though they weren't labeled "pie pumpkins". Worst case scenario was that the pie would have tasted icky.

Far from it! :) This was my first pumpkin pie from scratch! See my little pumpkin cut outs? :) I made the Creamy Pumpkin Pie recipe  and oh my oh was great.

And because I wanted to feed my insanity have a back up pie, I also made an Apple and Pear Pie. I followed the recipe for apple pie, but I had some pears ripe, so I mixed them in and it tasted wonderful.

With Alex's homemade whipped cream, it was a really delicious dessert. I think we're having pumpkin pie for breakfast today with our coffee! :)

We decided to open the "Cherry Bounce" that we made in July. Oh my was so sweet and delicious! But it is made with Rye Whisky so it had a strong finish, it was a glorious surprise. Next summer when the cherries are on sale again, we're going to load up and make a lot more of this bounce! My pal Susan made this as well, I wonder Susan, have you tasted yours yet?

Of course, everyone benefited from the 10-pound turkey! :) We are all adjusting very well to the new dogs. They are starting to really enjoy being part of the pack. I think that we can actually pull this off! Makes me very happy. :)


Just a few more tidbits...

Do any of my fellow Canucks remember the cooking show "Wok with Yan"? I used to love that guy! I don't know if the show aired in the States or not. He always had a new apron that made a little fun of the word Wok. He was so much fun to watch and I found this cookbook at the thrift store a few weeks back. I'm going to make Chinese food for New Year's I think! :)

We had 5 little cucumbers left from the garden, but haven't been eating them too much, they taste a little bitter for some reason. Anyway, I didn't want to compost them, so I made some quick Bread and Butter Pickles. We'll try these in a few days. 

Same thing with the cherry tomatoes...we have more than we can eat at the moment as the garden dwindles. I found a recipe for Pickled Cherry Tomatoes...we haven't tried it yet, but I do hope they turn out yummy! 

I also got 30 jars of apple sauce canned. I HATE throwing things out, and I LOVE preserving food! Speaking of food, I'll end this post on a slight rant...

Looks good huh? I made a tortellini with Spinach and Mushroom Sauce a few days ago. The sauce was excellent. The pasta, however, tasted like cardboard. was supposed to be a "gourmet" tortellini that we bought at the store. Alex is convinced they add shredded paper to the bought pasta is now on my blacklist and I'll be making my own from scratch now. This tortellini was supposed to be filled with Ricotta - we couldn't even taste it! What's on your blacklist these days?? I think mine consists of nearly EVERYTHING now.